Ffos-y-fran coal powering namesake Locomotive
During the summer of 2016, ‘Ffos-y-fran’ the Merthyr Tydfil & District Model Engineering Societies newest locomotive came into operation at the Cyfarthfa Miniature Railway in Cyfarthfa Park.
Now, in a fitting tribute, the locomotive named after the Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund that was used to fund it, now also runs on coal donated from Miller Argents Ffos-y-fran coal mine.
Ffos-y-fran coal is particularly sought after by steam train societies due to its distinct heat generating properties which enable locomotive engines produce enough steam power to effectively haul passengers.
Neil Brown, Managing Director of Miller Agent said “We are absolutely delighted to be donating our coal to the Merthyr Tydfil & District Model Engineering Society as it only seems right that the Ffos-y-fran locomotive should run on local coal mined from our Ffos-y-fran site.”
The Society, which has been operating from Cyfarthfa Park since 1987, extended its operations in 2011 to include a new ground level track to accommodate larger locomotives. The improvements have also enabled disabled passengers to participate with the addition of South Wales’ first ever wheel chair accessible passenger coach. Additional funding, provided by both the Community Economic Development Fund and the Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund in 2014, enabled the Society to further expand their operations through the construction of a new tunnel and a meeting room.
Chairperson Gary Haines said ”Without the Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit fund we would not have been able to commission our latest steam engine Ffos-y-fran, and for that we are most grateful to both Merthyr County Borough Council and Miller Argent for their support. We are also delighted that our locomotives are fuelled by local coal donated by Miller Argent from its Ffos-y-fran site, which we feel is a fitting tribute to Merthyr Tydfil’s coal mining and steam railway heritage.”
The Societies 24 local members operate four locomotives from Cyfarthfa Park which carry over 15,000 people each year during school holidays and weekends between March and October. The Society also hold special events such as its recent Halloween Ghost Train.
And it’s not just members of the public who get to ride on the trains. Santa will be visiting the Miniature Railway at Cyfarthfa Park from 11am until 4pm on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December. For £5 Children will receive a gift from Santa and a ride on a miniature steam train. Accompanying adult passengers pay £1.50.
For more information, and before you head off, check out the Cyfarthfa Miniature Railway Facebook page or call Society Secretary Daniel France on 07961284647.