Welsh Highland Railway
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Modern images updated from 16/10/21
Archive images updated from 19/9/98
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This southerly view (3/11/19) shows No.608 hauling a heritage rake heading for Beddgelert between T2 and T3 in the Aberglaslyn Pass during the photo charter. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Phil Brown (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on September 8 2004 with news about work on Phase 4 of the WHR scheme. In addition to this Stop Press page and a Phase 1/2 page, there are 9 location pages, covering the Phase 3 works between Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. There are a further 9 pages covering Phase 4, the full route through Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, including the Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount works recently constructed by the WHHR with three regularly updated map links for this area by Laurence Armstrong.
Finally, there are pages covering 'Phase 5', Views from the Line, the history of the abandoned PBSSR works around Beddgelert, Archived News and a Contacts page for volunteers. Another page covers the current operation of the WHHR southwest from Pen-y-Mount.
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)
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 5/10/21)
Snow Scenes (updated 25/11/20)
Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)
Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)
Volunteer Contact details page (updated 23/6/21)
Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)
Video list (new 9/11/15)
Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.
If you would like an automated announcement of site updates, email me at the NEW (2013) address below replacing the letters 'dot' with a full stop
This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.
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.
New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.
New text in RED!
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR North map dated 5/11/07
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR Middle map dated 14/3/10
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR South map dated 14/3/10
Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps and other maps courtesy of WHRS
Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of WHRS
Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference
F&WHR traffic 16/10/21
Saturday was forecast to have sunny periods with 15C maximum temperatures. The Tan-y-bwlch webcam is still out of action. Four Mountain Prince trains are booked today with the 14:20 fully booked in addition to The Harbourmaster and the Snowdonia Star.
At 10:42 Blanche was shunting the A set to the FR platform for the 11:20. The Snowdonia Star had arrived by 13:30. Vale of Ffestiniog passed through the WHR run round loop from the Beddgelert direction with empty ballast wagons. The train was held at signals as the 13:40 Mountain Prince was ready to depart with Lyd at 13:42. At 13:50 the PW train shunted into the yard. Once David Lloyd George had arrived in the WHR loop at 14:22, Vale of Ffestiniog shunted onto the rear as the timing load for this train exceeds that of a single Fairlie. The PW wagons were left in the station yard. It seems No.130 was not available at Dinas for this service today.
This easterly view 16/10/21 at 14:28 shows David Lloyd George with Vale of Ffestiniog inside running round ready to haul the return working of the Snowdonia Star. This train is too heavy for one double Fairlie on the 1 in 40 in the Beddgelert Forest. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam.
This easterly view 16/10/21 shows David Lloyd George with Vale of Ffestiniog inside on the return working of the Snowdonia Star at Beddgelert This train was set to exchange locos with No,87 at Rhyd Ddu so that the rescue pair can return to Porthmadog and leave a Garratt at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital phone camera.
F&WHR signals some 'hop on-hop off' next year
Giving an update on the F&WHR after the NLHF announcement, Paul Lewin, General Manager explained that the fixed journey opportinities afforded by the named trains policy had helped the F&WHR recover well. The railway was now in a position to get through Winter where essential PW work was necessary on the FR and lineside cutting back was essential on the WHR. Views on some parts of the system were being obscured by tree canopy again, He recognised that enthusiast and supporters wished to return to 'hop on-hop off' or the 'turn up and go' style of previous years and hoped that a mix of book in advance fixed journeys and turn up and go accommodation could be provided.
Click on the YouTube link to watch 7 mins 14 seconds of video of Paul Lewin explaining the HL. This video was published on 20/9/21 and taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on 4K Betamax Camcorder.
Many other railways, including most in Wales such as the Tal-y-llyn and Llangollen, have reverted to 'hop on-hop off' services. Supporters have expressed concern about the 'Disneyfication' of the F&WHR, including the inability to purchase tickets for single persons. Provision could be made by having a coach on each train set aside for such intermediate traffic next year.
F&WHR traffic 15/10/21
Friday 15/10/21 was forecast to be a fine sunny day at Porthmadog but with chilly maximum temperatures of 13C forecast. The Tan-y-bwlch webcam was still out of action. The 13:40 Mountain Prince was sold out today but the 15:00 still had space at midday. Lyd passed Minffordd at 15:13 with the 15:00 Mountain Prince. Blanche arrived back with the return working of the 13:40 at 16:48.
Saturday sees four Mountain Prince workings with the 13:40 already sold out. The 09:40 Harbourmaster and the 10:00 Snowdonia Star are both sold out. All six Back to Blaenau services are now fully booked though it is always worth phoning as people do phone and cancel from time to time.
With just two weeks until the end of the season, there is still no indication of any train service after 31/10/21, Santa Specials/Mince Pie Specials/February Half Term services etc. Normally there would be trains catering for coach party traffic from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn on the WHR.
F&WHR wins £3.144m NLHF grant 15/10/21
We are delighted to announce that the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (FFWHR) has been successful in its application for a £3.1million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). This is a momentous occasion for our railway and is the culmination of years of hard work by our staff and volunteers, developing this outstanding application. An additional £900,000 of matched funding for this three-and-a-half-year project, will be provided by supporters.
FFWHR General Manager, Paul Lewin said; We would like to thank everyone who has played a part in the success of this application, it has been a huge collective effort and one in which we can all take great pride.
We now look forward to making our visions a reality thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The full announcement available on our NLHF Project website.
The total, amounting to £4m, will be used for the Interpretation and Boston Lodge Projects. These projects will also provide training, employment and volunteering opportunities for the community of Porthmadog (and presumably further afield!).
This westerly Boston Lodge view 8/10/21 shows F&WHR Manager Paul Lewin accepting the award from David Robinson with Merddin Emrys in the background carrying the headboard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera.
Cambrian Railways extension to open soon
The Cambrian Railways at Oswestry is set to complete deferred maintenance in November and open the Weston Wharf Extension for a members special at the AGM 13/11/21 and for booked parties. Mince Pie Specials are possible between Xmas and New Year though there will be no general public service until the new season starting 1/4/22. A press launch will be held on 31/3/22 and public services will begin the next day between Oswestry and Weston Wharf where the Mk3 buffet is being fitted out as a cafe and a picnic garden area created. See public timetable. Suburban brake coach E43145 is ready for service but there has been vandalism to 2 stored coaches at Oswestry.
F&WHR traffic 13/10/21
Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods and a maximum temperature of 16C. The Tan-y-bwlch webcam was not working today after problems with it earlier in the week. Three Woodland Wanderer trains were diagrammed today as well as the Back to Blaenau service.
Lyd was shunting the rake for the 12:10 Woodland Wanderer at 11:35 and left on time in a cloud of condensation. The Back to Blaenau train left at 11:40. Blanche was on the 14:20 which left on time. Lyd arrived back with the 11:05 at 14:43 shunted the rake to the seawall siding and left light engine for the depot at 15:02. David Lloyd George arrived back from Blaenau at 16:13 into the FR platform and after shunting its rake to the yard left light engine for the depot after the return of Blanche on the 14:20 into the FR platform at 16:52.
HRA Award 8/10/21
On 8/10/21 an HRA representative attended the F&WHR to present an award for the completion of Welsh Pony and also Runner Up in the Communication category. See F&WHR website. for full details.
This westerly view 8/10/21 shows F&WHR Manager Paul Lewin accepting the awards with Welsh Pony in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera.
F&WHR traffic 12/10/21
Porthmadog started the day with sunny periods and a maximum of 16C forecast. Three Woodland Wanderer trains are booked with the 12:100 already sold out. Two Glaslyn Venturer trains are planned today as well as the TThO Gelert Explorer and the TWThO Back to Blaenau trains. The live stream Railcam link was not available for Minffordd or Tan-y-bwlch this morning.
The Glaslyn Venturer left on time at 10:15 hauled by No.87. Blanche turned up light engine at 10:35 for the 11:05 Woodland Wanderer which departed on time once David Lloyd George had arrived into the WHR platform with the Back to Blaenau set at 11:00. The Fairlie worked to the fuelling point at 11:12.
Six of the final 9 TWThO Back to Blaenau trains are already fully booked with the first available being on 20/10/21.
On 8/10/21 Blanche hauled the Y Cymro service and Lyd hauled a return service to Beddgelert with the C set. Merddin Emrys hauled a train to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back.
On 9/10/21 Palmerston provided some variety hauling a freight through Minffordd and Lyd worked a return trip to Beddgelert.
On 10/10/21 Upnor Castle hauled the gravity train to Dduallt before letting it run down the valley in unusually good morning light conditions.
Blanche experienced a minor failure at the weekend but was back in action by 12/10/21.
Simon Roberts of 'Steaming around Yorkshire' has produced a video compilation of the weekend.
If only the WHR had been offered a Gala like this, rather than what was advertised as a 'small event', more might have attended?
Narrow Gauge roundup 12/10/21
The Vale of Rheidol is completing the overhaul of VoR resident Hanomag 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt NG/G13 (10551/1927) No. 60. This loco is projected to be ready to enter service before the end of this season, another Garratt that might visit the WHR for a gala in the future? Work is also about to recommence on restoration of Baldwin 10-12-D 4-6-0T WDLR No. 794 (BLW44699/1917), which will be completed as WHR No. 590, for the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
A further very visible improvement is the completion of the trackwork at Aberystwyth linking the new £531,000 Museum collection building in the old Carmarthen platform and the old BR loco shed that houses the heritage rolling stock. This was completed between lockdowns last year connecting the new shed to the rest of the system. Stock has been moved into the new building from the old standard gauge locomotive shed which has been cleared and, in time, will be developed into a 5000sq ft multi-function display and entertainment space.
The Bala Lake railway is holding a Diesel Gala on Sunday 17/10/21 which will feature diesel haulage and freight action. The F&WHR could take note of this development! See BLR website for full details.
F&WHR traffic 11/10/21
After a stormy wet period following the equinox, Porthmadog weather has improved with a fine weekend followed by similar weather forecast this week. There still appear to be plenty of late season tourists about. Three Mountain Prince trains were scheduled today with the 11:05 fully booked with a 13:40 and 15:00 to follow. These are the only trains running as the Glaslyn Venturer is now TThO as is the Gelert Explorer.
Up at Tan-y-bwlch Upnor Castle was waiting for the arrival of the 10:00 Mountain Prince hauled by Welsh Pony at 10:43. The 13:40 was also fully booked before departure. Lyd returned to Porthmadog at 14:05 in time for the 15:00 service.
Meanwhile spare 'Romanian' coach No.2060 was noted being hauled south through Snowdon Ranger at noon on 11/10/21 by Vale of Ffestiniog, on an inspection special.
Potential passengers are also looking to the timetable post 29/10/21 when the season currently finishes. Many heritage railways are offering Galas and trains through to Xmas, including Xmas Lights and Santa Specials but no announcement has come from the F&WHR yet. Many lines are offering hop on-hop off 'turn up and go' services but recent statements from the F&WHR seem to indicate it is wedded to the current named train timetable with no intermediate journeys allowed.
Moelwyn Tunnel dedication 10/10/21
A small ceremony was held at Moelwyn Tunnel South portal on 10/10/21 where the recently completed dressed stone portal was dedicated to the miners by the Engineer Mike Schumann who oversaw the project. Your webmaster was one of many volunteers who helped construct the tunnel and actually drive the mines loco in the tunnel.
This easterly view 10/10/21 shows sponsor Mike Schumann and the engineering team at the Moelwyn Tunnel South Portal. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera.
This easterly view 10/10/21 at around 12:50 shows sponsor Mike Schumann dedicating the signage on the recently completed south portal to those principally involved in the construction of the tunnel. The north portal was finished in similar style some years ago. The local MP attended the event. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a phone camera.
Donors' Train 10/10/21
The F&WHR ran a Donors' Event again this year with COVID easing. As well as visiting Boston Lodge the train ran to Blaenau Ffestiniog calling at Tunnel South for the completion of the south portal dressed stonework there and to dedicate a plaque. Upnor Castle hauled the train from Porthmadog to Boston Lodge, Lyd to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return to Pen Cob, followed by No.87 from Pen Cob-Beddgelert and return. When the Garratt was disposed to the depot it was accompanied by Welsh Pony to clear the station section to Boston Lodge more quickly.
This westerly view 10/10/21 at 9:15 shows Upnor Castle hauling the Donors' Special to Boston Lodge at Porthmadog Harbour. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a phone camera.
This Boston Lodge view 10/10/21 shows the new steel cab for Castell Caernarfon which replaces the life expired GRP cab. It is good to see progress on the WHR's Funkey which has been sidelined for several years now, requiring Vale of Ffestiniog to spend a lot of time at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a phone camera.
This westerly view 10/10/21 at 12:15 shows Lyd hauling the Donors' Special from Boston Lodge to Tunnel South. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a phone camera.
This northerly view 10/10/21 shows Lyd with Paul Lewin the F&WHR General Manager and Donors' special just arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera.
This northerly view 10/10/21 shows Lyd running round at Blaenau Ffestiniog on the Donors' special carrying the Diamond Jubilee Sixty Years of Preservation headboard from 2014. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a phone camera.
This northerly view 10/10/21 shows Lyd running round the Donors' special at Blaenau Ffestiniog on the Donors' Train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a phone camera.
This westerly view 10/10/21 at 15:04 shows No.87 hauling the Donors' Special from Boston Lodge to Beddgelert where it ran round and returned to Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a phone camera.
NG15 No.134 boiler update
The overhaul of 134s Boiler at LMS in Loughborough is progressing well and an update is due as was given to those at the WHRS AGM weekend in September. Once the scope of the overhaul had been agreed in late May, the contract for the firebox repair and large items of steelwork were placed and LMS could order the materials from their suppliers. In June and July the foundation ring, dome and doubler plate were inspected and any cracks weld-repaired, while the boiler waited its turn in the main works and the plates were delivered. In August rebuild work started on the firebox proper and by mid-September the throatplate and outer firebox lower patches are now fully welded in place, firebox corners weld-repaired and foundation ring temporarily refitted to keep datums while the various plates are rebuilt around it. The new front section of the barrel has been delivered and the new smokebox is at an advanced state of preparation. Next steps in the Autumn will be to fit the new bosses for washout plugs and prepare the inner firebox plates and backhead patch.
In parallel to LMS working on the firebox the 134 Group have had 2 patterns for the boiler expansion brackets made by the Carriage Works at Boston Lodge and castings for these are now being poured in Sheffield for machining and fitting to the foundation ring in October. The Group would like to give thanks to those who purchased No.134 merchandise from the Group and gave donations at SuperPower and subsequently during the week, these are all contributing to the possibility that the Group can place the next package of boiler work and see that new barrel mounted. If anyone else is feeling generous the Group would be very grateful of any support to keep up the current increased pace of No.134s return to steam.
Llangollen gets their Class 47 out 3/10/21
The third and final main line loco Class 47 No. 47449 (as D1566 in BR blue) was trialled on passenger work for the first time under the Trust's Management on Sunday 3/10/21 after testing the previous weekend. It does not appear to have any turns booked in the near future due to crew rotas. On 9/10/21 the ballast train received a fitness to run exam ready for ballasting Corwen station on 11-12/10/21.
No fuel shortage at Porthmadog 27/9/21
Your webmaster found no fuel shortage at Porthmadog week ending 3/10/21. Indeed Tesco was selling petrol cheaper than in the East Midlands, though Betws-y-coed garage was dry at one stage.
On 27/9/21 the F&WHR advised:
We just want to reassure you - our trains ARE running, as we use coal in our steam locomotives, not petrol or diesel. The sun is shining and we're looking forward to welcoming you on our trains. However, don't worry if you have a problem getting here because of YOUR fuel shortage. Just let us know - phone the Booking Office on 01766 516024 and we can rearrange or cancel your booking for you. If you're in the area and wanted to travel on one of our trains that was 'Sold Out' when you originally tried to book - keep an eye on the Booking website, as spaces may well become available if people are unable to reach us.
Back to work 10/10/21!
Having cleared away all the caravan paraphernalia, had my flu jab, deal with four weeks of washing and emails, this website is back in action after a well deserved four week break at Porthmadog (the first holiday in 2 years!).
Some progress has also been made with the Kodak DX6490 files which ran for over 10 years from 1/05 to 7/16 with 4209 images. Some 1500 of these are currently 'lost' but may be found amongst the SD/SDHC cards and images uploaded to website (so saved in the WHR archive).
Porthmadog PW 4/10/21
This easterly view 4/10/21 shows NR staff and a road rail excavator taking advantage of the 3 month closure of the Cambrian Coast Line to do some spot re-sleepering at Porthmadog. A number of new timber sleepers were laid out along the lineside opposite the WHHR terminus. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a phone camera.
F&WHR traffic 1/10/21
The weather at Porthmadog was cold wet and windy with autumn setting in early for the last week of September after the equinox. Services had reduced accordingly with just two sets out on the Mountain Prince operating four trains most days. One of the few brighter/drier days was 1/10/21 which saw Criccieth Castle used as the Dduallt shunt loco.
This easterly view 1/10/21 at 15:03 shows Criccieth Castle on the return working of 13:40 to Dduallt Spiral waiting at Tan-y-bwlch for the 15:00 to Dduallt to pass. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 1/10/21 at 15:07 shows Criccieth Castle on the return working of 13:40 to Dduallt Spiral waiting at Tan-y-bwlch for the 15:00 to Dduallt to pass. The suitcases belong to a couple who were renting Coed-y-bleiddiau Cottage for a long weekend. The FR provides the rail access. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This westerly view 1/10/21 at 15:41 shows Lyd arriving at Tan-y-bwlch with the 15:00 Mountain Prince while the fireman of the other train waits to grab the token so the diesel can shunt on the rear quickly. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This westerly view 1/10/21 at 15:43 shows Criccieth Castle shunting onto the rear of the 15:00 Mountain Prince while the fireman rejoins the cab of the diesel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 1/10/21 at 16:00 shows Welsh Pony running round at Tan-y-bwlch to form the return working of the 13:40 after the 15:00 had departed for Dduallt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This westerly view 1/10/21 at 16:00 shows Welsh Pony continuing to run round at Tan-y-bwlch to form the return working of the 13:40. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 1/10/21 at 16:03 shows Welsh Pony coupled up and ready to depart with the return working of the 13:40 Mountain Prince. The sun had finally put in an appearance after an absence of several days! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
Trains for 6/10/21 see just two Woodland Wanderer workings, the 11:05 and 14:20 with one loco in steam. The Back to Blaenau is fully booked with availability from 12/10/21. The Glaslyn Venturer is now reduced to TThO (twice a day) and all trains are currently bookable. The Harbourmaster is SO but will not run this weekend because of the FR Gala and the Snowdonia Star is similarly cancelled. The Gelert Explorer is TThO at the moment but will run additionally on 9/10/21.
F&WHR traffic 27/9/21
After a stormy night, Monday was forecast to be a day of sunny periods and a maximum of 16C. The F&WHR was only offering the Mountain Prince today which runs TWThX until 22/10/21.
Prince was on the 10:00 working which was fully booked and three of the four trains were fully booked with only the 15:00 bookable in the morning. Lyd arrived back at Porthmadog at 14:06 with the 11:05 Mountain Prince ready for the 15:00 working which was still bookable.
The final working saw Lyd arriving back at Porthmadog at 17:48 into the FR platform and at 18:00 after watering, hauling the rake to the depot.
Tuesday's trains are reduced with the poor weather expected at Porthmadog. There are only 3 Woodland Wanderer trains requiring two locos in steam. The 11:05 is fully booked but the 121:10/14:20 are bookable. The same pattern of trains is also planned for Wednesday and Thursday. The Back to Blaenau runs tomorrow but is fully booked with the first available compartments being 5/10/21. The TThO 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer is sold out but there is room on the 13:40. The TThO 11:00 Gelert Explorer is fully booked with the first availability being 5/10/21.
Llangollen diesel weekend 25-26/9/21
The Llangollen Railway allocated two of its three mainline diesels over the weekend of 25-26/9/21 with 26010 (as 5310 in green) on Saturday and the first appearance of 31271 on Sunday. Next weekend it will be the turn of the 26 on Saturday and the Class 47 No.47449 (as 1566) for the first time under Trust operation on Sunday. No.47449 was originally named Orion by Murray Brown, then editor of Rail Express, at Llangollen in 2002. This week the Class104/108 hybrid DMU will be in action Wednesday-Friday.
This easterly view 26/9/21 at 10:38 shows No.31271 Stratford 1840-2001 on the 10:30 to Carrog departing Berwyn as seen from the A5. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 26/9/21 at 10:58 shows No.31271 on the 10:30 to Carrog running round at Carrog as seen from the road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This westerly view 26/9/21 at 11:03 shows No.31271 on the 10:30 to Carrog arriving at Carrog as seen from the road bridge. The disused track beyond the loco will hopefully be reopened on 1/3/22 if the new Corwen station is completed in time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 26/9/21 at 12:33 shows the BR blue livery DMU arriving at 12:33. Visitors could avail themselves of the excellent Carrog cafe that served light meals, tea, ice cream etc. The weather deteriorated in the afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 26/9/21 at 13:01 shows the other end of the 2 car DMU with BR green livery and 'go faster stripes. Passengers could use this service and change trains at Glyndyfrdwy to catch the Class 31 back. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 26/9/21 at 13:32 shows No.31271 on the 13:00 from Llangollen arriving at Carrog with rain about to set in. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
Some of the F&WHR locos have been carrying various adornments in recent weeks. Two locos carried microphones to record sound for future sound cards for models. More traditionally, Blanche carried an original Hunslet headlamp.
This Boston Lodge view 23/9/21 shows Blanche carrying an original style Hunslet headlamp. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera.
F&WHR traffic 25/9/21
Saturday was a cloudy humid day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 18C. Blanche was at Tan-y-bwlch with the 15:00 Mountain Prince at 17:00 and a Garratt, possibly No.87, was in the WHR platform with the full length Harbourmaster. The rake was removed ECS to Boston Lodge at 17:19. Blanche arrived back at 17:50 into the WHR platform. At 17:51 Blanche ran round and at 18:05 propelled its rake into the seawall siding. At 18:08 the loco shunted to the watering point and then departed light engine for the depot at 18:16 allowing the signaller to go home.
The Mountain Prince continues TWThX until 22/10 with a break for the Bygones FR Gala. On 26/9/21 all four trains are bookable and two locos are allocated. Both Glaslyn Venturer trains on Sunday are bookable. The Back to Blaenau service continues TWThO until 28/10/21 and there is late availability on 30/9/21. Otherwise the first bookable train is 13/10/21. The Gelert Explorer is running TThO from 28/9/21 to 28/10/21 with the first bookable train being 30/9/21.
Glan-y-pwll branch cleared 25/9/21
Harlech Castle hauled a PW train to the end of the Glan-y-pwll branch which had become so overgrown that it was denying access to the Carriage Shed. Volunteers cleared much of the undergrowth and had the advantage of the FR Mess coach in less than favourable weather and were able to use a chipper to compost the plant debris.
F&WHR Shunter repairs 23/9/21
This Boston Lodge view 23/9/21 shows works pilot Moel-y-gust undergoing refurbishment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera.
F&WHR traffic 23/9/21
Harlech Castle emerges from Minffordd Yard at 11:47 with two loaded BoCoal wagons for Porthmadog. It waited in the loop for the 11:40 Back to Blaenau train to pass hauled by David Lloyd George at 11:51. Rather than running round the diesel propelled its train to Porthmadog departing at 11:55. There have been a number of propel moves recently.
This westerly view 23/9/21 at 11:55 shows Harlech Castle propelling loaded coal wagons to Harbour Station having just emerged from Minffordd Yard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam.
This afternoon's Woodland Wanderer trains were sold out. The TWThO Back to Blaenau trains are sold out with the first available being 6/10/21. This afternoon's Glaslyn Venturer is fully booked and Sunday's trains will be the final Sunday of operation with the service becoming TThO from 28/9/21 until the October Half Term Holiday. The Gelert Explorer also become TThO from 28/9/21 until Half Term and the first available being 30/9/21. With reduced numbers of tourists in the area, the Glaslyn Venturer has frequently been running as a half-set in September. Blanche was noted on the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer.
Llangollen diesel weekend 25-26/9/21
The Llangollen Railway will be running three turns with its green Class 26 (26010 as 5310) on Saturday and 31271 on Sunday as well as DMU turns. The red 5 coach suburban rake will be in use. The Llangollen's only big steam loco No.3802 will be away until the last w eek of October as it is spending a few weeks on the GCR and then heading to Carnforth on 12-13/10/21 for tyre turning. Day Rangers are £24. The DMUs have been added following a busy weekend last weekend when there were still many tourists in Llangollen but no DMUs between the three steam services.
F&WHR traffic 19/9/21
Blanche was noted shunting on The Cob at 09:20 probably for the 10:00 Mountain Prince and the rake for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer had been split again to form a half rake for the morning train. David Lloyd George departed Tan-y-bwlch at 17:17 with the return working of the 15:00 Mountain Prince.
Llangollen Railway 19/9/21
This easterly view 19/9/21 at 10:42 shows GWR steam loco No.3802 on the 10:30 to Carrog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 19/9/21 shows GWR steam loco No.3802 arriving at Carrog at 11:03. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 19/9/21 shows GWR steam loco No.3802 waiting to run round at Carrog at 11:03. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 19/9/21 shows GWR steam loco No.3802 ready to depart Llangollen on the 13:06 for Carrog at 12:20. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
F&WHR traffic 18/9/21
Lyd and Welsh Pony handled the Mountain Prince on 18/9/21. No.87 departed Dinas at 10:14 with the ECS for the 11:00 Gelert Explorer. Down in Porthmadog half the Glaslyn Venturer remained in the sidings including Observation Car Gwynedd. At 16:16 David Lloyd George arrived with the other half and shunted the halves together in the WHR platform before disposing to the yard. Welsh Pony arrived at 16:45 on the return working of the 13:40 Mountain Prince after the shunt. At 16:50 the Fairlie left for the depot after coaling and watering. Welsh Pony followed after replenishing its tanks at 16:53.
This westerly view 18/9/21 at 16:16 shows David Lloyd George returning to Porthmadog on the second Glaslyn Venturer. Reduced numbers of passengers saw a half set in use on this date. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 16:44 shows David Lloyd George returning to Boston Lodge after watering. Welsh Pony is about to run round. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
WHHR trains 18/9/21
This easterly view 18/9/21 at 14:15 shows Emma working a WHHR service from their Tremadog Road terminus to Pen-y-Mount. The rake includes the new Pickering brake coach and so the VoR brake van has been sidelined. The Hunslet Barclay loco last worked on the Jubilee Line Extension. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
F&WHR SuperPower YouTube 17-19/9/21
Click on the YouTube link to watch 14 mins 16 seconds of video of K1 on trains to Rhyd Ddu and NG16 freight trains over SuperPower 17-19/9/21. This video was published on 20/9/21 and taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on 4K Betamax Camcorder.
SuperPower Day 2 18/9/21
Depot tours were available at Dinas and small groups were escorted around the depot to see progress with the NG15 No.134 Project loco. A small second hand bookstall was selling books at £5 in aid of the project.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 10:00 shows No.134's tender in Dinas Goods Shed. The tender tank is currently carried on No.133's chassis while its own chassis is worked on. Arrangements around the tender cab will change to allow a running plate safe for 3 people and to allow safe access to the cab on sharp curves. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 10:18 shows No.130 being prepared in Dinas bay on a demonstration freight train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 10:23 shows No.130 being prepared in Dinas platform on a demonstration freight train with Vale of Ffestiniog still on the rear. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 18/9/21 at 10:34 shows No.130 departing Dinas with the demonstration freight for Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.134's tender wheel sets which may need a little more work at Boston Lodge. The bogies themselves are currently being worked on then a rolling chassis will be readied to receive the tank currently carried on No.133's tender chassis. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.134's tender bogies receiving a final coat of paint from volunteers. It is intended to re-wheel the bogies in September after attention to the brasses. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.143 under restorations. The Puffing Billy boiler has required much more work than anticipated and a new smokebox has been fitted at the front end. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.134's0 rolling chassis complete with leading and trailing trucks. Now it can be moved into and out of the depot progress on the project can be maintained and also if necessary it can be removed for work on the running fleet. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.143 under restorations with good progress on the tubes. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.143's engine unit under restorations. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This Dinas depot view 18/9/21 shows No.134's rolling chassis complete with draw hook so it can be shunted around the Dinas yards. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 18/9/21 shows K1 preparing to leave Caernarfon on a very lightly loaded WHRS Members' Special heading for Rhyd Ddu. The Funkey was used for shunt release as K1 was found to foul the new platform at the north end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Simmonds and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 12:02 shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting Dinas. The loco did not sound well with side panels off and a part protruding. It had tended to stall earlier in the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 18/9/21 at 12:27 shows K1 on a very lightly loaded WHRS Members' Special departing Dinas for Rhyd Ddu using a 7 coach FR rake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 18/9/21 at 12:27 shows K1 on a very lightly loaded WHRS Members' Special heading for Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
SuperPower Day 1 17/9/21
SuperPower seemed quite quiet this year with relatively few passengers on the trains, other than the normal service trains, possibly because of the low key advertising and the F&WHR describing it as a small event?
This northerly view 17/9/21 at 09:43 shows Vale of Ffestiniog drawing out the 11:00 Gelert Explorer at Dinas. The steam loco would attach to the north end to take the train to Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 17/9/21 at 11:22 shows No.130 passing the Gelert Explorer at Dinas. The loco would work SuperPower trains in addition to No.87 on the service train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 17/9/21 shows K1 arriving at Waunfawr with the Members Special. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Trout and was taken on a digital camera.
This southerly view 17/9/21 at 12:51 shows No.87 running round the Gelert Explorer at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 17/9/21 at 12:53 shows No.87 watering before coupling to the return Gelert Explorer at Beddgelert. SuperPower trains only came to Rhyd Ddu so travellers on this service did not see anything of K1. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 17/9/21 at 13:02 shows No.87 coupled to the Gelert Explorer rake ready for the return journey at 14:15 at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 17/9/21 at 15:29 shows ex-Shotton Steelworks shunter Bill waiting its next duty as shed pilot in the Dinas depot headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge. Twin loco Ben still waits any work to modify it for F&WHR use. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 17/9/21 at 15:30 shows No.130 waiting its next duty in Dinas shed. Twin loco Ben still waits any work to modify it for F&WHR use. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 17/9/21 at 16:55 shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting the Gelert Explorer rake to Dinas Carriage Shed via the bay headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
It was a mystery as to where the Funkey was on the return of the Gelert Explorer. Eventually it was found at Caernarfon where it had been doing shunt release of K1. During a gauging trip to Caernarfon K1 was found to be foul of the platform at the new northerly extension so the Funkey was required to release it every trip. The Funkey coupled to the front at 16:04 and No.130 went on as pilot back to Dinas.
K1 on test 16/9/21
Click on the YouTube link to watch 11 mins 36 seconds of video of K1 on test on 16/9/21 ready for SuperPower. This video was published on 16/9/21 and taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on 4K Betamax Camcorder.
F&WHR traffic 16/9/21
Thursday was another sunny day at Porthmadog with temperatures of 17C maximum forecast. The Woodland Wanderer was fully booked by midday. The afternoon Glaslyn Venturer was also fully booked as was the Back to Blaenau service.
The Back to Blaenau service left from the WHR platform as usual at 11:42 hauled by Merddin Emrys. Blanche was on the heavily subscribed 14:20.
This easterly view 15/9/21 at 15:46 shows Blanche running round the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer. As this is the last train of the day it is not shunted to the westbound platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This easterly view 15/9/21 at 15:50 shows Blanche departing with the heavily laden return working of the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
On Friday three of the four Mountain Prince trains are already sold out. With timetable changes for the Mini SuperPower Event there are no Glaslyn Venturer trains and no Harbourmaster or Snowdonia Star workings. The Gelert Explorer is fully booked.
F&WHR traffic 15/9/21
No. 87 was on the 11:00 Gelert Explorer. It is possible some intending passengers from Porthmadog/Llyn Peninsula might miss the train given the huge queues from Dinas to Caernarfon caused by traffic lights on the new bypass roundabout north of Bontnewydd.
This southerly view 15/9/21 at 11:17 shows Vale of Ffestiniog with the PW train with the well wagon at Dinas awaiting the crossover with the 11:00 Gelert Explorer from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 15/9/21 at 11:18 shows the 11:00 Gelert Explorer hauled by No.87 passing the PW train at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 15/9/21 at 11:21 shows No.87 building up steam as it starts the steep climb up the Gwyrfai Valley to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 15/9/21 at 11:29 shows Vale of Ffestiniog with the PW train. The well wagon with shredder was destined to cut back lineside growth on the Dinas-Caernarfon stretch which has proliferated during the various lock-downs over the pandemic. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
North Wales loco hauled 15/9/21
1W93, the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead lost 26 minutes between Ludlow and Shrewsbury with DB liveried 67010 perhaps in less than fine fettle. Now on the rear after Chester, prompt work by platform staff saw time regained along the coast and the train was only 19 minutes down approaching Llandudno where it benefited from a timetabled wait of 8 minutes and departed 11 minutes down. The train passed Dwygyfylchi slowly and lost further time to Holyhead arriving 15 minutes late. and two minutes before planned departure to of the return working. Again good platform staff working got the train away just 3 minutes down.
This easterly view 15/9/21 shows the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead propelled by 67010 passing Dwygyfylchi footbridge at slow speed. Mk4 DVT No.229 carries the 'Float to Live' vinyls sponsored by the RNLI. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This westerly view 15/9/21 shows the 11:22 Cardiff Central-Holyhead propelled by 67010 passing Dwygyfylchi footbridge at slow speed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
K1 arrives for SuperPower 14/9/21
This northerly view 14/9/21 shows K1 just after unloading at Dinas in the later afternoon. The loco was to take a gauging trial past platforms on the line as there have been several years of PW work since the loco last travelled along the WHR. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera.
F&WHR Traffic 14/9/21
No.130 was back on the Glaslyn Venturer today after repairs. It appeared that the F&WHR homepage was back in action. Four of tomorrow's five Woodland Wanderer trains were sold out except for the 14:20. The Back to Blaenau trains are fully booked until after 7/10/21. The Glaslyn Venturer is fully booked for 15/9/21. The Gelert Explorer is fully booked for the next 3 days.
F&WHR traffic 13/9/21
Merddin Emrys hauled the 15:00 Mountain Prince on Monday.
Carriage Shed nears completion 11/9/21
Work on concreting the remaining floor space of the new Carriage Shed was completed in August. Powerfloat Mix with fibres was used between 16/08/21 and 20/08/21.
North Wales Metro expansion plans 10/9/21
WAG Map of proposed North Wales Metro extensions. Click on the image to enlarge.
Major news from WAG shows the expanded long term aims of the North Wales Metro. The map now shows extensions from Bangor to Amlwch and, more importantly for the F&WHR, to the Cambrian Coast line. As regards the extension to 'West Wales' shown on the map this could be achieved using the existing disused formation through Caernarfon and third rail/gauntleted track between Caernarfon and Dinas or, possibly more expensively, via a new route around Caernarfon following the new bypass and a Caernarfon Parkway station at Caeathro. If the existing route is used Stage 1 could see a welcome reopening to a town centre station at Caernarfon giving easier public transport links to the WHR.
Although there is no reference in the WAG plans, the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Link would be a gaping hole in a Welsh rail network if the Metro plans are completed. These trackbeds need to be protected from development or destruction of bridges to allow future expansion at minimum cost/delay.
The scheme includes electrification from Crewe to Holyhead, a more intensive service between Bangor and Holyhead, a new interchange station at Shotton, two new stations either side of Wrexham General and other improvements. However there is no mention of completing the re-dualling of the Wrexham-Rossett Junction section singled in 1980 for the A483 dualling.
See WAG press release.
New North Wales loco hauled trains appear 13/9/21
Additional loco hauled trains were introduced between Holyhead and Cardiff on Monday 13/12/21. This marked the start of an enhanced TfW Mk4 service with an additional set allowing three trains a day each way between Holyhead and Cardiff, reversing at Chester from Wrexham, Shrewsbury and the Marches Line. This long promised increase in service quality was said to be introduced for 'the Summer'. The diagrams are now as follows (all SSuX):
1V91 0533 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 0958 (this was the original outward working)
1W93 1122 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 1620
1V98 1636 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 2128
1W91 0645 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 1120
1V96 1133 Holyhead - Cardiff Central 1615
1W96 1716 Cardiff Central - Holyhead 2137 (this was the original return working)
Realtime Trains will show this train as a loco-hauled consist, but did not show loco allocations unlike TfW's other DMU services.
Llangollen to use Class 31
The Llangollen Railway has reached a new hire agreement with the owners of Class 31 No.31271 A1A Locomotives Ltd. which will see it used this Autumn on passenger turns. The first confirmed date is Sunday 26/9/21. See Llangollen Diesel group webpage.
Moving Pictures No.55 8/9/21
Click on the YouTube link to watch 22 minutes 16 seconds of video covering recent developments on the F&WHR and the Antiques Roadshow visit from March. This video was published on 8/9/21 and produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.
Llangollen Railway uses Class 26 12/9/21
The reborn Llangollen Railway has used green Class 26 No.26010 (carrying 5310) over the weekend of 11-12/9/21. The loco was used on the suburban rake. Class 31 No.31271 was also on test following a ready to run exam. The diesel trip will be repeated on Friday 17/9/21. The diesel was also used on the last train on 4/9/21 when the steam loco developed a brake fault.
The Llangollen Diesel Group report reveals additional days in late September and October. The dates are 25-26/9/21 and 3-4/10/21. As turn up and go tickets are available it is possible to join trains at Carrog/Glyndyfrdwy where parking is easier than at Llangollen.
Ruabon-Barmouth railway exhibition 2022
Dates: 19/2/22 - 13/3/2022
Venue: Llangollen Museum, Parade St, Llangollen LL20 8PW
The exhibition is still in the early stages of planning, but exhibits are anticipated to include original railway posters and artefacts from the former Ruabon to Barmouth line. Organisers are particularly excited to announce that some rare surviving parts from Royal Train built by the GWR for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 will be on display as part of this exhibition.
F&WHR traffic 12/9/21
Sunday turned out to be a grey day in Porthmadog with heavy rain in the afternoon. The F&WHR webpage was out of use over the weekend with a technical issue but the Fareharbor booking website was still available. The 13:40 Mountain Prince was sold out but the 15:00 was still available, hauled by David Lloyd George. The afternoon Glaslyn Venturer was 'call to book'.
F&WHR traffic 11/9/21
The Harbourmaster pairing was repeated on Saturday but with the Fairlie leading. All FR services were suspended while RAIB made an inspection, stock was recovered and necessary infrastructure repairs were made by the end of the day. All stock was back at Boston Lodge and ready to resume services on Sunday.
F&WHR traffic 10/9/21
Friday saw a change in the weather from an Indian Summer at Porthmadog to cooler rainy weather. After weeks of Garratt haulage Lyd and Merddin Emrys hauled The Harbourmaster service on Friday 10/9/21. Meanwhile on the FR only the first two trains ran due to a minor derailment of a wheelset on one carriage of the second Mountain Prince train of the day somewhere short of Tan-y-bwlch. The incident appears to have caused some track damage leading to all FR services being suspended on Saturday as well to effect repairs. Welsh Pony was locked in at Tan-y-bwlch. A third set with Upnor Castle in charge was put into service to recover the passengers from the failed train. Passengers stuck at Tan-y-bwlch were provided with road coaches to return them to Porthmadog. The stock remained at the incident for the RAIB to inspect the vehicle and track condition in situ until the evening when all stock was recovered to either Boston Lodge or Tan-y-bwlch for unusual overnight stabling. The Coed-y-bleiddiau cottage service ran from Tan-y-bwlch.
This westerly view 11/9/21 shows No.5 Welsh Pony locked in overnight at Tan-y-bwlch following Friday's derailment was still present on Saturday morning in the siding next to the signal box. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stewart Carswell and was taken on a digital camera.
This westerly view 11/9/21 shows Blanche recovering stock that was left overnight at Tan-y-bwlch following Friday's derailment on Saturday morning in the siding next to the signal box. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stewart Carswell and was taken on a digital camera.
Derailment disruption 10/9/21
'On Friday the 10/9/21, a train on the Ffestiniog Railway was the subject of a minor low speed derailment affecting one carriage wheelset. There were no injuries resulting from the incident. As a result though, an earlier train running ahead of the affected train was stranded at Tan-y-Bwlch station. The RAIB were informed of the incident and the F&WHR team have worked with them in working to restore normal services.
A further train was despatched to bring the passengers on the affected train back to Porthmadog and road transport used to collect passengers from Tan-y-Bwlch station. Passengers for Coed-y-Bleiddiau were also accommodated by special trains. As a result of this incident, train services were suspended for the rest of the day. Recovery operations were completed before dusk and the railway company wishes to thank the staff that worked extra hours to ensure this was completed safely and effectively.
Work to repair the affected infrastructure is in hand on Saturday 11/9/21. All FR trains have been cancelled until Sunday 12/9/21 to allow sufficient time for repairs to be completed and all safety checks made. Welsh Highland Railway services are not affected. Trains have been stabled overnight at Tan-y-Bwlch station and extra security put in place.'
F&WHR traffic 9/9/21
Lyd and Merddin Emrys substituted for the Garratt on the Glaslyn Venturer on 9/9/21 and had some difficulty restarting on the 1 in 40 in Beddgelert station.
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Corris Railway Gala report 5/9/21
The Corris Railway Gala extended over the hot first weekend of September. The small car park was full when I arrived before 11am and parking had to found in the narrow nearby streets. The first train was shown as booked for a party but was available for ticket purchase as they did not turn up apparently. As more people were arriving for the midday train a helpful school official opened the adjacent school car park. Toilet facilities were provided by a unisex public toilet by the bus stop outside the station. When the lack of disabled parking was mentioned to the unhelpful car park attendant his only response was 'I haven't had my breakfast yet'!
Despite this unpromising start, the station housed an interesting museum and served drinks and snacks. The 12:00 train was a joy to ride with the Corris' own Hughes Falcon loco No.7 (a replica of No.4) leading the three coach rake and the Tal-y-llyn's visiting Tattoo loco No.4 Edward Thomas (back on its original line where it worked until 1948) on the rear. The ride is about 1 km long and stops at a platform at the north end of Maespoeth Works from where visits to the Carriage Shed and Loco Depot were encouraged. The train then pulled forward to a second platform at the south end of the Works to allow Edward Thomas to refill its water tank. A new Hughes Falcon loco No.10 due to replace No.7 when it comes in for its 10 year overhaul in 2023/4. There is also another replica carriage under construction and some diesel locos were on display in the depot yard, including 'Vlad'! There was some determined chuffing to haul the train back up the grade to Corris station.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas on the north end of the 11:00 train at the Corris Railway's temporary terminus with a rake of replica coaches behind. This Kerr Stuart Tattoo loco was built in Stoke on Trent in 1921 and delivered to Corris where it ran until 1948 before transfer to the TR. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the CR's No.7 on the south end of the 11:00 train setting off from the Corris' Railway's temporary terminus a little late. One of the replica coaches is to a slightly smaller profile. This replica loco was delivered to the railway in 2005 and will soon becoming up on its second boiler refurbishment requiring the railway to complete a new loco No.10 to the design of the original locos CR locos Nos1-3. The Hughes Falcon replica is under construction at Keef's Loco Works and will hopefully be star of Keef's 2022 Gala. The short stub track in the foreground will be extended to form a run round with a traverser when the Corris terminus is rebuilt with an overall roof in the original style. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas departing on the rear end of the 11:00 train to Maespoeth at the Corris Railway's temporary terminus. This Kerr Stuart Tattoo loco was built in Stoke on Trent in 1921 and will be back on the TR for its 100th birthday along with the CR's No.7 for the TR's Gala on 11-12/9/21. Dr Who fans might notice the Weeping Angel....don't blink though! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows the TR's No.4 Edward Thomas on the rear end of the 12:00 train having arrived at Maespoeth at the Corris Railway's workshops. The train would move forwards to the Maespoeth South platform so that the loco could water a few minutes later. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows some of the CR's diesel fleet including Vlad in the sidings at Maespoeth where the Corris Railway's workshops are located. The main road is above to the right and Maespoeth Junction just south of the shed where the abandoned roadside line continued to climb to Corris Isaf. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This northerly view 5/9/21 shows No.7 about to lead its train from Maespoeth North platform to Maespoeth South platform. The hole in the rear cab sheet is presumably to allow coal to be shovelled from a match truck (aka tender) when needed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
This southerly view 5/9/21 shows No.4 Edward Thomas watering at Maespoeth South before hauling the return working of the 12:00 to Corris. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
Beyond the platform the line continues past sidings to a headshunt with the new extension underway beyond that. Before the revitalised railway company took over the route the council had improved the main road by using a few hundred metres of the trackbed of the Corris line just south of Maespoeth. Between there and the Dyfi Bridge the abandoned formation generally runs along the east roadside verge of the A487. A new embankment is under construction from Maespoeth to a point where the original roadside trackbed can be regained.
The railway has a number of aims with a new station and run round at Pont Evans for Esgairgeiliog which will include a 1 in 30 section. Another extension is envisaged to a station at the Forestry car park and toilets at Tan-y-coed, just north of Pantperthog and near to the popular Alternative Technology Centre tourist attraction, making the line 3 miles long. When funds allow, Corris station will be rebuilt in the original style with an overall roof but a traverser is required to allow run round because of the restricted site.
Although the railway has no plans to return to Machynlleth, it would theoretically be possible to continue along the clear roadside trackbed towards Machynlleth with a new Dyfi bridge to replace the one long lost to flooding. The original Corris terminus station building still exists in the middle of the Industrial Estate of the former Machynlleth Goods Yard but would require a new route to access and provide platforms close to the NR platforms. Fortunately the new A487 Dyfi Bridge bypass, currently under construction, does not affect future restoration of this section, which would make the line 5 miles long in total, a worthy aim.
In conclusion, although the line is short at 0.6 mile, it has great potential with new replica locos and replica carriages in the works and a good length of line to come in future. There are attractive views of the Dulas valley from the train so well worth a visit.
Holiday images 5/9/21
This northerly view 5/9/21 shows Vale of Ffestiniog stabled alongside Romanian coach No.2060 in Dinas bay/. The Funkey is used for PW work on the WHR and ECS workings. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Canon 2000D digital camera.
Laptop use during holiday 9/9/21
This is an experimental service using an old Toshiba laptop to update the website whilst on holiday in Porthmadog.
Mountain Prince/Woodland Wanderer trains from 6/9/21
Monday 6/9/21 saw the first use of a new split timetable with both these trains running every week. On Monday it was the turn of the Mountain Prince with Moelwyn on the rear and piloting back from Dduallt. There were four trains booked with Welsh Pony on the 10:00 and David Lloyd George on the 11:05. Whilst waiting for the 11:05 arrival Moelwyn took coach No.8 up towards Dduallt and back on its own for some purpose, possibly a delivery to Coed-y-bleiddiau cottage. The afternoon saw two more workings at 13:40 and 15:00. This service pattern is repeated for the next few weeks TWThX.
On the excepted days the Woodland Wanderer continues to run TWThO with trains initially at 10:00, 11:05, 13:15 and 14:20. Both services only require two locos in steam. Both services may see the number of trains expanded or reduced according to demand and by the end of September the Woodland Wanderer is already planned to be down to 3 services a day.
Machynlleth bridge strike ruins railtours 1/9/21
Two railtours to Pwllheli were cancelled in early September as a tipper truck with tipper body still partially raised struck the A487 bridge at the west end of Machynlleth station on 1/9/21. After examination NR engineers permitted the passage of light weight Class 158 units but cancelled the double headed Class 97/3 hauled Welsh Dragon Day 2 excursion on 5/9/21 and Cambrian Coast Express excursion on 8/9/21 (re-scheduled for May 2022) as they were deemed too heavy. The Barmouth Bridge was to shut from 12/9/21 for three months for major repairs. See BBC report.
Your webmaster will be on holiday in the Porthmadog area for the rest of September and it may not be possible to update the website in this time. This is the first holiday in two years. Apologies in advance if no updates appear in the next four weeks.
F&WHR traffic 3/9/21
Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods and a maximum of 19C today. Train services had space with both the 14:20 and 15:25 Woodland Wanderer still having room though the TWThO Back to Blaenau is fully booked for the whole of September!
At 14:00 No.130 was ready to depart Porthmadog on the 14:15 Snowdonia Star return working to Caernarfon and Blanche was ready with the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer. No.130 left on time as did Blanche. Welsh Pony arrived at 14:45 with the returning working of the 12:10 and ran round to become the 15:25 Woodland Wanderer which left on time. Lyd left Porthmadog at 15:58 light engine for the depot after shunting the returned 13:15 Woodland Wanderer. At 17:55 Welsh Pony shunted the rake from the 15:25 Woodland Wanderer to the ward before departing at 18:00 to round off the day's activities.
The Woodland Wanderer becomes TWThO from week commencing 6/9/21 and for the rest of September. Only 4 trains a day are currently envisaged with the third set dropped that previously operated the 12:10/15:25 services. Similarly the Glaslyn Venturer drops back to become MFSX for most of September. The final Sunday Gelert Explorer (except for WHR Gala weekend) runs this Sunday and Monday 6/9/21. In fact it will be the only train running on 6/9/21 and after that the train becomes TWThO until the last week of September.
FR on TV 6/9/21
The popular afternoon series 'Antiques Road Trip' returns to the TV screen on Monday - and the opening episode of its 23rd series features a visit to the Ffestiniog Railway. The programme will be broadcast on BBC One at 16:30 on Monday, 6/9/21. If you miss the programme 'live', it will be available on the BBC iPlayer shortly afterwards. More details are available from the BBC website.
F&WHR traffic 2/9/21
Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods and a maximum of 20C today. Train services had space with the 15:25 Woodland Wanderer still having room though the Back to Blaenau is fully booked for the whole of September!
At 14:10 Upnor Castle was running round the 13:15 Woodland Wanderer at Tan-y-bwlch. Meanwhile at Porthmadog Blanche ran round at 14:15 for the 14:20 service after watering and coaling. The train departed 3 minutes late at 14:23. Lyd arrived at Porthmadog at 14:46 with the 11:05 Woodland Wanderer and departed with the 15:25 Woodland Wanderer. Upnor Castle arrived back at 15:46 with the 13:20 Woodland Wanderer. David Lloyd George arrived back with the Back to Blaenau pulling into the FR platform at about 16:10, freeing the section for the diesel to return to the depot light engine at 16:13, having shunted the rake to the sidings.
This easterly view at 15:46 on 2/9/21 shows Upnor Castle arriving back at Porthmadog with the 13:20 Woodland Wanderer. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
No.87 arrived at about 16:20 with the afternoon Glaslyn Venturer working and departed at 16:28 with the ECS for Boston Lodge while the Fairlie ran round its rake. The Fairlie had to wait for the return of Blanche with the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer at 16:59. The Fairlie departed with the ECS at 17:01 while Blanche ran round. At 17:10 the rake was shunted to the seawall siding before the loco departed light engine for the depot at 17:18. At 17:52, Lyd ran round the recently returned 15:25 Woodland Wanderer to shunt the rake to the sidings. the loco left at 17:59 to complete the movements for the day.
Bookings for Friday seemed light again and the F&WHR will progressively cut back services as children go back to school. Only two of the six Woodland Wanderer trains are sold out, the 11:05 and 12:10. However The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star are fully booked on Friday.
This timetable is valid for weekdays this week MTX. A steam/DMU service is envisaged at the weekend.
F&WHR traffic 1/9/21
Porthmadog was forecast to have sunny periods and a maximum of 18C today. Train services had space with the 15:25 Woodland Wanderer still having room though the Back to Blaenau is fully booked for the whole of September!
The 15:25 Woodland Wanderer departed on time behind Lyd. Prince arrived back with the 13:15 Woodland Wanderer at 15:53. No.87 arrived back in the WHR platform with the second Glaslyn Venturer at 16:20. At 16:31 the return working of the Back to Blaenau train arrived at the FR platform with David Lloyd George in charge. This allowed the stock of the Glaslyn Venturer to be shunted to the yard at 16:32. The Garratt left light engine for the depot at 16:37. The Fairlie ran round at 16:54 but had to await the arrival of the 14:20 Woodland Wanderer hauled by Blanche which pulled into the WHR platform at 16:59. This allowed the Fairlie to take its rake back to Boston Lodge ECS. Blanche then ran round at 17:07 and shunted its rake to the seawall siding before departing light engine for the depot at 17:20.
Thursday's trains are lightly booked with only the 11:05 Woodland Wanderer and the Back to Blaenau unavailable. The Gelert Explorer train and both the Glaslyn Venturer trains are available to book reflecting the decline in tourists now that the school holidays are ending with many schools back later this week.
From 1/9/21 the Tal-y-llyn has changed to 'hop on hop off' turn-up-and-go services rather than 'book in advance' services leaving the F&WHR as one of the last operating 'book in advance' fixed journey services. Pre-booking for the TR Gala is recommended. Many railways are now offering events in the Winter season such as Santa Specials, the latest being the G&WR, but the F&WHR has yet to announce any events after the FR Gala in October.
This easterly view on 25/8/21 shows Edward Thomas loaded for the short (as the crow flies, but slightly longer by HGV-appropriate road) journey to Corris. DOLGOCH is on the right at the head of the 10:55 departure for Nant Gwernol. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Mark Hambly and was taken on a digital camera and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
CHR Oswestry prepares to open
The Cambrian Heritage Railway Oswestry is preparing to reopen. It has three coaches and a Class 73 No.73129 carrying the number E6036 and still in the Electric Blue early BR livery it had at the G&WR. There is a run round at its new southern terminus at Weston Wharf but Oswestry still has no run round so requires a shunt release. The three coach trains and Class 143 DMUs have required staff training and about 20 volunteers attended a training day in August for the purpose. The tamper finally arrived on 25/8/21 and tamped the new extension and so the line now awaits ORR approval before passengers can be carried, possibly later this Autumn.
F&WHR working timetables
Harbourmaster working timetable
|Boston Lodge dep||09:05|
|Boston Lodge arr||17:05|
Snowdonia Star working timetable
There is a 2 hour lay over in Caernarfon/Porthmadog for people to visit the town's amenities, buy food etc. Trains pass at Rhyd Ddu. Work is still in progress on these timetables. Any corrections gratefully received.
|Train 'Mountain Prince'||10:00||11:05||12:25||13:40||15:00|
|Previous working (if applicable)||ex 10:00||ex 11:05|
|Boston Lodge (light if applicable)||09:30||10:30||11:45||12:10|
|Porthmadog depart (shunt ECS)||10:00||11:05||12:25||13:40||15:00|
|Tan-y-bwlch arrive (diesel attached at rear)||10:45||11:50||13:05||14:25||15:45|
|Tan-y-bwlch arrive *||11:25||12:30||13:45||15:05||16:25|
|Porthmadog (run round and shunt ECS)||13:00||14:10||15:30||16:45||17:50|
|Next turn (if applicable)||→13:40||→15:00|
|Boston Lodge (light to depot if applicable)||15:55||17:00||18:00|
Back to Blaenau working timetable
|Blaenau Ffestiniog arr.||13:15|
|Blaenau Ffestiniog dep.||14:45|
There is a 1.5 hour lay over in Blaenau Ffestiniog for people to visit the town's amenities, buy food etc. Work in progress on this timetable. Any corrections gratefully received.
Woodland Wanderer working timetable
|Light engine from depot where applicable||09:30||10:35||11:40||ex 10:00||ex 11:05||ex 12:10|
|Tan-y-bwlch shunt to other platform where applicable||10:55||12:00||13:05||14:10||15:15||N/A|
|Next turn where applicable||→13:15||→14:20||→15:25|
|Light engine to depot||16:00||17:05||18:10|
Glaslyn Venturer working timetable
|Boston Lodge||09:30*||ex 10:15|
|Next turn where applicable||→13:40||N/A|
|Boston Lodge where applicable||N/A||16:35|
*Train engine may come over earlier to shunt yard.
Gelert Explorer working timetable
North Wales Railtour news
Railtours are starting up again subject to COVID rules with a bunch planned in North Wales for early May. Locos listed with an S prefix are steam engines.
|1/5/21||North Wales Coast Express||Tyseley-Llandudno||Vintage Trains||S7029/47773|
|1/5/21||Llandudno Statesman||Ely-Llandudno||Statesman Rail||LSL Class 47|
|3/5/21||Victorian Day Pullman||Skegness-Llandudno||West Coast Railways||WCR Class 47/57|
|3/5/21||Settle and Carlisle Circular||Bangor-Carlisle||Statesman Rail||LSL Class 47|
|19/5/21||The Snowdonia Statesman||Hull-Blaenau Ffestiniog||Statesman Rail||LSL Class 47?|
|31/5/21||North Wales Coast Express||Worcester-Holyhead||Saphos Trains||Steam|
|1/7/21||The Bristol Forty||Bangor-Bristol||Saphos Trains||LSL D213 (40013)|
|18/7/21||North Wales Coast Express||Liverpool-Holyhead||Railway Touring Company||Various steam/diesel|
|20/7/21||The Welsh Mountaineer||Preston-Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog||Railway Touring Company||Steam|
|20/8/21||The Cambrian Coast Express||Bristol Parkway-Pwllheli||Pathfinder||Class 67 and two Class 97/3s|
|5/9/21||The Welsh Dragon Day 2||Shrewsbury-Pwllheli||Steam Dreams||Two Class 97/3s|
|8/9/21||The Welsh Dragon Day 5||Bangor-Paddington||Steam Dreams||Steam|
|8/9/21||The Cambrian Coast Express||Bristol Parkway-Pwllheli||Pathfinder||Class 67 and two Class 97/3s|
|26/9/21||Northern Belle||Birmingham International-Holyhead||Northern Belle||Top and tail Class 57|
|3/10/21||The Wirral Squirrel||Crewe-Wrexham-Bidston via Liverpool branches||Branch Line Society||Class 40013/145 top and tail|
|10/10/21||Northern Belle||Llandudno-Scarborough||Northern Belle||Top and tail Class 57|
|20/11/21||Jolly Slateman||Derby-Blaenau Ffestiniog-Llandudno||InterCity||20096/20107 plus LSL Class 37|
Branch Line Society
West Coast Railways
John Hopkins has contributed this image of the gradient profile of the WHR. It makes clear how much of a mountain we have climbed and how steep the drop through Beddgelert is. Maybe most of all, it reveals the challenge facing northbound trains after they stop at Beddgelert!
This image is courtesy/copyright John Hopkins and is derived from data courtesy John Sreeves with additional work by Michael Bentley. Click on the image to enlarge.
Special Events and Service Trains 2021
Final Mince Pie special CANCELLED
Half Term Blue timetable Caernarfon-Porthmadog CANCELLED
MTFX Orange timetable Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn twice a day CANCELLED
|Easter 21||Easter Service CANCELLED|
|April 21||Rail Ale DEFERRED TO 2022|
Main Season Spring service starts
|24/7/21||Summer Season starts|
The Snowdonian-WHR 24/7/21 and FR leg to Dduallt 25/7/21
|17-19/9/21||Small SuperPower with K1|
|8-10/10/21||FR Bygones event with some specials working onto the WHR|
Trackwork Volunteering 2021
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 2021 is fortnightly for the North Wales Track Gang in RED but details are still awaited for the ROWG in BLACK:
^ 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.
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.
North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: email@example.com
Rest of The World Gang (ROWG): Phil Nock Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.
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.
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
V4.4105 updated 16/10/21