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Ben Alder Project

When considering a new build, there are many elements to be taken into account. The underlying issue will be cost, regardless of what engine being built.

Any project must appeal to the largest number of people, and offer a value for their investment. Our intention is for a new build to unify the Scottish Railway Preservation, for the benefit of everyone.


The Highland Railway Ben Class were small 4-4-0 passenger steam locomotives. 

The class was originally designed by Peter Drummond, whose elder (and better known) brother Dugald had been in the company's locomotive department in earlier years and was at that time Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and South Western Railway.

In appearance they were fairly typical Drummond family products with the stiffener across the cab roof. They were also had inside cylinders, almost uniquely among HR bogie locomotives. The first 8 locomotives were built by Dübs and Company of Glasgow in the period 1898 to 1899, the second locomotive to be built was Ben Alder. A second batch of 9 were build by the Highland at their Lochgorm works, and a final batch of 3 were constructed later in 1906 by North British Locomotive company.

All locomotives survived to be taken over by the LMS at the Grouping in 1923. The first of the class was withdrawn in 1931, but ten survived into British Railways ownership. The last of these, 54398 Ben Alder, was withdrawn in 1953 and placed in storage in the hope that it would be preserved.

Unfortunately the hopes for 54398 – which included the intention to restore the locomotive to Highland Railway condition came to nothing, and following storage at various locations (including Boat of Garten) it was eventually cut up in 1967; and so, none were preserved!


54398 - Ben Alder outside Lochgorm 04.05.53

Our goal

Our ultimate goal will be to see a new Ben Alder steaming on the heritage railways of Scotland, whether its storming up the climb from Bo'ness to Manuel or sitting simmering on shed at Aviemore. We want as many people to enjoy the sight and sound of a late Victorian passenger locomotive, living and working again in Scotland. 

54398 Ben Alder at Dawsholm shed

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