A 114-YEAR-OLD locomotive from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway will be making her way to Kendal tomorrow, so that she can play her part in the premiere of Postman Pat the Movie.
Bonnie Dundee, built in 1900 in Stoke-on-Trent for the Dundee Gasworks in Scotland, will be outside the Brewery Arts Centre all weekend. She will be in the guise of the Greendale Rocket, with a header board carrying this name and newly-painted yellow buffer beams.
Bonnie Dundee is one of the oldest 15-inch gauge steam engines in the world. She worked as ‘Dundee Gasworks No. 15’ for six decades and was then luckily saved from the scrap heap by the late Ian Fraser of Arbroath. He then donated her to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, where she arrived in early 1976.
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Initially, she was out of gauge, being designed to run on rails two-feet apart, not 15 inches. She could also only store 20 gallons of water and really needed to carry more like 100 gallons to make the 14-mile trip up and down the line. This meant a big rebuild was required and she only started to make the trip between Ravenglass and Dalegarth in 1982.
In 1996, she needed more modifications, which allowed her to make the trip without having to stop at Fisherground to take on water that ran off the fell.
Although she has not been in operation for a decade now, she is regularly on show at the Railway and played her part in the launch of its La’al Ratty Kids Club. Over the weekend, families can get on board her in Kendal and have their picture taken. They can also pick up kids-go-free vouchers and details of a Postman Pat weekend at the Railway on October 4 and 5, as well as leaflets about Pirate cruises at its sister attraction, Ullswater ‘Steamers’, on May 28 and August 22.
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway’s marketing manager, Rachel Bell, says: “We hope lots of people will take the opportunity to be pictured with Bonnie Dundee as she plays her part in the premiere of Postman Pat the Movie. She really is a delightful little loco and one with a rich heritage. It would be a shame if people missed her as she enjoys another moment in the spotlight.’