Joan was built by Albert Barnes & Co of Rhyl in 1920. She is named after Joan Butler, daughter of the Leeds steel company proprietor who owned both Albert Barnes & Co and Rhyl Amusements, which ran the funfair at the Marine Lake, Rhyl.
The ‘Barnes Atlantics’ were designed by Henry Greenly, being slightly larger than the Class 30 ‘Little Giants’ built a few years before by Bassett-Lowke, but still able to negotiate 80ft radius S curves.
Joan, the first of the six similar locomotives, entered service at the Rhyl Miniature Railway on August Bank Holiday 1920 and she worked 1,500 miles in 1920 alone.
During the 1970s, Joan was used for a few years on the railway at
Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester. Les Hughes bought Joan from Rhyl Amusements Ltd in 1980. In 1984, she re-entered service on the re-laid Rhyl Miniature Railway, having been returned to working order by the late Ken Dove, manager of the line.
Each summer since 1987, she has worked virtually all of the steam hauled trains at Rhyl. In 1997 she was fitted with a new boiler made by Franklin & Bell of Gloucester. These people did an excellent job.
On 5th September 1997, Joan moved to the Windmill Farm Railway in Lancashire under a hire/overhaul agreement, returning in 1999. Over the winter of 2008-2009 the boiler was removed from the chassis and re-tubed, whilst during winter 2009-2010 Joan had her locomotive wheels re-tyred and also received new springs.
The boiler dating from 1997 has just had a major rebuild and should now be good for another twenty years’ service (tubes excepted). It is expected that Joan will re-enter active service during the first half of 2021. Like the other steam locomotives at RMR, except for Billy, Joan is owned by Rhyl Steam Preservation Trust.