River Irt

From Ratty

River Irt
River Irt
Wheel Arrangement 0-8-2
Year of Origin 1894
Designer Sir Arthur Heywood
Builder Sir Arthur Heywood
Length 23' 10"
Livery Mid Green
Status In Traffic

River Irt is the oldest working 15" gauge locomotive in the world. Built by Sir Arthur Heywood as Muriel in 1894 for his Duffield Bank Railway, it came to the railway with its sister locomotive, Ella, in 1917, along with the majority of the DBR rolling stock.

Before it arrived on the Ratty, it had been requistioned for use at the Gretna Munitions Factory. During a major overhaul at Murthwaite, the engine's cylinders were reduced, because the original boiler was unable to produce enough steam for a continuous run.

In 1927, it was rebuilt and renamed with a new boiler, longer frames, a cab and a six-wheel tender, and its new wheel arrangement was 0-8-2. Although it looked odd, it was a sucessful conversion and then became the line's new flagship, after the conversion of the three original scale locomotives into River Mite I.

In 1972, a taller chimney, dome and cab were added, along with a new bogie tender, allowing the old one to become the tank wagon, which it remains as today. The performance of the engine was enhanced when, in 1977, a larger boiler was added, and this was interchangeable with the other steam locomotives.

In 1981, the engine went to the National Railway Museum in York to form the centrepiece to the Minimum Gauge Railways Exhibition, and has since operated at both the Liverpool and Gateshead Garden Festivals, in 1984 and 1990, respectively.

The current livery of the locomotive is mid-green, with lining in black and yellow.

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