Some recent discussions on a Facebook group have made me realise, to crack the old digital joke, that there are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand the Barge, and those that don’t.
The Barge, for the uninitiated in Ffestiniog folklore, is the Alco 2-6-2PT Mountaineer.
Within these two categories, I reckon you can do a further split by those that have experienced it, and those that haven’t.
By experienced, I mean been crew on it on the 1600 with a BR connection, with the nine end of the 8-9 carr haulage rating, 10 down delayed by the dawdling David Lloyd George with regular driver on the down, and with indifferent fuel. The happy few have had that experience and absolutely loved it.
You used to see them get off the loco at the end of the day with that glow which says” bring it on again tomorrow”.
I’m pleased to say I can count myself among those. And without a current ticket for the FR (both me and the loco), I can say they were some of the best turns I’ve had.
Yes I have a 009 model of it, work in progress like so much of my stuff. But nothing will ever beat the feeling of the real thing. Being one of two in snyc with their machine alone in our task of getting the best out of it, on the side of a mountain in Wales.