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 1/1/19)

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 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

 

Rhyd Ddu resignalling 9-10/1/19

Following completion of the Beddgelert token interlocked starter signals last Winter (and similar work at Pont Croesor), work has switched to Rhyd Ddu. The S&T train was at Rhyd Ddu on 9-10/1/19 and some 2 km of cables were pulled into the previously installed ducts. The PW HLF trainees have been loaned to the S&T team to assist with the work. Location cabinets which are currently being built in the infrastructure workshop at Minffordd will be delivered shortly. The signals will be commissioned in time for 2019 season daily services which start on 30/3/19.

 

This southerly view (9/1/19) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling the S&T train into Rhyd Ddu with cabling for the Rhyd Ddu starter signal project. 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.

 

North Wales Coast trains 11/1/19

There was another appearance of Class 88 on 11/1/19 with Nos.88001/9 hauling the Valley Nuclear Electric-Crewe working with three flasks. These bimode diesels have a lower power in diesel mode than electric.

 

No.133 moves 11/1/19

With some reluctance, No.133, the second SAR NG15, was moved from Dinas North Headshunt to the protection of the Carriage Shed on 11/1/19. The move may be associated with making measurements for the completion of No.134. Ex BSC Shotton shunter Bill was used with a reach wagon. See No.134 Facebook page for images.

 

Waunfawr station progress 9/1/19

This southerly view (9/1/19) shows blocks of random local stone delivered to give a similar appearance to the original station building. Yellow bricks have also been delivered for the window and door surrounds. This section appears to have been built inside the station building. 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.

 

Caernarfon relay 6/1/19

It seems strange that track that had been laid only last winter was lifted this January but it was only temporary as the contractors still required access to the rear of the building under construction at that time. The head-shunt track as well as the track back to the straight sections in the platform and loop were taken up, the ballast was re-levelled by the WHR's contractor W H Jones and the turnout was moved to its final position by the gated entrance to the Service Road. Work will continue on alternate weekends, the next one being 19-20/1/19. If any volunteers would like to help please contact Dafydd Thomas or phone 07919 414877.

 

This southerly view (6/1/19) shows the new position of the north loop point at Caernarfon alongside the gated entry to the Service Road. The position of the gate means the public and enthusiasts will no longer be able to closely watch the loco going through the points as before. 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.

 

Waunfawr station external wall test 3/1/19

This easterly view (3/1/19) shows a trial section of external wall built at Waunfawr for approval. The random local stone gives a similar appearance to the original station building, however the stones there were somewhat larger and less manageable. This section appears to have been built inside the station building. 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.

 

New map for TRAWS 3/1/19

This new map (3/1/19) from TRAWS, the campaign to reopen the West Coast Wales Rail corridor from Bangor to Carmarthen,  shows how the red Bangor-Afonwen route, together with the blue Aberystwyth-Carmarthen route, would complete a west coast  rail corridor from North to South. 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.

 

Trackworks starts at Boston Lodge 4/1/19

On 4/1/19 the PW team arrived at Boston Lodge with the FR's Dee & Mersey Group assisting the WMWP. Over the next three weeks remodelling of the throat will continue, with the aim of having the area in service by the start of the daily service. For the next three weeks Boston Lodge will be isolated from the rest of the network. Pen Cob Junction itself and the associated repositioned extended headshunt was relaid last year from 24/1/18 but not connected up. Provision will be made for turnouts for the new Carriage Shed extension on the made ground formed last year by the new sea wall. Necessary PW and emergency stock has been stored elsewhere on the network while Boston Lodge is cut off.

 

This easterly aerial view (4/1/19) shows the new Pen Cob Junction laid early last year but not connected. New ballast has been spread out for the fan of sidings that will lead from the new Pen Cob Junction to the yard throat and the extended Carriage Shed. The old Pen Cob Junction under the PW train will also be removed. Several sets of new points can be seen receiving attention next to the flat bed lorry that delivered them. 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.

 

More drone views of the PW work are available on the F&WHR's Inside Motion page courtesy Dave Thurlow.

 

This westerly view (4/1/19) shows the PW train out on the main line. The new red fencing will be extended to the west to separate the yard from the main line as Pen Cob Junction is moving west. New points are stacked after delivery before moving to new locations. 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.

 

This easterly view (4/1/19) shows the new points pre-fabricated on plastic sleepers. 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.

 

This easterly view (4/1/19) shows the points to be lifted as part of the throat remodelling and fresh ballast stored to the right. 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.

 

North Wales main line news 4/1/19

After trails with Class 68/88 combinations last year on the flasks, it was inevitable that a Class 88 pair would eventually appear as the loading is quite light with usually just a couple of flasks from the decommissioning of Wylfa via Valley Nuclear Electric Siding with Nos.88006/8 on 4/1/19. This traffic is set to finish in the spring and that is the sad end of regular freight on the North Wales Coast line.

The MANWAG Express loco hauled is continuing using the original ATW MkIII stock hired in and de-branded. No.67020 has been on duties over recent weeks.

 

Work starts on Caernarfon relay 6/1/19

The Black Hand Gang started work relaying the track at the north end of Caernarfon station over the weekend of 5-6/1/19. The track must be aligned with the newly extended platform, the points moved further north and the headshunt extended alongside the station building. When work is complete trains will stop about a coach and a half closer to the station building and the WHR will have been extended about 50 m closer to Bangor! All must be complete by the start of the new season in March. A gate alongside the station building at the end of the platform will deny access to passengers/enthusiasts to the run round area and the service road.

 

This southerly view (6/1/19) shows the North Wales Track Gang lifting track with the points up on blocks ready to be lifted to its new position further north. 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.

 

This northerly view (6/1/19) shows the North Wales Track Gang lifting track with the points set to be moved later in January to a location in front of the excavator which is levelling the new base ballast for the extended headshunt. 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.

 

This northerly view (6/1/19) shows track lifted by the end of the weekend working party at Caernarfon. In the distance the excavator is extending and levelling the ballast bed for the new headshunt alongside the station building. The points will move north of the kink in the platform which is where the end of the rake will normally lie. 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 (6/1/19) shows track lifted by the end of the weekend working party at Caernarfon. Rails are piled on the platform ready for relaying. The point will probably be split in two and moved by excavator to its new position. The tarmaced area visible north of the new run round ballast is for bins. A plastic covering remains fitted to the rotunda to minimise leaks until snagging is complete. 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.

 

Work restarts at Waunfawr

With blockwork complete and almost all the roof trusses fitted, insulated cladding is being added to the new Waunfawr station building. Later local rough stone cladding will be added to simulate the original look of the station building.

 

This northerly view (5/1/19) shows the southerly aspect of Waunfawr station building with trusses almost complete. 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 westerly view (5/1/19) shows the easterly aspect of Waunfawr station building with one truss needing to be fitted. 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 (5/1/19) shows westerly aspect of Waunfawr station building with insulation being fitted. Galvanised wall ties can be seen protruding through the insulation that will tie in the external random stone facing. 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 southerly view (5/1/19) shows cladding fitted to the north wall of the building. Galvanised wall ties will link the blockwork to the external stone facings. The damp proof layer is also in evidence. 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.

 

Happy New Year!

Your webmaster wishes all readers a Happy New Year.

 

No.143 on final Mince Pie specials 1/1/18

The crew for the final train of the Mince Pie specials was driver Paul Lewin, trainee driver Mike Hart and fireperson Julie Stirland.

 

This southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 running round and preparing for the final train of the Xmas Holidays with Mike Hart observing the run round. 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 southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 running round and preparing for the final train of the Xmas Holidays. 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 southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 near Ffridd Isaf curve with the final train of the Xmas Holidays. 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 westerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 near Ffridd Isaf curve with the final train of the Xmas Holidays. 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.

 

For those missing snow on the WHR!

Michael Chapman reports: Over Christmas I travelled to the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen in Germany - twinned with the WHR. I had snow. Photographs can be seen here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/55958391@N07/albums/72157705193667704

 

No.143 29/12/18

This northerly view (29/12/18) shows No.143 running round at Caernarfon. Following the final trains on 1/1/19, the track will be lifted in this area and realigned along the platform face, the point moved north and the headshunt extended north to accept two Garratt locos. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow report 1/1/19

The final day of the 'Mince Pie' Green timetable trains 27/12/18-1/1/19 is forecast to see continuing mild weather with sunny periods and 8C forecast at Snowdon Ranger. The weather gets a bit colder with snow falling on the mountains later in the week but there will be no trains until the Purple MFX timetable for Half Term 16-28/2/19. These trains run Porthmadog to Beddgelert at 1115 and 1420 with a return journey from Beddgelert possible at 1225 allowing 1 hour 15 mins for lunch in Spooners or a walk along The Cob.

The Orange MTFX timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn operates from 2/3/19 but snow is unlikely at sea level at this time of year.

 

NG15 No.134 report 15-16/12/18

With the boiler taken away on 12/12/18 this working party took advantage of being able to add a few more components to the list of those that could be needed for the overhaul. This was helped by the fact that volunteers also started to sort out more of the components on our storage shelves and uncovered the main regulator shaft that had made its presence scarce last month, together with the boiler's internal regulator actuation arm. While sorting out the components volunteers took the opportunity to clean and apply a coat of primer to those in need. Those components then duly moved across to the 'ready for fitting' section.

One main job that was also ticked off was the trial fitting of the wear plates for the leading and trailing truck axle boxes. One of the full time staff had made these for the NG15 Group and had already tweaked one to fit it into place. Volunteers therefore fitted the other three so as they are all now ready to go for hardening. One of the plates, however, needed quite a bit of work to get it to fit. It looks like the axlebox had been built up with weld, presumably this was to compensate for where it had worn in the past, so the new plate that was made to the drawing needed to be adjusted to fit!

 

Snow report 25/12/18

The latest weather forecast predicts the Snowdon Ranger weather will be unusually mild at 8-10C over the next week to 31/12/18 with no snowfall, not even on Snowdon. At least this eases travel to the WHR for the 'Mince Pie' Green timetable trains 27/12/18-1/1/19 and the mountains may retain some snow cover from last week.

 

Final Santa trains 23/12/18

This northerly view (23/12/18?) shows Taliesin and David Lloyd George hauling the morning Santa Special to Beddgelert just north of Pont Croesor. 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.

 

This northerly view (23/12/18?) shows No.143 running around the afternoon Santa Special after returning from Rhyd Ddu. The leak in the rotunda is still in evidence and will be on the snagging list in the Spring as a large plastic sheet is protecting that part of the building. The WMWP will see the headshunt extended north and track realigned along the platform just in front of the loco. 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.

 

No.130 update 23/12/18

New mechanical lubricator shafts have been made and a second coat of paint has been added to the new boiler. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Green timetable/Snow report 23/12/18

With the Mince Pie specials starting on 27/12/18 and continuing to New year's Day the weather around the WHR seems forecast to be depressingly mild and wet as in recent years. Temperatures of 7/8C have been forecast for 27-29 with no sign of a cold snap and no snowfall predicted even on Snowdon summit.

Trains will operate twice a day at 1015 and 1315 from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu with three and a half hours available  between trains for a walk or lunch at Rhyd Ddu. What is surprising is that again there are no Boxing Day trains. This seems to be a carry over from the days when through trains were operated. Cae Pawb crossing is not available on Boxing Day as the Machynlleth signalling centre is closed for staff holidays. However, Boxing Day trains on the WHR would not require to use this section of line if operating between Caernarfon and Rhyd Ddu so it is a mystery why this disparity between the FR and WHR persists as the FR runs well filled trains on Boxing Day.

 

Final Santa trains 22/12/18

Another mild wet weekend sees the final Santa Specials run for 2018.

 

This southerly view (22/12/18) shows Taliesin and David Lloyd George hauling the 1415 afternoon Santa Special to Beddgelert crossing Pont Croesor in the low afternoon sun on one of the shortest days of the year. This beautiful view is characteristic of Roger Dimmick's excellent photography skills. 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.

 

Waunfawr station progress 21/12/18

This northerly view (21/12/18) shows the roof trusses for the new Waunfawr station building erected. The site has now closed down for the Xmas break. Meanwhile, prototypical yellow bricks for the window and door surroundings have arrived at Minffordd Yard. 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.

 

Welsh Pony update 21/12/18

More progress has been made with the Welsh Pony restoration. The valve gear was completed this week and the driver's vacuum brake valve and ejector are being made at the moment. The inside motion was fitted up this week and the final job before Christmas was to put final coat of paint on. After Christmas the loco goes back in to Boston Lodge and the boiler goes back on the frames for the final time. Sadly, it looks like Welsh Pony won't be ready in time for the June 'Past, Present and Future' event 21-23/6/19 that will feature Russell.

 

This Boston Lodge view (posted 22/12/18) shows Welsh Pony's rolling chassis ready to receive the boiler in the New Year. The inside motion has recently been completed. 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 96dpi.

 

When Welsh Pony is completed next year it will best tested in the deep plum colour and then out-shopped in Garraway era green for the first season or two as restoration of the loco is dedicated to former FR GM Allan Garraway, who always wanted to see it completed and gave the first donation to start the project.

 

No.130 progress 21/12/18

Further progress with the cab had been made by 21/12/18. Cab details like the window frames and sliding brackets have already been added. All of the patterns and profiles are made and the glass is ready to fit. The sunshine roof (!) will be the last thing to be made.

 

WMWP progress

The S&T team has completed the groundwork at Rhyd Ddu and wired the location cabinets ready for installation in January of the starter signals as fitted to Beddgelert last year. The builders completed the external work on Harbour Station frontage and replaced the toilet pumping equipment on the platform (the wooden beehives). A new roof has been constructed on the Boston Lodge Loco Shed and the and Moelwyn tunnel portals are making good progress.

 

This southerly view (14/12/18) shows Moelwyn in the new Moelwyn tunnel north portal. Many ex-Deviationists like your webmaster will see this as the final completion of the Deviation project of their youth, although not strictly of WHR interest. 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.

 

Betws Garmon station 17/12/18

The WHHG contractor, Cyril Williams, has now completed the first part of the work restoring Betws Garmon station building. The work involved re-pointing of the stone and brickwork, including partially rebuilding certain areas and adding to the walls with available stonework. The lime mortar has to be left a while to set before placing the protective turf capping on top. Subject to the weather, the turf will be added in February.

 

Waunfawr station progress 17/12/18

Blockwork at Waunfawr station building is now complete. The roof trusses have arrived and scaffolding for working on the roof is complete. One of the existing wooden station buildings will move to Rhyd Ddu to provide addition shelter on the platform at this exposed location.

 

This northerly view (17/12/18) shows blockwork complete the new Waunfawr station building and scaffolding erected so that the recently delivered roof trusses can be erected and work can start on the roof over Xmas. 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.

 

Snow Report 19/12/18

The weather forecast suggests Snowdon will receive snow this weekend turning to rain for the final Santa Specials but nothing around the height of the railway. The weather seems to have got locked in the mild wet windy state common to recent winters. There is still time for the weather to change for the Mince Pie Specials from 27/12/18 to 1/1/19. These trains run Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu at 10:15 and 13:15.

 

Caernarfon Bypass news 18/12/18

Martin Kressman writes: The following report on the BBC Wales news website confirms that work will start this Winter, as though the earlier announcement had not been made(!) In any event, all tree trimming and felling will have to be complete by March before the start of the bird nesting season. As I understand it no allowance has been made in the WHR winter maintenance programme for the construction of a haul road across the railway that will be required to the north of Bontnewydd. This too will need to be complete by the end of March and the start of the Summer train service.

 

No.130 progress 17/12/18

A great deal of progress was made on just one afternoon on 17/12/18. All of the large items, cabs, coal bunker and water tank, were trial fitted to check out all of the key mountings lined up and before the task of finally mounting the boiler to the cradle starts. The engine made its first trip out into the daylight in its nearly complete form. After the boiler is fixed down, work will start on the crinoline and cladding. See No.130 Facebook page for several images of the loco out in the sunshine.

 

Santa Specials 22-23/12/18

Both WHR (Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu) and FR (Porthmadog-Beddgelert) Santa Specials are fully booked as of 16/12/18. The weather for the Santa trains looks mild, misty and moist though with temperatures of 8C forecast for next weekend. It does not appear there will be a repeat of the snowy Santa Specials seen last year, though Snowdon Summit will receive a fresh covering of snow during the week.

 

This easterly view (12/12/18) shows Taliesin running around the Santa Special at Beddgelert. David Lloyd George is topping up with water from the water crane. 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.

 

Waunfawr station progress 13/12/18

This easterly view (13/12/18) shows work taking place on the internal walls of the new Waunfawr station building. There will be public toilets, a Waiting Room and an Operations Room. 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.

 

Autumn titbits

Numbers of passengers travelling on the WHR have been up this year on recent years with a 7% increase by the end of August. This despite the increase in fares and the removal of the Senior Citizens Concession. In fact income had risen by 10% to the same date. Some radio advertising may have contributed to the uplift. The thieves who ransacked the temporary Caernarfon station building at Ty Seiont in mid-August were arrested and this has led to consideration of more security at the new Caernarfon station.

There have been no lineside fires this year despite the scorching summer weather. This is down to good driving techniques, spark arrestors, ashpan baffles and drenches. Ffos-y-fran opencast coal (Merthyr Tyfil) has continued to be the supplier of low smoke coal. With three serviceable Garratts for the peak season there was always one spare for maintenance. This was particularly important in July with the No.143's suspension failing and subsequent derailment near Clogwin-y-Gwin footpath crossing. With No.87 now having its10 year overhaul, it is essential that the new Garratt No.130 is finished for the 2019 peak season.

Ex Australian sugar cane railway PW Diesel No.9 has had a new air pump fitted and attention to gear selection and direction controls which have been simplified. Work continued on the rewire of Castell Caernarfon and the repainted bonnets were completed in green livery in September to be returned to Dinas.

Some French university students interned at Boston lodge over the summer and two new DZ type underframes were produced to replace the badly corroded units on the bolster rail carrier pair.

The panelling on Gwyrfai, the new WHR Observation car, has made good progress and the carriage may enter service in 2019. Winter maintenance on WHR Carriages is underway but delivery of parts is becoming a problem and delaying some projects.

 

Moving Pictures No.26 13/12/18

Click on the YouTube link to watch 23 mins 50 seconds of video covering Linda on a private Santa Special to Beddgelert and the arrival of No.130's boiler. Surprisingly there is no mention of Russell's visit to Beddgelert on 25/11/18, publicity for which seems to have been in the hands exclusively of the WHHR. This YouTube was published on 13/12/18 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in 2160p 4K HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively, View on YouTube where all options are available.

 

WHHG work at Betws Garmon station 13/12/18

This northerly view (13/12/18) shows WHHG work taking place on Betws Garmon Halt. Stones have been recovered from inside the collapsed and robbed structure and the walls partially restored. The plan is to cap the walls with turf to minimise further deterioration. Voids excavated inside the building to recover brick and stone will likely be back-filled with slate waste or similar. 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.

 

No.134's boiler leaves Dinas 12/12/18

This easterly view (12/12/18) shows No.134's boiler being lifted onto the Hughes lorry in Dinas North Yard for transport to Loughborough for assessment, after No.130's boiler had been removed. 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.

 

No. 130's boiler arrives Dinas 12/12/18

No.130's boiler arrived at Dinas on 12/12/18 and was craned into the frames which had been shunted out of the Loco Shed into the North Yard to ease the process by Vale of Ffestiniog. The Funkey is currently based at Dinas to assist the WHR Santa Specials whilst Castell Caernarfon is repaired. Local haulier Hughes Specialised Transport of Blaenau Ffestiniog was tasked with the job as a part of the F&WHR's policy of buying services locally. Two additional Hiab fitted lorries were required to unload the boiler. The boiler was suspended in mid air whilst the Funkey inched the frames into the correct position. Some parts had been removed as the boiler is a tight fit in the cradle frame e.g. blow down valves and washout plugs. For more images see F&WHR Facebook page.

The next stage is to fix the boiler to the frames. Holes must be drilled in the smokebox to attach it to the saddle. Then the boiler insulation and cladding must be added and all the copper pipework. The final stages include adding the turret and fitting out the cab.

 

This northerly view (12/12/18) shows No.130's boiler being lifted into the loco's frames in Dinas North Yard. Vale of Ffestiniog was in support to shunt the loco back to the Loco Shed. 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 (12/12/18) shows No.130's boiler being lifted into the loco's frames in Dinas North Yard complete with new bunker. Vale of Ffestiniog was in support to shunt the loco back to the Loco shed. 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 (12/12/18) shows No.130's boiler in the loco's frames in Dinas North Yard complete with new bunker. Vale of Ffestiniog was in support to shunt the loco back to the Loco Shed. 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.

 

Keith Holland has also provided a short film clip of the loco moving with boiler.

 

This northerly view (12/12/18) shows No.130's boiler in the loco's frames in Dinas Loco Shed complete with new bunker. No.130 will receive maximum effort to make it a working loco this season as No.87 has been withdrawn and the WHR has only two other Garratts, one of which will be withdrawn the following year. On the left is the Combination Car No.1001 being refurbished as a volunteer project. 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.

 

Waunfawr progress 12/12/18

This northerly view (8/12/18) shows Waunfawr Station building has now reached Eaves level in the initial breezeblock construction phase. Doors and windows spaces are now complete on all sides giving an idea of how the final building will look. Scaffolding is being erected to allow progress to be made with the roof. Planking has been delivered for the raised working platform. Three man are at work on the contract. Cladding with local stone, including smaller stones from the original building stored under the footbridge, will start later. 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 westerly view (8/12/18) shows the scaffolding on the east elevation which has no doors. 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.

 

Caernarfon Station views 8/12/18

This southerly view (8/12/18) shows the Exhibition area in Caernarfon Station building which serves as a waiting hall for Santa Specials during inclement weather, complete with 'Executive' toilets on right. The WHR moved out of Ty Seiont, the temporary building at the south end of the platform in early December in time for the Santa Specials. 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 (8/12/18) shows the Exhibition area which serves as a waiting hall for Santa Specials during inclement weather, complete displays and seating for those waiting for the train. 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 internal view of Caernarfon station (8/12/18) shows the shop stocked with books and toys. 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 internal view of Caernarfon station (8/12/18) shows the entrance hall under the rotunda with an Xmas Tree welcoming the Santa Special travellers. Thought has been given to increased security after the break in at the temporary station earlier this year so a security camera has been fitted. There are still concerns about the glass panels along the front of the building though these are partly protected by bollards on the edge of the 'shared space' roundabout outside the station. 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.

 

Rebranding of Heritage Gala 21-23/6/18

The Heritage Gala over the long weekend of 21-23/6/18 has now been rebranded as WHR: 'Past Present and Future Gala. It is planned that the Gala will include Russell and other guests. It is possible Welsh Pony may be complete by then as it has been requested for the Snowdonian Limited a few days earlier on 15/6/18. Many enthusiasts also hope that one of the VoR locos will come in return for the occasional visits by Palmerston to the line.

 

Santa Special Trains 8-9/12/19

The WHR Santa Specials ran from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu over last weekend and No.143 was rostered to haul the train though no images have come to hand. It was a significant day in the history of the WHR. The 10.00 Santa Train departure was the first public train to leave the new Caernarfon station that was specially opened for the purpose. The Santa Trains, with eleven carriages, are the longest public trains ever to be run on the WHR. Both WHR and FR trains were double headed as a precaution about rusty rails and leaf mulch.

 

This northerly view (9/12/18) shows No.143 with Vale of Ffestiniog in support inside departs Caernarfon at 10am. The Funkey did not seem to be doing much work so the heavy rain might have washed the rails clean. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Wither and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (9/12/18) shows No.143 with Vale of Ffestiniog in support inside passes Tryfan Junction. The front coach seems empty, possibly a staff coach. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Wither and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (9/12/18) shows No.143 with Vale of Ffestiniog passing Salem. The front coach seems empty, possibly a staff coach. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Wither and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/12/18) shows the first of the FR's Santa Specials from Porthmadog to Beddgelert pilotted by Taliesin double heading with David Lloyd George passing through the Aberglaslyn Pass. Taliesin was to go on the front alone on the return journey. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Wither and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

It has been announced that the station will also be open for the Xmas Mince Pie Specials 27/12/18-1/1/19 to provide a warm dry waiting area before closing for completion. The shop booking office and toilets are open but the De Winton Cafe is not yet fitted out. The station will fully open in late March for the new season and the points moved north during the WMWP and track realigned to the extended platform to allow longer trains. This will mean the Half Term Holiday trains in February run from Porthmadog to Beddgelert (MFX from 16-28/2/19).

The FR Santa Special's ran to Beddgelert last weekend and ran back top and tailed by Taliesin and David Lloyd George. The train was almost full despite being early in the season. There is more availability on these trains than the Caernarfon trains since an extra carriage has also been added to these trains, requiring two locos to haul the train up the 1 in 40 to Beddgelert. The WHR Santa Specials are already sold out for the afternoon train of 16/12/18 and all four trains on the final weekend.

Last year the 9-10/12/18 Santa Specials saw snow around the WHR even in the Aberglaslyn Pass creating many Xmas scenes. See Snow scenes page.

 

This westerly view (9/12/18) shows Taliesin hauling the FR's Santa Special back to Porthmadog crossing Britannia Bridge in rather mild wet weather. 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 (9/12/18) shows David Lloyd George on the rear of  the FR's Santa Special back to Porthmadog crossing Britannia Bridge in rather mild wet weather. 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.

 

Caernarfon station update 7/12/18

This southerly view of the Caernarfon station entrance (7/12/18) shows the station opened for Santa Specials and the Xmas Mince Pie Specials. There seems to be a plastic covering over the rotunda. 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.

 

A Daily Post report celebrating the temporary opening Caernarfon station and Santa Specials also seems to show a plastic covering over the rotunda. No doubt the work to rectify this will be on the snagging list. See Daily Post story.

 

This internal view of the Caernarfon station entrance (2/12/18) shows paper being used to soak up a leak. It seems a small amount of water has come through the rotunda. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Arthur Bunce and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Waunfawr progress report 7/12/18

This northerly view (7/12/18) shows a week's progress with the new Waunfawr station building. The internal breeze block walls will be clad in a local stone outer layer to provide a heritage look with traditional WHR yellow brick around windows and doors. It is possible the small stones original stones saved on pallets under the footbridge will be reused. access is via the formed yard behind the station building. 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.

 

Work starts on Caernarfon bypass

Martin Kressman reports: 'Work has started on the bypass with the controversial felling of mature oak tress adjacent to the Cibyn Industrial Estate. This is required to enable ground clearance work needed to construct a new Calor Gas operation at the Dwyfor Oils site. When this is complete the Calor Gas operation will move to the new facility to enable the old one to be demolished to make way for the road.'

Fence lines will appear soon and the new A487 which passes south of Caernarfon and west of Bontnewydd. The new alignment crosses the WHR by means of a bridge just north of Bontnewydd Halt.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 13/12/18

David Gander reports: Our final meeting of 2018 will be held this Thursday 13/12/18 and will be our traditional ‘Mince Pies and Members’ Slides’ event where we welcome contributions from visitors. If you have any of your own pictures or film you would like to show, please bring them along on disk or USB stick.

We take a break in January and will then meet again in February 2019. We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH. We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm.

There is a charge of £2 per meeting for Group members, £3 for non-members. Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (This bus runs every 30 minutes until 23.36, via Cambridge railway station where it arrives at 00.05) Car parking can be busy but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk to the pub

You are most welcome to join us. We meet on the third Thursday of the month (excepting December when it’s the second Thursday), with meetings held until May – with a break in January.

 

No.130's/No.134's boiler movements 7/10/18

By 5/12/18 No.130's boiler cradle was having its final coat of paint in anticipation of the boiler arriving on Wednesday 12/12/18.

No.130's boiler was finished by 7/12/18 and has departed the works of Northern Steam Engineering, Stockton, and is on its way to Wales Many thanks to Adam Dalgleish and his team in completing this challenging task. It may be a bit behind schedule but it looks like a superb job has been done. When it arrives at Dinas it will be craned into the frames this week. The return load will be No.134's boiler.

Pete Randall adds: 'The boiler off No.134 will be going to LMS in Loughborough for overhaul on Wednesday 12/12/18. The lorry bringing the new boiler for No.130 from Stockton will take it and one crane will do both lifts at Dinas. The NG134 Group will be working our socks off this weekend at Dinas (to get the boiler ready for departure-Ed).'

By 9/12/18 No.130's new cab was nearing completion. Window frames are being added as well all of the other detailed features. The whole cab will then be shot blasted to remove all of the rough edges and mill scale before a first primer is applied. It is planned to lift the boiler onto the cradle on 12/12/18.

 

Heritage Gala update

There has been some progress with plans for the Heritage Gala weekend 21-23/6/19. The weekend will feature a varied timetable of historic trains, including locomotives and carriages that worked on the railway prior to its closure in 1937, including Hunslet 2-6-2T Russell, the sole surviving locomotive built for the original PBSSR. Planning for the event is still at an early stage, but it is intended that heritage trains will be running in the section of line between Minffordd, Porthmadog and Beddgelert, during the intervals between regular passenger trains. This will provide an opportunity to experience the development of narrow-gauge railways over the past century. Welsh Pony may also be available, if completed in time, as it has already been announced that it has been requested for the Snowdonian Limited a few weeks later on 15/6/19.

 

Extra carriage added to Santa Train

With only two trains per day rather than three last year, demand has been high for the available places on WHR Santa Specials. The trains had been made longer than previous years to provide a similar number of seats. However, demand has been such that an extra coach needs to be added to WHR trains that run from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu. Some trains are already fully booked. Weather is cooling down over the weekend from the recent mild spell to more typical December weather with snow on Snowdon. See F&WHR Santa page for full details.

 

Panoramic TfW coaches for North Wales?

TfW is to examine the possibility of panoramic coaches for North Wales to attract tourists to the delights of Snowdonia. Already lower density seating has been ordered with seats matching window spacing. This further step might include glass sections in the roof as used on Swiss scenic railways.

 

Porthmadog Beehives replaced by metal boxes

The wooden 'beehive' service equipment boxes on the platform at Porthmadog have been replaced by grey metal cabinets which may be more durable and protect the service equipment better.

 

Blanche on private Santa Special 4/12/18

Every year a privately hired short Santa Special is run and normally goes to Tan-y-bwlch on the FR. This year the special ran to Beddgelert with Blanche in charge of the 3 coach train, which included the Observation Car No.152. The loco struggled in places on the 1 in 40 which had not been used for a few weeks so the railhead may have been rusty or covered in leaf mulch. This may have led to the decision to double head the FR's Beddgelert Santa Specials. The loco watered at the historic water tank at Beddgelert rather than the main water crane at the north end of the platform.

 

BF&TR Society AGM 3/2/19

The AGM of the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society will take place on 3/2/19 in Cell B Cafe Bar Blaenau Ffestiniog at 2pm for accredited members. The new organisers of the Trawsfynydd Branch restoration project hope to relaunch the project with a new committee under the name Bala & Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Trust. Those interested may read the AGM notice at the organisation's Facebook website.

 

Snow report

After a cold snap Thursday/Friday, temperatures are set to rise again for the weekend of 15-16/12/18 which will see 2 daily Santa trains at both ends of the line to Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert. While snow is forecast on the summit of Snowdon, no snow is forecast around the WHR.

With trains operating from Porthmadog to Beddgelert during the February school holidays (MFX from 16-28/2/19) and Porthmadog-Beddgelert weekend trips from 25/2/12, here are some useful resources to check if there is snow at the WHR.

First Hydro had four webcams in the Llanberis valley. These have been discontinued due to maintenance problems. An alternative webcam can be viewed at Snowdon webcam website. However, it should be noted that snow cover generally decreases from east to west.

Other useful resources include the A55 webcams (pages 7-13). The Treborth Interchange (Bangor) webcam can be helpful though it is nearer sea level than the WHR and also shows live traffic conditions if using this route to reach the WHR.

The WHHR webcams would show the rare sea level snow cover at Porthmadog. http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/gelertsfarm/

The F&WHR Porthmadog webcam also shows rare sea level snow cover

The Meteorological Office provides a useful radar weather map covering the last 6 hours that shows the rain/snow coming into Britain and can be watched as an animation updated every 30 minutes. See Rainfall radar

The main Meteorological Office website also has a Snowdon Ranger page that shows the predicted weather for the Rhyd Ddu area for the next seven days.

 

WHR micro ETS signalling authorised 3/12/18

On 3/12/18 an order was signed by the F&WHR to equip the WHR with micro-ETS. The system which uses a secure internet connection, has been in trial use between Pont Croesor and Beddgelert and avoids the use of lineside cabling which is subject to disruption in adverse weather conditions and potential theft. The system will use the redundant ETS equipment bought from Irish Railways several years ago. It is hoped that installation of the system will bring improved safety and operational flexibility to the WHR. The system has been developed with provision for the new starter signals being installed along the WHR.

Micro-ETS was developed by Roland Doyle, ex- Manager of WHR Construction Ltd. under the brand name HighRail. For full details on the Micro-ETS system see Roland Doyle's article on the WHR Society website.

 

KS 4415 progress October/November 2018

The restoration of Kerr Stuart No.4415, the experimental diesel shunter that spent time on the WHR in 1928/9, saw more progress during the Autumn.

Volunteers were all kept busy over the ever popular Victorian Weekend (5-7/10/18), but they managed to squeeze in a bit of work on KS4415 in too. More fabrication of parts for the gearbox frame was carried out and the broken crankshaft from the McLaren engine has been boxed up and sent off. The crank is going to Farndon Racing in Coventry, who are going to measure it up and make a new one. This marks a big step forward for the MDB4 rebuild project and hopefully by the time the new crank arrives the Group will be able to turn their full attention to the engine. Until then there are a few jobs left to do on the chassis. Hopefully KS4415 will take a starring role in Heritage Galas/Victorian Weekends in the future.

On 21/10/18 the big piece of steel cut to make a new plate for the clutch and gearbox bearer to rest on was being worked on. The original was too wasted to be reused and it had been modified at some point. This weekend volunteers machined the steel accurately to size, drilled and riveted a piece of angle to it, and managed to get a coat of paint on everything. The area under where the plate fixes was also cleaned and painted and these jobs get the Group a step closer to refitting the gearbox.

On 3/11/18 volunteers were at Boston Lodge focusing on fabricating the new gearbox frame. The blocks they had machined and drilled a few weeks ago were welded in place and the assemblies were cleaned up and painted. The side that clamps over the layshaft was a good fit, but the other side has to sit over a tapered cast iron bearing. Due to the taper it was difficult to measure and know exactly how far up the taper the clamp would sit. Once it was offered up volunteers realised the hole would need to be opened out, so they did that on the horizontal borer. Other work carried out included painting the couplings and refitting the front one so it is in before they install the gearbox.

The KS4415 Group like to thank the Ffestiniog Railway Society Bristol Area Group for their generous donation of £1000 towards the project. Details of how to donate can be found by following this link.

On 25/11/18 the chassis was dragged out into the open again at Boston Lodge by works shunter Moel y Guest. Work taking place over that weekend saw an attempt at fitting the gearbox back in the frames. As should be expected, there were a number of issues that came up and, despite making some good progress towards sorting everything out, volunteers decided to leave the gearbox out and make a modification to the frame at our next working party. It will be a long job, abut they do not want to rush it o r cut corners. See picture captions for more details on KS4415 Facebook page. Further details of progress and images are also available on the KS4415 Blogspot.

 

Santa Specials 2018

WHR Santa Specials run over the next three weekends 8-9/12/18, 15-16/12/18 and 22-23/12/18. Trains leave Caernarfon at 1000 and 1340 and run to Rhyd Ddu. There are only two trains a day this year but they are record length trains with 11 coaches providing about the same number of seats as last year's three daily trains. This allows staff to have a lunch break. It is possible trains will run in the snow as last year. However the weather has warmed since the November cold snap. Passengers are to be greeted at the new Caernarfon station building, in use for the first time.

FR Santa Specials run Porthmadog to Beddgelert at 1100 and 1415. See F&WHR website for details.

 

Snow report 3/12/18

With warmer weather forecast until the weekend, only the mountain tops are forecast to receive fresh snow on Friday 7/12/18-Sunday 9/12/18 for the first Santa weekend.

 

No.130 progress 1/12/18

At Dinas, the hard work of plumbing up the lubrication system is well advanced. The copper and flexible pipework to connect up the system is being fitted and eventually primed with oil. One engine is about 75% complete whilst the other is just 50%. For images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

Events 2018/9

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
10-11/8/18 Lilla to Visit Shrewsbury Flower Show Quarry Park, Shrewsbury
14-16/9/18 Lyn to visit SuperPower (WHR AGM 15/9/18)
29-30/9/18 Lyd visit to L&BR Gala
29-30/9/18 Lilla to visit Buckfastleigh on the SDR
5-7/10/18 FR Victorian Weekend (includes some WHR events on 5/10/18)
31/10/18 WHR Halloween Train
8-9/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog-Beddgelert both twice a day)
15-16/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog-Beddgelert both twice a day)
22-23/12/18 WHR Santa Specials (Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog-Beddgelert both twice a day)
27/12/18-1/1/19 WHR Mince Pie Specials (Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu twice daily)
13/4/19 'The Snowdonian' with Lyd and Lyn
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'-details awaited, possibly including Russell
4-25/8/19 Sundays Journey to the Past special Dinas-Rhyd Ddu possibly with Prince and two heritage coaches with an extended stop at Tryfan Junction for refreshments, including packed lunch
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)

 

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.

29/9/18 'The Ynys Mon Express' Leicester to Blaenau Ffestiniog/Holyhead (Tornado) UK Railtours

13/10/18 'North Wales Coast 40' Crewe-Blaenau Ffestiniog/Holyhead (40013/D213 Andania) Saphos 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.

3/11/18 'Ruby Venom' Trackbash Crewe to Borderlands Line with WCR Class 33 Branch Line Society

 

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 2018-19 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 1-6/12/18WW 8-9/12/18      
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

 

V4.3709 updated 12/1/19