Welsh Highland Railway

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V4.4093

News (16/9/21)

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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 12/2/21)

The 40km Dream Phase 2 (Updated 1/4/21)

'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 1/9/21)

Snow Scenes (updated 25/11/20)

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

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

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 23/6/21)

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

 

K1 on test 16/9/21

Click on the YouTube link to watch 11 mins 36 seconds of video of K1 on test on 16/9/21 ready for SuperPower. This video was published on 16/9/21 and taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on 4K Betamax Camcorder.

 

F&WHR traffic 16/9/21

Thursday was another sunny day at Porthmadog with temperatures of 17C maximum forecast. The Woodland Wanderer was fully booked by midday. The afternoon Glaslyn Venturer was also fully booked as was the Back to Blaenau service.

The Back to Blaenau service left from the WHR platform as usual at 11:42 hauled by Merddin Emrys. Blanche was on the heavily subscribed 14:20.

 

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This easterly view 15/9/21 at 15:46 shows Blanche running round the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer. As this is the last train of the day it is not shunted to the westbound platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This easterly view 15/9/21 at 15:50 shows Blanche departing with the heavily laden return working of the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

On Friday three of the four Mountain Prince trains are already sold out. With timetable changes for the Mini SuperPower Event there are no Glaslyn Venturer trains and no Harbourmaster or Snowdonia Star workings. The Gelert Explorer is fully booked.

 

F&WHR traffic 15/9/21

No. 87 was on the 11:00 Gelert Explorer. It is possible some intending passengers from Porthmadog/Llyn Peninsula might miss the train given the huge queues from Dinas to Caernarfon caused by traffic lights on the new bypass roundabout north of Bontnewydd.

 

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This southerly view 15/9/21 at 11:17 shows Vale of Ffestiniog with the PW train with the well wagon at Dinas awaiting the crossover with the 11:00 Gelert Explorer from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This northerly view 15/9/21 at 11:18 shows the 11:00 Gelert Explorer hauled by No.87 passing the PW train at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 15/9/21 at 11:21 shows No.87 building up steam as it starts the steep climb up the Gwyrfai Valley to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This northerly view 15/9/21 at 11:29 shows Vale of Ffestiniog with the PW train. The well wagon with shredder was destined to cut back lineside growth on the Dinas-Caernarfon stretch which has proliferated during the various lock-downs over the pandemic. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

North Wales loco hauled 15/9/21

1W93, the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead lost 26 minutes between Ludlow and Shrewsbury with DB liveried 67010 perhaps in less than fine fettle. Now on the rear after Chester, prompt work by platform staff saw time regained along the coast and the train was only 19 minutes down approaching Llandudno where it benefited from a timetabled wait of 8 minutes and departed 11 minutes down. The train passed Dwygyfylchi slowly and lost further time to Holyhead arriving 15 minutes late. and two minutes before planned departure to of the return working. Again good platform staff working got the train away just 3 minutes down.

 

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This easterly view 15/9/21 shows the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead propelled by 67010 passing Dwygyfylchi footbridge at slow speed. Mk4 DVT No.229 carries the 'Float to Live' vinyls sponsored by the RNLI. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This westerly view 15/9/21 shows the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead propelled by 67010 passing Dwygyfylchi footbridge at slow speed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

F&WHR Traffic 14/9/21

No.130 was back on the Glaslyn Venturer today after repairs. It appeared that the F&WHR homepage was back in action. Four of tomorrow's five Woodland Wanderer trains were sold out except for the 14:20. The Back to Blaenau trains are fully booked until after 7/10/21. The Glaslyn Venturer is fully booked for 15/9/21. The Gelert Explorer is fully booked for the next 3 days.

 

F&WHR traffic 13/9/21

Merddin Emrys hauled the 15:00 Mountain Prince on Monday.

 

Carriage Shed nears completion 11/9/21

Work on concreting the remaining floor space of the new Carriage Shed was completed in August. Powerfloat Mix with fibres between used between 16/08/21 and 20/08/21.

 

North Wales Metro expansion plans 10/9/21

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WAG Map of proposed North Wales Metro extensions. Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Major news from WAG shows the expanded long term aims of the North Wales Metro. The map now shows extensions from Bangor to Amlwch and, more importantly for the F&WHR, to the Cambrian Coast line. As regards the extension to 'West Wales' shown on the map this could be achieved using the existing disused formation through Caernarfon and third rail/gauntleted track between Caernarfon and Dinas or, possibly more expensively, via a new route around Caernarfon following the new bypass and a Caernarfon Parkway station at Caeathro. If the existing route is used Stage 1 could see a welcome reopening to a town centre station at Caernarfon giving easier public transport links to the WHR.

Although there is no reference in the WAG plans, the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Link would be a gaping hole in a Welsh rail network if the Metro plans are completed. These track beds need to be protected from development or destruction of bridges to allow future expansion at minimum cost/delay.

The scheme includes electrification from Crewe to Holyhead, a more intensive service between Bangor and Holyhead, a new interchange station at Shotton, two new stations either side of Wrexham General and other improvements. However there is no mention of completing the re-dualling of the Wrexham-Rossett Junction section singled in 1980 for the A483 dualling. 

See WAG press release.

 

New North Wales loco hauled trains appear 13/9/21

Additional loco hauled trains were introduced between Holyhead and Cardiff on Monday 13/12/21. This marked the start of an enhanced TfW Mk4 service with an additional set allowing three trains a day each way between Holyhead and Cardiff, reversing at Chester from Wrexham, Shrewsbury and the Marches Line. This long promised increase in service quality was said to be introduced for 'the Summer'. The diagrams are now as follows (all SSuX):

1V91 0533 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 0958 (this was the original outward working)

1W93 1122 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 1620

1V98 1636 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 2128

1W91 0645 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 1120

1V96 1133 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 1615

1W96 1716 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 2137 (this was the original return working)

Realtime Trains will show this train as a loco-hauled consist, but did not show loco allocations unlike TfW's other DMU services.

 

Llangollen to use Class 31

The Llangollen Railway has reached a new hire agreement with the owners of Class 31 No.31271 A1A Locomotives Ltd. which will see it used this Autumn on passenger turns. The first confirmed date is Sunday 26/9/21. See Llangollen Diesel group webpage.

 

Moving Pictures No.55 8/9/21

Click on the YouTube link to watch 22 minutes 16 seconds of video covering recent developments on the F&WHR and the Antiques Roadshow visit from March. This video was published on 8/9/21 and produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

Llangollen Railway uses Class 26 12/9/21

The reborn Llangollen Railway has used green Class 26 No.26010 (carrying 5310) over the weekend of 11-12/9/21. The loco was used on the suburban rake. Class 31 No.31271 was also on test following a ready to run exam. The diesel trip will be repeated on Friday 17/9/21. The diesel was also used on the last train on 4/9/21 when the steam loco developed a brake fault.

The Llangollen Diesel Group report reveals additional days in late September and October. The dates are 25-26/9/21 and 3-4/10/21. As turn up and go tickets are available it is possible to join trains at Carrog/Glyndyfrdwy where parking is easier than at Llangollen.

 

Ruabon-Barmouth railway exhibition 2022

Dates: 19/2/22 - 13/3/2022

Venue: Llangollen Museum, Parade St, Llangollen LL20 8PW

Entry: Free

The exhibition is still in the early stages of planning, but exhibits are anticipated to include original railway posters and artefacts from the former Ruabon to Barmouth line. Organisers are particularly excited to announce that some rare surviving parts from Royal Train built by the GWR for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 will be on display as part of this exhibition.

 

F&WHR traffic 12/9/21

Sunday turned out to be a grey day in Porthmadog with heavy rain in the afternoon. The F&WHR webpage was out of use over the weekend with a technical issue but the Fareharbor booking website was still available. The 13:40 Mountain Prince was sold out but the 15:00 was still available, hauled by David Lloyd George. The afternoon Glaslyn Venturer was 'call to book'.

 

F&WHR traffic 11/9/21

The Harbourmaster pairing was repeated on Saturday but with the Fairlie leading. All FR services were suspended while RAIB made an inspection, stock was recovered and necessary infrastructure repairs were made by the end of the day. All stock was back at Boston Lodge and ready to resume services on Sunday.

 

F&WHR traffic 10/9/21

Friday saw a change in the weather from an Indian Summer at Porthmadog to cooler rainy weather. After weeks of Garratt haulage Lyd and Merddin Emrys hauled The Harbourmaster service on Friday 10/9/21. Meanwhile on the FR only the first two trains ran due to a minor derailment of a wheelset on one carriage of the second Mountain Prince train of the day somewhere short of Tan-y-bwlch. The incident appears to have caused some track damage leading to all FR services being suspended on Saturday as well to effect repairs. Welsh Pony was locked in at Tan-y-bwlch. A third set with Upnor Castle in charge was put into service to recover the passengers from the failed train. Passengers stuck at Tan-y-bwlch were provided with road coaches to return them to Porthmadog. The stock remained at the incident for the RAIB to inspect the vehicle and track condition in situ until the evening when all stock was recovered to either Boston Lodge or Tan-y-bwlch for unusual overnight stabling. The Coed-y-bleiddiau cottage service ran from Tan-y-bwlch.

 

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This westerly view 11/9/21 shows No.5 Welsh Pony locked in overnight at Tan-y-bwlch following Friday's derailment was still present on Saturday morning in the siding next to the signal box. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stewart Carswell and was taken on a digital camera.

 

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This westerly view 11/9/21 shows Blanche recovering stock that was left overnight at Tan-y-bwlch following Friday's derailment on Saturday morning in the siding next to the signal box. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stewart Carswell and was taken on a digital camera.

 

Derailment disruption 10/9/21

F&WHR announcement

'On Friday the 10/9/21, a train on the Ffestiniog Railway was the subject of a minor low speed derailment affecting one carriage wheelset. There were no injuries resulting from the incident. As a result though, an earlier train running ahead of the affected train was stranded at Tan-y-Bwlch station. The RAIB were informed of the incident and the F&WHR team have worked with them in working to restore normal services.

A further train was despatched to bring the passengers on the affected train back to Porthmadog and road transport used to collect passengers from Tan-y-Bwlch station. Passengers for Coed-y-Bleiddiau were also accommodated by special trains. As a result of this incident, train services were suspended for the rest of the day. Recovery operations were completed before dusk and the railway company wishes to thank the staff that worked extra hours to ensure this was completed safely and effectively.

Work to repair the affected infrastructure is in hand on Saturday 11/9/21. All FR trains have been cancelled until Sunday 12/9/21 to allow sufficient time for repairs to be completed and all safety checks made. Welsh Highland Railway services are not affected. Trains have been stabled overnight at Tan-y-Bwlch station and extra security put in place.'

 

F&WHR traffic 9/9/21

Lyd and Merddin Emrys substituted for the Garratt on the Glaslyn Venturer on 9/9/21 and had some difficulty restarting on the 1 in 40 in Beddgelert station.

 

Temporary contact details

While your webmaster is on holiday any news, images or corrections can be sent to the temporary email account isengard4@iclouddotcom, replacing the word dot with a '.'.

 

Corris Railway Gala report 5/9/21

The Corris Railway Gala extended over the hot first weekend of September. The small car park was full when I arrived before 11am and parking had to found in the narrow nearby streets. The first train was shown as booked for a party but was available for ticket purchase as they did not turn up apparently. As more people were arriving for the midday train a helpful school official opened the adjacent school car park. Toilet facilities were provided by a unisex public toilet by the bus stop outside the station. When the lack of disabled parking was mentioned to the unhelpful car park attendant his only response was 'I haven't had my breakfast yet'!

Despite this unpromising start, the station housed an interesting museum and served drinks and snacks. The 12:00 train was a joy to ride with the Corris' own Hughes Falcon loco No.7 (a replica of No.4) leading the three coach rake and the Tal-y-llyn's visiting Tattoo loco No.4 Edward Thomas (back on its original line where it worked until 1948) on the rear. The ride is about 1 km long and stops at a platform at the north end of Maespoeth Works from where visits to the Carriage Shed and Loco Depot were encouraged. The train then pulled forward to a second platform at the south end of the Works to allow Edward Thomas to refill its water tank. A new Hughes Falcon loco No.10 due to replace No.7 when it comes in for its 10 year overhaul in 2023/4. There is also another replica carriage under construction and some diesel locos were on display in the depot yard, including 'Vlad'! There was some determined chuffing to haul the train back up the grade to Corris station.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas on the north end of the 11:00 train at the Corris Railway's temporary terminus with a rake of replica coaches behind. This Kerr Stuart Tattoo loco was built in Stoke on Trent in 1921 and delivered to Corris where it ran until 1948 before transfer to the TR. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the CR's No.7 on the south end of the 11:00 train setting off from the Corris' Railway's temporary terminus a little late. One of the replica coaches is to a slightly smaller profile. This replica loco was delivered to the railway in 2005 and will soon becoming up on its second boiler refurbishment requiring the railway to complete a new loco No.10 to the design of the original locos CR locos Nos1-3. The Hughes Falcon replica is under construction at Keef's Loco Works and will hopefully be star of Keef's 2022 Gala. The short stub track in the foreground will be extended to form a run round with a traverser when the Corris terminus is rebuilt with an overall roof in the original style. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas departing on the rear end of the 11:00 train to Maespoeth at the Corris Railway's temporary terminus. This Kerr Stuart Tattoo loco was built in Stoke on Trent in 1921 and will be back on the TR for its 100th birthday along with the CR's No.7 for the TR's Gala on 11-12/9/21. Dr Who fans might notice the Weeping Angel...don't blink though! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas on the rear end of the 12:00 train having arrived at Maespoeth at the Corris Railway's workshops. The train would move forwards to the Maespoeth South platform so that the loco could water a few minutes later. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows some of the CR's diesel fleet including Vlad in the sidings at Maespoeth where the Corris Railway's workshops are located. The main road is above to the right and Maespoeth Junction just south of the shed where the abandoned roadside line continued to climb to Corris Isaf. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This northerly view 5/9/21 shows No.7 about to lead its train from Maespoeth North platform to Maespoeth South platform. The hole in the rear cab sheet is presumably to allow coal to be shovelled from a match truck (aka tender) when needed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

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This southerly view 5/9/21 shows No.4 Edward Thomas watering at Maespoeth South before hauling the return working of the 12:00 to Corris. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

Beyond the platform the line continues past sidings to a headshunt with the new extension underway beyond that. Before the revitalised railway company took over the route the council had improved the main road by using a few hundred metres of the trackbed of the Corris line just south of Maespoeth. Between there and the Dyfi Bridge the abandoned formation generally runs along the east roadside verge of the A487. A new embankment is under construction from Maespoeth to a point where the original roadside trackbed can be regained.

The railway has a number of aims with a new station and run round at Pont Evans for Esgairgeliog which will include a 1 in 30 section. Another extension is envisaged to a station at the Forestry car park and toilets at Tan-y-coed, just north of Pantperthog and near to the popular Alternative Technology Centre tourist attraction, making the line 3 miles long. When funds allow, Corris station will be rebuilt in the original style with an overall roof but a traverser is required to allow run round because of the restricted site.

Although the railway has no plans to return to Machynlleth, it would theoretically be possible to continue along the clear roadside trackbed towards Machynlleth with a new Dyfi bridge to replace the one long lost to flooding. The original Corris terminus station building still exists in the middle of the Industrial Estate of the former Machynlleth Goods Yard but would require a new route to access and provide platforms close to the NR platforms. Fortunately the new A487 Dyfi Bridge bypass, currently under construction, does not affect future restoration of this section, which would make the line 5 miles long in total, a worthy aim.

In conclusion, although the line is short at 0.6 mile, it has great potential with new replica locos and replica carriages in the works and a good length of line to come in future. There are attractive views of the Dulas valley from the train so well worth a visit.

 

Holiday images 5/9/21

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This northerly view 5/9/21 shows Vale of Ffestiniog stabled  alongside Romanian coach No.2060 in Dinas bay/. The Funkey is used for PW work on the WHR and ECS workings. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.

 

Laptop use during holiday 9/9/21

This is an experimental service using an old Toshiba laptop to update the website whilst on holiday in Porthmadog.

 

Mountain Prince/Woodland Wanderer trains from 6/9/21

Monday 6/9/21 saw the first use of a new split timetable with both these trains running every week. On Monday it was the turn of the Mountain Prince with Moelwyn on the rear and piloting back from Dduallt. There were four trains booked with Welsh Pony on the 10:00 and David Lloyd George on the 11:05. Whilst waiting for the 11:05 arrival Moelwyn took coach No.8 up towards Dduallt and back on its own for some purpose, possibly a delivery to Coed-y-bleiddiau cottage. The afternoon saw two more workings at 13:40 and 15:00. This service pattern is repeated for the next few weeks TWThX.

On the excepted days the Woodland Wanderer continues to run TWThO with trains initially at 10:00, 11:05, 13:15 and 14:20. Both services only require two locos in steam. Both services may see the number of trains expanded or reduced according to demand and by the end of September the Woodland Wanderer is already planned to be down to 3 services a day.

 

Machynlleth bridge strike ruins railtours

Two railtours to Pwllheli were cancelled in early September as a tipper truck with tipper body still partially raised struck the A487 bridge at the west end of Machynlleth station on 1/9/21. After examination NR engineers permitted the passage of light weight Class 158 units but cancelled the double headed Class 97/3 hauled Welsh Dragon Day 2 excursion on 5/9/21 and Cambrian Coast Express excursion on 8/9/21 (re-scheduled for May 2022) as they were deemed too heavy. The Barmouth Bridge was to shut from 12/9/21 for three months for major repairs. See BBC report.

 

Webmaster's Holiday

Your webmaster will be on holiday in the Porthmadog area for the rest of September and it may not be possible to update the website in this time. This is the first holiday in two years. Apologies in advance if no updates appear in the next four weeks.

 

Comments

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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

 

V4.4093 updated 16/9/21