River Esk and Whillan Beck

Since a very young age, one of the places I have most enjoyed visiting time and again, is the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. For those who don’t know; the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a Minimum Gauge Heritage Railway in the Lake District. The railway has quite a detailed history dating back to 1875; with a lifetime of openings and closures before settling in to it’s current form. The railway is quite lengthy for it’s size, and it offers a timetable featuring passenger traffic onboard these amazing miniature steam engines, most of which are named after local rivers.  The oldest working train on the route is the River Irt, which has been at the railway since 1917.


I have visited the railway quite a few times since a young age, and for nearly all that time, my favourite train on the route has been the River Esk. It has been my favourite there since the first time I went. My favourite colour has usually/almost always been green, especially when I was young, and whilst both River Irt and Northern Rock are green, I have always preferred River Esk, which is an entirely black locomotive. I don’t know why, I have just always liked it.

Recently though, a new train has taken my interest. A few years ago, I visited the railway with a friend for my Birthday. Whilst I was there, there were quite a few banners for something called ‘The Train From Spain’. The banner showed a locomotive whose colour was similar to that of the River Mite locomotive. I had a look into the ‘Train From Spain‘ banners back home; and it was a campaign by the railway to purchase a new locomotive. I kept up-to-date every now and then about this new development; even commenting Purple for the train’s colour on a thread on Facebook.


Well, this time last year, I went back to the railway for another Birthday outing with my Mam, and whilst there, I got to see the new train. Coloured in a resplendent royal Caledonian Blue, the new train looked incredible. It’s name is Whillan Beck. River Esk at that time was not operating on the railway, but during that outing, I wanted to see more of the new train. It passed by the train I was on, on the way to Dalegarth. Then, for the return trip back to Ravenglass, I got to have a ride in one of the carriages Whillan Beck was hauling. Once we got back to Ravenglass, I jumped off the train, and rushed over to the turntable to get some pictures of the new train; it was so exciting to see.


It was a short stay at the Ravenglass railway on the whole as we had to head home to be in time for some tea with my friends; but I was just happy enough to see the new train and have a ride.


As for which one is my favourite; right now I can’t decide. Which is yours?


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