Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

This northerly view (19/9/17) shows No.87 being dragged from Boston Lodge to Dinas following failure on 16/9/17 with a frame problem. Vale of Ffestiniog provides the traction at 1040 approaching Summit Cutting at Pont Cae'r Gors. The weather had improved from that of the dismal SuperPower weekend. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon EOS1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on September 8 2004 with news about work on Phase 4 of the WHR scheme. In addition to this Stop Press page and a Phase 1/2 page, there are 9 location pages, covering the Phase 3 works between Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. There are a further 9 pages covering Phase 4, the full route through Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, including the Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount works recently constructed by the WHHR with three regularly updated map links for this area by Laurence Armstrong.

Finally, there are pages covering 'Phase 5', Views from the Line, the history of the abandoned PBSSR works around Beddgelert, Archived News and a Contacts page for volunteers. Another page covers the current operation of the WHHR southwest from Pen-y-Mount.

 

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The above OS map shows the route through the Aberglaslyn Pass and Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Click here to use the free OS Get-a-map service.

Route section pages

Listed below are links to pages featuring progress on different sections of the line or archive views. Jump ahead to News section or follow the section links from page to page. Please note that access to the links below was restored on 2/9/04 at the new website www.isengard.co.uk

 

Phase 4 pages

Rhyd Ddu to Pont Cae'r Gors (updated 29/6/06)

Pont Cae'r Gors to Hafod Ruffydd Halt (new 8/10/06)

Hafod Ruffydd Halt to Beddgelert Forest Halt (updated 4/12/06)

Beddgelert Forest Halt to Beddgelert Station (updated 1/7/07)

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

Beddgelert Station to Bryn-y-felin (updated 1/7/07)

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

Nantmor to Pont Croesor (updated 16/7/07)

Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount (updated 1/4/07)

WHHR (Porthmadog) (updated 1/4/07)

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

'Phase 6' page (new 2/4/06)

Views from the Line Page (updated 26/2/05)

PBSSR Works Historical Page (updated 25/3/05)

Rhyd Ddu Opening Page (New 14/2/04)

Archived News Page (updated 22/3/18)

Snow Scenes (updated 31/10/15)

Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)

Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 18/5/16)

Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

If you would like an automated announcement of site updates, email me at the NEW (2013) address below replacing the letters 'dot' with a full stop

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

There has never been any intent by myself to suggest that the views on these pages represent the views, opinions or policy of the F&WHR, the WHRCL or the WHRS.

I am happy to confirm that this is an INDEPENDENT web news service.

 

Stop Press!!

New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR North map dated 5/11/07

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR Middle map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR South map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

The Snowdonian 14/4/18

Few images have come to hand of the Garratts in action on The Snowdonian. More would be welcome for publication.

 

This view (14/4/18) shows No.87 hauling The Snowdonian through the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/4/18) shows No.87 hauling The Snowdonian through passing Caeau Gwynion approaching Castell Cidwm. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 12-24/4/18

By 12/4/18 the boiler looked complete but STILL awaits the green light from British Engineering to approve the welding procedure.

By 22/4/18 all of the complicated components for the smokebox have been finished and looked good. The main steam pipe has been trial fitted and there is not that much to complete now bar the welding.

By 24/4/18 The new steam ball valve to fireman's side injector has been fitted and the handle made and assembled.

For full details and images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

BF&TR News 20/4/18

The BF&TR Society issued a press release on 20/4/18 concerning their attempts to restart the project following the collapse of the project late last year when NR withdrew the licence. A newsletter has appeared an AGM will be held soon. It seems the society aims to lead the project in future and the former company under Colin Dale who is ill, will be sidelined. See Newsletter which details the trials and tribulations of the project and the way forwards. A second newsletter in a few weeks time will call an AGM and elect a Committee to restart the project and negotiations with NR and other stakeholders.

 

Caernarfon Station update 13/4/18

Work continues on cladding and roof though the glass front facia has yet to be started.

 

This northerly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from the Segontium Terrace footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from St. Helens Road. The glass facia does not seem to have started. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from St. Helens Road. The glass facia does not seem to have started. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from St. Helens Road. The glass facia does not seem to have started. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station main entrance as seen from St. Helens Road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from St. Helens Road. The glass facia does not seem to have started though the cherry-picker is in place. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (13/4/18) shows Caernarfon station with cladding in progress as seen from the Segontium Terrace footbridge. Both north and south ends of the station building have wing wall extensions. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge views 14/4/18

This Boston Lodge view (14/4/18) shows the steelwork cut and shaped for the new cab for No.130. This will eventually be taken to Dinas for fitting to the loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (14/4/18) shows FR coach No.120 nearing completion at Boston Lodge. It is hoped this coach will be in traffic this summer. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.17 17/4/18

The latest Moving Pictures includes scenes of the last day of Earl of Merioneth and ex-WHR Construction Co. loco Dolgarrog shunting skips at Glan-y-pwll depot, though no coverage of the WHR.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 22 mins 3 seconds of video covering The Snowdonian on the FR and WHR including aerial views. This YouTube was published on 17/4/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.
 

 

Caernarfon Station progress 20/4/18

This northerly view (20/4/18) shows progress with a test facia panel on the frontage of Caernarfon station. The aluminium alloy panels resemble stainless steel and have been approved by Cadw, the Welsh Heritage agency. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/4/18) shows the view from the De Winton cafe on the first floor of the new Caernarfon station building. The large circular area out the station is the 'shared space' road/pedestrian area thought to be dangerous by many as it gives no clue as to right of way and leaves everyone guessing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Two Fairlies postscript 14/4/18

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys approaching Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Ben Bucki and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Earl fundraiser success 20/4/18

Some £3,200 was raised for Wales Air Ambulance from money collected in table envelopes on the day and the auction of the headboard for £1,800.

 

No.138 13/4/18

This northerly view (13/4/18) shows No.138 heading south over Pont Croesor with the water wagon on a very murky day. This loco and water wagon was diagrammed to feature on the WHR leg of The Snowdonian. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Ben Bucki and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (13/4/18) shows No.138 heading south over Pont Croesor with the water wagon DZT2003 on a very murky day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Ben Bucki and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Castell Caernarfon repair started 20/4/18

Castell Caernarfon has been out of action for more than a year. The gearbox was returned over six months ago but it was not possible to start the repair due to pressure of work at Dinas. The WHR has been without a rescue loco for over a year and has relied upon the FR's Funkey. While new diesel No.9 has come on stream for PW work, the WHR is still in need of a heavy duty diesel at Dinas.

Martin Kressman advises: Castell Caernarfon has been taken into the works at Dinas for the repaired gearbox to be fitted. At the same time the locomotive is to be completely rewired.

 

No.143 8/4/18

This northerly view (8/4/18) shows No.143 heading south over Pont Croesor with a service train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Ben Bucki and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Snowdonian YouTube 19/4/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 19 mins 54 seconds of video covering The Snowdonian on the FR and WHR including aerial views. This YouTube was published on 19/4/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

The Snowdonian 14/4/18

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows No.87 which should have double headed with No.138 to haul The Snowdonian. However after No.138 was failed with a broken spring No.87 hauled the rake alone on the northbound leg. Here The Snowdonian waits at Pont Croesor for the 1000 from Caernarfon to pass. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows No.143 on the 1000 from Caernarfon passing No.87 on The Snowdonian. The new starter signals for re-signalled Pont Croesor-Beddgelert section can be seen next to No.143. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) shows No.87 on The Snowdonian posing alongside Observation Car Glaslyn on the 1000 from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Two Fairlies on service train 14/4/18

With The Snowdonian booked for two Garratts, the F&WHR rostered two Fairlies for the 1050 ex-Porthmadog and return.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys on the 1050 from Porthmadog passing Hafod-y-llyn loop. These locos were used as the Garratts were allocated to haul The Snowdonian. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys on the 1050 from Porthmadog in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) shows Merddin Emrys double heading with David Lloyd George on the 1050 from Porthmadog passing through Goat Cutting as they approach Beddgelert about 1120. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows Merddin Emrys double heading with David Lloyd George on the 1050 from Porthmadog passing through Goat Cutting as they approach Beddgelert about 1120. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys on the 1050 from Porthmadog approaching the upper Cwmcloch level crossing. These locos were used as the Garratts were allocated to haul The Snowdonian. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys on the 1050 from Porthmadog approaching Cae'r Gors cutting. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys about to depart on the 1420 from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys departing Caernarfon on the 1420to Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/4/18) shows David Lloyd George double heading with Merddin Emrys on the 1420 from Caernarfon crossing Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snowdonian failure 14/4/18

No.138 was failed with a broken spring leading to a single Garratt, No.87, hauling The Snowdonian. according to the F&WHR website Nos.87/143 were rostered for the special with No.138 on the service train but No.143 has taken over the service train. It was hoped that the spring could be quickly replaced and No.138 could catch up with the special during its layover at Snowdonia Parc for lunch. The 1050 service train from Porthmadog (and 1420 return) was hauled by double Fairlies David Lloyd George and Merddin Emrys. A total of 11 locos are due to be used over the four days 12-16/4/18. Images of the workings would be welcome for publication.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows The Snowdonian arriving at Caernarfon behind No.87 on the front rather than the two Garratts originally rostered. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/4/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows The Snowdonian arriving at Caernarfon with No.138 and the water tank wagon on the rear. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows The Snowdonian running round at Caernarfon in the short headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows The Snowdonian being fitted on the front of No.87 in the headshunt as it prepares to haul the train back to Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Graham Pattison adds: I suspect the (F&WHR roster) web site was somewhat out of date as the crew roster was for No.138 and No.87 to head The Snowdonian.

 

No.143 steam test 21/3/18

In preparation for the new season's trains, No.143 had its annual steam test on 21/3/18. Ex-Shotton Steelworks shunter Bill was used to shunt the loco for its boiler test outside the Dinas shed. The boiler was tested to 180 psi and the safety valves lifted at the right pressure. There is no news about Bill's sibling Ben, which remains grounded near the Carriage Shed.

 

Last trip for Earl of Merioneth 8/4/18

The headboard from the final trip of Earl of Merioneth on 8/4/18 is being auctioned off on eBay and the profits are being donated to the Wales Air Ambulance Charity. The train carried a paper destination sticker in carriages 'The Fairlie Terminal'. On Sunday evening a staff special was run before the loco was finally withdrawn at midnight.

 

This easterly view (8/4/18) shows Earl of Merioneth returning from Blaenau Ffestiniog on its final working. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (8/4/18) shows Earl of Merioneth's special 'Farewell' headboard. This loco's square appearance did not appeal to all but the loco had its own following. It will be replaced by new loco James Spooner with a more traditional Double Fairlie outline but dry stored against possible re-activation in the future. The headboard is being auctioned off on eBay. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (8/4/18) shows Earl of Merioneth's bring disposed at the end of the day. The loco's smokebox is covered with chalked 'Farewell messages' in a similar fashion to those which were chalked on BR locos in the final days of steam. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 update 2-6/4/18

By 2/4/18 almost all of the crown stays and side stays have been made and delivered and are just waiting for the boiler to be welded up now.

By 6/4/18 No.130's second hand turbo generator has at last made it from South Africa to Avening and will next week make the final part of the journey to Dinas. It will not be functional (although it could be) as the loco will be using battery powered LED lights. The NGG 16's look more 'complete' with the turbo fitted.

For full details and images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

The Snowdonian 14/4/18

This year's The Snowdonian special working features the usual 80 mile round trip of the F&WHR using FR stock and an optional visit to Boston Lodge at 1645 on Friday 13/4/18. Linda and Blanche will be used on the FR and double headed Garratts on the WHR. After a light breakfast on the train, lunch will be taken at Snowdonia Parc brewpub followed by afternoon tea on the train.

The use of two Garratts begs the question as to what will haul the 1000 from Caernarfon and the 1050 service trains from Porthmadog that day.

Fares are £180 Third Class and £400 First Class (very limited). See F&WHR booking page.

 

Welsh Pony update 1/4/18

Very little progress has been made on Welsh Pony since the last update on 15/11/17 due to the winter maintenance of the F&WHR's core loco fleet. It is hoped that work will resume soon. Welsh Pony will steam and the F&WHR intend to do the best possible job on it which unfortunately takes time.

 

BF&TR latest

An announcement is due after 14/4/18 about the future of this project which is currently paused as NR withdrew the access licence after concerns about governance of the project.

 

Moving Pictures No.16 6/4/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 20 mins 4 seconds of video covering the rebuilding of Caernarfon platforms, diesel No.9, Earl of Merioneth of the FR, first trains of the new season and aerial views. This YouTube was published on 6/4/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or view on YouTube.

 

Final weekend for Earl of Merioneth 7/4/18

This weekend is the final weekend for Earl of Merioneth in passenger service. The loco will be withdrawn after its final run on the 1335 from Porthmadog on Sunday 8/4/18.

 

WHHR paints ex-VoR brake in BR blue 30/3/18

This westerly view (30/3/18) shows the WHHR's ex-VoR brakevan M135 painted in BR 'Monastral' blue to celebrate 50 years since the VoR stock was re-painted in BR blue in 1968. This will bring back memories of the VoR in its BR blue era for many. The VoR had 3 of these vans (Nos.M135-7), one has been scrapped and one remains in service on the VoR now. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman (WHHR) and was taken on a Sony Xperia smartphone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (30/3/18) shows the WHHR's brakevan painted in BR 'Monastral' blue to celebrate 20 years since the demise of BR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman (WHHR) and was taken on a Sony Xperia smartphone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Donation kick-starts Waunfawr station building 18/3/18

Plans for the WHR's Waunfawr station building are coming to fruition. The F&WHR is to build a replica station building financed by a large private donation. A conservation architect has been engaged to draw up plans for the new building. Concrete foundation pads for this were put in place on the platform many years ago. One of the pads is currently occupied but the temporary wooden structure and the other pad is nearer the footbridge. Some of the stones from the original building still exist and are stacked in pallets under the footbridge in Waunfawr. Some stones were very big indeed and are at Dinas and some were re-purposed in the retaining wall of the cutting alongside Snowdonian Parc. The new station building will reprise the original but will be modified to match modern requirements. It will accommodate toilets, the operations rooms, a communications room for S&T and a waiting room. This will require more (and wider!) external doors than previously and has reduced the opportunity to use the characteristic huge stones in the end wall. However, it is hoped other details will follow the original building plan including the use of yellow bricks around doors and windows as at Dinas.

 

Former Tax Office to become Premier Inn?

A report in the Daily Post reveals that Premier Inn is looking to purchase the former Tax Office, Ty Moelwyn, opposite Harbour Station which has been vacant from earlier this year. The planning application seeks to demolish the building and provide 66 bedrooms and catering. A typical associated restaurant such as Y Harbwr (Table Table) at Caernarfon's Premier Inn could compete with Spooners. One possibility is that Premier Inn might have a deal with Spooners which could see the F&WHR fulfilling this role.

Porthmadog has benefitted from a Travelodge at the far end of town in recent years on Penamser Road but this does not have an associated catering facility.

See Daily Post story for further details. The deadline for comments is 2/5/18.

 

No.143 Aberglaslyn 30/3/18

This easterly view (30/3/18) shows No.143 heading north through the Aberglaslyn Pass on the second train of the day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Titbits Winter 2017-18

The F&WHR is looking for more stability this year after a year when Brexit uncertainties affecting the economy in general saw drops in passenger numbers on both railways.

The Spring 'Hunslet 125 Gala' 22-24/6/18 will be centred on Minffordd yard with a shuttle into the yard. There will be a double headed Ladies 'Dash to Caernarfon' and other events on the WHR too, including special runs by the W.D. Hunslet loco No.1215 which has just been completed. For full list updated 18/3/18 see F&WHR Event webpage.

 

No.138 at Caernarfon 31/3/18

This northerly view (31/3/18) shows No.138 running round via the new headshunt at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge views 30/3/18

This easterly view (30/3/18) shows the completed frame for the new WHR Observation Car 'Gwyrfai' standing outside the Coach Works ready for fitting out. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (30/3/18) shows the completed new turnout for Boston Lodge which may be connected to the existing fan of tracks later this year. The new red buffer stop is also in its final position. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (30/3/18) shows the completed new turnout for Boston Lodge and the current turnout (which may be removed later this year, connected to the existing fan of tracks. To the right can be seen the made ground behind the new seawall protected by Heras Fencing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (30/3/18) shows the completed new turnout for Boston Lodge and the current turnout (which may be removed later this year, connected to the existing fan of tracks. To the right can be seen the made ground behind the new seawall protected by Heras Fencing. Some heavy concrete blocks and piles of rock have been placed on the made ground presumably to supercharge it and compress the ground. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Easter trains see seven locos in service 30/3/18

Nos.138/143 will be in service in the Red peak timetable over the Bank Holiday weekend with Earl of Merioneth and Merddin Emrys and Linda/Blanche taking turns on the FR. Blanche will be providing footplate rides at Harbour station on Saturday 31/3/18 and Linda on Sunday 1/4/18. Prince will be hauling a birthday Special on Saturday evening up the FR.

 

This northerly view (30/3/18) shows No.143 heading north out of Beddgelert station past the new starter signals with a train for Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 28/3/18

This northerly view (28/3/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows the cladding making good progress with the southern and eastern aspects apparently complete. The headshunt will eventually be extended to accommodate two Garratts. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/3/18) from St Helens Road shows the cladding on the southern face complete and progress being made with the western aspect. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (28/3/18) from St Helens Road shows the cladding of the western face complete up to the curved north western aspect area to be completed in glass. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (28/3/18) from St Helens Road shows the north west face of the station to be completed with glass panels. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 26-28/3/18

By 26/3/18 No.130's Smokebox door modifications and parts are now virtually complete. The door that is being used is the original SAR door but with some modifications suggested by the WHR. These have been made and so have the dart bar and dart.

By 28/3/18 the smokebox was well advanced and door hinge had been made and fitted. This part of the boiler is well on the way to being completed. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

New season starts with fine weather 25/3/18

This northerly view (25/3/18) shows No.138 heading towards Porthmadog with Cnicht in the background but no snow on the mountain. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon Station headshunt update 26/3/18

Paul Lewin, the F&WHR General Manager, has confirmed the new Caernarfon Station headshunt will be extended towards the north when construction work is complete. It will then hold two Garratts, avoiding the need to stop the train in section to allow locos to work through the loop one by one. The headshunt is currently stopped short of its eventual length to prevent interference with the construction of the new station building.

Dr Peter Jarvis adds: The bus layby, insisted on by the Council, which is why the lamp post (in the picture) is so far back into the station site. Thus the pedestrian circulation area constrains how far north the railway can go. 
 

 

Caernarfon Station progress 23/3/18

All was ready for the first trains of the new season on 24/3/18 with the platform extension, surfacing, track extension, ballasting and tamping complete. The station building contractors are now working on the cladding of the front of the building.

 

This northerly view (23/3/18) shows work in progress cladding the front of the new station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (23/3/18) shows the completed platform and track extension up to a temporary buffer stop. Compared to the bright new station building the platform canopy, whilst doing a good job of protecting passengers from the rain and wind, makes the area rather dark and unwelcoming and could do with some translucent panels at the very least! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dr Peter Jarvis adds: The bus layby, insisted on by the Council, which is why the lamp post (above image) is so far back into the station site. Thus the pedestrian circulation area constrains how far north the railway can go.

 

BF&TR news 22/3/18

Colin Dale, the BF&TR company chairman, announced on 22/3/18 that NR seem to be entering into negotiations with the BF&TR 'legal team' presumably over the suspended access licence to clear the line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Nuclear Waste siding. See BF&TR Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon station progress 23/3/18

This southerly view (23/3/18) shows the KMX and newly tamped extended platform for the new season that starts on Saturday 24/3/18. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi

 

This northerly view (23/3/18) shows the platform tarmaced up to the Heras fencing that protects the work site. The temporary bufferstop is visible. In the background the display area of the station is now clad and the cherrypicker is in use extending the cladding. The south side is near complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi

 

Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt closed until 8/6/18

Meillionen/Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt will remain closed until 8/6/18 due to on-going construction work in the campsite closing the only access. The campsite upgrading project will provide a small number of cabins rather than the hundreds of caravans/tents that were previously catered for and there will inevitably be a reduction in the use of this halt by residents. Many former users of the campsite (including your webmaster) regret the change in use and cannot imagine that the company will make as much money considering the often damp climate of the campsite. On top of that there is the damage they are doing to the traffic on the WHR from that halt and the annoyance to their former clientele who are having to find alternative accommodation. See Forest Holidays website which reveals how small the number of cabins/visitors will be.

 

Caernarfon station progress 22/3/18

This southerly view (22/3/18) shows WHR PW loco No.9 being used with a ballast wagon to top up ballast in the platforms prior to the KMX tamping the new track the following day. A lorry is seen delivering a little more tarmac while vibrating roller and thwacker plates are used to consolidate the freshly laid platform surface. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/3/18) shows the completed short headshunt with room for one Garratt and the temporary buffer stop. A cherry picker is erecting cladding over the display area of the station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/3/18) shows the view 5 minutes later with the cladding fitted over the display area door. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Last day of the orange timetable 22/3/18

The MTFX Hafod-y-llyn shuttle runs for the last time this season today. The F&WHR spent this week sorting out coach rakes for the coming 2018 Easter season that starts on 24/3/18. Carriages are being brought out of winter storage, cleaned and sorted into sets.

 

This northerly view (21/3/18) shows the cleaning and sorting of coaches in one vast shunting operation at Harbour Station in preparation for the new season that starts on Saturday 24/3/18. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales signal boxes to go?

The NR signalling notice, shown below, could mean the end for the ex-LNWR signal boxes along the eastern half of the North Wales Coast Main Line, although some are photogenic Grade II listed buildings.

BETWEEN SHOTTON (LOW LEVEL) EXCL AND LLYSFAEN EXCL

FROM 0400 HOURS MONDAY 26 MARCH 2018

The North Wales Re-signalling scheme will see the area between Shotton Low Level and Llysfaen re-signalled with control passing to a new workstation in the WROC at Cardiff called the Rhyl workstation. This will see the closure of Rockcliffe Hall, Holywell Junction, Talacre, Prestatyn, Rhyl and Abergele and Pensarn signal boxes.

Train detection in the re-signalled area will be by axle counters. Bi-directional signalling will be introduced between Flint Junction and Rhyl East on both lines. Tyn-y-Morfa User-worked  crossing will be converted to a CCTV crossing and supervised by the Rhyl workstation signaller.

 

Rockcliffe Hall used to control the long closed Connah's Quay Power reception sidings; Holywell Junction, the steeply graded Holywell branch; Talacre the Point of Ayr Colliery branch and Prestatyn, the steeply graded Dyserth Quarry branch.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 20/3/18

With just four days to go until the line is set to be handed back for regular service on Saturday 24/3/18, volunteers were completing the headshunt at Caernarfon on 20/3/18 and ballasting and tamping the extension. Tarmac was also delivered to surface the platform later in the afternoon. It has emerged that the platform can only take an 11 coach rake between the fouling points and the hoped for 12 coach rakes will have to wait a move of the southern loop points further south by a coach length.

 

This northerly view (20/3/18) shows tarmac for completion of the extended platform later in the day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows the point lever being fitted to the northern loop point and progress with the headshunt. The headshunt will need to be longer than this to accommodate two Garratts. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows the final stages of track relaying in Caernarfon Station with mechanical handling making the job easier as the excavator ballasts the track. Work appears to be underway on the station building adding a waterproof membrane but wall cladding seems to have paused. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/18) from Segontium Terrace footbridge shows the final stages of track relaying in Caernarfon Station with the nut runner visible for tightening the ex-SAR bolted track and a gauge in use for determining clearances from the platform edge. Tamping of the recently ballasted track might be a quick job for the KMX tamper/liner but jacks and crowbars appear to be in use. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the final stages of track relaying in Caernarfon Station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/3/18) shows the North Wales Track Gang completing the run round loop and headshunt at Caernarfon station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHG to sponsor Heritage Specials

The Welsh Highland Heritage Group is to sponsor the four Heritage special workings on Sundays in August (5/8, 12/8, 19/8, 26/8/18). The timings of the 'Journey into the Past' special trains are not shown yet on the WHR timetable. They will run from Dinas at about 10am and will run to Rhyd Ddu with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for about 55 minutes. The WHHG is also offering to provide volunteers to support the trains and is appealing for help. In the future they hope to have Russell or Baldwin 590 and the Heritage Gladstone/Buffet Car rake.

 

Waunfawr progress 20/1/18

This southerly view (20/1/18) shows trees being cut down adjacent to Waunfawr footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/1/18) shows non-slip treads added to Waunfawr footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 16-17/3/18

This southerly view (16/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the final stages of track relaying in Caernarfon Station with mechanical handling making the job easier. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the run round loop being connected to the loop point. The headshunt beyond still needs to be laid and it is proposed to be at least two Garratts long. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Webcams back on line 19/3/18

The FR webcams were back on line on 19/3/18 and show a little snow at Tan-y-bwlch. Even the Porthmadog webcam is back on line though as usual showing a low-res fuzzy image compared to the others. Upnor Castle was busy with a PW train on the FR at Tan-y-bwlch this morning travelling wrong line through the station. See F&WHR webcams page.

 

No.134 report 17-18/3/18

This weekends was a difficult weekend thwarted by the weather amongst various difficulties. Saturday dawned cold, but with a bit of sunshine, Sunday dawned cold, overcast, with snow on the ground and snow flurries from time to time. However, there was more concern about people getting home in the snow on the Sunday, so volunteers finished at lunchtime but they did manage to get some smaller outstanding jobs done over the weekend.

One job was to completely clean the front pivot pin for the Krauss Helmholtz pony truck. Volunteers had oiled it earlier to prevent the Welsh dampness getting to it, however they felt something more protective was needed. The group therefore cleaned all the existing oil off it, and gave it a thorough clean and then generously coated it in grease. Hopefully that will keep the damp weather at bay and leave it ready for the fitting of the truck.

The rest of the jobs involved cleaning and painting. Whilst it was between 0ºC and -1.0ºC outside it was quite a bit warmer in the workshop so it was thought safe to do some painting. Volunteers cleaned the bottom cover plate for the Krauss Helmholtz ball joint assembly then painted it in primer on the Saturday and undercoat on the Sunday. The Krauss Helmholtz truck had rather inconveniently been rested on its left hand side without removing the axle box cover first so it could be painted. The group therefore jacked up that ended of the truck whilst it was on its side and removed the cover. Both cover plates were then cleaned and primed.

A couple of other smaller items for the truck were also painted at the same time. Whilst there are still a few bits to do, hopefully all these small jobs will mean that when volunteers fit the truck under the loco it will be a case of 'fit and forget'. For full details and images see the No.134 webpage.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 17/3/18

This southerly view (17/3/18) shows the North Wales Track Gang completing the run round loop at Caernarfon station in the snow. Moments later the sun came out! The race is on as the track must be completed, ballasted and tamped in 6 days time for the start of the new season on Saturday 24/3/18 and the platform tarmaced! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow again 18/3/18!

Porthmadog has forecast snow until 10am today and some roads in North Wales are said to be difficult. The A55 should be safe though for those travelling to use the Hafod-y-llyn shuttle today. See North Wales Resilience Forum website for images as the F&WHR webcams are down yet again! The mountains have been recharged with snow and will offer an attractive alpine backdrop to the shuttle which runs MTFX until 22/3/18.

 

Hunslet 125 22-24/6/17

Some 18 2' gauge Hunslet locos have now been promised for the F&WHR Hunslet 125 event in June. The F&WHR Facebook page shows a Wordsearch grid for the names of the locos.

 

Criccieth Castle back in action 16/3/18

This easterly view (16/3/18) shows FR diesel Criccieth Castle is back in action with the cherry picker and has been used on a signal maintenance at Harbour Station.  Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 news 17/3/18

The smokebox dart has been forged. This holds the smokebox door closed. See No.130 Facebook page.

 

Hafod-y-llyn shuttles 17/3/18

Barring any issues Prince will continue to haul the Hafod-y-llyn shuttles until the end of the Orange MTFX timetable on 22/3/18 before the start of the new season's through trains on 24/3/18. Palmerston and Taliesin remain available in case of problems. The small engines are ideal for these lightly loaded level workings across the Traeth. A complimentary hot drink is offered to all passengers. There is a short aerial video of the Prince hauled train crossing the Afon Dylif on the F&WHR Insider Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon station progress 15/3/18

With the back wall cladding well underway preparations are being made to clad the front of the new station building next week.

 

This southerly view (15/3/18) shows the cladding of the back wall of Caernarfon station. The roundabout has been formed as a 'shared space' that does not meet the satisfaction of every pedestrian or motorist due to the uncertainty involved about priorities! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Spooner update

With CAD design work complete, the cab and sand boxes will be based on those fitted to Merddin Emrys. The cab will have a split roof which presumably can have a cab sheet for inclement weather. It is intended that the loco will have stovepipe chimneys and bells fitted on top of the boiler mounted sandboxes as did the original James Spooner. A bell foundry has been found, prices obtained and are available for sponsorship. The Victorian look of the design (1872) may not appeal to all as for most of its life until withdrawal in December 1928 the original James Spooner looked much like Merddin Emrys with footplate mounted sandpots by 1880.

 

Moving Pictures No.15 14/3/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 19 mins 5 seconds of video covering Linda operating in the snow on the FR, Caernarfon progress report and a Boston Lodge update. This YouTube was published on 14/3/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or view on YouTube.

 

Boston Lodge progress report 14/3/18

All parts for new Fairlie James Spooner are now to hand at Boston Lodge. Work has started on the cradle frame. When Earl of Merioneth is withdrawn its bogies will be used under the new Fairlie. Earl of Merioneth will be placed in dry store of its old bogies.

It is hoped David Lloyd George will be ready for traffic at Easter after attention to a stay and replacement of the six bottom boiler tubes which were showing signs of corrosion. The bogies and ashpan have also received some attention.

Linda was used on a snowy working to Moelwyn Tunnel recently delivering ballast and a dumper recently. Steam has been used on the Moelwyn Tunnel relaying project because of the unavailability of diesels with both Harlech Castle and Vale of Ffestiniog out of action for a while, Harlech Castle suffered a failed transmission which has been sent back to the original manufacturer for repair. While the transmission is away the opportunity has been taken to fit vacuum braking to this loco as it often works with vac-braked ex SAR wagons. To accommodate the exhauster the bonnet on the loco has been made wider. Conway Castle also had a problem last Autumn and the transmission was taken out. Boston Lodge were looking to make one good transmission out of several spares they have but some new parts were manufactured.

No.87 will be taken out of use at the end of 2018 for its 10 year boiler overhaul including re-tubing so it is hoped No.130 will be finished as soon as possible.

Mechanical work on the new WHR Observation Coach Gwyrfai is complete and has incorporated lessons learned from Glaslyn where the curved glass sloping end cracked. The new carriage will now go to the coach works for completion. Work on the FR coach No.120 continues and Ashbury coach No.21 is near finished and just requires completion of bogies and painting.

Boston Lodge has external contracts too and is continuing work on the Isle of Man Railway coach bogies and fitting brakes. Three new coaches are also being made for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, one a new Pullman car.

 

No.130 progress report

All sheet metal for No.130's new cab has been cut and drilled at Richards Sheet metal of Colne. Original diagrams were turned into CAD designs for this. Doing the work externally saved a great deal of time. Boston Lodge will be welding the metal together and then sending the completed cab to Dinas for assembly.

 

Caernarfon station progress 14/3/18

This northerly view (14/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the cladding being erected on the side facing east. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the cladding being erected on the side facing east. The doorway is for access to the service road where the bins will be stored. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 13/3/18

Cladding has started on the Caernarfon station building starting with the section facing the retaining wall.

 

This southerly view (13/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows a platform lift being used to attach cladding sheets to the steelwork that forms the walls of the building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

W.D. 4-6-0 No.1215 history

War Department No.1215 is to visit the F&WHR for the Hunslet Gala 22-24/6/18 and will operate an extended day of special workings on Monday 25/6/18. Details of the loco's history from Hunslet's works to the trenches in 1916, then Australia before repatriation and restoration can be found on the loco's website.

 

KS4415 update 5-8/3/18

KS 4415 is the original diesel shunter trialled on the WHR Bryngwyn branch services and shunting on the FR in 1928/9 before being returned to the manufacturer and eventually exported as the cash strapped railway could not afford it. This week at Boston Lodge volunteers were making the mounting for the vacuum pump. The mounting holds the vacuum pump and has slots in it to allow the pump to be moved back to take any slack out of the chain drive. A large piece of cast iron was found but, as it was too big to go in the bandsaw, volunteers had to chain drill it to get it down to the size they needed. It was then machined down to the right size and shape. The next job will be to cut T slots in the top of it. See KS4415 Facebook Page where several photos of progress are shown.

The KS4415 Blog also reveals details of the current state of the McLaren MDB4 engine after repair by Cast Iron Welding Services. Several images show the repair of the crankcase and other news. The mating surfaces of the crankcase will now be milled flat to ensure an oil-tight joint on the large milling machine at Dinas. Investigation of damage to the crankshaft has confirmed the problem is confined to the shaft itself and dye penetration tests have confirmed there is no cracking in the adjacent crank. Tests have also confirmed the shaft is not bent but it has still to be decided whether to repair or replace the crankshaft. Work continues on ancillary items such as the oil pump which is fitted in the sump at the bottom of the crankcase and feeds various oilways to bearings.

 

North Wales Rugex 11/2/18

No.67020 propelled the ATW Rugex to Cardiff on Sunday 11/3/18 using the Gerald rake which is normally not used at weekends. ATW often uses the set for Rugby International matches and other special workings at weekends.

 

Welsh Highland Railway Society East Anglian Group – 15/3/18

David Gander advises: Our next meeting will be held this Thursday 15/3/18 when we welcome Peter Johnson, who will be talking on ‘Narrow Gauge Personalities in history’.

In April – on Thursday 19/4/18–Peter Lee will be talking to us about the ‘Death of a Railway – the Chemins de Fer du Calvados’.

We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH.

We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm. There is a charge of £2 per meeting for Group members, £3 for non-members.

Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (This bus runs every 30 minutes until 23.36, via Cambridge railway station where it arrives at 00.05) Car parking can be busy but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk to the pub.

You are most welcome to join us. We meet on the third Thursday of the month (excepting December when it’s the second Thursday), with meetings held until May – with a break in January.

 

Prince on the Hafod-y-llyn shuttles 7/3/18

Prince is currently diagrammed to haul the Hafod-y-llyn shuttle trains which operate MTFX until the start of through trains with the new season on 24/3/18 for Easter.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 3 mins 49 seconds of video covering the WHR Hafod-y-llyn shuttle trains with Prince and some snow remaining on the tops of the mountains. This YouTube was published on 16/2/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or view on YouTube.

 

Caernarfon station progress 9/3/18

Work was in progress on the north end loop point on 9/3/18. Further progress was also made with the roof insulation on the station building.

 

This southerly view (9/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows volunteers connecting up the track to the north end loop point. The tracks can be seen converging towards the point so its seems the train will be uncoupled at this location. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the north end loop point in place and piles of cladding material delivered. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows a close up of the north end loop point being tweaked into position. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (9/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows further progress with cladding of the roof insulation on the new station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/3/18) shows the new headshunt point being placed at the end of the newly extended Caernarfon platform. The point has been constructed on plastic sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert-Pont Croesor signalling completed 9/3/18

Following completion of the Beddgelert signalling in February, the Pont Croesor end of the section was completed on 9/3/18. Links on The F&WHR's Facebook page show a diesel ride through Pont Croesor showing all the new signalling from Ynysfor Level crossing to a point south of the station and, in a separate video, in reverse.

 

Caernarfon station progress 7/3/18

At the end of the weekend's tracklaying the extended ex-SAR bolted track was reaching the site of the north loop point.

 

This southerly view (7/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the limit of progress made by the North Wales Track Gang laying track along the new platform face last weekend. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (7/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows there is some way to go laying track along the new platform face and in the run round loop to complete the 12 coach platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the fitting of insulation to the roof of the new Caernarfon Station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (7/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the fitting of insulation to the roof of the new Caernarfon Station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Earl of Merioneth to be withdrawn 8/4/18

After almost 39 years of service the Earl of Merioneth is to be withdrawn from service on 8/4/18. The loco entered service on 19/7/79. Its square profile, unloved by some, was distinctly different from the standard Fairlie profile as typified by Merddin Emrys and copied with new build David Lloyd George. Earl of Merioneth replaced the FR's fourth double Fairlie No.3 Livingston Thompson, now at the National Railway Museum. No.3 was withdrawn in 1971 and carried the name Taliesin and later Earl of Merioneth.

The loco will haul its last train on 8/4/18, the 1335 to Blaenau Ffestiniog, a normal service train. Bookings for this train are likely to be popular and there is a Prize Draw for two footplate rides on 7/4/18. See F&WHR webpage for link to enter draw.

Earl of Merioneth will be placed in dry storage on its original 1979 bogies with the possibility of restoration at a later date.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 4/3/18

Further progress was made with laying the track against the newly extended platform faces on 4/3/18.

 

This southerly view (4/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the North Wales Track Gang laying track along the new platform face with ex-SAR bolted rail clip materials on steel sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (4/3/18) from Segontium Terrace shows the new platform track and loop lines being extended along the new platform face. The tracks appear to be converging towards the north loop point under the footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (4/3/18) shows the newly extended platform and loop tracks converging. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (4/3/18) shows the track and sleepers being bolted together. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

L&BR receives planning assent 6/3/18

With Lyd visiting the L&BR's Autumn Gala (29-30/9/18) and new build Baldwin Lyn hopefully making a long promised visit to the WHR, a look at how the L&BR's plans are progressing is in order. Their planning application to extend to Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir had been held up by planning processes for the part of the project covered by Exmoor National Park Authority, who have recently updated their website. Although the target date was 4/5/2016, consultations only ended on 30/1/2018 so a meeting was scheduled for 6/3/18. Various documents and maps are now able to be viewed at the ENPA Planning website. Consultations have taken almost 2 years with the final comments from the railway in response to objections dated 30/11/17.

The ENPA passed the planning applications 15 votes in favour and one abstention for the section between the current Killington Lane terminus and Blackmoor Gate. The short section in North Devon between there and the interim terminus at Wistlandpound Reservoir (over a kilometre nearer to Barnstaple) was approved by the North Devon Planning Authority as long ago as 15/6/16. By following this planning route the L&BR hopes to avoid the cost and delay of a full Public Inquiry.

Various sections of trackbed have been purchased further south towards Barnstaple, including the famous Snapper Halt. The famous Chelfham viaduct was restored in 2000 after a campaign in railway magazines in anticipation of later stages in rebuilding the route towards Barnstaple. See Exmoor Associates website for details. In the longer term the railway also intends to extend to a new terminus in Lynton followed by an extension to the former Pilton depot site in Barnstaple, the route to the original terminus having been blocked. See L&BR long term plans website.

A link to Barnstaple's NR station, about 1 km away, would be very expensive with some street running from Pilton, a new bridge across the River Taw and threading through the new Asda site on the south bank.

John Sreeves, who is assisting the project with bridge design, adds: The big issue now is fund raising, about £15m will do to get us started. As on the WHR, there is practically nothing that volunteers can do except lay the track. We might have qualified for European Region Development funding at one time, but not any more (IF we leave the EU-Ed). We still have to get the Transport & Works Act Order as well.

 

W.D. 4-6-0 No.1215 to star at Hunslet 125 in June

Hunslet built some 155 locos for WWI and this one has been repatriated from Australia and restored by the War Office Loco Trust. The loco will visit the F&WHR's Hunslet Gala 22-25/6/18 and hopefully will run on the WHR. The event aims to bring together a considerable number of Hunslet locomotives with a special emphasis on the 'unusual and rarely seen' so many supporters hope this will include Russell as it is 'rarely seen' on the F&WHR! Longer trips with the No.1215 are planned on 25/6/18. See F&WHR website.

 

Timetable leaflet on-line 6/3/18

To view the latest timetable leaflet see F&WHR website.

 

Final snow report for Winter 2017/8

With the blizzards of the last sting of Winter over, Spring is now here though snow can be more common around Easter. This is the final snow report of a season which did see lying snow at Porthmadog, unfortunately missing the 2 weeks of Half Term Holiday by being a few days late, so no images of trains in snow have come to hand. The thaw has been rapid and the Tan-y-bwlch webcam is showing no snow though no doubt the tops of the mountains will still be covered for a while during the MTFX Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn service that runs until the start of the new season of through trains from 24/3/18. The Met Office is forecasting snowfall for Snowdon summit for the full week ahead until Sunday 11/3/18 so the mountains should put on a fine alpine display.

 

Caernarfon station progress 3/3/18

This southerly view (3/3/18) shows the new headshunt point being set out at the newly extended Caernarfon platform. New ballast is being spread over the area. the point may be laid on Sunday 4/3/18. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (3/3/18) shows track being laid on original steel sleepers along the newly extended Caernarfon platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/3/18) shows the North Wales Track Gang extending the loop line at Caernarfon Station using steel sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

News from the General Manager 1/3/18

Lyd did not haul the Half Term Holiday trains due to awaiting new fire-bars from the foundry. Some 50% of the order was complete but it was not worth splitting the shipment/doubling haulage costs to rush the engine back into traffic.

The General Manager compliments the North Wales Track Gang on their work in extending Caernarfon station tracks to take 12 coach trains.

 

This southerly view (19/2/18) shows the North Wales Track Gang giving attention to the point that will form the north end of the run round loop at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Vale of Ffestiniog was repaired and turned round by a sterling effort by Boston Lodge team following problems with wheel movement on axles. The General Manager compliments the team on going the extra mile to achieve this. Steam continues to be used on the intensive Winter Major Works Program in support of diesels.

 

This easterly view (19/2/18) shows Blanche with the WHR's ex-SAR ballast hoppers shunting at Minffordd prior to a trip to Moelwyn Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Bangor-Caernarfon element of the Trawslink Bangor-Carmarthen project may be blocked as planning permission for restoration of a large house between Caernarfon and Bangor would block the route of the double track Bangor to Caernarfon line currently in use as cycle path (the Lon Menai).

No.130's boiler is scheduled to arrive in June. Work on the cab has now started and there is very pleasing progress with parts for power units. The cradle frame was test fitted to power units in February.

The replacement boiler for No.138 is also making good progress at LMS Loughborough, scheduled for completion in October 2018. It will return to Dinas for preparation for fitting in 2019. This boiler is ex-No.129 now at the Puffing Billy Railway.

 

This Loughborough view (28/2/18) shows the regulator stuffing box mounting. This is cracked and will be replaced. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Loughborough view (28/2/18) shows the Australian boiler with all thin plate removed ready for replacement. The boiler is upside down and the photo was taken from staging. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Loughborough view (28/2/18) shows the Australian boiler showing plate thicknesses. All shown are ok. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The boiler ex-No.143 is at Israel Newton’s. This requires much more work than originally envisaged including a new firebox. A three year program starting with building a new firebox has been agreed with the boiler to be ready for fitting to No.143 in 2020.

 

This Loughborough view (23/1/18) shows an external view of Australian boiler for No.138 before showing extent of back head repair. An area of the backhead plate has been cut out around the firehole. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Loughborough view (23/1/18) shows the condemned inner box of old No.143 boiler. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Caernarfon station project plan now shows the building should be weather tight six weeks from now in mid-April. A large delivery of cladding and glazing materials is expected shortly as weather permits.

The GM is aware of supporters' interest in seeing No.140 return to steam. Various parts of the loco are in traffic under other locos and the boiler cradle is used as a storage module in the Dinas Loco Shed. If the boiler frame was reused then the loco could be numbered as No.140 and might attract enthusiasts to travel behind the 'new' loco.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 1/3/18

This northerly view (1/3/18) shows the new recycled plastic sleepers being delivered to Caernarfon platform site for the newly extended new platforms. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow report 1/3/18

There has been little additional snow since Monday and, although the roads are clear, there is a biting wind with temperatures of -5C. More snow is forecast overnight Thursday-Friday with temperatures rising to 7oC by next Wednesday for the MTFX Hafod-y-llyn trains that begin on Saturday 3/3/18. No doubt the mountains will be decorated in snow!

The intermittently available Porthmadog webcam is currently showing snow flurries and a little lying snow with some drifting in the wind. Reports confirm it is available on a number of platforms such as Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but the F&WHR acknowledges a problem with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

 

Aberystwyth-Carmarthen report delayed?

Publication of the Welsh Government Feasibility Report into reopening the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line appears to have been delayed. The report was due to come out in February 2018 but there are no signs of its release to the public.

 

Events 2018

1/1/18 Final day of Mince Pie Specials
10-18/2/18 Hugh Napier and Velinheli on display at Kings Cross
10-25/2/18 Purple timetable Porthmadog-Beddgelert MFX
3-15/3/18 Orange timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn MTFX
14/4/18 The Snowdonian
12/5/18 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
18-20/5/18 Rail-Ale 14th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
9/6/18 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited stop re-run of The Snowdonian
22-25/6/18 Hunslet 125 Gala celebrating Blanche and Linda's 125th Birthday
9/7/18 Special timetable for Railtour
5-26/8/18 Sundays Journey to the Past special Dinas-Rhyd Ddu with Prince and two heritage coaches with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for refreshments, including packed lunch
14-16/9/18 SuperPower (WHR AGM 15/9/17)
29-30/9/18 Lyd visit to L&BR Gala
5-7/10/18 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
31/10/18 WHR Halloween Train
8-9/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
15-16/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
22-23/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
27/12/18-1/1/19 WHR Mince Pie Specials (to be confirmed)

 

Mainline news

There will be a series of railtours both to and from North Wales in 2018 while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least providing the only freight traffic on the route. In recent years steam on the North Wales Coast/Blaenau Ffestiniog has declined and steam on the Cambrian disappeared due to NR reneging on its promise to provide a mobile ERTMS unit. Railtours are diesel hauled unless otherwise specified. It is good to see a few railtours starting from Bangor but sad to see nothing on the Cambrian again!

14/4/18 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe to Llandudno/Holyhead (steam throughout on main line) from Crewe Saphos Rail.

28/4/18 'The Ynys Mon Express' Leicester to Holyhead (steam) Tornado UKRT.

2/6/18 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe to Llandudno/Holyhead (steam throughout on main line) Saphos Rail.

14/6/18 'Three Peaks' Private charter Crewe to Bangor

15/6/18 'Three Peaks' Private charter Bangor to Ravenglass and Fort William

12/7/18 'The Conwy Valley Explorer' Dumfries to Betws-y-coed (47/57 throughout) West Coast Rail.

19/7/18 'The Royal Windsor Express II' Bangor (and stations to Chester) to Windsor West Coast Rail.

22/7/18 'The North Wales Coast Express' Manchester Piccadilly-Llandudno/Holyhead steam throughout on main line) RTC.

24/7/18 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog (steam) RTC.

4/8/18 'The William Shakespeare' Bangor (and stations to Crewe) to Stratford-on-Avon (steam throughout) Saphos Rail.

30/8/18 'The Conwy Valley Explorer II' Harrogate to Betws-y-coed (47/57 throughout) West Coast Rail.

17/10/18 'The Pendle Dalesman III' Bangor (and stations to Chester) to Carlisle (steam Hellifield-Carlisle) West Coast Rail.

19/10/18 'Tenth Anniversary Tour' Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog/Holyhead (Tornado) Private.

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2018

Keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure in general, fit for trains to run is an essential task. Volunteers have a lot to offer by assisting with this. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.

The programme for 2018 is as follows:

January 6-7/1/18 13-18/1/18WW 20-21/1/18    
February 3-4/2/18 10-15/2/18WW 17-18/2/18    
March 3-4/3/18 10-15/3/18WW 17-18/3/18   31/3/18-^
April -1/4/18   14-15/4/18^   26-27/4/18
May   12-13/5/18 19-24/5/18WW 26-27/5/18  
June   9-10/6/18   23-24/6/18  
July   7-8/7/18 14-19/7/18WW 21-22/7/18  
August   4-5/8/18   18-19/8/18  
September 2-3/9/18 8-13/9/18WW 16-17/9/18   29-30/9/18
October     13-14/10/18   27-28/10/18
November 3-8/11/18WW! 10-11/11/18   24-25/11/18  
December 3-8/12/18WW! 8-9/12/18      

^ Bank Holiday weekend

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

! Dates for November and December 2018 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme for 2018-19.

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating pretty well every Tuesday.

Arrangements may change so contact the working party organiser before you commit yourself to joining us just to make sure.

Contacts

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday gangs, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw.

Tuesday Gang:

Contact Tony Baker for details. Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com

North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: dthomas@ffwhr.com

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: pbradshaw@ffwhr.com

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday Gang days, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw. See Contacts page.

 

Gradient graph

John Hopkins has contributed this image of the gradient profile of the WHR. It makes clear how much of a mountain we have climbed and how steep the drop through Beddgelert is. Maybe most of all, it reveals the challenge facing northbound trains after they stop at Beddgelert!

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

This image is courtesy/copyright John Hopkins and is derived from data courtesy John Sreeves with additional work by Michael Bentley. Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Site development

If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.

 

Comments

If you would like to make a comment about this website, why not visit my Guestbook? If you have a correction or require a reply please leave your email address or, more simply, send an email directly to my email address shown near the top of this page, just after the list of links to other pages.

 

[Sign My Guestbook] [View My Guestbook] Powered by E-Guestbooks Server.

 

Maps & Plans and links

Click here for Steve Harris' /WHRS' full list of Historical Maps and Gradient Profiles

DVD material can be purchased from Jon Marsh who is the WHRS' (DVD Only) Mail Order officer. All other materials are now sold in the F&WHRS shop.

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3625 updated 24/4/18