Dolgoch (locomotive)

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Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf - 2006-03-05.jpg
Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf in 2006
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderFletcher, Jennings & Co.
Serial number63
ModelClass Bb
Build date1866
Total produced1
 • Whyte0-4-0WT
Gauge2 ft 3 in (686 mm)
Driver dia.2 ft 3 in (686 mm), formerly 2 ft 4 in (711 mm)
Wheelbase6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Length17 ft 5 in (5.31 m)
Loco weight10 long tons (11 short tons; 10 t)
Boiler pressure150 lbf/in2 (1.03 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size7 58 in × 16 in (194 mm × 406 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort4,100 lbf (18.24 kN)
OperatorsTalyllyn Railway
No 2 Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf station around 1900. The locomotive is carrying the name "Pretoria"
Dolgoch in 1951
Dolgoch in 2008

Dolgoch is a narrow gauge 0-4-0 well tank steam locomotive. It was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. in 1866 and is one of the oldest locomotives still in active service. It was delivered to the Talyllyn Railway in 1866[1][page needed] and continues to run on this railway.

Dolgoch holds an important place in railway preservation history as it was the only serviceable locomotive on the Talyllyn Railway when it became the first ever preserved railway to be operated by volunteers in 1951, and largely single-handedly kept the railway going during this first season.[2][page needed]


The design is unusual for a 0-4-0. The well tank engine has a long wheelbase and the driving axle is behind the firebox, which prevents the use of a conventional valve gear layout. Consequently, the Allan valve gear is driven from the leading coupled axle and doubled back to connect to the valve rods.


The locomotive was renamed "Pretoria" between about 1900 and 1914 in celebration of the relief of the township of Pretoria in South Africa by Lord Roberts during the Boer War. It then reverted to the original name "Dolgoch".[3] For most of the Railway's life, names were painted only on the North side of the locomotives. Polished brass nameplates have only been carried in preservation.

In early 1945, Dolgoch was sent to the Atlas Foundry in Shrewsbury to be overhauled. At this time, the railway's only other locomotive Talyllyn was so worn out it could not be safely operated and services on the railway were suspended. Dolgoch returned to service in September 1945, with new displacement cylinder lubricators mounted on each side of the smokebox, a new chimney, and a repaired inner firebox and retubed the boiler.[4]

Around 1949, Dolgoch's boiler was patched, and on 26th. August 1949, Dolgoch cracked her frame in an accident, which resulted in her driver being dismissed from the company. Dolgoch was the only operable locomotive from 1945 until 1952, when Edward Thomas was restored for use.[4]

Between 1954 and 1963, Dolgoch underwent a major overhaul.[5]

In fiction[edit]

The fictional Rheneas in The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry was based on this engine.[6]


  1. ^ Boyd 1988
  2. ^ Rolt 1953
  3. ^ Boyd 1988
  4. ^ a b Quine, Dan (March 2015). "Dolgoch, 1945-1950". Talyllyn News. Talyllyn Railway.
  5. ^ "No. 2 'Dolgoch'". Talyllyn Railway. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  6. ^ "The Awdry Connection". Talyllyn Railway. Retrieved 25 October 2018.


  • Boyd, James I.C. (1988). The Talyllyn Railway. WildSwan Publications. ISBN 0906867460.
  • Rolt, L.T.C. (1953). Railway Adventure. Constable/David and Charles/Pan.