Welsh Highland Railway

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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.

 

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

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 7/7/18)

Snow Scenes (updated 31/10/15)

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

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

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

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

FR coach No.120 launched 17/7/18

This easterly view (17/7/18) shows the new FR coach No.120 released to traffic. The generic resemblance to WHR coaches is striking but the coach is a little smaller to fit the more restrictive FR loading gauge. WHR coaches cannot operate on the FR so The Snowdonian and other through workings are formed of FR stock. 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.

 

Russell SuperPower offer declined?

Reports are beginning to reach your webmaster that an invitation for Russell to attend the 21st anniversary of the reopening of the WHR during SuperPower in September has been declined by the WHHR. This also follows their recently declining an invitation to the Hunslet Gala in June.

The relationship between the two railway managements seems to have declined since the F&WHR allowed train runs to Hafod-y-llyn (and Beddgelert for water) during an evening possession a few years ago. This will come as a major disappointment to the many enthusiasts who look forwards to seeing Russell (and in due course No.590) on the WHR.

With the large gaps between WHR services, giving the WHHR the right to run occasional trains to Hafod-y-llyn cannot be a problem surely? The issue of an air braked rescue loco (if needed) could be covered by one of the WHHR's LyD diesel locos or one of their small diesels.

The problem seems to stem from a 'caution' placed by the WHHR (as WHR Ltd) on land adjacent to Pen-y-Mount station where the WHR was deviated around a gas main access that had been built on the trackbed before the reopening. See WHRS website for Dr. Ben Fisher's image of the disputed area.

The WHHR has an AGM on 28/7/18 and the matter may come to the fore as some of its own members have expressed concern about the continuing failure to agree to invites for Russell from the F&WHR. A document attached to WHHR Soc AGM published for the 2017 AGM sheds some light on the issue.

 

 

It should be noted that WHHR volunteers actually laid the track along the disputed section in a spirit of cooperation and the F&WHR was in negotiations which allowed test runs to Hafod-y-llyn before this dispute arose. Another area of contention is the siting of the Cae Pawb/Cambrian Crossing box which was moved to Pen-y-Mount junction after the WHHR refused to allow siting on the original location on the northwest corner of the crossing.

Russell has even been (of all places!) to the Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn on display. 'Rapprochement' in recent years until 2015 had seen first WHHR test train to Hafod-y-llyn (25/6/11), WHHR Members Excursion to Hafod-y-llyn (21/7/12), the first cross platform interchange at Pen-y-Mount (7/11/14), Moelwyn's visit to the WHHR on 6/7/14, Blanche visit to the WHHR 27/4/14,  K1's, visit to the WHHR 5/5/14, Britomart's visit to the WHHR 11/7/15 etc..etc...

 

NG15 No.134 report 16-17/6/18

Volunteers spent the weekend with two aspects of work on the go. One was the continued work on the boiler and the second the refurbishment of various components including some that they had acquired from South Africa a few years ago.

The first of these being dealt with were the Injector Check Valves that were duly refurbished on the Saturday. These are none return valves, sometimes known as ‘globe’ valves due to their shape, and are located between the Injector and the Clack Valve on the top of the boiler. There are two on the loco and both were cleaned internally and externally, removing many layers of paint from the outside, and then having their valve seats lapped-in to ensure a good seal.

The Brake Ejector was one component that volunteers had started during the May working party, however they put it on one side as they came across some stubborn nuts that refused to budge. This time we did manage to conquer three more of these, however, a fourth was still defeating us so we left it soaking in easing fluid with the hope of winning the war next month!

As the NG15 Group is now trying to make sure as many components as possible are complete and ready for re-assembly they also collected together the various parts that make up for the main piston rod sealing glands. Unfortunately it turned out one component was broken so will need to be renewed. They left all these soaking in paraffin until next time to make cleaning them a bit easier. It is not yet certain if all these parts will yet be used as the team are probably aiming to take into account ‘best practice’ currently employed on the Garratts.

On the boiler volunteers cleaned out the smokebox of all accumulated debris, cleaned out the limited amount they could from the foundation ring area and removed the crinolines that were attached during a previous restoration attempt. The group is aiming to prevent aiming to prevent further deterioration and so would also have liked to have patched up the protective coating of paint, but unfortunately a rather drizzly weekend prevented that. Last month the smokebox door was removed, so with it now at ground level volunteers were able to remove the baffle plate attached to it. This looked like a replacement as it was different to the drawings, but it also had a piece removed from the bottom, possibly from damage due to wastage. Again it could end up being modified to be similar to that on the Garratts.

One last job was that whilst the team could not paint outside the shed we did manage to paint some components on the frames inside the Carriage Shed, and this included the new cylinder cladding. The painting was needed as rusting was in evidence in unprotected areas!

Whilst all these seem small insignificant jobs they will make life much easier when further assembly takes place in the future. See NG15 website for full details and images.

 

Lilla footplate rides 14/7/18

Lilla will be giving footplate rides in Harbour Station on Saturday 14/7/18 from 1300-1800.

 

Boiler progress 2/7/18

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows the Australian Garratt boiler receiving new boiler plate to replace wasted plate on the backhead around the firehole. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows a close up of the Australian Garratt boiler receiving new boiler plate to replace wasted plate on the backhead around the firehole. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This boiler works view (2/7/18) shows a close up of the inner firebox ex-No.143. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin, General Manager F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Death of Colin Dale

Colin Dale, the Colchester man who promoted the reopening of the Blaenau Ffestiniog &Trawsfynydd Railway, has died of cancer in hospital aged 70. The project has now been taken up by the volunteer society who are hoping to negotiate rights to clear the line with NR. See Daily Post story.

 

Who blocked Russell's visit to the Hunslet Gala?

Some members of the WHHR demonstrated in T-shirts lamenting the failure of Russell, a Hunslet loco itself, to appear at the F&WHR Hunslet Gala in late June. It seems that the loco was invited by the F&WHR but it is rumoured the WHHR management blocked the move. The absence of the loco was missed by all from an event the loco should obviously have attended. This bodes ill for a possible attendance of Russell at SuperPower in September. It really is time for the two organisations to settle their differences! See Facebook for images of t-shirt protest.

 

This westerly view (24/6/18) shows Russell operating extra trips on the WHHR approaching Gelert's Farm Halt. It seems the Hunslet was in fact invited to the Hunslet Gala on the F&WHR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 9/6-6/7/18

By 9/6 the final reaming was taking place on the boiler. Some of the holes require up to 5 passes. It is a slow but necessary task. Welding starts on Monday 11/6/18 and the boiler should be hydraulically tested in August.

By 13/6 the regulator linkage between the regulator rod and regulator valve were found/fabricated and the parts and will soon be transported up to Stockton for fitting.

By 15/6 the four brass front and rear window frames and clamps were delivered after machined by John Hancock. Apart from the toughened glasses, they are ready to assemble onto the yet-to-be fabricated cab. The WHR will make some new profiles from the sample of the steel slide windows.

By 16/6 all the cross heads had now been fitted to the slide bars and as soon as all of the pistons are to be installed, followed by the rest of the motion will be hung.

By 21/6 the new cylinder drain cocks had been delivered and were being fitted. All were expected to be fitted by this date.

By 22/6 No.130's pipework was nearing the end and the first little bit of pipework had been added.

By 23/6 The process of welding in the stays has begun and so far most of the inner crown stays, most of the internal throat plate and quite a few of the outer back head stays have been welded in. The boiler will be turned shortly, so that the welders can work down hand.

By 26/6 the fireman's side injector pipework was pretty much complete and just a few tweaks were needed to finish this side off.

By 6/7 the all coupling rods were fitted up and the cross heads were being mounted.

It is expected No.130 will be completed ready and for service early in 2019. See Friends of No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Heat wave hits Porthmadog 29/6/18

Porthmadog was one of the hottest places in the UK in recent weeks, leading to local wild fires. Service reductions on the FR allowed for an early track inspection. From 1-9/7/18 the FR reduced the service to the Blue timetable because of concerns about track buckling allowing an early run by the KMX to check the state of the track.

Should the drought and high temperatures persist the lack of a mainline diesel capable of hauling a full length train will be felt. Caernarfon Castle is still under repair. Several years ago there was a major fire at the summit of the WHR believed to be caused by sparks.

 

This westerly view (29/6/18) shows No.138 ready to depart for Caernarfon with a wildfire burning near Talsarnau. 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.

 

BF&TR society update 6/7/18

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society is about to release a newsletter advising of its long delayed AGM when it hopes to elect new officers and restart the project to reopen the OOU line between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd Lake Halt.

On 28/6/18 it was announced that a £40m centre to support the design of advanced nuclear technologies will be developed in North Wales by the Welsh and UK governments. This is in addition to a £200m UK government nuclear sector deal that was launched in Trawsfynydd earlier this year. The small modular reactors proposed are unlikely to require heavy freight movements by rail though it could be made a planning restraint that construction materials for the site are delivered by train, a policy that has not been required of the recently confirmed development of Wylfa B where a new port is being constructed instead of using rail to bring in construction materials. See BBC report.

 

Moving Pictures No.20 28/6/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 18 mins 24 seconds of video covering events on the F&WHR including an update on Caernarfon station construction, an aerial view of a freight on the WHR and scenes from the Hunslet Gala. This YouTube was published on 26/6/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

Armed Forces Day 30/6/18

Armed Forces day was celebrated with a fly-past at Llandudno. Special trains were laid on including a rare Saturday outing for ATW's Manchester rake powered by EWS loco No.67022. to accommodate the extra workings into Llandudno the Conwy Valley service was diverted to Bangor.

 

Carriage Works update

Coach No.21 continues to progress with volunteers making it ready for painting over the summer months. The coach should receive its bogies in the autumn and go into service. FR Travel have sponsored new coach No.120 which will be in service in July after receiving wheels from the current No.120, which was taken out of service in June. Rather than have sponsorship plaques applied the coach tables have had adverts applied which illustrate FR Travel destinations in the form of a compass and mountain ranges that the world rail trips visit. Progress has also been made with fitting the woodwork to the frame of the new WHR Observation coach No.2152 Gwyrfai which is due in service early May 2019.

 

TfW Manchester train doubts

Close examination of the TfW/KeolisAmey WalesRail proposals reveals no commitment to continuing the Holyhead-Manchester loco hauled express service. This will dismay the many people who use the route. The MkIII coaching stock is owned by ATW.

Another concern is the increase in traffic being routed via the Wrexham-Chester route with a new train service on the Cardiff-Liverpool axis via the recently reopened Halton Curve between Runcorn and Frodsham. NR's redoubling of the Wrexham-Chester line was cut back to Saltney to Rossett and avoiding the expense of rebuilding a bridge over the A 483 north of Wrexham.

 

Caernarfon station progress 1-2/7/18

This aerial view with north at the top (1/7/18) shows the new rotunda complete with glazing and the general footprint of the new station building with the bus bay being progressed on the bottom left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This aerial view (2/7/18) shows the new main entrance door fitted. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Level Crossing accident at Cwmcloch 5/7/18

The RAIB were briefly involved with the F&WHR for the second time in a month when a local car driver drove into the side of a train at Cwmcloch Upper Level Crossing on 5/7/17 but they handed the matter back to the railway and police. The car was pushed alongside the train a few yards before the train came to a stop still blocking the crossing. The Ford Puma drove into the side of No.138 as it was hauling a train to Caernarfon. Passenger were transferred to coaches to complete their journeys. There was an estimated £5,000 worth of cosmetic damage to Bodysgallen and the service car. Train services were back to normal the following day. A similar incident happened recently on the W&LlR in April.

See BBC report, Daily Post report and Cambrian News report.

 

TRAWS report goes to WAG 5/7/18

The Welsh Assembly Government is set to receive the draft £300,000 Feasibility Study TRAWS report on Stage 1 of the West Coast Rail Link, from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. The report is several months late having been forecast for February. It is understood the report has considered alternative routes, such as those between Llandeilo and Lampeter proposed by aborted schemes in the mid 1800s. Some correspondents believe the route should 'buy out' the Gwili Railway rather than share the track. The Gwli Railway, which owns the trackbed between Abergwili Junction and Llanpumsaint, could have enough money to set up shop on the largely clear Abergwili to Llandeilo trackbed with a link to NR at Llandeilo. Another option is the Pencader Junc. - Newcastle Emlyn Branch but this would also discomfort the 2' gauge Teifi Valley Railway who currently occupy a short section of that trackbed.

Although some 97% of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen route is clear of development, part of the estimated £750 million construction cost is due to Dyfed/Ceredigion Council failing to protect the trackbed in Aberystwyth, which has been built over, and the requirement for a possibly tunnelled diversion approach to the terminus under Penparcau. See Cambrian News story.

 

L&BR Lyn to visit SuperPower

The L&BR's replica Baldwin Lyn will be a guest at SuperPower this September. The loco was invited last year but was not quite ready in time. The opportunity to double head Lyn and Lyd together will not happen however this year. It seems Lyn will be hauling shuttle trains between Caernarfon and Waunfawr but many hope the loco will make a through journey to Porthmadog. Lyn will return with F&WHR story.

 

Journey into the Past details 5/8/18.

This special train runs on Sundays 5-26/8/18.

The itinerary is as follows:

Arrive at Dinas station 10:15-10:30

Here passengers will be met by a host for the day and passengers will be told about some of the history of this, once important, interchange station. If coming from Caernarfon, passengers should use the 10:00 service from Caernarfon and alight at Dinas station which is a request stop. The special train will consist of Ffestiniog No.2 Prince and three heritage carriages as may have been seen on the railway in the 1920s and 1930s. It will depart Dinas Station at 11:00 heading inland along the original North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway trackbed. The first stop will be at Tryfan Junction, where the beautiful station building has been lovingly restored by volunteers. This is a chance to see inside and learn more about the busy little quarry line that branched off here for Bryngwyn. There will also be some unusual photo opportunities and a mug of station master's tea or coffee.

The train sets off again at 12:10, crossing the Caernarfon-bound service train at Waunfawr, before continuing on to Rhyd Ddu. Along the way, passengers will come across more former stations and buildings that mostly go un-noticed from passing trains - but, on this occasion, there will be time to stop and see these from the train window (Betws Garmon and Glan-y-afon Quarry branch). After arriving at Rhyd Ddu, the locomotive will run round and take on water, while passengers will be served packed lunch and have a chance to stretch their legs before the return to Dinas.

Departing at 14:00 the train will make a leisurely run through the Gwyrfai valley, crossing the Porthmadog-bound service train at Waunfawr, before arriving back at Dinas Station at 15:05. For those continuing to Caernarfon, there will be an hour to watch the shunting, look around the station and admire the views toward Anglesey before catching the 16:05 service train home.

The prices are: Adults - £36 (plus a £5 add-on fare, if travelling from Caernarfon.) - includes a packed lunch* and tea/coffee. Children / Society Members - £24

The Packed lunch will be simple fare, served in an insulated bag which passengers may keep after their journey. Vegetarian and gluten-free option available, but the WHR is not able to accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements.

Advance booking is required for these train - so please book online or phone the Booking Office on 01766 516024 to reserve seats.

These trains are sponsored by the Welsh Highland Heritage Group who look forward to giving passengers a glimpse into the fascinating past of the WHR.

 

Hunslet Gala YouTube taster

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 mins 11 seconds of video covering events on the F&WHR including the Hunslet Gala. This YouTube was published on 26/6/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

Caernarfon progress 30/6/18

This westerly view (30/6/18) shows the new rotunda feature with glazing being added. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). 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 (30/6/18) shows the new bus bay being completed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hunslet Gala 24/6/18

This northerly view (24/6/18) shows Lyd approaching the Afon Nanmor bridge (a section of the original remains on the hillside above the loco). The train was hauling the half size replica of NWNGR loco Beddgelert from the Fairbourne Railway on a flat wagon behind the loco. Funds for the restoration of the loco were raised by way of a booking fee donated by the F&WHR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (24/6/18) shows TRANGKIL No.4 double heading with CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6 returning from Hafod-y-llyn on a demonstration freight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (24/6/18) shows CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6, a Hunslet 0-4-2 from North Gloucester Railway at Toddington, at Pont Croesor on the tail end of a Boston Lodge to Hafod-y-llyn demonstration freight working. The train was topped by TRANGKIL No.4. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (24/6/18) shows TRANGKIL No.4, from the Statfold Barn Railway, at Pont Croesor on a Boston Lodge to Hafod-y-llyn demonstration freight working. It was a busy scene with No.138 heading south on a service train from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hunslet Gala 23/6/18

This southerly view (23/6/18) shows CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6 crossing Ynysfor level crossing on a demonstration freight to Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (23/6/18) shows CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6 passing Parry's Pig Farm on a demonstration freight returning from Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hunslet Gala 22-23/6/18

The Hunslet Gala saw good weather and attendance was also good. Indeed 'Ladies to Caernarfon' was fully booked. Any photos would be welcome for publication.

 

This easterly view (23/6/18) shows David Lloyd George on the Beddgelert shuttle arriving at Beddgelert with heritage stock at 1648. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (23/6/18) shows TRANGKIL No.4 on the Beddgelert shuttle arriving at Beddgelert with heritage stock at 1650 seemingly having pilotted the Fairlie. Built in 1971, this was the final steam loco constructed by Hunslet and was too large to operate on the FR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (22/6/18) shows CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6 arriving at Porthmadog on the through lines with a demonstration freight. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Palmerston at BLR 21/6/18

This westerly view (21/6/18) shows Palmerston ready to depart the temporary Bala terminus on the Bala Lake Railway. This is the first tender loco to haul a passenger train on the BLR since BR days. The BLR has published plans to extend the railway into the town centre but not the old Bala Town station site. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Palmerston arrives at BLR 19/6/18

In a first, Palmerston arrived at the Bala Lake Railway on 19/6/18. This is the first tender loco to run on the line. The loco has been loaned for the BLR's Gala which was moved to release their Quarry Hunslets for the F&WHR's gala. Palmerston will run on 21/6 and 23-4/6/18. See Narrow Gauge Enthusiast Group Facebook for image of Palmerston arriving at the BLR.

John Sutton adds: Locomotive Fernilee was the first tender engine to visit the Bala Lake Railway. It pulled a single coach down the line under test with no passengers in the week before the FR's Quirks and Curiosities Gala 18/4/17-1/5/17. However Palmerston is the first tender locomotive to pull passenger on the BLR.

 

Caernarfon progress 15/6/18

This northerly interior view (15/6/18) shows the fitting out of Caernarfon's new station building now it is fully enclosed. 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 interior view (15/6/18) shows the view from the upper cafe floor being fitting out of Caernarfon's new station building now it is fully enclosed. This offers a new view of the castle across the, some would say dangerous, shared pedestrian/vehicle roundabout below. 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 southerly view (15/6/18) shows the new rotunda feature compete on the top of Caernarfon's new station building. Safety fencing and a safety harness are present for working at height. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

All set for Hunslet weekend

Timetables for the Hunslet125 Gala can now be downloaded from the F&WHR website.

The W.D. Hunslet No.1215 will not now be visiting as it is still not ready so Monday's special event when it was to run the full length from Porthmadog to Caernarfon is cancelled. The loco may come to SuperPower in September if it is completed by then.

A special Routemaster bus service will run between Porthmadog and Minffordd to supplement the shuttle service.

The Fairbourne Railway's half size model of the NWNGR's Beddgelert, currently out of ticket, will be visiting Minffordd and on Sunday will be on a train to Beddgelert (presumably on a wagon!). The £5 reservation fee for this special train will be donated to the loco's restoration fund. See F&WHR website for full details and tickets.

There will be 25 locos in steam over the weekend and 19 visiting Hunslets. Two of the Hunslets, CHAKA'S KRAAL No.6 and TRANGKIL No.4 are too large for the FR so may feature in the Porthmadog area and on the WHR.

 

This plan view (19/6/18) shows the arrangements at Minffordd Yard over the Hunslet 125 Gala. 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.

 

Busy times!

Your web editor apologises for lack of updates recently but is almost fully occupied marking A-Levels for the next few weeks and even had to cancel his holiday/visit to the Hunslet Gala so any images would be welcome. Normal service will be restored in early July.

 

Derailment of No.143 10/6/18

The Rail Accident Investigation Bureau announced on 20/6/18 that it is investigating a minor low speed derailment of No.143 hauling the 1000 from Caernarfon on 10/6/18 at Clogwyn-y-Gwin South footpath crossing, just north of Rhyd Ddu, following a suspension failure. The leading wheelset became derailed and the coaches would have been removed by a rescue loco from Dinas. It is probable that northbound trains were turned back at Rhyd Ddu while the loco was rerailed. Full story and pictures are available from the RAIB who will make a Safety Digest available in the next few weeks. See RAIB website for full details.

There were no injuries to staff or passengers. Damage to the loco and infrastructure seems to have been slight as the loco was rostered for service again by 16/6/18.

 

No.138's PW train 10/6/18

Following on from Saturday’s Snowdonian Ltd No.138 had to be returned to Dinas on 10/6/18. The Infrastructure Dept. took the opportunity to use this as a positioning move for some of the Engineers vehicles that will be required to support tamping work on the WHR. See video on F&WHR Facebook page.

 

Snowdonian Limited 9/6/18

After a non-stop run from Porthmadog to Caernarfon The Snowdonian Limited paused at Dinas at midday for a hog roast in brilliant sunshine and a visit to Dinas Works.

 

This southerly view (9/6/18) shows No.143 hauling The Snowdonian Limited with an 'on the move' token exchange at Dinas at 10:52. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/6/18) shows the train returning from Caernarfon at 11:50 after a brief look at the new Caernarfon station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (9/6/18) shows No.130 in Dinas Works. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (9/6/18) shows Castell Caernarfon in Dinas Works taken apart for an extensive rewire. The bonnets are at Boston Lodge for repainting. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/6/18) shows the train returning from Caernarfon passing Hafod-y-llyn in the afternoon. 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 westerly view (9/6/18) shows the train returning from Caernarfon crossing Britannia Bridge in the afternoon before the Ladies took over for a trip up the FR. 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.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 8/6/18

This northerly view (8/6/18) shows the new rotunda feature making an appearance on the top of Caernarfon's new station. Safety fencing and a safety harness are present for working at height. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

VivaRail Class 230 for Conwy Valley 7/6/18

The Conwy Valley line to Blaenau Ffestiniog (as well as Wrexham-Bidston and Chester-Crewe) will see the newly refurbished ex-District Line D stock now known as Class 230. The D78 stock has 18m aluminium bodied coaches, built by Met-Camm in Birmingham and was introduced in 1978, entering service in 1980. The stock was withdrawn between 2015-7 but the vehicles were said to have much life left in them. Vivarail has announced that it has been chosen as preferred bidder to supply a fleet of Class 230 D-Trains to KeolisAmey for the Wales and Borders franchise. The trains will be the first to come into service as part of the new franchise and will demonstrate KeolisAmey’s commitment to providing new, high quality rolling stock to Welsh passengers.

 

This mock up view (6/18) shows the proposed Wales & Border livery on a Class 230. The single leaf doors are colour differentiated for those with poor eyesight. The large T logo stands for 'Transport for Wales', the WAG Agency that controls transport funding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright VivaRail and is computer generated. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail (and ex-MD of Chiltern), said "This is a very exciting day for us and we are proud to be supplying the first of the new trains for Wales. We know that KeolisAmey want to bring the best new trains to their passengers so our interior layout has been designed to do exactly that. As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a Universal Access Toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and 3-pin sockets. There will be a range of seating layouts and plenty of space for bikes and luggage. With KeolisAmey we have been determined to give passengers the very best travelling experience and the trains they deserve: modern, comfortable, reliable and environmentally-friendly."

"In conjunction with our partners at Creactive we have worked on a livery design that will be seen across the whole fleet. Our aim has always been to provide innovative solutions for operators and to that end I’m delighted to announce that our trains will be built as battery/diesel hybrids to cut down on emissions and make use of the exciting new technology we have developed over the past two years. As the UK’s leading battery train manufacturer we know that emission-free trains are the future and we will continue to spearhead that development. With this hybrid fleet we will deliver a train that is clean, green and reliable, making use of GPS systems to cut out the engines in stations and environmentally-sensitive areas."

 

This mock up view (6/18) shows the proposed 2+2 seating arrangement which includes bays with tables, 3-pin power sockets and USB ports. Hopefully the seating will be a little more comfy that the hard look envisaged here. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright VivaRail and is computer generated. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Adrian Shooter added “Our trains will come into service in summer 2019 and will form the flagship fleet for Wales and Borders and I look forward to taking the first journey in North Wales next year. I would like to congratulate KeolisAmey in their successful bid and thank our many friends from across Wales for their active support over the last few years.”

Colin Lea, Mobilisation Director, KeolisAmey Wales Cymru, said: "We are proud to announce that KeolisAmey and Vivarail will provide a step-change in passenger comfort and service quality on three North Wales routes (Wrexham-Bidston, Conwy Valley, Chester-Crewe) by introducing these units, fitted with the latest passenger comfort appliances such as power supply at all seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, air-cooling, bike spaces, and a brand new seating layout reflecting the needs of the passengers on these routes. In addition, these innovative hybrid trains, fitted with state-of-the-art monitoring systems, will provide a significant change in performance and reliability, helping KeolisAmey to deliver a more reliable service for its customers."

Design and build of the 3-car trains is already underway at Vivarail’s two sites and orders have been placed with the leading supplier of Universal Access Toilets based in Cwmbran. The fleet of 5 trains will move to Wales for final testing and commissioning in early 2019.

 

This mock up view (6/18) shows the proposed bike and buggy area utilising tip up seats near one of the single leaf power doors. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright VivaRail and is computer generated. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hunslet 150 update 7/6/18

Hunslet Margaret will be visiting from the VoR. There will be WHR specials on Friday. As well as the Ladies Day out to Caernarfon on Saturday 23/6/18, Taliesin and Prince will haul Vintage FR sets and there will be WHR specials to Hafod-y-Llyn and Beddgelert from Porthmadog. Visiting locos will also run freight trains on the lower reaches of the Welsh Highland and a passenger train heads to Beddgelert in the late afternoon. There will be further specials on the WHR Sunday.

See F&WHR website for full details and booking forms.

 

Boston Lodge report 6/6/18

Diesel No.9 was fitted with a new compressor in June after its recent failure in traffic. The loco is maximum speed 15 mph and is ideal for heavy PW work but cannot match passenger needs due to its low maximum speed.

Works shunter Harold is being refurbished after a start made as a volunteer project. The loco saw use on construction trains on the WHR about 10 years ago. It had a failed clutch and this has now been replaced. The shunter has been restored to its green livery.

 

This easterly view (16/5/18) shows newly restored works shunter Harold freshly painted in original green livery at Boston Lodge before acquiring the name Harold painted on the bonnet. The loco will feature at the Hunslet Gala representing that company's prodigious diesel loco output. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A new coach underframe (plus bogies) is under construction for the L&BR. Unlike the previous three coach underframes constructed for the L&BR which were dual braked, this will be vacuum fitted only.

Work is underway on the cradle frame for the new double Fairlie James Spooner, though the new boiler is being welded off site. Work is expected to restart on Welsh Pony this summer after a protracted break with attention to valve gear.

Harlech Castle is receiving attention after failing some time ago. The transmission is back from being rebuilt by an outside contractor. A vacuum brake exhauster is to be fitted as a policy change for PW trains will see them fully fitted in future.

Conwy Castle is also receiving attention as a volunteer led rebuild project. This loco's superstructure will be restored to a style more in keeping with the original design and when it emerges it will look like Upnor Castle. This loco will only be used on PW trains.

The KMX Tamper/Liner is also in Boston Lodge at the moment receiving attention. The machine was build by Framafer (a subsidiary of Plasser & Theurer), it is a very useful machine and keeps the line in fine fettle doing work that would take many volunteers shovel packing. Originally used in a French mine on a metre gauge underground railway, the frame was cut in half to remove it from underground.

 

This southerly view (18/5/18) shows an aerial view of Boston Lodge. From left to right can be seen Harlech Castle minus its engine, the KMX receiving attention with the frame of the press nearer the Erecting Shop. Green shunter Harold is behind Hunslet Moel y gest standing outside the Erecting Shop. To the right is a WHR B wagon repurposed for coal carrying and another B wagon carrying the bonnets of WHR Funkey Castell Caernarfon, presumably for repainting in the Coach Works. 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 digital camera using a quadcopter. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.19 6/6/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 27 mins 39 seconds of video covering events on the F&WHR including the Beer Festival and a Boston Lodge update. This YouTube was published on 6/6/18. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser or View on YouTube.

 

Details of WalesRail services 4/6/18

Of direct interest to the F&WHR is that there will be co-funding of a new joint NR/F&WHR station building at Blaenau Ffestiniog as part of local partnership and economic master plan to support the Conwy Valley Line and the F&WHR.

The new Keolis/Amey franchise is to hire in Mk IV rolling stock made redundant by the introduction of Azumas on the ECML in early 2020 to run its loco hauled services Holyhead-Manchester/Cardiff. The new Directly operated LNER service of the ECML will be disposing of the Mk IV rakes over the next few years as the new IEPT is introduced. The new WalesRail franchise does not seem keen to buy the new Mk V coaches being introduced by Transpennine this year despite encouragement from several sources. The seating and ride in Mk IV coaches has been compared unfavourably to Mk III coaches for many years.

The replacement of the Mk III coaches is necessary as they are not compliant with controlled emission/disabled access, however Chiltern successfully introduced compliant Mk III's after refurbishment including plug doors. There will be an expansion to three loco hauled trains per day on the Cardiff -Holyhead route as part of a 2 hourly service. Sadly no expansion of loco hauled services is envisaged throughout the franchise. However, there will be faster services with some stops moved to other services. Three four coach sets plus DVTs will be used based at Cardiff Canton for the North Wales-South Wales service but no mention is made of the Crewe/Manchester-Holyhead/Llandudno loco hauled trains!

From 2021 a new class (unspecified) of long distance/rural DMU, the CAF Civity, will be introduced which will successively replace Class 175/158/153/150 by 2024. The DMUs will be based at Chester and Machynlleth and operate North Wales and Cambrian services. There will be 51 2-car and 26 3-car trains.

The North Wales Metro from Wrexham to Bidston (for Birkenhead/Liverpool) will be run by the new Class 230 Vivarail units (ex-District Line). These hybrid units will be battery assisted and 5 three car units are envisaged based at Wrexham/Chester. Tables will be available in some bays. There will be a doubling of service to two trains per hour, one of which will be limited stop. Shotton station will be refurbished with integrated High and Low level facilities to improve interchange between the two routes.

The North Wales Coast will see several route changes. There will be 1 train per hour on the routes Manchester Airport-Bangor, Chester-Crewe and Llandudno-Liverpool. The latter new service will make use of the Halton Curve that will be reopened this year and call at Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn and all stations to Llandudno. Another innovation will be a 2 hourly Cardiff-Central Liverpool Service via Wrexham using the Halton Curve.

Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury will see all trains stopping at the new Bow Street station (Aberystwyth Parkway) from its opening in 2020 and an increase to regular hourly services on this route. No mention is made of improvements for the Cambrian Coast Line to Pwllheli. Even the Heart of Wales Line will see an improvement from four to five trains per day plus a turn back service at each end of the route.

Several stations will see improvements but there is no sign of the long called for Connah's Quay station. Chester will get yet another concourse, bus interchange and an improved car park. Wrexham General will have a 'multimodal interchange'. Machynlleth is to be a pilot station for a 'dementia friendly design' after consultation with stakeholders. Many other changes are envisaged in South Wales.

See also BBC News report, Rail Gazette and International Rail Journal reports.

 

Wylfa B funding go ahead 4/6/18!

Wylfa B will be Britain's next Nuclear Power Station. On 4/6/18 the UK Government revealed it was in talks to fund Wylfa B Nuclear Power Station (aka Wylfa Newydd) rather than ask a private company to take the scheme forward as the government could raise funds at cheaper rates than private finance. Wylfa B will make a contribution to low-carbon electricity generation. See BBC news stories about Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. De-fuelling Wylfa A commenced at Easter 2016 after shut down in December 2015 and will be completed by the end of 2018. Some 500 trainloads of part used nuclear fuel rods are being extracted and sent to Sellafield for reprocessing and are the last commercial freight on the North Wales Coast line. See BBC news story. Some 25% of the fuel rods were recovered in the first 9 months. With the Government considering funding the project and input from the WAG, it is possible the scheme will change from that envisaged originally by Horizon Nuclear who wanted to bring everything in to a new dock at Wylfa. For example revitalisation of the Amlwch line could be part of the project to receive construction materials at a base at the former tank farm at Rhosgoch with a new road across fields to the site. WAG has aspirations to reopen the line to Llangefni for commuter traffic into Bangor to reduce the need for yet another road bridge across the Menai Straits.

It is to be hoped that North Wales railways will benefit from materials brought in to build the power station, the delivery of fuel rods and that removal of spent fuel rods at Valley Nuclear Sidings might continue after a brief pause from 2019 until the reactor is constructed.

 

Porthmadog basks in sunshine 4/6/18!

For two days in the last week or so Porthmadog has been the warmest place in the country, reaching 25C. that together with the hatching of the Glaslyn Osprey chicks may bring increased tourism to the F&WHR. However the redevelopment of Beddgelert Forest Campsite to log cabins the consequent temporary closure of the Halt may damage traffic as many people used to get on at this location. Another concern is the rising cost of fuel now exceeding £1.30 per litre because of international worries and the weakness of the pound because of Brexit. The F&WHR is a full tank of petrol away from major conurbations. A campaign is growing for a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.

 

Palmerston to visit Bala 21-24/6/18

Palmerston will make its first ever visit to the Bala Lake Railway and will run on 21/6/18 and 23-4/6/18. This is in return for the BLR moving their annual steam Gala forward a week to 16-18/6/18 to avoid a clash with the F&WHR's Hunslet Gala. It will be the first tender loco to run on the BR line since standard gauge days!

 

WalesRail announcement 4/6/18

From 14/10/18 KeolisAmey, who have been awarded the WalesRail franchise, will set about a series of improvements for what they say is a new era for passengers and for Wales with more services, newer trains, better stations and a more reliable networking, including:

  • £194m will be spent on station improvements, including the building of five new stations and the modernisation of all 247 already existing stations on the network;
  • £800m will be spent replacing trains in Wales. From 2023, 95% of journeys will be made on new trains, half of which (50%) will be assembled in Wales;
  • by December 2023 KeolisAmey will be running an extra 285 services every weekday across Wales, with improvements on the Ebbw Vale line, North Wales Metro (Wrexham-Bidston), Cambrian and Heart of Wales lines;
  • there will be an extra 294 services across Wales on Sundays, an increase of 61%, creating a true 7-day service for the first time;
  • there will be investment in new technology to reduce disruption and enhance performance;
  • a new website and app will be created in the first year;
  • investment will be made to improve on-board mobile phone connectivity;
  • Six hundred new jobs will be created to deliver the contract, and 30 new apprenticeships will be created every year.
  • These improvements are part of a series of investments totalling £1.9bn that will be made over the 15-year contract period to bring about a transformation in rail travel for people and communities the length and breadth of Wales and its borders. The contract will run from 4/6/18 until 14/10/33, with rail services transferring on 14/10/18. It also includes delivering the next phases of the South Wales Metro project.

    As part of the South Wales Metro development, journey times will be reduced and the frequency of trains will be increased, while new Metro vehicles will bring on-street running back to Cardiff. The link from Penarth, Barry and Bridgend to destinations north of Cardiff Central will be maintained using new tri-mode trains which can run on power from overhead electric cables, batteries and diesel engines.

    Smart ticketing will be rolled out across Wales making travel easier and fares more flexible. New cheaper off-peak fares will be introduced, including reductions to fares in North Wales and at the heads of the Valleys.

    KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership between international transport operator Keolis (70% owned by SNCF) and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey, owned by a family Spanish business Ferrovial. So Labour have part achieved their objective of renationalising Welsh Railways, albeit owned by France!

    While the announcement does focus on the major population centre of South Wales, there is some news for North Wales with the Wrexham-Bidston Metro improvement but many feel this would be better as an extension of the Liverpool DC electric network giving through journeys to the heart of Liverpool rather than an uncertain connection at windswept Bidston station. There is no mention of improving the North Wales to Cardiff service which suffers from overcrowded Class 158s and would be better served, as many feel, by an off-the-shelf a loco hauled operation such as TransPennine Express is introducing this summer. There is no mention of the re-dualling of Wrexham-Rossett to improve reliability or of services to Liverpool Lime Street via the currently being rebuilt Halton Curve.

    Improvements to Cambrian Line services will directly affect the F&WHR and reduction in fares on North Wales Coast may bring more day-trippers but the Bangor-Caernarfon gap is still a problem for travel by train to the WHR. This awaits a TRAWS campaign for Bangor-Afon Wen. Stage 1 of the TRAWS scheme (Aberystwyth-Carmarthen) is awaiting the outcome of a WAG Feasibility study now 3 months overdue and said to be at the final draft stage.

     

    The Snowdonian Limited 9/6/18

    The Snowdonian Limited will run on Saturday 9/6/18. There will be a Friday evening tour of Boston Lodge at 16:45. The train departs Porthmadog at 09:15 non-stop for Caernarfon with a light breakfast and a hog roast and works visit to Dinas on the return. This is followed by a run to Blaenau Ffestiniog with afternoon tea at Tan-y-bwlch and a return to Porthmadog by 19:15. Tickets are £185 with limited first class for £400. All funds raised go to the Diamond Jubilee fund supporting sustainable development of the F&WHR. See F&WHR website.

     

    No.130 update 1-3/6/18

    By 1/6/18 the smokebox door has received some attention. This was one of the few bits from the old boiler that was good to be reused. The door was sand blasted and primed. It is now ready to fit when the time comes.

    By 3/6/18 the firebox was inserted and mostly riveted in. About 50% of the stays have been inserted and tacked in, including the majority of the crown stays.
    Over the next week or two, the balance of the remaining stays will be fitted, just leaving the welding to start.

     

    Service Car No.2010 back in service 2/6/18

    Due to technical difficulties with Service Car No.2010 the F&WHR announced on 31/5/18 that they were unable to provide hot food on the following Welsh Highland Railway trains, the 10:50 train from Porthmadog and the 14:20 return from Caernarfon. However, the trolley service of hot & cold drinks, cakes, biscuits and confectionery - together with our range of beers, wines and spirits - was however continue to be provided on these trains.

    Following some fast work in the repair shop the problems affecting Service Carr No.2010 have been fixed and the vehicle returned to traffic on 2/6/18 after just 2 days out of use. The full range of hot & cold food, drinks, snacks etc. is again available on ALL Welsh Highland Railway services after a gap of just 2 days.

     

    Britannia Bridge level crossing incidents 1/6/18

    The F&WHR has called in the local police to deal with continuing incidents of abuse the Britannia Bridge level crossing with car drivers sometimes failing to stop at red lights and cyclists not using the designated cycle lanes. On 23/5/18 the F&WHR's Safety Officer met with the local PC SO to discuss abuse of the crossing and what could be done to improve the situation. See Cambrian News story.

     

    Caernarfon Station progress 1/6/18

    This southerly view (1/6/18) shows the new stone cladding around the staff entrance at the south end of the station building as seen from Segontium Terrace. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

     

    Events 2018

    1/1/18 Final day of Mince Pie Specials
    10-18/2/18 Hugh Napier and Velinheli on display at Kings Cross
    10-25/2/18 Purple timetable Porthmadog-Beddgelert MFX
    3-15/3/18 Orange timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn MTFX
    14/4/18 The Snowdonian
    12/5/18 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
    18-20/5/18 Rail-Ale 14th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
    9/6/18 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited stop re-run of The Snowdonian
    16-18/6/18 Hugh Napier at Bala Lake Railway steam gala
    21/6 and 23-4/6/18 Palmerston at Bala Lake Railway
    22-25/6/18 Hunslet 125 Gala celebrating Blanche and Linda's 125th Birthday
    9/7/18 Special timetable for Railtour
    5-26/8/18 Sundays Journey to the Past special Dinas-Rhyd Ddu with Prince and two heritage coaches with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for refreshments, including packed lunch
    14-16/9/18 Lyn to visit SuperPower (WHR AGM 15/9/17)
    29-30/9/18 Lyd visit to L&BR Gala
    5-7/10/18 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
    31/10/18 WHR Halloween Train
    8-9/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
    15-16/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
    22-23/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (routes to be confirmed)
    27/12/18-1/1/19 WHR Mince Pie Specials (to be confirmed)

     

    Mainline news

    There will be a series of railtours both to and from North Wales in 2018 while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least providing the only freight traffic on the route. 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. Railtours are diesel hauled unless otherwise specified. It is good to see a few railtours starting from Bangor but sad to see nothing on the Cambrian again!

    14/4/18 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe to Llandudno/Holyhead (steam throughout on main line) from Crewe Saphos Rail.

    28/4/18 'The Ynys Mon Express' Leicester to Holyhead (steam) Tornado UKRT.

    2/6/18 'North Wales Coast Express' Crewe to Llandudno/Holyhead (steam throughout on main line) Saphos Rail.

    14/6/18 'Three Peaks' Private charter Crewe to Bangor

    15/6/18 'Three Peaks' Private charter Bangor to Ravenglass and Fort William

    12/7/18 'The Conwy Valley Explorer' Dumfries to Betws-y-coed (47/57 throughout) West Coast Rail.

    19/7/18 'The Royal Windsor Express II' Bangor (and stations to Chester) to Windsor West Coast Rail.

    22/7/18 'The North Wales Coast Express' Manchester Piccadilly-Llandudno/Holyhead steam throughout on main line) RTC.

    24/7/18 'The Welsh Mountaineer' Preston to Blaenau Ffestiniog (steam) RTC.

    4/8/18 'The William Shakespeare' Bangor (and stations to Crewe) to Stratford-on-Avon (steam throughout) Saphos Rail.

    30/8/18 'The Conwy Valley Explorer II' Harrogate to Betws-y-coed (47/57 throughout) West Coast Rail.

    17/10/18 'The Pendle Dalesman III' Bangor (and stations to Chester) to Carlisle (steam Hellifield-Carlisle) West Coast Rail.

    19/10/18 'Tenth Anniversary Tour' Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog/Holyhead (Tornado) Private.

     

    Trackwork Volunteering 2018

    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 2018 is as follows:

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

    ^ Bank Holiday weekend

    WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

    ! Dates for November and December 2018 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme for 2018-19.

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

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

    Contacts

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

    Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

     

    Gradient graph

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

     

    Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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

     

    Site development

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

     

    Comments

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

     

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

     

    Maps & Plans and links

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

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

    Click here for the Mail Order web page

    Click here for the Official WHR website

    Click here for Official WHHR site

    Click here for FR Company websites

    Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

     

    V4.3648 updated 18/7/18