Welsh Highland Railway

Stop Press Page

 

V4.3759

News (12/9/19)

You are visitor No.

to this website

Images updated from 28/8/19

Click here for new images

Click here for latest news

Star Picture

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

 

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

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

 

gam_print_ordsvywat-sun-0132226440868.jpg 





























































(739415 bytes)

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 30/8/19)

Snow Scenes (updated 10/12/18)

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

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

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

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps  and other maps courtesy of WHRS

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Annual Holiday

Your webmaster will be on annual holiday for the next two weeks so there will be no updates before the start of October.

 

More archive views from 9/11/95

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the trackbed in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Sensitive negotiations took place with the SNPA who were initially very keen on the scheme. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows the entrance to the long tunnel T4 at the south end of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The permitted path on the trackbed was very popular with walkers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows the entrance to the short tunnels T2/3 in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The trackbed was also used by a local water main visible protected with concrete on the left threading the two tunnels. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows the Afon Glaslyn rapids, which was to prove one of the spectacular views available from train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the Pont Croesor bridge which had recently been improved by GC. The abutments have space for the WHR girders. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows the Pont Croesor bridge which had recently been improved by GC. The abutments have space for the WHR girders. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.35 10/9/19

Click on the YouTube window to watch 34 mins 50 seconds of video covering young volunteer activities and an extended report from Dinas on progress with Nos.87/130. This YouTube was published on 10/9/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

More archive views from 9/11/95

Two locos Nos. 138/142 were in the process of being purchased from SAR and were to be refurbished before delivery to the UK. Rails, track fittings and wagons were being recovered from Donnybrook line in South Africa.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows Waunfawr station and Snowdonia Parc with renovation starting on the pub tom improve the facilities. Sleeper indentations are still visible in the grassy trackbed with both main line and loop on the right hand side of the station building which is in an advanced state of decay. The pub's fence-line required adjustment later to reflect the correct property boundary. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. Of the three Gwyrfai bridges this one was deemed beyond repair and was replaced by one donated by BR stored in a PW yard near Sheffield. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. The bridge is fenced off having no deck. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge from the Betws Garmon road bridge. Unlike other sections of the trackbed, this section does not show sleeper indentations as the Caernarfon water main had occupied the trackbed and later required removal. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/11/95) shows Snowdon Ranger station. The small station building is dwarfed by a more modern Youth Hostel accommodation block. It is now hidden from the railway behind a fence. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows Castell Cidwm road bridge before the trackbed was deepened for the WHR's Funkey/Garratt gauge. It showed clear evidence of flooding. The wider trackbed to the left was, for a short while, the original terminus of the NWNGR at Llyn Cwellyn before the final section to Rhyd Ddu was completed. This bridge has remained a flooding problem after tithe reopening of the WHR and additional drainage measures eventually became necessary. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line news 11/9/19

No.67014 was on the Holyhead-Cardiff WAG on 11/9/19 and Nos.68033/4 were on the Valley Nuclear Electric with 3 flasks....can't be many left now!

 

Archive views from 9/11/95

Many moves were underway in 1995 towards resurrecting the WHR, with funding sources being sought, Nos. 138/143 being imported from South Africa, negotiations with Gwynedd Council to lease the Caernarfon-Dinas ex-BR trackbed, moves to acquire the WHR trackbed etc. Your webmaster wanted to record the 'before' views of the WHR and fortunately a permitted path existed along much of the railway though some farmers objected to its use and were using the trackbed for their own purposes. A WHR Society had been formed and Mike Hart was driving forward the project with enthusiasm.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the sleeper indentations still visible in the grassy trackbed on Ffridd Isaf curve just north of Rhyd Ddu station during a walk to Glan-yr-afon Viaduct. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the state of Glan-yr-afon Viaduct at this time. the slimy wooden way beams did not encourage your webmaster to cross the structure! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the Glan-y-afon Viaduct in better light but still looking dangerous. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (9/11/95) shows WDA funded improvements in Caernarfon. This is what the east end of the road tunnel looked like before the start of works in 1996 from Crown Street at the bottom of the station incline. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (9/11/95) shows the view in the opposite direction with the former BR trackbed rising up into the main Caernarfon station site behind what was then the QuickSave store. Back in August Bank Holiday 1967 your then teenage webmaster had stood on Caernarfon station during a North Wales 5 in 7 Runabout Ticket and looked wistfully at the rusty tracks that descended this incline towards Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/11/95) shows the state of Dinas station from Ty'n Llan road bridge. Gwynedd Council were planning to evacuate the site and this gave a good start to the WHR project with both the original station building and the Goods Shed still in existence. The road behind the cyclist occupies the space between the two BR platform faces and the WHR was later to occupy this space. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 9/9/19

By 3/9/19 the sand boxes had been painted.

By 9/9/19 the new coal bunker had been sand blasted and primed ready for painting and was stored in the Heritage shed at Boston Lodge ready for painting.

 

Last chances to sample Journey to the Past

This year the Prince hauled 'Journey to the Past' specials have been extended into September with workings on both Sunday 15 and 22/9/19.

 

Row erupts over Anglesey Central Railway 29/8/19

The ACR volunteers hoping to reopen the Amlwch branch are making excellent progress with clearance of the route which last carried freight in 1993. Generally the line only requires vegetation clearance and, in future, spot re-sleepering to make it fit for use again. Local plans exist to run a commuter service from the county town of Llangefni to Bangor. However, a local environmentalist group wants to rip up the track and convert it to a long distance cycle route like the Lon Eifion that parallels the WHR. Anglesey Council confirms its policy has not changed and it hopes the railway plan will come to fruition in the near future.

See Daily Post story.

 

North Wales main line news

The first Mk4 coaches for TfW to replace the current MkIII rakes are now at Eastleigh for overhaul/refurbishment The December deadline looks likely to be missed. The Mk4 DVT is No.82226 and the SV (service vehicle/buffet) is No.10325, which will have first class seating installed, then FOD (First Open Disabled) No.11323 will become TOD (Tourist Open Disabled), TO (Tourist Open) No.12454 and TOE (Tourist Open End, standard/no gangway at one end) No.12225.

The trains are already showing on RealTimeTrains with Set 1 starting at Holyhead and Set 2 starting from Cardiff.

On 9/9/19 Nos.88004/68004 hauled the Valley flasks. On 6/9/19 Nos. 68001/18 performed the duty.

On 6/9/19 Nos.57601/57313 hauled the Northern Belle ECS to Holyhead for servicing after a Lincoln-Llandudno excursion.

On 4/9/19 Nos. 68033/034 hauled the Valley flasks.

There is a report on the resumption of cement traffic to Pen-y-Ffordd after many years of road-only delivery with No.66713 in charge on 28-29/8/19 reversing at Dee Marsh sidings.

On 2/9/19 Nos.68003/18 hauled the Valley flasks. The MANWAG service saw DB liveried No.67010 in service the same day.

With the Valley flasks likely to finish this autumn it is good to hear that another form of freight may return to North Wales. It is reported in the North Wales Coast website that Penmaenmawr Quarries sidings are being refurbished for a resumption of ballast deliveries and Llandudno Junction Yard/Glan Conwy sidings being cleared for Breedon Aggregates which recently took over Penrhyn Quarry and may be considering slate waste by rail.

 

WHR West Midlands Group Meeting 12/9/19

The next West Midland Group meeting will be Thursday 12/9/19: 'North Wales Standard Gauge' by Dave Waldren. This follows on from Dave’s show last year on the Cambrian. It will be a ‘vintage photographic journey’ over the non-Cambrian standard gauge lines in North Wales, including Afon Wen-Bangor, Anglesey, North Wales Coast line, Denbigh, Ruabon-Barmouth, Bala Ffestiniog etc.

The venue is 7.30 pm, Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane), Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA. All are welcome! Free entry, but a donation to our funds to cover room hire and refreshments would be most welcome.

 

No.134 May-June 2019

In May the NG15 No.134 working party volunteers were slightly lower on numbers but they did achieve quite a lot in the end. The grease pipework was completed for the two pony trucks in that all the pipes are now in place, however they still need to silver solder the fittings onto the ends. A complete new set of cotter pins was made for the suspension. The smaller cotters for the top of the suspension hangers had been laser cut for volunteers and so we finished them by grinding and filing these into the correct profile to fit snugly into the hanger. These will now be sent away for hardening.

Volunteers also worked on the driving wheel axle boxes, as were the full time staff by re-machining the white metal bearings. The design for the axle boxes has changed over the years whilst in service in South Africa, no doubt to bring their design to being similar to that for the NGG16 Garratts. One aspect of this however, is that there were a pair of bolts missing that attach the axle box oil well to its securing plate. The oil wells had the tapped hole but there was no hole in the securing plate. These were therefore duly drilled. Unfortunately as the holes in the oils wells were in somewhat 'random' positions they all had to be individually measured and the plates customised to suite each axle box.

Volunteers also started to drill the bolt heads that secure the oil well and its securing plate to the bottom of the axle boxes so they can be fitted with securing wires to prevent them coming loose. Two boxes were completed leaving six for next working party.

Finally volunteers started drilling the holes in the cylinder cladding so as it can be fitted to the loco rather than have the cladding lying around potentially getting damaged. The left hand side was completed so the right will be tackled next working party.

In June again volunteers were thin on the ground as they were supporting Gala events. Unfortunately, on examination, after having some components made volunteers found that the drawings did not match reality!

Work focussed mainly associated with the suspension. Volunteers assembled together all the suspension components and with those already attached to the loco they checked them all looking for possible issues. In doing so one bush was found to be missing on a compensation arm and so that will need making and pressing in. The team attached, or rather swapped over all the old small cotters for the new ones that they had made the previous working party. There were also two large cotters that were missing and these had been cut out for the team by the full time staff and so they were shaped to fit into their relevant 'home'. Volunteers went through all the pins and catalogued what was needed by way of washers and double checked the dimensions of those pins that are missing.

For full details and images see No.134 website.

 

Welsh Pony 27/8/19

A find in a second hand shop cabinet has produced a genuine Robert Stephenson steam pressure gauge of 1954 vintage which will look quite appropriate on Welsh Pony. It looks perfect inside but will need to be checked to see it is calibrated correctly.

 

This view (28/8/19) shows the Robert Stephenson pressure gauge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR). Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR Winter shut down

The F&WHR plan to close the FR for much of the coming Winter season to allow progress on track renewals under the WMWP. This is likely to mean more trains on the WHR over Winter as last year.

 

WHR AGM moves back to September

The WHR AGM is set to take place on 12/9/20 (TBC). The Snowdonian Limited will run the same weekend rather its normal Spring slot and there will be a 'small' WHR event over the weekend, so clearly not a 'SuperPower'! The main event of the year will be a Fairlie Weekend gala 19-21/6/20 to celebrate the Fairlie Trials. This may include some events of the WHR.

 

'Journey to the Past' final September weekends

The final trips by the Prince hauled Caernarfon-Tryfan Junction-Rhyd Ddu 'Journey to the Past' train are on 15/9/19 and 22/9/19. A descriptive pamphlet is provided with the tour.

 

Castle View Lounge

The Castle View Lounge, on the mezzanine floor of Caernarfon's De Winton Cafe has been fitted with comfy chairs and is open from 9-5 pm with hot food available until 3pm. The lounge can also be booked for private functions.

 

North Wales main line news 30/8/19

Nos. 68004/88004 hauled the Valley Flasks on 30/8/19. Traffic is likely to finish in September bringing an end to freight on the NWC line as the final fuel rods are removed from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. The need for a new reactor, Wylfa B/Wylfa Newydd at this site, currently halted by financial concerns, was brought home to many who lost power and suffered heavy disruption on 9/8/19 with some passengers stuck in trains for several hours when the National Grid shed the excess load because of the simultaneous failure of two power stations.

A pairing hauled the flasks on 18/8/19 and again on 21/8/19 with Nos. 68033/34 on the duty.

On 26/8/19 Nos. 68003/18 performed the duty.

Nos. 68008/88004 hauled the flasks on 28/8/19.

A new flow is a resumption of cement tank traffic from Pen-y-Ffordd which has only received occasional Scottish opencast coal in recent years. on 28/8/19 No.66713 was on the duty running as 6Z41 Gloucester New yard to Pen-y-Ffordd.

TransPennine Express loco hauled Mk5 services from Liverpool-Scarborough from the 24/8/19 over the Bank Holiday Weekend, though there were some initial failures.

Also seen on its way to North Wales on 16/8/19 was a new DMU No.397002 for Northern. these are being assembled into raked at the former RTZ site at Holyhead though they are arriving on the back of  Convoi Exceptionnel road vehicles making a huge block on local roads such as the Northwich Bypass. The train was later allocated to ROG locos Nos.47815/823 on 21/8/19 which took them to Crewe on 22/8/19. It is not known if further deliveries will be made via the ex RTZ sidings.

A bag of bolts mistaken for a landslide of rocks caused trains to be suspended to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 22/8/96. Trains resumed the following day after the line was inspected and the bag of bolts found. See BBC story.

 

Bontnewydd Bypass news 24/8/19

Martin Kressman advises: On Friday (24/8/19) signs were out warning of road closure between Bethel and Plas Menai roundabout on account of blasting (A substantial cutting is required from the Plas Menai roundabout up onto the adjacent plateau to the south as the Welsh Government shortened the scheme by removing the 1 km from the summit of the Y Felinheli bypass. -Ed).

 

No.130 progress August 2019

Good progress is being made with No.130 after the boiler setback that caused delays earlier this year. Various components have now begun to appear in Burrell's Plum, the loco's designated colour scheme. This is the nearest shade to Canadian Pacific Red chosen by the owner.

 

This view (26/7/19) shows the new paint scheme for No.130. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Peter Best. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

By 26/8/98 the crinoline supports for the cladding had been completed. The cladding and dome have been painted at Boston Lodge.

 

Boston Lodge update July 2019

Merddin Emrys was out of traffic for a while with a minor boiler problem but was back at work in mid-August.

Work on Welsh Pony continues as a volunteer led project. The drive frames have been fitted and new side rods being manufactured. The inner and outer frames are complete with some work required on the outer frames which were distorted. Boiler lagging and cladding is underway. Two clack valves have been fitted which provide a non return path for boiler filling under pressure. An additional safety feature is a modern safety valve fitted under the dome.

Garratt No.87 is on a fast track to return to service soon in black livery with an SAR/SAS loco in crossed formation as used on bilingual South African Railways. The WHR is operating with just two Garratts in service along with Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog which can be called in to help if necessary following a failure. the cab remained to be painted after sand blasting and undercoating.

The FR's new double Fairlie, James Spooner, using many parts from Earl of Merioneth, is making good progress with the fitting of the new reverser. It will carry No.8 in the FR loco sequence.

Lyd is due to attend the L&BR Gala on 28-29/9/19 and following some superheater repairs, was back in traffic in July. It is hoped the loco might be back for the Victorian Gala a week later. This Winter a 10 year exam in due and some improvements are planned such as a new coal-only ashpan.

Lilla has been reassembled after its 10 year exam and now has new injectors.

On the carriage front ex-SAR wheelsets continue to be re-profiled and the steel types will be fitted to new carriages. The chilled iron ones are for use under wagons. All wheels have been moved in 1/8" on axles to suit the FR track gauge. The new WHR Saloon frame for No.2048 is well advanced with stainless steel for the saloon frame and carbon steel for the main frames. In August this vehicle was due to enter the Carriage Works for fitting out and may enter traffic next season.

 

Archive views August 1995

Here are four more photos continuing your webmaster's collection of scanned slides from the very start of the WHR project, before this website and even before a start of work!

 

This southerly view (30/8/95) shows the concrete base of the former Good's Shed at Beddgelert sometimes used as a Loco shed for Baldwin No.590. The sliding doors were at the south end. At this time there were still rails in Goat Cutting to the right of the white houses, left by an earlier preservation attempt by the antecedents of WHHR. The station has been radically altered in the last few years with the addition the raised island platform to the right. The modern northbound/Down line passes through the site of the Goods Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (30/8/95) shows the overgrown Summit Cutting viewed from Pitt's Head road bridge. The piers of the never completed footbridge are also visible. At this time the trackbed under the bridge was flooded as was the boggy cutting to the north of it. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95) shows the undulating trackbed from Pitt's Head halt towards Rhyd Ddu station visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95) shows the GC toilet block build roughly on the site of Rhyd Ddu station building. The gravel track follows the line of the WHR to Ffridd Isaf level crossing visible in the distance. The car park has changed markedly with the road now occupying the parking bays by the fence on the left and new bays built by the right hand fence with a modern surface with blocks that allow drainage. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.34 26/7/19

Click on the YouTube window to watch 34 mins 13 seconds of video covering young volunteer activities and FR scenes, including the TfW Blaenau Reopening Special at Blaenau Ffestiniog. This YouTube was published on 26/7/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

Archive views spot

Here are some more archive views from 30/8/95 before work commenced on the WHR.

 

This westerly view (30/8/95) shows Porthmadog Harbour station with an FR train hauled by Merddin Emrys about to set out for Blaenau Ffestiniog. The station has been radically altered in the last few years with the addition the WHR platform to the right. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (30/8/95) shows Prince shunting an FR whilst Merddin Emrys is ready to for Blaenau Ffestiniog a few minutes after the previous photo. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95) from the trackbed of the incomplete PBSSR shows Bryn-y-felin bridge with the GC footbridge built over it to give access to the trackbed through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Nantmor. In the background the original Bryn-y-felin road bridge can be seen. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95) shows Beddgelert depot complete with foundation of lamp hut, inspection pit and water tower. The Good's Shed on the far side of the line had been used as a loco shed on some occasion but all that remains is the foundation. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Journeys to the Past Sunday specials

The F&WHR/WHHG 'Journey to the Past' Sunday special train  is operating again this summer, but this year with an extended season after a successful trial run for four Saturdays last August. This year it is running for six Sundays, 4-25/8/19 and 15-22/9/19. The journey starts at 1030 at Caernarfon to meet the host before an 1100 departure, rather than Dinas as last year, giving chance for a snack in the De Winton Cafe. The trip includes a visit to Tryfan Junction and a picnic lunch at Rhyd Ddu. Trains will be hauled by Prince, hauling 3 heritage coaches, although the loco roster does not confirm this. See F&WHR website for full details.

 

Castell Caernarfon progress July

Work is underway at a fast pace now Castell Caernarfon has moved to Boston Lodge, freeing up the Dinas fitters to concentrate on completing Garratt No.87 (and new Garratt No.130!). The loco had seemed a low priority at Dinas. The Funkey was on ambulance bogies in July whilst work on its two power bogies was completed. The new gearbox that had languished at Dinas for two years is going in and brake gear refurbished. Splash guards are being provided to stop detritus being thrown off the wheels into the engine compartment. While the engine and transmission are in reasonable condition some attention is being given to the driven shafts.

A new feature is the fitting of an ex-BR Class 47 vacuum brake exhauster to replace the belt drive exhauster currently fitted. This will mean the engine does not need to rev up to raise the vacuum to a level sufficient to release the brakes. New airbrake cylinders have been fitted with inbuilt sprung parking brakes now doubt learning the lessons of the recent runaway by Vale of Ffestiniog through Beddgelert station on the 1 in 40 on 16/4/19.

The body work is nearly finished with painting of the fibreglass shell in green with 'go faster' yellow stripes. When first ordered by Consolidated Diamond Mines (Namibia), the Funkey was the first in the world to have a fibreglass body which allowed a more complex shape to be moulded.

 

KS4415 news 14/8/19

The refurbished radiator has been delivered from New quay Radiators. While the rest of the loco is not yet ready to receive it, it will be easy to fit when the volunteer group reach that stage. Nutexa Frictions has also returned the band brakes fitted with new brake linings following the removal of the unsafe asbestos brake linings.

 

North Wales mainline news 14/8/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic continues unabated even though Wylfa is nearly empty of fuel rods. It cannot be long now before the last freight train on the North Wales Coast, a line that in recent years boasted freightliners to Holyhead, RTZ traffic to Holyhead, stone trains from Penmaenmawr etc.

On 14/8/19 Nos. 68034/88010 hauled two flasks.

Aberdeen based First Group and Trenitalia, the nationalised Italian State Railways company, is taking over the WCML franchise from Virgin and intends to offer a Llandudno-London service. Let's hope this is in addition to and not lead to a reduction in the current WCML trains to Holyhead that connect with ferries. Many enthusiasts will understand why our rail fares are so dear when we have to pay a profit to a foreign nationalised railway rather than paying our own nationalised railway (remember BR?) at cost!

Gobowen (for Oswestry) will be served by a new service via Wrexham putting a further strain on the single track Wrexham North Junction to Rossett. This replaces a London service lost when Wrexham and Shropshire pulled the plug back in 28/1/11. Interestingly this leaves the short section between Gobowen and Shrewsbury without a WCML service although it could be used as a diversionary route. Other new stations include Liverpool South Parkway and Walsall. Diesel Voyagers will be replaced by a more environmentally acceptable train! See Government Press release including new WCML Franchise Map.

Notice has been given by TfW that the Mark 4 coaches and DVT will replace the current Mark 3 coaches on the Class 67 hauled Holyhead-Cardiff services SSuX from 16/12/19. The services are 05:34, 11:34, 16:51 Holyhead-Cardiff Central and the return workings 07:02,11:24, 17:16 Cardiff Central-Holyhead. Many enthusiasts will regret the passing of the comfortable Mark III coaches in favour of the distinctly hard seats in the Mark 4s.

 

Caernarfon bypass news

Martin Kressman reports: The first girder for this bridge was lifted into place overnight on Monday 12/8/19.

 

Premier Inn Porthmadog

On 4/7/19 Premier Inn submitted a planning application to Gwynedd Council to convert the former Tax Offices on the site of Britannia Foundry into a Premier Inn which would be very convenient for the F&WHR. There is a Travelodge at the far end of town on the Ffordd Penamser with no associated restaurant. See GC Planning application.

 

Introducing Archive Views 12/8/19

After a sustained bout of progressively scanning old slides from 1970 onwards, slides from mid 1995 have now been reached. This was the period when the FR announced it was to buy up the WHR and reconstruct the route. Your webmaster who was producing a Channel Tunnel column for RAIL until August 1995, decided to get some 'before' images of the WHR and start covering the construction story even though it was 200 miles from home (the Channel Tunnel was a similar distance away!). Eventually, after a short period of coverage in Railway Magazine, this website appeared. There are many previously unpublished images to come.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95) from Ty'n Llan road bridge shows Dinas station site whilst still occupied by Welsh Water. The two platform faces can be seen either side of the Welsh Water access road. The original WHR Dinas station building is hidden between more modern construction on the right, since demolished. Cyclists are using the Lon Eifion trackbed cycleway which remained open to Hendy Crossing except for a short period during Phase 1, the construction of Dinas-Caernarfon section. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Normal news service will be restored now that the 1995 WHR archive slides have finally been reached.

 

North Wales main line news to 7-12/8/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic has been more random recently as it nears an end.

7/8/19 Nos. 68004/8

8/8/19 Nos. 88002/5

12/8/19 Nos.68001/4

Due to the Acton Grange blockade on the Manchester route the ManWAG set was not being used M-F from 22/7/19 for two weeks but was used on a Saturday relief on the North Wales Coast Crewe-Llandudno return, followed by Crewe-Holyhead return. It was intended to run the relief again on 27/7/19 and 10/8/19, with a Cardiff trip on Saturdays 3/8/19, 17/8/19 and 31/8/19.  It was unclear if No.67014 was staying on the set while it was sidelined from normal duties.

 

Chaloner at Shrewsbury Flower show 10-11/8/19

Despite the forecast rain (particularly Sunday!) the crowds came to enjoy the F&WHR's offering of rides behind Chaloner in two bugboxes on track laid alongside the River Severn at Quarry Park, Shrewsbury. Temporary track had been laid on the riverside footpath by volunteers by 6/8/19. See F&WHR website.

 

This westerly view (9/8/19) shows Chaloner at the Shrewsbury Flower Show running on temporary track alongside the River Severn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dp

 

Caernarfon Bypass news 8/8/19

Martin Kressman reports: A sign has appeared on the A487 between Caernarfon and Bontnewydd announcing overnight closures of the road between 22:15 and 05:00 on the nights of 12-14/8/19. Presumably this is to enable the Bailey Bridge to be erected.

Construction of the piers to support the Bailey Bridge carrying the bypass haul road over the A487 at the Meifod in Bontnewydd was well advanced on 25/7/19

 

Blaenau Reopening steam special 3/8/19

Following storm damage in March NR reopened the line from Llandudno Junction to Llanrwst for the National Eisteddfod on 18/7/19 and to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 24/7/19 restoring a public transport connect to the F&WHR from the North Wales Coast. TfW ran a special train with steam haulage (a first for TfW) from Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 3/8/19 hauled by Nos. 48151/45690, courtesy of WCR, Carnforth.

NR used Roman Bridge yard as an access point for PW work on Blaenau section.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows Linda and Taliesin in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 waits for the pilot loco to run round from the NR headshunt in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows No.48151 easing past No.45190n in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 with 6 inches to spare!  Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows No.48151 alongside No.45190 in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 with 6 inches to spare with the FR's Phil Brown officiating on the FR side!  Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

See also Daily Post report.

 

Carriage Shed progress 3/8/19

There was good progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed to be seen by 3/8/19. All the steelwork at the west end appeared to have been erected though roofing remained to be completed.

 

Moving Pictures 26/7/19 No.33

Click on the YouTube link to watch 26 mins 43 seconds of video covering Castell Caernarfon and the WHR Gala. This YouTube was published on 26/7/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

A498 Road closure postponed 1/8/19

Originally these roadworks would have seen the A498 from Capel Curig to Beddgelert closed between 8am and 5pm (approximately) for the first 4-5 working days of August. The closure will eventually be from the Pen-y -Gwryd to Llyn Gwynant but the road is too narrow and bendy for vehicles to safely pass the resurfacing works. The closure has been postponed until later in the year after concerns it would interfere with holiday traffic in the peak summer season.

The diversion is through Llanberis and will take an extra 30-40 minutes to reach Nantgwynant and Beddgelert.

When the work eventually starts the road will be open after approx 5pm and at weekends.

 

North Wales mainline news 22-29/7/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic has been more random recently as it nears an end.

22/7/19 Nos.68001/34

24/7/19 Nos.68008/88010

29/7/19 Nos. 880010/3

 

Conwy Valley branch to open early 18/7/19

The Conwy Valley Line will reopen to Llanrwst on 18/7/19 and be extended to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 24/7/19 in time for the National Eisteddfod at Llanrwst and school summer holiday traffic. TfW and NR are celebrating the reopening by hosting a steam trip from Chester to Blaenau on Saturday 3/8/19 with tickets being available from Monday 22/7/19. No.70000 Britannia is also due to haul a UK Railtours Irish Mail trip from London to Holyhead the same day, steam hauled from Crewe.

As part of the works on the Conwy Valley line, the speed limit at Maenan between Dolgarrog and Llanrwst has been restored from 30 to 45 mph though Dolgarrog station remains closed until the platform repair is complete. See BBC report, Daily Post report and NR Press release.

 

Last days of the Wylfa flasks 10-15/7/19

Freight traffic in North Wales Main Line will cease with the final nuclear flask traffic from Wylfa via the Valley Nuclear Electric siding. Traffic has become sporadic with the diagram currently shown as continuing to 13/12/19 as a Q path (as required). One of the latest runs was on Wednesday 10/7/19 and followed by another on Monday15/7/19.

 

This northerly view (10/7/19) shows No.88007 Electra leading 88004 Pandora passing Ffynnongroyw hauling three flasks. The light load is well within the power rating of these primarily AC electric locos which are also fitted with a Caterpillar 950 HP engine for use away from the catenary such as in this view. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge carriage shed update 11-12/7/19

This easterly view (12/7/19) shows progress with the new carriage shed on the made ground near the new sea wall. The parallel section of the steel structure is nearly complete with some progress made at both curved ends of the shed. Also visible are the steel uprights for the store rooms on the seaward side at each end. Most of the roof bars are present for the parallel section. In the yard Castell Caernarfon is present, strangely out in the open! Also a B wagon with coal and works shunter Moel-y-gest. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a drone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/7/19) shows progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed on the made ground behind the new sea wall  Here the new stanchions can be seen on the curved entrance. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/7/19) shows progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed on the made ground behind the new sea wall. Here the new roof trusses are in place and the support bars for the steel sheeting roof. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Castell Caernarfon progress 10/7/19

This southerly view (10/7/19) shows Castell Caernarfon receiving attention at Boston Lodge out in the open with Upnor Castle in the background. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Special Events 2019

1/1/19 Final WHR Mince Pie Special (Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu twice daily)
15-22/2/19 Felinheli and Chaloner historical display at King's Cross
16-28/2/19 February Half Term Purple MFX service Porthmadog-Beddgelert
2-28/3/19 March Orange service MTFX Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn 
30/3/19 Start of new season services from Caernarfon to Porthmadog
13/4/19 'The Snowdonian' with Lyd and Lyn
14/4/19 Two L&B Specials Lyn hauled from Porthmadog to Beddgelert
17-19/5/19 Rail-Ale 15th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
15/6/19 The Snowdonian Limited-a limited stop re-run of The Snowdonian
21-23/6/19 WHR 'Past, Present and Future' including Russell, WD1215 and Baldwin No.605. WHRS AGM 22/6/19
4-25/8/19 and        15-22/9/19 Sundays 'Journey to the Past' specials Dinas-Rhyd Ddu possibly with Prince or Baldwin No.605 and two heritage coaches with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for refreshments, including packed lunch
10-11/8/19 Moelwyn and Chaloner Shrewsbury Flower Show
28-29/9/19 Lyd at the L&BR Gala
4-6/10/19 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
7-8/12/19 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
14-15/12/19 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
21-22/12/19 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
18/4/20 The Snowdonian
2/5/20 FR AGM and FR extra services
9/5/20 Caernarfon Food Festival with additional train on WHR
5-7/6/20 WHR Beer Festival
19-21/6/20 Fairlie Event (may include some WHR events)
11-13/9/20 'Small' WHR Event and WHR AGM 12/9/20
20/9/20 The Snowdonian Limited
9-11/10/20 Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2019

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 2019 is as follows:

January 5-6/1/19 12-17/1/19WW 19-20/1/19    
February 2-3/2/19 9-14/2/19WW 16-17/2/19    
March 2-3/3/19 9-14/3/19WW 16-17/3/19   30-31/3/19
April     13-14/3/19   27-28/4/19
May   11-12/5/19 18-23/5/19WW 25-26/5/19^  
June   8-9/6/19   22-23/6/19  
July   6-7/7/19 13-18/7/19WW 20-21/7/19  
August 3-4/8/19   17-18/8/18   31/8/19-
September -1/9/198 7-12/9/19WW 15-16/9/19   29-30/9/19
October     12-13/10/19   26-27/10/19
November 2-7/11/19WW! 9-10/11/19   23-24/11/18 30-/11/19WW!
December -5/12/19WW! 7-8/12/19      

^ Bank Holiday weekend

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

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating most Tuesdays.

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

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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

 

Site development

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

 

Comments

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

 

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

 

Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3759 updated 12/9/19