Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 1/8/18)

Snow Scenes (updated 31/10/15)

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

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

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

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Prince 'Journey to the Past' 12/8/18

This internal view 12/8/18 shows the interior of Tryfan Junctions station building lovingly recreated by volunteers from the WHHG. The station master was serving a cup of 'station master tea' to visitors. The period adverts and seating are similar to that at Dinas. 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 Tryfan Junction view 12/8/18 shows the replica Curly Roof Van No.1 which acted as the brake for the Heritage Train, complete with authentic load of milk churn and hamper. 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 12/8/18 shows Prince stopped at Tryfan Junction at 11:21. 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 12/8/18 shows Prince stopped at Tryfan Junction as seen from the site of the signalbox (a possible future restoration project) at 11:42. The train made some run-pasts for the passengers to photograph. 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 southerly view 12/8/18 shows Prince running round at Rhyd Ddu at 13:13. Some lucky passengers are having a ride in the tender. 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.

 

Palmerston special 12/8/18

This westerly view 12/8/18 shows Palmerston being prepared for a special hired train to celebrate a birthday. The headboard Cambrian Radio Cruise celebrates the circular rail excursions of the 1951-61 period from Llandudno via Rhyl (reverse), Corwen, Bala, Barmouth, Afon Wen, Caernarfon and Bangor, a journey sadly now impossible which much of the route closed and lifted following the Beeching Cuts. 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 easterly view 12/8/18 shows Palmerston being prepared for a special hired train to celebrate a birthday. 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.

 

Period costume for Journey to the Past 12/8/18?

With requests for staff to wear period costume for this Sunday's Prince hauled 'Journey to the Past' Dinas-Tryfan Junction-Rhyd Ddu trip, it seems to be turning into the WHR's own 'Victorian Gala' as seen on the FR! The train will run at 1100 from Dinas on 12/8/18 and tickets must be booked in advance. Click here for tickets. Packed lunches will be supplied as part of the fare. These will be simple food served at Rhyd Ddu where there is a break to watch the run-round, stretch your leg and visit toilets. The train arrives back at Dinas at 1505 with an onward connection to Caernarfon available.

 

ROWG May working weekend 21/5/18

On the 21/5/18 PW diesel No.9, the ex-Queensland Sugar Cane loco, failed hauling the Rest of the World Gang blocking the fortunately little used Hafod Ruffydd crossing with a broken compressor during the ROWG working weekend. The intention had been to go to Bryn-y-felin for some track realignment with Carriage No.111 and a B wagon. However as the air pump had failed the loco needed to be rescued and was towed to Beddgelert by No.143. Vale of Ffestiniog came up to Beddgelert to take it to Boston Lodge for repair, a slow process as it was stuck in low gear. The loco has since been repaired. On 23/5/18 Criccieth Castle and a B wagon was provided for the ROWG PW work near Ynysfor level crossing.

 

Titbits Spring 2018

The North Wales Track Gang has made good progress this spring. On 31/3/18 they installed a gardeners' shed at Rhyd Ddu under the Caernarfon end water tower. On 1/4/18 they installed Drench signs on the approach to Summit Cutting at Pitt's Head as the grass in this cutting has caught fire before now. Posts for a new running in boards was made for Hafod-y-llyn which saw extensive use during the Hunslet Gala. The boards themselves were erected by the Tuesday Gang, currently short of volunteers as some volunteers are absent for medical reasons. David Firth is currently standing in for Tony Baker. The Tuesday Gang are pleased that some crossings have been closed, so there will be less crossing timber maintenance, as they appear not to have been used in the 20 years since the railway opened.

During the weekend of 9-10/4/18 volunteers progressed the Beddgelert siding point lever, ground frame and FPL though more work is needed here. Over the weekend of 28-29/4/18 the platforms at Dinas, Rhyd Ddu and Waunfawr were pressure washed. on 26-27/5/18 there was more progress with the Beddgelert groundframe, but progress is slow as it is an complicated job.

WHR traffic seems to be up on last year so far overall. Traffic seemed to be down a bit at the start of the new season with cold snowy weather for the Early Easter trains affecting April's revenues. The Beer Festival was also down a bit though still making a healthy profit. In fact the mainline rakes had to be used for the evening shuttles as demand exceeded the size of the shuttles trains.

 

Lilla at Shrewsbury Flower show 10/8/18

Lilla is again offering rides this weekend at Shrewsbury Flower Show. See F&WHR Insider Facebook page for more images.

 

This westerly view 10/8/18 shows the well-travelled Lilla representing the F&WHR at the Shrewsbury Flower show, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury. Lilla and its two open 4-wheel coaches Nos.1/12 are offering rides alongside the River Severn on 10-11/8/18. 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.

 

Caernarfon station break-in 9/8/18

The temporary Caernarfon Station building at Ty Seiont, Caernarfon, suffered a second break-in overnight 8-9/8/18 and the facility had to be closed for the day. The station building was reopened on the morning of 10/8/18 after rapid work by the police Scene of Crime officers released the building to staff to clean up. Fortunately the IT system was quickly repaired. This is the second break in at Caernarfon and occurred despite clear signage that no money was kept on the premises. The robbers may have been teenagers as all that was taken was sweets and drinks. However the cost of repairs will be considerable as internal doors were kicked in and external doors broken and a considerable mess made. See WHR Facebook page for images of damage.

 

Manchester set for Saturday North Wales extra 11/8/18

It appears the Manchester loco hauled set is to be used for Saturday's loco-hauled extra this weekend rather that the 'Gerald' set used last Saturday. As far as passengers are concerned the train times are the same but the two ECS workings from/to Holyhead are removed from the schedule as the Manchester set is stabled at Crewe. The additional service makes it easier to get to the WHR for passengers using public transport.

1T01 09:41 Crewe - Llandudno 11:17
1T02 11:28 Llandudno - Crewe 13:04
1T03 13:45 Crewe - Holyhead 16:00
1T04 16:39 Holyhead - Crewe 18:45

 

Journey into the Past YouTube 5/8/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 7 mins 11 seconds of video covering Prince's Heritage train on 5/8/18 including run-pasts at Tryfan Junction. This YouTube was published on 8/8/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

Lyn for SuperPower

While the L&BR's Lyn is coming to SuperPower, another guest mentioned in TSR will not now be coming. An invitation has also been extended to the WD Hunslet team No.1215 who just missed the Hunslet Gala but they are unable to attend as well. It is hoped to invite them next year.

 

Wrexham to get £500,000 rail investment

The Welsh Government is to invest half a million pounds at Wrexham North Junction with the aim of improving the frequency and speed of trains between there and Chester. Recent investment has seen the line redoubled for some 8 km from Saltney Junction to Rossett leaving a gap of about 6 km of single track on Gresford Bank between Wrexham North Junction and Rossett. The improvement could see Wrexham North Junction moved further north thereby cutting the length of the single track section to just a short section from the site of Gresford colliery over the single track bridge over the A483 dual carriageway to Rossett. This would allow trains to leave Wrexham and permit following trains to run into the station. With Keolis-Amey planning to increase services on the line including a Cardiff-Liverpool service via Halton Curve, improvements are essential.

The longer term aim must be to put a parallel single track bridge in over the A483 and redouble the whole length up Gresford Bank. At the Chester end, the 1 mile from Roodee Junction to Saltney Junction could be re-quadrified over a refurbished Dee bridge. NR spends on 1.5% of its infrastructure budget on Welsh railways which however represent 11% of England and Wales track miles!

The improvement will ease travel to the WHR by train. See Daily Post report for full story.

 

SDR visit 29-30/9/18

A loco and two coaches will be visiting the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh on 29-30/9/18 to promote the F&WHR. It will run on 100 metres of temporary track similar to that used at the Shrewsbury Flower Show over the coming weekend 10-11/8/18.

 

Boston Lodge news

Work has begun on assembling the centre cradle of James Spooner the new Fairlie.

The refit of coach No.2042 was completed in time for the new season before Easter and No.2043 was brought in for cleaning and a re-varnish which was completed within a week followed by No.2046.

The stainless steel frame for the new WHR Observation car Gwyrfai has been completed and is in the Carriage Works awaiting body work.

A start has been made on the next major Heritage project, a replica NWNGR Ashbury bogie brake composite coach. A set of drawings has been made and timber ordered.

Castell Caernarfon's fibreglass bonnet has been removed and sent to Boston Lodge for repainting while the loco is rewired and has a replacement footplate installed.

Work at Dinas includes volunteer restoration of No.1001, the ex-Chattenden & Upnor Combination Car now used as the WHR's PW Mess/Brake.

Dinas has benefitted from the arrival of four new Sefac 7.5 tonne electric jacks provided by the WHRS. These are more powerful and supplement the four ex-Channel Tunnel jacks currently in use.

NG16 fleet news

Good progress has been made with No.130 with the power units under the cradle frame and the motion and valve gear about to be fitted. However, ideally the boiler should have been at Dinas by now. While the boiler is making steady progress an initial rather ambitious delivery date of August 2017 was not achieved and a later date of Spring 2018 was also missed due to technical challenges. It is hoped the boiler will be delivered by late August from Adam Dalgleish (Stockton on Tees). It is possible the boiler will be in the frames by SuperPower. This will be the first new UK boiler built for an NGG16 since the 1967. The work to complete the loco at Dinas will take several months and with No.87 due for withdrawal in October for its 10year overhaul, the sooner No.130 enters service the better.

No.87's boiler will go to Israel Newton's for refurbishment in mid November having been quickly released from the frames. Its 10 year overhaul should be a simple job but complications can often found after removal of the boiler tubes and the thickness of the boiler shell measured. Attention is also needed to No.87's cracked frames. The current plan is to make completely new bogie frames and only use sound components of the original frame.

The Australian boiler destined for No.138 is making good progress at Loughborough. It is due to be delivered in December and will be fitted to No.138 when its boiler ticket runs out next Summer.

Lastly No.143's old boiler has been taken apart and a new firebox is under construction for completion by the end of the year hopefully. After this attention will turn to the front end of the barrel and the smokebox tube plate once No.87's boiler is ready.

 

Waunfawr station rebuild

There will be a presentation at the AGM of plans for the new Waunfawr station building which has been generously funded by Mike Schumann. Mike had been the engineer for the early sections of the WHR and, in the past, had come in for criticism for the demolition of the old station and the use of the large irregular stone blocks in the retaining walls of the cutting alongside Snowdonia Parc. However, some smaller useable stones have were retained on pallets under the footbridge and will hopefully be used in the reconstruction. The presentation of the traditional NWNGR design will be given by Rob Chambers, the architect, who also designed the futuristic Caernarfon station.

 

Caernarfon station preview visits

The building contract for the new Caernarfon station is set to be handed over on 28/8/18 but work on fitting out will still be underway in September. During SuperPower it is hoped preview visits can be arranged for WHRS members. it is hoped that first use will be for the WHR Santa Trains in December with the station fully open for the Summer High Season in 2019.

 

Prince 'Journey to the Past' 5/8/18

The first run of the SuO Summer dated 'Journey to the Past' special ran on 5/8/18. The special runs Sundays until the end of August but must be booked in advance.

 

This northerly view 5/8/18 shows Prince hauling the ECS stock for the Summer dated SuO Dinas-Rhyd Ddu that runs throughout August. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Bob Zeepvat and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view 5/8/18 shows Prince about to depart with the Summer dated SuO Dinas-Rhyd Ddu that runs throughout August. The replica curly roofed van (Van No.1) in included as a brake/guards van. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 5/8/18 shows Prince performing a run past at Tryfan Junction for the benefit of the passengers who had detrained. The replica curly roofed van (Van No.1) in included as a brake/guards van. 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 Facebook page has a video of the train at Dinas.

 

News from Dinas 7/8/18

Martin Kressman reports: The components for Pete Waterman's Garratt No.109 that have been sitting in the open in the North Yard at Dinas for many years were loaded onto two low loaders today. They are to be delivered to Peak Rail at Rowsley, near Matlock. Pete Waterman is currently Chairman of this railway. He already has two GWR engines stored there.

WHR Pullman Bodysgallen has been returned to service after attention to a couple of windows at Boston Lodge Carriage Works. One of the WHR rakes had run with FR Observation coach No.100 substituting for the Pullman whilst it was under repair.

 

Coach No.100 added to WHR rake 5/8/18

Norman Bond reports: Coach No.100 has been added to a WHR set whilst Bodysgallen has some attention to 2 windows.

 

This easterly screenshot from the Porthmadog webcam 5/8/85 shows FR coach No.100 acting as an observation car in place of Bodysgallen on 1050 ex Porthmadog. Although it is the peak timetable, this year the yellow timetable operates SSuO and only one round trip is possible from Porthmadog at weekends compared to four on the FR! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was captured from the webcam by Terry Scott. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Blogs

The F&WHR's website is now featuring officially sanctioned Blogs. See FR Blogs page.

 

Boiler appeal

The current WHRS Appeal is to raise funds for refurbishment of a Garratt boiler estimated to cost at least £80,000. While this sum is unlikely to be met 'every little helps'!

 

North Wales Coast Saturday reliefs to continue

The WAG 'Gerald' loco hauled MkIII set is to continue running a Saturday relief, (see diagram below) throughout August bringing welcome extra seats to those visiting the WHR by train/bus.

 

This northerly view 5/8/18 shows DB liveried 67013 about to haul the Summer dated SO1639 Holyhead -Crewe away from Holyhead. The loco is unusually on the Up end of the train. There is still a lack of clarity as to what will happen to the Arriva owned coached when Keolis-Amey takes over on 18/10/18 though the long term plans are to hire Mk4 coaches for the Holyhead-Cardiff services from late 2019. No mention has been made about the Manchester loco-hauled services. 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. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHRS AGM 15/9/18

The WHRS AGM will take place during SuperPower as usual on Saturday 15/9/18 at 19:15 in Y Galeri, Victoria Dock, Caernarfon. It is good to hear that the organisers have responded to comments about long presentations concerning non-WHR topics and will be returning to a format that gives news about the WHR.

 

SuperPower 14-16/9/18

With the L&BR's Lyn confirmed for SuperPower, it is interesting to learn that there might be a second visitor. The Dinas based event has been 2 years in planning and will feature a large marquee at Dinas with the theme 'Articulated Large and Small' with many engineering models. Many volunteers are needed and offers of help should go to Tym Crowther.

 

Waunfawr station buildings to be removed

The wooden station buildings at Waunfawr are to be removed soon and work is to start in September on the new Waunfawr station building which will look very similar to the original at this location and may incorporate any suitable stone from the original building stored on pallets under the footbridge. The current wooden buildings, which were recently refurbished by the Tuesday Gang, will go into storage and may be used for other halts that currently do not have waiting shelters, such as Bontnewydd or Plas-y-nant. The new Waunfawr station will be completed by Spring 2019.

 

Prince to haul 'Journey into the Past' special 5/8/18

The first train of the new WHHG sponsored train Rhyd Ddu with a special stop at Tryfan Junction runs this Sunday 5/8/18 at 1100 from Dinas. The trains will operate every Sunday throughout August and advance booking is necessary (phone 01766 516024 to reserve seats). The three coach train will use Heritage coaching stock typical of the original WHR. A connection is available off the 1000 ex Caernarfon. After a stop at Tryfan Junction for photos the train resumes at 1210 to cross the 1050 ex-Porthmadog train at Waunfawr. The train will stop and allow observation from the window of other station buildings at Betws Garmon and Glan-y-afon quarry sidings.

There will be an extended break at Rhyd Ddu for packed lunch and toilet break while the loco tops up with water and runs round. The train will return at 1400 passing the 1420 from Caernarfon at Waunfawr at 1450 before terminating at Dinas at 1505. A connection is available to Caernarfon at 1605, giving an hour to watch the shunting. Tickets cost £36 (children/Society members £24) and include a packed lunch. There is a £5 add on fare from Caernarfon.

For full details see F&WHR Insider Facebook page. Any photos would be appreciated.

Mike Hadley (WHHG) adds: The coaching stock should be carriages Nos.18/15 together with the Curly Roofed Van (Van No.1). A new display of photographs has been assembled and will be located in the Goods Shed at Dinas where guests will be welcomed. At Tryfan Junction the train will set back and those that wish
to will be able (under supervision) to cross the line to the vicinity of the former signal cabin base where they can photograph the train run past. There will be toilet facilities at Tryfan Junction and 'the mug of stationmaster's tea' will be amongst the finest in the western hemisphere (a gross exaggeration!) but will include an Earl Grey alternative.

 

No.134 report 21-22/7/18

One of the tasks the Group had had for this weekend was to clean and paint the boiler to prevent any further deterioration as well as removing more of the fittings in the process. This should leave the boiler better prepared when the time comes to send it away for overhaul. Unfortunately Saturday morning was rather damp so volunteers could not do much about painting until the afternoon so instead they continued with a job from last month, that of cleaning and sorting the metallic piston rod packing assembly. This had been left soaking in paraffin last time and so volunteers now needed to dissemble the last bits, scrape off all the carbonised oil and other deposits and re-assemble ready for use. Whether the entire assembly is used is not finalised as there may be some changes that can be made in view of the improvements made over the years to the NGG16's in service on the railway.

As it was forecast, Saturday afternoon turned out warm and sunny so it was all hands working on the boiler - some were wire brushing any loose material off the surface and others following on behind painting in Corroless rust stabilising primer. At the same time as this was going on volunteers also had the job of encouraging a colony of wasps to vacate the inside of the boiler where they'd made a nest. By the end of the afternoon the Group had completed about half the boiler, mainly on the top side so as it would be dry to enable us to re-cover the boiler in the tarpaulins at the end of the weekend.

Sunday dawned much the same as Saturday morning so again volunteers took to other jobs whilst the boiler dried out in the ever increasing amount of sunshine. So back in the workshop they completed the task of cleaning the piston rod packing and then had another go at removing the second cone assembly from the Ejector that they had left soaking from last month. They were unsuccessful so they will resume the battle next time - but they will bring the encouragement of heat into the battle!

In a few odd moments volunteers also started to rearrange the shelving in the workshop to better segregate those components refurbished and those still to do (as well as those that are likely to be scrapped as unusable!). After lunch the Group continued with the boiler, again some were wire brushing and some painting. By the end of the day it was all complete and after making sure all paint was dry it was covered over again with the tarpaulins.

For full details and images see No.134 website. The next working party is 18-19/8/18.

 

Moving Pictures No. 21 30/7/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 19 mins 26 seconds of video covering events on the F&WHR. This YouTube was published on 30/7/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

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New light cast on Russell's absence from Hunslet 125

A WHHR document seen your webmaster throws new light on the decision by the WHHR to refuse the invitation of Russell to Hunslet 125 in June. Apparently discussions were underway between the two railways early in 2018. In the WHHR document dated 17/5/18 it is made clear that the invitation is being refused. However, the statement explains that the decision was based primarily on late advice by the F&WHR received on 2/5/18 (7 weeks before the Gala), considering that the WHHR was busy preparing for its peak operating season at that time. Russell hauled rains were to run charters to Hafod-y-llyn in off peak times according to the F&WHR's initial proposal, though a later proposal suggested FR coaching stock was to be used.

The document ends on a positive note with a commitment to complete Russell's alterations (and those of the Heritage Train) for the 2019 season to enable it to visit the F&WHR 'and/or' other railways. It is a pity this document was not published, or a similar explanation made, in advance of the Gala.

 

ACR progress 30/7/18

Another railway attraction in North Wales seems to be making rapid progress while the Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Society struggles to sort out its accounts in advance of an AGM due weeks ago. The Anglesey Central Railway recently received positive publicity in the press and, following granting of an access licence in 2012, it has been making steady progress with line clearance between Llangefni and Amlwch. Other local council proposals see the line between Gaerwen Junction on the North Wales Coast main line and Llangefni being opening by NR for a commuter service into Bangor. See Daily Post report from 6/5/17 and an up to date report from the North Wales Chronicle dated 30/7/18. The line closed in 1993 following transfer of the Octel traffic to road but the track remains in place although disconnected from the main line at Gaerwen Junction.

See ACR Wikipedia for full details or bilingual ACR Facebook page for latest news.

 

This northerly view 7/8/85 shows 25224 propelling the Fisons' weed killing train to Amlwch passing the site of Rhosgoch station as seen from Holyhead Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Andania to visit its old stomping ground 13/10/18

Saphos Rail is bringing Class 40013 Andania to Blaenau Ffestiniog (and Holyhead) on 13/10/18 on a trip from its Crewe home base. See Railtours at foot of page for further information.

 

No.130 update 27-31/7/18

By 27/7/18 most of the valves and pistons had been trial fitted and measured up. The rest of the motion is also pretty much complete.

By 31/7/18 Serious welding of the boiler was going on. The main longitudinal welds have now been completed and were X rayed last week. Results are awaited. Many of the side stays have also been welded in. The boiler is being frequently turned to allow for down handed welding.

See No.130 Facebook page for full details and images.

 

Hope for reconciliation with WHHR?

The WHHR AGM on 28/7/18 is rumoured to have resulted in the election of some new Directors who seem to be in favour of reconciliation with the F&WHR. There are grounds for hope of renewal of cooperation with the F&WHR that was suspended about three years ago. Russell may finally be allowed out to travel on the WHR again for the benefit of members of both railways and enthusiasts in general.

 

WHR 25-28/7/18

Loco Notes from Terry Scott:

On 25/7/18 No.87 and Vale of Ffestiniog took the late running train and departed approx 17:15.

No.143 later arrived with the Glaslyn set.

The only NGG16 viewed on 26/7/18 was No.143 so it was possible Nos.87/138 OOS?

On 28/7/18 No.87 arrived with the (late) 16:30.

 

Young Volunteers' special 30/7/18

This easterly view (30/7/18) shows Lyd and Blanche crossing the Glaslyn at Pont Croesor after the end of normal services. The special was run in connection with the Young Volunteers' Training Week. 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 (30/7/18) shows Lyd and Blanche running around and watering at Beddgelert after the end of normal services. The special was run in connection with the Young Volunteers' Training Week. 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 (30/7/18) shows Blanche and Lyd preparing to depart from Beddgelert after the end of normal services. The special was run in connection with the Young Volunteers' Training Week. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). Unusually, the train ran from the northbound platform on its return, this time headed by Blanche. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Locos Galore!

North Wales had a busy week for mainline loco hauled stock. On 20/7 two NR 97/3s ran top and tailed to Pwllheli on a yellow NR test train that included an old GWR car carrier coach.

On 28/7/18 the Cardiff loco hauled set was pressed into action to help with overcrowding and ran the following diagram:-

1T01 09:41 Crewe - Llandudno

1T02 11:28 Llandudno - Crewe

1T03 13:45 Crewe - Holyhead

1T04 16:39 Holyhead - Crewe

5T04 18:58 Crewe - Holyhead (ECS)

The later was a positioning move as the rake needed maintenance at Holyhead prior to its regular early diagram on Monday to Cardiff. It is not known if this will continue SO throughout the school holidays but is shown in Realtime Trains as booked again loco-hauled next Saturday.

North Wales residents got their first sight of the Transpennine 'Nova 3' Mk5 coaches when the recently assembled rake at the former Holyhead Aluminium Works was moved to the never-used Eurostar Depot in Manchester. The move had problems as the 5TC sets were assembled at Holyhead but needed a translator vehicle. No. 47812 came from Leicester and collected its barrier vehicles but failed near Chester on 26/7/18. DRS' No.57313 rescued the failure and took it to Holyhead Aluminium sidings before running light engine to Llandudno to stable. The Class 57 hauled the failure attached to the rear of the coaches from Holyhead to Manchester the following day.

 

Blanche on PW visit special 27/7/18

The F&WHR has hosted a technical visit with track engineers from the University of Huddersfield Institute of Railway Research and also engineers from Transport for London. The railway ran an inspection train to show them some of challenges the F&WHR face in maintaining the railway. See F&WHR Insider Facebook page for more images.

 

This northerly view (27/7/18) shows Blanche with some DZ wagons and an inspection coach stopped outside T4 in the Aberglaslyn Pass showing the part from Huddersfield University IRR and TfL engineers. 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.

 

Funkey and Lyd 26/7/18

Vale of Ffestiniog hauled Lyd in steam through the Aberglaslyn Pass during the evening of 26/7/18. See video on Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Page.

 

Mk 5 coaches in Holyhead 27/7/18

The North Wales Coast line will be given a view of the new Mk5 coaches to be used on the Transpennine Expresses today. The Anglesey Aluminium sidings were reactivated on 12/7/18 when 47813 made a special light engine working to test the yard trackwork which has not seen a train since 2009. Several coaches were delivered by road from Immingham since then. Realtime trains is showing a rake will be removed today. These excellent coaches built by CAF in Spain are currently available to buy from the production line so it is a pity that WalesRail franchise is not considering them. It has been some years since there were Scarborough-Holyhead services but the Manchester-Holyhead loco-hauled would be an ideal train for the Mk 5 coaches as the current Mk3 coaches would require improvement to provide disabled access toilets and swing-plug doors as achieved by Chiltern Railways with their Mk 3 fleet.

 

WHHR members gather for AGM 28/7/18

WHHR members are gathering in Porthmadog for their AGM on 28/7/18. Several WHHR members demonstrated their disapproval by wearing T-shirts during the Hunslet Gala lamenting the refusal to allow Russell to visit the F&WHR. While this website has been even-handed about reporting the WHHR in the past it must surely be time for the two organisations to sort out their differences for the benefit of the enthusiast community as a whole. The WHHR could then run their special trains to Hafod-y-llyn as was proposed in 2015, cross platform interchange might be possible at Pen-y-mount if a new platform is constructed on the WHR side and the WHHR museum could benefit from many F&WHR items as in the past when the Hearse van was loaned. This could lead to a major uplift in WHHR profits. Several members of both societies have been in touch with your webmaster and feel 'enough is enough', describing the current intransigent attitude as unhelpful to all. One described the current situation succinctly as a 'dialogue of the deaf'.

Let us all hope that people move on from petty squabbles of the past and cooperation will break out!

 

Russell and Juliana 23/7/18

PICTURE REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF MICHAEL CHAPMAN (WHHR), THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER. AS MICHAEL HAS OFFERED MANY PICTURES IN THE PAST TO THIS WEBSITE, THE MOTIVE FOR THIS REQUEST MAY BE CONNECTED WITH THE ASSOCIATED COMMENTS ABOUT THE FORTHCOMING WHHR AGM!

This westerly view (22/7/18) shows Russell and Railway Systems Engineer Juliana Moats making a return to the WHHR. Let us hope that Russell's other enthusiasts put their collective foot down at the AGM this Saturday over the continuing impasse about invites to the F&WHR. Further views of Juliana posing with Russell are available on the WHHR's Facebook page. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

RAIB report on Clogwyn-y-gwin derailment 25/7/18

The Railway Accident Investigation Branch have investigated the accident which took place on 10/6/18. They have reported that a hook on the equalising bar on the front wheelset broke where it supports the suspension. This causes the front wheelset to become unloaded and the flange climbed the rail. The train which was travelling at the maximum speed was stopped in 30 yards after prompt action by the footplate crew. The coaching stock and passengers were recovered 2 hour later by a spare loco from Porthmadog.

The hook had cracked off the equalising beam possibly after additional loading following incorrect reassembly of suspension elements. The items concerned have been colour-coded to prevent incorrect assembly in the future. The RAIB cautions that the accident could have been a lot more serious if it had occurred elsewhere as the railway has steep embankments in several places. Indeed the railway rounds high ledges just to the north of the point of the derailment approaching Clogwyn-y-gwin and Glan-yr-afon.

Click here to read the full RAIB Safety Digest.

 

All quiet for the WHHR's AGM 28/7/18

Rumblings of disquiet about Russell's non-appearance at the recent Hunslet Gala have 'gone underground' in advance of the WHHR's AGM on 28/7/18. Many will be watching to see if members question the lack of progress to re-establishing the good progress and mutual working that was developing until about 2015.

 

'Welsh Mountaineer' visits Blaenau Ffestiniog 24/7/18

Stanier 8F No.48151 hauled the RTC's 'Welsh Mountaineer' excursion from Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 24/7/18. This was a repeat performance for the loco, which also visited in 2010/11/12/14. This time the loco was chimney first. West Coast's drab 37669 was in support. Passengers had the opportunity of a trip to Tan-y-Bwlch on the FR. It is a shame that more cannot be done to link the WHR trains to excursions to Bangor but the coach link remains a problem, as was the Dinas-Caernarfon link in original WHR days. See BF&TR Facebook page or BF&TR Railway Society Facebook page for images.

 

Lilla for Shrewsbury Flower Show 10-11/8/18

Lilla will be appearing again at the Shrewsbury Flower Show in the Quarry Gardens at Shrewsbury on 10-11/8/18. Temporary track is laid along a tarmaced footpath alongside the River Severn. The aim is to promote visits to the F&WHR during the Summer. See F&WHR story.

 

FR coach No.120 launched 17/7/18

This easterly view (17/7/18) shows the new FR coach No.120 released to traffic. The generic resemblance to WHR coaches is striking but the coach is a little smaller to fit the more restrictive FR loading gauge. WHR coaches cannot operate on the FR so The Snowdonian and other through workings are formed of FR stock. 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.

 

Russell SuperPower offer declined?

Reports are beginning to reach your webmaster that an invitation for Russell to attend the 21st anniversary of the reopening of the WHR during SuperPower in September has been declined by the WHHR. This also follows their recently declining an invitation to the Hunslet Gala in June.

The relationship between the two railway managements seems to have declined since the F&WHR allowed train runs to Hafod-y-llyn (and Beddgelert for water) during an evening possession a few years ago. This will come as a major disappointment to the many enthusiasts who look forwards to seeing Russell (and in due course No.590) on the WHR.

With the large gaps between WHR services, giving the WHHR the right to run occasional trains to Hafod-y-llyn cannot be a problem surely? The issue of an air braked rescue loco (if needed) could be covered by one of the WHHR's LyD diesel locos or one of their small diesels.

The problem seems to stem from a 'caution' placed by the WHHR (as WHR Ltd) on land adjacent to Pen-y-Mount station where the WHR was deviated around a gas main access that had been built on the trackbed before the reopening. See WHRS website for Dr. Ben Fisher's image of the disputed area.

The WHHR has an AGM on 28/7/18 and the matter may come to the fore as some of its own members have expressed concern about the continuing failure to agree to invites for Russell from the F&WHR. A document attached to WHHR Soc AGM published for the 2017 AGM sheds some light on the issue.

 

 

It should be noted that WHHR volunteers actually laid the track along the disputed section in a spirit of cooperation and the F&WHR was in negotiations which allowed test runs to Hafod-y-llyn before this dispute arose. Another area of contention is the siting of the Cae Pawb/Cambrian Crossing box which was moved to Pen-y-Mount junction after the WHHR refused to allow siting on the original location on the northwest corner of the crossing.

Russell has even been (of all places!) to the Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn on display. 'Rapprochement' in recent years until 2015 had seen first WHHR test train to Hafod-y-llyn (25/6/11), WHHR Members Excursion to Hafod-y-llyn (21/7/12), the first cross platform interchange at Pen-y-Mount (7/11/14), Moelwyn's visit to the WHHR on 6/7/14, Blanche visit to the WHHR 27/4/14, K1's, visit to the WHHR 5/5/14, Britomart's visit to the WHHR 11/7/15 etc..etc...

 

NG15 No.134 report 16-17/6/18

Volunteers spent the weekend with two aspects of work on the go. One was the continued work on the boiler and the second the refurbishment of various components including some that they had acquired from South Africa a few years ago.

The first of these being dealt with were the Injector Check Valves that were duly refurbished on the Saturday. These are none return valves, sometimes known as ‘globe’ valves due to their shape, and are located between the Injector and the Clack Valve on the top of the boiler. There are two on the loco and both were cleaned internally and externally, removing many layers of paint from the outside, and then having their valve seats lapped-in to ensure a good seal.

The Brake Ejector was one component that volunteers had started during the May working party, however they put it on one side as they came across some stubborn nuts that refused to budge. This time we did manage to conquer three more of these, however, a fourth was still defeating us so we left it soaking in easing fluid with the hope of winning the war next month!

As the NG15 Group is now trying to make sure as many components as possible are complete and ready for re-assembly they also collected together the various parts that make up for the main piston rod sealing glands. Unfortunately it turned out one component was broken so will need to be renewed. They left all these soaking in paraffin until next time to make cleaning them a bit easier. It is not yet certain if all these parts will yet be used as the team are probably aiming to take into account ‘best practice’ currently employed on the Garratts.

On the boiler volunteers cleaned out the smokebox of all accumulated debris, cleaned out the limited amount they could from the foundation ring area and removed the crinolines that were attached during a previous restoration attempt. The group is aiming to prevent aiming to prevent further deterioration and so would also have liked to have patched up the protective coating of paint, but unfortunately a rather drizzly weekend prevented that. Last month the smokebox door was removed, so with it now at ground level volunteers were able to remove the baffle plate attached to it. This looked like a replacement as it was different to the drawings, but it also had a piece removed from the bottom, possibly from damage due to wastage. Again it could end up being modified to be similar to that on the Garratts.

One last job was that whilst the team could not paint outside the shed we did manage to paint some components on the frames inside the Carriage Shed, and this included the new cylinder cladding. The painting was needed as rusting was in evidence in unprotected areas!

Whilst all these seem small insignificant jobs they will make life much easier when further assembly takes place in the future. See NG15 website for full details and images.

 

Lilla footplate rides 14/7/18

Lilla will be giving footplate rides in Harbour Station on Saturday 14/7/18 from 1300-1800.

 

Boiler progress 2/7/18

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows the Australian Garratt boiler receiving new boiler plate to replace wasted plate on the backhead around the firehole. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows a close up of the Australian Garratt boiler receiving new boiler plate to replace wasted plate on the backhead around the firehole. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows a close up of the inner firebox ex-No.143. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Death of Colin Dale

Colin Dale, the Colchester man who promoted the reopening of the Blaenau Ffestiniog &Trawsfynydd Railway, has died of cancer in hospital aged 70. The project has now been taken up by the volunteer society who are hoping to negotiate rights to clear the line with NR. See Daily Post story.

 

Who blocked Russell's visit to the Hunslet Gala?

Some members of the WHHR demonstrated in T-shirts lamenting the failure of Russell, a Hunslet loco itself, to appear at the F&WHR Hunslet Gala in late June. It seems that the loco was invited by the F&WHR but it is rumoured the WHHR management blocked the move. The absence of the loco was missed by all from an event the loco should obviously have attended. This bodes ill for a possible attendance of Russell at SuperPower in September. It really is time for the two organisations to settle their differences! See Facebook for images of t-shirt protest.

 

This westerly view (24/6/18) shows Russell operating extra trips on the WHHR approaching Gelert's Farm Halt. It seems the Hunslet was in fact invited to the Hunslet Gala on the F&WHR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 9/6-6/7/18

By 9/6 the final reaming was taking place on the boiler. Some of the holes require up to 5 passes. It is a slow but necessary task. Welding starts on Monday 11/6/18 and the boiler should be hydraulically tested in August.

By 13/6 the regulator linkage between the regulator rod and regulator valve were found/fabricated and the parts and will soon be transported up to Stockton for fitting.

By 15/6 the four brass front and rear window frames and clamps were delivered after machined by John Hancock. Apart from the toughened glasses, they are ready to assemble onto the yet-to-be fabricated cab. The WHR will make some new profiles from the sample of the steel slide windows.

By 16/6 all the cross heads had now been fitted to the slide bars and as soon as all of the pistons are to be installed, followed by the rest of the motion will be hung.

By 21/6 the new cylinder drain cocks had been delivered and were being fitted. All were expected to be fitted by this date.

By 22/6 No.130's pipework was nearing the end and the first little bit of pipework had been added.

By 23/6 The process of welding in the stays has begun and so far most of the inner crown stays, most of the internal throat plate and quite a few of the outer back head stays have been welded in. The boiler will be turned shortly, so that the welders can work down hand.

By 26/6 the fireman's side injector pipework was pretty much complete and just a few tweaks were needed to finish this side off.

By 6/7 the all coupling rods were fitted up and the cross heads were being mounted.

It is expected No.130 will be completed ready and for service early in 2019. See Friends of No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Heat wave hits Porthmadog 29/6/18

Porthmadog was one of the hottest places in the UK in recent weeks, leading to local wild fires. Service reductions on the FR allowed for an early track inspection. From 1-9/7/18 the FR reduced the service to the Blue timetable because of concerns about track buckling allowing an early run by the KMX to check the state of the track.

Should the drought and high temperatures persist the lack of a mainline diesel capable of hauling a full length train will be felt. Caernarfon Castle is still under repair. Several years ago there was a major fire at the summit of the WHR believed to be caused by sparks.

 

This westerly view (29/6/18) shows No.138 ready to depart for Caernarfon with a wildfire burning near Talsarnau. 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.

 

BF&TR society update 6/7/18

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society is about to release a newsletter advising of its long delayed AGM when it hopes to elect new officers and restart the project to reopen the OOU line between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd Lake Halt.

On 28/6/18 it was announced that a £40m centre to support the design of advanced nuclear technologies will be developed in North Wales by the Welsh and UK governments. This is in addition to a £200m UK government nuclear sector deal that was launched in Trawsfynydd earlier this year. The small modular reactors proposed are unlikely to require heavy freight movements by rail though it could be made a planning restraint that construction materials for the site are delivered by train, a policy that has not been required of the recently confirmed development of Wylfa B where a new port is being constructed instead of using rail to bring in construction materials. See BBC report.

 

Moving Pictures No.20 28/6/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 18 mins 24 seconds of video covering events on the F&WHR including an update on Caernarfon station construction, an aerial view of a freight on the WHR and scenes from the Hunslet Gala. This YouTube was published on 26/6/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

Armed Forces Day 30/6/18

Armed Forces day was celebrated with a fly-past at Llandudno. Special trains were laid on including a rare Saturday outing for ATW's Manchester rake powered by EWS loco No.67022. to accommodate the extra workings into Llandudno the Conwy Valley service was diverted to Bangor.

 

Carriage Works update

Coach No.21 continues to progress with volunteers making it ready for painting over the summer months. The coach should receive its bogies in the autumn and go into service. FR Travel have sponsored new coach No.120 which will be in service in July after receiving wheels from the current No.120, which was taken out of service in June. Rather than have sponsorship plaques applied the coach tables have had adverts applied which illustrate FR Travel destinations in the form of a compass and mountain ranges that the world rail trips visit. Progress has also been made with fitting the woodwork to the frame of the new WHR Observation coach No.2152 Gwyrfai which is due in service early May 2019.

 

TfW Manchester train doubts

Close examination of the TfW/KeolisAmey WalesRail proposals reveals no commitment to continuing the Holyhead-Manchester loco hauled express service. This will dismay the many people who use the route. The MkIII coaching stock is owned by ATW.

Another concern is the increase in traffic being routed via the Wrexham-Chester route with a new train service on the Cardiff-Liverpool axis via the recently reopened Halton Curve between Runcorn and Frodsham. NR's redoubling of the Wrexham-Chester line was cut back to Saltney to Rossett and avoiding the expense of rebuilding a bridge over the A 483 north of Wrexham.

 

Caernarfon station progress 1-2/7/18

This aerial view with north at the top (1/7/18) shows the new rotunda complete with glazing and the general footprint of the new station building with the bus bay being progressed on the bottom left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This aerial view (2/7/18) shows the new main entrance door fitted. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Level Crossing accident at Cwmcloch 5/7/18

The RAIB were briefly involved with the F&WHR for the second time in a month when a local car driver drove into the side of a train at Cwmcloch Upper Level Crossing on 5/7/17 but they handed the matter back to the railway and police. The car was pushed alongside the train a few yards before the train came to a stop still blocking the crossing. The Ford Puma drove into the side of No.138 as it was hauling a train to Caernarfon. Passenger were transferred to coaches to complete their journeys. There was an estimated £5,000 worth of cosmetic damage to Bodysgallen and the service car. Train services were back to normal the following day. A similar incident happened recently on the W&LlR in April.

See BBC report, Daily Post report and Cambrian News report.

 

TRAWS report goes to WAG 5/7/18

The Welsh Assembly Government is set to receive the draft £300,000 Feasibility Study TRAWS report on Stage 1 of the West Coast Rail Link, from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. The report is several months late having been forecast for February. It is understood the report has considered alternative routes, such as those between Llandeilo and Lampeter proposed by aborted schemes in the mid 1800s. Some correspondents believe the route should 'buy out' the Gwili Railway rather than share the track. The Gwli Railway, which owns the trackbed between Abergwili Junction and Llanpumsaint, could have enough money to set up shop on the largely clear Abergwili to Llandeilo trackbed with a link to NR at Llandeilo. Another option is the Pencader Junc. - Newcastle Emlyn Branch but this would also discomfort the 2' gauge Teifi Valley Railway who currently occupy a short section of that trackbed.

Although some 97% of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen route is clear of development, part of the estimated £750 million construction cost is due to Dyfed/Ceredigion Council failing to protect the trackbed in Aberystwyth, which has been built over, and the requirement for a possibly tunnelled diversion approach to the terminus under Penparcau. See Cambrian News story.

 

L&BR Lyn to visit SuperPower

The L&BR's replica Baldwin Lyn will be a guest at SuperPower this September. The loco was invited last year but was not quite ready in time. The opportunity to double head Lyn and Lyd together will not happen however this year. It seems Lyn will be hauling shuttle trains between Caernarfon and Waunfawr but many hope the loco will make a through journey to Porthmadog. Lyn will return with F&WHR story.

 

Journey into the Past details 5/8/18.

This special train runs on Sundays 5-26/8/18.

The itinerary is as follows:

Arrive at Dinas station 10:15-10:30

Here passengers will be met by a host for the day and passengers will be told about some of the history of this, once important, interchange station. If coming from Caernarfon, passengers should use the 10:00 service from Caernarfon and alight at Dinas station which is a request stop. The special train will consist of Ffestiniog No.2 Prince and three heritage carriages as may have been seen on the railway in the 1920s and 1930s. It will depart Dinas Station at 11:00 heading inland along the original North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway trackbed. The first stop will be at Tryfan Junction, where the beautiful station building has been lovingly restored by volunteers. This is a chance to see inside and learn more about the busy little quarry line that branched off here for Bryngwyn. There will also be some unusual photo opportunities and a mug of station master's tea or coffee.

The train sets off again at 12:10, crossing the Caernarfon-bound service train at Waunfawr, before continuing on to Rhyd Ddu. Along the way, passengers will come across more former stations and buildings that mostly go un-noticed from passing trains - but, on this occasion, there will be time to stop and see these from the train window (Betws Garmon and Glan-y-afon Quarry branch). After arriving at Rhyd Ddu, the locomotive will run round and take on water, while passengers will be served packed lunch and have a chance to stretch their legs before the return to Dinas.

Departing at 14:00 the train will make a leisurely run through the Gwyrfai valley, crossing the Porthmadog-bound service train at Waunfawr, before arriving back at Dinas Station at 15:05. For those continuing to Caernarfon, there will be an hour to watch the shunting, look around the station and admire the views toward Anglesey before catching the 16:05 service train home.

The prices are: Adults - £36 (plus a £5 add-on fare, if travelling from Caernarfon.) - includes a packed lunch* and tea/coffee. Children / Society Members - £24

The Packed lunch will be simple fare, served in an insulated bag which passengers may keep after their journey. Vegetarian and gluten-free option available, but the WHR is not able to accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements.

Advance booking is required for these train - so please book online or phone the Booking Office on 01766 516024 to reserve seats.

These trains are sponsored by the Welsh Highland Heritage Group who look forward to giving passengers a glimpse into the fascinating past of the WHR.

 

Events 2018

1/1/18 Final day of Mince Pie Specials
10-18/2/18 Hugh Napier and Velinheli on display at Kings Cross
10-25/2/18 Purple timetable Porthmadog-Beddgelert MFX
3-15/3/18 Orange timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn MTFX
14/4/18 The Snowdonian
12/5/18 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
18-20/5/18 Rail-Ale 14th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
9/6/18 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited stop re-run of The Snowdonian
16-18/6/18 Hugh Napier at Bala Lake Railway steam gala
21/6 and 23-4/6/18 Palmerston at Bala Lake Railway
22-25/6/18 Hunslet 125 Gala celebrating Blanche and Linda's 125th Birthday
9/7/18 Special timetable for Railtour
5-26/8/18 Sundays Journey to the Past special Dinas-Rhyd Ddu with Prince and two heritage coaches with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for refreshments, including packed lunch
10-11/8/18 Lilla to Visit Shrewsbury Flower Show Quarry Park, Shrewsbury
14-16/9/18 Lyn to visit SuperPower (WHR AGM 15/9/18)
29-30/9/18 Lyd visit to L&BR Gala
29-30/9/18 Lilla? to visit Buckfastleigh on the SDR
5-7/10/18 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
31/10/18 WHR Halloween Train
8-9/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
15-16/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
22-23/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
27/12/18-1/1/19 WHR Mince Pie Specials (to be confirmed)

 

Mainline news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13/10/18 'North Wales Coast 40' Crewe-Blaenau Ffestiniog/Holyhead (40013/D213 Andania) Saphos Rail

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

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

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2018

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

The programme for 2018 is as follows:

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

^ Bank Holiday weekend

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

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

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

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

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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

 

Site development

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

 

Comments

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

 

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

 

Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3663 updated 13/8/18