Sian was designed by Ernest Twining and constructed by G&S Engineering at Stourbridge for the Fairbourne Railway and was delivered in 1963. Sian is a 2-4-2 tender locomotive with 5 1/16" x 8" cylinders and 20" driving wheels.
The railway was sold in 1984 to John Ellerton who decided to re-gauge the railway to 12 1/4" gauge using stock he already owned from a railway in Brittany. For the last year of operation as a 15" gauge line Sian was americanised and renamed Sydney. At the end of the season Sydney was sold to the Littlecote Theme Park and operated over a one mile line there until 1991 when the whole railway was placed up for sale.
In 1991 Sydney was sold to the Bure Valley Railway in Norfolk and during the winter of 1991 the loco received work to its boiler which allowed its working pressure to be increased, some of the American features were removed, the loco was painted into maroon livery and renamed Sian.
Pending the arrival of the new ZB type locomotives the Bure Valley Railway agreed to sell Sian to a group of volunteers from the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway who had attempted to buy the loco from Littlecote in 1991. The agreement ensured that Sian was based at the Bure Valley until the end of the 1996 season but was used very little following the receipt of the ZB loco's and Sian was eventually transferred to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway in March 1995. She remained at Cleethorpes until 1998 before being transferred to the Kirklees Light Railway. Sian worked on the KLR until boiler troubles led to her retirement in 1999. The locomotive was transferred to the owning groups base at Ravenglass and repaired before re-entering service at its current home of Windmill Animal Farm.
The aim of the owning group is to restore the locomotive to near original condition and hopefully eventually base it on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway a line it has visited on numerous occasions.
Why not visit the Sian Project Groups website via our links page.
Sian stands at Shelley Station on its first running day at the railway. The loco was still to be fitted with lighting for the tunnel and one of the railways coupling. Photo courtesy of Ian Screeton