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.

River Irt

Year of Build: 1894

Wheel Arrangement: 0-8-2

Length: 22ft

Colour: Green

River irt 1

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.

River Esk

Year of Build: 1923

Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-2

Length: 22ft

Colour: Black

River esk 1

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!

River Mite

Year of Build: 1966

Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-2

Length: 22ft

Colour: Red

River mite 1

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.

Northern Rock

Year of Build: 1976

Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-2

Length: 22ft

Colour: Muscat Green

Northern rock 1

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.

Whillan Beck

Year of Build: 1929

Wheel Arrangement: 4-6-2

Length: 22ft

Colour: Blue

Whillan beck flipped

Whillan Beck was officially launched into service in 2018. The engine was originally named Pinta and was built to run at the Ibero-American Exposition in Seville. Following nearly 90 years out of action, she was restored in Barcelona by outside contractors. The works were funded by the Ravenglass and Eskdale Preservation Society, the project set out to make her suitable and reliable for regular operations on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. She is a firm favourite in her blue livery and can be spotted at the front of our trains very regularly!



Plan Your Journey

Plan Your Journey

Get your next adventure out on 'La'al Ratty' in the diary and prepare to make some unforgettable memories.

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