Heritage Steam to go Electric
The Merioneth and Llantisilly Railway Traction Company Limited has announced that from this year their steam engines will be using electricity rather than coal power.
The small railway is located in the “top left-hand corner of Wales” and will be using a combination of locally installed solar panels and grid power to charge their batteries. They have installed a large bank of batteries in a disused cowshed and that allows them to rapidly charge their engine between runs up and down the branch line.
“It has been a challenge to install the modifications to the tank engine during lockdown” said Edwin Jones the driver. And the team have had problems sourcing some of the electronics due to shortages of the power mosfets used to control the massive heating element. But so far the tests have been successful and “we’ve got to the gas works and back” chuckled Mr. Dinwiddy the on-site engineer.
Station Master Claude Gilbert is happy that the tests are going well and looks forward to reopening opening the station once restrictions are eased. There will be an open day on April 26th when the local choir will be singing, accompanied by a steam-driven organ pipe that had been installed into the engine some years back.
“It has been a tough year for Heritage Steam” said Mrs. Porty, owner of the line “but we’ve moved the railway into the 21st century and expect it will be a popular tourist destination for years to come”.
Perhaps one day we will see clean steam re-instated into main line trains?