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 1/12/17)

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

 

Santa Specials run as normal 10/12/17

Although the SVR has had to cancel Santa specials today, the WHR is offering normal services with very little snow at Porthmadog or Dinas, Rhyd Ddu or Beddgelert. However the mountains around Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert will have a good covering and lead to Xmas Card scenes. Bacon baps are available at the Dinas cafe. Any photos would be welcome for publication as your webmaster cannot get there because of a dose of flu, this after religiously getting the flu jab!

For images of trains in the surprisingly light snow at Rhyd Ddu see WHR fan Facebook page.

 

Snowy Santa Specials 9-10/12/17

With snow forecast from 8-10/12/17 in the WHR area, both the Dinas-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog-Beddgelert Santa Specials will experience snowy conditions as they head into the mountains. Unfortunately your webmaster has family events to attend this weekend but any snowy scenes would be welcome for publication. Some trains had already sold out by 5/12/17.

A coal train ran from Dinas to Porthmadog on 8/12/17 and was noted passing Pont Cae'r Gors hauled by Vale of Ffestiniog with a dusting of snow around the summit but the mountains nicely coated in snow. A F&WHR statement on the F&WHR Facebook confirms Santa trains will run as booked with no snow issues.

 

This southerly view (8/12/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling four coal wagons just south of Pont Cae'r Gors from Dinas to Porthmadog. Snow can be seen on Moel Hebog above Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Rowe and was taken on a quadcopter camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Saphos Rail

Jeremy Hosking's new TOC based in Crewe is running test trains along the North Wales Coast. See Saphos trains website. A route learning ran on 9/12/17 (1224 off Llandudno and returning 1438 off Valley Nuclear Electric) from Crewe featured newly painted D1944 (47501) and 47805. The stock was left in Llandudno and one loco ran to Valley Nuclear Electric for the staff to learn the triangle. This working should also run the following week on 16/12/17. While it had been hoped to launch steam services in December the booking website has been taken down and it is hoped to run steam and diesel hauled trains from the Spring on the North Wales coast and Marches lines. It is hoped some of these tours may include WHR options but the coach link from Bangor is a disincentive.

 

Rhyl trackwork complete

NR is upgrading and rationalising trackwork at Rhyl and upgrading signalling. This is part of a longer term £50m upgrade which will see semaphores replaced as far as Llandudno Junction by Summer 2018. Normal Sunday services will now resume making easier public transport access to the WHR. See NR website.

 

WHR Santa Specials run to Rhyd Ddu

The WHR Santa Specials are to run from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu this year, a 45 minute ride. The round trip train ride takes about 1 hour 30 mins giving plenty of time for Santa to meet the children and the loco run round at Rhyd Ddu. This also provides six days on which it may be possible to take photos of WHR trains in the snow as Rhyd Ddu is the highest station on the line. A contractor has been working at Rhyd Ddu to paint the lamp posts. Platform seats are also presently being refurbished in advance of the trains. See F&WHR website for full details and booking forms.

 

This northerly view (1/12/17) shows the new lamps and a contractor painting the Rhyd Ddu lamp standards. Snow can be seen on Moel Eilio above Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow reports

With Winter upon us regular snow reports will be made on the website as many like to take WHR pictures in the snow. The first comes from Martin Kressman dated 29/11/17: For the last few days we have woken to snow on the tops of Snowdon, the Glyders (between the Llanberis and Nant Ffrancon Passes-Ed), the Elidirs and the Carneddau (east of Bangor-Ed).

Winter has started cold with snowfall across much of the UK, though just flurries in the South. After the paucity of snowfall in recent years any reports will be welcome. To see snow images of the WHR from the past see Snow Scenes Page.

 

This southerly view (31/12/00) at Waunfawr shows No.143 departing on a Mince Pie special after running round. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes. Slide scanned using Minolta DiMage Scan Dual III and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology.

 

Moving Wheels No.12

Click on the YouTube link to watch an unusually short 12 mins 11 seconds of video covering FR news. Surprisingly there is no coverage of major news stories such as Boston Lodge seawall works or Prince and Blanche on WHR Hafod-y-llyn shuttles. This edition was published on 30/11/17. 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.

 

Boston Lod9/11/17p>

This easterly view from the foreshore near the west end of Boston Lodge (29/11/17) shows completion of the new sea defence works. The seaward pile wall is complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view from the foreshore near the east end of Boston Lodge (29/11/17) shows completion of the new sea defence works. While seaward pile wall is complete work continues behind it on a inner pile wall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/11/17

Tony Baker reports: We completed work at Plas Bodaden Straight (east of Dinas-Ed) at last having spent four Tuesday's working on it. Again we had to put the rods through the pipe taking the water off Railway land.

 

Final Orange timetable trains 30/11/17

Prince is again rostered for the final Orange timetable services of the year on 30/11/17. The wintery weather has produced a snow cap on Snowdon offering alpine scenery as the trains cross The Traeth. WHR Santa Specials will run from Dinas-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog to Beddgelert on 9-10/12, 16-17/12 and 22-23/12/17.

 

TRAWS scheme gets a boost

The Government is actively engaging with councils to examine rail reopening schemes. The TRAWS scheme to reopen Bangor-Afonwen and Aberystwyth-Carmarthen has been promoted as Wales' prime scheme with the latter section already subject to a major feasibility study. The Independent has identified the TRAWS scheme as worthy of consideration. See Independent news article.

 

No.134 report 18-19/11/17

The NG15 Group had a quieter working party at Dinas this month with no trains running, it being the break between the last service trains of the summer on the north end of the line and the Santa Specials in December. Volunteers were also a bit thinner in numbers for various reasons however there were still enough of them to tackle two areas of work at once. The group been told that their sheet steel had arrived as well as some paint for the pony trucks, so they had a good idea of the jobs to be tackled this weekend. A request has been received to remove the wheels from the tender bogies as these still needed to be re-profiled. It is believed the plan is to press the wheels along the axle a small amount to get the correct back to back measurement then to profile to get the correct flange and tread section.

On Saturday morning therefore set to and lifted the bogie frames up, removed the wheelsets, then removed their axle boxes. After coating the axles in grease and wrapping in rags the wheels are now ready for collection to be taken to Boston Lodge. In the afternoon volunteers split into two groups with one group cutting the cylinder cladding out of the large sheet that had arrived whilst the others painted the pony trucks in gloss top coat. They also completed the undercoat in areas not fully covered last time ready for gloss the following morning.

On Sunday volunteers continued working on the cylinder cladding. This involved first taking it to the loco and checking that the general outline was correct then tidying up the edges, tweaking some of the holes that had been cut and generally made it a good fit. The plan will be to roll the sheet to fit round the cylinders at the next working party.

In the meantime the 'paint gang' with a bit of help from the others turned the pony trucks round so as they could work on the other side a little easier then set to and did some more undercoating and then top coated the parts that were undercoated the previous day. Volunteers then did a few other smaller 'loose ends' sort of jobs before coming back at the end of the day to put top coat on that undercoated earlier in the day. It was just about dry so hopefully all will be well.

So that was the end of a very productive weekend. Just a three week break then volunteers be back the last working party of 2017 on 9-10/12/17. For full details and images see NG15 website.

 

KS4415 update 11/11/17

On 11/11/17 volunteers temporarily refitted the gearbox in the loco frames. This was so they could take some measurements and assess the condition of the cast feet that the gearbox rests on. The gearbox is a big casting, which has feet that sit over the layshaft at the front of the loco. These feet have been broken and welded or brazed in the past but the repairs were of poor quality and will not be good enough to use in service. Volunteers were measuring to see how much space there is around the gearbox to fit some additional strengthening, which is something they will look at in the future. The KS4415 Facebook page features a video of the gears meshing.

 

Storms hit North Wales 23/11/17

Flooding closed several roads around the WHR on 23/11/17 and mainline train services were cancelled from Bangor to Holyhead and Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Roads closed included:

The effect on the WHR is unknown but no doubt the line is being inspected for damage. The Hafod-y-llyn shuttle was due to run on 23/11/17 during the storm.

 

Blanche returns to service 22/11/17

Blanche returned to Porthmadog Harbour station on 22/11/17 with a running in trip from Boston Lodge. It is hoped the loco will be available for the 125th Birthday Hunslet Gala planned for Linda and Blanche over the long weekend 22-25/6/18. The loco double headed with Prince to Hafod-y-llyn that afternoon.

 

This easterly view (22/11/17) shows Blanche on a running in turn from Boston Lodge after its recent major overhaul. 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 (22/11/17) shows Blanche on a running in turn double heading Prince crossing Britannia Bridge on its afternoon working returning from Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is a screengrab from the Porthmadog Harbour station camcorder. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/11/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang spent a thoroughly wet day changing a rotten timber on the foot crossing at Beddgelert. It had been noted during the operating season that the anti-slip was coming away. We did a temporary fix at the time by putting in longer screws. We realized then that the problem lay with a rotten timber that could not be seen hence our return later to change it. We all ended up soaked through but got the job finished.

 

Boston Lodge seawall report 19-20/11/17

Good progress is being made with the Boston Lodge sea defences, which also gains additional ground for the expanded Carriage Shed to accommodate the WHR rake stabled at Boston Lodge. For both rows of piles at the east end of the site, towards the cliff, the piles are going into pockets ‘chiselled’ into the rock, which is quite hard in places. These are then secured with quick setting concrete and also possibly additional rock bolts before the surrounding space is back filled and compacted with the rock already on site.

 

This northerly view from the foreshore near the south end of Boston Lodge (19/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the seaward pile wall is near complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view from The Cob near the Boston Lodge headshunt (20/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the seaward pile wall is near complete up to the rock armoured section of The Cob by the depot headshunt in the foreground. Piling works underway in the mid distance involve a secondary line of piles. Rock from the Heritage Carriage shed excavations is being used to backfill the space behind the new seawall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view from The Cob near the Boston Lodge carriage shed (20/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the second line of piles is being driven inland about 4 metres from the sea wall. Rock from the Heritage Carriage shed excavations is being used to backfill the space between the pile walls and inland of the new seawall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon booking office reopens 23/11/17

Caernarfon station booking office is open for sales of Santa Special tickets and presents ThFSO from 23/11/17 to 15/12/17 (ThFO from 7/12/17). Opening times are 1100 until 1600 Thursday/Friday and 1000 until 1700 Saturdays. Outside these dates tickets can be obtained by phoning 01766 516070. See Santa Trains website.

 

Prince for Orange timetable w/c 18/11/17

Prince has again been rostered to haul the Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn shuttles SWTO. The final shuttles of the year run week commencing Saturday 25/11/17 as Santa trains start after that.

 

2018 events

Dates for 2018 events have been added at the bottom of this page. See also F&WHR Events page.

 

Caernarfon station progress 16/11/17

This westerly view from Segontium Terrace (16/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The ground floor is being prepared for cast in situ concrete. The steel reinforcing mesh is being cut to size and placed with supporting fibre reinforced concrete rods to hold the mesh off the blue plastic waterproof layer. 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.

 

Prince rostered for Hafod-y-llyn shuttles 18/11/17

Prince has again been rostered for the SWThO Hafod-y-llyn shuttles from 18/11/17. Any photos would be welcome for publication.

 

No.130 progress 15-19/11/17

A large lorry load of super heater elements was delivered to the Stockton boilermakers on 15/11/17. The boiler backhead has now been assembled and is awaiting tack welding. The front tubeplate is being riveted in and the smokebox door has been fixed in place. Se No.130 website for images.

 

Julie Walters Coastal Railways series

The C4 series on Coastal Railways starts Sunday 26/11/17 presented by Birmingham actress Julie Walters who starred in the several Harry Potter films. The F&WHR will feature in Episode 4 currently scheduled for transmission Sunday 17/12/17 and features Boston Lodge and a trip on the WHR to Caernarfon recorded in October 2016. See Channel 4 Coastal Railways website for further details.

 

Welsh Pony progress 15/11/17

This Boston Lodge view (15/11/17) shows Welsh Pony's cab completed in a heritage grey interior colour that was found under layers of paint. The exterior black colour is a temporary measure. 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.

 

Work starts on Boston Lodge sea defences 15/11/17

Although an exhaustive search for alternative local locations has been made with a view to creating a replacement facility, a suitable site with both rail and road connections within operating distance of Harbour Station could not be found. Thus the railway company faces the challenge of refreshing and rebuilding the workshops whilst they remain operational. The first area for attention has been the land and facilities underpinning the operation. Road access has already been improved. It has to be remembered that historically the works was not connected to the road in any way.

The second step has been to ensure that the interface with the surrounding area has been given proper consideration, bearing in mind that this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Work to manage the flow from sewage, surface water and rainwater has already been completed requiring significant investment.

The third step was the construction of the new Heritage Carriage Store, which provides undercover accommodation for rolling stock and equipment whilst other buildings receive attention. This was completed in September this year.

The fourth step is to improve the sea defences at the eastern end of The Cob in keeping with similar work undertaken in Porthmadog. This offers the site enhanced protection making it possible to use the land on the seaward side of the current carriage sheds which was previously exposed to the actions of the sea. Sheet piling work is underway alongside the Carriage Shed. The new defences will be completed by Christmas 2017.

 

This easterly webcam view (11/17) shows sheet piles being driven into the foreshore along the property boundary alongside the Carriage Shed. The final level is indicated to the right by the completed level of sheet piling and the pile of rock from the Heritage Carriage Shed excavations seen behind may be used to level the ground for the new Carriage Shed to accommodate the WHR rake based at Boston Lodge. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The next phases of the construction will most likely include improved carriage storage facilities before attention turns to the main workshops and conservation of the historic parts of the works.

Paul Lewin said: 'There has long been a desire to see the deeply historic Boston Lodge works effectively secured for future generations. This programme, which will see modern buildings taking the brunt of the daily work and providing better facilities for our staff, will also release the very old buildings to be restored and used for purposes aligned with heritage.'

See F&WHR Press Release for full details and images.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/11/17

Tony Baker reports: This week the Tuesday Gang were again at Bodaden Straight. This time we were armed with a set of rods to unblock the ditch where it runs into a pipe. Once this was achieved we carried on clearing. Several clumps of reeds were encountered which required the use of a pick to get the roots out. This section of track was under a possession so the procedure is that we contact the Person in charge of Possession and get permission to enter their possession.

 

This view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear a blocked pipe on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/11/17) shows the pipe on the Plas Bodaden straight now with running water after rodding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear clumps and roots in the blocked ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear clumps and roots in the blocked ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/11/17) shows the way ahead on the Plas Bodaden straight. An excavator on the new well wagon might make a faster job of this and many similar overgrown ditches on the WHR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Conwy valley Line reopens 13/11/17

The Conwy Valley Line, closed for repair on 20/10/17, reopened on 13/11/17 after rebuilding a supporting pillar just inside the northern tunnel mouth of Blaenau Ffestiniog tunnel and clearing recent storm damage from other areas. See Daily post report and NR Press release.

 

Work stops on BF&TR clearance

Heritage Railway Magazine reports that work on clearing the track between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd was stopped in early November after NR engineers identified a problem with a bridge near the proposed Trawsfynydd Lake terminus. The bridge appears to have been damaged and NR has closed a footpath on H&S concerns. The Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway claim the damage to the bridge is 'slippage' and point out NR has not maintained the structures for 30 years and the area suffers heavy rainfall. The BF&TR has a licence to clear the track but it remains in NR ownership. The BF&TR website has not been updated for a while and there is no mention of the problem on social media.

The BF&TR has an initial goal of operating trains in 18 months time for a mile from Trawsfynydd Road Yard to Trawsfynydd Lake Halt near the decommissioned Nuclear Power Station using the Class 414 EMU from the recently closed Coventry Electric Railway Museum as hauled stock. So far £1,400 of the £11,500 target has been donated and the Heritage Lottery Fund has indicated it will match fund the remainder when the appeal reaches half way. See 2HAP Appeal.

 

No.130 update 3-12/11/17

By 3/11/17 the boiler's backhead had been completed and drilled. By the 11/11/17 the regulator valve, J pipe and gauge frames had been sent to Stockton for fitting to the boiler. By 12/11/17 there was progress to report on the two power units. The front unit had its coupling assembled and was more or less complete as well as the pony truck spring. The rear truck has most of its springs fitted. Soon they will be moveable under their own wheels. A day later the reverser and handbrake stands had been fitted to the boiler frame. For images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 16/11/17

David Ganger reports: Our next meeting takes place this coming Thursday 16/11/17. We welcome back Alasdair Stewart who will be talking to us about his latest narrow gauge trips and adventures.

Our December meeting will be on Thursday 14/12/17 (note, the second Thursday) and will be our now traditional ‘Mince Pies and Members’ Slides event. We will then meet again in February.

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.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 10/11/17

This southerly view from Segontium Terrace (10/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The upper level has been concreted and a stairwell is visible in the foreground. The lower floor has a blinding layer before laying slabs next week. This completes Phase 1 of the project. 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.

 

Thanks for your support

Thanks to the several people who have recently sent me PayPal payments via my email address to support the cost of running this website. It is much appreciated. Now I am a pensioner, 'every little helps'!

 

Prince update

The loco was at the SVR Gala 21-24/9/17 on demonstration trains using temporary track laid in The Engine House car park, Highley. There was a minor collision with a wall at the end of the track on 22/9/17 but the loco appeared undamaged and deemed fit to resume operations the following day, returning to the F&WHR after the end of the Gala. A more thorough inspection was made at Boston Lodge before the loco was returned to traffic. Prince has been operating the Orange timetable Hafod-y-llyn shuttles this week. Any photos of these workings would be welcome.

 

This westerly view (19/9/17) shows Prince on a special track at Highley engine House SVR with one Victorian bugbox. 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.

 

This easterly view (8/11/17) shows Prince departing on the afternoon train to Hafod-y-llyn. 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.

 

WHHR Baldwin Appeal relaunch

The WHHR has relaunched its appeal for funds for completion of the Imperial War Museum's Baldwin No.794 in its care. The loco has been moved from Keef's to Aberystwyth Vale of Rheidol workshops. About £60,000 is needed to complete the project for the pipe-work, brass-work and cab fittings and most importantly a complete new set of motion. The existing set is 'very worn'. The new boiler is already built and paid for, being completed in 2012 by Israel Newton.

Work should start in early 2018 and when completed the loco will run as 590, reprising the role of the WHR's original Baldwin 590 in the 1920s and 1930s. Although the loco is to be completed air braked, there is still hope that agreement can be reached with the F&WHR to run both 590 and Russell on the WHR during Galas in coming years. Both would be sure to draw the crowds providing historical tableaux scenes at Beddgelert where the two locos were often to be seen during the 'frontier years'. See Baldwin Appeal website.

All being well in April/May 2018 the sale of Bachmann R-T-R 009 Baldwin 590 models will help raise funds for the Appeal. See Facebook story.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/12) shows the Baldwin's new boilermaker's plate. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/12) shows the Baldwin's new boiler on display at Gelert's Farm. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Orange timetable starts Wednesday 8/11/17

From 8-11-17 to 30/11/17 the WHR is running the Orange timetable service from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn. The timetable advises that these trains can only be joined at Porthmadog so both Hafod-y-llyn and Pont Croesor Halt are out of use. In face the short platform at Hafod-y-llyn has not been available for some years as it is only on the loop line. Hafod-y-llyn is used for running round in this service and sees use for occasional PW trains. The service runs SWThO and reappears in March from 3/3/18-15/3/18 MTFX. Prince is diagrammed this week for the Orange timetable 11:15 and 14:45 departures from Porthmadog.

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/11/17

Tony Baker reports: On 7/11/17 the Tuesday Gang were continuing with ditch clearance at Bodaden Straight (between Dinas and Waunfawr-Ed).

 

End of season ECS movement 5/11/17

With the end of the Yellow timetable on Saturday 4/11/17 there was a ECS movement with locos and carriages being hauled from Boston Lodge to Dinas for repair/winter storage the following day. Vale of Ffestiniog assisted No.138 hauling a B wagon, No.87 and Glaslyn with the Porthmadog based rake back to Dinas. At Dinas, Bill was used to shunt No.87 to store. The train left Porthmadog at 09:30, paused at Beddgelert 10:20 - 10:37 and arrived at Dinas at 12:13.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows No.138 dragging the failed No.87 on the WHR platform. Vale of Ffestiniog is collecting the WHR rake from the station sidings to form the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog is collecting the WHR rake from the station sidings to form the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 dragging the failed No.87 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. The train is crossing Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. No.87 is being towed dead in the formation. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. No.87 is being towed dead in the formation and appears to have had some of its motion removed on the nearer power bogie. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. Glaslyn is also in the formation and Cnicht dominates the scene. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas at Beddgelert with the failed No.87 in the rake. No.138 may have required water so the train stopped for nearly 20 minutes in the station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting the B wagon with No.87 into the North Yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Bill shunting the failed No.87 in the North Yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Bill shunting the failed No.87 in the North Yard. The loco livery looks quite appropriate with the diamond style yellow and black warning panel borrowed from BR shunting locos. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 3/11/17

There will be no station canopy or awning over the track next to the station building. Room has been allowed for at least two and probably even three Garratt locos in the headshunt. There will be a service walkway between the station building and the headshunt for delivery of food and removal of bin waste. There will be a forecourt area next to the current gate between the station building and the existing platforms and loop where the station canopy is retained. The forecourt will be open to at least to start with. The architect has been asked to look at possibilities of covering the forecourt over but this is very much in the background until the building is up and running. Initially, when the station opens next Summer, passengers must run the risk of the weather between the station buildings and the platform.

See PDF Caernarfon station plan.

 

This northerly view from Segontium Terrace (3/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The steel section flooring for the first floor cafe are now in place. The cafe will offer a view over the trains as there is no platform awning in this area. 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.

 

Aerial view 2/11/17

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows Linda, with demountable tender cab fitted, passing Boston Lodge on the 1340 from Blaenau Ffestiniog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Quadcopter views 2/11/17

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows No.138 on the afternoon train crossing Pont Croesor at 15:50. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows No.138 crossing Pont Croesor level crossings at 15:50. The Glaslyn Wildlife Osprey hide can be seen above the loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/11/17) shows No.138 waiting in Pont Croesor halt for the token to proceed to Porthmadog. The rake has been shortened to 8 coaches in this Autumn Season train with reduced loadings. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Revised timetable 1-3/11/17

The WHR operated an amended timetable on 1/11/17 probably due to NR refusing the Cae Pawb Crossing path due to an engineering possession during the Cambrian Coast closure for engineering work on the Artro Viaduct. Apparently the request to release the crossing had to go all the way up to NR Headquarters in Cardiff! The train from Porthmadog ran about an hour later all day as a result.

The FR Facebook page advised: 'Due to operational difficulties beyond our control'... the 1045 from Porthmadog was retimed to depart at 1155, passing Beddgelert at 1235, Rhyd Ddu at 1305, Waunfawr at 1300 (sic!) and Caernarfon at 1405. The retimed train must have crossed the southbound train at Pont Croesor as the latter was due to arrive in Porthmadog at 1210. The retiming also affected the return working with departure from Caernarfon at 1505, passing Waunfawr a 1545 (cross trains), Rhyd Ddu at 1610, Beddgelert at 1640 and arriving back in Porthmadog at 1725. However No.138 was noted arriving in Porthmadog at 1711. Earl of Merioneth was on its normal FR duties.

However, continuing loco shortages following No.143's ashpan support cruxiform failure on 31/10/17 have made providing traction more difficult in the last week of the Yellow timetable. To compound the problems No.87 was not available either as it has been on the Boston Lodge Garratt pit all week with its left hand motion removed. No.143 was back in action on 3/11/17 taking the 1045 out of Porthmadog.

The Operations Department must be longing for the end of the season on Saturday 4/11/17 and the reinstatement of recently repaired No.87, not to mention the completion of No.130 next year.

 

Events 2017

WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert

1/1/17 Final Mince Pie Special 1015/1330 return from Dinas to Beddgelert
19-22/1/17 Hugh Napier at the Caravan and Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
18-25/2/17 Start of WHR 2017 Green Timetable Dinas-Beddgelert (2 trains a day)
18-25/2/17 Palmerston on show Kings Cross promoting 'Great little Trains of Wales' booklet
1/3-23/3/17 Orange Timetable MTFX Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn
25/3-30/3/17 Start of WHR 2017 Season Yellow Easter Timetable (5 days only) MFX
1/4/17 Trains every day in May (except 28/4/17) including Easter Red timetable (14-18/4/17) and 29-30/4/17 and 1/5/17
8/4/17 The Snowdonian
28/4-1/5/17 FR Quirks and Curiosities event (includes some WHR events from Hafod-y-llyn)
6-14/5/17 Palmerston visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool
13/5/17 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
19-21/5/17 Rail-Ale 13th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
10/6/17 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited re-run of The Snowdonian
11-12/8/17 Lilla at the Shrewsbury Flower Show
20/8/17 Classic Car Show and Family Day at Dinas
15-17/9/17 SuperPower (WHR AGM 16/9/17)
21-24/9/17 Prince at Highley (SVR) running during the SVR Gala
6-8/10/17 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
27/10/17 WHR Halloween Train
4/11/17 Final day of Yellow timetable
8-30/11/17 Orange timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn WThSO
9-10/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
16-17/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
21-22/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
27/12/17-1/1/18 WHR Mince Pie Specials Caernarfon-Beddgelert
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 re-run of The Snowdonian
22-25/6/18 Hunslet 125 Gala celebrating Blanche and Linda's 125th Birthday
14-16/9/18 SuperPower (WHR AGM 15/9/17)
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 2017 and it seems that Penmaenmawr Quarries are to start delivering stone by rail again, while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least. 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.

1/3/17 'Cathedrals' Express' Euston-Holyhead (steam) Steam Dreams

15/3/17 'The Edinburgh Express' Bangor-Edinburgh (diesel) WCR

22/4/17 'Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru' Lancaster-Holyhead via Stafford including various freight-only chords/loops (diesel) BLS

29/4/17 'North Wales Extravaganza' Norwich-Holyhead (diesel) NENTA

1/5/17 'The Victorian Day Pullman' Skegness-Llandudno (diesel) WCR

3/5/17 'Royal Windsor Express' Holyhead-Windsor (diesel) WCR

10/6/17 'The East Lancs Enterprise' Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) WCR

23/7/17 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool to Holyhead (steam) RYTC

25/7/17 'Welsh Mountaineer' Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog (steam) RYTC

20/9/17 'Conway Valley Explorer I' Dumfries-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) with FR option WCR

4/10/17 'Conway Valley Explorer II' Scarborough-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) with FR option WCR

10/10/17 'Cambrian Coast Express' Bristol temple Meads-Pwllheli (diesel) Pathfinder

11/10/17 'The Jorvik/Scarborough Spa III' Bangor-Scarborough (diesel) WCR

18/11/17 'Llandudno Christmas Fayre' Euston-Holyhead (diesel/electric to Crewe and steam from Crewe with No.46233) Steam Dreams

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

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

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2017

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 2017 is as follows:

January 7-8/1/17 14-20/1/17WW 21-22/1/17    
February 4-5/2/17 11-17/2/17WW 18-19/2/17    
March 4-5/3/17 11-17/3/17WW 18-19/3/17    
April 1-2/4/17 8-9/4/17LW# 15-16/4/17^    
May   13-14/5/17 6-12/5/17WW 27-28/5/17^  
June   10-11/6/17 17-18/6/17LW# 24-25/6/17  
July   8-9/7/17 15-21/7/17WW 22-23/7/17  
August   5-6/8/17 12-13/8/17LW# 1920/8/17  
September 2-3/9/17 9-15/9/17WW 16-17/9/17   30/9/17-
October -1/10/17   14-15/10/17 21-22/10/17LW# 28-29/10/17
November 4-10/11/17WW# 11-12/11/17   25-26/11/17  
December 2-8/12/17WW# 9-10/12/17      

^ Bank Holiday weekend

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

# For dates for April, June, August and October are subject to confirmation-contact Paul Bradshaw if you are interested. Dates for November and December 2017 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme for 2017-18.

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

 

V4.3551 updated 10/12/17