Saga of a Steamer.

A short Article from "The Party-Line": The in-house magazine of Steamtown.


Typical of the late nineteenth Century light narrow gauge developmental locomotive, Y82 is a reminder of a bygone era in the Town of Peterborough.

In her day, she was a symbol of hope and impending good fortune, as she ran her trains over what was then considered to be the new Wheat Bowl in the Land of Hope.

Built by Beyer, Peacock and Co.(Manchester UK) in 1888, she saw service not only out of Peterborough, but also over the narrow gauge lines of the South East.

Her Centenary, 23 years ago, barely raised a whisper and she was left a rusting , and vandalised eye sore. Hardly a befitting end for such a worthy beast.

The irony of the sad end for this locomotive is that suitable storage facilities are no more than three kilometres away. She could be under cover: She could be stabilised and made safe. She could even be under restoration.

One of the great beauties of these machines is the simplicity of construction , and the effectiveness of their design for the uses for which they were intended. Indeed, the WAGR and timber millers in WA ran identical machines up until the end of steam.

It is not in dispute that both PMR720 and T199 are still "sitting" in the sheds at Peterborough. However that is no reason why such an historic machine as Y82 should be left out to rot.

It is not in dispute that the beast has sat in the open for close to 50 years. F251 sat at Salisbury, in a much wetter environment for nigh on the same time, yet today it steams as a symbol of the enthusiasm and dedication of a very small group of people who had a dream, and, in the face of many knockers (who believed it would never happen) and much adversity, brought her back to life.

The cost of moving Y82 to a covered environment would be much less that the liability it poses in its current locale. Why move it to be an eye-sore elsewhere, when it can be safely preserved in the centre of the town's railway heritage area, the Peterborough Round House?

She can still be a symbol of hope and good fortune for the district this time through a brighter future in the Roundhouse.

Is Peterborough serious about its future as a railway preservation centre'?

Ironicaly, she now sits no more than a few kilometres from a railway roundhouse and a "preservation society", where, if nothing else she would away from the weather.

I have always believed that this machine, with some work, would be steamable, yet she was moved from a park where she had sat for 40 years, only to be moved to the Roundhouse in Peterborough where cosmetic work was undertaken, so she can continue to rot in a car park.Why did the People of Peterborough, or at least its representatives, not have some vision and let the thing stay in the Roundhouse?

It is an irony to me that the People of Peterborough, or at least its representatives, fought so hard to keep "their" railway Society, yet when it comes to moving assets such as Y82, or helping "their" railway Society, they can only show a myopic attitude that will allow such a machine to rot!

Recent Pics

Y82 was moved in early 2000 to the Roundhouse in Peterborough. She underwent cosmetic restoration (a very good job too) and is now on display in the Main Street.

Steamtown ceased operating in 2002 on account of the cost of public liability insurances despite the efforts of Ian Milne to turn the fortunes of Steamtown around. During his time, things looked up considerably for the organisation. The group was formally disbanded in December 2003 and ceased to exist as of January 13, 2005. The assets are now the full responsibility of the Corporation of Peterborough.

It is now highly unlikely this unit will ever see service, as the Railway upon which it could have run has been removed.

See here.

But, it is great to report that a South Australian Y Class is on the way to Steam. Yx141 is currently being overhauled for service at Quorn

Was Peterborough ever serious about its role as a centre for operational railway preservation?


Last updated April 3, 2011