Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Oldest locomotive arrives - by ship

Niamh Fallon, six, from Malahide, unveils the oldest narrow gauge steam locomotive in the world, The Princess
Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly and Niamh Fallon unveil the oldest narrow gauge steam locomotive in the world

The world's oldest steam locomotive of its kind has rolled into Ireland to celebrate its 150th birthday.

The historic Princess took a ferry from Wales, where it used to haul slate trucks from quarries, to go on display in Dublin's Heuston station.

Tourism chiefs are hoping it will help attract visitors from Britain to a heritage railway tour in Ireland as part of this year's Gathering festival.

Built in London in 1863 to service the Snowdonian mountain quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog, it was one the first steam locos ever built for a narrow-gauge line. Since going out of service in the 1940s, Princess has been part of a Ffestiniog Railway museum in Gwynedd, in north Wales, where it was painstakingly restored by craftsmen.

Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly said the steam engine was an important part of railway heritage on these islands.

He added: "The Princess represents a piece of our transport history that we will rarely see. For rail and history enthusiasts and indeed for the general public, it is great that this locomotive has come to Dublin.

"It is important we recognise our history of rail travel and this being the year of the Gathering, the Princess locomotive is the perfect way to do so."

The locomotive will be on display at Heuston until July 24.

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