Welsh Highland Railway

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V4.4235

 

News (20/5/22)

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Modern images updated from 14/5/22

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Star Picture

This westerly view (26/3/22) shows David Lloyd George hauling the 10:30 Mountain Spirit (see headboard) passing Minffordd station with the first train of the new season. 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.

 

Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on 8/9/04 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)

Caernarfon Cross Town Link  (updated 10/10/10)

 

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 1/5/22)

Prince Charles Visit July 2003 (updated 5/1/22)

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!

 

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 References

Timetables

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables. The regular Woodland Wanderer trains are the 10:55 and 13:55 and use the same set. The spare set can be used for the 09:45, 12:45 and 15:45 according to traffic on offer. If three trains are planned the 12:45 is the additional train.

Woodland Wanderer

Location Time Time Time Time Time
ECS from depot where applicable (arr) 09:15 10:20 11:45    
Previous working     ex 09:15 ex 10:20 ex 12:45
Porthmadog (dep) 09:45 10:55 12:45 13:55 15:45
Minffordd (arr) 09:55 11:05 12:55 14:05 15:55
Minffordd (dep) 10:00 11:10 13:00 14:10 16:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:05 11:15 13:05 14:15 16:05
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 10:25 11:40 13:30 14:35 16:25
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:40 12:35 14:30 15:40 17:25
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 12:00 12:55 15:00 15:55 17:45
Minffordd (pass) 12:10 13:05 15:10 16:00 17:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:20 13:20 15:20 16:10 18:05
Next turn where applicable 12:45 13:55 15:45    
ECS to depot (dep)        16:30  18:20

Mountain Spirit

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge (dep) ECS 10:00  
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 10:05 ex-10:30
Porthmadog Harbour Station (dep) 10:30 14:30
Minffordd (arr) 10:40 14:40
Minffordd (dep) 10:45 14:45
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:50 14:50
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 11:05 15:05
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:15 15:15
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 11:40 15:40
Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr) 11:45 15:45
Blaenau Ffestiniog (dep) 12:25 16:25
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 12:35 16:35
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 12:55 16:55
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 13:00 17:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 13:15 17:15
Minffordd (pass) 13:25 17:25
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 13:35 17:35
Next turn where applicable 14:40  
ECS (dep) where applicable 14:25 17:45

Gelert Explorer

Location Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 10:45
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 11:00
Caernarfon (dep) 11:30
Waunfawr (dep) 12:05
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 12:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 12:35
Beddgelert (arr) 13:00
Beddgelert (dep) 14:30
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 14:50
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 15:00
Waunfawr (arr) 15:25
Waunfawr (dep) 15:30
Caernarfon (arr) 16:00
Caernarfon (dep) ECS 16:30
Dinas (arr) ECS 16:45

Glaslyn Venturer

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:20  
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:30 ex 10:15
Porthmadog (dep) 10:15 13:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 10:30 13:55
Beddgelert (arr) 11:00 14:25
Beddgelert (dep) 12:15 15:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 12:40 16:05
Porthmadog  (arr) 13:00 16:20
Next turn where applicable 13:40 N/A
ECS where applicable (dep) 13:30 17:00

The Harbourmaster

Location Time Return Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:00 (arr) 17:05
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:05 (dep) 17:00
Porthmadog (dep) 09:40 (arr) 16:30
Beddgelert (arr) 10:20 (dep) 15:55
Beddgelert (dep) 10:30 (arr) 15:50
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:25
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:20
Waunfawr (arr) 11:30 (dep) 14:55
Waunfawr (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:50
Dinas (arr) 11:50 (dep) 14:35
Dinas (dep) 11:55 (arr) 14:30
Caernarfon (arr) 12:05 (dep) 14:20

Snowdonia Star

Location Time Return Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 09:20 (arr) 17:10
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 09:30 (dep) 17:00
Caernarfon (dep) 10:00 (arr) 16:30
Dinas (arr) 10:10 (dep) 16:20
Dinas (dep) 10:15 (arr) 16:15
Waunfawr (arr) 10:30 (dep) 16:00
Waunfawr (dep) 10:35 (arr) 15:55
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:25
Beddgelert (arr) 11:30 (dep) 15:00
Beddgelert (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:15 (dep) 14:15

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

F&WHR services w/c 16/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

News Section

F&WHR 20/5/22

Friday was forecast to be a cloudy at Porthmadog with a rainy afternoon and maximum temperatures of 14C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains). The 10:55 was already Sold Out by 08:00.

Merddin Emrys started the day on the 10:55 but Prince had already gone up light engine before to deal with loco ash wagons at Dduallt, passing Tan-y-bwlch at 10:38. All the action seemed to focus on Tan-y-bwlch today with Lyd on a test train using the Glaslyn Explorer rake and passing through Tan-y-bwlch at 12:37. heading east. Lyd was back at 13:59 and Merddin Emrys arrived at 14:35 on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. The trains swopped locos by simply taking Merddin Emrys off the front and attaching it to the rear of the test train which departed at 15:16 for Blaenau Ffestiniog. Similarly Lyd came off the test train and coupled to the rear of the Woodland Wanderer to take it back to Porthmadog, departing at 15:31.

At 15:50 Prince arrived with some B wagons and a brakevan from Dduallt and departed towards Boston Lodge at 15:59. the final train of the day was Merddin Emrys returning with the test train departing Tan-y-bwlch at 16:43 to end the day.

 

F&WHR 19/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). For the second day running both the Woodland Wanderer trains were showing as Sold Out at the start of the day but with no response from the F&WHR to activate the spare set e.g. the 12:45 path. Maybe the intention is to encourage people onto the more expensive Mountain Spirit which till had room?

No.130 left for Beddgelert on time at 10:15 in sunshine while Blanche approached across The Cob and Merddin Emrys waited in the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived in the WHR platform by 10:23 with the ECS for the 10:55. The signals for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit were already set so the run round had to wait for The Cob to be cleared past the Shunt Limit. The train left a few minutes late and Blanche was coupled up by 10:40 ready for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer which left on time.

After Blanche departed on the 13:55, the ECS for the Mountain Spirit waited in the WHR platform for Merddin Emrys to be fuelled and watered. The loco coupled up by 14:10 and the ECS departed for Boston Lodge Carriage Shed few minutes later. Blanche apparently suffered problems on the way to Tan-y-bwlch arriving at 15:06, over half an hour late. the train left Tan-y-bwlch at 16:04, some 25 minutes late.

Harlech Castle came through the WHR platform light engine from the north at 16:13 and was rapidly given the path across The Cob as the returning Woodland Wanderer was late. Blanche arrived back in the FR platform at Porthmadog at 16:41 about half an hour late. It appeared that the FR's PW mess car was in the seawall siding. Blanche ran round at 16:53 and departed with the ECS to Boston Lodge at 16:58 to close the day. 

 

Volunteers requested for The Beyer Bash

The Marketing Department is still looking for help during this weekend's 'Beyer Bash' at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. We have been invited to have an outdoor stand at Welshpool (Raven Square), alongside Beyer Garratt K1, to promote the F&WHR and the Statfold Barn Railway. The Marketing Dept. will set up their marquee Thursday, taking literature, etc. ready for the weekend. We will also arrange for collection at the end of the weekend. However, we still need ONE OR TWO VOLUNTEERS on FRIDAY OR SATURDAY (20-21/5/22) to help us man the stand, chat about the loco and hand out literature. If anybody fancies a day out at ‘The Beyer Bash’, please get in touch by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com.

 

Model Railway Workshop update 21-22/5/22

Unfortunately, John Wooden has had to withdraw from this weekend's Model Railway Workshop event at Minffordd Station Gweithdy this weekend, so visitors will be unable to see his new layout under construction. However, we have been fortunate to recruit Paul Martin of EDM Models in his place, who will be demonstrating the process of constructing etched brass locomotive kits. Thank are due to Footplate of Kidderminster for providing sponsorship for the weekend's workshop.

 

No.9 out and about 14/5/22

Dinas PW shunter No.9 was out on PW duty just north of Rhyd Ddu on 14/5/22. It is rare to see this loco out of Dinas but Vale of Ffestiniog, the normal loco requested for PW duties, must have been unavailable. Although the loco looks tall, it has previously covered the whole route from Dinas to Boston Lodge and back so will fit through all the tunnels.

 

This southerly view (14/5/22) shows No.9 with the SAR brakevan and Mess Car just north of Ffridd Isaf curve on PW duties. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Gary Brindle and was take on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South Wales Metro overspend may impact TfW North Wales projects

A projected overspend on the South Wales Metro project to electrify the Valley Lines is eating up TfW budget. concerns are growing amongst North Wales residents about this delaying the projects already announced in North Wales such as additional stations, redoubling the remainder of the Wrexham-Chester route and expanding the loco hauled services in North Wales. The Class 67 hauled trains are due to be strengthened by one coach in the Autumn but there are now doubts as to whether the Holyhead -Manchester loco hauled 'crowd-buster' will be reinstated. See Wales Online story.

 

Main Line news

The Cambrian Coast Express ran on 13/5/22, a sunny day which provided lots of photo opportunities for photographers. Any contributions are welcome! ERTMS fitted Class 97s Nos.98302/3 provided the haulage on the Cambrian though passengers had to detrain at Shrewsbury for an hour while they coupled up! This was thought to be because the through platforms are so busy. With 3 through platforms this is difficult to understand. The Pathfinder Excursion is set to run again on 20/5/22 starting from Bristol.

The Aberystwyth log train trial ran again on 18/5/22 departing from Aberystwyth run round loop 3 minutes early at 15:52. This continues to be an STP but if Kronospan determine the trial is successful it might become a regular weekly operation. this time the Class 97s remained with the train to its destination and to avoid reversal at Wrexham the train ran via Crewe and Chester to Chirk.

Colas livery 60076 Dunbar hauled the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook stone on 16/4/22.

 

F&WHR 18/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C but rain in the evening. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit). As both Woodland Wanderer trains were unusually showing as 'Sold Out' by 07:30 on the day there was the opportunity to add at least a third Woodland Wanderer (the 12:45 path) if a crew could be found at short notice. The Glaslyn Venturer returns on Thursday.

Merddin Emrys was running round at 10:13 having brought the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit into the FR platform. Blanche hauled the ECS for 10:55 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform at 10:18. Blanche was again early enough to complete the run round before The Cob was required by the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departure.

At 13:55 the second run of the Woodland Wanderer departed Porthmadog while the ECS from the Mountain Spirit waited in the WHR platform for a path across The Cob. Merddin Emrys rejoined the rake at 14:00 before disposing the rake to the depot departing at 14:10. Blanche arrived back in sunshine at 16:11, ran round quickly and, as the final movement of the day, left on the ECS at 16:21.

 

HRA meets WAG over coal mine issue 17/5/22

Members of the HRA, including F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin, had a meeting with Senedd members on 17/5/22 to talk about coal and press the economic and cultural value of Heritage Railways to Wales and the wider UK. The hope is that WAG will allow the development of a small steam coal extraction site sufficient for the HRA to supply steam railways, traction engines, steam tug boats etc. while experiments continue to produce and test viable alternatives.

 

F&WHR 17/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 19C with a rainy evening. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains).

No.130 was a surprise today on the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer which was standing in the WHR platform at 09:50 which must mean No.87 is working the Gelert Explorer from Caernarfon. The loco swop occurred on Sunday. The ECS for the Mountain Spirit arrived into the FR platform at 09:51 behind Merddin Emrys which ran round and coupled up at 09:56. Blanche arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and was running round at 10:23. Unusually, the run round was completed by 10:27 just before the Mountain Spirit departed on time.

The weather became wet in the late afternoon as Blanche departed Tan-y-bwlch with the return working of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer at 15:30. The Porthmadog signalbox was shut down by 16:25 after the ECS had been dispatched to Boston Lodge to finish the day's train services.

 

Model Railway Workshop

This weekend 21-22/5/22 a model railway workshop is taking place in the Gweithdy at Minffordd Station, LL48 6HF (car parking available). There will be layouts, demonstrations and stalls. Visitors are invited to come and chat about model making and pick up some tips.

OPENING TIMES:

▪️  Saturday, 21st May : 11:00-17:00

▪️  Sunday, 22nd May : 10:00-16:00

ENTRY:

▪️  £3.00

LAYOUTS - OPERATING:

▪️  Vintage Hornby Dublo Three-Rail - George Brown

▪️  Pentrefelin (3mm scale) - Dave Roberts

▪️  Ddraig Gwarel (009) - Colwyn Bay Model Railway Society

▪️  Poldeen (N gauge) - Robert Shrives

LAYOUTS - UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

▪️  Challow Road (O gauge) - Paul Towers

DEMONSTRATIONS:

▪️  Carriage building - Paul Holmes       

▪️  Resin casting - Phil Traxson       

▪️  Wagon building - Martin Jones 

▪️  Track building - David Johns

SALES:

▪️ Nick’s Railway Stuff - Pre-loved model railway rolling stock, accessories and books.

 

Llangollen mixed traction week from 18/5/22

The week ahead shows mixed traction at the railway, with plenty of motive power to sample. Wednesday 18/5/22 and Thursday 19/5/22 will see the interesting Class 108/104 hybrid DMU in use. Friday 20/5/22 and 21/5/22 sees steam back-in-business, with GWR 0-6-2T No.5619 doing the honours. Then on Sunday 22/5/22 diesel loco-haulage is back with BRCW Sulzer Type 2 No.5310.

On 16/5/22 the Class 08 was out on PW duties collecting concrete sleepers from Deeside Loop where a point has been plain lined turning the loop into a siding for the time being. Another trip is needed to complete the job.

Class 03 No.03162 which recently passed into Llangollen Railway ownership received a steam clean of its underside over the weekend, the first attention it has received in a long time.

Class 31 No.31271 Stratford 1840-2001 hauled services on 14-15/5/22.

Steam operation is planned for the Platinum Jubilee weekend, with GWR 0-6-2T No.5619 at work on the 3-5/6/22, alongside 08195 on the Berwyn Shunter Shuttle and Driver-for-a-Fiver at Llangollen between Shuttle trips. Corwen station will also be open to visitors from 10-4pm to see progress on the new station, which is approaching completion. A ballast train will be on static display. See Unofficial Llangollen website for full details of timetable and images/videos of trains.

 

F&WHR 16/5/22

Monday was forecast to have rainy periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains).

At 09:58 Blanche was noted departing Boston Lodge with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer arriving in the FR platform at 10:03. The train departed on time but the afternoon train was already sold out by 11:00 suggesting an extra train could have been planned. While it is good that the F&WHR is running full trains, with only two on Mondays potential passengers may be disappointed when they turn up at Porthmadog. This is the kind of thing that happens at the Brecon Mountain Railway.

Blanche ran round at Porthmadog at 13:45 ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which left on time. Scaffolding was erected in front of the Porthmadog webcam from 13:50 for an hour while a workman attended to a problem with Spooners. The final train of the day arrived back shortly after 4pm as the weather closed in. The ECS was disposed to Boston Lodge shortly afterwards.

 

North Wales main line

Class 60 No.60076 was on the 6F22 the 11:49 Penmaenmawr stone train on Monday. This train now operates 4 days a week WSSuX.

Provision of units on the Borderlands line has become problematical in the absence of the promised but long delayed Class 230s. The frequent cancellations will affect public perception of reliability of these services.

There have been rumours of removal of the Class 67s from the Holyhead-Cardiff route. If TfW was to concentrate the fleet in South Wales on its proposed Swansea-Manchester route this would cause uproar on the North Wales Coast. There is already a feeling that TfW gives more preference to South Wales than North Wales services. Already people feel aggrieved that the Holyhead-Manchester and before them Holyhead Birmingham loco hauled services have been withdrawn.

 

Rail Ale tickets on sale for 10-11/6/22

To control numbers in the current COVID risk assessments the F&WHR is running a ticket only RailAle this year. Tickets were available from 16/5/22 and cost £20 for Friday or Saturday and £25 for both. Entry includes the commemorative Beer Glass and 5 beers or 4 ciders. The event takes place at Dinas. See RailAle website for full details. and can be booked via the FareHarbor system with seven diesel shuttles from Caernarfon, mostly to/from Waunfawr and travel from Porthmadog on The Harbourmaster. It seems that the loco from The Harbourmaster will also make two lunch time shuttle runs between Caernarfon and Dinas. The booking system contains five different shuttle tickets including separate Friday and Saturday £5 Caernarfon-Dinas and Waunfawr-Dinas tickets and separate £5 tickets to come back. The fifth ticket is a £15 Friday and Saturday ticket between Caernarfon and Waunfawr. These appear to be Rover tickets and might be available from intermediate halts at Bontnewydd and Tryfan Junction for WHRS members on request. The diesel haulage of the Festival Shuttle could be Criccieth Castle or Vale of Ffestiniog. It is likely the NG16 haulage will be No.87 as that is the usual loco based at Porthmadog. It is possible The Harbourmaster rake might be used for the midday shuttles. Exceptionally The Harbourmaster will call at all intermediate stations on both days (and possibly halts for WHRS members only). None of the trains have a refreshment service but there will be live music and variety of refreshments available at Dinas provided by outside caterers.

The Harbourmaster prices have been reduced for those buying RailAle entry. Prices from Porthmadog are given with standard prices in brackets but there re no reduced fares indicated for Beddgelert/Meillionen, possibly an oversight. WHRS Members may be allowed free travel on The Harbourmaster as normal. Using The Harbourmaster gives over two and a half hours at Dinas.

Table for £90 (£110)

Bay for 3 £135 (£165)

Additional adults £45 (£55)

Child £3

Solo return £45 (£55)

 

 

Welsh Government to hear appeal for British steam coal

WAG has agreed to meet the HRA to discuss the issue of steam coal for heritage railways following the closure of the last supplier at Ffos-y-fran and given the ban on Russian coal following their invasion of Ukraine. A new supply of Welsh steam coal could bridge the gap in the medium term until sustainable alternative fuels experiments determine a suitable fuel. Steam railways are vital to the Welsh tourist economy and if trains are unable to run it could hit the Welsh economy as well as similar operations in the UK. The proposed Whitehaven deep mine in Cumbria might not provide a suitable steam coal whereas Welsh reserves are well known and easily accessible. No date has yet been set for the meeting.

 

Corris No.10 to steam in September?

If the current Appeal is successful, the new build Hughes Falcon 0-4-2ST No.10 will be steamed at Keef's soon. Keef's Charity Open Day on 24/9/22 could be the first opportunity to see the loco prior to it entering service in 2023. The loco is needed to replace the existing loco which is due to go out of service in a couple of years for its 10 year overhaul. The Falcon loco is based on the TR's example but with a taller cab as the average height of people is taller than the average in Victorian times. For a short period the Corris Railway will have two locos in steam before No.7 which entered service in 2005 goes into the works for its 10 year boiler overhaul. For full details of the new Corris loco see Corris website.

Meanwhile the Corris Extension to Coedwig South loop, replacing a section of formation taken by the A487 widening, is making progress. The railway is benefitting from the arisings from the A487 Dyfi Bridge Bypass road scheme. See Corris Extension page for latest images dated 22/4/22. The eventual aim is to extend south to Pont Ifans, then Esgairgeiliog, the Forestry car park at Tan-y-coed and finally to Pantperthog for the popular Alternative Technology Centre. The trackbed south of there to Machynlleth still exists alongside the A487 but the Millennium foot bridge has replaced the washed away railway bridge across the Afon Dyfi. The terminus station building in Machynlleth Industrial estate still exists but it would be very expensive to reach this location and provide a link for tourists arriving by TfW trains.

 

L&BR buying 3 sections of trackbed

Exmoor Associates, a Community Interest Company, are buying three sections of the L&BR trackbed to make a continuous length of 2 miles of trackbed in ownership of the L&BR in association with land already owned. They are appealing for help with the purchase. The F&WHR's Lyd is frequently loaned to the L&BR for Galas as the loco is of the type that operated on the line. The larger Baldwin No.762 Lyn also visited the WHR SuperPower 2018 and on The Snowdonian in 2019. The L&BR is busy extending initially from its small operational length at Woody Bay towards Wistlandpound Reservoir for which it has planning permission but then continuing south from there to Barnstaple Pilton Yard. The sections being purchased are south of Wistlandpound Reservoir where a small deviation is needed around the dam, a situation reminiscent of the FR's Deviation to get around Llyn Ystradau which was flooded while the FR was closed.

As the current purchases will exhaust Exmoor Associates funds supporters are requested to buy shares in Exmoor Associates or make a donation to the Yeo Valley Trust, specifying the money be used for the L&BR trackbed purchase. The Trust can claim Gift Aid of 25% if the donor is a UK taxpayers and signs the Gift Aid form.

 

F&WHR 15/5/22

Sunday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 20C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Harbourmaster through train).

No.87 was on the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer and Merddin Emrys hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. No.87 is stated to have swopped with No.130 on Sunday whilst they were both at Beddgelert. It will remain at Boston Lodge for a few weeks. Blanche hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and the 13:55 At 16:20 Blanche returned the ECS from the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge to finish the day.

 

BLR celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Bala Lake Railway celebrated 50 years (30/4/-2/5/22) since it started services on the former BR Ruabon-Barmouth branch alongside Bala Lake, closed by BR on 18/1/65 following flood damage to the line. The 2' gauge railway expanded from its initial base at Llanuwchllyn northwards to the site of the original Bala station by the Dee Bridge. The railway has purchased the final piece of land allowing it to extend into its proposed town centre terminus. A decision on the planning application is due this summer.

 

Train services w/c 23/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

GVT receives rails for Chirk station 18/4/22

The nascent Glyn Valley Tramway is working with renewed vigour to complete the restoration of GVT Chirk Exchange station along the western side of Chirk NR Station. The site has been cleared and they have received life expired rails from the W&LR enough to lay track in the station and store a box van for tools. The aim is to raise public awareness and raise funds to lay track down the bank to the proposed initial terminus at Pont Faen level crossing, near the Chirk Trout Farm.  There is also a museum with track at Glyn Ceiriog on the site of the old station, the platforms of which still exist in people's gardens. See Shropshire Star illustrated story and BBC report. The roadside tramway section was along the south side of the B4500 through the Ceiriog valley and extended to quarries above Glyn Ceiriog.

 

F&WHR 14/5/22

Saturday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star through train) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer).

No.87 was on The Harbourmaster and Merddin Emrys arrived into the FR platform at 09:50 for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived at 10:24 in the WHR platform with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer, a change of haulage after Prince hauled most of theses duties this week. At 16:30 Blanche was being disposed at Boston Lodge but the returning Harbourmaster (expected 16:30) was still awaited at Porthmadog in the afternoon sunshine. The Garratt eventually arrived about 25 minutes late at 16:55. The problem seems to have been poor steaming as the loco had problems on return from Caernarfon with stop for a blow up at Tryfan Junction, slow running, Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. Eventually the train missed its path across Cae Pawb and had to wait for clearance from Machynlleth PSB. Prompt platform work saw the ECS off just 8 minutes later to end the day at Porthmadog.

 

Rail Ale event appeal 10-11/6/22

Rail Ale returns to the WHR over the weekend of 10-11-/6/22 after two years absence due to COVID restrictions. It is the most profitable event on both the WHR and the FfR producing useful income for the Company, which all helps to keep the show going. The WHRS need volunteer help as the festival requires a large number of volunteers in order to work well and of course avoids the need to have to pay for persons to help. Help is also needed on two previous days to set up the festival in advance as well as to pack it all away on the Monday, 13/6/22. If you can help we'd really like to see at Dinas but firstly contact Graham Hoyland by email.

 

Llangollen Railway Corwen terminus nears completion 9/5/22

The Llangollen's Railways extension to the new Corwen central terminus is nearing completion following a ballast drop and a visit by the tamper on 9/5/22. For images see Unofficial Llangollen Facebook page.

During the Platinum Jubilee Weekend, from the 3-5/6/22, the railway will be operating tours of the Corwen Station site, the public will also be able to see a static ballast wagon set within the station. The station will be open between 10am and 4pm with no need to book with easy car parking at the Corwen Central car park with toilets available. By popular demand, the Berwyn Shuttle and Driver for a Fiver are also returning for the Bank Holiday weekend. Tickets for these specials can be booked on the day at Llangollen Station.

 

K1 at the W&LR 22-25/5/22

Clair Britton writes:

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway are celebrating the 120th birthday of their original locomotives - ‘The Earl’ and ‘The Countess’ - with a ‘Beyer Bash’ weekend which is taking place on 20-22/5/22. They have several Beyer locomotives visiting - including Gorton Works Shunter No.1827, Steam Tram No.47 from Crich, Isle of Man Railway’s Fenella and our own Garratt K1.

We have just been invited to have an outdoor stand at Welshpool, alongside the visiting locos, to promote the F&WHR and the Statfold Barn Railway. K1 will be on a length of track prepared for it, but will not be in steam due to the complexities of getting it on and off the lorry.

That same weekend on 21-22/5/22, we are holding our own small event in Minffordd Gweithdy - a Model Railway Workshop - and so we are in need of a bit of help to cover both events.

🟣  WLLR: 'BEYER BASH'

The Marketing Dept. will set up their marquee on Thursday, taking literature, etc ready for the weekend. We will also arrange for collection at the end of the weekend. What we need is two/three people each day who will make sure ‘K1’ is clean (it will have been cleaned well before it leaves Dinas on the Wednesday) and to man the stand, chat If anybody fancies a day out at ‘The Beyer Bash’, please get in by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com

🟣  MODEL RAILWAY WORKSHOP:

There is a small entry charge for visitors. Can anybody help out on the door please..?

Saturday ... (EDIT: Volunteer found)

Sunday - 10:00-16:00

Again, please get in touch by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com. Thanks in anticipation.

 

F&WHR 13/5/22

Friday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C after a dull start. There were NO departures from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains). The Cob still has a road closure with a trench across the road by the old Toll House at Boston Lodge but the footpath/cycleway is still open. On Saturday The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star will run in addition to the FR trains.

Prince departed on the lightly loaded morning train at 10:55 and was running round at 13:30 for the 13:55 working which was sold out. At 16:15 Prince was running round in Harbour station before departing ECS as the last movement of the day at 16:21.

 

Early morning weedkilling train 12/5/22

This easterly view (12/5/22) shows Criccieth Castle with the Weedkilling train running through the WHR loop line having done the platform line a few minutes before. At 07:45 the train worked through the FR platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Philip Clark and F&WHR and was captured from the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wylfa B moves a step closer 13/5/22

Maybe Friday 13th is an inauspicious day to launch the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund but UK Government ministers visited Anglesey on Friday to promote the Fund given initially £120m by the government to get New Nuclear started. Ministers said the Wylfa site had everything going for it and that three nations were interested in building new nuclear power stations in the UK. This could bring nuclear waste traffic back to Valley 'Nuclear Electric' siding. The Government has an ambitious project to build up to 8 nuclear reactors by 2020 to improve energy independence in the face of Russian aggression. Cynics might wonder why there have been no nuclear power stations built in the 14 years the Tories have been in power! See Daily Post story.

 

Llangollen Class 03 donated to railway 15/4/22

Wirral Council has donated 03162 to the Llangollen Railway. The loco has been at the railway on load for the last 33 years arriving in working condition from Chester Depot in green livery as D2162 and named Birkenhead North Depot 1875-1985. The shunter was used on PW trains and in Galas. In 2003 it was repainted in BR blue but still carries the painted on name. OOU since helping with the Corwen East extension in 2014, the loco will be restored subject to an appeal, by 2025. See The National for an illustrated story of 03162.

 

This easterly view (March 1996) shows 03162 stabled with a ballast wagon midweek preparing for the opening of Carrog station on 2/4/96. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line

From Monday 16/5/22 Avanti will be restoring some train services to London cut because of decrease in traffic caused by Covid/staff absences. There will be 9 Avanti services along the North Wales Coast, two of which will be diagrammed as double Voyagers with 10 coaches. There will be four Holyhead-Euston trains, three Holyhead-Crewe trains, a Bangor-Crewe train and a Chester-Euston train. A further increase in train services is planned for September. News is still awaited about TfW's increases to services to add loco hauled trains to the Holyhead-Cardiff route and remove inappropriate DMUs from this very long journey. while some of the Mk4 fleet will be used on Swansea-Manchester workings, there has been little mention of restoring the Holyhead-Manchester Airport/Birmingham International Airport services to loco haulage.

 

F&WHR 12/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The Cob still has a road closure with a trench across the road by the old Toll House at Boston Lodge.

No.87 arrived in the WHR platform at 09:37 with the ECS for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. The train departed on time while Merddin Emrys waited in the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and Prince waited at the home signal with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. As usual, Prince waited to complete its run round until after Merddin Emrys left at 10:30 and departed on time at 10:55.

No.87 returned at 13:01 and departed ECS shortly afterwards as the platform was needed by the returning Mountain Spirit. Prince departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer on time while Merddin Emrys was shunting in the yard. The Fairlie coupled up to the ECS Mountain Spirit at 14:05 soon after Prince had cleared the section and departed for Boston Lodge at 14:08. Prince was being disposed on shed at 16:30 to complete the day's activities.

 

James Spooner progress 11/5/22

Good progress is being made with the F&WHR's new Fairlie James Spooner. The loco was on view in the 'Wet Shed' during a Boston Lodge Tour for FR Society members. The latest news on the loco is that its four sandpots are currently in the Paint Shop. The distinctive design is completely different to the more familiar cylindrical sandpots normally associated with FR locomotives.

 

May Carriage works report

The roof of the 1970's part of the Carriage Works is being renewed so that is restricting progress. Work is underway on projects for three new coaches for the TR for delivery next year. The next Garratt No.143 needs to be refurbished needs painting soon before the roof work. The green water tank is back at Dinas in Dinas Deep Brunswick Green, different to the GWR Green carried previously. Various panels are being repainted and the coal bunker is at Boston Lodge for a heavy repaint. Boiler cladding sheets will be done next then sent back to Dinas to allow the loco to be completed later this year. 

A monthly volunteer project is making steady progress to create a replica NWNGR Ashbury brake. The timber framework is complete and a start has been made on the panelling. Another weekly volunteer project is FR Coach No.101 which will be due in the Paint Shop soon. No.10 van and porthole bug box No.12 are both in progress and will soon be finished and go into store for special events. Bowside FR Carriage No.18 is also having a full repaint. There is no news about progress with the WHR's Bodysgallen.

 

F&WHR 11/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit). The Cob still has a road closure.

Merddin Emrys was on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and Prince hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. By 16:25 Prince was being disposed at Boston Lodge as the final movement of the day.

 

Train services w/c 9/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

Moving Images No.64 11/5/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 24 minute 51 seconds of video covering visiting locos and the boat race which took place over the FR society AGM weekend. Not only but also Carriage Works roundup with Glenn Williams. This video was published on 11/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

F&WHR 10/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to have a sunny afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The Cob still has a road closure.

No.87 arrived with the ECS for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer at 09:30. Merddin Emrys had already run round the 10:30 Mountain Spirit by the time the Glaslyn Venturer left. Prince was able to complete its run round after the Mountain Spirit left the FR platform and was ready to depart on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer by 10:40 in the WHR platform.

At 13:30 Prince was running round in the FR platform ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Merddin Emrys ran round in the WHR platform after arriving at about 13:40. The loco ran to the yard shortly afterwards to be serviced while Prince departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Once clear of station limits the Fairlie ran round to return the ECS Mountain Spirit to Boston Lodge, departing at 14:19. Prince arrived back at 16:05 into the FR platform with running round completed promptly by 16:10. The ECS left to close the day at 16:13.

 

Mainline news

Class 66 No.66796 hauled 24 loaded box wagons on the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook working on Tuesday 10/5/22. There is still no word about the new freight flow of slate waste from Llandudno Junction yard that the sidings have been restored cheaply with wooden sleepers.

 

Caernarfon food festival 14/5/22

The F&WHR is sponsoring the Caernarfon Food Festival this year on Saturday 14/5/22. No additional services are being provided on the WHR unlike previous years though it is possible to visit during The Harbourmaster midday break.

 

NR Inspection coach on tour 11/5/22

NR's inspection coach Caroline is believed to be on its first private railtour on 11/5/22, the first time it has been available for private hire and carry a headboard for 30 years! The coach was recently used on a trip to Porthmadog and F&WHR staff were invited. This trip is a circular journey from Derby to Derby via Litchfield curve, Stoke on Trent, Middlewich, Altrincham, Edale and Toton. The train will be formed of 37418 and 975025 Caroline. See https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:U79452/2022-05-11/detailed for further details.

 

Road closure

The Cob is closed until Friday 13/5/22, except for access to Boston Lodge, for the provision of metered services.

Click on the image to enlarge. this image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 9/5/22

Monday F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 8/5/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer) plus an excursion.

No.87 was on the 10:14 Glaslyn Venturer and Merddin Emrys on the 10:30 Mountain spirit. Prince hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer for a change. No.87 was back by 13:00. Once the train had left ECS for the depot, Merddin Emrys arrived in the WHR platform about 13:40 and the loco ran round at 13:45. At 16:21 Prince departed Porthmadog with the ECS from the final Woodland Wanderer to complete the day's activities.

 

NLHF April update

An update has been released about progress with the National Lottery Heritage Fund Boston Lodge project. Works at Boston Lodge have reached the tender stage but 'ridiculous increases in construction costs' may impact the scope of the project. See NLHF link for further details.

 

F&WHR 7/5/22

Saturday was forecast to have sunny at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of a warmer 17C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star)  and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster).

The ECS for The Harbourmaster pulled into the WHR platform at 08:48 hauled by No.87 with a very full coal bunker, over an hour in advance of its 10:00 departure time. the motley rake looks incongruous compared to the WHR rake. It has the lower profile FR Super Barn coaches, taller WHR coaches and the extra tall Romanian coach No.2060. By 10:05 the WHR train had gone and Merddin Emrys had run round the 10:30 Mountain Spirit rake in the FR platform. Blanche had arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer a few minutes later and began its run round at 10:13. Today the loco was able to complete the run round and couple up at 10:18 in the absence of a 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer service. no.130 arrived with The Snowdonia Star shortly around 12:10 and the loco detached and ran to the yard to water at 12:20 before returning to Caernarfon departing about 2 hours later.

 

New railway museum on Anglesey

Tacla Taid museum at Newborough on Anglesey has become a railway museum with the delivery of the last rolling stock from the clearout of Octel Amlwch factory site. The final one of the three shunters formerly used at Octel was a Hunslet 0-4-0DM loco and was accompanied by a Bromine tanker and a flat wagon. The other two locos and some other rolling stock previously went to the Anglesey Central Railway at Llanerch-y-medd in Central Anglesey after storage in the sidings at Anglesey Aluminium. The ACR (aka Lein Amlwch) are busy restoring the line for a potential tourist route, although it has also been placed on the 'Rolling Back Beeching' list by the local Tory MP. Tacla Taid have laid a short length of track and hope to restore the loco to operational use in the future. See Daily Post story.

 

Caernarfon bypass speed trap

The Bank Holiday weekend saw 65 drivers caught by the Police exceeding the 60mph limit on the Caernarfon Bypass, used by many to visit the WHR. With only one train a day from Caernarfon, there is no alternative if you miss a booked train. Some sections of the bypass have lower speed limits approaching roundabouts. It is thought that the alternating 3 lane nature of the road encourages some drivers to exceed the speed limit to pass slow vehicles as they approach the end of a three lane section. There have been several accidents on the road including one on the opening day in February.

 

Main Line news

More PW work is taking place at Rhyl this weekend. Locos No.56078 and Nos.70806/12 were present.

 

F&WHR 6/5/22

Friday was forecast to have rain in the afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 12C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon  and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit).

The first train of the day was the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which arrived ECS in the FR platform and had run round by 10:10. Blanche arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 10:16. Run round was completed at 10:21 as there was no Glaslyn Venturer today.

 

Five Quarry Hunslets 30/4/22

This easterly view (30/4/22) shows Hugh Napier, Erin, Sybil, Britomart and Lilla steaming out of Porthmadog station. Three of these were used on shuttles during the FR AGM weekend. 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.

 

Bodysgallen refurbishment

First Class Pullman saloon No.2115 Bodysgallen is currently at Boston Lodge awaiting refurbishment. The WHRS is looking for help to fund the expensive work needed to bring this coach up to standard. There has been a big demand for first class travel and it is possible a second Pullman saloon may be constructed once Bodysgallen has been restored to use.

 

Cambrian Railways plans expansion

The Cambrian Heritage Railway at Oswestry has had a successful start to the season and now operates trains regularly from Oswestry south to Weston Wharf. The railway does not have the right to cross the A5 to the north or the A483 to the south of Weston Wharf even though both level crossings still exist. This is a legacy of the Highway Agency building both bypass roads on the cheap and not building railway bridges as the branch had just one stone train a day. It is hoped to improve the disconnected Llynclys to Pen-y-garreg line so that services may be resumed next year. The way north is currently subject to the ongoing feasibility study of the Community Rail Project to Gobowen.

Most likely is infrastructure consolidation to be undertaken at Oswestry, centred mainly on the completion of the middle road and the reinstating of the down-line and associated platform. This would require a point being installed 50m or so north of the Coney Green Crossing. Once the line is in place, it would allow access by heavy equipment to construct the platform. At the moment, the middle road terminates some 200m south of the Medical Crossing and, historically, rejoins the main up-line some 100m north of the crossing. The status of the Medical Crossing is open to question as it was built without regard to due process.

 

F&WHR 5/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit and the Glaslyn Venturer reappears today).

By 09:45 No.87 had appeared in the WHR platform with the rake for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. Only the morning run was scheduled today. At 10:07 Merddin Emrys arrived with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche made its way over The Cob to the trident signal as No.87 prepared to leave at 10:15. The Fairlie completed the run round as the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer pulled into the recently vacated WHR platform at 10:20 and immediately commenced its run round.

Merddin Emrys was back by 13:50, just before Blanche left for its afternoon Woodland Wanderer working. After fuelling and watering the Fairlie emerged from the yard to take the ECS back to Boston Lodge at 14:10. Blanche returned at 16:12 with the afternoon Woodland Wanderer and was soon disposed to the depot as the final movement of the day.

 

F&WHR 4/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to be an improving day with a sunny afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. Wednesday trains were a repeat of Tuesday's. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit). The Glaslyn Venturer reappears on Thursday.

Merddin Emrys departed with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit after Blanche ran round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. On days when there is a Glaslyn Venturer departing at 10:15 it is difficult and therefore rare for the Woodland Wanderer loco to arrive and complete the run round in the WHR platform before the Mountain Spirit requires The Cob token.

 

Early FR film discovered on YouTube

A film showing the very early days on the FR in 1957 has been published on YouTube. Click here to view. this video shows how Prince was used to wrench tree stumps out of cuttings and volunteers generally restoring  and operating the railway.

 

Spooners update 29/4/22

Spooners is currently unable to provide meals, without explanation, a loss to the many customers who enjoy their themed nights and weekend meals. Apparently the pub closed at 6pm on 30/4/22 due to lack of staff. Large wooden benches have been provided to replace the light weight metal chairs previously used in the patio area that got broken.. The F&WHR announcement is as follows.

SPRING AT SPOONER’S

🔵  Picture the scene… the sun is shining, trains are steaming and visitors are enjoying a coffee on our new Outdoor Terrace benches.

🔵  That’s the idyllic scene here at Spooner’s this Friday..!

🔵  We’re open daily this Spring and looking forward to a busy season ahead.

🔵  A selection of hot drinks, cakes and confectionery will be available from our Café, while our Bar will be serving a range of beers, ciders, local cask ales and non-alcoholic refreshments.

🔵  We are unable to serve meals at the present moment; however, a small range of sandwiches are available on most days.

🔵  So, as the evenings get brighter, why not come down and say “Hello” - we look forward to welcoming you..!

 

F&WHR 3/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a bright but cloudy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C. Tuesday trains were much reduced. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit).

At 09:32 Criccieth Castle was noted taking the AGM Weekend shuttle coaches to Glan-y-pwll shed passing through Tan-y-bwlch. David Lloyd George followed, passing through Tan-y-bwlch at 11:06 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit whilst Criccieth Castle waited for the token to return to Minffordd Yard. In the event it waited for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer to arrive before departing light engine. Criccieth Castle was shunting loaded coal B wagons into the refuelling point at Porthmadog Harbour station at 13:50. Blanche departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer on time. At 14:11 the ECS rake from the 10:30 Mountain Spirit in the WHR platform left for the Carriage Shed. Criccieth Castle emerged from the yard at 14:15 awaiting a light engine path back to the depot and departed at 14:21. Blanche arrived back in sunshine with the afternoon Woodland Wanderer at 16:11 and the rake was promptly disposed to the Carriage Shed ECS at 16:20 to close the day's activities.

 

Tan-y-bwlch station cafe still open despite roadsigns! 3-4/5/22

Message from F&WHR

'PLEASE IGNORE THE ROAD SIGNS:

We are open as normal..! Strange request, but access to the Tea Room at Tan-y-Bwlch Station is NOT affected by the roadworks taking place on the B4410 between Garreg/Llanfrothen and the Oakley Arms, Maentwrog. There is a sign for vehicles approaching from the A487 that states the road to Garreg is closed from 2nd-4th May. However, the work is taking place beyond the station and Tea-Room - so, if you want to visit us, just drive past the sign. Anyone wanting to visit us via Garreg / Llanfrothen will have to travel through Penrhyndeudraeth. So, don't be put off by the sign - WE ARE OPEN everyday and look forward to seeing you here for some tasty treats, drinks and snacks..!'

 

Images from 1/5/22

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Elin's footplate and controls at Minffordd at midday on the shuttle arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Elin at Minffordd at midday on the shuttle arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Britomart at Minffordd at midday on the rear of the shuttle after arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Main Line news

The Aberystwyth test freight with logs for Kronospan Chirk ran on 29/4/22, the first real freight for 29 years since the weekly oil train stopped back in 28/4/93 hauled by 37418 Pectinidae (de-named later that day). The train was loaded from the north side in Aberystwyth's run round loop. A previous trial with Freight Multiple Units in Spring 2005 was not followed up. The availability of NR's small fleet of ERTMS fitted Class 97s will determine the viability of this trial. Maybe the freight work will prompt NR to deliver its long promised mobile ERTMS unit allowing visiting traction to the line?

See YouTube for a video of the train departing Aberystwyth. About 800 tonnes was carried in this trial and if successful the train could become weekly. The train was hauled by NR locos No.97304 John Tilley and No.97303 Dave Berry on return from Aberystwyth. The Class 97s were only in use on the Cambrian section with No.56113 bringing the rake from Kronospan to Sutton Bridge Junction and returning the rake later from Shrewsbury, running round at Wrexham General at 01:26 early the next day. The track layout at Chirk only allows propel moves into the sidings from the southbound track.

 

Change of web platform

The TSOHost web platform was changed at their request on 1/5/22 and this may lead to the website being unavailable for a short while as the new DNS percolates through the servers around the world. The website has been tested and is available on EE's 4G network and was available via TalkTalk broadband  tested on 2/5/22 at 16:35.

 

F&WHR 2/5/22

Bank Holiday Monday was forecast to be a bright but cloudy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and EIGHT from Porthmadog (five Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and one Glaslyn Venturer) plus SIX FRS/WHRS Members' Shuttles (2 to Pont Croesor and 4 to Minffordd). This is the first time the FR has operated all five Woodland Wanderer paths.

Today was the first run of the 09:45 Woodland Wanderer, hauled by Prince, which departed the FR platform after No.87 had arrived ECS in the WHR platform for the 10:15 departure. After the departure of No.87 on the Glaslyn Venturer at 10:15 the station became a hive of activity with Britomart and its shuttle rake with Sybil on the rear moving to the WHR platform for the 10:50 departure and Blanche reversing its rake into the FR platform for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Meanwhile Elin shunted to the seawall siding.

Sybil was back with the Pont Croesor shuttle at 11:35. Five minutes later Erin arrived back from Boston Lodge with the rake of 8 skips. Sybil departed for Minffordd a little later with Britomart on the rear. Erin did a demo shunt in the station yard with 2 skips at 11:53 that extended to more than half an hour to the delight of the audience.

Towards the end of the day David Lloyd George returned at 17:35 with the afternoon Mountain Spirit into the WHR platform. The loco uncoupled promptly. Once the final Woodland Wanderer had arrived back with Prince the Fairlie took the ECS back to Boston Lodge departing about 18:05. The final movement of the FR AGM Weekend came at 18:17 when Prince took the ECS of the Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge.

 

Videos from 1/5/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 minute 14 seconds of video covering Elin shunting Harbour Station in the rain just before midday on 1/5/22. This video was published on 2/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 21 seconds of video covering the live steam Model Railway Exhibition at Minffordd at midday on 1/5/22. This video was published on 2/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

Meillionen Halt

The F&WHR has confirmed it will stop to pick up/set down at Meillionen/Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt which will be a boon for those who holiday in the Beddgelert Forest campsite/cabin accommodation. Initially it is the northbound Harbourmaster that will call there on public services but Society members can use all stations and halts subject to space being available. However, the Fareharbor booking website does not have a Meillionen page. Those passengers who wish to join the train probably have to use the Beddgelert page.

 

Beddgelert Station update

With Beddgelert station now established as a 1936 style frontier station under the F&WHR's current operating plans, more shelter is being provided, more picnic style tables and a new temporary booking office and refreshment facility. It may be 18 months to 2 years before a permanent station building is completed on the concrete slab provided when the line was opened. The F&WHR has appointed Rob Chambers as architect to design the new station building.

 

F&WHR 1/5/22

Sunday was forecast was for cloudy weather with rain on and off and a chilly 11C maximum temperature. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FIVE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and one Glaslyn Venturer plus SIX FRS/WHRS Members' Shuttles (2 to Pont Croesor and 4 to Minffordd).

At 09:45 No.87 was in the WHR platform with the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer while Britomart arrived with the shuttle into the yard with Erin on the rear. David Lloyd George arrived at 10:02 into the FR platform with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit.

At 10:00 the Boat Race was staged with Spooner's sail powered 'boat' wagon making its way across The Cob in a race with rowers from the local rowing club (see story here). It looks like Spooner's boat may have just won!

 

This easterly view (30/4/22) shows Spooner's boat running into the Harbour Station yard at about 10mph near the signalbox aided by a stiff breeze from the south west and beating the rowers who can be seen in the bay to the right of the signalbox. No.87 is ready to depart with the Glaslyn Venturer in the WHR platform and the rake for the Mountain Spirit stands in the FR platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was captured from the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Glaslyn Venturer and Mountain Spirit left on time and at 10:40 Blanche was shunting the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer out of the yard to the WHR. Sybil came over The Cob light engine at 10:50 allowing Blanche to depart a little late at 10:58 on the Woodland Wanderer. The skips left for Boston Lodge at 11:12 and arrived back at 11:50 after the Pont Croesor shuttle had arrived back a little early at 11:35. There was space available on the Minffordd shuttle so members of the public standing with little soaked-through children watching on the platform were invited for a free ride to Minffordd and back and to see the Model Railway exhibition there. That probably made another lifelong rail enthusiast!

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 minute 24 seconds of video covering the FR AGM with Sybil hauling 8 skips to Boston Lodge at 11:00. This video was published on 1/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

YouTube FR AGM 29-30/4/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 23 minutes 28 seconds of video covering FR AGM shuttles on 29-3-/4/22 between Pont Croesor and Minffordd and NG16 service trains. This video was published on 1/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by Lee Davies on a camcorder.

 

F&WHR 30/4/22

Saturday was the start of the FR AGM weekend. The forecast was for cloudy weather with a chilly 10C maximum and rain in the evening. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Snowdonia Star and SEVEN from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and The Harbourmaster plus SEVEN FRS/WHRS Members' Shuttles (3 to Pont Croesor and 4 to Minffordd).

The FR Mess car had been removed from the seawall siding by the morning. At 10:37 Blanche was running round a rake in the WHR platform while Merddin Emrys was crossing The Cob on the Mountain Spirit headed and Sybil (Britomart lookalike) shunted a skip in the yard and then shunted 5 skips, then 8 were shunted into the short seawall siding!

At 11:04 Elin led a short 3 coach rake featuring the curly roofed van and Britomart arriving in the WHR platform from Pont Croesor. Sybil exchanged for Elin for the 11:20 Minffordd shuttle. Erin was later shunting the 8 skip rake in the station at 11:43.

 

This westerly view (30/4/22) shows Sybil on the rear of the Minffordd shuttle (with Britomart at the lead end) departing Minffordd on its return journey at 11:46. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was captured from the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Prince arrived back in Porthmadog with the return working of the Woodland Wanderer at 12:18 at the same moment as No.130 arrived with the Snowdonia Star. Sybil was shunting in the yard afterwards and David Lloyd George came over The Cob light engine for the afternoon Fairlie swop at 12:30. The Snowdonia Star rake was shunted to the yard by 12:35 and the loco detached for fuelling and watering. Britomart shunted back to the WHR platform with its rake at 12:48 with Erin on the rear while Prince shunted in the yard. The train set out for Pont Croesor at 12:50.

 

Mainline 30/4/22

Class 20s Nos.20189/142 hauled the Tyseley-Llandudno excursion today.

Class 47s Nos.47815/854 top and tailed the Northern Belle charter to Llandudno Junction (for Conwy/Bodnant Gardens).

Class 67 No.67017 was on the ECS Holyhead-Crewe which swops the rakes over for maintenance. Sometimes this is used as an additional passenger service but not today.

The third excursion from Ely to Llandudno was top and tailed by Nos.47614/501.

 

Sunday Shuttles

These follow a similar pattern to Saturday's shuttles but with only two trips to Pont Croesor.

10:50 Porthmadog dep Britomart and Elin : Porthmadog arr 11:40

15:05 Porthmadog dep Sybil and Britomart : Porthmadog arr 15:55

 

Click on the image to enlarge. click again for full size. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 29/4/22

Friday is the start of a Bank Holiday weekend and services change to reflect this. The forecast was for a sunny day with maximum temperatures of a chilly 14C. Today there was ONE train from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and one Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster).

The Harbourmaster ran today departing Porthmadog at 09:40 with No.87 in charge and No.130 hauling the Snowdonia Star starting from Caernarfon at 10:00. Merddin Emrys was on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which left on time from the FR platform but there was no afternoon working. Blanche was provided for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and arrived in the WHR platform. After completing the run round, second thoughts seem to have happened, as it detached and shunted to the fuelling point for a top up at 10:43. The loco hurried back from the yard and was coupling up again at 10:51 with a few minutes to spare before departure at 10:55.

At 17:15 the Harbourmaster was moving ECS to Boston Lodge to close the day's activities.

 

Moving Pictures No.63 28/4/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 34 minutes 31 seconds of video covering The Snowdonian and two gravity trains. This video was published on 28/4/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

Saturday Shuttles

The FR AGM weekend has arrived and special trains have been laid on which both FR and WHR members may enjoy. Three shuttles will run from Porthmadog to Pont Croesor on Saturday. There are also four shuttles to Minffordd and a freight working with skips..

10:20 Porthmadog dep Britomart and Elin : Porthmadog arr 11:10

12:50 Porthmadog dep Britomart and Elin : Porthmadog arr 13:40

14:05 Porthmadog dep Sybil and Britomart : Porthmadog arr 15:55

Click on the image to enlarge. click again for full size. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 28/4/22

Porthmadog was forecast to have a few sunny periods with a maximum temperature of chilly 12C on Thursday. Today there was ONE train from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and SIX from Porthmadog (two each of Woodland Wanderer and the Mountain Spirit and Glaslyn Explorer). The loco situation must have eased.

At 0948 No.87 was waiting with the stock for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer departure in the WHR platform and at 10:00 David Lloyd George arrived with the ECS for the Mountain Spirit into the FR platform. The FR Mess car was still in the seawall siding. Blanche arrived  with the E S for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer shortly after No.87 departed . The Fairlie left on time allowing Blanche to complete its run round and depart on time. Merddin Emrys arrived light at 12:34 and appeared to be well again so may have returned late yesterday from Glan-y-pwll. It was n Blanche departed Tan-y-bwlch at 12:36 with the return working of the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer.

One No.87 left on the afternoon Glaslyn Venturer the platform was occupied by the afternoon Woodland Wanderer departing at 13:55 while Merddin Emrys was on the afternoon Mountain Spirit in the FR platform. David Lloyd George waited for a light engine path back to Boston Lodge, leaving at 14:10. At 16:27 The Garratt was back in the WHR platform and Blanche was departing with the ECS from the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge. The ECS left at 16:50. The afternoon Mountain Spirit arrived back on time at 17:35 and the loco promptly ran round and departed with the ECS at 17:52 to close the day.

As it is the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend this weekend the through Harbourmaster/Snowdonia Star trains will operate on both Friday and Saturday.

 

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

May Bank Holiday Weekend 29/4/22-2/5/22

The F&WHR is looking forward to a busy few days here at the F&WHR. Not only is it a Bank Holiday Weekend, it's also the FR Soc AGM weekend. Nine different locos will be in use, with lots of trains running, so Harbour Station will be full of action and interest.

▪️  On the Ffestiniog Railway - there will be up to five Woodland Wanderer trains a day to Tan-y-Bwlch, along with a mix of morning/afternoon Mountain Spirit trains to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

▪️  On the Welsh Highland Railway - there will be The Harbourmaster (Fri/Sat) and Glaslyn Venturer (Sun/Mon) trains from Porthmadog, while the Snowdonia Star (Fri/Sat) and Gelert Explorer (Sun/Mon) trains will run from Caernarfon.

▪️  In addition, there will be a number of shuttle trains running just for our Society members - but all our visitors will be able to see and photograph them during the weekend.

The Loco Roster varies from day to day, but the locos in use are expected to be as follows -

▪️  Woodland Wanderer -Prince and Blanche

▪️  Mountain Spirit - Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George

▪️  The Harbourmaster / Glaslyn Venturer - NG/G16 No.87

▪️  Snowdonia Star / Gelert Explorer - NG/G16 No.130

▪️  Society Members' Shuttles - Britomart, Sybil and Elin

The F&WHR hopes supporters will come along and visit the railway this weekend, ride the train or watch the action. There will certainly be plenty to enjoy and entertain!

Details of the F&WHR public train services and online booking information is available here.

Specific information for FR/WHR Society members is available here.

 

Next week's services

The Glaslyn Venturer becomes TThSuO next week and the Gelert Explorer FSX.

 

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Three NWC railtours in one day! 30/4/22

Saturday sees three railtours to the North Wales Coast passing through or terminating at Llandudno Junction.

10:51 (1Z20) Ex Tyseley (Class 20s booked to Llandudno)

11:26 (1Z36) ex York (terminates)

12:43 (1Z83) ex Ely (to Llandudno)

 

Porthmadog Premier Inn

The Premier Inn sign has gone up at Porthmadog and on 28/4/22 the footpath on the visual splay was being tarmaced. The Cob has suffered from jams caused by delivery vehicles reversing in the entrance due to failure to complete the car park in reasonable time. The hotel in now advertised as opening from 16/9/22, some 3 months later than the 14/6/22 previously advised.

 

F&WHR 27/4/22

Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods with a maximum temperature of 14C today. Today there was ONE train from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two each of Woodland Wanderer and the Mountain Spirit). The Glaslyn Venturer was not scheduled to run today which means No.87 could be used at Dinas on today's Gelert Explorer if No.130 is still indisposed at Boston Lodge (No.130's train was cancelled on Tuesday as the loco was noted in Boston Lodge Monday afternoon.). The problem will come on Thursday as both Garratt hauled trains are set to run, unless alternative traction can be found for the Glaslyn Venturer (this was Fairlie hauled on occasion last year). The cancellation shows the WHR is sorely in need of a spare Garratt or a diesel loco such as Castell Caernarfon which is being slowly rebuilt

Steam was being raised at 09:30 and Merddin Emrys brought the 10:30 Mountain Spirit rake across The Cob arriving in the FR platform at 09:45. The FR Mess Coach was still in the seawall siding. Blanche had run round and coupled to the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer by 10:35 in the WHR platform. The Fairlie arrived in Tan-y-bwlch at 11:08 and Blanche at 11:40. Blanche detached and went to water and run round a few minutes later but the Merddin Emrys must have encountered a problem as Blanche did not run round but went to assist. Criccieth Castle turned up light engine at Tan-y-bwlch at 12:38 to return the Woodland Wanderer. This departed some 10 minutes late at 12:41.

Criccieth Castle was back in Harbour Station at 13:18 and at 13:27 it removed the returned 10:55 Woodland Wanderer rake from the FR platform and shunted it to the yard surprisingly as it was due to leave at 13:55. This left the FR platform clear for the arrival of the returning 10:30 Mountain Spirit. David Lloyd George arrived for the Fairlie swop on the afternoon Mountain Spirit at 13:46 but there was no sign of the returning train. In fact Blanche arrived back at Tan-y-bwlch at 13:50 and departed promptly at 13:54, nearly an hour late. The train arrived back at Porthmadog at 14:28, some 53 minutes late and was due out again at 14:30. Fast work by platform staff saw the train arrive Tan-y-Bwlch just 10 minutes late at 15:14. The train returned to Tan-y-bwlch back on time at 16:56 but it appeared that the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer did not run. It also appeared that Merddin Emrys was left at Glan-y-pwll depot as it did not return to Boston Lodge.

It will be interesting to see how the F&WHR copes with both No.130 and Merddin Emrys apparently out of action.

 

F&WHR 26/4/22

Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods with a maximum temperature of 14C today. The new midweek pattern of services emerged today with ONE train from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and SIX from Porthmadog (two each of Woodland Wanderer, Mountain Spirit and Glaslyn Venturer). It seems that No.130, was not returned to Dinas for the 11:30 Gelert Explorer as the F&WHR advised 'Due to operational difficulties the Gelert Explorer on 26/4/22 has been cancelled'. Passengers were contacted and tickets refunded.

At 09:38 No.87 was present ready in the WHR platform for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer for the first time this year. The FR Mess coach was still stabled in the seawall siding as the orange army continued work on the signalbox. At 10:00 David Lloyd George came across The Cob with the stock for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. After the Glaslyn Venturer departed Blanche came across The Cob for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform somewhat later than usual arriving at 10:25 but clearing The Cob section in time for an on time departure by the Mountain Spirit.

No.87 arrived back at 13:02 on the Glaslyn Venturer and ran round immediately as Blanche arrived back on the Woodland Wanderer and Merddin Emrys was prepared in the yard as the changeover Fairlie for the afternoon working of the Mountain Spirit. The Fairlie was used to shunt the Woodland Wanderer stock to the yard while Blanche was coaled and watered, clearing the FR platform for the return of the Mountain Spirit. The Garratt left several minutes late at 13:48 while Blanche was running round the Woodland Wanderer in the yard. Unlike previous examples of late running, the Woodland Wanderer was not reversed into the far end of the FR platform but into the WHR platform delaying departure of the 13:55 until 14:01.  

 

Bala Lake Railway 50th Anniversary Celebration 30/4-2/5/22

The BLR is celebrating its 50th Anniversary celebrations this coming Bank Holiday Weekend. See BLR website for full details.

 

Llangollen news 30/4/-2/5/22

The LR is offering Class 08 shunter 'Driver for a Fiver' experiences in Llangollen Station over the Bank Holiday weekend. Switch and Crossing tamper DR73309 arrived at Llangollen on 22/4/22 and tamped the renewal work in the station and at Deeside Halt on 25/4/22. On 23/4/22 26010 (as 5310) failed at Llangollen and was removed by the Class 08 No.08195 and replaced by the Class 47 No.47449 (as 1566) and 31271. The Bank Holiday sees steam loco Prairie No.1566 from the Telford Steam Railway in use.   

 

Views from 16/4/22

This Dinas Loco Shed view (16/4/22) shows Dinas PW shunter No.9 in the shed along with K1. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (16/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog at the end of the day in the North Yard, near the Carriage Shed, probably after shunting the rake inside the shed for overnight storage. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Mainline news

Aberystwyth may be getting a new freight service. A trial train of logs for Chirk may run on 29/4/22. Presumably an NR Class 97 is to be used to haul the train. The train picks up wagons at Welshpool and runs round in Aberystwyth loop at 10:36 under a Short Term Plan working and the return path in the evening.

Llandudno Junction sidings have been reconnected to the main line and this will allow the flow of slate waste from the new sidings for Penrhyn Quarry waste to Earles Sidings for the Hope Cement Works. There does not yet appear to be a path for these trains.

On 24/4/22 Colas Class 70 No.70810 was on PW in the Colwyn Bay area with other PW trains..

On 20-21/4/22 the NR Ultrasonic Test Train visited North Wales and worked to Bangor and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Colas livery No.37175 hauled the train permanently attached on the east end of the yellow coaches with a DMBS on the other end. Also on 21/4/22 Nos.43290/299 were on either end of NR's Plain Line Pattern Recognition train of yellow coaches.

On 22/4/22 NR managers made a trip to Porthmadog in Inspection Saloon No.975025 Caroline have by No.97302 Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways/Rheilffyrdd Ffestiniog ac Eryri (ex 37170) and No.37418 An Comunn Gaidhealach in large loco livery with Highland Stag. The F&WHR's Phil Brown was invited for the ride and has some photos on his Facebook page. The two locos ran round at Porthmadog and the locos shuffled to ensure ERTMS fitted No.97302 was on the front.

On the passenger railway TfW has announced the resumption of a normal timetable from 15/5/22. No.67015 hauled the midday Holyhead-Cardiff on 25/4/22.

 

F&WHR 25/4/22

There are no passenger trains today on the F&WHR for the last time until 21/9/22 but there may be stock movements, PW trains and test trains etc. The weather forecast was for sunny periods with maximum temperatures of a cool 14C in Porthmadog. The FR Mess van was still in the seawall siding with the orange army was still working on the signalbox. On Tuesday the new midweek pattern emerges with ONE train from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and SIX from Porthmadog (two each of Woodland Wanderer, Mountain Spirit and Glaslyn Venturer).

Criccieth Castle was in the WHR loop light engine at 15:00 as No.130 arrived with an unadvertised 7 coach train from Dinas. There appeared to be passengers in the Observation Car on the rear but no one got off at Porthmadog. No.130 detached a few minutes later and ran to the yard to fuel and water while the diesel shunted onto the west end of the rake. No.130 emerged from the yard 10 minutes later and shunted back onto the east end of the rake. The train went as far as Boston Lodge Halt, the limit of Garratt operations because of Rhiw Plas bridge. On return hauled by the diesel, the rake stopped at Pen Cob Junction to detach the Garratt which then went on shed and the diesel dragged the ECS back to the WHR platform arriving just before 16:00. The loco ran round by 16:25 and shunted the rake back to carriage sidings at 16:30 presumably for use on the Glaslyn Venturer the next day. It is possible that No.87 and No.130 have swopped duties as a result of these moves today. The loco left light engine for the depot at 16:40 to complete the movements for the day.

 

This easterly view (25/4/22) shows Criccieth Castle running light engine through Porthmadog at 14:41 and already signalled for Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is courtesy of the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Llangollen news

Class 31 No.31271 hauled trains on 24/4/22. Steam in the form of GWR Prairie tank loco No.5619 will haul trains over the Bank Holiday weekend 30/4-1-2/5/22. A Diesel Gala is promised 2-4/9/22 when hopefully the extension to the new Corwen will be open. The tamper is expected to arrive in the final week of April to fettle the track in the new station, loop and siding.

 

Cambrian Heritage Railway Oswestry news

The CHR is running trains over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Saturday's trains are Class 73 hauled or Pacer according to availability with 5 hourly services starting at 11 am. Sunday and Monday will feature alternate steam and diesel hauled trains with 6 trains hourly commencing at 11am. Tickets cost £8 adult and can be booked on line or on the day.

 

Corris Railway news

The traverser at Corris is now in use. See video of traverser in action. Hourly trains operate on all three days of the Bank Holiday weekend.

 

F&WHR 24/4/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny day at Porthmadog with a mild 17C maximum temperature. The Gravity Train is running twice today, leaving Minffordd at about 09:00 and 12:00, which probably explains the lack of Mountain Spirit services today. Sunday will be a normal weekend with ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog, two Woodland Wanderers and the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer.

Merddin Emrys was on the gravity train passing Minffordd shortly after 09:00 on its way up the line to release the gravity working. The train arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 09:35 and after being released at Dduallt rolled through under gravity at 10:15 followed light engine by the Fairlie at 10:39-10:50. No.87 was ready at 09:30 in the WHR platform ready for the Glaslyn Venturer which left on time at 10:15. The FR Mess car was still in the Sea Wall siding and the orange army was out and about around the signalbox area again. At 10:15 Merddin Emrys turned up surprisingly with the rake for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer which is normally a Blanche/Prince duty. This train also left on time.

David Lloyd George ran round at 13:45 ready for the 13:55 which left on time without the loco swop normally associated with the Mountain Spirit. Merddin Emrys returned to Porthmadog from Gravity Train duties at 14:17 light engine and left after refuelling/watering at 14:30 light engine for Boston Lodge. David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 14:30.

There are apparently no passenger trains on Monday 25/4/22, the last day this will happen until Wednesday 21/9/22.

 

Quarry Hunslets arrive 21-22/4/22

This westerly view (22/4/22) shows Sybil running with Van No.7 Porthmadog on a test run to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Britomart's sister Sybil is visiting the F&WHR from the Richmond Light Railway for the FR AGM next weekend. The loco was built by Hunslet in 1903 for the Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry, to the same design as Britomart (built four years earlier) and in a blue livery. Sybil, along with Elin, another Quarry Hunslet from the RLR, will be busy during the upcoming FRS AGM Weekend (30/4 - 2/5/22y) working shuttle trains for Society Members, some to Minffordd and some to Pont Croesor.

Britomart went to collect Sybil and Elin from the road transporter at Minffordd Yard on 21/4/22 passing Prince just after 11am at Minffordd. After checking, Sybil was steamed for a test run to Dinas on Friday, passing No.130 at Beddgelert at about 15:00 on the Snowdonia Star. The loco had to water at Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu. A video is available at Will's Narrow Gauge page.

 

Locomotive Manager appointment

John Browning writes about the appointment of Matthew Ellis as the F&WHR's new Locomotive Manager.

'Beamish Keeper of Transport, Matt Ellis, has been offered a new role at the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway as their Locomotive Manager. I have to add that this is one of the heritage railway World’s ‘dream jobs’ and it is certainly an exciting one, and one that I know Matt will flourish in. We will be looking now at how we manage both operations and engineering, as well as some wider strategic developments that were already underway, to ensure, as far as possible, continuity through the process of replacing Matt and covering the work he has managed and developed. Matt will stay with us in a remote capacity to assist with this process and enable a number of areas of work to progress, in particular around the development of competence management within the engineering team.'

 

F&WHR 23/4/22

Saturday was forecast to have sunny periods in Porthmadog with 15C maximum temperatures. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderers and one Mountain Spirit). this is because of The Snowdonian, which explains yesterday's stock changes.

The annual Snowdonian special will be running over the full 80 miles of the F&WHR (Porthmadog - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Caernarfon - Porthmadog) today. The Ffestiniog Railway leg will be hauled by the three operating George England locos - Welsh Pony, Prince and Palmerston - while Garratts K1 and No.87 will work over the Welsh Highland Railway. For those in the area who want to see, or take photos of, the train as it makes its way through Snowdonia, the approximate timings are shown below:

08:30 - Porthmadog

08:40 - Minffordd

09:05-09:20 - Tan-y-Bwlch

09:40 - Tan-y-grisiau

09:50 - Blaenau Ffestiniog

10:15 - Blaenau Ffestiniog

10:20 - Tan-y-grisiau

10:45-10:50 - Tan-y-Bwlch

11:10 - Minffordd

11:15 - Pen Cob

LOCO SWAP

11:25 - Pen Cob

11:30 - Porthmadog (Non-stop)

11:40 - Pont Croesor

12:10-12:20 - Beddgelert

12:40-12:50 - Rhyd Ddu

13:15-14:30 - Waunfawr

14:45-14:50 - Dinas

15:05 - Caernarfon

15:30 - Caernarfon

15:40-15:50 - Dinas

16:05-16:10 - Waunfawr

16:35-16:40 - Rhyd Ddu

17:00-17:05 - Beddgelert

17:30 - Pont Croesor

17:45 - Porthmadog

Information and timings provided in good faith, but may be subject to variation on the day.

The Snowdonian left Porthmadog late behind Palmerston, Welsh Pony and Prince. K1 and No.87 did the honours on the WHR. It stopped at Waunfawr for an hour to feed the passengers where it crosses another train according to the timetable. Sybil appeared at Waunfawr during the lunch-time layover of The Snowdonian special and returned to Porthmadog with its brakevan a few hour later. Another half hour break was allowed at Caernarfon. K1 also appeared to only work to Waunfawr (on return from Caernarfon) as it had a light engine path back to Dinas. No.87 was noted returning alone as it arrived at Porthmadog. It is reported that there was a Mountain Spirit train during the afternoon which utilised the rarely used 'spare' A set as the normal Mountain Spirit set went to Caernarfon and back as part of The Snowdonian.

 

Vale of Ffestiniog 15/4/22

This southerly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog pausing at Rhyd Ddu to collect the token. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog pausing at Waunfawr to collect the token with the sun briefly emerging in the late afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog finally arrived at Dinas with its rake of wagons and Open coach No.2021, which can now join the Gelert Explorer/Snowdonia Star rake as weather improves during the Spring. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Views from the Funkey 15/4/22

Thanks to Tom Waldren for these views from the cab of Vale of Ffestiniog.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) from Vale of Ffestiniog shows one of the 'Teletubby bridges in The Traeth. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) from Vale of Ffestiniog shows the interior of T4. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) from Vale of Ffestiniog shows the shelf in the Aberglaslyn Pass between T4 and T3. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) from Vale of Ffestiniog shows the descent from Rhyd Ddu between Ffridd Isaf and Clogwyn-y-Gwin. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 22/4/22

Friday was forecast to be a cloudy day but becoming sunny in the late afternoon with mild temperatures of 17C maximum. In addition to the Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star there are only two Woodland Wanderer services today and no Mountain Spirit services. The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked in the morning. Saturday will be a normal weekend with ONE train from Caernarfon and THREE from Porthmadog.

Prince ran round its rake at 10:25 in the FR platform and a PW train with the FR Mess van was stabled in the Sea Wall siding during the day. Staff appeared to be working on the scaffolding on the signalbox and relay cabin. Harlech Castle arrived with a B wagon of coal at 10:54 just before the departure of Prince with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer, which left on time. Harlech Castle departed light engine for Minffordd at 11:13 to assist Prince which was having a steaming problem and had stopped there for assistance. The loco came to a stop on the curve between Minffordd crossing to seek permission to set the facing point for the wrong line so it could reverse into the yard. In the end the diesel was not needed and Prince later arrived at Tan-y-bwlch over 30 minutes late. There was a surprise at midday (video courtesy of your webmaster's brother).

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 52 seconds of video of No.130 crossing Britannia Bridge and arriving in Porthmadog Harbour station on 22/4/22 at midday. This video was published on 22/4/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

No.130 was noted in Porthmadog at 13:30 with the Snowdonia Star rake. The FR Mess car was still present in the seawall siding. Some people boarded dragging suitcases presumably taking a single journey. Harlech Castle arrived at 13:58 light engine across The Cob. Prince ran round in the FR platform at 14:00 and the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer left at 14:04, several minutes late due to a reaction to the loco's earlier misadventures. K1 arrived at Porthmadog at 14:41 having passed the northbound Snowdonia Star at Pont Croesor. The loco was to be used on Saturday's The Snowdonian before returning to Statfold Barn soon, having spent several months on the WHR.

 

This easterly view (22/4/22) shows K1 running light engine through Porthmadog at 14:41 and already signalled for Boston Lodge. the loco had come over to haul The Snowdonian the next day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is courtesy of the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Later in the afternoon the 'orange army' seemed to be erecting mobile platforms for painting as the sun finally emerged. Prince arrived back at 16:24, about quarter of an hour late. No.87 arrived back with the return working of the Harbourmaster at 16:38, just a few minutes late. No.87 shunted the front two coaches off the Harbourmaster rake at 16:43 into the yard to collect 8 additional coaches forming the rake for Saturday's The Snowdonian. This rake returned to the Carriage Shed departing at 16:54 after Snowdonian labels had been applied. A minute later Prince ran round the Woodland Wanderer rake and Harlech Castle emerged from the yard. Prince departed at 17:03 with The Snowdonian Boston Lodge tour group somewhat later than expected due to congestion at Harbour Station delaying the run round. Prince could not depart until after the diesel had coupled up to the remaining part of the Harbourmaster (now with only one Observation Car on the north end). The final move of the day at Porthmadog saw the latter depart for Boston Lodge at 17:25 leaving the FR Mess car in the seawall siding.

Prince then ran to Minffordd and ran round to await the call back to Boston Lodge. Harlech Castle then appeared out of the yard propelling the gravity train and disappeared off towards Porthmadog with it.

 

FRS AGM weekend 30/4/22-2/5/22

The Ffestiniog Railway Society AGM weekend is fast approaching and the F&WHR has some exciting items on the agenda for FR/WHR Society members -

More information is available on the event website.

The pair of visiting locos will operate shuttle trains for members during AGM weekend supported by Britomart. These will operate between Porthmadog and Minffordd also Porthmadog and Pont Croesor.  They may also be seen on an occasional short freight operations. These free shuttle trains will be offered to members over the weekend and do not need to be pre-booked and will operate on a 'hop-on-hop-off' basis, subject to availability.  

 

F&WHR 21/4/22

Thursday was forecast to be a sunny day with temperatures reaching a mild 18C maximum in the afternoon but the day started with some light cloud cover. Today's train service was set to be the same as Tuesday and Wednesday and was the last day of the higher intensity Easter services. Today there is ONE train from Caernarfon and SEVEN from Porthmadog. The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out but all other trains were bookable in the morning.

Staff were maintaining the pointwork in the station throat as No.87 arrived with the ECS for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer at 09:34 whilst steam was being raised for the following two services at Boston Lodge. David Lloyd George arrived with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit at about 10am and was running round at 10:05. Tight timing of the three morning departures means that the Glaslyn Venturer must get away quickly as the platform is required by the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer minutes later. Prince was approaching across The Cob as the Garratt departed and pulled in at 10:22. The run round cannot usually be completed until after the Mountain Spirit departs at 10:30. Prince had completed its run round by 10:37 and departed on time at 10:55.

Blanche pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 13:33 on the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. The rake was then propelled to the westbound platform at 13:44 before the loco ran round. This allowed Prince to pull in with the 13:55 at 14:39. Merddin Emrys took over the afternoon Mountain Spirit departing on time at 14:30 while David Lloyd George waited in the yard for a light engine path back to Boston Lodge and left shortly after the 14:30 cleared The Cob section. Meanwhile, up at Tan-y-bwlch, Prince also propelled its rake to the westbound platform at 14:50 to allow the 14:30 Mountain Spirit to pass.

 

F&WHR 20/4/22

Wednesday was forecast to be a sunny mild day at Porthmadog with a maximum temperature of 16C. Today there is ONE train from Caernarfon and SEVEN from Porthmadog and all were bookable in the morning. Thursday's trains follow a similar pattern to but Friday sees the end of the Easter service with just two Woodland Wanderer trains and the Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star on the WHR.

Today was a repeat of Tuesday with No.87 on the morning Glaslyn Venturer, Merddin Emrys departing on time on the morning Mountain Spirit and Prince running round for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 10:35, once the Mountain Spirit had cleared the shunt limit. Prince also left on time. Blanche arrived at midday with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. David Lloyd George came over light engine for the Fairlie swap on the afternoon Mountain Spirit at 12:25 and ran to the yard to fuel and water.

Following Blanche's departure, No.87 returned at 12:55 and 5 minutes later the Garratt ran to the station yard to refuel and water. Prince arrived with the return working of the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 13:11 into the FR platform and David Lloyd George coupled up to the rear of the rake at 13:15 to shunt it to the station sidings as No.87 shunted to the front of the 13:40 Glaslyn Venturer. At 13:27, the Fairlie moved near to the yard headshunt to allow Prince to emerge and reverse onto the 13:55 in the yard. At 13:41 Merddin Emrys arrived with the returning morning Mountain Spirit and David Lloyd George promptly shunted onto the rear by 13:45. This was followed by Prince shunting the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer rake to the WHR platform at 13:50, always a tight movement. The train left a few minutes late at 13:59 while Merddin Emrys waited in the yard for the light engine move back to Boston Lodge at 14:13 when The Cob section was clear.

 

Fuelling point 16/4/22

This northerly view (15/4/22) shows David Lloyd George and No.130 fuelling and watering at Harbour Station fuelling point. The lunchtime rush requires careful coordination of the four trains that are in the station at this time. 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.

 

Images from 15/4/22

Tom Waldren (diesel second man) took part in a trip by the Vale of Ffestiniog to bring one B wagon for loco ash from Dinas to Boston Lodge and went back with 5 B wagons and open coach No.2021. The five wagons will be filled with coal at Dinas.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog ready to depart Dinas with one B wagon for Boston Lodge after shunting the rake for the Snowdonia Star into the platform ready for No.130. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog waits for the token at Beddgelert with one B wagon for Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Down at Boston Lodge there appears to be steady progress with long delayed rebuild of Castell Caernarfon but work seems to have paused as it was stored in the Carriage Shed on this day. The F&WHR has stated the completion of this loco is a priority in order to have a rescue loco based at Dinas for the WHR.

 

This Carriage Shed view (15/4/22) shows Castell Caernarfon being refurbished and currently stored in the new Carriage Shed. The new steel cab structure has been fitted. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Carriage Shed view (15/4/22) shows Castell Caernarfon being refurbished and currently stored in the new Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog waiting for the token at Porthmadog with the return working with 5 B wagons and coach No.2021. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (15/4/22) shows No.130 arriving with the Snowdonia Star at 12:12 whilst Blanche waits with the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (15/4/22) shows No.130 and Merddin Emrys being coaled and watered ready for afternoon trains. No.130 would haul the return Snowdonia Star at 14:15 whilst Merddin Emrys would haul the 14:30 Mountain Spirit. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

World's Inaugural Wickham Day 22/4/22

Jonathan Flood has written to promote the World's First Wickham Trolley Day on 22/4/22 on behalf of The Rail trolley Trust.

'We are hoping that magazines, other publications, media websites, heritage railways, railway societies, engineering groups, railway enthusiasts and all organisations and individuals with links to or interests in all things Wickham, will join us in posting films, pictures, articles etc. of or associated with Wickhams, across all internet platforms this Friday (22/4/22). It is our hope that some interesting, unseen or unusual items, might be posted during the day, as obviously there are 100 years of history to choose from. Obviously, there is the Combination Coach on WHR and the Wickham Trolley on FR.'

 

F&WHR 19/4/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a cloudy day at Porthmadog with sunny periods later and 12C maximum temperatures. Today there is ONE train from Caernarfon and SEVEN from Porthmadog and all were bookable in the morning. At 09:40 No.87 was waiting in the WHR platform with the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer while the Mountain Spirit rake was being readied in Boston Lodge. David Lloyd George pulled in with the ECS at 09:59 and ran round at 10:15 whilst the Woodland Wanderer approached over The Cob as the Garratt left on time. Prince arrived at 10:22 into the WHR platform with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and detached promptly at 10:25. Run round could not be completed until after the Mountain Spirit had left at 10:30 though. Prince departed on time at 10:55.

David Lloyd George pulled into Tan-y-bwlch in wet conditions at 11:08, departing at 11:17 for Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Woodland Wanderer followed arriving at 11:56. No.87 arrived back about 11:57 and promptly went to refuel and water. Merddin Emrys, the turn over loco for the afternoon Mountain Spirit, was also available in the yard, having probably come across light engine. Blanche arrived soon after with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer.

The Mountain Spirit pulled in at 13:40 with David Lloyd George and, as soon as the afternoon Glaslyn Venturer departed, Merddin Emrys shunted the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer rake to the WHR platform before shunting onto the 14:30 Mountain Spirit. Timings are tight on these shunting moves and Prince emerged from the yard at 13:50 to shunt onto the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which left on time. The 14:30 Mountain Spirit also left on time as the last departure of the day.

 

F&WHR 18/4/22

Easter Monday was forecast to have sunny periods but a chilly 10C maximum temperature and a little breezy with wind from the southwest. In fact in these conditions the signalbox deflects the wind upwards and makes a partial vacuum on the leeward side (the Venturi effect) which draws the loco smoke up the signalbox roof against the wind direction as a loco passes. Today there is ONE train from Caernarfon and SEVEN from Porthmadog and all were bookable in the morning.

No.87 was in the WHR platform by 10:00 ready for the morning Glaslyn Venturer while Merddin Emrys approached with the morning Mountain Spirit, arriving in the FR platform at 10:04. The 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer left on time as Prince approached across The Cob with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer which has to wait for the WHR platform to be cleared. Merddin Emrys has already completed its run round ready for the 10:30 departure. Prince arrived at 10:23 and the run round followed after the departure of the Mountain Spirit at 10:35, some 5 minutes late. The late departure caused a reaction and Prince also left 5 minutes late at 11:00.

Blanche came over with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer into the FR platform and ran round by 11:50, well before the planned departure. David Lloyd George arrived light engine at 12:32 for the Fairlie swop on the afternoon Mountain Spirit. Blanche departed on time at 12:45. No.87 was back shortly afterwards, ran round and was coupled up for the afternoon departure by 13:05. Prince arrived at 13:11 with the return of the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. David Lloyd George coupled to the rear and unusually shunted the rake to the WHR loop at 13:22 to make space for the return of the morning's Mountain Spirit. No.87 took the 13:40 Glaslyn Venturer out on time and David Lloyd George then shunted the Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform immediately afterwards. The loco then shunted to the FR platform to take over the afternoon Mountain Spirit and subsequently Prince ran to the WHR platform to take over the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which left at 13:58. Meanwhile Merddin Emrys coupled to spare coaches in the sea wall siding as took the coach back to Boston Lodge at 14:10. The 14:30 Mountain Spirit left on time.

No.87 was back by 16:30 and was waiting for a path to follow Prince's ECS from the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge and eventually departed at 16:38. The final train of the day, the 14:30 Mountain Spirit, returned at 17:37 and was promptly returned ECS to Boston Lodge by David Lloyd George departing at 18:00 in sunshine.

 

Railway stories 12/4/22

The F&WHR is on the look out for F&WHR history.

🔵  Our Interpretation & Boston Lodge Project is now in full swing and we’re on the lookout for your railway stories..!

🔵  We’re asking people living between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon, and beyond, to come forward with their railway stories. These may include family history of ancestors who worked on the railways or how the railways impacted communities or lives.

🔵  The appeal is part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund project which will see a focus on new interpretation across both railways, as well as new building works at Boston Lodge, the Ffestiniog Railway works, where locomotives and carriages have been built and maintained for almost 200 years.

🔵  An ultimate objective of the project is to open Boston Lodge for guided tours in 2024.

🔵  Jim Embrey, the project’s Interpretation Officer, says;

“We know that many people locally have had grandparents and great grandparents who worked on the railway. Our aim is to capture their stories and to use them to enhance our visitors’ experience by telling them these tales and hopefully encourage them to make return visits”.

🔵  Details on how to get involved can be found on our Project website.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 2 minutes 11 seconds of video with Jim Embray explaining the F&WHR story collection project. This video was published on 12/4/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

F&WHR 17/4/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny day with temperatures of 16C maximum at Porthmadog but clouding over in the late afternoon and rain in the evening. All eight trains today were bookable in the morning. There are two Glaslyn Venturer trains for the first time today with the addition of a 13:40 afternoon trip which continues to operate until 21/4/22. At 09:45 No.87 was in the WHR with the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. David Lloyd George pulled into the FR platform at 10:07 for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. The train pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 11:18 and departed for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:28. This was followed by Prince which arrived with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 11:49 running about a quarter of an hour late.

At 12:05 Blanche pulled into Porthmadog Station with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer and promptly ran round. Merddin Emrys came over light engine to Harbour Station at 12:26 for the loco swop that usually accompanies the afternoon Mountain Spirit working. On this occasion though the loco ran to the sea wall siding. Surprisingly, another steam loco was being prepared at Boston Lodge perhaps for another loco swop. Blanche departed at 12:51, several minutes late. No.87 arrived back from the morning Glaslyn Venturer at 12:56. The loco immediately detached and ran round and the fireman worked to pull the coal forwards, ready for the afternoon run. Prince arrived at 13:15 having passed the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer at Minffordd. It was due out on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer.

 

This easterly view (17/4/22) shows No.87 after running round for the 13:40 Glaslyn Venturer. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is courtesy of the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

With the afternoon Glaslyn Venturer leaving by 13:45, it was possible for the returning morning Mountain Spirit to run into the WHR platform. The light engine move to the depot had to await the departure of Prince with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Blanche returned into the FR platform at 15:27 with the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. The loco ran round by 15:36 and departed promptly with the ECS back to Boston Lodge at 15:41. Glaslyn Venturer returned about 16:25 and was soon disposed by No.87 to the depot as was Prince after running round the returned 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Merddin Emrys was last back hauling the afternoon Mountain Spirit and after running round, hauled the ECS back to the depot at 17:53.

 

Skip train 16/4/22

The F&WHR has a set of Hudson skips. Your webmaster, in his Deviationist days, was used to filling skips by hand and manually pushing them to the railhead to be tipped in various locations around the Dduallt spiral and later hauling them out of the new Moelwyn Tunnel with the battery loco after the miners had loaded with a mechanical shovel.

 

This easterly view (16/4/22) shows the Skip train at the old Loco Shed, Boston Lodge. Volunteers at Glan-y-pwll have been working to restore a rake of 11 of the Hudson skips, previously used on the Deviation. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hugh Napier 13/4/22

Hugh Napier was on test again on 13/4/22 with a B wagon for a load. Presumably performance with ovoids was being tested.

 

F&WHR 16/4/22

Porthmadog was forecast to have a sunny afternoon with 14C today. There are seven trains today with a repeat of Friday's service. At 10:10 Merddin Emrys was ready in the FR platform for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit while the rake for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer emerged from Boston Lodge. At 10:21 Prince pulled into the WHR platform and ran round after the 10:30 left.

At 11:16 Criccieth Castle brought in the rake for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer, running round at 11:20. The loco shunted the rake to the yard before returning light engine to Boston Lodge at 11:35. Blanche appeared later and at 11:55 shunted into the train in the FR platform. At around 12:15 the Snowdonia Star arrived at Porthmadog and No.130 shunted to the yard to replenish coal and water by 12:30. Blanche headed towards Tan-y-bwlch on time passing Minffordd at 12:56.

At 13:45 David Lloyd George, having come across The Cob light engine, coupled up to the 14:30 afternoon Mountain Spirit in the FR platform. running a little late, Prince extracted the Woodland Wanderer rake from the yard to shunt to the FR platform for the 13:55. The train arrived in the platform at 13:53 with 2 minutes to spare. After prompt work by platform staff the train departed at 14:57 just 2 minutes late! The afternoon Mountain Spirit left on time and probably passes the returning 12:45 Woodland Wanderer at Rhiw Goch loop 14:55-15:00. The Snowdonia Star departed Porthmadog at 14:15 on its return journey.

At 16:10 the return working of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer returned with Prince in charge and was promptly disposed to Boston Lodge after the run round. David Lloyd George returned with the afternoon Mountain Spirit at 17:36 in bright sunshine. after watering/coaling the loco ran round at about 17:50, coupled up and departed for Boston Lodge with the ECS at about 18:00 to finish the day.

 

This easterly view (16/4/22) shows David Lloyd George arriving with the return working of the 14:30 Mountain Spirit, the final train of the day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is courtesy of the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Promoting Caernarfon 15/4/22

The F&WHR is promoting Caernarfon station and its train service. It is therefore a pity that there is only ONE train a day from Caernarfon compared to NINE from Porthmadog in the peak period as Caernarfon is much nearer the population centres of the North West for a day out. At the very least it must surely be possible to lend another loco to Dinas such as an England engine and a few heritage carriages to run a Heritage style service as operated in 2019. 'Making the Most of Caernarfon' might involve adding more train services according to some WHRS members!

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 minute 42 seconds of video focussing on the attractions of Caernarfon and its WHR station. This video was published on 13/4/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

MAKE THE MOST OF SPRING IN CAERNARFON

Caernarfon is an idyllic location for visitors to start their journey on-board our services this Spring - especially for those arriving from the North Wales Coast and Ynys Môn / Anglesey. The vibrant town has grown up around the iconic Caernarfon Castle, which dates back to the 13th Century, both within the old town walls and alongside the Afon Seiont and Menai Strait. At the heart of the town is ‘Y Maes’ (The Square) an open, semi-pedestrianised piazza which shelters beneath the castle walls and is surrounded by shops, pubs (including Bar Bach, the smallest pub in Wales) and cafes - some with al fresco tables, seating and umbrellas. When the sun is shining, there’s a real Mediterranean feel to the area.

A short walk from ‘Y Maes’ is the new Cei Llechi (Slate Quay) site, which is home to many small local artisan businesses - selling craft items, artwork, jewellery, delicious ice cream and much more. The impressive Caernarfon Station is next to Cei Llechi, and it’s from here you start your journey on the Welsh Highland Railway. Board the train for a scenic journey, climbing from the coast and up into the mountains to cross the flanks of Snowdon, as you ride into, and through, the very heart of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park.

Our ‘Gelert Explorer’ service takes you to the picturesque village of Beddgelert, with time to explore its narrow streets and enjoy the riverside walks to the legendary Gelert’s Grave. Our ‘Snowdonia Star’ service takes you ‘coast to coast’ from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, with time to visit the bustling High Street and wander round the harbour or simply relax in the sun. The ‘Snowdonia Star’ service departs Caernarfon at 10:00 - Friday and Saturday. The ‘Gelert Explorer’ service departs Caernarfon at 11:30 - Sunday through to Thursday. Full details of your day-out on these trains (and the link to online booking) are available @ festrail.co.uk/trains. So there you have it, come along and enjoy all that Caernarfon has to offer this Spring!

 

F&WHR 15/4/22 Good Friday

Easter has arrived but with overcast skies and 12C maximum temperatures at Porthmadog. There are seven trains scheduled today with the new 12:45 Woodland Wanderer adding to the offering for the first time. The afternoon trains were all bookable as were the WHR services. The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star trains run on the WHR today and Saturday.

David Lloyd George hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit arriving in Tan-y-bwlch at 11:08 and departing for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:14. Prince followed with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer arriving at 11:41 and returned to Porthmadog at 12:35. Meanwhile down at Porthmadog, Funkey diesel Vale of Ffestiniog was in the WHR loop with a short PW train of 5 B wagons and the Open coach No.2021 awaiting the arrival of the Snowdonia Star at 12:15. Blanche steamed into the FR platform at 11:43 with the spare rake for the new 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. No.130 pulled in on the Snowdonia Star at 12:12, a few minutes early. at 12:20 the loco detached to water and coal in the station yard. The Observation Carriage widows were treated to a wash down as usual. Merddin Emrys turned up light engine at 12:33 to take over the afternoon Mountain Spirit and ran to the yard to coal and water, making four locos present in the station.

 

This easterly view (15/4/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog on a PW train while Blanche brings in the stock for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer, the first time this train has run. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The new 12:45 Woodland Wanderer working left Porthmadog on time. Up at Tan-y-bwlch David Lloyd George arrived at 12:57 with the return working of the Mountain Spirit and left a few minutes later at 13:01. Down in Porthmadog the Funkey set off north along the WHR, presumably for Dinas at 13:03 and the two Woodland Wanderer trains passed at Tan-y-bwlch. No.130 ran round the Snowdonia Star at 13:10 and Prince ran into the FR platform at the same time. Unexpectedly, Merddin Emrys shunted onto the rear of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer whereas previously the Fairlies had swopped on the Mountain Spirit afternoon working earlier in the week. The purpose was soon revealed though as the Fairlie shunted the rake to the yard to make space in the FR platform for the Mountain Spirit to arrive at 13:35 as the WHR platform is occupied until 14:15. Presumably Blanche was still busy watering and coaling but the Fairlie detached and waited near the signalbox after the shunt.

No.130 drew its rake forward a little at 13:30 past the starter signal. Prince now emerged from the yard and shunted onto the Mountain Prince rake in the yard for the 13:55 while David Lloyd George approached the FR platform with the returning morning working of the Mountain Spirit at 12:37. Merddin Emrys promptly shunted onto the rear, ready for the 14:30 departure. At 13:46 Prince shunted its rake into the end of the FR platform for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer arriving in the platform with 5 minutes to spare and left on time as David Lloyd George emerged from the yard light engine. The Fairlie left for the depot light engine after The Cob section was clear at 14:08. No.130 left on time at 14:15 with the return working of the Snowdonia Star and Merddin Emrys also departed on time with the 14:30 Mountain Spirit.

 

This easterly view (15/4/22) shows four locos at Porthmadog at about 14:00. No.130 is ready to return to Caernarfon with the Snowdonia Star  while the Fairlies swop duties on the afternoon with Merddin Emrys taking over the afternoon Mountain Spirit. In the distance Prince heads across The Cob with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 13:32 Blanche arrived at Tan-y-bwlch with the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer and shunted its rake to the westbound track at 13:40 allowing Prince to arrive at 14:34 with the third Woodland Wanderer of the day. Blanche then left on its return journey to Porthmadog at 14:37 where it ran round in Harbour Station. In the peak season this would become the 15:45 Woodland Wanderer but today, the ECS returned to the depot, leaving at 15:34. At 16:20 Prince ran round the returned 14:55 Woodland Wanderer and headed ECS for Boston Lodge at 16:27. Minutes later No.87 arrived back with the Harbourmaster at 16:30 and departed ECS for Boston Lodge at 16:43. Merddin Emrys arrived back at 17:34 with the afternoon Mountain Spirit, the last train of the day. At 17:50 the loco ran round and the ECS departed at 17:58 to complete the action for the day.

 

Gwynedd Artisans' Easter event 15-18/4/22

The Gweithdy at Minffordd Station will feature a show by Gwynedd Artisans over Easter. The Group are in residence for four days, showing their marvellous range of produce and craft items. This is a great opportunity to 'meet the maker' and treat yourself (or someone else) to locally-produced, hand-crafted pieces to treasure and enjoy. The Gweithdy will be open from 10:00-16:00, Friday 15/4/22 to Monday 18/4/22. The location is just off the main road at Minffordd Station, with parking available in the station car park. Lots more information is available on the Group's Facebook page.

 

Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star timetables updated

The Harbourmaster working timetable

These unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables.

Location Time Return Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:00 (arr) 17:05
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:05 (dep) 17:00
Porthmadog (dep) 09:40 (arr) 16:30
Beddgelert (arr) 10:20 (dep) 15:55
Beddgelert (dep) 10:30 (arr) 15:50
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:25
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:20
Waunfawr (arr) 11:30 (dep) 14:55
Waunfawr (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:50
Dinas (arr) 11:50 (dep) 14:35
Dinas (dep) 11:55 (arr) 14:30
Caernarfon (arr) 12:05 (dep) 14:20

Snowdonia Star working timetable

Location Time Return Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 09:20 (arr) 17:10
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 09:30 (dep) 17:00
Caernarfon (dep) 10:00 (arr) 16:30
Dinas (arr) 10:10 (dep) 16:20
Dinas (dep) 10:15 (arr) 16:15
Waunfawr (arr) 10:30 (dep) 16:00
Waunfawr (dep) 10:35 (arr) 15:55
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:25
Beddgelert (arr) 11:30 (dep) 15:00
Beddgelert (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:15 (dep) 14:15

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

F&WHR 14/4/22

Thursday's weather forecast for Porthmadog suggested sunny periods and 13C maximum temperature. Six trains are running today with the Woodland Wanderer fully booked and tomorrow's 10:55 also fully booked. The Glaslyn Venturer was booked to run today and resumes from Sunday with a 13:40 additional afternoon working during Easter Week. The Gelert Explorer shows as 'call to book' suggesting there are only a few seats left. On Good Friday, tomorrow, there will be three Woodland Wanderer trains with an additional 12:45 using the spare rake.

Merddin Emrys pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 11:10 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and was on its way again at 11:18. Prince arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:40 with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer, returning at 12:34. The Mountain Spirit return to Tan-y-bwlch at 12:55 and left at 13:02. A steam loco was being disposed at Boston Lodge at 13:25, presumably No.87 from the Glaslyn Venturer. Prince was running round at the same time in Harbour Station ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer in the FR platform. Merddin Emrys pulled into the WHR platform at 13:35. The loco detached and ran to the yard to refuel and water at 13:41.

At 14:55 Prince shunted the Woodland Wanderer to the westbound platform at Tan-y-bwlch to allow the afternoon Mountain Spirit to run through the eastbound platform. Previously the Woodland Wanderer rake would have been left in the eastbound platform in the absence of the afternoon Mountain Spirit. The Fairlies had clearly swopped again as David Lloyd George pulled in at 15:12 with the 14:30 Mountain Spirit. This departed at 15:20 and the return working of the Woodland Wanderer departed at 15:32.

 

BLR news

The Bala Lake railway has completed purchase of a plot of land that encompasses the station throat and sidings for the proposed Bala town centre station on their new Bala Extension. Natural Resources Wales is currently constructing earthworks for part of the route as part of the Bala Town Flood Prevention scheme. One small 500m2 plot remains to be purchased to complete the route without CPO needed. A decision on the planning application is expected by summer. Funding is still an issue as EU funding is no longer available post-BREXIT and so called Shared Prosperity/Levelling Up funds have become a political hot potato with some claiming they mostly go to Tory constituencies in the former Red Wall areas and certainly do not, as promised, match the lost EU ERDF/Coastal Communities and other pre BREXIT EU sources. See Independent story.

 

Main Line news

TfW really need to get their act together and have spare sets/Class 67 locos for their premier Holyhead-Cardiff service. Today the loco hauled train was replaced by three Class 153 single car DMUs!

No.66704 was on 6K22, the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook stone train today. LSL's Blue Pullman set ran along the North Wales Coast today.

 

Welsh COVID regulations extend into May

WAG has extended Welsh COVID rules until 9/5/22 but the legal requirement for businesses like the F&WHR to undertake specific Coronavirus risk assessments will end on Monday 18/4/22. Businesses will continue to be encouraged to take steps to operate in a Covid-safe manner as indeed the F&WHR is. See Daily Post story.

 

F&WHR 13/4/22

Porthmadog was forecast to be a cloudy misty day with a maximum temperature of 11C. Six trains were on offer today with increased passenger numbers about as the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend approached. Today sees the first run of the afternoon Mountain Spirit but only one Glaslyn Venturer is running in comparison on the WHR. David Lloyd George was on the Mountain Spirit, arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:05 and departing at 11:17. Prince arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:37 and departed at 12:35 on the morning Woodland Wanderer. This train is fully booked Wednesday and Thursday so an additional 12:45 train has been introduced a little earlier than planned from Good Friday 15/4/22.

The sun was out at 13:10 as Prince returned from Tan-y-bwlch into the FR platform. The Glaslyn Venturer due in at 13:00 seemed to be running rather late. Further mystery occurred when Prince propelled its train out to signalbox before drawing it forward into sidings despite being due out again at 13:55 on the afternoon Woodland Wanderer. This cleared the FR platform for the returning Mountain Spirit which left Tan-y-bwlch at 13:02 and normally runs into the WHR platform. The mystery was solved when No.87 assisted inside by Criccieth Castle arrived in the WHR platform at 13:28, almost half an hour late. The ECS from this would normally clear the WHR platform before the returning Mountain Spirit arrived. Maybe the Garratt had experienced some problem on the 1 in 40 in the Aberglaslyn Pass and Criccieth Castle had been sent to assist. Prince ran round in the station sidings as David Lloyd George approached to berth unusually in the FR platform at 13:38. With the Woodland Wanderer due out at 13:55, Prince now drew the train forwards past the signalbox. The loco then propelled the rake into the occupied FR platform so that all coaches were in the platform with guidance from the signaller's hand signals using permissive working. Merddin Emrys now appeared in the WHR loop line alongside the Garratt making 5 locos present at Porthmadog!

Despite the difficulties, the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer got away on time and once it was clear of station limits, Merddin Emrys shunted into the station sidings, presumably for coal and water. David Lloyd George emerged from the sidings and stopped near the starter signal. At 14:08, the Garratt with Criccieth Castle inside, departed with the ECS Glaslyn Venturer back to Boston Lodge. Merddin Emrys shunted onto the Mountain Spirit rake ready for the 14:30 departure. At 14:18 David Lloyd George departed light engine for the depot while Merddin Emrys left on time shortly afterwards with the first afternoon working of the Mountain Spirit.  

Merddin Emrys arrived back at tan-y-bwlch on the return working at 16:53 and was dispatched very quickly at 16:55 in sunshine. However the train arrived in Porthmadog in very misty conditions at 17:30. The Fairlie ran round at 17:40 and hauled the ECS back to the depot, departing at 17:47 to end the day's activities as the sun re-emerged from the gloom.

 

Caernarfon Car Park charges rise 10%

Caernarfon has now joined other towns in Gwynedd by increasing car parking charges by 10%. The money raised will be used to improve local facilities including public toilets. See Daily Post story.

 

F&WHR 12/4/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a rainy morning in Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C but clearing up a little later The F&WHR will run 5 trains today and the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer has reappeared in the Fareharbor booking system as predicted but is fully booked. Prince arrived at 10:22 into the WHR platform while Merddin Emrys waited with the Mountain Spirit in the FR platform. Prince started its run round at 10:24 but needed to wait for the Fairlie's departure. With the damp weather there was a lot of condensation as the Mountain Spirit left on time. Prince left a few minutes late at 10:58. The Fairlie pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 11:08 as the weather and left for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:16.

It may already be time to add the extra Woodland Wanderer workings as Wednesday's trains are already fully booked and as of this morning the Thursday morning train is also already fully booked. There is only one Glaslyn Venturer on Wednesday and Thursday this week but the service sees both 10:15 and 13:40 from Sunday 17/4/22 but the afternoon working could start earlier if sufficient traffic is on offer. The Mountain Spirit operates twice a day from Wednesday 13/4/22 with an additional 14:30 afternoon working. Prince arrived in Tan-y-bwlch at 11:38 and stopped towards the west end of the platform unusually to give a shorter walk in the damp weather to the cafe. Prince uncoupled to water and run round at 11:45.

At 13:30 Merddin Emrys arrived back into the WHR platform as Prince ran round in the FR platform ready to haul the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Prince left on time while the Fairlie went to water and coal before hauling the ECS from the Mountain Spirit back to Boston Lodge at 14:12. 

 

NR scenic videos

NR is releasing scenic cab ride videos designed to promote leisure travel. This one covers a journey from Shrewsbury to Knucklas/Cnwclas on the Central Wales Line. Click here to watch the video.

 

F&WHR Battery/Electric locos (not a late April fool!)

A report in Trackside magazine quotes Paul Lewin musing on the potential ordering of from six to ten 250 HP battery/electric locos to replace life expired F&WHR diesel locos on PW workings and, in pairs, operate as rescue locos on the 10 coach trains on the WHR's 1 in 40 grades! The move is because of the current situation about Russian fossil fuel supplies as well as a response to COP 22 Climate Change Conference which identified Carbon Dioxide reduction as a priority. The project is to be examined in detail this summer but a funding stream has yet to be identified. The diesel fleet will be retained for heritage use. With the solar panels on the new Carriage Shed and other buildings, the F&WHR has a good supply of renewable energy to power Boston Lodge and potentially charge the battery electric locos.

 

Gelert Explorer timetable update

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables.

Location Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 10:45
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 11:00
Caernarfon (dep) 11:30
Waunfawr (dep) 12:05
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 12:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 12:35
Beddgelert (arr) 13:00
Beddgelert (dep) 14:30
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 14:50
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 15:00
Waunfawr (arr) 15:25
Waunfawr (dep) 15:30
Caernarfon (arr) 16:00
Caernarfon (dep) ECS 16:30
Dinas (arr) ECS 16:45

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

BBC reports on coal shortage for Welsh Heritage railways 11/4/22

The BBC has a story which explains the problems faced by Welsh steam railways like the F&WHR in sourcing coal with UK supplies drying up and bans likely on Russian coal. Paul Lewin gave an interview saying that experiments have been made with rapeseed oil and experiments with small quarry locos which can be made to work hard. Ovoids were not mentioned. Coal supplies can be eked out until well into the summer.

 

F&WHR 11/4/22

It is School Easter Holidays and there is just one train on the F&WHR today apparently according to the F&WHR's Fareharbor booking site, the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which was bookable this morning. However for the second day there seemed to be a conflict between the timetable and the Fareharbor booking system, the latter showing no Woodland Wanderer trains today (but see Week Timetable below). The weather forecast showed temperatures set to rise to 15C but clouding over with showers later in the afternoon. At 09:30 steam was being raised in Boston Lodge for this single train which was hauled over The Cob by David Lloyd George. The train paused at the king point at 09:56 for a few minutes before arriving in the FR platform at 09:59.

Despite Fareharbor's assertions to the contrary, Prince arrived with the Woodland Wanderer rake by 10:15 into the WHR platform, the first use of an England engine on the service this year, which has seen Blanche used for the first two weeks. It is a mystery how passengers are booking this train as it is not shown on Fareharbor, unless they are just 'turn-up-and-go' passengers. Tomorrow's Fareharbor Woodland Wanderer booking page shows just a 13:55 Woodland Wanderer with no morning working but given the recent mysteries it would not be a surprise if there was a morning working! Prince uncoupled and waited in the WHR run round at 10:20 whilst waiting for the Mountain Spirit to depart. Prince ran round at 10:35 after the on time departure of the Mountain Spirit. Prince also left on time passing Minffordd at 11:06 and appeared to be well loaded. Meanwhile David Lloyd George passed Tan-y-bwlch between 11:09 and 11:16 with a brief stop for the token. Prince arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:41 and departed at 12:36 for its return run to Porthmadog. Shortly afterwards David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 12.58 and departed on its return journey to Porthmadog at 13:05.

 

This westerly view (11/4/22) shows Prince on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer passing Minffordd at 11:06. This train was strangely not advertised on the F&WHR's Fareharbor booking website yet appeared to be well loaded! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

To confound the Fareharbor booking system yet again, the afternoon 13:55 Woodland Wanderer also ran with Prince arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 14:34 with a well loaded train. Prince ran round at 14:52 in preparation for the return working at 15:33. Arriving back in Porthmadog about 16:10, Prince was running round in the FR platform at 16:15 and leaving promptly for the depot at 16:20.

 

Signalbox work 11/4/22

Scaffolding was erected around the Porthmadog Harbour Station signalbox and Relay Cabin on 11/4/22. It appears they may be going to be repainted.

 

This week's timetable 11/4/22

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line 11/4/22

The Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook stone ran today leaving early at 12:42 on the return run with 60026 Helvellyn in charge.

 

F&WHR 10/4/22

The F&WHR will run 4 trains on Sunday 10/4/22 which is forecast to be a cloudy day with a chilly 10C maximum temperatures. No.87 came across first with the rake for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer rake arriving at 09:27 into the WHR platform. Meanwhile the 10:30 Mountain Spirit was being shunted at Boston Lodge Carriage Shed. The morning Woodland Wanderer has been cancelled and the train will only operate at 13:55 today. All four trains were bookable in the morning. the Woodland Wanderer is back to two services next week and has 3 services from Good Friday for the Bank Holiday weekend with an additional 12:45 operating a single trip using the spare rake. The 10:30 Mountain Spirit arrived at 09:52 into the FR platform hauled by Merddin Emrys. Meanwhile a third steam engine was shunting the Carriage Shed for a unknown working, possibly a private charter.

The Fairlie ran round at 10:15 as No.87 left. Blanche turned up at 10:25 into the WHR platform with the Woodland Wanderer rake which was not showing on the F&WHR's Fareharbor booking system creating another mystery. Blanche uncoupled and started its run round at 10:27 but had to wait the departure of the Mountain Spirit at 10:30. Plenty of passengers were on the Woodland Wanderer compounding the mystery of why it was not advertised. Blanche coupled up ran round at 10:38. The Mountain Spirit arrived at Minffordd at 10:41 and was gone unusually quickly by 10:44. Blanche left with its loaded train in the path of the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer with an usually large group remaining on the platform to see it off.

Merddin Emrys arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:10 and departed for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:17. Some passengers got off to photo the loco watering before rejoining the train. Blanche arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:37 with the unadvertised train running in the path of the Woodland Wanderer. Blanche detached and started its watering and run round at 11:41. After running round at 12:00 Blanche departed at 12:35 for Porthmadog. Merddin Emrys ran into Tan-y-bwlch slowly at 12:59 on the return working of the Mountain Spirit and departed very promptly at 13:01. At 13:08 No.87 was back in the WHR platform at Porthmadog with the returned Glaslyn Venturer as Blanche returned with the unadvertised morning working to Tan-y-bwlch at 13:10 into the FR platform. At 13:12 No.87 disposed its ECS rake to the Boston Lodge Carriage Shed. Meanwhile Merddin Emrys passed Minffordd at 13:29 and arrived into the WHR platform at Porthmadog at 13:38. The loco detached and ran to water and fuel at 13:39. Blanche left on time with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer.

 

Easter services

The Woodland Wanderer operates with 3 trains a day from 15-22/4/22, from Good Friday to the following Thursday. The Glaslyn Venturer also runs an additional train at 13:40 from 17-21/4/22. There is also an additional Mountain Spirit at 14:30 from 15-21/4/22. There are no additional services out of Caernarfon though there is clearly scope for a short midday working to Rhyd Ddu and back while the Gelert Explorer is at Beddgelert, maybe with a heritage set and an England engine as in previous years. Having 7 trains out of Porthmadog during Easter on some days and just one out of Caernarfon seems to be under using the asset of the northern end of the WHR.

 

Cambrian Railways reopening 1/4/22

The opening of the Cambrian Heritage Railway's extension from Oswestry to Weston Wharf on 1/4/22 was performed by guest Helen Morgan, the new Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire. For full details with images see the CHR newsletter.

 

Mountain Spirit timetable update

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables.

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge (dep) ECS 10:00  
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 10:05 ex-10:30
Porthmadog Harbour Station (dep) 10:30 14:30
Minffordd (arr) 10:40 14:40
Minffordd (dep) 10:45 14:45
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:50 14:50
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 11:05 15:05
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:15 15:15
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 11:40 15:40
Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr) 11:45 15:45
Blaenau Ffestiniog (dep) 12:25 16:25
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 12:35 16:35
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 12:55 16:55
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 13:00 17:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 13:15 17:15
Minffordd (pass) 13:25 17:25
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 13:35 17:35
Next turn where applicable 14:40  
ECS (dep) where applicable 14:25 17:45

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

F&WHR 9/4/22

Saturday saw a cold northerly wind but sunny periods at Porthmadog. There were 5 trains today. The Harbourmaster left with No.87 in charge followed by the Mountain Spirit hauled by David Lloyd George and the Woodland Wanderer was in the hands of Blanche as normal. The Mountain Spirit set arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 14:36 on a second run and the passengers got off. It appeared to be running in the path of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. The afternoon Woodland Wanderer set left Porthmadog at 14:42 after some delays as an ECS back to the depot so it appeared Blanche's second run had been cancelled.  The Mountain Spirit is set to make a second run to Blaenau Ffestiniog later in the season when more traffic is expected with a 14:30 departure from Porthmadog. Having arrived back from the first run at 13:35 today the rake was available to substitute for the second run of the Woodland Wanderer due at 13:55 and a quick run road, watering and coaling.

 

This easterly view (9/4/22) shows Merddin Emrys with its rake of PW wagons heading towards Tan-y-bwlch, crossing the A50845 at Penrhyndeudraeth. The train was a volunteer PW gang. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 15:27 Merddin Emrys pulled in to Tan-y-bwlch on a PW train with five B wagons that appeared to have been collecting lineside trees cuttings. At 15:32 David Lloyd George departed for Porthmadog with the substituted Woodland Wanderer. At 15:35 Merddin Emrys propelled the PW rake back up the platform to the signalbox where it waited time. At 15:38 the loco shunted out of view towards Blaenau Ffestiniog propelling its wagons. The train then appeared wrong line in the other platform at 15:50 and left wrong line for Minffordd at 16:07. It is possible there may have been something wrong with the points at Tan-y-bwlch that caused these unusual manoeuvres.

The PW train reached Minffordd station at 16:53 after possibly stopping in section to collect more wood cuttings. At 16:57 the PW train set off for Boston Lodge coming to a stop on the curve at 17:05 before setting back into the Old Loco Shed sidings. The loco was disposed to the depot shortly afterwards.

 

This westerly view (9/4/22) shows Merddin Emrys shunting its rake of PW wagons at 15.37 at Tan-y-bwlch. The train departed west wrong line at 16:07. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Official timetable 4/4/22

A pdf of the official timetable (less ECS) movements is now available from the F&WHR website. This timetable which shows major stops will be useful for members and their guests who are allowed to use intermediate station/halts from 9/4/22. Anyone wishing to join a train at a halt should give a good hand signal to the loco driver and should await direction to spare seats from the guard. They should also obtain tickets from the guard and specify the station they wish to get off at.

 

Glaslyn Venturer timetable upgrade

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables.

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:20  
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:30 ex 10:15
Porthmadog (dep) 10:15 13:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 10:30 13:55
Beddgelert (arr) 11:00 14:25
Beddgelert (dep) 12:15 15:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 12:40 16:05
Porthmadog  (arr) 13:00 16:20
Next turn where applicable 13:40 N/A
ECS where applicable (dep) 13:30 17:00

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

F&WHR 8/4/22

There are no services on the F&WHR today despite there being a considerable number of tourists in the area that led to some fully booked trains on Wednesday and Thursday. There may be special workings, ECS trains and PW movements. The Porthmadog weather is forecast to be sunny periods and showers with temperatures of a chilly 9C maximum. A double Fairlie pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 12:39 from Blaenau Ffestiniog with the Mountain Spirit rake. It appeared to be a special working as many passengers disembarked. The train left for Porthmadog at 14:08.

 

Cambrian Line reopens 2/4/22

The Cambrian Line between Welshpool and Newtown reopened for Easter on Saturday 2/4/22 with the 11:29 Aberystwyth to Birmingham International. The railway had been closed since the end of February after 33 washouts were found in the Severn valley just west of Welshpool. Shuttle services were provided on the Cambrian Coast and between Aberystwyth and Newtown with a bus link to Shrewsbury. See Network story including video links. Additional work costing £2 million will see rock armour added to the lineside as in the Conwy Valley to provide resilience against future floods. See NR story.

Elsewhere on the Cambrian, the Traeth Mawr wooden viaduct received repairs to its wooden beams during a closure between 13-21/2/22 that occurred during the school holidays to avoid disrupting trains used by school children. The viaduct is alongside the Porthmadog bypass just west of Minffordd Quarry. The 16 span structure over the Afon Glaslyn is one of 9 on the Cambrian Coast line. There will be additional work required in 2022 or 2023. See Rail Insider story and NR story.

 

Blaenau Ffestiniog station shop 8/4/22

Those passengers travelling on the Mountain Spirit might take advantage of the new range of tasty treats that are available from 'Y Caban' on the platform at Blaenau Ffestiniog - all freshly prepared for the F&WHR by Isallt Guest House, next to the station. However, if passengers would like to stretch their legs a little further, there is a choice of shops and places to eat just a short stroll from the station . The Station Hosts will be happy to explain more.

'Y Caban' is the new name for our Gift Shop and Booking Office, so you can pop in there when the train arrives. Take your pick from the selection below, but please be aware that all choices are subject to availability on the day.

Scone, Jam & Clotted Cream … £3.99 (GFA)

Sweet Tarts (Large) … £3.19

Brownie with Clotted Cream … £3.99 (GF)

Afternoon Tea Selection Pack … £6.49

Picnic Lunch [1] - Adult … £6.49 (VA)

Picnic Lunch [2] - Child … £4.79

Wraps (Various Flavours) … £3.19

Sandwich (Various Flavours) … £3.19

Savoury Tart [3] … £3.19

---------------------------------

NOTES:

•  GFA = Gluten Free option available

•  GF = Gluten Free

•  VA = Vegetarian option available

•  [1] = Wrap, Sandwich, Savoury Tart, Cake, Fresh Fruit Kebab

•  [2] = Sandwich, Fruit Salad Bag, Cake

•  [3] = ‘Bacon & Roast Onion’ or ‘Spinach & Ricotta’

---------------------------------

Also available:

Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate … £2.00

500ml 7up, Tango, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke … £1.90

500ml Still or Sparkling Water … £1.60

Crisps (various flavours) … £1.00

Twix, Mars, Kit Kat … £1.00

 

F&WHR 7/4/22

Thursday started cloudy and windy at Porthmadog with rain due at lunchtime but sunny periods forecast for the afternoon and becoming calmer. There are five trains today with the reappearance of the Glaslyn Venturer. The Woodland Wanderer is fully booked again today but all the other trains are bookable. In view of the full booking of some trains on Thursday it is surprising there are no trains on Friday, sometimes viewed as a travel to/from holiday day by F&WHR timetable planners.

No.87 departed on time at 10:15 with the Glaslyn Venturer and Blanche arrived just 6 minutes later into the same platform with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer ECS from Boston Lodge. This is the major change from last year when locos arrived light engine and shunted their rakes from the station yard to the platforms and is possible since the completion of all three roads in the new Carriage Shed. Meanwhile David Lloyd George was waiting to depart on the Mountain Spirit from the FR platform arriving at Minffordd at 10:41. The Fairlie had displaced Merddin Emrys which was used earlier in the week on this service.

 

Wylfa B to be completed? 7/4/21

The Tories Energy Policy was revealed today and includes 8 new nuclear reactors to provide baseload electricity. This is partly in response to the need to stop using Russian fossil fuels following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Tories have presided over a period of nuclear reactors reaching the end of their life and shutting down and have suddenly realised that reliable baseload electricity can only be provided by this source of power. They promise to authorise one every year and Wylfa has been mentioned as an early candidate for being constructed. See BBC story

The work at Wylfa may involve the approved Westinghouse design currently under construction in other countries and already in the Government's inbox. When complete it is likely to involve reactivation of the Nuclear Electric waste transfer siding at Valley and see return of DRS freight on Anglesey and along the North Wales Coast to Crewe and Sellafield. The Trawsfynydd site may also be reactivated as the location for Small Modular Reactors based on nuclear submarine designs produced by Rolls Royce. The National Grid power lines over Cwm Prysor have been improved in recent years probably with this in mind.

 

Woodland Wanderer Timetable upgrade

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables. The regular trains are the 10:55 and 13:55 and use the same set. The spare set can be used for the 09:45, 12:45 and 15:45 according to traffic on offer. If three trains are planned the 12:45 is the additional train.

 

Location Time Time Time Time Time
ECS from depot where applicable (arr) 09:15 10:20 11:45    
Previous working     ex 09:15 ex 10:20 ex 12:45
Porthmadog (dep) 09:45 10:55 12:45 13:55 15:45
Minffordd (arr) 09:55 11:05 12:55 14:05 15:55
Minffordd (dep) 10:00 11:10 13:00 14:10 16:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:05 11:15 13:05 14:15 16:05
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 10:25 11:40 13:30 14:35 16:25
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:40 12:35 14:30 15:40 17:25
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 12:00 12:55 15:00 15:55 17:45
Minffordd (pass) 12:10 13:05 15:10 16:00 17:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:20 13:20 15:20 16:10 18:05
Next turn where applicable 12:45 13:55 15:45    
ECS to depot (dep)        16:30  18:20

 

Corris Railway opens for Easter 15/4/22

The Corris Railway has completed its traverser at Corris and has rebuilt the platform to allow the run round loop. It is also extending with a new alignment to the south to reach its original formation via a new embankment as the previous roadside shelf was taken for a road realignment many years ago. See first use of traverser. It is hoped to have the new loco replica Hughes Falcon No.10 steamed at Keef's in the Autumn if money can be raised to complete it. There would then be two locos available in 2023 before the current replica loco Tattoo class No.7 is withdrawn for its 10 year overall. For the Corris timetable click here.

 

Intermediate stations open for WHRS members from 9/4/22

Access to trains at intermediate stations will become possible once more, initially for members/guests only, from Saturday, 9/4/22 onwards. WHRS members/guests need to be mindful that seating on services is limited and therefore will be subject to availability. Seating arrangements will be monitored by the guard, therefore when boarding a train at an intermediate station, passengers should wait for the Guard to show them to their seats. Tickets for intermediate stations, except for Waunfawr, Beddgelert and Meillionen (suggesting Meillionen is currently open), cannot be pre-booked. If members want to travel the full trip it is, of course, possible to turn up on the day and, if there is space, members/guests may book their seat. However, the trains are filling fast so it is recommend that members/guests book in advance to avoid disappointment. This can be done online any time until shortly before the train leaves.

 

F&WHR 6/4/22

Wednesday was another damp chilly day at Porthmadog with a forecast maximum of 10C. There are just four trains today with the Glaslyn Venturer not running. For the first time both Woodland Wanderer trains were sold out as the school Easter Holidays start but tickets were still available for the Mountain Spirit and the Gelert Explorer.

First out of the depot was Merddin Emrys with movement being noted at 09:45 as the loco shunted to the Carriage Shed to collect its ECS rake at 09:55 for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and started across The Cob. Meanwhile another loco was collecting the Woodland Wanderer rake from the shed. Merddin Emrys arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:06 and departed for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:15. Blanche arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:36.

The Woodland Wanderer was also fully booked for Thursday before midday Wednesday but no trains were scheduled to run on Friday 8/4/22 despite the train being fully booked Wednesday and Thursday. From Friday 15/4/22-Thursday 21/4/22 an additional Woodland Wanderer runs at 12:45 over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

 

F&WHR 5/4/22

Tuesday was another cloudy chilly day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 10C forecast. There are five trains today with the Glaslyn Venturer and Gelert Explorer joining the roster. All trains had space available and were bookable in the morning. In a carefully choreographed move the Glaslyn Venturer is timed to depart the WHR platform at 10:15 just before the Woodland Wanderer requires the platform as the Mountain Spirit normally occupies the FR platform.

No.87 was ready to leave the WHR platform at 09:30 having come across earlier than normal and by 09:50 shunting at Boston Lodge was preparing the ECS for the Mountain Spirit which pulled in with Merddin Emrys for the first time at 10:00. At the same time the Woodland Wanderer rake was being shunted at Boston Lodge before coming over to Porthmadog. Blanche came over The Cob shortly after and waited at the home signal for No.87 to depart at 10:18 with the bunker piled high with coal. The new coal mix including ovoids is said to require more coal volume than the previous coal used by the railway. Blanche pulled into the recently vacated WHR platform 4 minutes later at 10:22. After refuelling, the Fairlie ran round and coupled up at 10:25 ready for the 10:30 departure and Blanche started its run round at the same time but had to wait for the Mountain Spirit departure which was on time. Blanche completed its run round once The Cob was clear and departed on time.

 

This westerly view (5/4/22) shows Merddin Emrys arriving at Tan-y-bwlch with the Mountain Spirit rake at 11:09 in damp misty conditions. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Merddin Emrys arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:09 and departed for Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:19 after taking on water and picking up the token. No.130 would have hauled the Gelert Explorer.

 

F&WHR trains 4/4/22

Monday dawned damp and chilly in Porthmadog with a forecast 12C maximum. The school Easter Holidays have started and three trains are running today with two Woodland Wanderer trains and the Mountain Spirit, with none on the WHR. All three trains were bookable today up to departure.

At 09:55 the Mountain Spirit set hauled by David Lloyd George emerged from Boston Lodge and started across The Cob for the 10:30 departure. The train pulled into the FR platform at 10:00 and the loco promptly ran round and was coupled up by 10:05. Blanche brought the Woodland Wanderer set over about 10:20 but had to wait for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departure before completing its run round in the WHR platform. Both trains left on time. The Mountain Spirit pulled into Tan-y-bwlch at 11:10 and departed 11:21.

The afternoon Woodland Wanderer left on time from the FR platform at 13:55. The Mountain Spirit was in the WHR platform and after Blanche had departed, David Lloyd George returned from the fuelling point to take the ECS back to Boston Lodge, departing at 14:08, while another loco was raising steam in the depot, possibly for a test run. At 16:24 the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer left the FR platform for the depot to conclude the day's action.

 

Rising COVID cases might affect F&WHR

The recent increase in COVID cases to record levels has led to concerns it might impact tourism and Heritage Rail ways if the Welsh Assembly re-imposes some advice or rules on businesses or the public. It seems that the Tories were not 'following the Science' in removing all rules in England and defunding lateral flow tests. Moreover, virologists state that increased circulation of the virus gives the opportunity for new and potentially more dangerous variants to appear by mutation. Estimates suggest that as many as 5 million people might currently be infected and while the disease may be mild in some, more vulnerable people are increasingly being hospitalised according to a BBC report. The F&WHR continues to operate a compartment based service that is said to reduce risk to passengers.

 

F&WHR trains 3/4/22

Sunday dawned sunny but cold in Porthmadog with a forecast of a cloudy day and 8C maximum temperatures. All 5 trains today were bookable up to departure and included the first run of the Glaslyn Venturer. This train departs Porthmadog at 10:15 and after leisurely journey to Beddgelert allows a break of 1 hour 15 minutes to visit the village before returning. This train gets back at lunchtime and there is the capacity to add a second 13:40 working as last year from 17/4/22. The times look similar to last year's except for the extra 15 minutes at Beddgelert. The train runs FSX but also some Mondays and Wednesdays are missed until the July peak season. As buffet facilities are not yet allowed, the hamper system in use on trains from Caernarfon has been extended to this train too. With the completion of the new Carriage Shed it seems most rakes are being stored under cover there rather than in Harbour Station, reducing shunting interest for those standing on the platform or watching the webcams.   

Steam was being raised at 09:00 with No.87 around the Boston Lodge curve being coaled over the fence by a Loadall. The ECS arrived in the WHR platform at 09:45 for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. A second ECS arrived into the FR platform at 10:00 for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. No.87 turned on its high intensity headlight before departure. Meanwhile a third loco was steamed at 10:00 at Boston Lodge for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. No.87 left on time as Blanche with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer ECS approached over The Cob and arrived in the WHR platform at 10:24. Blanche detached at 10:29 and started its run round which was completed after the 10:30 departure of David Lloyd George on the Mountain Spirit. Both trains left on time.

By 13:45 the returned Mountain Spirit was waiting in the WHR platform to be disposed ECS to the depot while the loco returned from the watering point. Blanche departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer on time. At 14.15 a PW train was waiting at Tan-y-bwlch to return to Porthmadog after the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer had arrived. Blanche had run round and was ready to depart Tan-y-bwlch at 15:30.

 

Glaslyn Venturer working timetable 2022

This is a work in progress. Any corrections welcome.

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:20  
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:30 ex 10:15
Porthmadog (dep) 10:15 13:40
Beddgelert (arr) 11:00 14:25
Beddgelert (dep) 12:15 15:40
Porthmadog  (arr) 13:00 16:30
Next turn where applicable 13:40 N/A
Next working/ECS (dep) N/A 17:00

 

Last year's Glaslyn Venturer timetable

Boston Lodge 09:30* ex 10:15
Porthmadog dep. 10:15 13:40
Beddgelert arr. 11:00 14:25
Beddgelert dep. 12:00 15:25
Porthmadog arr 12:55 16:20
Next turn where applicable 13:40 N/A
Boston Lodge where applicable N/A 16:35

 

F&WHR trains 2/4/22

Saturday appeared cloudy, cold and wet at Porthmadog but with the forecast for improving weather from the afternoon over the course of the week ahead. Today is the first day of running of The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star through trains on the WHR and both offer bookable picnic hamper services. No.87 hauled the 09:40 Harbourmaster service, pausing to take water at Beddgelert and passing No.130 at Rhyd Ddu on the 10:00 Snowdonia Star at 11:15. After arriving at Porthmadog  at about 12:15 the Snowdonia Star was shunted to the WHR run round and the Observation Car windows washed as the loco headed to the fuelling point at 12:40.

The Mountain Spirit left on time at 10:30 while Blanche had already run round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform. David Lloyd George passed Minffordd at 10:41 while Blanche passed Minffordd at 11:08. David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch several minutes late at 11:18, possibly as a result of wet rails in the woods. The Fairlie was on its way again to Blaenau Ffestiniog at 11:27. Blanche arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:53, some 13 minutes later than expected as a reaction to the Fairlie's late arrival on the Mountain Spirit half an hour earlier. Blanche ran round by 12:10 and departed at 12:40, about 5 minutes late.

The sun came out in the afternoon as No.130 emerged from the yard to run round its train at 1312, which had previously been inexplicably shunted to the WHR loop line. Meanwhile Blanche passed Minffordd at 13:14 on its return run. No.130 was coupled up at 13:20 and shunted the return working of the Snowdonia Star into the WHR platform at 13:25 after the Woodland Wanderer had arrived into the FR platform at 13:24.

 

This easterly view (2/4/22) shows No.130 running round the Snowdonia Star rake at 13:17 which unusually had been shunted to the WHR loop line. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (2/4/22) shows No.130 now ready to shunt the Snowdonia Star rake to the WHR platform while Blanche arrived at 13:22 with the return working of the 10:;55 Woodland Wanderer into the FR platform. Porthmadog got a little congested because of the late running of the Mountain Spirit earlier that morning. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Blanche reversed the train out of the FR platform in an unexpected move at 13:31 before drawing it into the FR yard as the set was due out again at 13:55 on the afternoon Woodland Wanderer. This was probably due to the late running Mountain Spirit which was due back in Porthmadog at 13:40. Blanche ran round the rake in the yard while the Mountain Spirit arrived at 13:53. Prompt work in the signalbox allowed Blanche to shunt the rake for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform at 13:58 so it was able to depart just 7 minutes late at 14:02. Once it had cleared the shunt limit, No.130 shunted its rake onto The Cob at 13:05 and was in the WHR platform ready for the estimated 14:10 departure time.

David Lloyd George ran round  and coupled up at 14:14 departing ECS for the depot at 14:16 followed at 14:19 by No.130 departing for Caernarfon on the return working of the Snowdonia Star. By 15:30 Blanche had run round at Tan-y-bwlch. By 16:45 The Harbourmaster was back at Porthmadog and No.87 had run to the fuelling point. The loco was coupled up by 17:00.

 

The Harbourmaster working timetable

This is a work in progress. Any help to correct this timetable is welcome.

Location Time Return Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 08:50 (arr) 17:00
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 08:55 (dep) 16:55
Porthmadog (dep) 09:40 (arr) 16:40
Beddgelert (arr) 10:10 (dep) 16:00
Beddgelert (dep) 10:20 (arr) 15:50
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 11:15 (dep) 15:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:20 (arr) 15:20
Waunfawr (arr) 11:40 (dep) 14:50
Waunfawr (dep) 11:45 (arr) 14:40
Dinas (arr) 11:55 (dep) 14:20
Dinas (dep) 12:00 (arr) 14:10
Caernarfon (arr) 12:10 (dep) 14:00

Snowdonia Star working timetable

This is a work in progress. Any help to correct this timetable is welcome.

Location Time Return Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 09:20 (arr) 17:00
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 09:30 (dep) 16:45
Caernarfon (dep) 10:00 (arr) 16:30
Dinas (arr) 10:10 (dep) 16:20
Dinas (dep) 10:20 (arr) 16:10
Waunfawr (arr) 10:40 (dep) 15:55
Waunfawr (dep) 10:50 (arr) 15:50
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 11:15 (dep) 15:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:25 (arr) 15:20
Beddgelert (arr) 11:40 (dep) 14:50
Beddgelert (dep) 11:45 (arr) 14:40
Porthmadog (arr) 12:15 (dep) 14:15

 

F&WHR trains 1/4/22

No passenger trains were scheduled today but Harlech Castle worked a PW train departing Tan-y-bwlch at 09:59 towards Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 

Llangollen Railway news 1/4/22

The Llangollen Railway starts its Easter services today (a day there are no passenger train services on the F&WHRS). Train services continue MX until 6/11/22 though some Tuesdays also have no services whereas Bank Holiday Mondays do have services. Corwen's new terminus will be opened later this year. Some special services operate at Easter with the Berwyn Shuttle and Driver for a Fiver with 08195 in addition to normal services.

 

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy LR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy LR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The basic all year round service is 3 trains a day and due to uncertainties about availability they are all identified as Steam/Diesel/DMU. In August the timetable increases to feature 5 trains a day with two infill DMU turns. Booking in advance is encouraged but a limited number of 'turn up and go' tickets are available at a premium price.

 

Cambrian Heritage Railway Extension opens 2/4/22

The first public trains on the new extension of Cambrian Heritage Railways from Oswestry to Weston Wharf happen on Saturday 2/4/22 after the official ceremonies on 1/4/22 where the extension was opened by the new Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan. The project was largely funded by the EU under ERDF revenue streams, a source no longer available to Heritage Railways after BREXIT. There will be special ticket prices with a commemorative ticket and a goodie bag offered. The new CHR website gives full details. The opening day features steam and Class 73 haulage with DMUs offered from 16:30. The railway will mostly operate at weekends and Bank Holidays but, in the school summer holidays, trains will also operate on Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

F&WHR services week commencing Monday 4/4/22

Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was provided by the F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Additional F&WHR events

Additional 2022 event s have now been confirmed by the F&WHR, shown below in blue. On the basis of what has happened in previous years here is a speculative attempt to predict what other events (marked with a question mark) the F&WHR might offer in 2022, subject to COVID restrictions. This will be updated as hard information is received and dates confirmed.

1/1/22 Final Christmas Cwellyn/Christmas Glaslyn trains
17-27/2/22? Half Term Holiday trains? CANCELLED
26/3/22 Start of new season
26-27/3/22 Photo charter on WHR with K1/Welsh Pony on passenger and freight
Easter 16-18/4/22? Easter Bank Holiday Weekend Service
23/4/22 The Snowdonian
30/4/22-2/5/22 FfRS AGM Weekend with visiting traction (possibly some on WHR)
2-5/6/22? Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend services?
10-11/6/22 Rail Ale
July 22? Summer Season starts?
30-31/7/22 WHR 100 Dinas-South Snowdon (aka Rhyd Ddu)
29/8/22 Bank Holiday. End of Summer Season trains?
September 2022? Snowdonian Limited (over 2 days)
17-18 September 2022 WHR SuperPower and WHRS AGM
7-9/10/22 FR Bygones Weekend event
30/10/22? Final trains of the season?
December 22? Santa Specials-Twice a day Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu on 10-11/12/22, 17-18/11/22 and 22-23/12/22?
December 22? Christmas Cwellyn-Twice a day Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu until 1/1/23?
December 22? Christmas Glaslyn-Twice a day Porthmadog to Beddgelert 27/12/22 until 1/1/23?

 

More Cambrian Coast Expresses excursions

After the disappointment last season when a careless lorry driver hit Machynlleth station road bridge with his tipper up leading to cancellation of excursions, there are four from Pathfinder this year! The excursions will be hauled by NR's yellow Class 37s (aka Class 97) from Shrewsbury to Pwllheli.

Very few railtours will visit North Wales in the early part of the year with COVID suppressing the market.

Locos listed with an S prefix are steam engines, otherwise diesel locos.

Date Railtour Name From-To Promoter Loco
19/2/22 Settle and Carlisle Circular Telford-Carlisle pu Shrewsbury-Chester Statesman Rail TBA
13/4/22 The Devonian Pullman Bangor-Kingswear pu NWC Midland Pullman Midland Pullman Blue HST set
27/4/22 Severn Valley Enterprise Llandudno Junction-Brignorth pu NWC Saphos trains Diesel, steam from Crewe
30/4/22 Llandudno Victorian Statesman Ely-Llandudno Statesman Diesel
30/4/22 North Wales Coast Express Tyseley Loco Works-Llandudno Vintage Trains Class 20
30/4/22 Northern Belle Conwy/Bodnant Gardens York-Llandudno Junction Northern Belle Diesel
13/5/22 Cambrian Coast Express Oxford-Pwllheli pu Banbury-Shrewsbury Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
20/5/22 Cambrian Coast Express Bristol Temple Meads-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
12/8/22 Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
9/9/22 Cambrian Coast Express Oxford-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury

Loco: TBA=To be announced

pu=pick up locations e.g.. NWC = principle stations on North Wales Coast

Promoters:

Branch Line Society

InterCity

Pathfinder

Midland Pullman

Northern Belle

Pathfinder

Saphos Trains

Statesman Rail

Steam Dreams

West Coast Railways

Vintage Trains

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2022

Volunteering is currently organised differently due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 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 2022 is fortnightly for the North Wales Track Gang in RED but details are still awaited for the ROWG in BLACK:

January   8-9/1/22   22-23/1/22  
February 5-6/2/22   19-20/2/22    
March 5-6/3/22   19-20/3/22    
April 2-3/4/22   16-17/4/22   30/4/22-1/5/22
May          
June          
July          
August          
September          
October          
November          
December          

^ Bank Holiday weekend

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

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating most Tuesdays.

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

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

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

 

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

 

V4.4235 updated 20/5/22