Issue Date: 20/02/2014
Issue Name: Classic Locos of Wales: Hunslet No.589 'Blanche'
Producer: Buckingham Covers
This stunning cover features the Hunslet No 589 'Blanche' chugging along on the front of this cover. Blanche is one of the wonderful narrow gauge locomotives produced for the slate quarries of North Wales. It features a Bethseda, Gwynedd postmark and is available signed by John Wigston.
This cover was NOT reserved for club members as it is a special extra edition
Blanche - a quick history
All of these original engines like Blanche were produced by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds between 1870 and 1932. The design called for a light weight locomotives made for hard work in harsh environments of the slate quarries. The locomotives ran most of the year, year in and year out until the decline of the quarries in the late 1960's.
Blanche is a 1ft 10¾" gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive, with inclined outside cylinders 10in x 12in and coupled wheels of 2ft 1in diameter. She was built by the Hunslet Engine Comapany Ltd of Leeds in 1883. Blanche has always been one of the 'main-line' engines of the Penhryn Quarries Ltd.
The main line ran from the companies Quarries near Bethesda (where our cover is postmarked) to the shipping port at Port Penhryn, near Bangor, bringing the slate down from the quarries to be dressed and sent for shipment all over the UK via sea, and later by standard gauge rail.
Blanche came to the Festiniog Railway in July 1962 along with sister engine Linda. The engine was originally built as a an 0-4-0ST and the Ffestiniog Railway added a leading set of wheels to aid stability making it an 2-4-0ST, as well as adding piston valves in place of the orignal slide valves on the cylinders.
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Sir John Wigston is a member of the Guild of Railway Artists and has signed this lovely cover for us.