Posted 14th February 2019

Train from Spain project wins prestigious Heritage Award

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society received the Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award at the prestigious Heritage Railway Association dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday 9 February. 

Held on February 9th at the McDonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham the awards ceremony was hosted by Pete Waterman OBE. There were four projects in the running for the Coiley Locomotive Award, which is presented to a Heritage Railway Association member organisation who has completed an outstanding engineering project in the field of locomotive overhaul, restoration, or preservation.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society ran a two-and-a-half year project to buy and refurbish a 15" gauge steam locomotive, built by Krauss in Munich in 1929 and stored in Spain since the 1930s. The goal was to bring it back into active service for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in the Western Lake District for visitors of all ages to enjoy the seven miles of scenic track running from coast to the foothills of the highest mountain in England. 

The Train from Spain: Whillan Beck restoration project would not have been possible without the innovative fundraising initiative ‘The Train from Spain Appeal’. The locomotive was brought from Spain, where it has had a chequered history from its build in 1929. Extensive works were carried out over two years to bring the locomotive into working order. The magnificent Krauss steam locomotive which was formerly known as ‘The Train from Spain’ was officially named ‘Whillan Beck’ at a special naming ceremony on Saturday 5 May 2018 having been in service since earlier in the year under its old name.

Mr Simon Thompson, Hon. Chairman for The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society says; 

‘We are delighted that the Train from Spain restoration project has been recognised by the Heritage Railway Association with the The Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award. This is awarded to an organisation who has completed an outstanding engineering project in the field of locomotive overhaul, restoration, or preservation. It is testament to the dedication and passion of the skilled team of engineers at Old Hall Engineering and at Ravenglass, that worked tirelessly to bring Whillan Beck back to its former glory and to the innovative fundraising campaign which captured the hearts of the public. The locomotive has been in service on the railway since March 2018 and has proven to be more than capable of handling the busiest of trains on the railway; a remarkable feat after 85 years stored in Spain.’

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