Festiniog Railway steam locomotive 'Livingston Thompson' Double-Fairlie

1885-1886 in Boston Lodge
Boston Lodge works
Ffestiniog Railway

Narrow gauge, Double-Fairlie steam locomotive, 'Livingston Thompson', 2 foot gauge, Festiniog Railway, built at Boston Lodge Works 1885-1886. Length 30'; width 6' 10"; height 8' 4".

When Robert Fairlie demonstrated his locomotive Little Wonder (similar to this locomotive) in 1870 at the Ffestiniog Railway, it caused a sensation. The engine could haul heavy loads around sharp curves and up steep gradients. Little Wonder pointed to a way railways could be built in mountainous areas without costly bridges and tunnels. Building a narrow gauge line such as Ffestiniog also kept costs down.

All the wheels were powered but placed in bogies which could swivel, but which supported the weight of the power unit – in this case the boiler. Most locomotives in use today also used powered bogies and can run in either direction without needing to turn around, just like this Fairlie.

Fairlie locomotives were used successfully on steep mountain routes in countries as far apart as Mexico, Russia, and New Zealand. The Festiniog Railway Company which built Livingstone Thompson in 1886 still uses Fairlie locomotives to this day.

Livingstone Thompson was built for the Festiniog Railway Company at their Boston Lodge works. It has carried three names during its working life and after retirement in 1971 was restored for exhibition at the NRM.

Related people


Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Object Number:
length: 9144 mm,
height: 2540 mm
width: 2083 mm
steam locomotive
  • vehicles and vehicle components
  • vehicle
  • vehicles and vehicle components
  • vehicle
  • locomotive
Festiniog Railway Company

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