The industrial history of Great Britain is full of companies from the Victorian era which were built on the power of steam. One aspect of this was the use of specially designed steam railway locomotives which, whilst not having the glamour of the big main line types, were truly the backbone of industry.
Many were the varieties of such locomotive and many have reached a comfortable retirement on the heritage steam network of the country today. Amongst them is a fleet of very special locomotives which served out their working days in North Wales in the heart of the slate industry of Snowdonia. These machines, running on a narrow gauge of 2 foot tracks, were especially associated with the Dinorwic Quarries which were located on the opposite side of Lake Padarn to Mount Snowdon itself and most were versions - with minor detailed variations - of a class built by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds. These became known as "The Quarry Hunslets".
They were gradually withdrawn from service in the quarries in the 1950s and 1960s, just as the preservation of railways was booming. Narrow gauge lines were the pioneers and many found the Quarry Hunslets ideal for their lines, so much so that most of them still exist - and run - today. Rejoicing in names such as Holy War, King of the Scarlets, Lilla, George B, Maid Marian and Chaka’s Kraal No. 6 here you can see them in action on all sorts of railways, many still in the heart of Snowdonia.