Great Laxey Mine Railway locomotive “Ant” by Greg Nation

Image of Great Laxey Mine Railway locomotive “Ant” by Greg Nation

Builder: Greg Nation

About Great Laxey Mine Railway locomotive “Ant” by Greg Nation

The Great Laxey Mine, here in the Isle of Man, was at one time the source of almost half of Britain's zinc production. In 1877, the mine owners purchased 2 custom built steam locomotives (called Ant and Bee) to replace the pit ponies that had been used up until then to transport ore from the mine. A typical train consisted of an engine and 6 ore wagons which could enter the upper levels of the mine where they were filled with excavated rock. They then transported it to a nearby open air "washing floor" where the valuable zinc and lead ores was sorted.
They continued to operate until 1929 when the mine closed and the engines and track were scrapped. Then in 1998, volunteers began reconstructing part of the line. Today, 2 replica steam locomotives carry passengers along part of the original line. This build shows one of the engines as they would have looked when the mine was operational - the modern replicas lack the side bracing that secured the front mounted water tank and were used to store lumps of coal. (The modern locos also look a lot smarter with a nice black/red/gold livery but for some reason I really like the cobbled together look of the original working engines!)

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