Ulster Festival of Steam & Transport 2016

Ferguson FE35 Gold Belly

The theme this year is “Ferguson Tractors” to mark the Triple Celebration of

1936-2016...the 80th Anniversary of the “Ferguson Brown”

1946-2016...the 70th Anniversary of “The Little Grey Fergie”  

1956-2016...the 60th anniversary of the “Ferguson FE35 Gold Belly"

SPECIAL GUEST: Commentator Peter Love


Tractor Dancing twice each day at 12 noon and 3pm

Threshing and Saw Benches powered by steam engines and vintage tractors

Mini Tractors working in their own arena

Classic Tractor Pulling ongoing throughout the two days

Slow Tractor Race 11am Saturday

Tug of War, Musical Chairs & Queen of Steam with Traction Engines

Grand Parade 2pm both days

What is there to see?

Steam Engines:

Road Locomotives

These large and powerful traction engines were designed for hauling loads of up to 100 tons on long journeys. They had faster gearing and were better sprung to cope with the increased road speed. Another feature was the water tank under the boiler to allow greater distances between water stops.

Showmans Engines

A Showman’s road locomotive or showman’s engine is a steam powered road going ‘locomotive’ designed to provide power and transport for a travelling fair or circus. Similar to other road – going traction engines, showmans engines were normally distinguished by the addition of a full-length canopy, a dynamo mounted in front of the chimney, and brightly coloured paintwork with ornate decorations. They dynamo was used to generate electricity to illuminate and power various fairground rides.

Road Rollers

These are probably the best known type of steam engine. They were used for levelling surfaces such as roads or airfields. The levelling/flattening action is achieved through a combination of the size and weight of the vehicle and the rolls: the smooth wheels and the large cylinder or drum fitted in place of treaded road wheels. Road rollers could still be found working on road making up until the early 70’s when all other forms of steam traction had mostly been abandoned.

Agricultural Engines

These were the most common type of engine to be seen in the countryside as they were designed to provide the means of driving machinery to carry out tasks such as threshing corn, stone crushing, timber sawing and also general haulage of agricultural and other equipment. The development of the internal combustion engine and the rapid advance in the design of the agricultural tractor meant that these engines were largely made redundant well before the end of their useful working life. The outbreak of war in 1939 saw engines in some parts of the country brought back into service for the war effort and saved many from the scrap mans cutting torch.

Portable Engines:

Engines that were used ti drive equipment usually around farms but that had to be drawn from site to site by horse because they were not self propelled.

Model Engines:
These are small replica models of the full size steam engines. These models have been painstakingly created by skilled engineers from scaled down drawings.

Living Vans:
Men working traction engines often lived in a wagon towed behind the vehicle. There are a number of restored Living Vans being used by owners of steam engines as living accommodation during the rally.


Pre 1930s Tractors:
There will be a number of very early tractors over 85 years old and some from 100 years ago.

Vintage and Classic Tractors:
There will be a large number of tractors post 1930 but over 25 years old. This year there will be a particular focus on Ferguson Tractors as they celebrate a number of significant anniversaries. There is a detailed history of Harry Ferguson in this year's souvenir programme.

Food, Trade Stands and Craft Tent

Food Vans will be available in the field all day Friday and Saturday and on Friday evening a BBQ and dance will take place in the Marquee. Tickets available from the Commentary Point

There will be a village of Trade Stands within the Rally Field and a marquee for craft stalls.

Vintage and Classic Cars

We are expecting a varied and interesting collection of cars on both days.

Vintage and Classic Commercials

The show attracts a variety of commercial vehicles from yesteryear such as Betsy a 1939 Bedford Fire Engine.

Vintage and Classic Motorbikes

We are expecting a good selection of motorbikes this year including a 1923 Scott Squirrel raced at Magillagan Strand and a 1981 Honda CBX 1000.

Stationary Engines

A stationary engine is an engine used as a static power source.  They were used to drive a piece of equipment such as a water pump, generator, farm or industrial machinery.  Although for ease of transport many of the engines on display today are not connected to any equipment.

Use of stationary engines was widespread when farms, factories and mills generated their own power but the need for stationary engines declined with the widespread availability of electricity and they were replaced by electric motors which needed little or no maintenance.

Although still termed as a stationary engine some models were mounted on wheeled trolley and portable, being pulled from one farm to another usually by a horse.

Created by David Heatley updated 26/02/2019