Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

This northerly view 14/4/14 shows No.138 drifting down towards Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1116. Most of the services leading up to the Easter Bank Holiday weekend were hauled by Nos. 87/143 so this was a relatively rare outing for the red Garratt. The train was due to depart Beddgelert at 1125. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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

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

 

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 2/8/17)

Snow Scenes (updated 31/10/15)

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

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

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

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Garratt boilers off for repair 15/8/17

This northerly view (15/8/17) shows two Garratt boilers going for repair at an external contractor. It is hoped this will speed up the return to service of the next Garratt requiring its 10 year overhaul. Local haulier Hughes of Blaenau Ffestiniog was used for the transit. Vale of Ffestiniog is deputising as Dinas shunter for Castell Caernarfon which requires gearbox repairs again. 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.

 

Classic Car show Dinas 20/8/17

The WHR's Summer of Fun event, 'Classic Car Show & Family Fun Day' at Dinas Station, will take place this coming Sunday, 20/8/17 - 10:00 to 16:00. It will feature a celebration of classic cars, motorcycles and other historic vehicles. There will be a display of over 80 vehicles. There are footplate rides on a Victorian steam locomotive, train rides in vintage four-wheeled carriages, a 1960s Hornby-Dublo model railway layout, stalls, snacks and refreshments.

Entry to Dinas site: £3.00 Adult (one child free per adult) £1.00 per extra child. No unaccompanied under-16 year olds are allowed on the site.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 14/7/17

This northerly view (14/8/17) shows progress with Caernarfon station with a rainbow over the site. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EMU offered home at the BF&TR 13/8/17

The 2HAP Group, which is interested in acquiring NSE liveried EMU displaced by the impending closure of the Coventry Railway Train Museum, has announced agreement with the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway to house the unit there if successful. The museum near Coventry airport is being forced to close because the site is being commercially redeveloped. In the absence of a third rail power supply(!) the two car unit could be used as coaching stock if the BF&TR acquired a loco. A previous attempt to 'crowd fund' a Class 08 failed to raise enough money and the loco went to the Telford Steam Railway instead.

The Class 414 (No.4311) is subject to a 'Gofundme' crowd funding appeal organised by Neil Parry started on 4/8/17. Some £297 has been raised of the £11,500 goal in the first 10 days. Contributors will get a chance to come to the Grand Opening Voyage on 4311, including half price off tickets to ride. Members of the 2HAP Group will have an opportunity to come help with the rest of the restoration. The unit was restored in 2010 and seating and windows are in excellent condition according to the 2HAP Facebook page.

 

Tuesday Gang report 8/8/17

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 8/8/17 the Tuesday Gang rebuilt a collapsed APG at LC 52:89. The base timbers had rotted and so were replaced with stronger material. We also changed the hinges on the field gate at LC 53:06 and replaced a broken catch.

 

This northerly view (8/8/17) shows the Tuesday Gang completing work on APGs near Erw Fawr. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Andy Dawson and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Romanian coaches go to STR

Romanian coaches similar to the single example purchased by Mike Hart for the WHR (No.2060 delivered 15/4/2007) have been purchased by the South Tynedale Railway based at Alston. The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the purchase of 6 coaches as part of the £5.6 million Slaggyford Extension project opened on 24/7/15. The STR is now 4.5 miles long but is to launch another project to extend along the remaining 8.5 miles of ex-BR trackbed to Haltwhistle Junction (where passengers can exchange with NR) later this year. The new project is estimated to cost £30 million.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 8-12/8/17

This southerly view (8/8/17) shows setting out of the new Caernarfon Station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/8/17) shows setting out of the new Caernarfon Station building at the tunnel end of the site. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lilla at Shrewsbury Flower Show 12/8/17

This easterly view (12/8/17) shows Lilla on the banks of the River Severn at Shrewsbury Flower show. Train rides in the two four wheel coaches were offered on 12-13/8/17. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bodysgallen withdrawn following derailment 31/7/17

Pullman car Bodysgallen was removed from the F set by Thursday 3/8/17 and was present at Boston Lodge a few days later receiving attention.

Steam Railway magazine reports that there was a WHR derailment on 31/7/17 near Rhyd Ddu with the 10:00 from Caernarfon. The 'second from last coach' on the train is said to have derailed and after the coach was uncoupled the train continued to Porthmadog. Normal services resumed the next day. The RAIB was informed but did not attend as this was probably a low speed incident. This probably refers to Bodysgallen.

The WHR was not the only preserved railway to suffer an incident this summer. The Llangollen Railway had a train divide near Bonwm on 19/7/17 and the South Devon Railway on 22/6/17 when a missing toilet compartment floor created a dangerous incident.

 

Taliesin cab rides 12/8/17

This northerly view (12/8/17) shows Taliesin offering cab rides at Porthmadog Harbour Station. This will happen again on Saturdays 19/8/17 and 26/8/17. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 news update

A recently refurbished driver's vacuum brake valve has been delivered and case hardened horns are ready to fit on the loco. Hopefully one of the power units will be re-wheeled by the end of August or early September. The reverser stand has been overhauled and built up where necessary. It has now been fitted to the cradle and fitted bolts made. All of the components for the reverser are now also ready to fit.

Boiler makers Adam Dalgleish advise that as of 11/8/17 the rear barrel section is in place and tacked to the outer side sheets; the dome rivet holes and dome doubler holes are drilled in the barrel section; the transverse stay holes are drilled and the transverse stays are being made; the second stage former for the throatplate is now complete; the holes for the sling stay hanger angles are currently being marked out with drilling to follow. Most of the fitting pads are now machined. The manifold pad is now tacked in place; the front tubeplate is being fitted to the front barrel section for marking of the rivet holes. This will have to be removed again to rivet the gusset stay to barrel brackets. For images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

BF&TR update 12/8/17

The Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway has posted completed views of its early August major clearance campaign at Maentwrog Road yard and the adjacent station on its Facebook page. They are taking orders (by 15/8/17) for full size 36" x 10" brown GWR totem station signs for the 6 stations between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Lake Halt (the initial destination of the railway). The BF&TR Facebook page has also become a repository of older images of the line including some snow scenes from 1981.

A 78 hp Case International Tractor has arrived on site and will be powering the new chipper from next weekend's working party.

 

Caernarfon progress 4/8/17

This westerly view (4/8/17) shows a lamp post being moved as it is within the station building boundary. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lilla replaces Palmerston at Shrewsbury 11-12/8/17

Lilla is to feature at the Shrewsbury Flower show over the weekend of 11-12/8/17. The loco, featuring its new green Cilgwyn livery, will replace the previously advertised Palmerston on passenger shuttles on a specially laid track along the banks of the River Severn at the Quarry Park Shrewsbury. See Shrewsbury Flower Show website for further details.

 

New TOC promises North Wales steam 4/8/17

With the paucity of steam workings on the North Wales Coast Line this year, the announcement on 4/8/17 that Jeremy Hosking's Crewe based Locomotive Services (TOC) Limited has been granted a Train Operating Licence for the operation of charter passenger trains on the national network by the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) will be welcomed by enthusiasts. This means that the organisation has secured the three main approvals needed to operate - an ORR Safety Certificate, a Network Rail Access Agreement and an ORR Train Operating Licence. Locomotive Services Ltd spokesman Peter Greenwood said: "We have also recently secured a Network Rail gauging certificate for locos Royal Scot (Royal Scot Class No.46100) and Braunton (West Country Light Pacific No.34046) on the routes which we will operate our first trains over being; Crewe to North Wales and Crewe to Cardiff."

The new TOC's programme of railtours will be announced soon and may bring extra traffic to the F&WHR. The last steam hauled North Wales railtour happened in July and there are currently no more planned for the rest of the year by existing operators.

 

Bow Street station funded 28/7/17

The Cambrian Coast line has received a boost with the news that a new station at Bow Street near Aberystwyth will be funded. The station will be a Park and Ride style development and gives encouragement to those hoping the TRAWS scheme will be developed. See BBC story. Meanwhile the new TRAWS website has not appeared even though it was promised on 25/5/17. The AGM was on 3/8/17. TRAWS aims to reopen a Bangor-Carmarthen rail route via the Cambrian Coast and has already secured a full £300,000 Feasibility Study for the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen section which will take place later this year. Less than 3% of the route is obstructed.

 

North Wales freight

Your webmaster makes occasional contributions of slide scans to the North Wales Coast Railway website. The edition posted on 7/8/17 contains a set of images of the Brymbo branch freights taken in 1980.

 

WHR 'Coming of Age' Event 2018

It is a sobering thought that Autumn 2018 will see 21 years since the start of services on the WHR. The F&WHR hopes to hold a Coming of Age event to celebrate the Caernarfon-Dinas service that started on 13/10/97.

 

Trawsfynydd Lake Halt rediscovered 5/8/17

Having cleared the trackbed at Maentwrog Road, volunteers working on the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway have uncovered the remains of Trawsfynydd Lake Halt just south of the Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station siding. Next weekend they intend to do more work at Maentwrog Road depot. See BF&TR Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon station delay 4/8/17

The removal of the 14" cast iron gas main that cut across the corner of the site by the roundabout delayed the start of work by a few months so it now seems unlikely that the station cannot open next Easter as hoped as a 3 month delay ensued. The gas main, now diverted in modern yellow plastic piping, was not shown on ground plans and is subject to legal action. Although consideration was given to moving the station building off the pipeline, that turned out to be unrealistic and Wales & West Utilities plan to divert the whole length of St. Helens Road would also take too long. So the short diversion off the WHR site under the road was the final plan adopted but with a considerable bill attached which presumably has been passed to the F&WHR.

Interior design of the station is progressing well. The small cafe in the station will not be a repeat of Spooners catering for the general public and will only plan to serve railway customers. It is to be named 'De Winton' to reflect the history of the loco works opposite the station. The flexible event space at the rear will be commercial space in the summer but available for special events at other times.

 

This easterly view (4/8/17) shows new signage attached to the Heras site fencing at Caernarfon Station produced by Designer Signs North Wales Ltd. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (4/8/17?) shows No.87 departing Caernarfon with the temporary (formerly Age Wales) station building in the background. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Food Festival Extra 13/5/17

On 13/5/17 Merddin Emrys hauled the Caernarfon Food Festival Extra. Prior to this the ex-Shotton Steelworks shunter Bill arrived at Dinas following a period of use 'running in' at Boston Lodge. It has taken over from Castell Caernarfon, which has had its gearbox removed and sent away to contractors for yet another repair. Bill has been found able to haul the standard 10 coach rakes out of the Carriage Shed whilst the steam loco is prepared in the Loco Shed. Sister loco Ben remains grounded at Dinas awaiting refurbishment from an as delivered state.

 

Taliesin on cab rides 5/8/17

This easterly view (5/8/17) shows Taliesin offering cab rides at Porthmadog. There do not appear to be any plans to offer cab rides at Caernarfon/Dinas during this year's Summer of Fun. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Loco news Summer 2017

Failures of the braided steel smokebox blower pipes are causing problems. Nos.87/143 have not steamed consistently well this season so far with occasional late running and even stopping mid-section for a blow up! Adjustments to coal supply may help and also teaching the firemen not to overload the fire at Caernarfon. No.143 has failed twice in service and needed helping home by the FR's Funkey, Vale of Ffestiniog. No.143 was soon fixed with a new grate and brick arch. This is in consequently delayed the return of No.138. The Dinas JCB Loadall also broke down and blocked access to No.138's bunker and water tanks.

Work has resumed on No.130's power bogies. The horns will be sent away for hardening and the axleboxes white-metalled and machined to fit. The tyres have been cut off the truck wheels and the truck frames will need some repair. It is hoped that No.130 will be available to replace No.87 when it comes in for its next 10 year overhaul. There is still no consideration of reassembling No.140 which continues in its role of a Christmas Tree to support the other Garratts.

With Caernarfon Castle out of action awaiting return of the gearbox, Bill has worked as Dinas pilot but attention has also turned to the little used No.9. It appears that the contract work on the injectors was not up to standard. Additional work, including the injector pumps, resulted in a mainline test which showed improvement but still a need for further work. when work on wagons and Welsh pony comes to an end, attention will be given to new carriage underframes and new Fairlie James Spooner's boiler.

Garratt boilers need long term planning. Israel Newton's Cromford Works has won a contract to overhaul boiler No.7017, previously on No.143, which now carries No.140's boiler. A lot more work was discovered to be needed than initially anticipated and the boiler is expected to go to Cromford soon for removal of wasted platework for return in 12 months or so. Boiler No.7111 will go to a contractor for repair so that hopefully Dinas will have a spare boiler available.

 

Young Volunteers Training Week 5/8/17

Young volunteers have been working on the F&WHR and one of the projects was to start the reassembly of Blanche.

 

SuperPower details

The 3-day Rover will be £32 for members and the 1-day Rover £16. There will be four sets of coaches in action, one a mixed train, providing an intensive service between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. As well as the three Garratts, Earl of Merioneth will be hauling trains and will be withdrawn soon afterwards. No.87 was brought into Dinas for a period of routine maintenance (new ashpan drench, grate and brick arch as a result of the availability of No.138. Lyd, Prince and Vale of Ffestiniog will also haul trains.

All trains are to be given names of star constellations. As many trains will cross at Rhyd Ddu, catering will be provided there. Friday evening will feature a photographic event at Dinas. Hot food and real ale will be available.

On Saturday the Loco Shed will be open to view progress on No.130 and other projects. The Dark Skies presentation will feature a planetarium (see below) with seating for 25 so early booking is essential.

On Saturday and possibly Sunday there will be a guided walk along the Lon Gwyrfai.

On Sunday there will be a visit to Caernarfon Station site from 1300 to 1400, though there is likely to be little progress by then above the foundations.

 

Tuesday Gang report 1/8/18

Andy Dawson reports: We plumbed the metal gate in the ground on the Croesor side of the fence (LC5308) nearest the access road quite quickly after arriving on site, navigating through a slightly wet number of fields. We then didn't plant the metal post in the gate opposite on the Osprey side of LC5308, as the upright the gate was hanging on was rock solid and what was preventing it closing was a build up of earth behind the gate which we removed and made good. We managed to relocate the gate receiver slightly left of its location thereby making it close securely, but this may need further attention as the receiving gatepost needed drilling. The receiver on the Osprey side could do with replacing along with a couple of unbent screws which were in the post in the first place. The only slight concern would be the gap on the hanging end, but some wire attached to both top & bottom hinge should prevent livestock getting through. The farmer mentioned the next crossing (LC5289) as the support for the triangles has collapsed and needs replacing, but this shouldn't be a long job hopefully.

 

This northerly view (1/8/17) shows the Tuesday Gang completing work at Erw Fawr level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Andy Dawson and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Titbits Spring 2017

The Beer Festival has grown to become the largest event on the F&WHR calendar even though numbers were slightly down on 2016. Pint glasses from 2016/7 and generic ones are available from the on-line shop at £3.50. There was a slow start to the season on the WHR at Caernarfon station compared to the FR, possibly due to a difficulty in providing signage as contractors were changing.

 

Penny Steam F&WHR YouTube 27/7/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 41 mins3 seconds of video showing the F&WHR on 27/7/17 published 1/8/17. This video has been produced by Penny Steam (K F Baker). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

No.138 back in traffic alone 1/8/17?

No.138 was noted in traffic on its own on 29/7/17 even though the roster shows No.87/143 in charge week commencing 29/7/17. A short video shows it passing northbound through Nantmor that day on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (1/8/17?) shows No.138 hauling a northbound train through the Aberglaslyn Pass. It appears that this loco is now trusted alone on service trains assuming this is not an archive view. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 update 2/8/17

At the end of July the rear section of the boiler barrel was offered up to the foundation ring and outer wrapper plates. Also the front section of the barrel was upright and waiting for the fitting of the front tubeplate. The tubeplate was finished and the throat plate former was being assembled. see No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

'Summer of Fun' reduced?

The 'Summer of Fun' family events set up for the school Summer holidays peak traffic (29/7-26/8/17) seem to be reduced this year with no activities at Caernarfon/Beddgelert and only one at Dinas. Meanwhile there are lots of events on the FR, including Chippy Trains and Italian Trains and regular Saturday cab rides at Porthmadog. There are no evening food services planned for the WHR despite the availability of catering service cars. See Summer of Fun page.

 

Coach No.1001 progress 1/8/17

Martin Kressman reports: Yesterday (1/8/17) we had the Mess Coach (No.1001) over the pit in the Loco Shed at Dinas to enable us to access the underside of the vehicle so that we could dismantle the brake gear which will be refurbished. Contrary to popular belief there is not any concrete beneath the floor.

 

Halton curve final Parliamentary 29/7/17?

What is believed to be the final Parliamentary train from Chester to Runcorn ran on 29/7/17. Work is starting on Halton Curve to allow access from Liverpool to North Wales and reinstate services in both directions from Chester from December 2018 and to develop direct services from Liverpool to North Wales after that rather than via the longer, slower route via Earlestown and Warrington. The final service was especially extended from Runcorn to Liverpool South Parkway. The construction programme appears to be: Frodsham Junction Crossover – November 2017; Frodsham Junction Signalling - February 2018; Halton Junction Crossover – April 2018; Halton Junction Signalling – early May 2018; Halton Junction overhead wiring – late May 2018. See North Cheshire Rail Users Group Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 1/8/17

This westerly view (1/8/17) shows the piling well underway and the shape of the station building appearing. Next week contractors might start the foundations. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BF&TR progress 1/8/17

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway is making good progress clearing the line. Heavy plant has been engaged for the 'Big Push' week starting 29/7/17 and is battling the overgrown line south through Maentwrog Road station. See T&BFR Facebook page.

 

No.138 31/7/17

This southerly view (31/7/17) shows No.138 stabled alongside No.87 and Vale of Ffestiniog at Boston Lodge. The motive power department will be glad to have three Garratts available over the peak timetable period. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 29/7/17

Good progress has been made with the new boiler at Adam Dalgleish's works in Stockton-on-Tees. Firstly, the thick bed plate was carefully set up level. Then the foundation ring was fixed and the frame onto which the boiler barrel would sit was constructed. The tolerance needed is very precise and, with the aid of digital measuring devices, it needs to be within 0.1 of a degree. The two outer wrapper plates have been fixed and braced.

 

No.138 progress 28/7/17

This southerly view (28/7/17) shows No.138 piloting No.87 all the way to Porthmadog on a very wet start to the School summer holidays which saw waterfalls in full spate. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 27/7/17

This northerly view (27/7/17) shows the appearance of large machines at the Caernarfon station site. In the background a tracked auger at work. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (27/7/17) shows the auger at the Caernarfon station site. The roundabout is still not complete as it appears people have been driving straight across, unused to the new 'shared space' style of roadway, which some find dangerous. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS4415 Update 26/7/17

Due to a temporary lack of space at Boston Lodge the rolling chassis of KS4415 was propelled to storage in Minffordd Yard by Criccieth Castle. The gearbox was returned to Boston Lodge from Minffordd for examination. See KS4415 Facebook page for images.

 

Coach No.1001 progress 25/7/17

Martin Kressman reports: Work has restarted on Mess Coach No.1001. On Tuesday (25/7/17) we were grinding down to bare metal around the side door openings to enable them to be welded shut. (The WHR Mess Coach is former Admiralty Chattenden and Upnor 'Combination' coach purchased from the South Tynedale in 1989 and before that used previously on the Welshpool & Llanfair-Ed).

Richard Watson adds: The Chattenden & Upnor Railway ceased to be called that in 1906 - thereafter it was known as the Lodge Hill & Upnor Railway. I too thought it was the C&UR until I researched the history of the loco Upnor Castle - see my article at Welsh Highland Heritage Journal. (Also see Wikipedia -Ed).

 

Tuesday Gang report 25/7/17

Tony Baker reports: Today we were at LC 53:06 Erw Fawr (Large Acre). Our job was to replace the ballast in the two foot with new centre timbers and to investigate why the gates were difficult to close. The weather was hot which slowed us down somewhat. The difficulty in operating the gates was due to rotting gate posts which will hopefully be dealt with in due course. Next week we will return to replace the rotten outer timbers.

 

This westerly view (25/7/17) shows the decayed side timber at Erw Fawr level crossing, north of Croesor Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/7/17) shows work underway removing ballast and replacing with new central timbers at Erw Fawr level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (25/7/17) shows No.87 approaching Erw Fawr level crossing, with the 1000 ex-Caernarfon, passing Ynys Fach. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (25/7/17) shows No.87 approaching Erw Fawr level crossing, with the 1255 ex-Porthmadog, having rounded the Croesor Junction Deviation. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/7/17) shows preparation of new crossing timbers at Erw Fawr level crossing, with Cnicht in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/7/17) shows the new central crossing timbers complete at Erw Fawr level crossing, with Snowdon in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

SuperPower update 15-17/9/17

SuperPower this year celebrates the fact that the Snowdonia National Park is now an International Dark Sky Reserve, only the tenth place in the world to gain this status. There will be a number of special opportunities for visitors to enjoy the new status. On the Friday evening at Dinas there will be a talk by award-winning local dark sky photographer Kris Williams for members and event rover ticket holders.

Dinas will also be open all day on the Saturday. There will be the opportunity to check the progress on NG/G16 No.130, NG/G15 No.134, and K1. Quarry Hunslet Lilla will also be in steam offering short train rides.

'Dark Sky Wales' will also be at Dinas with their 'Digital Planetarium' complete with stunning visual shows designed by professional astronomers. In the planetarium guests will enjoy a tour of the heavens looking at constellations and the mythology including tales from the Mabinogion. It is possible to zoom in to the planets and explore them in detail before venturing out of the Milky Way and visit other galaxies. This amazing experience can be booked online here.

A cafe/bar will be open all day in the Goods Shed. Also on the Saturday, there will be a guided walk from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert, covering local history and the National Park's dark sky status.

Details of special trains are as yet unclear. However Heritage Railway magazine suggests there will be several after dark special workings. sunset is about 1940 at Porthmadog during the SuperPower event. 

SuperPower tickets are available to purchase online here, and it is hoped to provide more detailed information regarding other special attractions in due course.

 

Scots Guardsman runs to Blaenau 25/7/17

One of the increasingly rare mainline steam excursions works into Blaenau Ffestiniog today hauled by Royal Scot Scots Guardsman No.46115. The train is the 'Welsh Mountaineer' from Preston organised by the RTC. This may be the last steam run of the season as it appears that there are only two diesel hauled excursions to North Wales in the second half of the year.

 

Dinas changes 24/7/17

This southerly view (24/7/17) shows the garden of the recently acquired Station View bungalow, destined to become a volunteer hostel. The overgrown garden is being cleared as the house is about to be let on a temporary basis. The overgrown Leylandii were removed by a specialist contractor. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell Campaign

Chris Magner writes: 2017 is the 80th Anniversary of the old Welsh Highland Railway closure. Since 1988 Russell has been on the FR (twice, 1988 and 1990-Ed) and the new WHR (SuperPower 2000-Ed). A Welsh Highland Heritage Railway train has reached Beddgelert (Gelert 29/12/12-Ed). The one thing that many want to see is Russell at Beddgelert. Whilst there would be some technical adjustments made to achieve this nothing is impossible for this to take place. When Russell was on the FR in 1988 it took a lot of co-operation between the volunteers at Boston Lodge and Gelert's Farm to make this happen. I would welcome a campaign for this.

 

No.134 report 22-23/7/17

With lower temperatures, the group got more done this month. The arrival of the manufactured castle nuts for the fitted bolts allowed volunteers to move into the final stages of the reassembly of the axle boxes onto the pony trucks. Previously, they had started to ream out the holes for the fitted bolts however, the fitted bolts could not be tightened or in some cases actually inserted without fear of upsetting the positioning of the axle boxes so work had stopped. With the nuts now in the Group's possession volunteers tightened those bolts already knocked into their holes on the rear pony truck. They were then able to drill and ream out the remaining holes and fit and tighten the bolts for those. This now means the rear truck is almost complete. Volunteers will give them a final tighten and fit the split pins next time. At the same time they will also drill the holes needed to fit the split pins to the bolts holding the truck centralising spring unit into place. This last outstanding job should mean that the rear truck will be ready for fitting to the loco once the wheels are refitted.

On the front, Krauss-Helmholtz truck, the Group fitted and tightened the bolts to the 12 holes already reamed out. There are a further 8 holes to ream and fit bolts to however. This truck is much heavier so it will need a bit of serious manhandling to get the truck into position to be able to drill them as the holes are in a different plane to the previous 12. Volunteers also fully tightened the centralising spring unit onto the truck's frame and started to drill the holes in the bolts and fit the split pins. Running out of time on the Sunday they only managed two of the eight so the rest will be done next time.

A few more of the cylinder casting cladding attachment holes were cleaned and tapped, however there are still a few more to do in much more awkward positions. Volunteers were also asked to look at the manufacture of the cladding for the cylinders. For this they resorted to their tried and tested method of a cardboard template. It was decided to split the cladding in the vicinity of the revised larger drain cocks to be able to actually fit it. Once the template was made, volunteers cut out the steel sheet to the overall outline. All the 'fiddly' hole cutting will be done next time.

See NG15 No.134 Facebook page for images.

 

WHR views 22/7/17

This northerly view (22/7/17) shows No.87 southbound at Beddgelert. The KMX tamper-liner is in the siding to the left causing a shadow. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (22/7/17) shows the new ivory and green livery applied to buildings at Beddgelert with ebony fence paint. The KMX tamper-liner can be glimpsed in the siding on the left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (22/7/17) shows the recently repainted Romanian carriage No.2060 at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 22/7/17

Clive Briscoe reports: The nuts for the fitted bolts had arrived so most of the fitted bolts that had been fitted in the axlebox/pony & K-H truck got hardened up. There are still a few holes to ream so that is tomorrow's job. Down in the carriage shed, where No.134's rolling chassis is, two of us made a cardboard template for the cylinder cladding. On Sunday steel sheet will be cut.

 

BF&TR working week

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway is having a working week at its Maentwrog Road depot from 29-7/17 to 5/8/17. During the week they hope to uncover the site of Trawsfynydd Lake Halt. See BFTR website. For the people who never saw the line in action, lots of images are being contributed to their Facebook page showing the railway as it was with nuclear flask traffic, explosives traffic, Sunday special DMUs and excursion traffic etc.

 

Work finally begins on Caernarfon Station building 20/7/17

With work now complete on diverting the recently discovered gas main that crossed the site, the site of Caernarfon station building was marked out on 20/7/17.

 

This northerly view (20/7/17) shows the completed diversion of the gas main as evidenced by new tarmac in St Helens road. The station site is now free to be marked out for the construction of the station building over the next several months after months of unexpected delay after discovery of the gas main. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/7/17) shows surveyors marking out the site for construction of the station building to begin. In the background, the roundabout is still not fully completed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/7/17) shows surveyors marking out the site for construction of the station building to begin. The temporary disabled access runs along the foot of the retaining wall and is closed off from the worksite by Heras site fencing.. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Glyn Valley Tramway moves forward 20/7/17

As one door closes, another opens. The Glyn Valley Tramway has advised of progress starting out from Chirk station towards Pont Faen about 1km along the Ceiriog Valley. Progress has been delayed by the illness of the Trust's chairman but it is hoped a 30 year lease of the station site will soon be signed along with agreement with NR to allow tree removal and site clearance. See GVR Trust Facebook page.

 

Electrification halted 20/7/17

Wires will stop at Cardiff, the Government has decided, reports the BBC. So Swansea trains will be operated by bi-mode trains which will switch to diesel power west of Cardiff. See Wikipedia IEP for full details about the Intercity Express Programme. See Hitachi website for full details about the Class 800/801 Hitachi bimode trains. TRAWS hope that the money saved could be used towards the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line and Bangor-Afon Wen link to reconnect the Cambrian Coast Line as a North-South Wales link. The Government also cancelled the Kettering-Sheffield electrification promised to Nick Clegg when he was deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Liberal Democrats and a Sheffield MP in the Coalition Government 5 years ago. Also cut was the Windermere Branch which Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats until 20/7/17, had campaigned strongly for.

On the plus side the Tory/DUP Coalition has suggested it will offer improved journey times and connections in North Wales but with no specifics.

 

Welsh Electrification dropped 20/7/17

Elsewhere the Government announced on 20/7/17 that it has cancelled Cardiff-Swansea electrification. However there would be improved journey times and connections across North Wales, which could improve public transport options for those visiting the WHR..

 

Beddgelert changes 19/7/17

This southerly view (19/7/17) shows the planters removed from the platform at Beddgelert and the space filled with tarmac. The planters were getting ravaged by sheep. The KMX tamper liner is making use of the siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 19/7/17

No.130's reverser is practically finished. Many of the components that make the reverser were life expired or so worn to make them unusable. So the Dinas staff have carefully restored the reverser bracket and components. It can soon be mounted on the cradle. Progress has also been made with the boiler. The outer wrapper plates have been fixed to the foundation ring. The tubeplate complete with gusset stay has been fitted and riveted and the crown stay holes drilled and reamed on the outer crown of the boiler. Soon the outer and inner firebox will be positioned ready for final fitting. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Tuesday Gang 18/7/17

Tony Baker reports: On the 18/7/17 we were at LC 53:96 Gatws Bach where we changed a rotten centre timber. Usually we find both centre timbers will have deteriorated but in this case only one had. The job still took the same amount of time though.

 

This northerly view (18/7/17) shows the decayed central timber at Gatws Bach level crossing, north of Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/17) shows the decayed central timer at Gatws Bach level crossing removed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/17) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting notches in the new timer to fit around track clips. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/7/17) shows the finished job at Gatws Bach level crossing removed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 out on test 18/7/17

No.138 was out on test on 18/7/17 after an extensive overhaul. The loco piloted No.87 to Rhyd Ddu and was shunted onto the back of No.143's northbound service there. No.138 was hauling the water wagon as Plas-y-nant bridge is no longer able to take two Garratts. Having three Garratts available will give maintenance cover over the Summer peak season and allow interesting workings in super Power in September.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 5 mins19 seconds of video showing No.138 out on test on the WHR published 18/7/17. The loco has been rebuilt over the last year and is seen double heading with No.87 with the water wagon sandwiched between them. The loco was removed at Rhyd Ddu and shunted the water wagon onto the rear of No.143's northbound rake. This video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Another Garratt for Wales 17/7/17!

The Vale of Rheidol reports the arrival of a new locomotive at Aberystwyth. NG G13 No 60 was built in Germany to a British design and operated in South Africa. More recently it worked in a garden centre in Switzerland (see earlier story). After careful negotiations, meticulous planning and an 800 mile journey it has arrived in Aberystwyth via Allelys Heavy Haulage. The privately owned locomotive will enter the VoR's workshops for overhaul. It may be used to occasionally bolster the railway's resident motive power fleet in future years. See VoR Facebook page for video and Press Release. Maybe, with the surfeit of motive power, the VoR will at last be able to return the favour of the loan of Palmerston and allow one of their ex-GWR side tank locos to visit SuperPower.

 

Penrhyn Railway closes 15/7/17

The Penrhyn Quarry Railway heritage operation, which only started in 2012 at Felin Fawr near Bethesda has been closed down after just 5 years of existence. The line was revived over a short length of the original PQR at the former Coed-y-parc depot in Bethesda with plans to extend north towards Bangor as far as Felin hen. The trackbed was largely clear. The locos and equipment are being moved elsewhere, possibly to other sites including the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. The gala planned for 22-23/7/17 has been cancelled along with all future events. A new company had been formed last year to operate the railway and regular services started only in February. See Daily Post report.

 

Replica Ashbury coach for F&WHR

Boston Lodge is to build a replica Ashbury brake carriage for the F&WHR, presumably No.22 and finished in Maroon livery to match No.24. This will enable a NWNGR vintage train to be run with No.24, a replica built in 2002 and finished in NWNGR maroon livery. Construction (by volunteers) will start after the completion of FR replica Ashbury No.21 to appear. The WHHR at Gelert Farm has two restored NWNGR coaches, one restored and the other a replica.

Heritage stock

NWNGR No. Running No. Owner Notes
8 29 WHHR Gladstone Car built by Metropolitan C&W
9 25 WHHR Replica of an Ashbury
10 23 WHHR Buffet Car built by Ashbury
11 26 F&WHR Normally runs on FR, built by Ashbury, re-bodied
12 23 F&WHR Normally runs on WHR, built by Ashbury, carried No.24 on WHR
13 28 F&WHR Scrapped. Built by Ashbury
14 27 F&WHR Scrapped. Built by Ashbury
  21 F&WHR Replica Ashbury being built for F&WHR
  22 F&WHR Replica Ashbury being built for F&WHR
  24 F&WHR Replica of No.23, an Asbury Summer coach in NWNGR Maroon.

 

Class 319 Flex for Wales

The Welsh Government is to provide two thirds of the funding to ATW to lease 5 Class 319 Flex electro-diesel units, which used to run Thameslink commuter services from Bedford. The move will allow Class150/158 DMUs to be taken out of service and upgraded for Reduced Mobility Requirements. See Railway Gazette story and Global Rail News. As it seems the units will be used in the Cardiff Area there are still hopes of some decent loco hauled trains as a follow on order for Transpennine's Class 68 plus Mk 5 order for the North Wales-South Wales/Birmingham/Liverpool (via Halton curve -see below)/Manchester services.

 

No.130 update 16/7/17

The process of rebuilding the geometry of the power bogies is well advanced and the new horns of the leading power unit have now been fitted. They need to be hardened before final fitting and then the axleboxes can be white metalled and machined to fit. It will not be too long before the first power unit is re-wheeled.

 

Work starts on Halton Curve 14/7/17

Work has started on the long standing Halton Curve project to re-link Liverpool Lime Street and North Wales. The 1.5 mile route links Runcorn on the WCML and Frodsham on the Manchester-Chester route and crosses the more westerly of the two 'coat-hanger' bridges over the M56 (the other carries the WCML). Work is due to be completed in May 2018 with services starting in December. See BBC report. It is hoped the link will bring additional passengers by public transport to the WHR, though initially, passengers on the hourly service will have to change at Chester. The local passenger service was withdrawn from the line as long ago as 5/5/75.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the line was used by a scheduled summer Saturdays-only return service between Liverpool Lime Street and Llandudno but this ended when the double track was reduced to a single line in 1994 following the privatisation of British Rail. At the same time, the associated double points and diamond crossings for southbound trains were removed from both junctions. Only northbound trains (Frodsham to Runcorn) were left able to use the line and it was re-classed for single-line working. Railtrack's decision was based on reducing maintenance costs and, by removing the crossings and points on the West Coast Mainline, increase through-train speeds between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe.

To avoid the expense and inconvenience of a statutory closure process for Halton Curve, a summer dated Parliamentary train continues to run (northbound only), the 0753 SO from Chester to Runcorn 27/5/17-9/9/17.

 

Palmerston School Special 12/7/17

About one hundred pupils plus staff from Ysgol Eifion Wyn Junior School Porthmadog enjoyed a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway to Beddgelert and back on 12/7/17 in glorious sunshine.

 

This southerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston crossing Pont Croesor with a three coach school special to Beddgelert and Minffordd. The rake comprised the Victorian livery curly roofed van, a bowsider and a bugbox. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston climbing the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank, the start of the steep climb to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston taking water from the heritage tank after running around at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston descending the Aberglaslyn Pass. It is interesting to note that vegetation has finally begun to grow on the copper contaminated embankment 100 years after construction following the addition of some soil during the WHR construction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston at the foot of the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank, about to pass through the short Hafod-y-llyn works train loop. 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.

 

Moving wheels No.8 12/7/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 22 mins 35 seconds of video detailing recent events on the F&WHR published 12/7/17. This video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Gobowen station secured for rail use 11/7/17

Gobowen station buildings, largely empty for more than 10 years, have been purchased with help from the local councils, who offered a grant and loan amounting to£110,00. The station will be owned by the Oswestry Station Building Trust. This is the Cambrian Heritage Railways junction with the Wrexham-Shrewsbury line. Having recently received a TWA they are now hoping to open from Gobowen to Llynclys, through Oswestry station which may compete with the WHR. Cambrian Railways completed purchase of the bay platform and coal yard a few years ago and now own the whole route from Oswestry into the station. The campaign to save the station from private ownership is featured on their forum. The future of the tenants, the booking office run by Severn-Dee Travel (originally set up by girls from Moreton Hall Girls' School) and the station cafe run by pupils with learning difficulties from Derwen College, is secured. See Parish Council press release and Shropshire Star story.

 

Caernarfon Slate Quay project wins £3.5m grant 11/7/17

The Daily Post reports that the Caernarfon Slate Quay project, covering the area of derelict land between Caernarfon Station and the Harbour Master's Office opposite the castle, has been awarded an improvement grant. The grant' of almost £3.5 million, comes from the Heritage Lottery fund and will allow artisan workshops and holiday lets to be constructed on the site, including Beics Menai bicycle hire. The money is part of a £15 million EU funded scheme 'Caernarfon Tourism Attractor Destination'. The WHR has enjoyed considerable funding from the EU over the years and similar funding may dry up in the future if Brexit goes ahead. See also BBC story.

 

West Midlands Group meeting Thursday 13/7/17

Dave Waldren advises: PLEASE NOTE that due to illness, the next meeting of the WHR West Midland Group has been changed. We will no longer be entertained by Robert Pettitt on ‘Feldbahnen’, and we send Robert our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Instead, Dave Waldren will be presenting an evening of narrow gauge indulgence! In the first half, he’ll be showing a selection of unpublished vintage narrow gauge railway images from his collection, dating from the 1930s to the 1970s. In the second half he will be showing some recent videos, taken at this year’s Beer Festival, ‘Quirks II’ and the Group visit to the Downs Light Railway.

A warm welcome awaits all; come along and enjoy an evening with us regardless of whether you are a WHR Society member or not. The meeting will start at 7:30pm prompt, The Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane) Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA

 

Appeal for help with SuperPower

The F&WHR needs volunteers to prepare for SuperPower and to put it all away again afterwards. People are needed Wednesday and Thursday 13-14/9/17. Those who are travelling some distance would be welcome to join the North Wales Group for their monthly meeting at the Mountain Rangers Social Club, Rhosgadfan, on Wednesday 13/9/17. Help is then required Friday to Sunday 15/9/17-17/9/17 to help with stewarding, manning stands etc all through the day and evening on both Friday and Saturday. Finally assistance will be needed to put it all away again on the Monday 18/9/17. Anyone who would like to be involved in this popular event please let Tym Crowther know your availability and the F&WHR will find you something to do. Contact Tym Crowther – andy@tymcrowther.eclipse.co.uk

 

Timetable change 10/7/15

A special timetable ran on the WHR on 10/7/17 for the Belmond 'Grand tour of Great Britain' to visit the WHR. The normal 10 am departure from Caernarfon was re-timed to 10:30. The FR's observation car No.150 was been added to provide two first class coaches to accommodate the luxury tour participants.

 

New BF&TR website 10/7/17

A new Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Co. website has been launched. The group is still working at Maentwrog Road and Cwmbowydd crossing with volunteer work parties every weekend to clear the line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd lake of undergrowth.

 

Lyn steams at Keef's 9/7/17

Replica L&B Baldwin loco Lyn was steamed for the first time at Keef's factory near Ross-on-Wye. See Lyn homepage for video of this event. Rumours persisted that the 2-4-2 pannier tank loco would be trialled on the WHR but it will now be delivered direct to Woody Bay in September after fettling work at Keef's and be launched at the L&B Gala over the weekend of 20/9/17-1/10/17. There is hope the unique loco will come to the WHR next year as the F&WHR lends Lyd, another L&B replica, to the L&B Galas regularly. The Lyn Supporters Group still needs to find £25,000 to finish the loco and paint in SR green.

 

Welsh Pony progress 8/7/17

This Boston Lodge view (8/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler now with some additions to the firebox. Gauge glasses have been fitted. The mounting for the regulator is apparent and a Salter's safety valve fitted supported by a more modern safety valve hidden inside the brass dome. Supports to carry the rear frames that the cab will be built on are visible. The boiler still needs the smokebox fitting to the front. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BF&TR update 8/7/17

After some recent personnel changes a new website has been produced. A deposit has been paid for the chipper and work is in progress this weekend clearing several buddleia bushes from south of Cwmbowydd Road level crossing in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Up to date images of progress are available on the BF&TR Facebook page.

 

No.130 progress 5/7/16

The manifold (completed in 2016 and stored since) was delivered to Dinas at the end of June ready for the delivery of the new boiler. In early July the water pipework, including the sieve box, were finished and fixed to the cradle. New ball valves have been fitted and just need the flexible hose fitted to the tanks.

 

L&B gains Local Plan approval 5/7/17

The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, which frequently guests the F&WHR's Lyd, has been pleased to hear that the Exmoor National Park Authority has unanimously approved the Local Plan which includes reinstatement statement of the L&B and planning protection for its trackbed and infrastructure. This may be the reason for the 12 month delay in receiving planning permission for the section of the Killington Lane to Blackmoor Section which it is now hoped will receive approval on 5/9/17.North Devon council approved the section south from Blackmoor Gate to Whistlandpound station as long ago as June last year. The railway has the long term aim of extending to a new station above Lynton and into Barnstaple to the site of the old depot which still exists at Pilton, where there is also a large car park.

 

Caernarfon station gas main works 4-5/7/17

Work is underway to move the gas main from the worksite for Caernarfon station. The gas main was discovered late in the day and has delayed the start of construction the station. Footpath diversions and traffic control are needed while the road is excavated to accommodate a diversion for the gas main. A new wheelchair accessible route has been created along the east edge of the WHR compound against the retaining wall while the gas main diversion works continue.

 

This northerly view (4/7/17) shows construction of the diversion of gas main which crosses the WHR station site (presumably the trench near the road). The new excavation and yellow pipes for the new gas main can be seen in St. Helens Road. Once the diversion is complete work will be able to start on constructing the new station building at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/7/17) shows construction of the diverted gas main which is being moved into St. Helens Road. The diverted wheelchair accessible route can be seen on the right between the worksite offices and the Segontium Terrace retaining wall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Free weekend buses from 8/7/17

The TrawsCymru bus network that largely replaced long distance trains in Wales such as Bangor-Aberystwyth-Carmarthen and Wrexham-Bala-Barmouth across North and mid-Wales is becoming free at weekends until at least May next year. Bus services include those above but also Newtown-Brecon-Cardiff/Swansea. The £1million scheme is funded by the Welsh Assembly and is designed to promote tourism. See Daily Post report.

 

Caernarvon BR station images 3/7/70

Caernarvon (as it was then known) BR station was located in the car park area behind Asda and the station building was roughly where the Balaclava Road roundabout is located. Your web editor was lucky enough to travel to it in one of the last year's of operation in late August 1967 in a DMU (sitting behind the driver!). The line had recently been singled in 1966, with (as I recollect) the Up line being used for all traffic. Sadly the pictures I took with my mum's Brownie 127 have become lost over time. On 1/7/69 Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle and trains ran as far as Dinas (including the Royal Train) for stock storage even though the line had been mothballed for 5 years following closure on 7/9/64. It is interesting to note that regular trains ran from Manchester Exchange and Liverpool Lime Street to Caernarvon in the mid sixties.

Caernarfon BR station closed 5/1/70 but reopened as a freightliner terminal six months later after the fire that destroyed the Menai Straits tubular bridge on 23/5/70. Final closure came on 30/1/72 after the new Menai Straits railway bridge was opened (albeit single track!). Dave Waldren has kindly provided a set of images he recently purchased from this short-lived revival dated 3/7/70 when Caernarfon became busy again as a freightliner terminal. Full details of Caernarfon's three earlier stations (including one on the site of the current WHR station) can be found on the Disused Station website.

 

This westerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station with track removed from the former Bangor bays. A Class 47 in two tone green shunts freightliner wagons in the yard. The track dips down behind the signalbox into the Cross Town tunnel, now converted for road use. Two road cranes are visible for transferring freightliner wagons. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station with a road crane transferring freightliner wagons to lorries for onward shipment to Holyhead. The wall to the left of the crane still exists in the Balaclava Road car park and Y Galeri now occupies the site of the sheds visible in the distance. The track dips down to the left into the Cross Town tunnel, now converted for road use. The nearer track was exclusive to Llanberis, closed to all services, after an extended afterlife as an Excursion line, on 7/9/64 then lifted soon after. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station a road crane transferring freightliner wagons to lorries for onward shipment to Holyhead. The wall to the left of the crane still exists in the Balaclava Road car park and modern flats, Premier Inn and Travelodge motels now occupy the tank farm to the left. On the right he track dips down to the left into the Cross Town tunnel and converges into one track for Dinas as the right hand track for Llanberis had clearly been lifted by this date as all that is left is a catch point. The nearer crane appears to be in a fixed location with the loco shunting the wagons past it for unloading. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Jacobean Caernarvon BR station building on the left in front of the church with track removed from the former Bangor bays in the foreground. A Class 47 in two tone green shunts freightliner wagons in the yard. This view is taken from the site of the Balaclava Road roundabout between Morrisons and the former Christ Church, with visible spire, which became the Hwylfan Fun Centre in 1999 after lying derelict for almost 20 years. The area to the right became Morrisons. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/70) shows the closed Britannia Bridge following the fire on 23/5/70. Work is underway to extract the burned timbers before removal of the tubes and replacement with the new arched structure. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Pony progress 1/7/17

This Boston Lodge view (1/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler now mounted on the frames. The boiler still needs the smokebox fitting to the front. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (1/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's original boiler now mounted on the well wagon for transport and storage at Minffordd. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Events 2017

1/1/17 Final Mince Pie Special 1015/1330 return from Dinas to Beddgelert
19-22/1/17 Hugh Napier at the Caravan and Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
18-25/2/17 Start of WHR 2017 Green Timetable Dinas-Beddgelert (2 trains a day)
18-25/2/17 Palmerston on show Kings Cross promoting 'Great little Trains of Wales' booklet
1/3-23/3/17 Orange Timetable MTFX Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn
25/3-30/3/17 Start of WHR 2017 Season Yellow Easter Timetable (5 days only) MFX
1/4/17 Trains every day in May (except 28/4/17) including Easter Red timetable (14-18/4/17) and 29-30/4/17 and 1/5/17
8/4/17 The Snowdonian
28/4-1/5/17 FR Quirks and Curiosities event (includes some WHR events from Hafod-y-llyn)
6-14/5/17 Palmerston visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool
13/5/17 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
19-21/5/17 Rail-Ale 13th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
10/6/17 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited re-run of The Snowdonian
11-12/8/17 Lilla at the Shrewsbury Flower Show
20/8/17 Classic Car Show and Family Day at Dinas
15-17/9/17 SuperPower (WHR AGM 16/9/17)
21-24/9/17 Prince at Highley (SVR) running during the SVR Gala
6-8/10/17 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
27/10/17 WHR Halloween Train
9-10/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
16-17/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
21-22/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
27/12/17-1/1/18 WHR Mince Pie Specials (to be confirmed)

 

Mainline news

There will be a series of railtours both to and from North Wales in 2017 and it seems that Penmaenmawr Quarries are to start delivering stone by rail again, while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least. In recent years steam on the North Wales Coast/Blaenau Ffestiniog has declined and steam on the Cambrian disappeared due to NR reneging on its promise to provide a mobile ERTMS unit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30/9/17 'Conway Valley Explorer II' Cleethorpes-Betws-y-coed (diesel) WCR

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

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2017

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

The programme for 2017 is as follows:

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

^ Bank Holiday weekend

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

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

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

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

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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

 

Site development

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

 

Comments

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

 

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

 

Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3509 updated 15/8/17