Felin Hen

Ex-Fairymead Mill, Bundaberg

 

This photo is kindly provided by Ross Driver and shows Felin Hen at Fairymead Mill in 1950, prior to conversion to 0-6-2T.
(Baldwin 10533 of 1899 is seen behind Felin Hen; this loco is also preserved and is listed above.)

Generator mounted on the side tank, electric lighting

Builder

Baldwin Locomotive Works,

Pennsylvania, USA

Builder’s Number & Year

46828 of 1917

Wheel Arrangement

0-6-2T (originally 2-6-2T)

 

This historic locomotive was built for the US Army Transport Corps (USATC) during World War 1 to a standard design of 2-6-2T for the network of 2’ gauge railways supplying the front line trenches. 195 examples of this type were built by Baldwin for the USATC, numbered 5001 – 5195; this surviving example was No.5104. The USATC adopted the 15-tonne 2-6-2T as a standard following similar locos produced by ALCO for the British Army, with Baldwin, Davenport and Vulcan (USA) contracted to supply the type to the US Army. Baldwin were noted for their speedy delivery and only the Baldwin locos were delivered to the USATC in time for battlefield use; two remained in the USA and another two were lost at sea (probably falling to U-boat attack on shipping) while the remaining 191 saw service with the U.S. Army in France. Interestingly, the last of the Baldwin batch (No.5195) was sent to Davenport Locomotive Works as a pattern for their production of the design.

In France these locomotives operated in grey livery with black smoke boxes, essentially ‘works grey’ and exemplifying the utilitarian nature of these war machines with short life expectancy (exactly like the brutal conditions the soldiers encountered).

Large numbers of 2’ gauge steam locomotives were available as war surplus materiel at the end of WW1 hostilities, with many finding further use with various light railways and industrial concerns around the world. No.5104 was one of three sold to the Penrhyn slate quarries in North Wales, where it received the name No.2 'Felin Hen' (which means 'Old Mill' in Welsh). The Penryn quarry railway was 1’ 10 34“ gauge (578 mm) so presumably the wheelsets were narrowed from 2’ gauge (610mm).

Apparently USATC No.5014 was not well suited to Penrhyn’s requirements and it was subsequently sold to the Fairymead Mill in Queensland. (The two sister USATC locomotives No.1 ‘Llandegai’ & No.3 ‘Tregarth’ where scrapped at Penryn in 1940). The loco was shipped to Brisbane in 1940 and converted to 2' gauge, becoming No.4 at Fairymead Mill, Bundaberg, although the name ‘Felin Hen’ was retained. The loco was rebuilt to 0-6-2T in 1956 by removing the front pony truck, which had often derailed on the Fairymead Mill system. New side tanks of a different design were also fitted.

No.4 Felin Hen was withdrawn from service at Fairymead Mill in 1965 and plinthed in a South Bundaberg park in 1969. It was later removed for restoration by the Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society (BSTPS) and dismantled. Unfortunately the loco was found to require extensive (and expensive) rebuilding which was beyond the resources of the BSTPS at that time.

Following approaches by a French preservation group around June 2002, the BSTPS sold No.4 Felin Hen for restoration to its original World War 1 form for operation at the Tacot des Lacs railway in France. Felin Hen arrived at its French restoration site in July 2002. The Tacot des Lacs railway is a fitting base for the locomotive as it is was originally a World War 1 trench supply railway which later found further use serving the local area. The surviving portions of this railway now operate as a tourist line featuring World War 1 equipment.

By January 2011 the restoration of Felin Hen was complete and the locomotive was returned to operation in 2-6-2T form, wearing authentic USATC grey livery.

Felin Hen in her later 0-6-2T configuration, hauling whole stick cane at Fairymead Mill in the late 50's / early 60's.

Felin Hen as restored in France, dated May 2011.

The loco has been restored to original 2-6-2T configuration with riveted water tanks of original design, and wearing USATC grey livery.

The name ‘Felin Hen’ appears in white paint above the number 5104 on the cabside.

References

a

Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site,
'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list by John Browning
(www.lrrsa.org.au/LRR_SGRc.htm)
retrieved 30 June 2018.

b

Wikipedia page for Baldwin Locomotive Works,
retrieved 11 April 2018.

c

'Light Railways - Australia's Magazine of Industrial & Narrow Gauge Railways',

Number 166, August 2002 (Page 28)

published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.

d

Wikivisual page for Trench Railways
retrieved 24 June 2018

e

Information sheet provided by the Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society (BSTPS)
and comments from discussions with members during my visit of 26 & 27 December 2004.

f

Wikipedia page for Penrhyn Quarry Railway,

retrieved 30 June 2018.

Page updated: 30 June 2018

Government Railways:

NSWGR

QGR

CR

WAGR

VR

TGR

SAR

 

Contributions

Home

Private & Industrial Railways:

NSW

QLD

Sugar

WA

Vic

Tas

SA

 

Copyright