Welsh Highland Railway

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V4.3899

News (29/10/20)

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Modern images updated from 29/10/20

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Star Picture

This southerly view (3/11/19) shows No.608 hauling a heritage rake heading for Beddgelert between T2 and T3 in the Aberglaslyn Pass during the photo charter. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Phil Brown (F&WHR) and was taken on a 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

The 40km Dream Phase 1 (Updated 30/7/20)

The 40km Dream Phase 2(Updated 1/10/20)

'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 1/10/20)

Snow Scenes (updated 10/12/18)

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 and other maps courtesy of WHRS

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Pete Randall 1960-2020

It is sad to report the sudden death of WHRS Director and Trustee, Pete Randall on 21/10/20. Pete was a former General Manager of the FR. Deepest sympathies are with Jane, his family and his many friends and colleagues. Pete was a leading light of the NG15 Restoration project who will miss his enthusiasm and practical experience.

Your webmaster first met him when he was manager of Eurotunnel's Coquelles depot at Calais, where I was given a guided tour on 27/5/98 as a journalist back in the days when I was contributing to Rail Express. He had been promoted to that position from a previous experience as a manager for London Underground. I met him most recently on the WHR Open Day at Dinas 12/9/20 when he seemed well and full of enthusiasm for the NG15 restoration project.

 

F&WHR lockdown 27-28/10/20

As of 27/10/20 nothing appeared to have moved on the FR since lockdown began at 18:00 on Friday 23/10/20 with the rakes in Harbour Station still in the same place as left on 22/10/20. Staff are still in place for security and essential safety and the F&WHR on line shop is open for business.

However on 28/10/20 there was some movement as Martin Kressman reports:

'At 11:40 this morning I switched on the Harbour Station webcam. A steam locomotive and what later proved to be a five carriage train with one of the new Observation cars on the back was standing at the Blaenau end of the WHR loop line. At 11.48 the train set off towards Blaenau passing Boston Lodge. At 11:58 the train passed through Minffordd and proved to be made up of Linda hauling mess carriage No.1111 plus three modern FR saloons and observation car No.152 Eryri. From this angle it could be seen that the seats were empty so it was possibly a stock transfer for storage at Glan-y-Pwll. At 12:29 the train arrived at Tan-y-Bwlch and presumably took water. At 12:45 the train set off again towards Blaenau Ffestiniog.'

By the morning of  29/10/20 the three FR coaches in the WHR platform had been removed and also the reformed A set in the FR platform had disappeared, both possibly for storage. The station appeared bare of rolling stock from the webcam angle.

 


This easterly view (29/10/20) shows a completely empty Harbour Station with all the stock apparently moved under cover for storage. There is hope the service may return in November. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Firebreak lockdown commences 23/10/12

At 18:00 on Friday 23/10/20 Wales went into lockdown with no services on the FR and Spooners closed. WHR services and the De Winton Cafe Caernarfon closed the day before. The closure will last at least until Monday 9/11/20 but the F&WHR regards its services as 'postponed' so there is the possibility services may restart in mid November.

The FR rake outside Spooners was moved to clear the WHR loop during the day as Spooners is closed so an overflow dining area is no longer needed. There may be movements putting the stock in the station into storage for the 2 weeks. The webcams remain operating with a skeleton staff ensuring the security of the railway. The reformed 4 coach A set remains in the platform where it was left after the final train yesterday.

 

This westerly view (22/10/20) shows Palmerston departing on the final 14:20 before the WAG 'Firebreak' lockdown crossing The Cob. Although it was a sad moment, 'every dark cloud has a silver lining' and there is hope the service may return in November. 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.

 

The F&WHR issued the following message thanking supporters.

A MESSAGE OF THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT

This afternoon, the last train of our revised summer service departed Harbour Station, signalling the end of what has been a whirlwind few months since our reopening on the 20th of July. During this period, we have been delighted to share two new services with you all; a ‘Heritage Service’ on our Ffestiniog Railway between Porthmadog – Tan Y Bwlch and a ‘Back to Beddgelert’ service on our Welsh Highland Railway between Caernarfon – Beddgelert.

Our ‘Heritage Service’ allowed customers to join us for a journey back in time to discover what trains were like in Victorian times, the Roaring Twenties or the Swinging Sixties on board our heritage carriages. Whilst our ‘Back to Beddgelert’ service allowed customers to select their own Food and Drink Hamper before enjoying a grand day out from Caernarfon to Beddgelert.

These new services have proved hugely popular and we are very grateful for all the positive feedback we have received. We are glad that our reopening could provide a ray of joy during these most challenging of times. We would also like to offer a huge thanks to all our staff, volunteers, members and supporters who have worked tirelessly throughout this period to keep our Railway steaming. Your unwavering dedication and generosity during these difficult times has highlighted all that is great about our Railway.

Whilst uncertainty clouds the upcoming months, we have found great reassurance in your ever-present support and remain more determined than ever to reignite our Railway in what we hope will be a brighter future.

Thank you all and stay safe.

 

FR services 22/10/20

Thursday was another wet day in Porthmadog, a damp, sad end to the FR's Heritage Service during the pandemic. The FR coaches in the WHR platform were still close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Palmerston turned up at 10:23 to haul the 11:05 reformed A set and immediately coupled up as the rake was left in the platform as usual. Palmerston also hauled the last train before the 'postponement' of the service, the 14:20.

 

This easterly webcam view (22/10/20) shows Palmerston departing on the final 14:20 before the WAG 'Firebreak' lockdown. Surprisingly, considering the WAG travel restrictions and impending lockdown there were enough passengers to fill the two trains today. 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.

 

A year in the Life F&WHR 2920 Intro 22/10/20

Click on the YouTube window to watch 5 mins 46 seconds of video showing a taster for the upcoming A Year in the Life of the F&WHR 2020. This YouTube was published on 22/10/20 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a 4K digital camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

WalesRail to be nationalised 21-22/10/20

It seems Keolis-Amey want to hand back the keys to their WalesRail contract after passenger numbers plummeted following the pandemic and advice to 'Work from home'. WAG is likely to nationalise WalesRail on 22/10/20, taking direct control of rail services via TfW. Infrastructure will remain the responsibility of NR. Keolis is a subsidiary of French state owned railways SNCF. WAG will attempt to maintain services, jobs and current projects. This looks like the end of the Tories ill-fated privatisation experiment at least in Wales that saw other countries state railways making a profit out of hugely inflated ticket prices. Railways will revert to state control as with most other European states and even Amtrak in the USA.

See Nation Cymru story.

The BBC confirmed the story on 22/10/12 but say the transition will not occur until February next year. New rolling stock commitments will be honoured including, hopefully, the strengthened NWC Mk4 loco hauled service to Cardiff and Manchester which is on staff training standby at Holyhead.

See BBC story.

 

FR services 21/10/20

Wednesday was a mild wet day in Porthmadog, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Palmerston hauled the 11:05 reformed A set departing on time at about 11:05 arriving at Tan-y-bwlch about 11:50 but stopping short so that passengers would have less far to walk to the cafe in the damp conditions. The loco detached to water at 11:54. The loco ran round at 12:01 and operated the 14:20 service later. The final FR services 11:05 and 14:20 on 22/10/20 were still bookable on 21/10/20.

 

North Wales mainline 16-20/10/20

Work has started on the complete restoration of the Barmouth Bridge in a £25m upgrade. NR is replacing components on a 'like for like' basis to retain the Victorian engineering of this famous viaduct, and the work is planned to take three years. There will be three periods of complete closure, the first of which started from 23:40 on 16/10/20 until 05:30 on 2/11/0 with bustitution of the whole Cambrian Coast. It is uncertain how the Wales Covid Firebreak will affect these works as they start from 18:00 on 23/10/20.

The RHTT was top and tailed by Class 56s Nos.56096/113 and heading along the NWC to Shrewsbury.

 

Cambrian excursions to return in 2021?

NR has apparently listened to the long standing complaints of local councils, excursion operators and enthusiasts and made £12m available to make the ERTMS work with visiting traction including steam. Design work has already commenced and fitment to 'Tornado' and a Black 5 is under way. It has taken many years for NR to honour its promise to allow excursions back on the route post ERTMS.

 

FR services 20/10/20

Tuesday was an overcast day in Porthmadog, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Palmerston was on the 11:05 service hauling the reformed A set and the 14:20 too. The first train had a good crowd and the final two days both feature bookable 11:05/14:20 services. However, the number of tourists is likely to drop drastically as people become aware of the Wales 'firebreak' lockdown in addition to the recently imposed travel to Wales restrictions for hotspots outside Wales.

 

WAG opts for 'firebreak' lockdown (19/10/20)

Wales will lock down from for 17 days from 18:00 Friday 23/10/20 to Monday 9/11/20. All non essential business and leisure facilities such as the F&WHR must close for that period. Non essential travel is banned including travel by tourists from other parts of the UK. this will mean the F&WHR has to shut until November and there is some question about whether it will reopen though previous statements have indicated an intention to attempt to run a service in November and this announcement indicates services have been 'postponed'.

During the afternoon of 19/10/20 the F&WHR removed its booking facility for dates from Friday 23/10/19 onwards on the FR but strangely from Thursday 22/10/19 on the WHR when there is no need to cancel Thursday's train if one can operate on the FR?

The F&WHR has released the following statement:

WELSH ‘FIREBREAK’ LOCKDOWN: SERVICES POSTPONED ANNOUNCEMENT…

This afternoon, the Welsh First Minister announced a ‘firebreak' lockdown, due to begin at 18:00 on Friday, 23/10/20 until Monday, 9/11/20. In line with government regulations, we will not be running train services from the 23/10/20 onwards. The 11:00 ‘Back to Beddgelert’ service on Wednesday, 21/10/20 will be our final service on the Welsh Highland Railway prior to the ‘firebreak’ lockdown. The 14:20 ‘Heritage Trains’ service on Thursday, 22/10/20 will be our final service on the Ffestiniog Railway prior to the ‘firebreak’ lockdown.

Caernarfon Station’s Café De Winton and the station shop will close at 16:00 on Wednesday, 21/10/20. The station shop at Porthmadog Harbour Station will close at 15:00 Friday, 23/10/20. Please note, up until these closure times and dates, all our establishments will be operating under regular working hours. Further announcements on the closing dates of both Spooner’s and Tearooms at Tan-Y-Bwlch will be made shortly.

The commercial side of the railway will be closed until Monday, 9/11/20 at the earliest, with the exception of the online shop. We are as yet unable to comment on what will happen following the culmination of this ‘firebreak’ lockdown. The developing situation will be kept under constant review, with a further announcement being made in due course. We urge everyone to adhere to these new Government regulations. Thanks for you continued support.

See BBC story.

 

FR services 19/10/20

Palmerston turned up at 09:35 and coupled to the FR coaches in the WHR platform. After disconnecting power supply, the 'Spooners overspill' coaches were shunted along the platform to clear the WHR loop for some possible movement on the WHR later in the day. Palmerston then shunted to 4 coach A set and was coupled at 10:50 ready for the 11:05 departure which left on time. The station points were greased starting with the king point at the station throat.

While Palmerston was at Tan-y-Bwlch at midday, Moelwyn was present taking a couple of 4 wheelers to Boston Lodge for storage. Palmerston arrived back at Porthmadog 13:39 for the 14:20 service. The 14:20 left on time with a good load of Half Term holidaymakers.

Criccieth Castle arrived back at 1550 from the WHR with a lineside clearance train propelling consisting of the well wagon with the shredder and hauling the Mess Coach No.111 running through the WHR loop. The diesel then propelled the FR coaches in the WHR platform back to their normal place close to Spooners fouling the WHR loop point by 16:23 and advanced to the starter at 16:25 before setting off for Minffordd at 16:28. Meanwhile Palmerston left Tan-y-bwlch at 16:15 with the returning 14:20 service and passed at 16:44. Several passengers seemed to leave the train and join a coach tour. Criccieth Castle reversed into Minffordd Yard at 16:53.

 

FR services 18/10/20

Sunday was a cloudy day in Porthmadog if chilly, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Welsh Pony hauled the 11:05/14:20 services. Lilla was at Tan-y-bwlch  with a PW train as Welsh Pony arrived. The PW train consisted 5 FR wagons and a brake van and departed at 15:23 passing Minffordd at 16:00. The rake was shunted into the old Loco Shed sidings. At 16:15 Lilla shunted through Pen Cob junction on shed.

 

FR services 17/10/20

Saturday was a fine sunny day in Porthmadog if chilly, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. The 14:20 was in charge of Palmerston which was delayed by the late arrival of passengers until 14:28. The standby steam loco was shunting at Boston Lodge, possibly shunting stock for storage in the Heritage Carriage shed. Palmerston passed Lilla which headed for Boston Lodge at 14:45 with a brake van, a 4 wheeler and a couple of wagons. The rake was shunted back into the Old Loco Shed at 14:55 and the coaches next to the engine detached. Lilla arrived back at Pen Cob junction at 15:05 and entered the depot.

Optimistically, the 11:05/14:20 remain bookable until 31/10/20, however as Half Term is starting for some areas, the 14:20 appears to be already fully booked on 21-22/10/20 leading to the possibility of a 13:15 being added if passenger numbers justify.

 

Progress with WHHR Pickering brake project 17/10/20

Good progress has been made with the WHHR's Pickering Coach project in Boston Lodge coachworks. The new build project completes a prototypical set for the WHHR which currently relies upon a VoR brakevan. The bogies are now complete and have been fitted with helical spring suspension which will be hidden as it is not prototypical but provides a better ride quality.

The coach body is nearing completion should be mounted on these bogies in the next few weeks. The coach itself now has all of the beading fitted along with the doors, and the roof has been covered. It is really beginning to show it's Edwardian elegance.

There is still work to be done. The droplights and ventilators are still to be made for the doors. The door handles have been cast and are ready to fit. All of the interior now has a scumbled finish, which is looking really smart. The seat frames are installed and the laths are being prepared. In the Guard’s compartment the brake valves are installed and connected to the communication cord. Pressure, or lack of pressure, gauges are still to be installed as is the handbrake stanchion. Switches have been fitted to control the interior lights.

 

Welsh Pony nameplate sold

The replica Welsh Pony nameplate sold for £2255 on eBay raising finds for the F&WHR.

 

Wales Covid rules from 16/10/20 and 'circuit breaker' threat

At 18:00 Friday 16/10/20 people from hotspots in the rest of the UK will be turned back by police if attempting to visit Wales on holiday. It remains to be seen if this affects volunteers and passenger numbers on the F&WHR.

See BBC report.

The Daily Post has revealed WAG is considering a 'circuit breaker' lockdown similar to Northern Ireland's from Friday 23/10/20 which could mean non essential travel bans and hospitality/retail being asked to close for 2-3 weeks, presumably including the heritage railways. It is unclear if this will affect the whole of Wales or just the already identified hotspots but WAG will announce its decision on Monday 19/10/20. The F&WHR's money back guarantee should reassure tourists wishing to travel over the last two weeks of October into the Half Term holiday period.

See Daily Post story.

 

FR services 16/10/20

Friday was a fine sunny day in Porthmadog if chilly, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Welsh Pony left with the well loaded 11:05 on time with the 4 saloon A set. Only the 11:05 and 14:20 will run today as Mondays and Fridays are considered lighter days as regards passenger numbers.

A PW train was up at Tan-y-bwlch at 13:15 on a lunch break with BZ2004 carrying a shredder and the cherrypicker hauled by Criccieth Castle. This ran round at 13:40 and departed around 2pm for Minffordd Yard.

Welsh Pony arrived back at Porthmadog at 13:44 and its train was sanitised and prepared for the 14:20 service. The PW passed at Minffordd a 14:39

 

FR services 15/10/20

Thursday was a fine sunny day in Porthmadog if chilly, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Palmerston hauled the 11:05 with a good crowd filling the four saloon reformed A set. As yesterday, the 13:15 was also bookable today along with the 11:05/14:20. Welsh Pony departed at 13:15 with the reformed C set as yesterday consisting of Coach No.1 two saloons and brake No.10. At 14:09 Welsh Pony propelled its rake to the departure platform before running round, as the 14:20 was due to arrive before its departure.

Reformed A Set

Coach Compartment/s
No.24 Replica NWNGR bogie coach 16-22
No.26 Ex-NWNGR bogie coach 9-15
No.22 FR Ashbury bogie coach 2-8
No.113 Carnforth Brake bogie coach 1

 

Reformed C set

Coach Compartment/s
No.1 Observation Car open 4 wheeler 16
No.16 Original FR bogie coach 9-15
No.20 Bowsider bogie coach 3-8
No.10 Bogie brake 1-2

 

Welsh Pony visits Beddgelert 10/10/20

This easterly view (11/10/20) shows Welsh Pony in its new livery taken after naming on 10/10/20 returning from Beddgelert on the 15:35 rounding the curve off Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Peter Bowes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bygones weekend You Tube 14/10/20

Click on the YouTube window to watch 25 mins 42 seconds of video showing the Bygones Weekend 9-11/10/20. This YouTube was published on 14/10/20 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a 4K digital camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

WAG latest COVID regulations 14/10/20

Mark Drakeford (WAG First Minister), fed up with no response from Boris Johnson over the threat to Gwynedd etc., has 'gone nuclear' and will ban travel to Wales from Tier 2/3 hotspots from Friday. He has the support of the Scottish Government who may take similar action. This might affect both travel of volunteers and tourists to then F&WHR.

See BBC News report.

The WAG Health Minister said a 'circuit breaker' lockdown as proposed by Labour and Lib Dems (and activated in Northern Ireland later this week) would be decided on this week.

See Daily Post report.

The Daily Post also reports on a possible extension of the Bangor local lockdown through additional areas of Gwynedd, which might affect the WHR and eventually the FR operations. The Bangor outbreak is thought to be largely due to students socialising as with many other University towns.

See Daily post report.

 

FR services 14/10/20

Wednesday was a fine sunny day in Porthmadog if chilly, with the FR coaches in the WHR platform close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop points. Welsh Pony hauled the 11:05 with a good load filling the four saloon rake. Palmerston arrived at Porthmadog light engine at 11:50. After refuelling the loco shunted the yard at 12:11. The two Birminghams returned from yesterday's Boston Lodge maintenance were shunted to the seawall siding and a rake formed up with three saloons, which were shunted to the platform at 12:25 for the 1:15 additional service. Strangely the two four wheelers were then removed at 12:30 and the Observation Car No.1 shunted onto the train by 12:40.

Welsh Pony arrived back at 13:39 with the reformed 4 saloon A set with Nos.113/26 and two other intermediate saloons. This was deep cleaned for the 14:20 service. It seems that the gate to the end of the platform from the board crossing is now locked to prevent access from The Cob path during COVID regulations.

 

WAG to make restrictions on visitors from English hotspots 12/10/20

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, announced on 12/10/20 WAG would consider unilateral action if no reply had been received from his second letter to Boris Johnson about WAG's worries concerning tourists from English Hotspots. Such action might be similar to that conducted by North Wales Police earlier in the year where they pulled over cars with number plates from hotspots.

See Daily Post story and BBC report.

Mid Wales Tourism has issued the following statement concerning the recent adverse criticism of Simon Calder etc. Although some might question the inclusion of Meirionnydd in Mid Wales as it is in the Snowdonia National Park, it nevertheless borders the F&WHR and tourists in that area visit the F&WHR.

Visit Mid Wales – a delicate balance to support tourism and keep communities safe

As a region, Mid Wales relies heavily on tourism. The region - Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd - covers more than 42% of Wales and is not currently subject to any lockdown restrictions. Mid Wales currently has one of the lowest Covid -19 rates in the country and this is a reflection on who we are in Mid Wales, the way our visitors, communities and businesses have all pulled together to protect our fragile economy whilst keeping everyone safe.

MWT Cymru has had a difficult task of navigating the delicate balance between promoting the region, encouraging people to visit safely, supporting our members and reassuring our communities that all possible measures have been implemented by our businesses to minimise any potential risk. As a tourism membership organisation, we have never felt closer to our 600 plus tourism and hospitality member businesses and have worked incredibly closely with the Welsh Government and officials. Everyone has worked tirelessly over the last few months to enable our sector to re-open safely following months of closure.

Since re-opening in July, our member businesses have reported that visitors to Mid Wales have been respectful and understanding of the situation, they have followed the rules and been vigilant. International travel journalist Simon Calder’s recent comments on ITV’s This Morning show, and the recent visit and comments by Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash to the Elan Valley praised Mid Wales as a great place to visit - a good, positive story for Mid Wales and a much-needed boost for our region in these difficult times. It was disappointing, therefore, that the coverage received negative comments on social media channels.

Our businesses have all worked so hard to safeguard their employees, visitors and local communities since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. They have invested in all the necessary Covid-secure measures to protect their communities. It is understandable that a small minority project their fear and anger online but some of these people do not even live or work in our region. The resulting negative media coverage has the potential to impact our reputation as a warm and welcoming destination and could even affect the speed of our recovery following this crisis.

Mid Wales business owners are doing their very best to keep themselves and their families afloat through very difficult times. They are protecting jobs and livelihoods whilst keeping families and local communities safe. With a long winter ahead of us, and virus infection cases rising in all parts of the UK, it is more important than ever that we all pull together to help each other through this difficult time. We all need to be aware of the unintended consequences of online comments which could be putting our independent businesses in imminent risk of closure, negatively impacting on jobs and livelihoods.

Our fantastic visitors love coming to our rural region to stay, relax and experience the great outdoors. They take in our peaceful countryside, visit local shops, independent restaurants, attractions and frequently comment about our warm and welcoming communities. This is the Mid Wales be all know and love, and it’s important that visitors who are planning future visits see this reflected in balanced media coverage and online commentary.

 

FR services 12-13/10/20

For the remainder of October the FR is currently offering two trains a day, the 11:05/14:20 which can be operated by one loco with the B set of 5 saloons. More trains will be added if traffic justifies it. There was no 14:20 on 12/10/20 and the B set was back in the platform and the FR rake was parked close to Spooners, blocking the WHR point in the WHR platform which was also the case on 13/10/20.

Palmerston was on the 11:05 on 13/10/20 with four bogie coaches from the B set arriving at Tan-y-bwlch just before midday with a well loaded train. Palmerston ran round and coupled up in the arrival platforms as there was no following train. The loco also worked the well loaded 14:20 arriving back at 16:48. Palmerston shunted two Birminghams and a saloon onto the front at 17:05. The rake was disposed towards Boston Lodge at 17:09 for regular servicing.

 

Scotland/Wales-Ireland Link 3/10/20

The UK government has ask NR to report on the UK to Northern Ireland rail link. Let us hope they consider the Holyhead option. Several recent schemes have suggested a tunnel or immersed tube between Holyhead and Howth near Dublin and third railing to Belfast due to the wider Irish track gauge.

See Celtic Sea crossing overview.

Had we still been a member of the EU this project would certainly qualify for a Trans-European Network (TEN) scheme grant as did the A55 upgrade along the North Wales coast. The Scotland-Northern Ireland proposals are ridiculous with the Mull of Kintyre link the shortest sea crossing but a very long way round and the Stranraer-Larne link facing the huge depth of Beaufort's Dyke, a seabed glacial valley over 200m deep, by far the deepest spot off the UK coastline. In contrast the seabed between Holyhead and Howth is generally under 50m deep though the crossing is longer at about 100km (or 3 times the length of the Channel Tunnel).

See BBC report.

 

Welsh Pony naming 10/10/20

The dedication ceremony at Dduallt took place in bad weather and was streamed live. No.5 was a little late in arriving due to slipping on wet rail in the woods. As well as the small party of 30 that came by train, some spectators watched from a distance by using public footpaths. The film crew stayed to watch the departure, with much slipping, for Blaenau Ffestiniog. Sound was interrupted by a lot of electronic noise in the Facebook live recording but the professional recording YouTube below was perfect.

 

Click on the YouTube window to watch 13 mins 44 seconds of video showing the naming ceremony of Welsh Pony at Dduallt on 10/10/20. This YouTube was published on 10/10/20 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a 4K digital camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

The full translation of David Gwyn's speech at the renaming of Welsh Pony follows:

"Greetings friends, Paul has asked me to speak to you in Welsh today.

The first thing I would like to say is thanks to everyone for being here today, it’s a shame it’s raining but this rain is very typical of Blaenau Ffestiniog and the surrounding area! The last time Welsh Pony steamed was during the second World War, it’s been out of use for a very long time. The War was a difficult time for Gwynedd County and the Railway and we are facing difficulties yet again in the present moment.

We were expecting a large crowd here to welcome the engine back to the service of the railway. However, we have only been able to invite a small number of guests to represent a much larger number of supporters who have been involved in the efforts to return Welsh Pony to steam. It is also a pleasure to recognise the work of those who were involved in the overhaul and repair of Welsh Pony and how this has created work which has supported the local community and helped carry us through a difficult period.

The restoration of Welsh Pony has reached a very high standard. Its restoration represents the history of the railway but it also speaks volumes about our future as a railway. Both the high standard of work and the high number of volunteers involved in the whole process has been fantastic to see.

I would like to remind you all about the fact that Welsh Pony’s sister has the name; ‘Little Giant’, the name of one of the ships which served between Porthmadog and the wider world. Welsh Pony also reminds us of the use of horses on the railway prior to the steaming of engines pulling wagons up and down the line and the subsequent arrival of passengers. It says a lot about our history the way the slate was moved down from Ffestiniog to Porthmadog and then to the four corners of the world.

I would also like to note that the driver and the fireman on the engine today, Matt Ellis and Will King, are the youngest on the railway. It’s a pleasure to see young people given the chance to volunteer on the railway. I would now like to invite our VIP guests, Michael Davis and Robert Smallman, to unveil the name plate and I would like to thank you both on behalf of everyone for your efforts in restoring Welsh Pony.

Thanks very much to you both."

 

This northerly view (8/10/20) shows a publicity shot of Welsh Pony taken before its naming on 10/10/20 so officially still No.5. The loco is pictured at Boston Lodge headshunt in dark chocolate livery with red lining. 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 (8/10/20) shows Welsh Pony being named by Michael Davies, one of the original FR Working Party members. The loco is pictured at Dduallt. 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 (10/10/20) shows Welsh Pony about to depart Porthmadog on the first public train after its naming at Dduallt that morning and private supporters trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog. 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.

 

Baldwin surprise 9/10/20

The privately-owned Baldwin No.608 resident at the F&WHR put in a brief appearance, as requested by many fans, shunting the yard in Porthmadog on 9/10/20 but apparently had a problem and has been withdrawn yet again! The loco's previous appearance on a photo charter last November also resulted in a failure.

 

This easterly view (9/10/20) shows a close up of the green liveried Baldwin No.608 shunting Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian King and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (9/10/20) shows Baldwin No.608 shunting the coal wagon to the refuelling point at Porthmadog. With so many locos on special trains a good supply of coal was needed by Friday afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian King and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.5 new livery 9/10/20

This westerly view (9/10/20) shows No.5 crossing The Cob on the 11:05 to Tan-y-bwlch running for just one day in its new livery before naming as Welsh Pony. 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.

 

COVID refund guarantee

With WAG restrictions now extending to Bangor the F&WHR is aware of visitor numbers dipping so only 4 trains per day are now running on the FR. Some trains have been reduced to 3 coaches rather than the 5 saloons originally. There was sharp reaction on the internet to the BBC's transport correspondent recommending Gwynedd for Half Term holidays and he now says he will not come to Wales.

See BBC Simon Calder report.

See BBC Bangor lockdown.

To reassure passengers in case WAG restricts further travel the F&WHR has issued a 100% refund guarantee.

'With uncertainty growing across the country, and people worrying about Half Term holidays already promised, we have amended our refund policy to help you to book with confidence. During the rest of October, we will offer a 100% refund on all advanced bookings up to 16:00 on the day before travel. Hopefully this will give you the confidence to make your booking but will enable us to resell your seats if you are unable to travel. Please note that any booking not cancelled by 16:00 on the day before travel will not be eligible for any refund.'

 

WHR service 8/10/20

This northerly view (8/10/20) shows No.87 passing Dinas on the 11:00 MFSuX from Caernarfon to Beddgelert. 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.

 

The Treats Box passengers will find at their seats on returning to the WHR Pullman service includes:

 

This Pullman coach view (9/10/20) shows the treats offered when upgrading to the Pullman Observation car special service in Gwyrfai found at seat on returning to train at Beddgelert. 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.

 

FR services 8/10/20

Thursday was a day of sunshine and showers. Merddin Emrys arrived at Porthmadog at 14:46 in sunshine on the 4 coach C set with the returning 12:10. Hand shunting of 4 wheelers was taking place in the yard! At Tan-y-bwlch Linda, with fitted cab backsheet arrived at 15:06 with the shortened B set on the 14:20 service. The FR coaches in the WHR platform had been east along the platform moved clear of the WHR point.

Preparations were being made for the Bygones Weekend at Porthmadog. At 13:10 Blanche arrived hauling 4 coaches, including the curly roofed Van No.1, quarryman's coach No.8 and the historically important coach No.15 which has been under wraps for almost 12 months. Merddin Emrys then assisted in shunting this rake before returning to Boston Lodge at 15:23 while Blanche continued the shunt.

 

This easterly view (8/10/20) shows Blanche shunting stock at Harbour Station in preparation for the Bygones Weekend starting 9-10/20. 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.

 

At 15:38 Palmerston passed Minffordd with just 3 coaches from the A set hauling the returning 13:15. Traffic must have been light today! As a rake had been left in platform by the Merddin Emrys, there was a bit of a traffic jam at Porthmadog with Palmerston being brought to a stand and held at the trident signal out on The Cob whilst Blanche shunted the rake to the yard. Palmerston finally arrived about 5 minutes late at 15.55.

 

This northerly view (8/10/20) shows Victorian livery coach No.15, now the oldest bogie coach in the UK. The Purple-Brown and Off-White livery is complemented by the intricate paint and gold leaf lining to its many panels. 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.

 

Welsh Pony replica nameplate on eBay

Supporters now have the opportunity to obtain their very own 'WELSH PONY' nameplate, as one has been placed on auction with eBay. Funds from the auction will go towards the cost of the latest repaint of the locomotive - the results of which can be seen for the first time on Friday, 9/10/20 during the Bygones Event.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/10/20) shows the lining applied to Welsh Pony. The new livery will be revealed on 9/10/20 at the Bygones Event. 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.

 

The nameplate being auctioned is a replica plate, cast in 2013, which was intended for use on the loco, but which has never been carried by Welsh Pony. It is solid brass, weighing in at around 7kg (15½lbs) and measuring 800 x 125 mm (2' 8" x 5"). The auction runs for SEVEN days - finishing on the 15/10/20 at 12:47. To join the auction, click the following link and enter your bid - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/353230149672.

 

FR services 7/10/20

Wednesday was forecast to be a day with sunny periods at Porthmadog becoming wet later. There were plenty of passengers for the 11:05 which left on time hauled by Linda, with cab backsheet fitted, hauling the 5 coach B set. Prince turned up about 11:30 to haul the 4 bogie coaches of the reduced C set out of the yard for the 12:10 service. Palmerston arrived at 12:04 and headed to the yard to shunt the three saloons of the reduced A set into the platform at 12:17 for the 13:15 service. No.5 does not currently appear available for traffic as it is in the workshops being repainted for its naming on Saturday.

 

No.130 update

By 29/9/20 the final part of No.130's cladding to be made had been completed at Dinas. These are the four cylinder claddings and now have gone to Boston Lodge for painting. The inside primer and undercoat have already been completed.

By 4/10/20 the red undercoat had been applied to the cylinder claddings.

By 6/10/20 the loco carried the unusual front and rear number plates NG130 and side rods were given a good clean.

 

Caernarfon Bypass YouTube 5/10/20

Click on the YouTube window to watch 6 mins 56 seconds of video showing a drone view of the Caernarfon Bypass under construction from Griffiths Crossing to Llanwnda, crossing the WHR just north of Bontnewydd Halt. This YouTube was published on 5/10/20 and was taken by Son Jones on a digital camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

This recent view (9/20) shows earth movers crossing the WHR immediately north of Bontnewydd Halt. This little used halt is now grassed over in the foreground. There must be coordination between frequent random haul road movements and occasional train services. 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.

 

FR services 6/10/20

The Porthmadog weather was poor again on Tuesday with misty wet conditions but became showery with sunny periods and windy in the afternoon. The FR rake in the WHR platform was still blocking the WHR loop. Linda (with rear cab-sheet fitted) turned up at 10:30 for the 11:05 and coupled up directly to the B set, which had been left in the platform overnight. It left on the dot at 11:05 as booked. Prince turned up at 11:30 for the 12:10 service and shunted the shortened 3 bogie coach C set from the seawall siding to the platform.

At 11:25 Prince detached and went to collect the rest of the Colonel Stephens set from another siding to strengthen the C set presumable because of stronger bookings. The full C set was reformed by 11:45 but then the three leading four wheelers were removed to the seawall siding minutes later leaving the formation for the 12:10 as 4 saloons, which departed on time. Unusually, Palmerston was provided for the 13:15 which left on time with 3 saloons from the A set. The loco has not seen use for a few weeks after a problem with a fusible plug, presumably now repaired, caused major disruption on 8/9/20. No doubt it was being given a work out before use over the upcoming Bygones weekend.

Linda was back in Porthmadog with the 5 coach B set for the 14:20 service later, the final train of the day. Passing heavy showers causing good condensation effects on the loco exhaust. Prince arrived back next at 14:40 and shunted its 4 coach rake into the seawall siding before departing for Boston Lodge at 15:09 (there was no 15:25 service today) in a brief period of sunshine. Meanwhile, up at Tan-y-bwlch Linda ran round its rake at 15:15, still in the arrival platform as there was no following train. Linda was noted heading back to Boston Lodge at 16:50 after leaving its rake in the platform.

 

Barmouth Bridge works start 16/10/20

A works compound has been built at Morfa Mawddach for the £25 million refurbishment of Barmouth Bridge, the largest wooden bridge on NR. Work to replace timber, metal fixings and a complete rerail will take place over the next three years with several closures (including the footpath), the first being 16/10/20-2/11/20. In previous years work took place when the tide was out and equipment could access the sands alongside the bridge. The periods of closure could cause disruption to visitors to the F&WHR coming by train. Sadly there will be no attempt to run a Pwllheli-Barmouth shuttle as during previous major closures and a Pwllheli-Machynlleth bus link will be in running calling at all stations! Previously a temporary refuelling point as established at Pwllheli.

See NR website.

 

Spooners Bygones opening times

Spooners will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9-11/10/20 from 08:00 to 22:00. The 'Bygones Weekend’ is fast approaching and passengers/visitors should be aware of the amended Spooner’s opening times and options during the event. Spooners will not be taking reservations for tables and 'walk-ins' will be welcomed on a 'first come, first served' basis. However, the overflow coaches on the WHR platform will most likely not be available due to the use of the WHR for the Beddgelert trains on Saturday/Sunday. An 'eat in' Breakfast option will be offered between on all three days from 08:00. The café takeaway service will run between 08:00 and 16:00. The Bar and Grill will be open as normal during the event weekend, from 12:00 until 22:00, with last food orders at 20:00. The Sunday Roast Lunch menu will be served between 12:00 and 15:00 on Sunday but standard menu will not be available during these times.

 

Welsh Pony naming ceremony goes live

No.5 will be renamed Welsh Pony at Dduallt on Saturday 10/10/20 at 10:30. The event will be broadcast live on the internet.

 

FR service 5/10/20

The Porthmadog weather was poor again on Monday with misty wet conditions but cleared up in the afternoon. The FR rake in the WHR platform was still blocking the WHR loop. It seems the FR has abandoned the 10:00 service with lower visitor numbers in October as the signaller did not even open the box until 10am. The B set had been left in the platform and so when Linda (with cab rear sheet fitted for the bad weather) turned up, it coupled straight up and departed on time at 11:05. Blanche arrived at 11:35 to extract the C set from sea wall siding but only 2 saloons and the brake were shunted as presaged by Blanche's shunt the previous day. This week also seems to have confirmed the sidelining of the open coaches which were less popular with the inclement weather as neither set had one included over the last few days. Matching train length to traffic demand saves money on coal.

Midday saw a burst of activity at Porthmadog as after the 12:10 had departed Criccieth Castle arrived to shunt the FR rake in the WHR platform clear of the loop after coupling up by 12:30. Meanwhile Prince arrived light engine from Boston Lodge at 12:50 and shunted the A set into the platform. Criccieth Castle uncoupled at 13:06 and ran round via the WHR loop, coupling to the west end of the FR 'Spooner's overspill' set. Meanwhile Prince removed the four wheelers and lead saloon from the A set and shunted them to the yard. A few minutes later it coupled up to the shortened rake with 13 compartments for the 13:15 service. This departed on time passing Linda at Minffordd at 13:29 returning with the 11:05. Criccieth Castle headed north with the FR rake at 13:23 but returned at 13:30 after running round at Pont Croesor or Beddgelert, presumably to check the line before the services planned for the Bygones event next weekend. The loco detached and left the coaches in their usual position. After Blanche arrived at 14:46 with the returning 12:10, Criccieth Castle headed back to Boston Lodge light engine a minute later. The B set was again left in the platform overnight.

 

WAG COVID policy latest 5/10/20

After the Tories said they won't ban people from travelling out of infected areas, WAG has responded to protect Gwynedd by reviewing the situation next Monday and considering a quarantine for residents of dangerously infected English areas similar to the travel restrictions from other countries. Police action has also been suggested in Wales on the A55/A5 routes etc. e.g. police might pull over cars with Liverpool number plates travelling to Gwynedd using APNR.

See BBC story.

 

FR service 4/10/20

The Porthmadog weather improved during Sunday with some sunshine by midday. The FR rake in the WHR platform was still blocking the WHR loop. Surprisingly the B set had been left in the platform overnight it seems. There was no 10:00 service but Linda, complete with cab back-sheet, left Boston Lodge at 10:16 for the 11:05 which was already in the platform but without the Observation vehicle. Blanche followed an hour later and hauled the 12:10 with the C set. Linda was back on the 14:20 passing Blanche at Minffordd while Prince was in steam at Boston Lodge, presumably on standby duty.

As there was no 15:25, Blanche shunted a shortened rake into the sidings and then collected an empty B wagon from the coaling siding for loco coal and disappeared back to Boston Lodge. Linda departed Tan-y-bwlch at 16:12 having run round its train in the arrival platform, a sure sign there was no 15:25 following. At 16:30 Prince emerged from Boston Lodge propelling B1621, probably the same empty coal wagon to Minffordd, where it stopped to reverse the points and propel the wagon into the yard at 16:37 just before Linda arrived at 16:42 on its way back with the 14:20. Prince was visible in the yard by the Maenofferen shed at 16:50 before departing passing Minffordd at 17:00 with two wagons full of clearance spoil presumably for Dduallt. The loco returned light engine passing Minffordd at 18:12 and shunting into Boston Lodge at 18:17.

 

FR services 3/10/20

Foul weather covered North Wales on Saturday with wind and heavy rain forecast from Storm Alex, the first of the new Autumn season. There was no 10:00 service but Linda (with removal back sheet fitted due to inclement weather) departed at 11:10 with the B set on the 11:05 service and again on the 14:20, which left on time. It passed Blanche, hauling the C set returning from the 12:10 service, at Minffordd at 14:34. The FR rake in the WHR platform was reduced to the standard 3 coaches again by 2pm by the removal of the two saloons added yesterday. There was no 15:25 service.

 

COVID-19 Safety reminder 2/10/20

The F&WHR is still open for business but reminds passengers...

 

Friends of Gowrie update 28/9/20.

Although many WHR supporters would sooner seen a group recreating the single Fairlie Moel Tryfan, the Gowrie Locomotive Trust is making progress recreating the short lived NWNGR Fairlie that lasted from 1908-1918. Despite the difficult conditions created by the global pandemic, the Gowrie Group has managed to make quite significant progress this year and have now had over half a ton of castings produced for the loco. In addition to this, the new calculations for the boiler have been used to make the necessary adjustments to the CAD file for the frames, and the group in the process of receiving the first quotes for the cutting of them.

But they need more support to sustain this momentum. For just £20 per year, supporters can sign up to the "Friends of Gowrie" and receive a quarterly newsletter containing in-depth details of the Trust's activities and progress, priority sponsorship opportunities, and access to workshop open days. Additional benefits are also available to those who contribute larger and regular amounts. Please visit Friends of Gowrie for a full list of incentives and to download the forms.

 

North Wales mainline news 24/9/20-3/10/20

Colas Rail Head Treatment Trains are running again to combat leaf fall season and avoid wheel slip when braking. Class 56s Nos.56096/56113 top and tailed the RHTT to Holyhead on 3/10/20.

TfW liveried No.67025 was in Yorkshire on a route learning exercise on 24/9/20. It is uncertain when/if the loco hauled Mk 4 expresses will enter service on the North Wales-Cardiff service and Manchester trains. With traffic suppressed by the epidemic TfW is saving money by not hiring in the locos.

 

Friday specials 2/10/20

There were no public FR services on Friday 2/10/20, the only such day scheduled for no FR services in October. It appeared there was a management special planned, maybe for annual Trustees' Inspection train. By 0945 Merddin Emrys had dragged the 3 FR coaches that were cleaned on the WHR platform the previous day and shunted them into a rake with two other FR coaches and Observation Car Eryri Snowdonia in the FR platform. A second loco was being prepared at Boston Lodge. The train departed with guests at 10:22 towards Boston Lodge, presumably to inspect the Works.

After some shunting another train left Boston Lodge around 10:30 and at 10:50 Prince passed Minffordd on its way towards Dduallt with the slate wagon gravity train, arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:37 and departing for Dduallt at 11:44. Merddin Emrys arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 12:05 with its special working and passengers decamped to the footbridge to watch the gravity train come through. It passed through non-stop at 12:17. The Trustees' Inspection train departed presumably for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 12:37, so Prince must have been locked in the siding at Dduallt. The train was back at Porthmadog by 15:50 and the 5 saloons were shunted into the WHR platform by Linda as an overflow for Spooners as usual, blocking the WHR loop point. The Observation Car may have been removed.

 

Bygones Weekend update

The Loco Roster has been updated with the addition of two further locos. Assuming the event is not unduly affected by changing WAG COVID regulations the weekend's service fleet now consists of :

Blanche

• Lilla

• Linda

• Merddin Emrys

• No.5/Welsh Pony (from 10/10/20)

• Palmerston

• Prince

Hunslet WD608

but surprisingly not the Baldwin No.608 and Taliesin

Working Timetables and Graphs updated with latest loco details are now available to download from https://bit.ly/36ozWZd.

 

WAG COVID advice 2/10/20

WAG First Minister Mark Drakeford was on National BBC News on 2/10/20 asking that regulations in England be changed to make it illegal for people in lockdown areas of England to travel to the areas of Wales not affected by lockdowns, including Gwynedd. That is already the case in Wales as people in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham as well as most of South Wales, are not allowed to make non-essential journeys, including holidays. He was happy that holidaymakers from English areas without lockdown could continue to visit Gwynedd. He explained that Police in North Wales had previously intercepted cars from lockdown areas by number plate recognition and persuaded people to go home rather than potentially spread disease.

See Daily Post report.

 

FR services 1/10/20

The FR coaches were back by Spooners blocking the WHR loop by the evening of 30/9/20. These coaches, used as a Spooners overflow, were having a good external wash down during the morning, possibly for some management event on Friday. Lower visitor numbers meant that the FR dropped the 10:00 train, possibly for the first time, on 1/10/20. Linda hauled the 11:05.Merddin Emrys turned up at 11:30 to shunt the C set into the platform for the 12:10 departure. Upnor Castle was present shunting the FR rake in the WHR platform clear of the western loop points to let a train pass onto the WHR around midday but disappeared later after propelling the rake back into its normal resting place close to Spooners. Blanche also turned up to extract the A set from the sidings for the 13:10 as it was the first time it had been used this day.

The timetable remains the same but there are no trains bookable on 2/10/20 for some reason. The 11:05/12:10:13:15/14:20 are bookable until 11/10/20. After the Bygones event the 11:05 and 14:20 are the only trains currently offered except for 15-16/10/20 when the 13:15 is added. Additional trains may be added according to traffic.

 

WHR trains confirmed until 31/10/20

The WHR train service is now confirmed until the end of October, currently seen as the end of the season, with a departure from Caernarfon (to Beddgelert and return) at 11:00 every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. All of these trains will offer the full range of hampers, which can be pre-booked with tickets. The station shop/cafe at Caernarfon and the small Beddgelert shop will also for food and other memorabilia.

 

WHR Pullman bookings good

A comment received from a correspondent: Your updates are greatly appreciated and thanks to one of your recent news postings my wife and I were able to take advantage of the new WHR First Class Luxury Pullman Day Out yesterday (28/9/20). We strongly recommend it. It was a wonderful day out and the service provided was top-notch! Brilliant! All thanks to you! Incidentally, all 5 places in the carriage were occupied which just goes to show how popular it has been!

 

F&WHR confirms operations continue despite North East Wales lockdowns 30/9/20

Although restrictions have now been imposed on four of the North Wales counties, Gwynedd and the F&WHR are both still open for business. Visitors from within Gwynedd or outside the four counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham are still able to travel on trains - and, if necessary, to travel through the local lockdown areas to reach the railways. (NB: residents of lockdown areas further away remain unable to travel out of their area).

See BBC website for full details.

 

NR Conwy Valley reopens 28/9/20

TfW reopened services on the Conwy Valley line from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog on Monday 28/9/20 after a test train and driver refamiliarisation runs. The line has been closed for repair since Storm Francis in the Spring. The are six services a day with the first and last remaining bustitutions.

See TfW website for latest status of Welsh train services.

 

Xmas services possible

The F&WHR has confirmed that Xmas Holiday services are possible but that it is too early to confirm. These are usually 26/12/20 -1/1/21 for the FR and 27/12/20-1/1/21 for the WHR as Machynlleth Powerbox is closed on Boxing Day and unable to release the Cae Pawb crossing. With that not required in the current WHR operation it is possible WHR trains will operate for the full week as on the FR.

 

FR services and lockdown 30/9/20

Wednesday 30/9/20 was a damp misty day in Porthmadog and the FR coaches in the WHR platform were blocking the WHR loop point close to Spooners. Blanche hauled the A set departing at 10:00. Linda turned up for the 11:05 with the B set. At 10:52 Moelwyn, sporting a Jolly Roger flag, appeared dragging the bogie tank wagon No.66 with Upnor Castle on the rear. This was to mark the passing of long-time employee Gerald 'Jed' Perks. The first service train carried a photo of Jed for one last journey up the railway. Jed's regular fuel train also carried a wreath.

 

This view (30/9/20) shows Moelwyn working the commemorative fuel tank train into Porthmadog with wreath attached. 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.

 

Upnor Castle detached later and by 11:20 had moved the FR coaches in the WHR platform clear of the WHR loop points and removed them to Boston Lodge. Merddin Emrys was provided for the 12:10, hauling the Colonel Stephens set. Although the weather became sunny in the afternoon, Merddin Emrys returned at 14:50 and the rake was locked and shunted to the sidings as the 15:25 did not run. The C set was propelled to the seawall sidings at 15:13.

The Welsh Government has identified new COVID restriction measures from 1/10/20 for Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham County areas. These require essential journeys only for residents and currently do not affect passing holiday traffic to Gwynedd, an area which is currently less affected. The A55, A5 and even the B4391 Bala/Llangynog Berwyn Pass all pass through these restricted areas. If transit later becomes restricted then the only access to the F&WHR will be via Mid-Wales e.g. Welshpool/Dolgellau A458/A470.

 

Trawsfynydd Transformer delivered via Black Rock Sands 16/9/20

A new transformer was delivered to Trawsfynydd via Black Rock Sands beach on 16/9/20 being unloaded from a large flat bottom barge, The Terra Marique, on Black Rock Sands beach. The transformer completed it s journey to Trawsfynydd via road through Porthmadog, across The Cob on 18/9/20. The transformer for the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage scheme had arrived by rail via the Conwy Valley line in 1962 but this was unavailable due to the continuing repair of storm damage and the unwillingness of NR to countenance out-of-gauge loads. See YouTube of the 1962 delivery when BR was more pro-active.

For images of this year's delivery see BBC News story and Daily Post story.

 

FR services 29/9/20

Tuesday started out sunny but a little chilly at Porthmadog with fine weather forecast for the day. The FR rake was still blocking the WHR loop point outside Spooners. Blanche was on the first train departing with the A set at 10:00 prompt. Merddin Emrys emerged at Boston Lodge about 10:25 and trundled over to the yard, arriving at 10:40 to shunt the B set into the platform and finally departing 11:09. Linda arrived at 11:30 and after some consultation with the signaller extracted the C set from the seawall sidings

Blanche arrived back from its second trip at 15:38 and shunted its train to the yard at 15:55. Moelwyn arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 15:43 presumably from Glan-y-pwll, with bogie fuel tank wagon No.66, the replica Quarryman's open 4-wheeler No.33 and bogie coal wagon No.63 with a metre cube water container. The freight departed at 14:47. Merddin Emrys had run round its train in the arrival platform to facilitate the freight passing. The freight passed Minffordd at 16:13 heading for Boston Lodge. Merddin Emrys started back from Tan-y-bwlch at 16:15 so there was no 15:25. With the evenings drawing in the 15:25 is less popular as it arrives back in Porthmadog just before 18:00.

 

FR services 28/9/20

Monday 28/9/20 was a damp misty day at Porthmadog and the FR rake in the WHR platform was close to Spooners thereby blocking the WHR loop. Linda was on the 10:00 and Blanche on the 11:05. Merddin Emrys hauled the 12:10 with the Colonel Stephens set.

With 2/3 of the population of Wales (essentially South Wales) now facing a second lockdown and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford considering the less severe situation in North Wales, fears must be growing that any changes in WAG COVID rulings will affect F&WHR operations again and the planned 'Bygones Gala' for 9-11/10/20. Nevertheless it appeared bookings are going well with the 11:05, 12:10 and 15:25 fully booked for the next few days.

 

FR services 26/9/20

Saturday dawned fine and sunny but with a brisk cold wind at Porthmadog. The FR coaches remained parked close to Spooners, obstructing the WHR loop point. There does not appear to have been a 10:00 service, possibly the first time this train has been dropped from the timetable. Linda hauled the B set on the 11:05 departing at 11:07 and passing Minffordd at 11:20 and arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:57 where it performed the shunt itself at 12:05 so presumably the point problem was fixed and shunt release by Upnor Castle is no longer required..

Britomart turned up at 11:35 to shunt two coaches for the 12:10/15:25 service, possibly Nos.20/10 from the rear of the C set. The loco had been put on as an attraction but, surprisingly with only 8 compartments available, the 15:25 was still bookable on 26/9/20. Lilla was to perform the same duty on 27/9/20 and again the 15:25 still had spare seats. The F&WHR stated 'Saturday is one of the quietest days on the railway, so fewer trains are run. However, people are out enjoying the sunshine and scenery today and our trains are busy, So we have put the 13:15 Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch Heritage Train back into today's timetable to provide additional seats.' Britomart departed at 12:10 on time and passing Minffordd at 12:23 where it passed Moelwyn with the brown liveried Van No.8 possibly and four wheeler No.11 with leather aprons presumably from store in Glan-y-pwll shed for use in the Bygones Gala. These were shunted into Boston Lodge whilst the loco was prepared for the reinstated the 13:15.

Blanche departed Boston Lodge at 12:38 to haul the 13:15 and shunted the yard at 12:43 to extract the B set, leaving on time. Britomart returned at about 14:45 and Prince turned up at 15:00 with a couple of B wagons of coal for the fuelling point enabling Britomart to refuel for the 15:25 which left on time. Linda headed back to Boston Lodge at 17:07 after returning with the 14:20. Britomart arrived back at around 17:40. The C set was then reassembled before shunting to the sea wall at 17:55. The loco left for Boston lodge at 18:03.

Due to good traffic on Saturday, the 13:10 has been made bookable on Sunday 27/9/20 and Lilla's two trains are surprisingly still bookable!/p>

 

This view (26/9/20) shows Britomart working the 12:10 to Tan-y-Bwlch crossing The Cob. 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.

 

FR services 25/9/20

Friday 25/9/20 dawned cold and windy but bright at Porthmadog with the FR rake in the WHR platform positioned close to Spooners and blocking the WHR loop point near Britannia Bridge. Linda hauled the A set on the 10:00 service, departing on time and arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 10:46 in sunshine. Upnor Castle was already at Tan-y-bwlch for the shunt release at 11:00 having travelled up light engine earlier. Blanche was on the B set departing on time at 11:05 and No.5 again hauled the 12:10 departing on time. North Wales seems to be low risk from COVID but today large areas of South Wales representing some 75% of the population of the Principality are going into lockdown with rapidly rising cases of the virus (Llanelli/Cardiff/Swansea).

 

FR services 24/9/20

Blanche led the A set on Thursday 24/9/20, a damp cool day in North Wales, though the train appeared full. The FR rake was still placed further along platform from Spooners. The train set off a little late at 10:07 but arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 10:50. Upnor Castle must have worked light to Tan-y-bwlch as it shunt release Blanche at 11:00. Linda followed on the 1105 departing in heavy rain at 11:06. Meanwhile Vale of Ffestiniog had turned up light engine at about 11:00 in the WHR loop and shut down. after the squall the crew rejoined the Funkey and it advanced to the end of the loop to collect the token at 11:17.before setting off for presumably the Old Loco shed at 11:21. Normally the Funkey is retained at Dinas as a rescue loco for the WHR service train.

No.5 turned up at Porthmadog at 11:39 to extract the C Set from the seawall siding for the 12:10 service. This was followed by the reappearance of the Funkey at 11:47 with a couple of coaches presumably from store in the old Loco Shed, possibly Observation car Gwyrfai (see story below). No.5 departed on the !2:10 on time with sunny periods and showers predominating. following the departure of Vale of Ffestiniog to Dinas, Blanche shunted the FR coaches in the WHR platform closer to Spooners at 12:55, again blocking the WHR loop point, before preparing for the 13:15 departure.

 

Gwyrfai returns to service with Pullman relaunch 26/9/20

The arrival of Autumn would traditionally have signalled a busy period for the F&WHR on-board catering staff as they would begin to prepare the renowned ‘Pullman Afternoon Tea’ experiences. However, this Autumn, the F&WHR has been busy designing an alternative ‘First Class Luxury Pullman Day Out’, which will act as a provisional substitute for the traditional ‘Pullman Afternoon Teas’. The new package, offering the chance of a luxury day out in the brand new Pullman First Class carriage, ‘Gwyrfai’ on the WHR ‘Back to Beddgelert’ service will start from Saturday 26/9/20 onwards MFSuX.

This beautifully finished carriage, generously funded by members of the WHR Society and built in Boston Lodge, gives the feeling of the Orient Express right in the middle of Snowdonia. Perspex screens have been tastefully added to the carriage to provide five bays of armchair seating at tables for up to four passengers travelling together as a group for COVID security.

This new package will be priced at £175 for two people (it is currently unclear if there are options for 3 or 4 that a compartment can hold) which includes the return journey fare and a ‘First Class Hamper’ for two though it seems to be possible for passengers to book a compartment for 2 for £120 and bring their own food. Complimentary coffee and a Guidebook to the WHR are offered on arrival at 10:15. Gwyrfai will be positioned at the rear of the train on the outwards journey. A Sweet Treats box is provided for the return journey and coffee etc can be purchased at Beddgelert station shop.

To book a ‘First Class Luxury Pullman Day Out’ package or for further information please visit the F&WHR website: https://bit.ly/2FZyHVs. Customers who have already booked an original ‘Pullman Afternoon Tea’ can transfer their original booking to a new ‘First Class Luxury Pullman Day Out’ package by calling the Booking Office; 01766 516024.

 

This view (24/9/20) shows the high quality internal finish of Observation Car Gwyrfai that has been returned to service with COVID compliant Perspex screens forming 4 'compartments'. 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.

 

FR trains released until end of October

While Friday 2/10/30 strangely has no bookable FR trains, tickets have now been released for booking on the most popular trains, the 11:05/14:20 from 16/10/20 until 31/10/20. Such a service can be operated with one train set if necessary, however the F&WHR has said it will add more of the former six train service if demand justifies it. The service on 9-11/10/20 includes a retimed 08:55 which replaces the 10:00 to allow for various special trains running in the Bygones Gala. The odd days in the timetable persist with 1/10/20 seeing the 12:10 working one trip, 5/10/20 seeing a 13:15 added and 15-16/10/20 will also see the 13:15 working one trip.

In contrast tickets for the WHR from 17-31/10/20 MFSuX have not yet been released for booking despite the promotion of the Pullman Experience from 26/10/20 (see above).

 

Welsh Pony works plate

This view (21/9/20) shows the 1915 rebuild works plate from Welsh Pony that has been returned anonymously. It had been removed some time in the past when there seemed to be no hope of restoring the loco. It will probably be displayed in Spooners alongside other loco name plates and memorabilia. 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.

 

FR services 23/9/20

Wednesday 23/9/20 dawned cooler, grey and damp in North Wales and the WHR platform was again occupied by the FR rake parked close to Spooners. It remains to be seen how the Government's statements about the second wave will affect traffic but some parts of South Wales are already subject to partial lockdowns due to high R numbers. This has not yet affected North Wales.

Linda hauled the A set departing at 10:03 after consultation with the signaller and Upnor Castle was already at Tan-y-bwlch where it may be outstabling. During the day the diesel seems to be having problems creating a vacuum and the second man/guard regularly checked the rear vacuum pipe cover. Blanche followed with the B set on the 11:05. No.5 arrived late from Boston Lodge about 11:50 and took some time in the yard, possibly a coupling problem, leading to some consultation with the signaller. The black England shunted its rake at 12:15 and finally got away at 12:22 after the late arrival of a couple of passenger groups. A spirited run saw the !2:10 pass Minffordd in just 9 minutes compared to the more typical 12-15 minutes, reducing the delay to Linda, waiting patiently there with the returning 10:00 service. As a result the timetable got back to normal with Linda reaching Minffordd at 13:29 passing Blanche which departed promptly at 13:30. The weather improved after midday.

At 15:15 No.5 shunted to the WHR platform to move the FR stock used for Spooners overspill clear of the points at the Britannia Bridge end of the WHR loop at 15:22. This was presumably in readiness for a movement on the WHR loop. Having completed the job, at 15:23 the England loco detached and shunted to the FR platform, coupling up to the 15:25 at 15:27 finally departing at 15:30. The 15:25 passed Linda returning from the 13:15 at Minffordd. At 16:10 Linda shunted the A set to the yard and departed for Boston lodge at 16:17.

At 16:25 Harlech Castle arrived from the WHR with the cherry picker and a scrap wagon accompanied by a brakevan. The diesel waited in the loop for the signaller to return to the signalbox before heading off to Minffordd at 16:31, passing Blanche there returning from the 14:20 service at 16:40. Blanche shunted the B set into the seawall siding at 17:00 before shunting back to Boston Lodge light engine. Meanwhile, up at Tan-y-bwlch Upnor Castle was attached to the rear of the 15:25 return working to return the loco to Boston Lodge. Upnor Castle piloted No.5 back to Boston Lodge at 18:15 after shunting the C set into the sidings at Harbour station. The Spooners overspill coaches were not shunted back close to Spooners in the WHR platform.

 

The case of the disappearing 15:25!

Having disappeared from the booking timetable earlier in the week the 15:25 ran again on Wednesday 23/9/20. While the F&WHR has said it will remove trains from the booking timetable if fully booked, surely it would be better to show them as fully booked to encourage tourists to make their booking on another service promptly before alternatives too becomes fully booked? As the 15:25 could be one of the least popular workings, its absence seems to be because management is releasing the 15:25 booking slot only when advance bookings for the earlier trains on a particular day are strong, in order to provide more capacity. The 15:25 continues to be shown in the main timetable. For example on Tuesday 29/9/20 and Wednesday 30/9/20 neither the 12:10 nor the 15:25 are currently bookable which could mean they are already fully booked or that the release of these trains for booking depends on advance bookings for those days and that they will be released later to cope with demand if justified.

 

FR coach sets

Now that stable rakes are being used, here are the compositions of the three sets normally used.

A set

This set is normally used on the 10:00/13:15 departures with compartment numbers.

Coach Compartment/s
No.8 Brown livery Quarryman's coach None shown
No.2 First Class Birmingham 4 wheeler 23
No.5 Third Class Birmingham 4 wheeler 22
No.19 Bowsider bogie coach 16-21
No.26 Ex-NWNGR bogie coach 9-15
No.22 FR Ashbury bogie coach 2-8
No.113 Carnforth Brake bogie coach 1
No.37 Open coach Two unnumbered

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows coach No.39 on the rear of the WHR Society Members special after arrival at Porthmadog at 13:06. The central two bays are marked out of use and the two end bays are clearly well over 2m apart and open to air currents anyway. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

B set

This set is normally used on the 11:05/14:20.

Coach Compartment/s
No.38 Open coach Two unnumbered
No.23 WHR Ashbury bogie coach 18-23
No.21 Replica FR Ashbury bogie coach 11-17
No.17 Bowsider bogie coach 5-10
No.12 Bogie brake 3-4
No.11 Bogie brake 1-2

 

C set (Colonel Stephens' green livery set)

This set is normally used on the 12:10/13:25 (when running)

Coach Compartment/s
No.1 Observation Car open 4 wheeler 23
No.3 Birmingham 4 wheeler 22
No.4 Birmingham 4 wheeler 21
No.24 NWNGR replica bogie coach 16-20
No.16 Original FR bogie coach 9-15
No.20 Bowsider bogie coach 3-8
No.10 Bogie brake 1-2
No.39 Open coach (occasional use only) Two unnumbered

Any corrections to these lists are welcome.

 

FR services 22/9/20

Tuesday 22/9/20 saw the end of the warm sunny spell in North Wales and the FR rake was again positioned close to Spooners in the WHR platform for overspill for diners. Upnor Castle was stabled at Tan-y-bwlch in case of further point problems. Blanche was on the A set departing at 10:01. When it arrived at Tan-y-bwlch, the train engine uncoupled and reversed into the departure platform followed by Upnor Castle shunting the rake onto the rear of it. Trains departed as normal from the westbound platform so it appeared cannot be reversed to allow a normal run round but is trailable. David Lloyd George was on the B set departing at 11:05. No.5 hauled the third train departing Boston Lodge at 11:28 to shunt the yard and finally departing with the C set at 12:12 with the weather closing in and becoming rainy.

 

WHR suppressed demand?

The F&WHR management stated on 20/9/20 that there had been 'a very busy few weeks over the Summer with virtually every train on the WHR being fully booked'. This suggests there was suppressed demand for WHR services and more money could have be made for the F&WHR during these difficult times by operating trains on additional days, not just the four trains a week currently operated (MFSuX) compared to the FR's every day six train a day service (42 trains per week!).

 

Tan-y-bwlch shunt release 21/9/20

On 20-21/9/20 Upnor Castle was used as shunt release loco at Tan-y-bwlch following failure of the points near the cafe.

 

This westerly view (21/9/20) shows Upnor Castle and Blanche posing side by side at Tan-y-bwlch. The diesel was shunt releasing Blanche due to failed points at the west end of the station. 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.

 

North Wales main line news 22/9/20

Yellow liveried NR Class 150 DMU No.950001 made an inspection trip from Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog in readiness for the reopening of the storm damaged branch at the end of September.

 

FR services 21/9/20

Monday 21/9/20 was another warm sunny day in North W ales and the FR rake was again positioned close to Spooners for overspill for diners. Upnor Castle had turned up early to shunt the rake to the platform allowing Linda a late start at 09:45 from Boston Lodge. COVID compliant cleaning was underway as passengers joined the train at 09:55 when Linda arrived and coupled up to pilot the diesel. Prompt work by station staff saw the 10:00 depart just 2 minutes late. Blanche then arrived at 10:46 to shunt and haul the B set. Finally No.5 was noted on the 12:10 passing Minffordd at 12:25 with the C set on the 12:10.

 

Welsh Pony naming ceremony YouTube 21/9/20

Click on the YouTube window to watch 9 mins 15 seconds of video showing the General Manager explaining the naming of No.5 as Welsh Pony at a private ceremony at Dduallt on 10/10/20. This YouTube was published on 21/9/20 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

FR timetable cutbacks

Despite the sunny late September mild Autumn weather passenger numbers must be declining as it seems the 15:25 has been removed from the timetable this week (or is already fully booked which is unlikely) and will only run Saturday/Sunday 26-27/9/20. Four services are planned midweek using two sets until the end of September with the 12:10/15:25 removed from the timetable. Major changes are planned for October with services bookable until Friday 16/10/20. Friday services have disappeared from the FR timetable on 2/10/20 and no public services are offered over the Bygones Event members weekend 9-11/10/20. Initially only the 11:05/14:20 services are offered but on 5/10/20 and 15/10/20 the 13:15 is also offered. On the WHR, services are currently bookable until Thursday 15/10/20. Nevertheless the intention is still to run some sort of service until Saturday 31/10/20 on both railways if passenger numbers hold up and there is no national lockdown.

 

FR services 20/9/20

Unusually Blanche pilotted Upnor Castle on the first train of the day departing at 10:00. Again it was the Brown van rake so this seems to be the regular A set. The train returned at 1238 without Upnor Castle so that musty have been left elsewhere. Linda was on the second working and was noted departing Porthmadog. at 14:20 on time on its second trip. It passed No.5 at Minffordd which had hauled the third trip and was diagrammed to work the 15:25.

Allan Child has provided details of Upnor Castle's duties at Tan-y-bwlch, presumably caused by the failed point, gleaned from the webcams. 'I was able to check the Tan-y-Bwlch webcam from time to time during the day and Upnor Castle appears to have been used as station pilot there. When Linda arrived with the 11:05, Upnor Castle was standing in the Down platform road. Linda obviously then drew forward sufficiently to allow Upnor Castle to follow and shunt the rake into the Down platform; Linda then ran round the rake (via the Up platform road). When No.5 arrived with the 12:10, the procedure was a bit different; after No.5 had drawn forward Upnor Castle must have followed then set back onto the rake before No.5 ran back through the down platform road and Upnor Castle then shunted the rake into the down platform. Porthmadog webcam at about 15.20 showed No.5 shunting its rake into the seawall siding and then departing for Boston Lodge, so obviously the 15:25 was cancelled and presumably Upnor Castle returned with Linda on the return working of the 14:20'.

 

Small Engine specials 26-27/9/20

Britomart will work the 12:10 and 15:25 services on Saturday 26/9/20 and Lilla will be in charge of the 12:10 and 15:25 services on Sunday 27/9/20.

These trains are limited to just 8 compartments per train in view of the low power of the locos so booking is recommend as soon as possible. Book online now at https://bit.ly/3etzaug.

Seats are available at the moment, but may well sell out as demand increases. If a particular train does not show on the bookings system it has sold out.

 

David Lloyd George returns 17-19/9/20

This northerly view (17/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George posing side by side at Harbour Station. The refurbishment of the red Fairlie had been put back in favour of completion of Welsh Pony and maintaining the small engines for the Heritage service. David Lloyd George made some running in trips back and forth across The Cob and appeared on ITV Wales coverage of the F&WHR on the same day. 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 northerly view (19/9/20) shows David Lloyd George hauling the 11:05 Heritage service crossing The Cob. The loco's last trip was 23/3/20. 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.

 

FR services hit by points failure 19/9/20

Saturday 19/9/20 was another fine day in North Wales and the WHR platform was still occupied by FR coaches close to Spooners. Linda hauled the 10:00 with the first rake again leading with the brown van. For a change David Lloyd George was turned out for the 11:05. Blanche was on the 12:10. A set of points malfunctioned at Tan-y-bwlch and this led to late running in the afternoon. As a result Linda on the 13:15 at 13:50 and David Lloyd George arrived at Porthmadog at 14:15 just 5 minutes before its planned 14:20 departure. It was held until 15:03 and departed as passengers were arriving for the 15:25.

 

BYGONES WEEKEND 9-11/10/20

This year has not turned out the way any of us would ever have expected and it has required the F&WHR to continually review their plans for train services and events. Already of number of events have been cancelled including the famous WHR SuperPower Event.

The F&WHR are now able to announce plans for the ‘Bygones Weekend' in October. This will feature many of the familiar aspects of our usual vintage weekends, in particular heritage trains, passenger and goods but with seats on all trains being pre-booked, in the same fashion as the current service trains to Tan-y-Bwlch.

PLEASE NOTE: this will not be a costumed event, there will be no sideshows / stalls, strict Covid-19 compliant measures will be in place (please bring your face masks etc), access to main stations will be limited to ticket holders but the F&WHR will be doing their very best to lay on a weekend that maximises the enjoyment of our railway’s rich heritage as they bring the past to life, 2020 fashion!

There will be no “Spotter’s Guide” produced this year - instead we have produced some outline information sheets which, together with working timetables and train graphs, can be downloaded from the website (see links below).

These information sheets are provided for your guidance, but please remember that access to stations is restricted, and train capacity reduced, due to social-distancing requirements.

To book seats on ANY of the ‘Bygones Weekend’ trains, you must phone the Booking Office on 01766 516024.

Tickets will go on sale at 09:00 on Friday 18/9/20.

This event focuses almost entirely on the FR and except for two trains to Beddgelert on Saturday and Sunday there will be little to interest WHR members who might be concerned that a large FR event is going ahead so soon after the equivalent WHR event was cancelled. Some had called for the event to be spread out more evenly over the two railways with more services on the WHR too.

Bygones Weekend Information Sheets:

https://bit.ly/3c9iWXD

Bygones Weekend Timetables/Graphs:

https://bit.ly/33DTllU

 

FR services 18/9/20

Friday 18/9/20 was another fine day in Porthmadog and the FR rake was pulled up close to Spooners in the WHR platform all morning. Traffic numbers still look good with many middle aged couples without school age children visiting mid week. With the Covid figures rising again and the Tory Health Secretary refusing to rule out another national lockdown, it seems people are determined to get a staycation holiday in North Wales. Another National Lockdown would likely see F&WHR services immediately stopped again.

Linda turned up at 09:50 and promptly shunted the rake with the brown van leading into the platform. Quick work by platform staff saw the train leave on time at 10:00. Merddin Emrys was next shunting at 10:46 ready for the 11:05 departure. No.5 hauled the third train, the 12:10, passing Minffordd at 12:25 with three 4-wheelers, NWNGR coach No.24, 2 saloons, brakevan No.10 but unusually no Open coach.

 

B wagons on ash duty? 12/9/20

This southerly view (12/9/20) shows 4 B wagons stabled at Hafod-y-llyn at 12:28. These could possibly have been on loco ash disposal duties. 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 an iPhone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Open Day 12/9/20

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows No.130 with paintwork complete stabled at Dinas outside the Goods shed at 15:28. Much other work needs to be finished before the loco is available for traffic. Surprisingly few came to visit the Dinas offerings. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Harlech Castle with PW livery stabled at Dinas outside the Goods shed at 15:29. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas shed view (12/9/20) shows the boiler donated by Puffing Billy Railway with new smokebox fitted at 15:39. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/9/20) shows No.87 on the return working of the 11:00 Caernarfon-Beddgelert passing Dinas Loco Shed at 15:41. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas shed view (12/9/20) shows the current state of progress with NG15 No.134 at 15:39. The loco needs to be wheeled and the K-H pony truck is visible alongside. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas shed view (12/9/20) shows the detail of the K-H pony truck at 15:39. The ball joint and springs puts a force on the lead drivers that helps lead the loco into curves considering its long wheelbase. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas shed view (12/9/20) shows No.134's wheels all ready for fitting at 16:02. Much other work needs to be finished before the loco is available for traffic. Behind is No.138 and depot pilot Bill (ex Shotton Steelworks). 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving with North Wales Track Gang's volunteer work party at Dinas outside the Goods shed at 16:24. Coach No.111 is currently used as their Mess Coach. In the foreground a new point is under construction. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows B wagon No.921 with the remains of the Waunfawr wooden station building at 16:24 that the North Wales Track gang had demolished. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR services 16/9/20

Wednesday dawned fine at Porthmadog with the FR rake in the WHR platform close to Spooners. Blanche was active at Boston Lodge at 09:30 and hauled the serviced rake back to Porthmadog arriving at 09:45, before shunting it to a siding. This is the second day that the serviced rake has not been put into instant service suggesting rakes are used in a particular order. After further shunting, another rake led by the brown van and two other four-wheelers with 4 saloons and an Open at the rear, departing on time at 10:00. Merddin Emrys hauled the second rake and No.5 the third.

 

WHRS Members' Special 12/9/20

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows Upnor Castle moving the three FR coaches in the WHR platform to Boston Lodge at 09:21 to allow the WHRS Members' Special train to run into the platform. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 shunting in the yard to prepare the WHRS Members' Special train to run into the platform. It had arrived behind Merddin Emrys which shunted into the WHR loop line. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows Blanche shunting the yard at 09:53 in preparation for the 10:00 service which left a little late as No.5 was also shunting the yard. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 departing the yard at 10:10 in preparation for the 10:15 WHRS Members' Special. The England had extracted two bug boxes from another rake and then shunted an extra Observation 4-wheeler No.12 onto the front of the WHRS Member's special to strengthen the rake. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys with No.5 approaching Nantmor on the WHRS 10:15 special. The double Fairlie was required as No.5's lightweight tender could not pass through the hydraulic automatic points. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys and No.5 approaching Bryn-y-felin at 11:03. According to the fireman of No.5, Merddin Emrys had eased up to let No.5 work hard on the 1 in 40 grades through the Aberglaslyn Pass. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys and No.5 approaching Bryn-y-felin at 11:03. No.5 was working hard and making a lot of smoke. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys had detached and run forward to water at the Beddgelert water crane at 11.13. Few stayed on the platform as most members seemed to bring their families who wanted to visit the Beddgelert ice cream parlour! 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys running round at 11:18 to attach inside on the return leg.. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys having completed the run round. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 still attached to the rake, waiting its turn to water at 11:11. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 still attached to its rake before making its way to the heritage water tower at 11:12. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 watering at the historic Beddgelert water tower replicating scenes from many original WHR photos. The loco will be the centre piece of the Bygones Weekend in October replacing both SuperPower and Vintage Weekend. 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 northerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 completing its run round at Beddgelert at 11:35. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys and No.5 coupling up at 11:37. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 and Merddin Emrys passing Cemetery Crossing on the return journey at 12:14. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 and Merddin Emrys crossing Britannia Bridge on the return journey at 12:55. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (12/9/20) shows No.5 and Merddin Emrys shunting to the yard at 13:00 soon after arrival to clear the route for the 13:15 service train. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/9/20) shows Blanche ready to depart at 13:07 on the 13:15 standard FR service train. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR services 15/9/20

The FR stock was positioned close to Spooners in the WHR platform and it seemed another fine day at Porthmadog. At 9:50 Linda arrived with a rake from Boston Lodge which had probably been serviced as part of a regular cycle. The rake was shunted into the sidings and the rake for the first train extracted. This process meant that the 10:00 departed some 6 minutes late. However, Blanche was much more prompt with the second train which left on time at 11:05. No.5 was turned out for the 12:10 duty arriving at 11:42 to shunt the yard. It had a full length rake of 5 bogies (including the Open) and three four-wheelers. Palmerston is apparently out of action following the fusible plug leak that led to last week's failure.

 

Moving Pictures No.44 14/9/20

Click on the YouTube window to watch 36 mins 46 seconds of video covering No.5's first visit to Tan-y-grisiau on 5/9/20 and the WHRS Members' Special on 14/9/20 to Beddgelert, both locations Welsh Pony had not visited since the early 1930s. The YouTube also captures your webmaster admiring locos at Beddgelert, another possible first! This YouTube was published on 14/9/20 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

North Wales main line 14/9/20

Class 67s Nos.67023/7 top and tailed the NR Q train Crewe to Holyhead and back to Liverpool on 14/9/20.

The Heart of Wales line is occasionally being bustituted for lack of staff.

The September Edition of Back Track magazine (Vol.34 No.9) features an article on the Buckley Railway in North East Wales.

 

Wylfa B cancelled 15/9/20?

The BBC has reported that Hitachi, the developer behind Wylfa B, has withdrawn from the project. Hitachi owns Horizon Nuclear the official developer of Wylfa Newydd site. This comes days before the Environment Permit was to be confirmed and will hit job prospects in Anglesey hard if no other developer is found. It also means no resumption in the flask traffic that was expected once the power station was in operation. The Tory Government recently delayed the Planning Consent yet again until 30/9/20 and seem unable to make a decision on this project which is so vital for jobs in North Wales during the COVID pandemic. See BBC story.

A Sunday Times report said China's General Nuclear Power Corporation was keen to buy the site as part of plans to build a fleet of nuclear reactors but Trump has cautioned against accepting offers from China. The construction of the power station would have offered 9,000 much needed jobs in North Wales and when operational in 5 years time Wylfa B could power up to 5 million homes. There is a danger the National Grid could become unstable due to the closure of old Nuclear Power stations (in addition to the almost complete closure of coal-fired power stations) and the reliance of unpredictable wind turbines and solar power.

 

WHR news

Plas-y-nant bridge will be replaced this winter during the WMWP. When the WHR was rebuilt, the other two bowstring bridges at Betws Garmon and Salem were treated differently. The first was completely replaced with a structure acquired from BR and the second lifted out and repaired on the south bank near the Water Works. The Plas-y-nant bridge was lifted and repaired in situ but experiences more lateral forces being on a curve and has deteriorated.

There will be no F&WHR Santa Trains this year however the question of an Xmas Holiday Timetable is yet to be settled.

 

F&WHR timetables confirmed until mid October

The FR timetable now shows trains confirmed daily until 16/10/20 with the 11:05 and 14:20 bookable but the other 4 trains 'Not Yet Released'. This gives the FR the opportunity to add extra trains as traffic develops. One set can perform the 11:05 and 14:20 duties. On the strength of the Autumn 'shoulder' traffic so far all six trains are now bookable until the end of September. On the WHR a similar pattern exists with trains shown MFSuX until 15/10/20 (a correction as the October trains had previously been shown running every day) with the 11:00 once a day Caernarfon-Beddgelert service. Both FR and WHR services are shown as 'possibly running' later in October until Saturday 31/10/20 but currently not bookable.

 

New Welsh Social distancing rules from 14/9/20

F&WHR statement

There has been an update from the Welsh Government regarding the use of face masks and social distancing, so this is an opportune time to confirm the situation at our stations and on our trains...

From Monday 14/9/20, it is compulsory for face masks to be worn on our station premises, buildings and platforms - except when eating or drinking.

FACE MASKS - should be worn when walking to/from trains and when entering or leaving carriages:

• On the Ffestiniog Railway, passengers travel in separated compartments, so once settled in your seats you may remove your masks - until arrival at Tan-y-Bwlch, or Porthmadog on the return journey.

• On the Welsh Highland Railway, passengers travel in socially-distanced seating bays, so please wear face masks until everyone has been seated and the train departs. If you wish, face masks may be removed during the journey, but - if you need to use the (emergency) on-train toilet facility, your face mask should be put back on and worn until you have returned to your seat.

• Please remember to put your face masks back on when leaving the train at the half-way break (Tan-y-Bwlch or Beddgelert), and at the end of your journey, until you have left railway premises.

SOCIAL DISTANCING - remains at 2m in Wales, unlike the situation 'over the border', so bear this in mind when walking around the station and our catering outlets. Please also follow guidance on notices placed in areas where we have to limit numbers to help maintain reasonable social distancing - in particular in our shops and our toilets:

• Harbour Station - the shop here has narrow walkways, so we have put 2m markers on the floor and added a maximum limit of SIX customers at a time inside the shop to avoid congestion.

• Station Toilets - we ask you to follow a 'One Out, One In' routine when entering, this will help avoid unintended crowding due to the restricted spaces and single entry/exit doors.

 

FR services 14/9/20

Monday dawned fine and warm and there were plenty of tourists in North Wales. The FR coaches on the WHR platform had been moved clear of the WHR point next to Britannia Bridge. Blanche hauled the 10:00, Merddin Emrys on the 11:05 and Linda on the 12:10.

 

Bygones Weekend may feature WHR trains

Officials inspected the historic WHR water tower at Beddgelert on 12/9/20. It has emerged that the FR 'Bygones Weekend' event 9-11/10/20 will be extended to Beddgelert making it a joint FR/WHR event as there was no SuperPower over the weekend of 11-13/9/20, just two WHRS members only special trains from Porthmadog to Beddgelert on 12/9/20. This will appease WHRS members who might rightly consider holding an FR exclusive event unfair.

It was announced on 11/9/20 that Hugh Napier would not be ready in time for the Bygones Weekend as the amount of work needed on the motion was more extensive than thought at first. However, it should still be in service for the ash movement trains planned for winter weekends.

 

Michael Portillo on FR 12/9/20

Ex-Tory Minister Michel Portillo visited Porthmadog and the FR on 12/9/20. This was in preparation for another of his 'Great Railway Journey' series likely to be shown early in 2021.

 

FR trains 13/9/20

The three FR coaches had been shunted back close to Spooners on 12/8/20. Sunday started out a little damp but cleared up later. A couple who had unfortunately been double booked in Spooners actually ate in there Friday. Linda was on the 10:00 and Blanche on the 11:05.

 

FR Scenes from 11/9/20

This northerly view (11/9/20) shows Linda with the second train of the day at 12:36.awaiting the arrival of the third train. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (11/9/20) shows No.5 arriving at Tan-y-bwlch with the third train of the day at 12:58..Linda is waiting to depart. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (11/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys pulling into Minffordd on the 13:15 service. The train had been held at signals for several minutes. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (11/9/20) shows Linda passing Merddin Emrys at 13:35 at Minffordd. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (11/9/20) shows Merddin Emrys ready to depart Minffordd on its second train of the day at 13:37. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (11/9/20) shows No.5 arriving at Porthmadog with the final train of the day, originally the 15:25 from Porthmadog. The weather was deteriorating by this time. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (11/9/20) shows No.5 preparing to shunt its rake to the sea wall siding at 18:06 having run round at Porthmadog. It drizzled overnight. 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 EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR trains 11-12/9/29

Merddin Emrys, Linda and No.5 hauled the FR trains on 11/12/20.

On 12/9/20 Merddin Emrys and Linda performed again on the first and third timetabled workings with the rake for the second 11:05 working being allocated to two WHRS specials that day.

 

FR trains 10/9/29

The weather was much better on 10/9/20 and the Open coaches were in use. Blanche was on the first train with 3 bugboxes, 4 saloons and Open coach No.37. There was a works train at Tan-y-bwlch at 10:10 with the cherry picker wagon probably on its way to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Merddin Emrys was surprisingly turned out for the second train, shunting the yard at 10:49 and departing at 11:05 with five saloons and an Open coach. No.5 hauled the third train with 3 bugs, 4 saloons and an Open coach.

 

Conwy Valley to reopen 26/9/20

TfW are suggesting that the Conwy Valley line may reopen 26/9/20.

 

Webmaster's Holiday 11/9/20

There will be a couple of days' break in updates as your webmaster will be in Porthmadog for the WHRS Members' Day. Normal service will be resumed Sunday 13/9/20.

 

FR 'Vintage Weekend' cancelled (9/9/20)

The F&WHR has bowed to the inevitable and cancelled the Vintage Weekend due 9-11/10/20 and replaced it with a smaller 'Bygones Weekend' event. This follows cancellation of the WHR's SuperPower event and its replacement with a small scale Members Day on 12/9/20 featuring two special trains from Porthmadog to Beddgelert hauled by No.5 and a socially distanced visit to Dinas to see progress on No.130 etc..

Details of the Covid-aware 'Bygones' weekend, which will feature Heritage trains, passenger and goods - with seats on all trains being pre-booked in the same fashion as the current service trains to Tan-y-Bwlch...

Please Note: this will not be a costumed event, there will be no sideshows/stalls, strict Covid-19 compliant measures will be in place (please bring your face masks etc), access to main stations will be limited to ticket holders - but the F&WHR will be doing their very best to lay on a weekend that maximises the enjoyment of the railway's rich heritage..!

Final details are being worked out at the present moment and will be available in a few days. Further information will appear on the F&WHR's Facebook and website as soon as possible.

 

No.130 9/9/20

This Dinas loco shed view (9/9/20) shows No.130 with the cab fitted that was delivered on 8/9/20 (see below). The loco will be the centre piece of a small WHRS members event on 12/9/20 at Dinas replacing SuperPower. 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.

 

Vale of Ffestiniog 8/9/20

This southerly view (8/9/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling a works train to Dinas crossing Cae Pawb Crossing as seen from Gelert's Farm at 9:30. This explains the shunting of the FR rake in the WHR platform on 8/9/20. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8/9/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling a works train to Dinas passing Gelert's Farm. The DZ wagon was carrying a load of old wooden sleepers and the well wagon was carrying the recently painted cab of No.130 which is rapidly nearing completion at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR services 9/9/20

It was a fine day for a change at Porthmadog and Blanche hauled the first train (10:00), shunting at 09:42. The rake consisted of 5 saloons, the Open coach and 3 bugboxes. Linda hauled the second train (11:05) with 5 saloons an Open coach and 1 bugbox. No.5 was on the 12:10 with 3 bugboxes, coach No.24 and 3 other saloons and an open coach.

 

WHR timetable for October

A lilac timetable for WHR trains until 31/10/20 is now showing on the timetable website matching the equivalent FR timetable. No specific trains are shown but the information suggests that trains will be running subject to traffic and to watch the F&WHR website/social media for updates.

 

Single passengers?

Maybe the F&WHR could have standby tickets for single passengers on the understanding that if their chosen train is fully booked they would get their money backed or could travel on a later train if not fully booked. Usually the 15:25 is not fully booked. Recently there have been plenty of seats on the Open coaches due to inclement weather. Turning away potential passenger fares at this time of economic uncertainty for the railway does not make sense.

 

FR services 8/9/20

Another rainy day in North Wales yet there were plenty of tourists about with people desperate for a staycation before the inevitable second wave (of which signs already showing with cases up markedly nationally). The three FR coaches in the WHR platform had been moved east again to clear the WHR loop point by Britannia Bridge. Linda, with cab back sheet appropriately fitted, hauled the 10:00 with Blanche on the 11:05 and Palmerston on the 12:10 in deteriorating misty weather. Presumably adhesion difficulties in the misty woods caused the afternoon's timetable to be thrown into chaos. Upnor Castle recovered the train and was noted shunting onto the rake at Porthmadog at 14:52 and No.5 hurried over from Boston Lodge clearly substituting for Palmerston to double head at 15:04. Prompt work by the station staff saw the train depart at 15:08, probably the 14:20. Upnor Castle was retained as there is a problem connecting No.5 directly to this rake.

Linda which should have left Tan-y-bwlch at 15:10 on its second trip was still running round at that time. Meanwhile Blanche passed No.5 and Upnor Castle at Minffordd and Palmerston was noted on the rear. It seems that Blanche had rescued Palmerston from where it was dumped after failing on its first trip and all the locos possibly rolled back one train. Prompt station work at Porthmadog saw Blanche run round and shunt the rake to the seawall siding at 15:46 before it took the failed Palmerston back to Boston Lodge at 15:50 so no 15:25 service today. No.5 and Upnor Castle arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 15:50 allowing Linda to depart at 15:55.

Linda arrived back at Porthmadog at 16:25 and shunted the rake to the yard at 16:38. No.5 and Upnor Castle left Tan-y-bwlch at 16:39. At 16:44 Linda was used to shunt the 3 FR coaches back along the WHR platform closer to Spooners (and fouling the WHR point in the process) before being disposed to Boston Lodge at 16:52.

 

The Snowdonian 7/11/20

The COVID delayed Snowdonian will run on 7/11/20. The £200 fare includes lunch at Waunfawr, No.87 on the WHR and a triple headed England on the FR with No.5 running as Welsh Pony following its naming at the FR Vintage Gala. Almost 80 miles of narrow gauge haulage will be included. With no First class and accommodation limited by social distancing, tickets are fewer than in the past. Booking can be made by post/phone or email. See F&WHR website which has not yet been updated to match adverts in the press.

 

BBC reports National Lottery Award 6/9/20

The BBC has reported the granting of £250,000 to the F&WHR to help support it throughout the COVID virus crisis. BBC report.

 

FR services 7/9/20

The 7/9/20 was a showery day in North Wales. Linda, with demountable cab back-sheet fitted, hauled the 10:00 service but with no Open coach in the rake. Blanche hauled the 11:05 and hauled the only rake with an Open coach today. No.5 hauled the 12:10.

 

FR Members' Special 5/9/20

This southerly view (5/9/20) shows No.5 hauling the 12:10 FR Members Special service rounding the Dduallt spiral on its way to Tan-y-grisiau, where it ran round and reversed. This service ran in the path of a revenue earning service and most members did not get to hear of it. 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 (5/9/20) shows No.5 hauling the 12:10 FR Members Special service crossing Penstocks Crossing, Tan-y-grisiau, where it ran round and reversed. 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 northerly view (5/9/20) shows No.5 running round the 12:10 FR Members Special service at Tan-y-grisiau. 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.

 

FR services 6/9/20

The 6/9/20 was a showery day at Porthmadog. Palmerston was due to haul the first train and as usual the Open coach had been removed from the rake. Concerns about the loco's tendency to slip led to it being piloted by Moelwyn on the first trip only. The diesel had been used to shunt the 3 FR coaches in the WHR platform clear of the WHR loop point close to Britannia Bridge, a sure sign the WHR was due to see a movement. Linda, with demountable cab fitted, hauled the second train. At midday Vale of Ffestiniog turned up in the WHR loop from Dinas with the well wagon which had been to Waunfawr to deliver an excavator helping demolish the wood station building which will be stored for use elsewhere. The Funkey shunted the three FR coaches back close to Spooners to act as Spooners' overspill and allow more socially distanced dining, before disappearing across The Cob with the well wagon. Blanche then hauled the 12:10.

 

This westerly view (6/9/20) shows Moelwyn and Palmerston running around at Tan-y-bwlch after arriving with the 10:00 from Porthmadog at 10:58, having already reversed its train into the westbound platform. The loco arrived wrong line and then shunted back into the yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is a screengrab courtesy F&WHR webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 2-3/9/20

This westerly view (2/9/20) shows Prince hauling the 15:25 service departing Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (3/9/20) shows Linda hauling the 10:00 service crossing Penrhyndeudraeth level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/9/20) shows No.87 hauling the 11:00 service from Caernarfon at Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings taken by a quadcopter. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR services 5/9/20

Palmerston put in an unexpected appearance on the 10:00 service with the rake again shortened by removal of the open coach. Linda hauled the 11:05 and No.5, back from its visit to Glan-y-pwll, hauled the 12:10.

 

No.5 ash special 4/9/20

No.5 worked a DZ wagon full of loco ash and a brakevan to Glan-y-pwll on 4/9/20. After collecting the curly roofed van and two bowsiders from Glan-y-pwll carriage shed the mixed rake returned to Boston Lodge.

 

This Campbell's Platform view (4/9/20) shows No.5 taking a DZ wagon of loco ash to dispose of at Dduallt. The loco then ran to Glan-y-pwll to bring 3 more coaches down to Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is a screengrab courtesy F&WHR webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Additional photos/video are available of the F&WHR Facebook page.

 

FR services 4/9/20

Prince hauled the 10:00 and Blanche the 11:05. Upnor Castle turned up to remove the Open coach from the third rake as Palmerston was allocated for the 12:10 and has a lower timing load than the other two England locos. This was the first time it had been used since Bank Holiday Monday. The other two trains had an Open coach. Upnor Castle then removed two B wagons at 12:18 to Minffordd Yard for refilling with coal for Harbour Station fuelling point. The diesel returned propelling one B wagon full of coal arriving at Harbour station at 13:56. This allowed Blanche to refuel and shunt onto its train at 14:09 departing at 14:23, a few minutes late.

 

This Minffordd view (4/9/20) shows Upnor Castle taking two wagons from Harbour station to Minffordd Yard presumably to refill with coal. The loco arrived wrong line and then shunted back into the yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is a screengrab courtesy F&WHR webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tan-y-bwlch view (4/9/20) shows Palmerston arriving with a shortened rake. The train arrived at 12:55 taking the standard 45 minutes from Porthmadog despite its lower power. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is a screengrab courtesy F&WHR webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR to offer October service

The FR's timetable website (as opposed to the booking website) now shows a lilac timetable for the whole of October. Clicking on the lilac timetable gives a message that 'A train service will be operating on this date, however, tickets and times have not yet been released. Keep watching our website and social media channels for the ticket release date.' No such timetable information is provided for the WHR in October although the F&WHR have stated they are considering such a service if traffic justifies it.

 

FR services 3/9/20

Linda hauled the 10:00, Prince the 11:05 and Blanche the 12:10 in improving weather.

 

WHR 'Back to Beddgelert' tickets released until 1/10/20

With Autumn Staycation improving visitor number to North Wales compared to 'Flycation' with its inherent uncertainties about Covid quarantine, the F&WHR has bowed to requests for more certainty about its WHR service, particularly as the FR was continuing until 30/9/20.

• Passengers can now book their tickets for our Caernarfon to Beddgelert service that will be running up until the Thursday 1/10/20.

• The F&WHR 'Back to Beddgelert' service runs between Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday each week.

• Trains will depart from Caernarfon Station at 11:00, arriving at Beddgelert Station at approx. 12:45.

• Visitors will have a 1hr 30mins visit at Beddgelert before returning on the 14:15 train which will arrive back at Caernarfon Station at approx. 16:00.

• Further trains may be added in October as bookings increase, the situation is being reviewed daily.

• Book online at https://bit.ly/2PYGgx5

All the details are available on the F&WHR website, with links between the various pages, but here are a few shortcuts:

bit.ly/2PREY70 - Details of the 'Back to Beddgelert' train service...

bit.ly/2Y090dc - FAQs about 'Back to Beddgelert'...

bit.ly/3g1QgAx - The new Hampers available for these trains.

 

FR's timetable becomes random!

With FR services extending until 30/9/20, either heavy booking of some services or attempts at yield management are making the FR timetable look unpredictable. The last day that all six trains can be booked is currently Sunday 13/9/20. The 15:25 disappears after 16/9/20 as the evenings draw in but on that day 3 services are currently bookable 11:05/14:20/15:25. For the next three days only the 11:05/14:20 are bookable but on Sunday 20/9/20 three services again, the 11:05/12:10/14:20. On 21-22/9/20 the first five trains are bookable. On 23/9/20 the first and third sets are out providing four bookable trains. From 24-30/9/20 just two trains are bookable, the 11:05/14:20; however Monday 28/9/20 has three trains bookable with the addition of the 12:10.

Although computer literate people will have no trouble with this, the absence of a regular timetable will make booking for others a confusing process. Maybe the booking website should state which trains are already fully booked and encourage people to book for fear of losing the chance? As with the WHR, the F&WHR will be looking at traffic carefully and judging whether to provide services in October.

 

WHR services 1/9/20

Today's service had 12 carriages with 30 seating bays. There are very few problems with social distancing on the WHR services despite having three bays in a coach so the central party needs to pass others. The corridor doors are open and have been helpfully marked with signs that indicate the nearest toilet. On the way back the train had 13 coaches as it picked up one, presumably brought to Beddgelert by Upnor Castle (see FR services).

 

FR services 1-2/9/20

September dawned with more fine weather at Porthmadog and back to normal on the loco roster with Merddin Emrys and Palmerston put 'back in their boxes'. The FR rake featuring brakes Nos.11/12 was in the WHR platform as Upnor Castle shunted the yard at 09:50. Prince was standing at station limits receiving attention before entering the yard to shunt its rake to the platform. Upnor Castle then removed two saloon coaches and an Observation car from the yard disappearing over The Cob at 10:00. This made Prince late with the rake arriving in the FR platform at 10:04 and prompt work by station staff allowing the train to get away at 10:08 only 8 minutes down. Time could have been saved by Prince connecting to the rake in the WHR platform.

Linda hauled the second train, shunting directly onto the rake in the WHR platform where it coupled up at 10:42. Maybe Upnor Castle had been present and shunted the rake into the platform. At 10:45 the rake was reversed back to the permanently stabled rake of three FR coaches used as extra seating for Spooners. At 10:48 it drew the 3 stabled FR coaches forward while a lot of attention seems to have been given to the king point, which appeared to require hand cranking. Linda left with its standard rake on time at 11:05, possibly the first public departure from this platform in over 5 months, leaving the three FR coaches repositioned further east along the WHR platform, thereby clearing the western WHR loop point.

Blanche turned up for the third train. Upnor Castle arrived at 12:00 running into the WHR loop to stable. Blanche departed on time at 12:10 by which time Upnor Castle had disappeared, probably up the WHR as the stabled FR coaches had been earlier moved to clear the WHR loop point. The FR coaches were shunted back to be close to Spooners at the end of the day, again fouling the western WHR loop point.

On 2/9/20 rain came in from the west. Linda hauled the 10:00 service but without demountable cab, something the crew might later have regretted. Blanche was provided for the 11:05 and Prince for the 12:10.

 

F&WHR receives Lottery Grant 1/9/20

After being forced to shut down all their operations earlier this year due to the devastating COVID-19 crisis, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel for the F&WHR, one of the largest and most successful tourist railways in Wales, as services get back on track with the help of £250,000 from The National Lottery. When lockdown measures came into effect in March this year, the F&WHR, along with thousands of other businesses in the tourist sector, were just getting ready to open for what would normally have been the start of their peak season. However, as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, they were forced to shut down their operations and instantly had to switch into survival mode.

Heritage railways across the UK traditionally attract millions of visitors and passengers every year. They support around 4,000 jobs and contribute some £400million of economic impact to the visitor economy. They also play a key role for apprentices and trainees to learn vital heritage skills. Being forced to shut down during their busiest time of year had a devastating effect on the income of F&WHR. However, The F&WHR is amongst a number of heritage railways throughout the UK that have received vital funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. The £50m fund was put together in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to support the heritage sector.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the funding is enabling bills and salaries to be paid and essential repairs and maintenance of tracks, engines and trains to continue. It is also helping organisations look towards reopening for business and getting their volunteers, apprentices and staff back on board. As lockdown measures eased, services eventually re-commenced on the FR on 20/7/20, and on the WHR on 18/8/20, but at a greatly reduced capacity due to carriages having to be adapted and capacity limited due to social distancing guidelines. These restrictions still limit the revenue they are able to generate at this current time. However, the £250,000 grant from The National Lottery is enabling F&WHR to continue to maintain their heritage buildings, work which had to be suspended at the start of the crisis.

To thank National Lottery players for their support, the first WHR locomotive to be rolled out since lockdown measures were eased in Wales, was emblazoned with a special ‘Thank You’ message to all National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million a week for good causes throughout the UK. Highlighting the importance of The National Lottery funding, the F&WHR General Manager, Paul Lewin, said: “Without this funding, we would simply not have been able to afford to continue this highly important work, having effectively lost four months of our high season. The National Lottery Heritage Fund have also been very supportive of our ongoing project to secure the future of the historic railway works site at Boston Lodge by conserving the remaining 19th century buildings to ensure that they can continue to function effectively into the 21st century. Thanks to the invaluable support of The National Lottery and its players, we are pleased to confirm that this project is continuing unabated, despite the current challenging situation.”

Mr Lewin added: “COVID-19 brought all our efforts to a rapid and potentially very damaging halt. The additional support of The National Lottery during this emergency means that we can form a plan that sees our business survive the immediate challenges and go on to flourish once more in the future.” Andrew White, Director of National Lottery Heritage Fund, Wales, said: “Our heritage railways are totally reliant on the summer months for their income. Lockdown has left many struggling and some facing a bleak future. We're thankful to been able to support a number of them with emergency funding thanks to National Lottery players, including F&WHR. The heritage sector is so vital for tourism, jobs and wellbeing as we emerge from this crisis.”

Thirty million pounds is raised every week on average by National Lottery players for projects big and small across the country. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The National Lottery has announced support packages of up to £600 million across arts, sports, heritage, education and the environment.

To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response.

 

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!

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.

 

Special Events 2020

1/1/20

Final Mince Pie special (two Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu trains)

15-23/2/20

Half Term Blue timetable Caernarfon-Porthmadog (one return service from each end)

26/2/20-26/3/20

MTFX Orange timetable Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn twice a day

28/3/20

Main Season Easter service starts POSTPONED

18/4/20

The Snowdonian POSTPONED TO 17/4/21 and subsequently POSTPONED AGAIN INDEFINITELY

2/5/20

FR AGM and FR extra services? VIRTUAL AGM-NO TRAINS

9/5/20

Caernarfon Food Festival with additional train on WHR? POSTPONED TO 2021

5-7/6/20

WHR Beer Festival POSTPONED TO 4-6/6/21

19-21/6/20

Fairlie Eventful (may include some WHR events) POSTPONED TO 18-20/6/21

27/6/20

Welsh Pony Launch (Live Stream). The public launch/naming is POSTPONED TO VICTORIAN WEEKEND

20/7/20 Restart of limited services with virus compliant protection measures on FR ONLY six times daily all week
13/8/20 Restart of limited services on the WHR with an 11:00 once a day TWThSO service to Beddgelert with hampers

11-13/9/20

SuperPower POSTPONED TO Sept 2021 (may feature Baldwin No. 608 and K1)

12/9/20

WHR Society Members Day. Two special trains between Porthmadog and Beddgelert with No.5 (Welsh Pony)

9-11/10/20 Bygones Event replacing FR Victorian Event will feature two trains Porthmadog-Beddgelert on both 10-11/10/20
5/11/20 The Snowdonian Limited (0800-2000 possibly some running in dark with fireworks?)

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2020

Volunteering is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The F&WHR has a small number of staff ensuring the railway remains secure. 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 and will be needed later in the year when the railway resumes service. 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 2019 is as follows with the ROWG in BLACK and the North Wales Track Gang in RED:

January

 

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

1-2/8/20

 

15-16/8/20

 

29-30/8/20

September

 

5-10/9/20WW

 

 

26-27/9/20

October

 

10-11/10/20

 

 

24-25/10/20

November

7-8/11/20

7-11/11/20WW

 

21-22/11/20

 

December

1-2/12/20

15-16/11/20WW

 

 

29-30/12/20

^ Bank Holiday weekend

! Subject to confirmation when the Winter Major Works Programme is available

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating most Tuesdays.

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 Phil Nock.

Tuesday Gang:

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

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG): Phil Nock Email: pnock@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.

 

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

 

V4.3899 updated 29/10/20