Welsh Highland Railway

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News (updated 29/4/17)

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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 16/4/17)

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 FR, 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

 

QnC2 28/4/17

This westerly view (28/4/17) shows Lilla on the first shuttle to Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (28/4/17) shows Davenport at Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (28/4/17) shows The Goose at Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lorry strikes Porthmadog bridge 25/4/17

BBC News reported a bridge strike by a lorry at Penamser NR railway bridge on the A497 just west of Porthmadog. This led to long delays on the road on 25/4/17 (now reopened) and some NR delays to allow for a bridge inspection to check the track had not been disturbed. This bridge of one of many built by the A&WCR with future double track in mind so it has a double track abutment but only a single track deck. See also Daily Post report.

 

Dinas Loco Shed report

The cryogenic fitting of new hardened crank pins to No.130 will see the driving wheels delivered to Dinas soon. Work is almost complete on the overhaul of No.138's front power unit. A decision is to be made whether the rear power unit will be taken out and worked on. With both power units then in good condition No.138 should last until its 10 year re-tubing at the end of 2019.

 

Coach Works report

Six coaches went through the Boston Lodge works last Winter. The most time consuming job is the conversion of No.2041 to No.2091, a Guard/Buffet Pantry/Toilet/Third class saloon. The saloon compartment will be very similar in style to the latest WHR coaches. This coach will be similar to No.2090 on the other rake and provide a toilet each end of the train. With so much going on in the main works new saloon No.2047, sponsored by the WHRS, still requires attention from the fitters, however, bodywork is now complete and it is hoped that the coach will appear in traffic this year.

 

BF&TR Crowdfunder nearing the target 25/4/17

The Crowdfunding Appeal for a chipper to clear the Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway and has reached £4251 from some 45 supporters, some 85% of the £5,000 target with 23 days left. There is £749 to go to reach the target. A previous Crowdfunder to purchase an EWS Class 08 failed and the loco was purchased by the Telford Steam Railway. The funds raised went into project coffers.

 

New wagon BZ1423

A new wagon has been built at Boston Lodge from recycled parts of other wagons. It has the running gear from a condemned DZ dropside wagon, a new underframe created in Boston Lodge a year or so ago and a centre door body cut down from some B wagon sides. The BZ wagon type code is a mixed code between B and DZ styles of wagon. The drop down ends will make it a useful addition to the PW fleet.

 

Welsh Pony update 22/4/17

This Boston Lodge view (22/4/17) shows progress with Welsh Pony's frames and motion. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

Earl of Merioneth progress 22/4/17

This Boston Lodge view (22/4/17) shows progress with Earl of Merioneth's two power units. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

Q&C2 update

The FR's four day Quirks and Curiosities event takes place over the bank Holiday weekend from 28/4/17-1/5/17 and will feature some events on the WHR. On Friday 28/4/17 there will be a series of five 'Quirky Shuttles' Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn in the afternoon (Britomart, Lilla, Kerr Stuart Diana and a Quirk tbc) plus a 'Curious Galloping Shuttle' Galloping Goose at 1540. On Saturday there are no WHR passenger events but three freights run to Pont Croesor, (Diana and the skip wagons, Moel Hebog and the S&T Dept. train and finally the Quadbike).

On Sunday there is a Quirky Shuttle in the morning (Palmerston and Lyd) and two round trip Galloping Shuttles to Pont Croesor, which may be extended to Hafod-y-llyn depending on timings. There will also be three non-passenger workings to Pont Croesor and return - Deviation 'wagon'; WW1 Speeder; WW1 Campagne Tracteur; 0-4-0T Diana.

On Monday 1/5/17 the Galloping Shuttle is back in the morning with a 10:10 round trip from Porthmadog to Pont Croesor. The second trip at 11:25 may be extended to Hafod-y-llyn. Tickets will be limited for these very small shuttles. Photos would be welcome for publication. See FR timetable and booking form page.

The Galloping Goose was an allegedly rough riding bus-train (similar to that pictured below) used on the Rio Grande Southern 3' gauge lines in Colorado, USA. The concept was developed to save money compared to a conventional loco hauled passenger train. RGS trains operated around the west side of the San Juan mountain range between Durango and Ridgway, via Telluride, until the line closed in 1951. See Galloping Goose Wikipedia page.

 

This northerly view (18/4/17) shows the Galloping Goose being trialled on the F&WHR. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR gets HLF support

The T&BFR Crowdfunding Appeal for a chipper to clear the overgrown railway between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd received good news on 24/4/17 when they received a donation of £2,500 that had been pledged by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was dependent upon reaching a goal set by the HLF. After reaching that target and HLF honoured the Group's hard work with the promised funds. However the Crowdfunding appeal is still short on reaching the Group's desired target of £5,000 to purchase a new chipper. Only a further £1,230 more is needed to reach their target. The T&BFR would like to thank all who have so far donated and request that the donations keep coming in so that they can progress the project to a standard where they can run the railway with trains. Small or large donations, even a chipper as a donation (never know unless you ask) would all be gratefully received and used to benefit the railway.

 

Lilla repaint 19/4/17

This Boston Lodge view (19/4/17) shows Lilla has been repainted into the lined green livery it carried when delivered to Cilgwyn Quarry (Nantlle) in 1891. The loco was purchased by the Penrhyn Quarry Railway and transferred via the Bryngwyn incline and Dinas/LNWR to the Penrhyn Quarry in 1928 so briefly travelled along a section of the WHR that year. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

Beer Festival 19-21/5/17

This year's Beer Festival at Dinas is larger than ever. The event is open from 1100-2400 on Friday 19/5/17 and features live music in the evening. There is further live music from 1115-2400 and jamming sessions Sunday. Weekend entry to the event (exclusive of train travel) is £10 including a souvenir glass or £5 Sunday only. A starter pack costing £20 includes Weekend entry and covers 6 beers or 5 ciders or 3 wines. Shuttle train rovers cost £5 Caernarfon-Dinas or Dinas-Waunfawr. The RED peak timetable is in operation of Friday and Saturday. The Snowdonia Park brewpub and three venues in Caernarfon are involved but again not the Cwellyn Arms in Rhyd Ddu.

 

Click on the advert to see full details of the Beer Festival programme. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BF&TR project Crowdfunding

The latest Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Crowdfunding appeal has raised £1,110 so far. That is 22.2% of the target of £5,000. Volunteers have 29 days left for the fund raiser for a chipper. Simply the railway needs a lot of heavy vegetation clearing for volunteers to conduct a survey for operating of the line. The chipper required will help the group clear the line at a faster pace and to a high standard. Also the current hire charges of £200-250 per weekend is unsustainable at that price. When the group has its own chipper, running costs will be considerably reduced meaning more funds available for other projects upon the railway. Click Crowdfunder to donate. Volunteers are working at Maentwrog Road Yard most weekends. See BF&TR Volunteers Facebook page for details.

 

Welsh Pony Update 8/4/17

This Boston Lodge view (8/4/17) shows Welsh Pony's completed boiler and firebox with brass wrapper and some controls fitted. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/4/17) shows Welsh Pony's completed boiler tubes awaiting fitting of the smokebox. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/4/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler awaiting fitting of the smokebox. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/4/17) shows Welsh Pony's completed new tender. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

East Anglia Group meeting 20/4/17

David Gander reports: Our next meeting takes place this coming Thursday, 20/4/17 when Paul Lemon will be telling us about ‘The Colne Valley Railway’. Our final meeting before the Summer break will be on Thursday 18/5/17 when David Colenutt will talk to us about ‘Corsican and Sardinian Narrow Gauge’. We then meet again in October. East Anglian Group members may be interested to know that Alan Denney is kindly arranging a visit to Old North Road station, at Longstowe in Cambridgeshire, at the south end of the village on the A1198. The station is on the former Bedford to Cambridgeline. This is a great opportunity to visit this privately owned station and collection, not regularly open to the public. The visit is on Sunday 23/7/17 between 2pm and 4pm. This will be a joint visit with the Ffestiniog East Anglian Group and therefore an ideal opportunity to get together with fellow enthusiasts from our area and talk all things FfR/WHR!

We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH. We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm. There is a charge of £2 per meeting for Group members, £3 for non-members.

 

Dinas report 20/4/17

Martin Kressman reports: Work has started at Dinas on mess coach No.1001 by volunteers has restarted. The interior has been removed entirely and the doors and windows removed ready for grit blasting. Work has been started by the permanent staff at Dinas on the manufacture of a set of water tanks for a BR standard tank loco.

 

No.130 update 17/4/17

In early April the new firebox was nearing completion when a slight delay occurred after the principle welder had a road accident. In mid April there was progress with the pipework: Serious attention is now being given to refurbishing or replacing all of the steam, exhaust and water pipework required. Luckily, at least some of the original pipework can be reused but new flanges and studs will be required for all joints and some of the wasted pipe will need to be cut out and replaced. It is hoped that the cradle pipework will be completed within the coming weeks. The boiler cradle itself is coming along well and is being painted. Most of the brake components are now fitted. Brake blocks have been delivered for fitting to No.130.

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

 

Pont Croesor track 8/4/17

This northbound view (8/4/17) shows the recently realigned track and left hand pointwork at Pont Croesor halt which now gives smoother running in this area. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 11/4 and 18/4/17

Tony Baker reports: This report covers 2 Tuesdays, 11/4/17 and 18/4/17. On the 11/4/17 we set out to replace a rotten gate post at Hafod Ruffydd. Getting the stump of the old post out proved very difficult and we ran out of time. One of our volunteers accompanied by a member of permanent staff returned on the following Thursday and succeeded in getting the stump out and the new post concreted in. The gang returned on the 18/4/17 and hung the gate onto the new post. In addition we replaced two rotten centre timbers on the crossing LC 42.54.

There were five volunteers on the 114/17 and seven on the 18/4/17.

 

This southerly view (11/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Hafod Ruffydd Crossing trying to remove the broken gatepost. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (11/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Hafod Ruffydd Crossing trying to remove the stump of the broken gatepost. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (11/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Hafod Ruffydd Crossing still stumped! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (11/4/17) shows the No.143 hauling the second train of the day passing Hafod Ruffydd Crossing at about 1500. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (18/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang finishing Hafod Ruffydd Crossing with the stump having been removed in the meantime. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (18/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang finishing Hafod Ruffydd Crossing with the gate having been hung. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/4/17) shows the Tuesday Gang with the finished Hafod Ruffydd Crossing. North of the crossing is the former yard of Hafod Ruffydd Halt, currently used as a store for spare rails. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 8-9/4/17

There were a number of jobs started last month's working party that volunteers continued into this month, as well as starting some work in other areas.

Work on the Snifter and Vacuum By-pass Valves for the cylinders continued from last month. Volunteers had one by-pass valve to finish off and lap-in and this was duly done early on the Saturday. After some cleaning of all the various mating faces they then fitted all the valves onto the cylinders, the first being the Snifting Valves followed by the By-pass Valves. These latter ones were sealed using some gaskets made as a homework project by one of the team.

Other members of the team were continuing with the pony trucks. The Group had re-fitted the axle boxes during the previous two working parties, however they've been fitted using temporary bolts as fitted bolts are required that will need to be manufactured. As the holes needed to be reamed out to a slightly larger size volunteers are not quite sure what size was actually going to be needed. This month therefore, armed with several reamers, it was established that 21mm bolts will suffice. The group managed just short of 1/4 of the holes so they will continue next month when hopefully all the fitted bolts will have been made.

Another job started was to drill out the cylinder cladding attachment holes in the cylinder casting. The vast majority of the holes had broken off bolts in them, and in many cases the attachment point had been repositioned and several times for some. Unfortunately some of the repositioned ones were very close to the cylinder studs so volunteers are going back to the original positions and drilling out and re-tapping the holes. In most cases all the accessible ones were pilot drilled and so the group needs to finish the job next time with the tapping.

One last job is that volunteers started to look at the tender frames again. The frames need to be movable so as to get them nearer to where work needs to be done. It was noted that the rear tender drag-box needs some attention as it has been attacked by the rust moth so will need some remedial work done. The group gathered together and cleaned all the coupling components so as it's ready to be assembled with an FR style coupling.

See No.134 website for full details and images.

 

Boston Lodge improvements 8/4/17

This easterly view (8/4/17) shows the completed Heritage Carriage shed and headshunt which gives rear access to the running Carriage Shed on the left. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8/4/17) shows the large rock pile excavated to complete the Heritage Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/4/17) shows the foreshore alongside the Carriage Shed and, as can be seen, the rock pile has not yet been used to expand the footprint of the depot to accommodate the enlarged running Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (8/4/17) shows trackwork underway to accommodate the new ashing out pit. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/4/17) shows the completed installation of the new sewage treatment plant, a key component of a major upgrade to the sewerage/drainage system at Boston Lodge. In the foreground is new trackwork utilising spare plastic sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang update 11/4/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang went back to LC46.52 (the lower Cwmcloch level crossing-Ed) and cleared that out on the first Tuesday 4/4/17. The next week (11/4/17) we went back to Hafod Ruffydd with a new gate post and are in the process of changing the post and re-hanging the gate continuing on 18/4/17.

 

Russell on WHHR Easter services 16/4/17

This westerly view (16/4/17) shows Russell working WHHR trains over Easter. The WHHR was offering a 'Hunt the Egg' event over Easter with 'Drive a Diesel' opportunities using Glaslyn. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHG report

The WHHG magazine for December has an editorial suggesting that the ongoing failure to allow original WHR locos on the WHR is down to someone or a group of people blocking the move presumably at the F&WHR.

There is a good feature on KS4415, the original diesel tested on the WHR. There is discussion about the next building restoration project, either the Glan-yr-Afon yard weigh-house or Betws Garmon station building. It is possible that the Glan-yr-afon site could be cleared of vegetation, fenced off from the mainline allowing sheep to graze and clear the site. The building could be stabilised and restored to use for PW purposes. There are a number of options concerning Betws Garmon, the most drastic being to demolish and use the material to build a prototypical station building at Waunfawr! Betws Garmon is too far from Bryn Gloch campsite which is the obvious location for any new halt in the area, if the campsite management were to take a more pro-active business orientated approach!

 

Hugh Napier on footplate rides 16-17/4/17

Hugh Napier will give footplate rides on Easter Sunday and Monday in Harbour Station from 10:30 to 16:00. A 'Quirk' from the upcoming FR event 'Quirks and Curiosities' 28/4-1/5/17 may also put in an appearance.

 

The Snowdonian Limited 10/6/17

This year's Snowdonian Limited will be running on 10/6/17. The event commences with a Friday evening with tour of Boston Lodge at 1645. The Snowdonian Limited departs around 0915 on the Saturday and returns by 1915 taking the opposite route to The Snowdonian, i.e. Porthmadog - Caernarfon - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Porthmadog. A light breakfast will be served on train followed by a Hog Roast and Workshop visit at Dinas. Afternoon Tea will be taken at Tan-y-bwlch. It is hoped the Garratt-hauled train will run non-stop Porthmadog - Caernarfon. Seating is limited to 66% capacity. It is anticipated that historic Carriage number No.14 will be included in train as a Club Car dispensing refreshments including Snowdonian Real Ale. For full details and booking form see The Snowdonian website.

 

Porthmadog 15/4/17

This westerly view (15/4/17) shows Palmerston and Prince double heading the 14:30 train out of the WHR platform to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The WHR platform is regularly used to relieve congestion at Porthmadog as there are long gaps between WHR services, even during the peak timetable. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 (15/4/17) shows Taliesin a short while later on the Victorian train from the WHR platform to Minffordd (in connection with a community Easter Party) just before the 15:10 arrival from Caernarfon behind No.143. Taliesin also gave footplate rides at Harbour Station between 10:00 and 14:00. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

Caernarfon station 10-12/4/17

This northerly view (10/4/17) shows the contractors have completed the sewer diversion works and cleared the site ready for the station building contractors. However, the roundabout has not been completed and the road tunnel had not been reopened at this stage. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/4/17) shows the contractors have completed the road works from Caernarfon square leading from Y Maes to the station. This type of 'shared access' road with no kerbs is supposed to deter cars from speeding where pedestrians can feel free to wander without fear but has been criticised in a recent BBC report as being potentially unsafe. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Conwy valley reopens 10/4/17

The Conwy Valley line reopened on 10/4/17 after NR had cleared a rockfall caused by Storm Doris in February near Pont-y-pant and stabilised the cliff face.

 

Linda 8/4/17

This northerly view (8/4/17) shows Linda hauling the new well wagon loaded with an excavator heading north at Croesor Junction. This is an unusual view as a PW diesel loco would normally be used for this purpose. A steam engine was diagrammed as part of The Snowdonian to demonstrate what the Diamond Jubilee Appeal has enabled the F&WHR to purchase. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Snowdonian 8/4/17

Any images of The Snowdonian would be welcome as your webmaster was running a model railway show on 8/4/17 and could not attend.

 

This easterly view (16/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George hauling The Snowdonian non-stop through Harbour Station and onto the WHR. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 southerly view (16/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George hauling The Snowdonian crossing Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 (8/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George crossing Pont Croesor and heading north towards Caernarfon with The Snowdonian with all four chimneys showing smoke. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with a Canon 18-55 EFS lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (8/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George working hard ascending the 1 in 40 Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 easterly view (8/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George crossing Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 easterly view (8/4/17) shows Linda propelling the well wagon and excavator into Beddgelert from the north while the Fairlies await departure in the other platform. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 easterly view (8/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George restarting on the 1 in 40 from Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 (8/4/17) shows Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George rounding the curve at Ffridd Isaf shortly after departing Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

Webmaster's Holidays

Your webmaster has been busy making a model railway for a show and will also be on holiday next week so updates have been and will be few and far between until 14/4/17.

 

The Snowdonian YouTube 8/4/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 21 min 44 seconds of video detailing recent The Snowdonian on 8/4/17, published 9/4/17. The video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

West Midlands Group Meeting 13/4/17

Dave Waldren advises: The next Welsh Highland Railway Society West Midland Group meeting is ‘Trains in 2016' by Dave Waldren, Thursday April 13th at 7.30 pm in the Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane), Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA. Featuring high definition video footage of our own West Midland Group trips to Chasewater and Amerton, also covering gala events at Fairbourne, Corris and more in the first half, and after tea, recent footage of Rio Grande steam on the Cumbres and Toltec and Durango and Silverton 3 foot gauge railways in Colorado. All welcome, entrance by donation, tea, coffee and biscuits at the interval.

 

No.143 6/4/17

This easterly view (6/4/17) shows No.143 crossing Britannia Bridge and heading north towards Caernarfon with the midday train. Click on the image to enlarge. 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.

 

No.130 update 1/4/17

The running plate has been fitted on to the cradle and various joins in the platework have been necessary. However, to make sure a good and professional job is made, no detail has been ignored and the plates have been perfectly matched. Apart from final screwing down, the running plate is complete.

 

No.143 25/3/17

This northerly view (25/3/17) shows No.143 on the first train from Caernarfon of the new season descending Nantmor Bank. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR acquires signalbox

Colin Dale, the instigator of the Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog project has purchased a signalbox from the DFR at Lydney. It is to be transported to Maentwrog Road yard to control the siding there. Further sidings and a headshunt are possible. See T&BFR Facebook page. The railway is looking for Crowdfunding for a wood chipper to complete clearance of the line.

 

Welsh Pony update 29/3/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 10 min 30 seconds of video detailing recent progress with Welsh Pony. The video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

No.87 Caernarfon 28/3/17

This northerly view (28/3/17) shows the No.87 running round in the shortened Caernarfon headshunt. The contractors are constructing the last of the large holes to divert the sewer. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/3/17

Tony Baker reports: We started our day at Hafod Ruffydd LC 42.54 where the posts used to hold the gates in open position had both been broken off. We installed new posts, once again doing a bit of recycling as they had previous been doing duty at Tryfan Junc. We then turned our attention to the left hand gate which had been reported as needing the hinges adjusting as it was dragging on the ground. Unfortunately the problem was found to be more serious as the gate post was found to have split just below ground level. We did not have a new gatepost with us so a temporary solution was employed using a splint post. We will be returning to do this once a new gatepost can be sourced.

We then decamped to Bron Hebog LC 45.70 where the drain pit was full of debris. This is a perennial problem here as all the debris washes down from the upper Cwm Cloch area when there is heavy rain. Picture shows the empty pit after much shovelling. We plan to carry on it this location next week when the lower crossing LC 46.52 is to be cleaned out.

 

This northerly view (28/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Upper Cwmcloch Crossing at Bron Hebog LC45.70, clearing out the catch-pit on the uphill side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 18-19/3/17

This working party held over the weekend of 18-19/3/17 was not the best weekend for the weather so working indoors on a steam loco seemed as good a way as any to spend the weekend. The weather only detracted slightly from what volunteers were trying to do so in the end a fair amount was achieved over the weekend. The main point of note being the reassembly of the front Krauss-Helmholtz pony truck. This pony truck consists of two fabrications joined together via the two axle boxes. With volunteers having cleaned and refurbished these all the components were assembled into the completed truck. Like the rear pony truck these were assembled using normal bolts as the group is still awaiting the machined fitted bolts. These therefore will be fitted at a future working party once available. One last job to do on all the axle boxes however was to run a tap through the various threaded holes ready to take things like the axle box covers. Volunteers then manoeuvred the Krauss-Helmholtz truck into a position in the workshop were it would be of minimum inconvenience. This now being quite a heavy item, consumed quite a bit of time and effort in doing so!

One of the group carried on valve lapping. Last time it was the Snifting Valves, this weekend it was the turn of the Automatic By-pass Valves to make them ready to be fitted to the cylinders. As lapping usually does, it kept a volunteer out of mischief for a good proportion of the weekend! Volunteers unfortunately found out that one of the actual by-pass valves has a crack in it so will need replacing. The other three were lapped in OK so another one of the team cleaned their mating faces ready for assembly onto the cylinders. The only outstanding item for this task being to make the sealing gaskets. A small homework project will see these will be made ready for next time.

Volunteers spent a bit of time cleaning and painting various items. These included the Snifting Valves and the front valve covers. These were painted in the heat resistant, corrosion preventing Corroless paint. More parts need doing such a the By-pass Valves and so the group will do these once attached to the cylinders, as the cylinders themselves also need painting. Whilst on the cylinders, volunteers looked at cleaning out the threads in the bolt holes used to attach the cylinder cladding. These however, are not in good shape, the vast majority of holes having broken off bolts in them, with almost all of them having also been repositioned numerous times. The Group really need to go back to the original holes and drill and re-tap these, a task for next time. Another pair of parts for painting are the cylinder covers and so volunteers retrieved these from the parts storage and started cleaning them ready for painting.

For full report and images see NG15 website.

 

TRAWS news

Steam Railway reports that the Gwili Railway, which occupies the last few miles of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen trackbed near Carmarthen, is proposing to reopen the section north of its current operations base at Dan-y-coed to Llanpumsaint, the limit of the trackbed that it owns. The four mile northerly extension is estimated to cost £1.2 million. Phase 1 extends a mile to the north to Conwil, where the platforms are in existence. The remaining 3 miles require several bridges to be repaired. The GR is extending to Abergwili Junction on the outskirts of Carmarthen later this year. This would bring the GR to a total length of 8 miles on a very curvaceous alignment in the Gwili valley.

While it is possible the GR could share its route with an NR operation (as happens on the NYMR), TRAWS has looked at an alternative shorter alignment between Llanpumsaint and Carmarthen that involves a tunnel and this is part of the Feasibility Study currently underway by the Welsh Assembly.

 

Moving Pictures No.4 YouTube 25/3/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 16 min 40 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 25/3/17 including the first trains of the new season on 25/3/17. The video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Caernarfon station access steps improved

This northerly view (24/3/17) shows the Caernarfon station platform access steps improved with railings and high visibility edges in time for the start of services on 25/3/17. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No. 130 news

On 23/3/17 the firebox tubeplate was delivered to the boiler makers at Stockton-on-Tees. It is hoped the combined plates can be inserted into the foundation ring on 27/3/17. The firebox should be finished around Easter. It is hoped the completed boiler will be delivered to Dinas in August. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

BF&TR Crowdfunding appeal

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway has launched a second Crowdfunding Appeal after the failure of its previous one to purchase a redundant Class 08. This second appeal is for tools for further clearance of the line including a £5,000 chipping machine. See Appeal. See Volunteer Facebook page for progress achieved with hand tools and a small excavator at Maentwrog Road depot.

 

Conwy Valley still closed

NR has put out a statement about the continuing closure of the Conwy Valley route, which has been closed for over a month now. Bustitution is occurring.

 

Warm weather forecast for weekend services

Warm sunny weather was forecast for the first weekend for the new season with temperatures up to 15oC or more. There was a fresh snowfall on the mountains on 22/3/17 which may persist until the weekend.

 

Dummy siding for Tryfan Junction

The WHR Heritage Group is looking for volunteers to be 'Friends of Tryfan Junction'. Volunteers would open the station building on High Days and holidays, cut the grass etc. This year they have permission to build a dummy siding for slate wagons. See WHR Fanpage for contact details.

 

Caernarfon car parking

While the new Caernarfon station building is under construction, the ticket office has moved to 'Ty Seiont' (formerly home to 'Age Cymru') further along St Helen's Road, near Travis Perkins. This allows the F&WHR to provide booking office, shop, waiting room and toilet facilities as close as possible to the existing platform. However, being located at the opposite end of the station from the previous building, this will unfortunately lead to increased walking distances in many cases - and visitors are advised to take this into consideration when planning their day-out.

 

This map view (15/3/17) shows access to Caernarfon station from Saturday 25/3/17. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

DISTANCE FROM BOOKING OFFICE TO -

Platform (via steps): 90 yards

Platform (via accessible entrance): 300 yards

Limited on road parking on St Helens Road

Teiars Gwynedd/Gwynedd Tyres Car Park: 150 yards (pay at Teiars Gwynedd)

Slate Quay Car Park: 400 yards (pay at Slate Quay booth)

DISABLED ACCESS -

There is a car park beside the new premises for the use of disabled/blue badge drivers and staff. The building has level access, with automatic / 'push-button' sliding doors. There is a dropped kerb crossing of St Helen's Road outside the building. Unfortunately, due to site restrictions, the F&WHR cannot provide ramped access onto the southern end of the platform - so the accessible route involves the use of the pavement to reach the original path onto the station.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/3/17

Tony Baker reports: We spent the day back at Penrhyn widening Highgate crossing with more timber then fitted the anti slip which we cut to size back at Dinas before we left. There were five volunteers and the weather was a bit showery at times.

 

This northerly view (21/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Highgate Crossing on the FR at Penrhyndeudraeth, a recently relaid section. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New WHR season starts 25/3/17

The final days of the Orange timetable see trains to Hafod-y-llyn on 22-23/3/17. The F&WHR's new season daily Easter service starts on Saturday 25/3/17. Trains will operate from Caernarfon but using the new ticket office in the former Age Wales building (Ty Seiont) at the south end of the platform. There is a special deal with the Harbour Car Park but an enterprising local landowner is providing cheaper car parking on a cleared site next to the former DeWinton works which is nearer the ticket office. There are steps up onto the platform from the Ty Seiont ticket office but disabled access is still possible at the north end of the platform. Good weather is currently forecast for the weekend. Intending passengers at Caernarfon need to be aware of continuing local roadworks which might delay access to the station from the A55 as well as the continuing roadworks just east of Bangor.

 

This northerly view (20/3/17) shows the Caernarfon station construction site with work still underway on the sewer diversion. The shortened headshunt now has a buffer stop of sorts and the disabled access is visible on the left between the Heras fencing and the wall. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/3/17) shows the construction site with restored footpath. The road tunnel is still out of use and the road is single track across the roundabout. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/17) shows the new toilet block at Dinas. Tracks into the Good's Shed still exist but are covered in slate waste as they have not been used so much in recent years with increased space available in the Loco Shed following purchase of the former Welsh Water end of the building. Access to Dinas is currently unsigned from the A487 though GC has promised to sign the access. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi

 

Baldwin appeal latest 20/3/17

A new appeal leaflet has appeared on the WHHR's website to support the completion of the IWM's Baldwin No.794 which will operate on the WHHR. The loco has been moved from Alan Keef's to the VoR, Aberystwyth, for completion. A new boiler is available and one of No.590's original tanks is available for fitting if found to be suitable. The loco will carry No.590 whilst at the WHHR. It is hoped an agreement about air-braked rescue locos can be reached with the F&WHR so that No.590 (and indeed Russell!) will be allowed to operate special trains on the WHR egg. at Superpower, allowing recreation of scenes such as the 'Beddgelert Frontier' operations of the 1930s.

It is estimated that £60,000 is needed to get the loco back on the rails and the WHHR is looking for donations via its Appeal e.g. 1,000 people at just £5 a month for 12 months would provide sufficient funding to complete the job. Over 1,000 people have looked at the Appeal pictures.

 

No.134 progress 19/3/17

Clive Briscoe reports: The front K-H and rear pony truck axlebox oil holes in X, Y and Z axes were finally cleared and then the axleboxes all mounted in the frames. It's the first time the K-H truck has been all of a piece for quite a few years. All the axleboxes are only bolted up to their respective frames with temporary bolts - possibly in 3 weeks at our next working weekend, we'll be removing each bolt in turn and reaming the holes out for fitted bolts - if the reamer has arrived. Meanwhile, Laurence Armstrong was busy completing the overhaul and lapping in of the cylinder anti-vacuum valves.

Another job tackled was cleaning and painting of the boiler's steam dome and cylinder valve chest covers. The actual cylinder closed end covers were dug out and cleaning up started, they'll be finished and painted next time. The final job of the day was to mount the bottom halves (oil reservoirs) into the axlebox castings for trial fit - easier said than done as the horns of the castings tend to close up a bit so a length of studding and some nuts was resorted to ease the horns slightly by carefully jacking them open by a few thou. See No.134 Facebook page for more images.

 

This Dinas view (19/3/17) shows No.134's rear pony truck assembled with axleboxes for the first time in many years. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR progress 17/3/17

A container was delivered to Maentwrog Road Yard on 17/3/17 to store tools between the volunteers weekend visits. Work is currently concentrated on the Maentwrog Road site. See BFTR Facebook Page for images.

 

No.130 progress 18/3/17

No.130 now has a refurbished prototype speedometer. Work over the last few days included the assessment of the steam and exhaust main pipes and where not up to the job new pieces are being inserted. Generally, considering that the engine has not run since the mid 1980's, they are in pretty good condition. Some of the running plate is being offered up. See No.130 Facebook page for images of progress.

 

Keolis Amey visit 15/3/17

Guests from Keolis Amey enjoyed a team building day on the railway on 15/3/17. Keolis Amey run the Docklands and will run the Manchester Metrolink from July 2017.

 

This easterly view (15/3/17) shows Hugh Napier in the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour with Keolis Amey guests. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 12 mins 12 seconds of video taken on 15/3/17 of news about the Keolis Amey Team Building Day published 16/3/17 taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Lon Las Ogwen 23/2/17

Gwynedd Council has been developing another long distance cycle/walking path from Bangor to Llyn Ogwen at the head of the Nant Francon Pass along the route of the former Bethesda Branch. There was a gap in this path at Tregarth railway tunnel a few miles north of Bethesda. The tunnel is now being reopened to complete the path. James Cyf who worked on the WHR contracts are completing the work which will open this Spring. See North Wales Chronicle.

 

Prince and Palmerston in steam 15/3/17

Prince and Palmerston were in steam on 15/3/17 for a corporate charter event for Keolis-Amey. Palmerston was noted on a 4 coach rake heading up the FR over the recently completed Penrhyndeudraeth relaying.

Terry Scott adds: I also observed Linda and Hugh Napier out and about.

 

This easterly view (15/3/17) shows Linda in the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour with Merddin Emrys ready to leave Porthmadog with the 14:05 train for Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A494 upgrade consultation 13/3/17

Consultation is taking place over the main road link, either the upgraded existing blue southern A55/A494 option or the Red A548 northern link from Shotwick A550 junction to the A55 Northop via the new Flintshire Bridge, that leads to the F&WHR from the North West conurbation. The two proposals up for public consultation from 13/3/17 for 12 weeks until 5/6/17. In the Blue scheme the A55/A494 would be widened to three lanes each way plus an independent scheme for a new Queensferry Bridge just to the south of the existing A494 bridge. It has been revealed that the new bridge will go ahead anyway as the 1960s built bridge needs reconstruction since the discovery of structural problems. See WAG Consultation process. See BBC report 19/1/17.

The Welsh Assembly Government seems to be pushing ahead with the scheme as fast as it can before EU funding for the A55 TEN scheme disappears with Brexit. The proposals also see yet more pious hopes to encourage the use of railfreight in North Wales, which has almost disappeared, except for the residual Nuclear Flask traffic and that for just another year until Wylfa is defuelled!

 

North Wales 'Metro' proposals 2/3/17

The WAG proposals see development of a 10 point plan for rail in North Wales which may affect accessibility to the F&WHR by public transport. These include:

See WAG website.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/3/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang spent today, 14-3-17 on the FR at Penrhyn building 2 new foot crossings in the area recently relaid just west of Penrhyn station. On the FR level crossings don't appear to have numbers but do have names. First we built a crossing at Highgate followed by one at Bron Gwynedd. The original crossings were removed when the line here was relaid in the last months and had been replaced with temporary ballast. To access the crossings, which were already in an area covered by a possession, we trundled tools and materials down from the station on a braked trolley. Foot crossings are only half of the size of occupation crossings at four foot width and here the timbers were coach bolted to the wooden sleepers.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang on the way to the site with a braked trolley at Penrhyndeudraeth station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang fixing new wood at Highgate Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the completed Highgate Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows work at Brongwynedd Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the completed Brongwynedd Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 working party 18-19/3/17

Volunteers will be working on No.134 this coming weekend (18-19/3/17) at Dinas.

 

Funding boost for Caernarfon 13/3/17

£2.5 million pounds of EU funding has been given to the Caernarfon Town and Waterfront Regeneration project. With Parliament voting to give the Prime Minister the authority to start Brexit on the same day, the end of such EU funding, from which the WHR has benefitted so much, is in sight. The funding approval for Caernarfon will unlock a £14 million Tourism Regeneration Programme of investment from the Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales. See Daily Post story.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 4 mins 55 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 13/3/17. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 16/3/17

David Gander reports: Our next meeting takes place this coming Thursday 16/3/17. Following our extremely short AGM, we welcome Chris Jones who will be talking to us about ‘George England Engines’, something dear to all our hearts!

Our April meeting will be on Thursday 20/4/17 when we hope to have Paul Lemon telling us about ‘The Colne Valley Railway’. On Thursday 18/5/17 David Colenutt will talk to us about ‘Corsican and Sardinian Narrow Gauge’.

We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH. We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm.

There is a charge of £2 per meeting for Group members, £3 for non-members. Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (This bus runs every 30 minutes until 23.36, via Cambridge railway station where it arrives at 00.05) Car parking can be busy but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk to the pub. You are most welcome to join us. We meet on the third Thursday of the month (excepting December when it’s the second Thursday), with meetings held until May– with a break in January.

 

Quirks and Curiosities II 28/4/17-1/5/17

The first draft of the passenger timetable for 'Q&QII' shows trains on the WHR from Hafod-y-llyn or Pont Croesor on all days except Saturday 29/4/17.

 

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR 13/3/17. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR Lottery win aid trainees

The F&WHR has won £464,00 from the Heritage Lottery fund to support its 'Skills for the Future programme' and support 20 trainees in a Heritage Trainees project. The intent of the 'year long traineeships' is not to turn out fully-qualified, time-served, craftsmen and women, but to give foundation training in a range of heritage skills and to show them the opportunities and possibilities available within the 'heritage' sector, with encouragement to continue training and development of those skills into a fulfilling and sustainable career. See Daily Post story.

 

Trawsfynydd Railway project progress 11/3/17

More illustrations have been added to the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Facebook page showing progress with clearance at Maentwrog Road yard. The group is also looking for donations of unwanted railway books etc. to sell in order to raise money for the project. Offers should be sent to the group's chairman.

 

Wickham trolley repaired 10/3/17

Two new Facebook videos, courtesy of Glenn Williams (F&WHR), shows the recently repaired Wickham trolley running into the new Heritage Carriage Shed at Boston Lodge.

 

Welsh Pony progress 8/3/17

Welsh Pony has all its boiler tubes fitted and expanded by 8/3/17.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/3/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler having the boiler tubes expanded. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Prince hauls weekend trains 11-12/3/17

Prince has replaced Merddin Emrys on trains from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn for the weekend of 11-12/3/17. The loco is rostered until 16/3/17.

 

Plan B...WHHR Baldwin 'No.590'

In conjunction with the Vale of Rheidol the WHHR has revealed details of its 'Plan B' for the Baldwin loco No.794 which recently moved from Alan Keef's to the Vale of Rheidol to be completed. The loco has a new boiler and may use the original tank from No.590 which is in store at Gelert's Farm. A new appeal leaflet will be published shortly. If agreement is reached with the F&WHR, the loco may be allowed to run on the WHR recreating heritage photo opportunities such as the frontier scenes at Beddgelert. Unfortunately the loco will be air braked and so running the train will depend on agreement being reached about air braked rescue locomotives.

 

Click on the image to enlarge the Vale of Rheidol press release.

 

WHR Easter services

The new season's Easter service will resume from Caernarfon on 25/3/17. The reduced length of headshunt available because of the sewer works is just manageable for a Garratt with care.

 

Trawsfynydd Group appeals for volunteers

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society is appealing for more volunteers to help clear the line. After completing clearance a short section just south from Blaenau Ffestiniog NR station they have moved onto Maentwrog Road where they are clearing the former yard. See Cambrian News story.

 

Merddin Emrys 9/3/17

This easterly view (9/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys ready to leave Porthmadog for Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys returning to Porthmadog from Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day seen between the Afon Dylif bridge and the site of Croesor Junction. Snowdon on the left, still has a covering of snow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 9/3/17

This northerly view (9/3/17) shows the new drain being tested in the former car park area. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/3/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang was at Hafod-y-Llyn on 7/3/17 where we repaired the fences at level crossings LC 50.41 and LC50.88. In both cases posts had rotted through at the base and the wind did the rest. We believe that the crossings in this area were built in 2007 so they lasted just 10 years. This week we were in the dry and the snow covered top of Snowdon was just visible in the distance.

 

This southerly view (7/3/17) shows the initial state of the crossing at LC50.88 Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (7/3/17) shows the completed crossing at LC50.88 Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Merddin Emrys on Orange timetable trains 8/3/17

Merddin Emrys took over from Prince as expected this week on the Orange timetable trains twice daily to Hafod-y-llyn, although the official loco roster is still advertising Prince. Members of the Visit Britain press trip joined the train.

 

This northerly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys with Cedric Lodge collecting the token at Pont Croesor for the section to Hafod-y-llyn on the first train of the week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys running round at Porthmadog after returning from Hafod-y-llyn on the first train of the week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys at Porthmadog ready to depart for Hafod-y-llyn on the afternoon train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS 4415 update 3/3/17

The Kerr Stuart shunter has had additional work done to secure nuts with a novel application to the split pins. See KS4415 Facebook page.

 

Moving Pictures No.3 6/3/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 21 min 6 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 6/3/17. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Circular journey proposed

In the 2017 timetable, passengers can make the return journey from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon but not the reverse direction. The F&WHR will be working jointly with ATW to promote the 'Snowdonia Circle' day-out including Conwy Valley and North Wales Coast services to Bangor, F&WHR trains with a bus connection between Bangor and Caernarfon.

 

No.130 update 4/3/17

The No.130 Facebook page contains images of the completed firebox door plate and an outer wrapper plate pre-drilled and ready to fit.

 

Conwy Valley Line closed

Storm Doris brought trees down on 23/2/17. The BBC News website reports that the line was still closed on 4/3/17 as an unstable rock face was discovered during the clearance work. A replacement bus service from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog, calling at Llandudno Junction, is operating until further notice.

 

Expansion of Oswestry tourist line approved 2/3/17

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, has agreed to the Cambrian Heritage Railway's Transport and Works Act Order, subject to some amendments, (see letter dated 28/2/17) for the railway between Gobowen and Blodwel Quarry in Shropshire. See Shropshire Star report dated 2/3/17. This route is operated by the Cambrian Heritage Railway which has run trains over a short length south from Oswestry Station since 22/4/11 and is extending towards Weston Wharf, due to open Easter 2018. There is a long term aim to reopen to Gobowen where the CHR has purchased the bay platform and land for a run round loop and, in the west, to Blodwel Quarry, where there is a junction with a separate group running the Tanat Valley Light Railway at Nantmawr. A separate disconnected piece of the CHR operates at Llynclys just a few hundred yards from the main line. However, there are two major challenges facing the group where the line currently crosses the A5 and A483, both trunk routes, as well as the A495 at Porth-y-waen. It seems the DfT will insist on road overbridges/tunnels at the first two locations. This extending tourist line could attract more tourists to North Wales or possibly abstract revenue from the F&WHR, being nearer the Midlands conurbation.

 

This northerly view (20/10/80) shows a Class 25 crossing the A495 at Porth-y-waen (used by many F&WHR supporters from the Midlands who travel via Llangynog) with four empty wagons en route to Blodwel Quarry. Porth-y-waen Halt platform is obscured by the wagons. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Zenith E SLR camera. Image scanned from slide film and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Prince 2/3/17

This northerly view (2/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Snowdon (left), crossing Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Departmental working 2/3/17

This northerly view (2/3/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog approaching Britannia Bridge with a short departmental working including the frame for FR Observation car No.152 and B1621 containing loco coal. The frame for No.152 was made in Dinas works because of lack of room at Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (2/3/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog crossing Britannia Bridge with the frame for FR Observation car No.152 and B1621 containing loco coal. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Rail survey

The National Assembly for Wales Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee (NAWEISC) is conducting a survey into rail passenger needs. See Survey to participate. Points that could be made include dealing with the ERTMS debacle that is stifling railtours and the visitor economy of the Cambrian Coast; reopening Bangor-Afonwen and Aberystwyth-Carmarthen; the possibility of loco-hauled trains using the new Mk5 coaches (on order for TransPennine) on the North Wales Coast and from Manchester to Cardiff; Shrewsbury to Birmingham International etc.

Also see this introductory video from NAWEISC.

 

First trains of season 1/3/17

This easterly view (1/3/17) shows Prince on the first return service from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Moel Hebog, approaching the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince on the first return service from Hafod-y-llyn, approaching the Afon Dylif bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Snowdon in the background, approaching the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with the morning run, crossing Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince backing onto its train at Porthmadog. The rake include FR Observation car No.150. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cathedrals Express fails 1/3/17

Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express from Euston to Holyhead was failed at Euston when No.86259 Les Ross/Peter Pan suffered problems. The steam loco for the North Wales Coast leg No.45699 Galatea was stood down at Crewe after being substituted for the Black Five No.45407 The Lancashire Fusilier.

 

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)
6-7/5/17 Palmerston visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool (may be extended)
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
15-17/9/17 SuperPower (WHR AGM 16/9/17)
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

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

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Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3468 updated 29/4/17