Welcome to the section of the website devoted to the oldest working standard gauge steam locomotive in Britain!
The 1863 veteran is at Locomotion - the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham - for its 150th birthdayyear!
On August 21st, 150 years to the day since the old engine was delivered to the Furness Railway, the FRT and Locomotion came together to celebrate a very special birthday!
FR20 was in action throughout the day with the normal charge waived for riding on the shuttle service. In a short ceremony, champagne was poured over the locomotive's buffers and there was cake for all who'd gathered, as well as a coal "cake" for the birthday girl!
The engine is in steam at Shildon on regular occasions throughout the rest of the year and is booked to remain there until Easter 2014.
During 2012, FR20 became one of the select number of locomotives to be chosen to haul the Royal Train! No, we don't mean the FRT's own Royal Saloon, but a train for a real live Royal - HRH the Duke of Gloucester.
This special duty happened shortly after FR20 arrived at the Severn Valley Railway. The veteran was the obvious choice to mark 150 years since the opening of the line. FR20 had the honour of hauling its first Royal Train on May 14th, taking the Duke of Gloucester from Kidderminster to Bewdley to unveil a plaque marking the anniversary of the first trains. The train is seen here as it arrives at Bewdley. The locomotive stayed on to take part in an annivesrary gala weekend.
FR20 had started the tour at the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston. This was 20's first visit to the FRT's new home base. It starred in the February gala weekend, which drew almost one thousand visitors - double the crowds seen at the same event 12 months previously, and stayed on to haul Easter weekend and April Sunday services as part of the RSR's special events to mark the Preston Guild celebrations which happen every 20 years.
Next stop was the Midland Railway - Butterley to haul Vintage Trains across the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. The line has an enviable collection of Victorian carriages, which are best hauled by the most vintage working steam locomotive in the country!
In June FR20 returned for the third time to the National Railway Museum in York which was staging a second Railfest for the Olympic year. This is centred around "Record Breakers" and FR20, being the oldest workable main line engine, was a must-have star attraction!
From static display at York, FR20 made another "first" visit, to the Middleton Railway in Leeds for a landmark gala, marking 200 years of commercial steam haulage at this historic preserved line.
And there was also a short return trip to the Bluebell Railway to undertake a major filming contract, more details of this will be released in due course.
Now the veteran is back at Locomotion - the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham, the birthplace of the railway - where FR20 has spent much of the last four years as Operational Locomotive in Residence including pairing up in September 2011 with the FRT's GWR 0-6-2T 5643 for the GW themed Steam Gala - the first time the pair had been together since 2007.
Click here to see planned steaming dates but please note these are subject to change and you should check with the relevant site before travelling.
The locomotive was returned to action, after its first heavy overhaul in preservation, in July 2008. Every ten years locomotive boilers must be removed and examined by the boiler inspector. See the photo-gallery charting the progress of the overhaul. The locomotive was put back together, and approved for another ten years' service, in time for the engine to return to traffic for its final series of Victorian Evening specials on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway in August 2008.
It appeared in the L&HR's 2007 Steam Gala, alongside Trust stablemate 5643 - the first time the two engines have appeared in action together.
For a decade its starring role was the annual summer season of Victorian Evening specials. Passengers enjoyed a night out with Furness Railway Number 20 and the Trust's Victorian North London Railway 2nd Class Coach - plus a cruise on the 1891 Furness Railway-built Windermere lake steamer MV Tern. During the 2004 season an amazing photo of the Victorian engine and train was taken using a Victorian camera.
It has also paired up with former Millom Ironworks Barclay 0-4-0ST "David" at the various gala weekends organised at the LHR - the pair are seen storming out of Newby Bridge during one such event.
This website has an up to the minute guide to where FR Number 20 is, and what it's up to.
Built in 1863, our flagship locomotive was restored to its original condition in a £140,000 project. Discover the engine's amazing story, unravel the riddle of its true identity, see the picture gallery, and read the book!
Furness Railway Number 20 is truly a star of stage and screen. The Gwynneth Paltrow blockbuster, "Possession", also starring FR Number 20, has shown to audiences in cinemas around the country. The engine has appeared on the smaller screen too - playing a major role in a programme filmed for TV's Discovery Channel and making a dream come true for a Lancashire youngster on CBBC.
As a working museum piece, it is not appropriate to use Furness Railway Number 20 on general service trains.
The engine has been to steam railways around the country, promoting the work of the Furness Railway Trust:
2010 saw a hectic schedule for the loco, with its first visit to the double track of the Great Central Railway at Loughborough, before it revisited the renowned Beamish museum in County Durham to haul the FRT's former Royal Saloon, then made the very long trip south to the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex.In autumn 2008, FR No. 20 undertook a tour of the North East of England, visiting the Tanfield Railway, Locomotion - the National Railway Museum at Shildon and Beamish.
It has of course since returned to both Locomotion and Beamish...
The engine made a starring appearance in York, at Railfest 2004, the National Railway Museum's tribute to the birth of the steam railway, in Britain, 200 years ago. Such was the public clamour that FR Number 20 replaced 1904 record breaker "City of Truro" to run the shuttle service train on two days of the event. FR 20 was back at York in October 2009 to run an intensive week of shuttle services at the NRM...
"Thomas the Tank Engine for adults" - how one visitor described FR Number 20 at the Midland Railway - Butterley in May 2001....
At Barrow Hill Roundhouse, FR Number 20 ran on the sort of lines it was built for, and was visited by the descendent of the man who ordered the locomotive 140 years ago.....
"Magnificent", "spectacular and unique": the words of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway after Number 20's star-turn October 2000 gala visit.....
See the pictures, and read how Furness Railway Number 20 took West Yorkshire by storm on its visit to the Keighley & Worth Valley May 2000 gala....!
İFurness Railway Trust