Festiniog Railway Little Wonder

The Festiniog Railway Little Wonder was a 0-4-4-0T steam locomotive built by George England for the Festiniog Railway in 1869.[1][2]

Festiniog Railway Little Wonder
Little Wonder, photographed c.1871
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderGeorge England
Build date1869
 • Whyte0-4-4-0T
 • UICB′B′ n4t
Gauge1 ft 11+12 in (597 mm)
Driver dia.2 ft 4 in (0.71 m)
Loco weight19.5 long tons (19.8 t)
Water cap.720 imperial gallons
Boiler pressure160 psi (1,100 kPa) †
CylindersFour, outside
Cylinder size8.25 in × 13 in (210 mm × 330 mm)
Valve gearGooch valve gear
Performance figures
Tractive effort8,595 lbf
OperatorsFestiniog Railway
NumbersFfR 7
Official nameLittle Wonder



Little Wonder was a Double Fairlie type articulated locomotive designed by Robert Francis Fairlie. It was the first Double Fairlie locomotive on the Festiniog Railway and the fourth Double Fairlie locomotive to be built. It was delivered to the railway in July 1869.[3] It was an improvement on earlier designs because it had two fireboxes, instead of one, and this allowed it to steam more freely.

In 1870, Fairlie invited guests to witness Little Wonder in a trial against the Festiniog Railway's existing locomotives Mountaineer and Welsh Pony. Amongst those in attendance were the second Duke of Sutherland, the Imperial Russian Commissioners, the Commissioners of the Indian Government, and Captain Tyler of the Board of Trade. Little Wonder hauled a train of 112 wagons weighing 206 tones up the line at an average speed of 12 1/2 mph. Welsh Pony was only just able to haul a train of 26 wagons weighing 73 tons at a maximum speed of 5 mph.[4]



Little Wonder was hailed as a great success and attracted attention from around the world. However, various mechanical problems arose and the engine required frequent repairs. It was withdrawn from service in 1882.[5][unreliable source]

See also



  1. ^ Kidner, R.W (1960). The Narrow Gauge Railways of Wales. The Oakwood Press. p. 5.
  2. ^ Kidner, R.W. (1960). Light and Narrow Gauge Locomotives. The Oakwood Press. p. 24-25.
  3. ^ Johnson, Peter (10 July 2013). Narrow Gauge Railways. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7478-1392-7.
  4. ^ Armstrong, T.W. (1870). Facts and opinions. Regarding the economical construction and working of railways of narrow gauge with steep gradients and sharp curves, when worked with an improved class of engine and rolling stock.
  5. ^ "Little Wonder". Festipedia. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012.