The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum has purchased the Fletcher Jennings Locomotive “William Finlay”, works number 173L of 1880. This loco, together with its twin “Townsend Hook” (no 172L), was purchased from new by the Dorking Greystone Lime Company, based near Dorking in Surrey. It was built to the unusual gauge of 3ft 21⁄4 in used within the quarry. The great limestone quarry of the Dorking Greystone Lime Company stood to the north of the Southern Railway line at Betchworth, Dorking. William Finlay was the owner who set up the Quarry in 1865, and incorporated the first Hoffman kilns for lime-burning erected and fired in England. It once extended to around a 1/3 of a mile wide and was 300feet deep, with other workings in tunnels which stretched much further.
The presence of this locomotive in our collection at Tywyn will bring another aspect to the collection not currently represented, that of limestone quarrying, and is appropriate, not just because of the manufacturer of the locomotive but also because much of the track from the quarries came to the Talyllyn for re-use in the 1950s, with some of it in use to the present day.
It is our intention to cosmetically restore the locomotive and display it in the museum, replacing “Jubilee 1897”, which will moved on loan to the Penrhyn Quarry Railway at Bethesda, its former home, where part of railway is currently being rebuilt. While the cost of purchase of the locomotive has been covered by museum funds and a loan from the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, we need to repay the loan and to fund its restoration and display. Total costs have been estimated at £60,000.
We would be delighted if you are able to support our appeal. Donations may be made through PayPal, using the “Donate” button below. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay by credit or debit card. All donations small or large to this appeal will be much appreciated.
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Thank you for your support.