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‘Lady A’ waves the Severn Valley Railway flag at NEC (14th March 2012)

A 112-year-old steam locomotive which has travelled the country acting the role of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’, makes its debut appearance at the NEC, Birmingham, today, in a flag-waving exercise by the engine’s custodians, the Severn Valley Railway.

The Hunslet, Leeds-built tank engine ‘The Lady Armaghdale’ which last ran three years ago and has been on static exhibition at the SVR’s Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, is the eye-catching centrepiece at the ‘Best of Britain & Ireland’
Show in Hall 9 – the biggest showcase event of the year for the travel and tourism industries.

Transported to the NEC by low loader and mounted on a short length of rail, the now red-painted engine, fondly known to Severn Valley Railway activists as simply ‘Lady A’,  became ‘Thomas the Tank’ engine in 1994 and performed at steam heritage lines throughout the UK before being retired in 2009.

In an industrial career spanning more than 70 years, ‘The Lady Armaghdale’ was for 65 years a shunting engine on the Manchester Ship Canal railway system, and also worked in the service of ICI  at Blackley, Manchester, before arriving at the SVR’s Bridgnorth headquartersfor preservation in 1969.