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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Philmar 'Steamtrains' series

For today's post, 20th May 2014, I am using two pictures of cardboard jigsaws made by Philmar.

Philmar, formed c1937 began jigsaw production in the 1940’s and often used alternative brand names for particular series of puzzles: the Valiant name was common. Many steam train jigsaws of wood and cardboard were made between the 1940s and the 1970’s. The portfolio of steam train puzzles was fairly extensive and included many examples featuring preserved railways.

The first picture shows a 64 piece jigsaw, one of a set or series of four titled Steamtrains from Philmar: featured is the Ffestiniog Railway. Steam train enthusiast Alan Pegler gained the controlling interest in a derelict Ffestiniog Railway in 1954 and became chairman. Alan then transferred his shares to a charitable trust - The Ffestiniog Railway Trust. The Trust with a volunteer board of directors employed enthusiastic working volunteers and a small paid staff to begin the laborious task of rebuilding the line from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The first services began in the summer of 1955 but only over a short distance from Porthmadog to Boston Lodge.  The railway was completed in May 1982 and the line from Porthmadog to Blaenau was finally opened. The Trust, as it is today, still manages the railway. I can thoroughly recommend a  book of paintings of the working Ffestiniog Railway, published in 2008 by Gutenberg Press Ltd., and titled The Ffestiniog Railway Paintings of Edward Paget-Tomlinson. Some of the paintings would make excellent jigsaw puzzles.

Unfortunately I cannot identify the locomotive in the jigsaw photograph but it may be the Hunslet 2-4-0 STT, Linda, made in 1893 (does anyone know for sure?)

The second picture shows a locomotive in the national collection at the National Railway Museum in York. The 64-piece puzzle from the same Philmar series of four described above includes this example featuring the ex London & North Western Railway (L&NWR) 2-4-0 locomotive, No.790 Hardwicke. The puzzle replicates a photograph of the locomotive in its preservation days heading a rail tour between Carnforth and Grange-over-Sands in May 1976. The location was Silverdale Station. The locomotive became famous during the 'Races to the North' (West Coast route versus East Coast route) when it ran from Crewe to Carlisle at an average speed of over 67mph in 1895.