De Winton & Co (1854–1901) were engineers in Caernarfon, Wales. They built vertical boilered narrow gauge locomotives for use in Welsh slate mines and other industrial settings. At least six De Winton locomotives have been preserved. But these quarry tramway locomotives, for which in the 21st century they are largely remembered, were just a small part of this company's engineering output.

Part of De Winton's works on the quay at Caernarfon from the platform of the Welsh Highland Railway station


Chaloner, a De Winton locomotive resident at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway

The company had its origins in a small foundry built on the slate wharf at Caernarfon by Owen Thomas in the 1840s. He subsequently went into partnership with Jeffreys Parry de Winton and the firm developed as the Union Foundry. Manufactures included street gaslight columns and all manner of street furniture. When the Carnarvonshire Railway was being built under Castle Square, the tunnel roof was supported by iron beams supplied by De Winton's and their name can still be seen at the entrance to the tunnel, which is now used as a road underpass.

The foundry was a major supplier to the Caernarfon and Liverpool ship building industry. The firm built marine steam engines up to 200 bhp powered by boilers that they also made. These marine engines influenced the quarry locomotives that they made. Over 60 were produced over a 25-year period.[1] They also built stationary steam engines and the engine preserved at Parc Glynllifon near Caernarfon is the second oldest working stationary engine in Britain.

De Winton's supplied the quarry industry and made whatever might be needed. At the large and very profitable Dinorwic Quarry in Llanberis, in 1870, De Winton's built and equipped an entire workshop with machinery powered by overhead shafting that in its turn was driven by the largest water wheel in the United Kingdom (over 50 feet in diameter), which remained in daily use until 1925 when it was replaced by a Pelton wheel but retained as standby. The wheel is the subject of a preservation order but in fact the entire workshop complex is preserved as the National Slate Museum.

Jeffreys Parry de Winton (born Wilkins 1828–1892) was mayor of Caernarfon (1870–1872) when his company was one of the rising enterprises in the town. The Company remained in his hands and important in Caernarfon's maritime activities until about 1890. In its decline from that time it appears to have been badly managed and heavily committed to a French invention that failed and brought bankruptcy in 1901. Some of the De Winton works in St Helen's Road survives. Since 1988 it has been the home of a local plumbing and heating business; before that the foundry was used as a bonded warehouse and wine merchants. It stands opposite Caernarfon station of the Welsh Highland Railway.

The steam engine at Glynllifon was restored by Fred Dibnah after he was originally called to the park to quote for the demolition of the chimney.

De Winton locomotivesEdit

The De Winton records were not preserved, so the complete list of locomotives produced is not known.

Type Name Worked at Built Gauge Disposition Notes
0-4-0VB none Abercwmeiddaw quarry? 1860s[2] 2 ft 3 in (686 mm)? Unknown Very early locomotive, may have been supplied to agent H & J Ellis and sold on to Abercwmeiddaw quarry[3]
0-4-0VB Wellington Dinorwic quarry 1877 1 ft 10+34 in (578 mm) Sold to Glynrhonwy quarry 1898 Double-cylinder engine, double-flanged wheels
0-4-0VB Harriet Dinorwic quarry 1874 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped by 1895 Single-cylinder engine, double-flanged wheels
0-4-0VB Peris Dinorwic quarry 1875 1 ft 10+34 in Sold or Scrapped by 1895 double-cylinder engine, double-flanged wheels
0-4-0VB Victoria Dinorwic quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped by 1895 Single-cylinder engine, double-flanged wheels
0-4-0VB Padarn Dinorwic quarry unknown 1 ft 10+34 in Sold to Glynrhonwy quarry 1898 Single-cylinder engine, double-flanged wheels
0-4-0VB Rhymney Pen y Bryn quarry 1875 2 ft (610 mm) Scrapped Built for Penrhyn quarry, but order was cancelled
0-4-0VB Lord Penrhyn Penrhyn quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped 1909
0-4-0VB Lady Penrhyn Penrhyn quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped 1911
0-4-0VB Alice Penrhyn quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped 1912
0-4-0VB Georgina Penrhyn quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Damaged beyond repair in rockfall 1904
0-4-0VB Ina Penrhyn quarry 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped 1911
0-4-0VB[4] Baladeulyn Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 2 ft Sold to Glynrhonwy Slate Quarry in 1895
0-4-0VB[4] Starstone Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 2 ft .
0-4-0VB[4] Inverlochy Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 1877 2 ft Possible ex-Pen-y-Bryn Quarry. Scrapped 1937
0-4-0VB[4] Glynllifon Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 1880 2 ft Scrapped 1937
0-4-0VB[4] Rhymney Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways ex-Penybryn 1875 2 ft Scrapped 1933
0-4-0VB[4] Chaloner Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways ex-Penybryn 1877 2 ft Sold to Alfred Fisher in 1960. Now preserved at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway.[2]
0-4-0VB Kathleen Penrhyn quarry 1877 1 ft 10+34 in Stored at the Vale of Rheidol Railway Aberystwyth
0-4-0VB George Henry Penrhyn quarry 1877 1 ft 10+34 in Preserved at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, Tywyn
0-4-0ST Edward Sholto Penrhyn Quarry Railway 1876 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped 1907 The only three horizontally-boilered locos known to have been built by de Wintons, all supplied to Penrhyn.
0-4-0ST Hilda Penrhyn Quarry Railway 1878 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped after 1911
0-4-0ST Violet Penrhyn Quarry Railway 1879 1 ft 10+34 in Scrapped before 1911
0-4-0VB Penmaen Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1878 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1943 Remains still in situ in quarry
0-4-0VB Lillian Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1891 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1933; scrapped
0-4-0VB Louisa Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1892 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1936; scrapped 1951
0-4-0VB Ada Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1892 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1931; scrapped
0-4-0VB[4] Gelli Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 1893 2 ft Withdrawn 1945, still intact at quarry 1952; believed scrapped, frame used as part of pit in loco shed. Subsequently removed for preservation.
0-4-0VB Puffin Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1893 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1934
0-4-0VB Watkin Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1893 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1944.

Purchased in 1966 by Mr. Evan Hughes of Llanrwst and loaned to the National Trust at Penrhyn Castle by Mrs. D. Williams in May 1972. Loaned to the Welsh Highland Railway for display at Caernarfon railway station in April 2019

0-4-0VB Harold Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1894 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1936; scrapped 1951
0-4-0VB Pendyffryn Pen-yr-orsedd slate quarry 1894 1 ft 11+12 in (597 mm) Privately owned; awaiting restoration at the Brecon Mountain Railway
0-4-0VB Llanfair Penmaenmawr & Welsh Granite Co. Ltd. 1895 3 ft (914 mm) Out of use by 1940 At the Welsh Highland Railway
0-4-0VB[4] Arthur Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 1895 2 ft Scrapped 1956
0-4-0VB[4] Victoria Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry tramways 1897 2 ft Scrapped 1956


  1. ^ "De Winton and Co Engineers Caernarfon". David Fisher. 2011.
  2. ^ a b Fisher, Alfred; Jones, Gwynfor Pierce; Fisher, David (2011). De Winton of Caernarfon: Engineers of Excellence. RCL Publications. ISBN 978-0-9565157-1-1.
  3. ^ Eade, Sara (2013). Slate Below: A Study of Corris, Abercwmeiddaw and Abercorris Quarries the Tramway and the Social Life of a Merionethshire Village. Newtown: Imprint Design & Print. ISBN 978-0-9565652-3-5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Boyd, James I. C. (1990). Narrow Gauge Railways in North Caernarvonshire, Volume 1: The West (2nd. ed.). The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-273-0.
  • Rowland A. S. Abbott (1989). Vertical Boiler Locomotives. Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-385-0.

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