Teifi Valley Railway

Teifi Valley Railway

Tales from the Railway

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Sgt. Murphy

History of the TVRPosted by TVR Wed, July 22, 2015 10:52:29

The following letter from Colin Pealling (a former owner of Sgt. Murphy) was published in issue no. 7 of The Industrial Railway Record (the journal of the Industrial Railway Society) way back in September 1965, when the approach to locomotive preservation by amateurs was in many respects different to what it is today:

“I notice on page 119 of RECORD 5/6 that Penrhyn Quarry’s SGT. MURPHY was thought to be for sale to Mr. T. Burdett, and also that it was “very decrepit”. Certainly she looks so, but she is in my garden now and the neighbours haven’t complained! Seriously though, the boiler needs retubing, but then it should be alright at the full 160 lbs pressure. The lower part of the smokebox tubeplate needs some attention and a new smokebox door is wanted – although the smokebox itself is in excellent condition. The firebox was new in 1938 and the tanks are sound, having been fitted new in 1945. There is nothing that can’t be cured, and a lot of the decrepitude is due to a surfeit of rust which is mostly superficial.

“SGT. MURPHY was taken out of service in 1947 at her routine “shopping” date due to the need for new tubes and tyres, the latter having worn thin during the War. An inside framer, Penrhyn had had a bit of a job to reduce her from 2ft to 1ft 10¾in gauge. Even now she is a bit on the wide side and I shall be happy when re-tyring restores the status quo. She left Penrhyn for Kingswinford at the unearthly hour of 11.15 pm on Saturday, 25th July 1964.

“The name, by the way, results from her being the first of the secondhand acquisitions, and Mr. Battersby couldn’t think what to call her. She was purchased just after the 1923 Grand National which had been won by a grey gelding called Sgt. Murphy. The story goes that a group of quarrymen were at the top of the main level incline watching her come up for the first time, and there had never been a six-coupled locomotive on the incline before, of course. The effect as she came over the top must have been for all the world like a horse clearing a fence, and one of the men is reputed to have remarked, “Here comes Sgt. Murphy!” Mr. Battersby soon heard about it, liked it, and the SGT. MURPHY nameplates were cast.


The Editor subsequently added the following note to Mr Pealling’s letter:

“Vic Bradley [later compiler of the Industrial Railway Society Handbook, Industrial Locomotives of North Wales] tells me that when he visited the quarry in 1954 his guide was very reluctant to take him to the shed where SGT. MURPHY was stored, and then refused to enter with him. It appears that many of the older men were superstitious about this locomotive for it had once overturned and killed the driver – the only one at Penrhyn ever to do so. This is probably the reason why it was withdrawn for the comparatively trivial reasons of “Tyres and Tubes”. The fact that it was very slightly overgauge tended to make it unsteady compared with the Hunslets.”

(Article kindly provided by Nigel Wassell)

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Where Was Ken?

Latest NewsPosted by TVR Thu, July 02, 2015 12:34:45
Now then Muppets, continuing the theme of "Where is Ken" let's do a one word crossword, but not cross of course.

Answers please by our next open meeting on the 8th July.

Where was Ken between the 25th and the 28th June 2015.

Eight Letters (Could be up or down and even across)

Might be in the Land of his Fathers.

Trustee David thought the idea had "some merit"

It has an Office and brochures and leaflets.

People can stand on a raised area and wave to people arriving.

Vehicles can park and you could visit me when I am there.

Some people mistake it for the scene of a major memorable disaster involving black stuff.

The name is the same as the village.

1967 is significant in a touring sense and it's origins are published.

Snooper's take you to it the safe way.

Once upon a time you could start at Nxxxxx.

What does it have in common with Henllan?

A canal system from Nxxxx might be a significant clue.


K.E. J 1st July 2015

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Mowing the Grass

Latest NewsPosted by TVR Wed, April 15, 2015 19:06:53
15th April 2015

It's been a lovely sunny day and one of our volunteers - Tristan McFee has been busy with the mower. The play area and Mini Golf are looking fantastic. Thank you Tristan :)

Pictures (and fresh cut grass) by Tristan

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