Our Steam Engines
Discover our five flagship steam engines, part of our remarkable narrow gauge fleet. On a visit to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, you will be able to see a selection of historic steam locomotives both in active service and on display at the Ravenglass Railway Museum.
River Irt, River Esk, River Mite, Northern Rock, and Whillan Beck were all originally built between 1894 and 1976. In fact, River Irt is the oldest working 15 inch gauge locomotive in the world! Read on to learn more about each of our very special steam engines.
Year of Build: 1894
Wheel Arrangement: 0-8-2
River Irt was originally built as a tank engine (and named Muriel) by Sir Arthur Heywood in 1894. It is believed she saw service at the munitions factory in Gretna (as 0-8-0T Muriel) before arriving at Ravenglass in 1917. She was rebuilt as a tender engine ( and renamed ) in 1927. 1972 saw her gain the current profile. River Irt is the oldest working 15-inch gauge locomotive in the world but she still hauls heavy trains capably even though she is now over 100 years old.
Year of Build: 1923
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-2
River Esk was purpose-built for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and was delivered in 1923 from Davey, Paxman & Co of Colchester. The loco was designed by Henry Greenly and was the forerunner of seven engines on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. Greenly had close connections with Roland Martens who designed Whillan Beck in its original form. After early innovations in her design (including a steam-powered tender) proved unsuccessful, she became a tireless performer and has run thousands of miles since 1923 with seven years out of service between 2011-2018. For many years painted green, the loco is currently in black livery. See if you can spot her out and about on your visit!
Year of Build: 1966
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-2
River Mite is owned by the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society and first entered service in 1967. Built by Clarksons of York using components from River Esk’s steam tender, the engine made history when it was delivered to Ravenglass by traction engine. River Mite attracted a great deal of publicity when new. Her distinctive Indian Red Livery from the old Furness Railway sets her apart from similar River Esk features. She has travelled as far as Dresden in Germany as an ambassador for the R&ER.
Year of Build: 1976
Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-2
Colour: Muscat Green
Built in the workshops at Ravenglass to the design of the then chief engineer, Ian Smith, Northern Rock first saw service in 1976. She continues to provide reliable performance, delighting today's visitors. Her design has been replicated in two other locomotives built in our Ravenglass workshops for the Niji-no-Sato Country Park in Japan. The loco has always carried the Muscat Green with the red, dark green, and white lining of the Highland Railway.
Year of Build: 1929
Wheel Arrangement: 4-6-2
Whillan Beck is owned by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society. She was built in 1929 by Krauss of Munich for the Ibero-American Exposition in Seville where she was named “Pinta”. After nearly 90 years out of action the R&ERPS acquired her and tasked specialist contractors to restore her for use here at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Since 2018 she has been seen out hauling trains in Eskdale. Her distinctive blue livery making her a firm favourite with our passengers.