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Bagnall "Monarch"

Prototype history (under construction)

The Monarch is one of a class of seven articulated locomotives to emerge from Bagnall's Stafford works. Essentially Meyer type articulated locomotives with some variations on that theme, one may wonder why these locomotives were developed so late in the day. The days of small four axled articulated locomotives had long gone and had already been superseded by types with regular Gölsdorf axles or if necessary Lottermöller or Klien-Lindner axles when Bagnall for some reason saw business opportunities in starting a new line of four axled Meyer-like types articulateds. The first was built in 1936 for sugar estate service in South Africa. All members of the class were very slow in raising steam and heavy on maintenance and were consequently out of service after a very short working life. The last Bagnall articulated, a 2ft 6in gauge engine, builder's number 3024 and later named "Monarch", was built for the Sittingbourne works, Kent, of Bowaters Lloyd Pulp & Paper Mills Ltd. in 1953. It was the last industrial steam locomotive for commercial use to built in the UK and to be supplied to the UK insdustry.

It worked for the paper mills for only 13 years and was sold to the then already under preservation operating Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. After restoration it worked there for some time but it was not liked by the crews as the marine type firebox proved to be troublesome. The locomotive was sold to the Ffestiniog railway which left it to rot. It was bought back by the W&LLR and is now cosmetically restored. It is on display in Welshpool station.


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I visited Welshpool in June 2017, heading in a bee-line for the locomotive shed where Monarch is stored.