Welsh Highland Railway

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V4.4271

 

News (26/6/22)

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Modern images updated from 26/6/22

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Star Picture

This westerly view (26/3/22) shows David Lloyd George hauling the 10:30 Mountain Spirit (see headboard) passing Minffordd station with the first train of the new season. 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.

 

Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on 8/9/04 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)

Caernarfon Cross Town Link  (updated 10/10/10)

 

Other pages

The 40km Dream Phase 1 (Updated 12/2/21)

The 40km Dream Phase 2 (Updated 1/4/21)

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 1/6/22)

Prince Charles Visit July 2003 (updated 5/1/22)

Snow Scenes (updated 25/11/20)

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

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

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 23/6/21)

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

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!

 

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map References

Timetables

The unofficial F&WHR working timetables have been updated using official timetables. The regular Woodland Wanderer trains are the 10:55 and 13:55 and use the same set. The spare set can be used for the 09:45, 12:45 and 15:45 according to traffic on offer. If three trains are planned the 12:45 is the additional train.

Woodland Wanderer

Location Time Time Time Time Time
ECS from depot where applicable (arr) 09:15 10:20 11:45    
Previous working     ex 09:15 ex 10:20 ex 12:45
Porthmadog (dep) 09:45 10:55 12:45 13:55 15:45
Minffordd (arr) 09:55 11:05 12:55 14:05 15:55
Minffordd (dep) 10:00 11:10 13:00 14:10 16:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:05 11:15 13:05 14:15 16:05
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 10:25 11:40 13:30 14:35 16:25
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:40 12:35 14:30 15:40 17:25
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 12:00 12:55 15:00 15:55 17:45
Minffordd (pass) 12:10 13:05 15:10 16:00 17:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:20 13:20 15:20 16:10 18:05
Next turn where applicable 12:45 13:55 15:45    
ECS to depot (dep)        16:30  18:20

Mountain Spirit

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge (dep) ECS 10:00  
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 10:05 ex-10:30
Porthmadog Harbour Station (dep) 10:30 14:30
Minffordd (arr) 10:40 14:40
Minffordd (dep) 10:45 14:45
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 10:50 14:50
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 11:05 15:05
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 11:15 15:15
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 11:40 15:40
Blaenau Ffestiniog (arr) 11:45 15:45
Blaenau Ffestiniog (dep) 12:25 16:25
Tan-y-grisiau (pass) 12:35 16:35
Tan-y-bwlch (arr) 12:55 16:55
Tan-y-bwlch (dep) 13:00 17:00
Penrhyndeudraeth (pass) 13:15 17:15
Minffordd (pass) 13:25 17:25
Porthmadog Harbour Station (arr) 13:35 17:35
Next turn where applicable 14:40  
ECS (dep) where applicable 14:10 18:05

Gelert Explorer

Location Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 10:45
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 11:00
Caernarfon (dep) 11:30
Waunfawr (dep) 12:05
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 12:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 12:35
Beddgelert (arr) 13:00
Beddgelert (dep) 14:30
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 14:50
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 15:00
Waunfawr (arr) 15:25
Waunfawr (dep) 15:30
Caernarfon (arr) 16:00
Caernarfon (dep) ECS 16:30
Dinas (arr) ECS 16:45

Glaslyn Venturer

Location Time Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:20  
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:30 ex 10:15
Porthmadog (dep) 10:15 13:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 10:30 13:55
Beddgelert (arr) 11:00 14:25
Beddgelert (dep) 12:15 15:40
Pont Croesor (pass) 12:40 16:05
Porthmadog  (arr) 13:00 16:20
Next turn where applicable 13:40 N/A
ECS where applicable (dep) 13:30 16:30

The Harbourmaster

Location Time Return Time
Boston Lodge ECS (dep) 09:00 (arr) 16:45
Porthmadog ECS (arr) 09:05 (dep) 16:40
Porthmadog (dep) 09:40 (arr) 16:30
Beddgelert (arr) 10:20 (dep) 15:55
Beddgelert (dep) 10:30 (arr) 15:50
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:25
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:20
Waunfawr (arr) 11:30 (dep) 14:55
Waunfawr (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:50
Dinas (arr) 11:50 (dep) 14:35
Dinas (dep) 11:55 (arr) 14:30
Caernarfon (arr) 12:05 (dep) 14:20

Snowdonia Star

Location Time Return Time
Dinas (dep) ECS 09:20 (arr) 17:10
Caernarfon (arr) ECS 09:30 (dep) 17:00
Caernarfon (dep) 10:00 (arr) 16:30
Dinas (arr) 10:10 (dep) 16:20
Dinas (dep) 10:15 (arr) 16:15
Waunfawr (arr) 10:30 (dep) 16:00
Waunfawr (dep) 10:35 (arr) 15:55
Rhyd Ddu (arr) 10:55 (dep) 15:30
Rhyd Ddu (dep) 11:05 (arr) 15:25
Beddgelert (arr) 11:30 (dep) 15:00
Beddgelert (dep) 11:35 (arr) 14:55
Porthmadog (arr) 12:15 (dep) 14:15

Italicised times are variable according to necessary shunting duties/refuelling/watering etc.

 

Train services w/c 20/6/22

Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

News Section

F&WHR 26/6/22

Sunday was a rainy day in Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FOUR trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and the Glaslyn Venturer). Blanche was due to haul a gravity train to Dduallt at midday.

David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch in heavy rain at 11:16 with the first working of the day, the 10:30 Mountain Spirit followed by Lyd at 11:43. Lyd shunted its train over to the westbound platform to allow Blanche to pass through with the gravity train. Blanche arrived at  12:32 allowing Lyd to depart at 12:34 for the return trip to Porthmadog. The Fairlie arrived back in a torrential downpour at 13:03 and was off to Porthmadog just a minute later, clearing the line for Blanche to proceed to Dduallt at 13:06 with a number of very wet participants in the gravity train. The gravity train rolled through under gravity at 13:43 with the brakesman catching the token off the waiting signaller. Lyd arrived at Minffordd at 14:05 with the afternoon Woodland Wanderer just as the gravity train was due to roll into Minffordd yard. The driver and guard waited on the crossing to catch the token as it rolled by so they could proceed to Tan-y-bwlch. The gravity train appeared to stop in the loop at about 14:20 as a number of passengers got off. The train has taken 25 minute for Tan-y-bwlch to Minffordd causing the Woodland Wanderer to be delayed for almost 20 minutes in the loop. The brakes were released and the train gathered speed as it rolled into Minffordd Yard at 14:23.

 

This westerly view (26/6/22) shows the rear of the gravity trains as it gathers speed on the Mineral Line to enter the sharp curve into Minffordd Yard. The red flag is the back marker truck. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 14:35 Blanche was waiting light engine after its gravity train duty at Tan-y-bwlch for Lyd to arrive with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer delayed by the gravity train. The Woodland Wanderer arrived at 14:42, only 7 minutes late after some fast running from Lyd. Blanche departed light engine for Boston Lodge at 14:47.

 

This westerly view (26/6/22) shows Lyd running round at Tan-y-bwlch. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd arrived back in Porthmadog on time at 16:09. The loco soon ran round and departed with the ECS for the depot at 16:20 to close the day's activities.

 

Video of the chipper train 25/6/22

Click here for video of chipper train clearing the lineside near the former Llyn Ystradau Halt courtesy Chris Spring (F&WHR).

 

F&WHR 25/6/22

Saturday was forecast to be a day of sunshine and showers at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Snowdonia Star) but FOUR trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and one Mountain Spirit and the Harbourmaster trains). The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked. There were also Gravity Trains booked on the FR from Dduallt said to be hauled by David Lloyd George, Palmerston plus Welsh Pony and Blanche on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a very busy morning at Tan-y-bwlch. Palmerston and Welsh Pony passed Tan-y-bwlch at 08:54 hauling the first gravity train to Dduallt a little later than anticipated. This was followed by Harlech Castle hauling the well wagon with the vegetation clearance train and mess car. The train left towards Dduallt at 10:03 after the gravity train had passed.

 

This westerly view (24/6/22) shows Palmerston and Welsh Pony hauling the gravity train to Dduallt passing Tan-y-bwlch at 08:54, a little later than scheduled. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (24/6/22) shows Harlech Castle hauling the lineside clearance train passing Tan-y-bwlch at 09:28 where the train would wait for the gravity run to pass. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This was followed by a surprisingly early run of Blanche arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 10:42 with a lightly loaded rake including NWNGR replica No.24. A few passengers detrained and after running round Blanche shunted the rake to the westbound platform at 11:17 just minutes before the 10:55  Woodland Wanderer arrived at 11:19 in the hands of Merddin Emrys. which continued to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Lyd arrived at 11:40 with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer delayed a little by the earlier gravity train operations. Blanche then departed with the earlier train at 11:43 while the other rake remained in the station. Lyd shunted the rake to the other platform and ran round at 12:15.    

The second gravity run arrived at Tan-y-bwlch in the hands of the same two England locos at 12:38 allowing Blanche to depart at 12:45. The Fairlie was back with the returning Mountain Spirit at 13:00 allowing the gravity train to set off to Dduallt. The gravity train passed through at 13:32 and Lyd returned with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer at 14:33. Lyd ran round at 15:00 and departed on the return run at 15:30. Down at Harbour Station Lyd ran round the returned 13:55 at 16:25 and removed the open coach to the seawall siding.

No.130 arrived back at 16:31 with The Harbourmaster having swopped over duties recently with No.87, possibly today even. Lyd disposed of the Woodland Wanderer ECS to the depot at 16:42 and the Garratt likewise disposed The Harbourmaster at 16:53 as the last move of the day.

 

Gravity run timings 24-26/6/22

Friday 24/6/22

Depart Boston Lodge 16:15 (Moelwyn, Hugh Napier and Britomart)

Arrive Dduallt 17:10

Depart Dduallt 17:15

Arrive Port 18:05 (loco attached at Boston Lodge)

Saturday 25/6/22

Depart Port 08:05 (Palmerston and Welsh Pony)

Arrive Dduallt 09:05

Depart Dduallt 09:18

Arrive Port 10:15 (loco attached at Boston Lodge)

Depart Port 11:50

Arrive Dduallt 13:06

Depart Dduallt 13:20

Arrive Minffordd 13:55

Sunday 26/6/22

Depart Minffordd 12:07 (Blanche)

Arrive Dduallt 13:06

Depart Dduallt 13:20

Arrive Minffordd 13:55

 

Tourist tax may damage Heritage Railways

A tourist tax is currently under consideration by WAG which hopes it might bring in more income to support the local economy. Others have concerns though that it might deter day trippers and some businesses are suspending expansion until it becomes clear what WAG is proposing. Others are concerned that such a tax would not benefit North Wales but disappear into Cardiff's coffers. They refer to the poor train service in North Wales compared to that in South Wales and the lack of support to reopen rail routes. Swansea-Manchester trains are soon to become loco hauled but Holyhead/Llandudno-Manchester/Birmingham International will remain wedged 2 car DMUs it seems much to the annoyance of locals. See Daily Post website.   

 

F&WHR 24/6/22

Friday was forecast to be a rainy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 17C. There were NO trains from Caernarfon but FOUR trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and two Mountain Spirit trains). The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked. There are no WHR services on Friday. The through trains on the WHR return on Saturday 25/6/22.

David Lloyd George was waiting in the FR platform at Porthmadog at 10:25 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. However the ECS for the 10:55 was running late and caused a delay when it arrived some 20 minutes late into the WHR platform with eventually left at 10:37. in charge. The 10:30 left 7 minutes late at 10:37 and Lyd ran round after it had cleared station limits. The 10:55 left on time. After some good running the Fairlie was back on time departing at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:15.

The final move of the day was a little unusual in that three small locos, Britomart, Hugh Napier and diesel Moelwyn were noted at Tan-y-bwlch at 18:08 departing for Boston Lodge at 18:13 to close the day's activities. They had hauled a gravity train which had come down 30 minutes before the light movement. Further gravity trains were planned for Saturday.

 

This westerly view (24/6/22) shows Moelwyn on the rear of a light engine move led by Britomart and Hugh Napier returning to Boston Lodge departing Tan-y-bwlch at 18:13. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Llangollen Railway runs its Class 47 (25-26/6/22)

The Llangollen Railway has rostered its BR blue liveried Class 47 No.47449 (as 1566) for this weekend's trains. There is a good history of the loco and its repairs on the Llangollen Diesel Group's website. There is a Diesel Gala booked for 2-4/9/22. In addition to the Class 26/31/47 the Llangollen Railway is looking into the costs of hiring in a visitor and transport on a lowloader. Suitable locos might include Class 24/25/37 but a high profile visiting loco would be a big draw! The railway will also be offering Berwyn Shuttle rides with an open wagon in the rake and Driver for a Fiver within Llangollen station limits using its Class 08 shunter. See Llangollen Diesel Gala for latest news.

 

F&WHR 23/6/22

Thursday was forecast to have sunny periods with maximum temperatures of 22C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FIVE trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and two Mountain Spirit  and one Glaslyn Venturer train). The Woodland Wanderer service resumed after its unexplained Wednesday break. There will be no WHR services on Friday.

David Lloyd George was first to arrive at Tan-y-bwlch with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit at 11:06. Lyd arrived with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 11:34. At 13:13 No.87 was taking the ECS from the Glaslyn Venturer back to the depot from Porthmadog WHR platform. The Fairlie left Porthmadog with the ECS from the afternoon Mountain Spirit at 17:57 to close the day's activities.

 

Glyn Valley Tramway progress Chirk 21/6/22

Good progress has been made clearing the Chirk station site of the former Glyn Valley Tramway. The narrow gauge station lies alongside the NR station and had become heavily overgrown. The station building and platform can be discerned. A narrow gauge demonstration railway was laid on the trackbed but not to the original 2'4.5" used in steam days! The hope is to extend the line into the Ceiriog valley. See GVT Trust Facebook page for full details. The initial aim of the railway is to extend down the steeply graded bank to a temporary terminus at Pont Faen, next to the fish hatchery where there used to be a level crossing. There is room for a run round loop at this location. West of this point the railway ran largely along the south side of the B4500 as a street tramway to Glyn Ceiriog which is why the locos were built with enclosed motion. There was a quarry branch beyond Glyn Ceiriog and there is a museum at the old station site in the village which is open on Saturdays.

 

This northerly view (21/6/22) shows the GVT station site at Chirk now largely cleared. The NR station is visible over the fence  The platform edge and station building foundation have been revealed and the trackbed completely cleared through the site of the station and run round loop. The engine shed was the far end of the station. A miniature gauge demonstration miniature railway was opened in the station area. Some track from the W&LR is stacked next to the platform edge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (21/6/22) shows basic clearance south from the GVT station site at Chirk road bridge. The route crosses the Shropshire Union Canal which is in tunnel at this location. An attempt a decade or more ago to clear the track down the gradient to Pont Faen Halt has seen the trackbed become overgrown again however the new restoration group seems much more determined to make progress. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (21/6/22) shows the GVT Chirk station site with recovered brick from the remains of the station building and platform edgings stacked ready for reuse by route crosses the Shropshire Union Canal which is in tunnel at this location. An attempt a decade or more ago to clear the track down the gradient to Pont Faen Halt has seen the trackbed become overgrown again. However the new restoration group seems much more determined to make progress and reopen the line. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (21/6/22) shows the GVT Chirk station access. It looks like the original steps are too far gone and the station may have to share with NR's access steps. The tree stump at the bottom of the steps gives an impression of the size of the large trees that had to be cleared from the site. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (21/6/22) shows the GVT Chirk station as seen from the NR footbridge at the north end of the NR station adjacent to the GVT Loco shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (21/6/22) shows the GVT Chirk station as seen from the NR footbridge at the north end of the NR station adjacent to the GVT Loco shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Meryl Lloyd (your webmaster's sister) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A 16mmm model of Chirk station building is available taken from original measurements and photos. See Brunel models.

 

This southerly view shows the model of the GVT Chirk station waiting room. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brunel Models. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 22/6/22

Wednesday was forecast to be a day of sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 23C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer)  but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Mountain Spirit and two Glaslyn Venturer trains). There are no Woodland Wanderer trains today. It is possible the rake and locos are being used for another purpose e.g. in preparation for the WHR150 event at the end of July.

No.87 brought over the first working of the day, the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer, arriving in the WHR platform at 09:33 and David Lloyd George departed on the 1:30 Mountain Spirit from the FR platform.

 

Triple Header PTG Tour 6/6/22

The F&WHR has now published a set of 24 images of the FR leg of the PTG tour on 6/6/22 running up the FR to Blaenau and back to Porthmadog. The special had three England locos in charge with Palmerston, Welsh Pony and Prince in that order. For more images see F&WHR Facebook page.

 

This westerly view (6/6/22) shows Palmerston leading Welsh Pony and Prince heading for Blaenau Ffestiniog hauling the FR leg of the PTG Tour in the later afternoon. The train is rounding Boston Lodge Curve. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Restoring your Railway fund update 6/22

The Tories very limited Restoring your Railways Fund has just four schemes in Wales and borders. Both major schemes were originally in Tory constituencies (no surprise there!) though the Oswestry scheme will probably now be dropped after the Lib Dems gained the Shropshire North seat last December. As MPs and local councils were required to support a scheme it comes as a shock to find that that no Plaid Cymru MPs appear to have supported the TRAWS scheme which provides connectivity in their constituencies to reopen the Bangor-Afonwen or Aberystwyth-Carmarthen!! Bangor-Afonwen appears in the rejected schemes list. See Restoring Your Railway Fund Update for more details.

 

F&WHR 21/6/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a day of sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 20C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer)  but FIVE from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit trains, and a Glaslyn Explorer). The first Woodland Wanderer was fully booked before 9am.

David Lloyd George passed through Tan-y-bwlch at 11.11 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit but was unusually carrying the Y Cymro headboard. Y Cymro was an FR train of the 1960s that ran non stop between Porthmadog and Tan-y-bwlch. Lyd followed at 11:38 with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Harlech Castle and S&T van No.51 were in the siding at Dduallt in the afternoon attending to a stiff point mechanism. At 18:03 the Fairlie made the last journey of the day hauling the ECS from the afternoon Mountain Spirit back  to Boston Lodge from the FR platform.

 

This westerly view (21/6/22) shows David Lloyd George with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit heading for Blaenau Ffestiniog carrying Y Cymro headboard. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rail Strikes cripple TfW 21/6/22

TfW operated no trains in North/Mid Wales on Tuesday and just a few around Cardiff as a consequence of NR workers and RMT strikes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. The strikes appear to have been deliberately fomented by the Tories in a kind of 'culture war' and The Guardian suggest this is to distract people from Boris Johnson's Partygate and the Ethics fallout. Grant Shapps, the Transport Minister has threatened to bring in contract workers. Apparently he has changed his mind over the safety of contract workers in transport after opposing them when P&O did the same thing on the ferries. Rail passengers might be well advised to give the trains a miss if inexperienced staff are running the trains and signalling centres! 

 

North Wales main line

Class 197s DMUs are now on test at Holyhead. Class 60 No.60076 Dunbar hauled the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook stone on Thursday 16/6/22.

 

Steam reaches Llangollen 17/6/22

Bill Shakespeare, President and founder member of the Llangollen Railway was given a ride in the GWR inspection saloon steam hauled to Corwen on 17/6/22. The train was hauled by No.5619 from the Telford steam Railway on loan to the LlR. Trackwork in the Corwen loop has been adjusted to ease the curvature. The station roof is now being erected. Upcoming events include a Classic Transport Weekend Extravaganza at Glyndyfrdwy on 2-3/7/22 and a Diesel Gala on 1-2/9/22 when all three mainline locos will hopefully be available along with the Class 08 on Berwyn Shuttle/Driver for a Fiver duties. See Unofficial Friends of Llangollen Railway Facebook page.

 

F&WHR 20/6/22

Monday was forecast to be a day of unbroken sunshine at Porthmadog with a maximum temperatures of 20C. There was NO train from Caernarfon  but THREE from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and one Mountain Spirit). There were no trains on the WHR today. The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked and the 13:55 was later fully sold out too!

By 10:15 the 10:30 Mountain Spirit was ready to go in the FR platform with David Lloyd George on the front. Lyd was running round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform at 10:25 but unable to complete the move as the 10:30 departure was signalled. At 14:00 the ECS from the 10:30 Mountain Spirit was still waiting in the WHR platform as normal for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer departure with Lyd to clear station limits following its13:55 departure. David Lloyd George worked from the yard to the train and departed with the ECS at 14:10 for the depot.

Lyd departed Tan-y-bwlch at 15:30 on the return working of the Woodland Wanderer to close the day.

 

NG15 No.134 progress 20/6/22

Good progress is being made with NG15 No.134. The tender tank was mated with its chassis and bogies on 20/6/22 and the now fully wheeled loco chassis and tender made a brief excursion out of the Loco Shed at Dinas. Previously the tender tank had been stored on No.133's tender chassis while No.134's tender chassis was completely rebuilt with restored bogies and wheelsets.

The No.134 Group managed two working parties in May. The second full working party for May took place over the weekend of the 21-22/5/22. It was highlighted by the moving of the new tender tank from off No.133's frames, where it had been since being built, and onto No.134's now refurbished frames. The last of the changes to No.134's frame, this time the modifications needed to the front end to allow for the different cab to tender interface, had been completed during the week leading up to the working party. This left volunteers with the new frame sections welded in place so the first task was to face these welds to make it look neater then give it a coat of paint.

After fixing the bogie pivot securing clamps in place and fixing on the nylon buffer strip that the tank will eventually sit on as a buffer between the tank and the frames, rather than the plywood as previously used, the volunteers were ready for the swap. The tender body was pulled out of the shed to allow the lifting jacks placed in position. Once everything was in place the tender body was rolled back in, the body unbolted from the frames and the body lifted up. No.133's frames were then rolled out from underneath and No.134's frames pushed underneath from where they had been on the other side.

Not everyone was focusing on the tender as volunteers have a boiler arriving in the not too distant future and so there are also a number of 'critical path' tasks that are needed on the loco frames. One of these is that of the vacuum pipe and this was progressed over the Saturday. Hopefully this will be completed at the next working party. The brake rigging is being assembled as well. This was started last time as volunteers had some new rods made. However they are still needing some pins and other components. Volunteers started making the pins and hopefully the other missing bits can be made for the next working party. Whilst not quite as critical, but still easier to do without the boiler in the way, the connecting up of the Krauss Helmholtz lubrication was attempted. Volunteers made a suitable bracket to go on the frames and the fittings on this will allow them to connect flexible hoses down to the various oil points on the truck and Cannon Box.

Behind the scenes, work continues on the motion which is now very close to completion. Work also continued with all the design work on the newer tender to cab interface.

 

FR Llyn Ystradau Extension opening 8/7/77

Rummaging round in the attic your webmaster came across this piece of memorabilia-a leaflet released by the FR presumably to celebrate the opening of the FR through the New Moelwyn Tunnel. The halt and loop were created just short of the summit behind the CEGB's pumped storage power station to extend the FR towards its eventual goal of restoring services to Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was to be another year before the section built by contractors over the high pressure pipes behind the power station was completed (cutting excavated without explosives!) and allowed the opening to Tan-y-grisiau. The images are believed to show a posed image of Merddin Emrys emerging from the south portal of the new Moelwyn Tunnel and Moel Hebog on the first train through the tunnel taking rails to extend the line to the new halt. Despite initially being planned to have no access, Llyn Ystradau had a platform and footpath access from Tan-y-grisiau form its brief life.

 

 

Click on the images to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is from a scanned FR leaflet published in 1977

 

F&WHR 19/6/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny day with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FIVE from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit  trains and one Glaslyn Venturer).

First up to Tan-y-bwlch was David Lloyd George with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which arrived at 11:13. This was followed by Lyd on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer arriving at 11:41.

 

Young Rail Professionals working party 18/6/22

The Young Rail Professionals working party had steam haulage with Prince to Tan-y-grisiau on 18/6/22 where they changed 15 sleepers and deliverer 15 tonnes of ballast. The volunteers will be welcomed back in October. For more images see F&WHR Facebook page.

 

This westerly view (18/6/22) shows Prince with a PW train ready to return to Minffordd with volunteers while David Lloyd George passes on the afternoon Mountain Spirit heading for Blaenau Ffestiniog with fresh ballast in the foreground. 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.

 

Timetable w/c 27/6/22

Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 18/6/22

Saturday was a busier day on the F&WHR with the weather forecast to be a cloudy day and maximum 15C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Snowdonia Star but FIVE from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit  trains and The Harbourmaster).

The first movement was Prince on a PW train which passed Tan-y-bwlch at 09:51 heading towards Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 

This westerly view (18/6/22) shows Prince with a PW train making its way east with volunteers. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steam was being raised at Boston Lodge at 09:15 with many passengers waiting on the platform for the 09:40 Harbourmaster. No.87 eventually rolled into the WHR platform at 09:23, rather later than normal but with plenty of time before the 09:40 departure. David Lloyd George hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:05. This was followed by Blanche at 11:31 on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer.

Prince passed Tan-y-bwlch on the returning PW train to Minffordd at 16:40. The final movement of the day was the Fairlie with the returning 14:30 Mountain Spirit at 17:47. This ran round shortly afterwards and the ECS departed for the depot at 18:01 to close the day's activities.

 

No.143 progress 11/6/22

No.143 is being reassembled at Dinas and the water tank is now back on the loco but the bunker is yet to be fitted. They are in their new shade of lined green. The boiler lagging appears complete and the cladding sheets will go on soon.

 

This Dinas Loco Shed  view (11/6/22) shows No.143 being completed. The water tank is fitted and boiler lagging is underway. The F&WHR really needs another Garratt as it is currently operating with no spare loco for the WHR. It would require two FR locos to replace one  Garratt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone cam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

COVID rising again

It seems unlikely that the current F&WHR operations this Summer will change as COVID is rising again with half a million new cases in the UK last week. WAG has announced that 1 in 45 people in Wales are said to be infected as people socialise more during the summer and few wear masks. See Daily Post report.

 

PTG Tour images 6/6/22

The F&WHR has published some 30 images of the first half of the PTG Tour on 6/6/22. More will come from the FR half of the trip later. See here for full details.

 

This westerly view (6/6/22) shows Lyd leading David Lloyd George on the Caernarfon leg of the PTG Tour crossing Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cardiff-Anglesey airlink scrapped

The latest in a number of North Wales-Cardiff air links, the Anglesey-Cardiff link, has been scrapped and will not restart having been paused at the start of COVID. Previous attempts at a North-South airlink have included a Hawarden-Cardiff link. The £2.9 million per annum saving will be reinvested in North Wales public transport projects. Two such projects that are highly desired locally are the loco hauled 'crowd busters' to Manchester and Birmingham International. There have been huge complaints recently about 2 car DMUs turning up already full and standing and sports supporters having to stand wedged in trains for hundreds of miles on TfW services. The shortages of rolling stock have not been addressed and when TfW could easily hire in rolling stock from WCR and locos from LSL.

Gareth Dennis has proposed a North-South rail link across Wales that ignores or minimises the benefits of the well developed TRAWS proposal for Bangor to Afonwen and Aberystwyth to Carmarthen, the latter of which has received support and research funding from WAG. He suggests a route from Oswestry to Merthyr via Welshpool, the Mid Wales route through Llanidloes (trackbed used by bypass), a new section from Rhayader to Llandrindod Wells where there would be a junction with the Central Wales line (doubled to Builth Road?), Builth Wells (trackbed used by bypass) and Brecon Parkway (Tal-y-llyn Junction), ignoring the fact that the BMR is built on the trackbed between Merthyr and Torpantau. Such a route from Holyhead to Cardiff would be MUCH slower than the existing route via Shrewsbury, Hereford and Newport consisting as it does of reusing sharply curved low speed branch lines and crossing high mountain passes at Pant-y-dwr and Torpantau. Many sections have seen redevelopment such as Talgarth where the trackbed has been lost.

 

F&WHR 17/6/22

Friday was a day of sunny periods with maximum temperatures of 20C at Porthmadog but becoming cloudy later. There was NO train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and two Mountain Spirit  trains) so no trains on the WHR at all. Saturday sees the return of the two through trains on the WHR, the Snowdonia Star and The Harbourmaster.

David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:07 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived there at 14:40 with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. The final train of the day was David Lloyd George arriving back from the afternoon Mountain Spirit. This arrived in Porthmadog about 10 minutes late at 17:47 but the ECS soon departed for Boston Lodge at 18:02 allowing the signalman to close the box.

 

Jubilee livery Class 66 still on Margam trains 17/6/22

Class 66 No.66734 Platinum Jubilee in a special GBRf Jubilee livery has been working the Margam-Dee Marsh trains for more than a week giving photographers a continuous opportunity to photo it at different locations. The same loco was noted on the same duty on 6/6, 7/6 and 9/6/22.

 

This northerly view (17/6/22) shows No.66734 Platinum Jubilee on the Borderlands Line hauling the 6V75 09:34 Dee Marsh-Margam steel train passing Buckley station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes (your webmaster's brother) and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Campaigners victory over Heritage rail bridges 16/6/22

In a stunning decision, the Eden District Council has refused retrospective planning permission to infill a railway bridge in Cumbria that could be used for a heritage railway route in the Eden Valley. The infilling of the Musgrove overbridge by the National Highways last year was widely condemned in the Heritage community. The pre-emptive action by National Highways blocked plans mooted by two preserved railways to rejoin between Kirkby Stephen and Warcop. The concrete will now be removed at huge expense and National Highways has guaranteed in future it will seek planning permission before any such alteration to heritage bridges on abandoned railways. One of the few voices in favour of keeping the concrete was Railway Paths. It will cost nearly £500,000 to remove the low density concrete/aggregate fill and re-point the bridge according to The Guardian. EDC will now serve an Enforcement Notice if necessary and National Highways  have said they will not appeal. See BBC report and detail from The Guardian.

 

North Wales Main line 9-10/6/22

The Three Peak charity event was run with LSL locos this year and Nos.47593/501 hauled the first leg to Bangor on 9/6/22.

No.66778 Cambois Depot 25 Years was noted on a North Wales weedkilling trip on 10/6/22. Cambois depot was on the Durham coast at Blyth. The loco covered the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch too but the Llandudno and Holyhead lengths had been covered previously. 

 

 F&WHR 16/6/22

Thursday was a day of sunny periods with maximum temperatures of 18C at Porthmadog. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and one Mountain Spirit and a Glaslyn Venturer train). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked before departure. Friday's trains see no services on the WHR.

Lyd arrived at 10:25 with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer with no time to run round before David Lloyd George departed from the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. At 15:20 Lyd had shunted the Woodland Wanderer to the westbound platform but not run round. This was for the return working of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which was due to depart at 15:40. The train usually runs round in the arrival track unless another train was following. There was no following train in the schedule but at 15:10 David Lloyd George appeared with the afternoon run of the Mountain Spirit. After this unexpected working, Lyd ran round its train shortly afterwards. Maybe with the strength of bookings the F&WHR decided to add an afternoon working of the Mountain Spirit late in the day.

The Fairlie was back at 17:34 with the afternoon Mountain Spirit. Run round came at 17:48 and the train departed ECS for Boston Lodge at 17:52 as the last working of the day.

 

F&WHR 2023 Calendar 16/6/22

Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

The F&WHR 2023 Calendar is now available from the webshop. For those like your webmaster who missed out last year an early purchase is advised. See F&WHR webshop.

 

F&WHR 15/6/22

Wednesday was a day of sunny periods at Porthmadog with a maximum temperature of 17C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer and two Mountain Spirit trains). The Glaslyn Venturer will return on Thursday. Both Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked well before departure. It could be that one reason that there is resistance to adding additional Woodland Wanderer trains is that it might abstract revenue from the more expensive Mountain Spirit trains when they have plenty of space. It seems that the F&WHR is operating a yield management philosophy to recover from the economic hardships of COVID.

By 10:25 there were three trains at Porthmadog. David Lloyd George had arrived first into the FR platform and run round ready for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche had arrived early enough to run round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform. Harlech Castle was also present with the FR Mess car in the sidings. After the 10:30 had left the diesel moved into the yard. The Fairlie arrived back with the afternoon working at 17:33 in brilliant sunshine. Run round came at 17:46 and the train departed ECS at 17:48 to finish the day as the signalman went home.

 

Spooner's photo competition 13/6/22

The F&WHR recently announced that it is planning to change the theme of photos displayed in Spooner’s at Harbour Station - to celebrate the centenary of the Welsh Highland Railway, which will officially take place in 2023. Thanks to everyone who has sent their entries over the past few months a variety of fantastic photos have been received. While there are enough contemporary photos, the F&WHR could still do with some Historical or Reconstruction pictures of the Welsh Highland Railway.

If any supporter has got some, please send them to the F&WHR and your photo could be selected as one of the lucky few to be displayed in Spooner’s for all to see. Please make sure your photos are in JPEG format and at their original resolution to maintain quality. Send your photos to whr100photos@ffwhr.com. Wherever possible, please supply relevant information to accompany your photograph - including such things as date, location and anything of personal significance - so that the f&WHR can caption photographs appropriately. As the F&WHR will be unable to display all entries, they will use photos of particular interest on the social media feeds. Please confirm that you are happy for the F&WHR to do so when submitting photographs for consideration.

 

F&WHR 14/6/22

Tuesday was a sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) but FIVE from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Explorer trains). The 13:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out.

David Lloyd George was on the first working, the 10:30 Mountain Spirit passing Tan-y-bwlch at 11:05. This was followed by Blanche on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer which arrived there at 11:34. The second run of the Mountain Spirit returned by 17:40. David Lloyd George ran round at 17:45 and took the ECS back to the depot departing at 17:50 as the final move of the day. The lower parts of the signalbox were being painted today.

 

Welsh Coal supplies resume

The Ffos-y-Fran (Merthyr) coal screening machine was repaired at the end of May and it seems Welsh coal will be available for several more months until November but the HRA is still keen to impress on WAG the need for a permanent supply. The restarting of Welsh coal deliveries might explain the strategic reserve the F&WHR is building up at Glan-y-pwll depot as ovoids going into store with a coal train up the FR on 9/6/22.

 

F&WHR 13/6/22

Monday was forecast to have a few sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit train). Looking ahead the week has a low service on Monday/Friday with no WHR trains at all on those days. The 13:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out after midday.

David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:03 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit followed by Blanche at 11:33 on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Between trains at Tan-y-bwlch there was some tamping the track by the PW team.

 

F&WHR timetable w/c 13/6/22

Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 12/6/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 17C. There was ONE train from Caernarfon (Gelert Explorer) but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Explorer).

David Lloyd George arrived at Tan-y-bwlch with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit at 11:08. Prince arrived at 11:41 with the Woodland Wanderer.

 

Russell to return for WHR100 Celebrations (11/6/22)

This westerly view (2022) shows Russell at Porthmadog on test. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

It has been confirmed, as widely anticipated, that Russell will operate on the Dinas-Rhyd Ddu section hauling several heritage trains during the WHR 100 Event 30-31/7/22. The train will clearly have to arrive via the full route but will not haul trains on that section during its ECS transfer to Dinas. Previously the loco has hauled trains on the Caernarfon to Waunfawr section during SuperPower 2000 and Pen-y-Mount to Beddgelert section in 2019. Maybe the loco will return in 2023 (along with a Baldwin No.590 lookalike?) to cover the whole route to celebrate the opening throughout?

 

This easterly view (2019) shows Russell approaching the former Hafod Garregog Halt during the 2019 Event with a train for Beddgelert. 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.

 

Russell has been subject to improvements to valve gear and timing recently and is currently being tested in advance of its public duties. It will haul four WHHR coaches including the original Buffet Car No.10, Gladstone Car No.29, the replica Corridor Car No.9 and Pickering Brake No.8. It is possible the F&WHR may contribute No.23 which is an original WHR coach and the replica NWNGR coach No.24 for other likely formations.

As Russell is air braked it may only operate with air braked or through piped rolling stock, though Russell could be double headed with a vacuum braked loco such as one of the England engines known to have operated on the line 100 years ago. The timing loads for this section of the WHR between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu limit the trains to relatively short formations and so tickets will be in short supply. Tickets go on sale later in June.

See F&WHR Press Release for full details.

 

F&WHR 11/6/22

Saturday was forecast to be a sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was NO Snowdonia Star but FOUR from trains from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Harbourmaster). There were additional Beer Festival shuttle trains today as were on Friday between Caernarfon and Waunfawr using the same timetable. The event finished Saturday evening. The Glaslyn Venturer returns on Sunday.

At 10:15 Prince was running round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform while David Lloyd George was on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit in the FR platform. Prince was able to complete the run round before the Fairlie departed. David Lloyd George arrived a little later than normal at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:14. All was over by 5pm  at Porthmadog with the return of The Harbourmaster but the party continued at Dinas with the ECS from the final Beer Festival shuttle being put to bed about 11:00.

No.130 was used on the shuttle trains.

 

This northerly view (11/6/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog preparing the ECS for shuttle duties at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone cam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/6/22) shows No.130 preparing for shuttle duties at Dinas while Vale of Ffestiniog extracts the ECS from the Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone cam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/6/22) shows No.130 on the Beer Festival shuttle running round at Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone cam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

VoR Garratt No.60 in service 8/6/22

The Vale of Rheidol's red NG13 Garratt, No.60 Drakensberg, worked test passenger trains on 8/6/22 on the 10:30 Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge and a second turn at 14:00. The name is carried on the water tank. The loco is to be used again on 19/7/22 on the official 'First Train', tickets for which will soon be available. There are additional dates in July on 19-21/7/22 and 26-28/7/22. See VoR Facebook page. The loco was obtained from a Swiss tourist attraction that found it could not be used on their short, sharply curved, Garden Centre route. The VoR loco roster for July is available here. This is a working spreadsheet with selectable month tabs at the bottom.

 

F&WHR 10/6/22

Friday was forecast to be a sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Harbourmaster). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked by 8am today, a frequent occurrence this week so there was time to add additional workings. The through trains on the WHR, The Harbourmaster operates Saturday too, while the Glaslyn Venturer returns on Sunday.

Several extra shuttle trains operate between Caernarfon-Waunfawr Friday and Saturday according to the timetable below in association with the Beer Festival at Dinas. The Harbourmaster makes an extra return trip between Caernarfon and Dinas during its normal layover time at midday. The last train of the day will be an ECS from Caernarfon to Dinas after the 21:55 Waunfawr-~Caernarfon arrives in Caernarfon at 22:30.

 

                                                                                   

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

No.87 departed the WHR platform with The Harbourmaster at 09:40 while the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit was approaching the  FR platform with Merddin Emrys in charge. Prince was on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Prince was back at Porthmadog on the return working of the 13:55, running round in the sunshine at 16:12. The train left for Boston Lodge ECS at 16:17. Vale of Ffestiniog hauled the shuttle trains.

 

This northerly view (10/6/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog on the Beer Festival shuttle appearing to haul part of the Snowdonia Star rake in use for shuttle purposes. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Tom Waldren and was taken on a phone cam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.65 10/6/22 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 22 minute 51 seconds of video covering K1 at W&LLR, the 40th anniversary of the re-opening of Blaenau Ffestiniog FR station and the Jubilee specials. This video was published on 10/6/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

Linda progress

Work on Linda's boiler is complete but the boiler remains out of the frames as work will now progress to its bottom end. Linda is a really useful small engine like Blanche and has a good power rating for hauling shorter trains.

 

K1 at Statfold

After an extended stay at Dinas from 17/9/21, K1 made it back to Statfold Barn last week calling at the W&LLR's Beyer Bash event 20-22/5/22. It is due to appear this weekend in the Statfold Indian Summer Event.

 

F&WHR 9/6/22

Thursday was forecast to be a rainy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Explorer). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked today. The Glaslyn Venturer returns on Sunday while the through trains on the WHR, The Harbourmaster and the Snowdonia Star, operate Friday and Saturday.

Merddin Emrys hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departing on time while Prince waited on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform having already run round. In the afternoon Merddin Emrys hauled a coal train to Glan-y-pwll as a strategic store? Prince and the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer had to be shunted to the westbound platform at Tan-y-bwlch to allow it to pass during the layover time between 14:35 and 15:40.

Prince arrived back at 16:15 with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer into a very wet FR platform. The loco ran round at 16:23 and departed ECS for the depot at 16:28 as the last move of the day though Merddin Emrys would have returned light engine from Glan-y-pwll later.

 

Main Line news

No. 66734 appeared in a Royal lilac livery recently, named Platinum Jubilee and carrying Union Jack emblems. This loco is the latest livery output from Eastleigh Works. This loco is a Euro 66 variant purchased to replace the one that derailed alongside Loch Treig and was cut up on site due to the difficult location. See YouTube of recovery. This loco has various Euro modifications and takes the number of the cut up loco (is that allowed under TOPS rules?). On 4/6/22 it was on the Shotton-Margam steel train.

 

F&WHR 8/6/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked today. The Glaslyn Venturer returns on Thursday and Sunday while the through trains on the WHR operate Friday and Saturday.

Merddin Emrys hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departing on time while Prince ran round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform. Prince arrived back with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer at 16:07. Run round came 5 minutes later and the ECS departed for the depot at 16:19 to close the day's activities.

 

Taliesin progress 8/6/22

The very popular and free steaming single Fairlie Taliesin is receiving attention at Boston Lodge. The only representative of a group of 4 single Fairlies that ran on the NWNGR/FR/WHR entered service in August 2000 and has starred in many WHR events. Its boiler has been out of ticket since 2000 but a donor is paying its boiler overhaul, however it has waited in a queue caused by COVID. The loco is currently stored in the new Carriage Shed, without its boiler which is having new stays fitted. Partially completed new double Fairlie James Spooner is also in the Carriage Shed.

There are still calls for support for a project to resurrect the WHR Single Fairlie Moel Tryfan, a project that scarcely dare mention its name, parts of which still exist. A beefed up replica Moel Tryfan, maybe using the extant parts, could haul prototypical shorter trains on the WHR to supplement the unsatisfactory one MEGA train a day service on the WHR currently envisaged for the rest of the year. Taliesin itself could haul 6/7 coaches on the 1 in 80 FR and Moel Tryfan could do the same on the Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu section in a similar way to the Woodland Wanderer on the FR where small engines have proved their worth.

 

F&WHR 7/6/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a sunny day with maximum temperatures of 17C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The two Woodland Wanderer trains were fully booked.

Merddin Emrys left on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit but strangely the Woodland Wanderer had not arrived in the FR platform at that time. The loco was shunting in the yard at 10:40 so the rake must have been in the FR yard unusually. The Woodland Wanderer was shunted into the WHR platform at 10:47 from the FR yard by Prince. On the second run of the day, also fully booked, Prince left Tan-y-bwlch at 15:33 in the last move of the day.

 

F&WHR 6/6/22

Monday was forecast to have a few sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit train). The service pattern this week looks a lot different from the Bank Holiday/School Half Term Week last week with fewer trains every day. Furthermore The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star will operate additionally on Friday 10/6/22.

PTG Tours ran some extra trains on the F&WHR today with Merddin Emrys and Lyd taking a train to Caernarfon. Firstly however, the Fairlie took the tour group to Boston Lodge Halt at 08:20 for a private tour of the works. The tour group was based at Port Meirion from 3/6/22. A similar tour is planned on 19/9/22.

David Lloyd George was on the 10:30 Mountain Prince passing Minffordd at 10:39 with no headboard. Blanche followed at 11:07 with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer, including headboard.

The Mountain Prince rake was used in the afternoon departing Porthmadog at 16:15 with Prince, Welsh Pony and Palmerston on the front for the FR part of the PTG Special. Blanche shunted out of the yard to couple to the ECS from the Woodland Wanderer. Meanwhile Lyd and Merddin Emrys waited at the end of the FR platform to make a light engine movement to Boston Lodge after dropping off the PTG Special. After that Blanche departed with the ECS from the Woodland Wanderer in sunshine at 16:40.

The PTG Special paused at Tan-y-bwlch and departed for Blaenau at 17:10. The rake returned after a short break at Blaenau and departed at 18:46 for Porthmadog as the last activity of the day. The tour group had an evening meal booked in Spooners with Paul Lewin as guest speaker.

 

This westerly view (6/6/22) shows Prince, Welsh Pony and Palmerston with Platinum Jubilee headboard passing Minffordd. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Train services w/c 6/6/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

Llangollen railway news

Class 26 No.26010 (as green 5310) will be hauling trains over 11-12/6/22 and on Saturday evening for the LR Beer Festival.

 

F&WHR 5/6/22

The Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend came to an end on Sunday with thunderstorms and drizzle forecast for much of the day and 14C maximum temperatures. With the bad weather forecast the service was reduced to ONE train from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). Monday sees a further reduction in services with no trains at all planned on the WHR! Today's 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out before departure.

The first train of the day was Harlech Castle which shunted the Mess coach out of Tan-y-bwlch sidings at 09:02 before propelling back towards the east at 09:06. The 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer was hauled by No.87, which left on time in drizzly conditions carrying its normal headboard. Merddin Emrys was waiting in the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit while Welsh Pony came over with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer once the WHR platform was vacated. There was not time to complete the run round before the Fairlie departed at 10:34. Welsh Pony arrived at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:37 carrying the Jubilee headboard. Harlech Castle arrived at Tan-y-bwlch from the east with a works train at 14:13 and waited to cross the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which arrived at 14:36 before proceeding probably to Minffordd Yard.

The 13:55 Woodland Wanderer arrived back around 16:10 and was promptly dispatched ECS to the depot to close the day's activities.

The F&WHR has published a selection of 25 images of trains carrying the Jubilee headboard on 5/6/22. Click here for more.

 

This westerly view (5/6/22) shows Welsh Pony on the Woodland Wanderer carrying the Jubilee headboard. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 4/6/22

Saturday was forecast to have sunny periods and maximum temperatures of 18 degrees at Porthmadog. Saturday continues the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend services with one change, there was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star) and SIX from Porthmadog (three Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster trains). The 15:45 Woodland Wanderer train has been cancelled as it is less popular. As usual the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked even at 06:00!

David Lloyd George was the first train to appear at Tan-y-bwlch, arriving at 11:10 but with no headboard at all! Welsh Pony was next with the Platinum Jubilee headboard arriving at 11:44. Lyd was the third arrival at 13:30 carrying the Woodland Wanderer headboard. As the 15:45 Woodland Wanderer was cancelled the final working of the day was the second Mountain Spirit which arrived back about 17:35 and was disposed to the depot about 18:00 to close the day's activities.

 

F&WHR 3/6/22

Friday was forecast to have sunny periods and maximum temperatures of 17 degrees at Porthmadog with a possible thunderstorm at midday. As Friday is a Jubilee Bank Holiday there was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star) and SEVEN from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster trains). This service pattern repeats on Saturday. The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was already sold out by 08:30. Hugh Napier is due to put in an appearance giving cab rides at Porthmadog today between trains. The Garratts appeared to have exchanged duties when meeting at Beddgelert on Thursday afternoon. This is possible as the Gelert Explorer departs Beddgelert at 14:30 but the second run of the Glaslyn Venturer arrives there at 14:25.

At 08:52 No.87 shunted onto Boston Lodge curve to be coaled at the north end of Boston Lodge works. The loco then returned to the Carriage shed to bring the ECS for the 09:40  The Harbourmaster over to the WHR platform. The train arrived at 09:13 sporting the Jubilee headboard.

 

This northerly view (3/6/22) shows No.87 with Jubilee headboard preparing to depart on the 09:40 Harbourmaster. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Merddin Emrys arrived into the FR platform with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit at 09:55. The Fairlie ran round and coupled up 5 minutes later while the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer was being prepared at Boston Lodge.

At 13:00 No.130 was running round the Snowdonia Star in the WHR platform ready for the 14:15 return journey. Welsh Pony was on the 10:55 and Lyd on the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer as yesterday. The return working of The Harbourmaster was put to bed by 17:00 and all was quiet until the return of the afternoon Mountain Spirit at 17:35. This arrived in the middle of a slow moving thunderstorm and the run round was completed in pouring rain as Lyd approached with the returning 15:45 Woodland Wanderer into the FR platform at 18:09. A large pool developed by the entrance to the new Premier Inn which may be open now as private cars were using the entrance. The Fairlie departed with the ECS a minute later. Lyd ran round at 18:24 and departed with the ECS at 18:32 to close the day's activities.

The F&WHR has published a selection of 30 images of No.87 on 3/6/22. Click here for more.

 

This easterly view (3/6/22) shows No.87 with Jubilee headboard departing Porthmadog on the 09:40 Harbourmaster. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 2/6/22

Thursday was a repeat of Tuesday/Wednesday's services and was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and no less than EIGHT from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and two Glaslyn Venturer trains). There are surely opportunities to have more trains from Caernarfon such as a short working to Rhyd Ddu and back while the Gelert Explorer lays over in Beddgelert given rolling stock and crew availability? For example Prince could haul a short heritage rake on the easier grades to Rhyd Ddu to provide an authentic 1930s experience. The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out as well as the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. The Premier Inn seems to be getting ready to open as the traffic cones have now disappeared from its entrance, though the footpath at the entrance looks rough. Friday and Saturday will see The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star run.

At 09:00 the signalman was going on duty at Porthmadog as the Garratt was shunting at Boston Lodge in preparation for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer duty. The loco shunted towards the Old Loco Shed sidings at 09:00, possibly for coaling, a move not previously noticed. The loco was back shunting the Carriage Shed at 09:10 before drawing the ECS into the WHR platform at 09:28. David Lloyd George arrived at 10:03 with the Mountain Spirit set.

 

This westerly view (3/6/22) shows David Lloyd George on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit carrying the Jubilee headboard, the first train of the Jubilee to do so. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Once the Glaslyn Venturer had departed the Woodland Wanderer ECS started out from Boston Lodge and arrived in the WHR platform hauled by Welsh Pony at 10:24. Run round was delayed until after the Mountain Spirit. Hugh Napier turned up by 11:50 in the WHR platform to provide footplate rides between trains. It ran in parallel down the WHR platform as Lyd pulled in at 12:07 with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer.

 

This northerly view (2/6/22) shows Hugh Napier giving footplate rides between service trains in Harbour Station while Lyd arrives with the ECS for the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The station was busy again from 13:00 pm as No.130 was back and ran round for the afternoon 13:40 Glaslyn Venturer. Welsh Pony arrived a little later and ran round ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. This train must be shunted into the yard as the Mountain Spirit arrives back at 13:35 and occupies the FR platform. It would be better if the second run of the Glaslyn Venturer departed a little earlier and vacated the WHR platform before the Mountain Spirit arrives. The consequence for the existing timetable is that the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer must be shunted from the yard to the WHR platform. The shunt arrived about 13:50 just 5 minutes before departure but the crew did not propel very far down the platform so that the waiting passengers had to walk the full length of the platform delaying loading a little. Despite this, quick work by platform staff and the guard got the train away at 13:57, just a couple of minutes late. Once the WHR was vacated Charles Napier reappeared to shunt up and down the WHR platform and the Fairlie could run round ready for the 14:30 Mountain Spirit.

At 18:00 David Lloyd George was waiting with the ECS Mountain Spirit in the WHR for Lyd to return. Lyd rolled in at 18:05 allowing the Fairlie to depart a minute later. Lyd ran round at 18:13 and departed with the ECS at 18:18 to finish the day's activities.

 

SuperPower?

The latest F&WHR Press Release features the FR's Bygones event and WHR Centenary event but does not mention SuperPower. Surely this is an oversight?

 

Llangollen inspection saloon

The partially restored Inspection Saloon No.80975 is now being attached to trains running from Llangollen. It is finished in a GWR chocolate and cream livery and has large windows similar to and Observation Car. Passengers may ride in it for a small supplementary charge. GWR steam loco No.3802 arrived back on 30/5/22 from wheel turning at Carnforth. The motion must be reassembled before the loco is returned to traffic in the Summer.

 

F&WHR 1/6/22

Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday's services and was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and no less than EIGHT from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and two Glaslyn Venturer trains). There are surely opportunities to have more trains from Caernarfon such as a short working to Rhyd Ddu and back while the Gelert Explorer lays over in Beddgelert? The 13:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out.

First through Tan-y-Bwlch was Merddin Emrys on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which arrived at 11:09. Next up was Welsh Pony which arrived on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 11:55. The loco ran round and departed with the return working an hour later. Lyd was next in 13:37 with the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. This was soon shunted to the westbound platform to allow the afternoon Mountain Spirit to pass. No.130 was on the Glaslyn Venturer which had a second trip on the 13:40 from Porthmadog.

At 18:15 Lyd was running round the returned 15:45 Woodland Wanderer in the FR platform. The ECS left at 18:19 for the depot bringing the day to a close.  

 

Joining at intermediate stations

As anticipated a few days ago the F&WHR is providing a dedicated coach for hop-on/hop-off traffic and extending the facility from Society members to the general public. For those who like using the train as part of a walk or wish to do a shorter journey, the F&WHR has introduced an intermediate travel carriage on all but the Woodland Wanderer services. So, subject to there being room in the carriage, you may join the train and pay the guard for your ticket. Please note, there are no distancing restrictions in this carriage. You will find information on times and fares in the train services section of the website. This facility is for 'turn up and go' and is not available to book in advance. This carriage may also be used for return journeys between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog & between Beddgelert and Porthmadog on days when there is more than one service.

 

WHR Celebrations 30-31/7/22

The F&WHR, WHRS, WHHR and Welsh Highland Heritage Group are delighted to be working together to arrange a weekend of heritage trains operating between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu (as South Snowdon is now known) to celebrate the reopening of this section of the line in 1922. They are hoping to welcome a very special visitor to Dinas. Speculation is mounting as to whether Russell will be invited as it was present on the WHR in 1922. Sadly only the ghost of single Fairlie Moel Tryfan can grace the proceedings.

 

Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend celebrations

The F&WHR will have a long weekend of celebrations. There will be a special 'Platinum Jubilee' headboard which will be used on several trains over the next five days. There are headboards on other trains as well. Porthmadog station will have a little Jubilee Bank Holiday fun on Thursday and Friday. Quarry Hunslet Hugh Napier, which used to work in the Penrhyn Slate Quarry, will be running up and down the track beside Platform 2 for visitors to take a ride on the footplate beside the driver. The loco should be in Harbour Station during the following times.

Thursday: 11:00-12:45 ... 14:00-16:00

Friday: 11:00-12:00 ... 14:15-16:30

 

This Jubilee headboard (1/6/22) will be carried by several trains over the Jubilee period. The Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen reminds us of when she travelled on the train from Caernarfon to Dinas in April 2008 and the special reopening of the BR line through Caernarfon for the Investiture in July, 1969 when the Queen alighted at Dinas from the Royal Train. Congratulations to her on this happy and glorious occasion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Dave Thurlow F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 31/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to be cloudy at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and no less than EIGHT from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer, two Mountain Spirit and two Glaslyn Venturer trains). Surely this is a disparity and there should be more trains from Caernarfon?

Merddin Emrys had a rather wet start in the morning with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit but still made it to Tan-y-bwlch at 11:09. Welsh Pony was next up with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. This was followed by Lyd at 13:30 on the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer. Lyd shunted the train to the westbound platform later to let the following train arrive at 14:35 with Welsh Pony on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. This was also shunted to allow the 14:30 Mountain Spirit to pass, again in the hands of Merddin Emrys. Welsh Pony completed its run round later.

Meanwhile down at Porthmadog the sun came out in the late afternoon and the scaffolding had gone from the signalbox and relay cabin. Presumably the paintwork has been completed. There was a departmental working from Boston Lodge to Dinas hauled by Vale of Ffestiniog with just one wagon, BZ2004, carrying the new LNER Apple Green coal bunker for storage while the loco's overhaul is completed. the paint shop is having a clearout as the roof is being repaired. However, the paint is said to be for protection only at this stage and the final colour remains a mystery!

Lyd arrived back at 18:03 with the return working of the 15:45 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform and ran to refuel/water after the ECS from the 14:30 Mountain Spirit departed at 18:08 from the /FR platform. Lyd departed with the ECS at 18:24 with the final movement of the day.  

 

This northerly view (31/5/22) shows Vale of Ffestiniog on a departmental carrying No.138's new coal bunker to Dinas. Will this new shade of green be the final colour of this formerly red 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.

 

F&WHR 30/5/22

Monday was forecast to be a cloudy/rainy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 12C. There was ONE departures from Caernarfon and SEVEN from Porthmadog (four Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and one afternoon Glaslyn Venturer train). The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was fully booked by 09:30. The service pattern this week looks a little different with eight trains from Porthmadog and just one from Caernarfon from Tuesday-Thursday! Furthermore The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star will operate additionally on Friday 3/6/22.

Merddin Emrys was on the first train of the day, the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and Welsh Pony was in charge of the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. This is the first time No.5 has appeared in regular service, however it did operate on The Snowdonian along with the other two England locos. Lyd hauled the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer extra using the spare set. No.130 hauled the 13:40 Glaslyn Venturer which today ran only in the afternoon. Merddin Emrys also hauled the 14:30 Mountain Spirit and this was another first as previously, when there have been two of these trains, they swopped Fairlies at Porthmadog.  

At 18:05 Merddin Emrys shunted from Porthmadog fuelling point and returned to the Mountain Spirit in the WHR platform. the ECS was held for the late running 15:45 Woodland Wanderer to return. Lyd arrived back at 18:15 some 12 minutes late allowing the ECS Mountain Spirit to depart a minute later. Lyd departed with its ECS at 18:29 to close the day's activities.

 

Timetable w/c 30/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size where available. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

Beddgelert facilities improvement

The temporary waiting shelter and shop have opened on the concrete base allocated for a future permanent station building at Beddgelert. There is also an outside seated area for waiting, eating/drinking snacks if the weather is fine. A wooden fence has been erected around the edge of the concrete foundation and a level access provided for wheelchairs etc. The shop is on the north side of the pad, the shelter on the south side and between them is the open air seated area. the old wooden ticket office is still present by the footpath access to the platforms. As current F&WHR policy is to treat Beddgelert as a 'frontier' station for most of the week with just one train from Caernarfon and one or two from Porthmadog, use of the facilities there has grown far beyond the initial plans when through services started. It is hoped a permanent station building might be constructed in a year's time if funding can be obtained.

 

No.87 Gelert Explorer 19/5/22

This westerly view (19/5/22) shows No.87 heading south past Llyn-y-gader with the Gelert Explorer just after leaving Rhyd Ddu. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (19/5/22) shows No.87 a few moments later heading south nearing Pitt's Head with Moel Hebog dominating the scene. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 29/5/22

Sunday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with rain in the early afternoon and maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer). The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was already fully booked by 07:15. The morning Glaslyn Venturer has been replaced by a 13:40 afternoon working today and also on Monday but with two trains a day Tuesday-Friday matching the school Half Term Week. From Monday the Woodland Wanderer is expanded to two sets making two return trips each at 10:55, 12:45, 13:55 and 15:45, using the spare set. There will also be two Mountain Spirit services a day from 30/5/22 until 4/6/22. No additional trains are planned to operate out of Caernarfon for the foreseeable future despite the large increase in trains out of Porthmadog.

The 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer was replaced by a 13:40 working today because of Half Term week. There was no 10:15 departure. Lyd pulled into the WHR platform with the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 10:14, the first use of this loco on this service. Meanwhile David Lloyd George was waiting in the FR platform to depart with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Lyd was early enough to run to the yard to refuel and water before the Mountain Spirit departed.

 

This westerly view (29/5/22) shows Lyd about to run round the Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform while David Lloyd George waits with the Mountain Spirit in the FR platform.  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.

 

Lyd arrived back at 16:12 with the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. No.130 arrived back at 16:20 with the afternoon working of the Glaslyn Venturer and departed at 16:26 ECS for Boston Lodge. Lyd ran round at 16:37 and departed at 16:41 to complete the day's activities.

 

Covid Policy changes?

At the weekend train staff were advising passengers of a possible relaxation of the F&WHR's COVID policy following the expected announcement on Monday that WAG is set to remove all remaining COVID restrictions. What difference (if any) this makes to F&WHR services has yet to be announced. One area of interest is the availability of fares to intermediate stations and hop on/hop off fares rather than the operation of fixed full length fares, criticised by some supporters as 'Disney trains'.

 

Firebox sausages 14/5/22!

This Porthmadog view (14/5/22) shows the crew of No.130 preparing a well deserved firebox feast for lunch after hauling the Snowdonia Star from Caernarfon.. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Llangollen first 28/5/22

There was an historic moment at the new Corwen Station during the evening of 28/5/22 with the arrival of the first passenger train stock ECS. The train was run under line possession after the last service train of the day. The train was a gauging trial and was run through both platforms. The locomotive was No.47449. See Unofficial Llangollen Railway Facebook page for full details and images. It cannot to be too long now before the extension is opened but much work is still needed to complete the platform facilities.

 

This easterly view (28/5/22) shows 47449 (as 1566) at the new Corwen station passing the beautifully restored signalbox. There is a siding near the signalbox for changeover locos in gala events etc.. The signal box will not be operational for some time so a ground frame will be in use. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Iain Ross and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (28/5/22) shows 47449 (as 1566) clearance testing the platforms with the ECS at the new Corwen station.. The water tower and signal box are also in view. For many years the signal box was stored in Carrog yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Iain Ross and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (28/5/22) shows 47449 (as 1566) at the new Corwen station headshunt at the west end of the station. The low Green Lane road bridge was removed when the line was closed in the 1960s and any future extension towards Bala would require a level crossing here now. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Iain Ross and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 28/5/22

Saturday was forecast to be an improving sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. Saturday is a repeat of Friday's services. There was one departure from Caernarfon (the Snowdonia Star through train) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, a Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster through train)

No.130 was ready to depart by 09:25 and left on time as David Lloyd George arrived into the FR platform with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived at 10:15 with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform. At 11:00 The Harbourmaster was passing No.87 with the Snowdonia Star at Rhyd Ddu. Fortunately your webmaster's cousin was on the train and took some views. This website gets very few contributions for the WHR.

 

This easterly view (28/5/22) shows No.130 ready to depart with The Harbourmaster at 09:23. The weather improved later. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brian Wright and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/5/22) shows No.130 waiting with The Harbourmaster at 11:00 at Rhyd Ddu for the Snowdonia Star to pass. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brian Wright and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/5/22) shows No.87 arriving at Rhyd Ddu with the Snowdonia Star at 11:00 crossing The Harbourmaster.  Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brian Wright and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (28/5/22) shows No.130 passing Caeau Gwynion with Snowdon above the loco on the return journey.  Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brian Wright and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (28/5/22) shows No.130 rounding Ffridd Isaf curve on the return journey of The Harbourmaster at 15:48. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Brian Wright and was taken on a phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 returned The Harbourmaster to Porthmadog about 16:30 and had left ECS for Boston Lodge by 16:50.

 

Llangollen Railway 28-29/5/22

The Llangollen Railways Class 47 No.47449 is being used this weekend on passenger services. The loco carries the number 1566 (but appears in BR blue), the number it carried for about 5 years after the demise of steam and dropping the D prefix pre-renumbering to TOPS in March 1974.

 

Main line news

It seems a battery 'thermal incident' with the Class 230 (Vivarail LUL D78 stock train conversions) has led to the cancellation of the planned introduction into service of these trains on the Borderlands Line this Spring. Instead, Class 150s continue in operation but a new Class 197 was being tested on 24/5/22 for gauge clearance etc. between Wrexham and Bidston as these units are to be used all over Wales except for Core Valley lines out of Cardiff.

Mk III coaches are banned on the Blaenau branch as the end throw is greater on these 23m vehicles compared to Mk1/II rolling stock and apparently there has been a passenger leaning out of a window incident.

NR staff were visible working on the sand below the Barmouth Viaduct trestle section again on 20/5/22 right up to the steel section. They were presumably investigating the extent of works necessary to be completed in the Autumn closure from mid September to mid December for the second phase of the planned repair. The main purpose of the closure is the repair/replacement of the steelwork at the north end of the viaduct and approach tracks.

 

F&WHR 27/5/22

Friday was forecast to be an improving sunny day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was one departure from Caernarfon (the Snowdonia Star through train) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, a Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster through train). The through trains are unusual on a Friday.

At 09:30 No.130 was reversing onto its rake for the 09:40 Harbourmaster, presumably having gone to top up with coal and water in the yard after hauling the ECS into the platform. David Lloyd George arrived with the ECS Mountain Spirit rake into the FR platform as it departed. Blanche arrived in the WHR platform a little later and ran round at 10:10 as there was plenty of time before the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departure.

No.130 was back by 16:35 on the returning Harbourmaster and then departed 16:37 ECS for the depot to close activities for the day.

 

This northerly view (27/5/22) shows No.130 on the return working of The Harbourmaster crossing the Snowdon Wharf Level Crossing as it rolls into Harbour Station. 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.

 

Songs of Praise (29/5/22)

Sean Fletcher is in the Snowdonia National Park to discover the roots of Christianity in the area and the stories that have shaped its rich history and iconic landscape. James Lusted visits the Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest independent railway company in the world, to hear about its importance to the slate mining industry and the local community. Sean meets a local volunteer balancing the demands of tourism and conservation in the Snowdonia National Park. the programme contains congregational hymns and music old and new from across Wales.

Songs of Praise, Sunday 29th May 2022 on BBC One and afterwards here bbc.in/3ySA29T in the UK.

 

F&WHR 26/5/22

Thursday was forecast to be a cloudy day at Porthmadog with improving weather and a maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit and the Glaslyn Venturer reappears today). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were sold out but with no attempt to add additional services.

No.130 was on the Glaslyn Venturer departing at 10:15, David Lloyd George was on the 19:30 Mountain Spirit and Blanche on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Blanche departed Porthmadog with the ECS at 16:20 to end the day's activities.

 

40th Anniversary Headboards 25/5/22

Tuesday, 25/5/82 was the day that the Ffestiniog Railway first ran passenger trains into the newly-built Central Station in Blaenau Ffestiniog - restoring the link between the slate quarrying town and Porthmadog. Wednesday's Mountain Spirit service to Blaenau Ffestiniog carried a replica of one of the historic headboards to commemorate this special date in Ffestiniog Railway history. A special train was also run from Blaenau Ffestiniog on this day, in conjunction with the Snowdonia Statesman railtour from Swindon to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The special was hauled by Prince and Blanche - with Prince carrying the original headboard from the first FR passenger train to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 25/5/82.

The headboard carried by David Lloyd George on the morning's Mountain Spirit service is a replica of the headboard used for the opening of the new station at Tan-y-grisiau on 24/6/78. It was also carried on the first passenger train to Blaenau Ffestiniog, but only in the Down direction from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. This impressive headboard was always a favourite in the FR collection, but due to its age and condition it has not been used on a train for many years. This replica has been created from a photograph of the original and so includes all the wear and tear of a headboard that has seen service on many trains over the years. However, as the sign-writing on the original had deteriorated badly, Glenn Williams decided to repaint the lettering to its pristine state.

 

This westerly view (25/5/22) shows David Lloyd George carrying the replica headboard Blaenau Ffestiniog Here we Come used on the Tan-y-grisiau opening special 24/6/78.  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 westerly view (24/6/78) shows Merddin Emrys carrying the original headboard Blaenau Ffestiniog Here we Come used on the Tan-y-grisiau opening special 24/6/78.The train is in the headshunt at Tan-y-grisiau as seen from the footbridge just to the east. The weather was not helpful! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Zenith 500E SLR camera. Image scanned by Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III AF-2840, post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 25/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C . There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and TWO from Porthmadog (one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer). Both Woodland Wanderer trains were cancelled today and may be running a special train as the standard and spare rake from the seawall siding were reformed into a larger rake after some shunting yesterday afternoon (see story below).

No.130 turned up with the ECS for the Glaslyn Venturer by 09:15 into the WHR platform. At 09:50 David Lloyd George arrived into the FR platform with the ECS for the Mountain Spirit. Harlech Castle and the Mess coach arrived in Tan-y-bwlch at 10:36 from the Blaenau Ffestiniog direction. They waited in the loop for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit to pass. This arrived at 10:10 carrying the Blaenau Ffestiniog Here We Come headboard to celebrate the reopening to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 25/5/82.

 

This westerly view (25/5/22) shows David Lloyd George carrying a headboard Blaenau Ffestiniog Here we Come to celebrate 40 years since the opening on this day in 1982.  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 westerly view (25/5/22) shows David Lloyd George carrying a replica of the Blaenau Ffestiniog Here We Come headboard to celebrate 40 years since the reopening . Harlech Castle waits in the loop with the FR's Mess Car after going up the line earlier in the day. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Harlech Castle departed at 11:14 and possibly held up the Special which had to wait at the Home signal at Minffordd. Prince and Blanche passed Minffordd at 11:45 with an ECS carrying a headboard bound for Blaenau Ffestiniog to give a ride to those on the main line special arriving at Blaenau at midday..

 

This westerly view (25/5/22) shows Prince carrying a headboard Dinas-Porthmadog 1832-1982 to celebrate 190 years since the opening. Prince and Blanche double headed the doubled up Woodland Wanderer set to give passengers of the Snowdonia Statesman a ride from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Tan-y-bwlch and back. 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 westerly view (25/5/22) shows Prince carrying a headboard Dinas-Porthmadog 1832-1982 to celebrate 190 years since the opening . Harlech Castle may have delayed this train which was forced to wait for several minutes at the Home signal. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On the main line Class 47s Nos.47805/501 hauled the Snowdonia Statesman to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Swindon due to arrive 12:55 and depart at 16:05 for the return journey giving about 3 hours for a ride on the FR presumably in the FR stock sent there during the morning. The special passed through Tan-y-bwlch at 12:11 and the Mountain Spirit returned through Tan-y-bwlch at 13:07. Later the special worked into Tan-y-bwlch at 14:03 and the locos ran round before propelling the rake out the shunt limit at 14:37 and drawing forward into the eastbound platform at 14:47. The excursionists had over an hour for lunch in the cafe before departure for Blaenau at 15:15 and their return excursion. This passed through Minffordd at 17:07 and arrived in Harbour station at 17.16 to shunt the rakes to reform the two Woodland Wanderer rakes for tomorrow's services.

 

This westerly view (25/5/22) shows Prince and Blanche hauling the ECS ready for the trip back to Blaenau Ffestiniog. 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 web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 17:29 Prince was busy adding the leading Open coach to the east end of the rake, splitting the long rake into two shorter Woodland Wanderer sets and shunting the spare set back into the yard before departing for Boston Lodge. Finally at 17:33 Blanche shunted the second half into the seawall siding to collect the Observation coach for the standard Woodland Wanderer set and then departed for Boston Lodge with the ECS as the final movement of the day.

 

Website maintenance 24/5/22

This website was offline for a time yesterday due to TSOHost maintenance. However it was back working in the evening and updated later. If anyone still gets a maintenance page just hit F5 to refresh your cache.

 

F&WHR 24/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C . There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The 10:55 Woodland Wanderer was sold out by 09:40.

At 09:20 there was shunting at Boston Lodge as the Garratt was prepared to haul the ECS to Porthmadog for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. No.130 was in the WHR platform by 09:40. Criccieth Castle shunted the yard with two B wagons from the coaling stage at 09:50 and coupled up to the FR Mess car in the seawall siding. David Lloyd George arrived at 10:03 with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. This gave a brief slot for Criccieth Castle to depart to Minffordd Yard before the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer was due to cross The Cob. Following this the Fairlie ran round at 10:10. Criccieth Castle shunted its rake back into Minffordd Yard at 10:23. Prince arrived with the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer unusually late at 10:35 into the WHR platform presumably delaying the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which was still in the FR platform but departed a minute or two later. Prince then ran round at 10:39 and was soon ready for the 10:55 departure which left on time.

 

This westerly view (24/5/22) shows Criccieth Castle propelling its rake of coal wagons and the FR PW Mess car into Minffordd Yard. Usually, Harlech Castle is used for works trains. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is courtesy of the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 16:21 Criccieth Castle turned up at Porthmadog to shunt the ECS of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer at about 16:10 shortly after the train had arrived back. Prince departed light engine at 16:26 while Criccieth Castle continued the shunt leaving the rear Observation coach in the yard whilst shunting the rest to the seawall siding. Normally all rakes go straight back to Carriage Shed at night. The train was coupled to the spare rake in the seawall siding and the long rake dragged out to be shunted back into the FR platform, now with an Open coach in the centre of the train. The lead Open coach was removed and shunted to the yard at 16:43. The rake departed ECS for the Carriage sheds at 16:51 leaving a couple of coaches in the station. All this may be in preparation for a special train tomorrow as both the Woodland Wanderer workings are cancelled. 

 

F&WHR 23/5/22

Monday was forecast to be a cloudy day at Porthmadog but a little brighter in the afternoon with maximum temperatures of 14C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and the morning Mountain Spirit). All trains were bookable at 0800 but it seems the work on the telephone system was continuing as the webcams were not active until 10:46. The service pattern this week looks a little different with no Woodland Wanderer trains on Wednesday. Furthermore The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star will operate additionally on Friday 27/5/22. During the morning work was underway on the signalbox with ladders obstructing the FR tracks and the FR's Mess car was parked in the seawall siding.

David Lloyd George hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit arriving at Tan-y-bwlch at 11:10 followed by Blanche arriving on the Woodland Wanderer at 11:36. With the steps cleared away from the signalbox Blanche pulled into the FR platform at Porthmadog on its return at 13:10. After taking on coal and water, Blanche ran round at 13:34 ready for the 13:55 departure. Meanwhile, at 13:38 David Lloyd George pulled into the WHR platform with the returning morning working of the Mountain Spirit. Once the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer had departed The Fairlie returned from the yard at 14:00 and departed ECS for the depot at 14:11.

 

Train services w/c 23/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

Tan-y-bwlch cafe upgrade 23/5/22

Hot food was not available at Tan-y-bwlch Cafe as a new cooker was being installed on Monday. Sandwiches, cakes etc. were still available along with hot and cold drinks.

 

North Wales main line 23/5/22

Class 67 No.60076 Dunbar hauled 24 loaded wagons from Penmaenmawr to Tuebrook on 23/5/22 on its WSSuX diagram booked to depart Penmaenmawr Sidings at 11:49.

 

Plans announced for Trawsfynydd modular reactor 20/5/22

The future re-use of the Trawsfynydd nuclear reactor site, currently being decommissioned for a small modular reactor (SMR) installation has been confirmed. The government announced at the weekend that the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and Cwmni Egino (a WAG development agency company) have agreed to develop plans for the Trawsfynydd site. It is uncertain if this will mean reinstating the Blaenau Ffestiniog-Trawsfynydd branch line. A large nuclear power station is also being considered for Wylfa B to provide carbon dioxide free energy and energy security considering the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cwmni Egino will now engage with other interested parties (and presumably Rolls Royce who are designing the SMR) and announce its plans within a year. If a single SMR is built here it will supply at most 300MW according to RR plans compared to 470MW when both reactors were working at Trawsfynydd. The NDA own additional land at Trawsfynydd alongside the existing reactor site and so the SMR facilities could be built without interfering with the decommissioning process which is said to take up to 100 years as it is the lead project of this type. Trawsfynydd was opened in April 1965 and closed in 1991. It is uncertain if the construction or operation of the power station will require the reopening of the Trawsfynydd branch but at the very least it could be used to bring in concrete and aggregate to reduce such traffic on inadequate local roads. See Daily Post story

 

Boston Lodge Carriage shed upgrade 19/5/22

This Boston Lodge view (19/5/22) shows a safety fence erected alongside the inspection pit in the old carriage shed at Boston Lodge. This was completed by ROWG volunteers during their working party last week. 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.

 

F&WHR 22/5/22

Sunday was forecast to have rainy periods at Porthmadog but clearing up in the afternoon with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit). At 8am the two Woodland Wanderer services were unusually showing 'Call to book' on Fareharbor and the Mountain Spirit was showing fully booked possibly for the first time. It still seems that the F&WHR is slow to add the extra services they have paths for, assuming crews are available. It might have been possible to add the 12:45 Woodland Wanderer and the 14:30 second run of the Mountain Spirit to earn income from the unexpected number of passengers seeking to ride the railways. Furthermore, it might be difficult to phone and book as the F&WHR is having maintenance to its phone system on Sunday (see story below).

 

F&WHR Phone problems

Due to planned engineering works by the telecoms provider, the F&WHR's landline phone service will be severely limited on Sunday 22/5/22. Calls to the main railway number (01766 516000), the Booking Office (01766 516024), Spooner's (01766 516032) and the Shop (01766 516034) will be diverted to mobile phones. However, where possible please avoid calling the railway on Sunday, as fewer staff will be able to answer calls. This will affect the availability of webcams too.

 

Cambrian Coast Express 13-20/5/22

Pathfinder's Cambrian Coast Express railtour from Bristol ran on 20/5/22 following the earlier train from Oxford on 13/5/22. Two further railtours are planned on 12/8/22 from Cardiff and 9/9/22 from Oxford. shortly after that the Barmouth Bridge will be closed again for upgrade to the steelwork at the north end

During 2022, Network Rail will replace the metallic spans of the viaduct and the associated track. They will also be upgrading the track at the north and south end of the viaduct in 2022. The bridge will be closed from Sunday 11/9/22 to Sunday 11/12/22.

 

This westerly view (13/5/22) shows 97903/4 hauling the first of 4 Pathfinder Railtour's Cambrian Coast Express trains over the Afon Dysynni Viaduct north of Tywyn. It is the requirement that no visiting locos can traverse the ERTMS system west of Shrewsbury without Class 97 on the front that has led to a dearth of railtours on the Cambrian since the introduction of the system. Local councillors were 'asleep at the wheel' when NR consulted about the ERTMS the system. They do no seem to have realised the loss to local trade of the once busy excursion traffic, let alone WCR's nascent steam operations. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Max Birchenough and was take on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (13/5/22) shows 97302 Festiniog and Welsh highland Railway and 97303 Dave Berry  hauling the first of 4 Pathfinder Railtour's Cambrian Coast Express trains over the new Bont Briwet with Llandecwyn Halt in the background at 13:30. The viewpoint is the old Cooke's ICI explosive works, now a country park. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was take on a Canon digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (13/5/22) shows 97903/2 hauling the first of 4 Pathfinder Railtour's Cambrian Coast Express trains over the Porthmadog level crossing on the return journey at 16:54. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was take on a Canon digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On 20/5/22, 97303 was back doing its normal duties returning a tamper to Cardiff-Maindee depot.

 

This westerly view (20/5/22) shows 97303 Dave Berry hauling the tamper back to Cardiff as it is not fitted with ERTMS as seen from Y Garth, the Llandecwyn hillock at 09:09 passing Penrhyndeudraeth. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was take on a Canon digital camera . Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (20/5/22) shows 97303 Dave Berry hauling the tamper back to Cardiff crossing the Briwet Bridge at 09:10 as seen from Y Garth, the Llandecwyn hillock. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was take on a Canon digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (20/5/22) shows 97302 and 97304 Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway hauling the Cambrian Coast Express at 13:44 crossing the Afon Glaslyn Viaduct, Traeth Mawr. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was take on a dronecam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Main Line 19-21/5/22

On 19/5/22 WCR's 47812 in light blue and 47813 top and tailed an excursion on the Northern Belle Stoke-on-Trent to Holyhead.

LSL held a private railtour to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno on 20/5/22 with 37688 Great Rocks hauling three coaches while NR's unlikely liveried 43290 hauled the NR inspection train.

On 21/5/22 a LSL test train rain to Llandudno and back to Crewe hauled by 37521 as D6817 in green livery and 37688 Great Rocks in grey livery.

 

F&WHR 21/5/22

Saturday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog in the afternoon with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star through train) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer).

The Harbourmaster departed at 0940 with No.130 in charge. Merddin Emrys departed at 10:30 on the Mountain Spirit whilst Prince waited in the WHR loop to run round the Woodland Wanderer in the WHR platform. After the Mountain Spirit departed Prince completed its run round and departed on time.

 

F&WHR 20/5/22

Friday was forecast to be a cloudy at Porthmadog with a rainy afternoon and maximum temperatures of 14C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains). The 10:55 was already Sold Out by 08:00.

Merddin Emrys started the day on the 10:55 but Prince had already gone up light engine before to deal with loco ash wagons at Dduallt, passing Tan-y-bwlch at 10:38. All the action seemed to focus on Tan-y-bwlch today with Lyd on a test train using the Glaslyn Explorer rake and passing through Tan-y-bwlch at 12:37. heading east. Lyd was back at 13:59 and Merddin Emrys arrived at 14:35 on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. The trains swopped locos by simply taking Merddin Emrys off the front and attaching it to the rear of the test train which departed at 15:16 for Blaenau Ffestiniog. Similarly Lyd came off the test train and coupled to the rear of the Woodland Wanderer to take it back to Porthmadog, departing at 15:31.

At 15:50 Prince arrived with some B wagons and a brakevan from Dduallt and departed towards Boston Lodge at 15:59. the final train of the day was Merddin Emrys returning with the test train departing Tan-y-bwlch at 16:43 to end the day.

 

F&WHR 19/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). For the second day running both the Woodland Wanderer trains were showing as Sold Out at the start of the day but with no response from the F&WHR to activate the spare set e.g. the 12:45 path. Maybe the intention is to encourage people onto the more expensive Mountain Spirit which till had room?

No.130 left for Beddgelert on time at 10:15 in sunshine while Blanche approached across The Cob and Merddin Emrys waited in the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived in the WHR platform by 10:23 with the ECS for the 10:55. The signals for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit were already set so the run round had to wait for The Cob to be cleared past the Shunt Limit. The train left a few minutes late and Blanche was coupled up by 10:40 ready for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer which left on time.

After Blanche departed on the 13:55, the ECS for the Mountain Spirit waited in the WHR platform for Merddin Emrys to be fuelled and watered. The loco coupled up by 14:10 and the ECS departed for Boston Lodge Carriage Shed few minutes later. Blanche apparently suffered problems on the way to Tan-y-bwlch arriving at 15:06, over half an hour late. the train left Tan-y-bwlch at 16:04, some 25 minutes late.

Harlech Castle came through the WHR platform light engine from the north at 16:13 and was rapidly given the path across The Cob as the returning Woodland Wanderer was late. Blanche arrived back in the FR platform at Porthmadog at 16:41 about half an hour late. It appeared that the FR's PW mess car was in the seawall siding. Blanche ran round at 16:53 and departed with the ECS to Boston Lodge at 16:58 to close the day. 

 

Volunteers requested for The Beyer Bash

The Marketing Department is still looking for help during this weekend's 'Beyer Bash' at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. We have been invited to have an outdoor stand at Welshpool (Raven Square), alongside Beyer Garratt K1, to promote the F&WHR and the Statfold Barn Railway. The Marketing Dept. will set up their marquee Thursday, taking literature, etc. ready for the weekend. We will also arrange for collection at the end of the weekend. However, we still need ONE OR TWO VOLUNTEERS on FRIDAY OR SATURDAY (20-21/5/22) to help us man the stand, chat about the loco and hand out literature. If anybody fancies a day out at ‘The Beyer Bash’, please get in touch by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com.

 

Model Railway Workshop update 21-22/5/22

Unfortunately, John Wooden has had to withdraw from this weekend's Model Railway Workshop event at Minffordd Station Gweithdy this weekend, so visitors will be unable to see his new layout under construction. However, we have been fortunate to recruit Paul Martin of EDM Models in his place, who will be demonstrating the process of constructing etched brass locomotive kits. Thank are due to Footplate of Kidderminster for providing sponsorship for the weekend's workshop.

 

No.9 out and about 14/5/22

Dinas PW shunter No.9 was out on PW duty just north of Rhyd Ddu on 14/5/22. It is rare to see this loco out of Dinas but Vale of Ffestiniog, the normal loco requested for PW duties, must have been unavailable. Although the loco looks tall, it has previously covered the whole route from Dinas to Boston Lodge and back so will fit through all the tunnels.

 

This southerly view (14/5/22) shows No.9 with the SAR brakevan and Mess Car just north of Ffridd Isaf curve on PW duties. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Gary Brindle and was take on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South Wales Metro overspend may impact TfW North Wales projects

A projected overspend on the South Wales Metro project to electrify the Valley Lines is eating up TfW budget. Concerns are growing amongst North Wales residents about this delaying the projects already announced in North Wales such as additional stations, redoubling the remainder of the Wrexham-Chester route and expanding the loco hauled services in North Wales. The Class 67 hauled trains are due to be strengthened by one coach in the Autumn but there are now doubts as to whether the Holyhead -Manchester loco hauled 'crowd-buster' will be reinstated. See Wales Online story.

 

Main Line news 13-18/5/22

The Cambrian Coast Express ran on 13/5/22, a sunny day which provided lots of photo opportunities for photographers. Any contributions are welcome! ERTMS fitted Class 97s Nos.98302/3 provided the haulage on the Cambrian though passengers had to detrain at Shrewsbury for an hour while they coupled up! This was thought to be because the through platforms are so busy. With 3 through platforms this is difficult to understand. The Pathfinder Excursion is set to run again on 20/5/22 starting from Bristol.

The Aberystwyth log train trial ran again on 18/5/22 departing from Aberystwyth run round loop 3 minutes early at 15:52. This continues to be an STP but if Kronospan determine the trial is successful it might become a regular weekly operation. this time the Class 97s remained with the train to its destination and to avoid reversal at Wrexham the train ran via Crewe and Chester to Chirk.

Colas livery 60076 Dunbar hauled the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook stone on 16/4/22.

 

F&WHR 18/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C but rain in the evening. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit). As both Woodland Wanderer trains were unusually showing as 'Sold Out' by 07:30 on the day there was the opportunity to add at least a third Woodland Wanderer (the 12:45 path) if a crew could be found at short notice. The Glaslyn Venturer returns on Thursday.

Merddin Emrys was running round at 10:13 having brought the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit into the FR platform. Blanche hauled the ECS for 10:55 Woodland Wanderer into the WHR platform at 10:18. Blanche was again early enough to complete the run round before The Cob was required by the 10:30 Mountain Spirit departure.

At 13:55 the second run of the Woodland Wanderer departed Porthmadog while the ECS from the Mountain Spirit waited in the WHR platform for a path across The Cob. Merddin Emrys rejoined the rake at 14:00 before disposing the rake to the depot departing at 14:10. Blanche arrived back in sunshine at 16:11, ran round quickly and, as the final movement of the day, left on the ECS at 16:21.

 

HRA meets WAG over coal mine issue 17/5/22

Members of the HRA, including F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin, had a meeting with Senedd members on 17/5/22 to talk about coal and press the economic and cultural value of Heritage Railways to Wales and the wider UK. The hope is that WAG will allow the development of a small steam coal extraction site sufficient for the HRA to supply steam railways, traction engines, steam tug boats etc. while experiments continue to produce and test viable alternatives.

 

F&WHR 17/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 19C with a rainy evening. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains).

No.130 was a surprise today on the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer which was standing in the WHR platform at 09:50 which must mean No.87 is working the Gelert Explorer from Caernarfon. The loco swop occurred on Sunday. The ECS for the Mountain Spirit arrived into the FR platform at 09:51 behind Merddin Emrys which ran round and coupled up at 09:56. Blanche arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and was running round at 10:23. Unusually, the run round was completed by 10:27 just before the Mountain Spirit departed on time.

The weather became wet in the late afternoon as Blanche departed Tan-y-bwlch with the return working of the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer at 15:30. The Porthmadog signalbox was shut down by 16:25 after the ECS had been dispatched to Boston Lodge to finish the day's train services.

 

Model Railway Workshop

This weekend 21-22/5/22 a model railway workshop is taking place in the Gweithdy at Minffordd Station, LL48 6HF (car parking available). There will be layouts, demonstrations and stalls. Visitors are invited to come and chat about model making and pick up some tips.

OPENING TIMES:

▪️  Saturday, 21st May : 11:00-17:00

▪️  Sunday, 22nd May : 10:00-16:00

ENTRY:

▪️  £3.00

LAYOUTS - OPERATING:

▪️  Vintage Hornby Dublo Three-Rail - George Brown

▪️  Pentrefelin (3mm scale) - Dave Roberts

▪️  Ddraig Gwarel (009) - Colwyn Bay Model Railway Society

▪️  Poldeen (N gauge) - Robert Shrives

LAYOUTS - UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

▪️  Challow Road (O gauge) - Paul Towers

DEMONSTRATIONS:

▪️  Carriage building - Paul Holmes       

▪️  Resin casting - Phil Traxson       

▪️  Wagon building - Martin Jones 

▪️  Track building - David Johns

SALES:

▪️ Nick’s Railway Stuff - Pre-loved model railway rolling stock, accessories and books.

 

Llangollen mixed traction week from 18/5/22

The week ahead shows mixed traction at the railway, with plenty of motive power to sample. Wednesday 18/5/22 and Thursday 19/5/22 will see the interesting Class 108/104 hybrid DMU in use. Friday 20/5/22 and 21/5/22 sees steam back-in-business, with GWR 0-6-2T No.5619 doing the honours. Then on Sunday 22/5/22 diesel loco-haulage is back with BRCW Sulzer Type 2 No.5310.

On 16/5/22 the Class 08 was out on PW duties collecting concrete sleepers from Deeside Loop where a point has been plain lined turning the loop into a siding for the time being. Another trip is needed to complete the job.

Class 03 No.03162 which recently passed into Llangollen Railway ownership received a steam clean of its underside over the weekend, the first attention it has received in a long time.

Class 31 No.31271 Stratford 1840-2001 hauled services on 14-15/5/22.

Steam operation is planned for the Platinum Jubilee weekend, with GWR 0-6-2T No.5619 at work on the 3-5/6/22, alongside 08195 on the Berwyn Shunter Shuttle and Driver-for-a-Fiver at Llangollen between Shuttle trips. Corwen station will also be open to visitors from 10-4pm to see progress on the new station, which is approaching completion. A ballast train will be on static display. See Unofficial Llangollen website for full details of timetable and images/videos of trains.

 

F&WHR 16/5/22

Monday was forecast to have rainy periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains).

At 09:58 Blanche was noted departing Boston Lodge with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer arriving in the FR platform at 10:03. The train departed on time but the afternoon train was already sold out by 11:00 suggesting an extra train could have been planned. While it is good that the F&WHR is running full trains, with only two on Mondays potential passengers may be disappointed when they turn up at Porthmadog. This is the kind of thing that happens at the Brecon Mountain Railway.

Blanche ran round at Porthmadog at 13:45 ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer which left on time. Scaffolding was erected in front of the Porthmadog webcam from 13:50 for an hour while a workman attended to a problem with Spooners. The final train of the day arrived back shortly after 4pm as the weather closed in. The ECS was disposed to Boston Lodge shortly afterwards.

 

North Wales main line

Class 60 No.60076 was on the 6F22 the 11:49 Penmaenmawr stone train on Monday. This train now operates 4 days a week WSSuX.

Provision of units on the Borderlands line has become problematical in the absence of the promised but long delayed Class 230s. The frequent cancellations will affect public perception of reliability of these services.

There have been rumours of removal of the Class 67s from the Holyhead-Cardiff route. If TfW was to concentrate the fleet in South Wales on its proposed Swansea-Manchester route this would cause uproar on the North Wales Coast. There is already a feeling that TfW gives more preference to South Wales than North Wales services. Already people feel aggrieved that the Holyhead-Manchester and before them Holyhead Birmingham loco hauled services have been withdrawn.

 

Rail Ale tickets on sale for 10-11/6/22

To control numbers in the current COVID risk assessments the F&WHR is running a ticket only RailAle this year. Tickets were available from 16/5/22 and cost £20 for Friday or Saturday and £25 for both. Entry includes the commemorative Beer Glass and 5 beers or 4 ciders. The event takes place at Dinas. See RailAle website for full details. and can be booked via the FareHarbor system with seven diesel shuttles from Caernarfon, mostly to/from Waunfawr and travel from Porthmadog on The Harbourmaster. It seems that the loco from The Harbourmaster will also make two lunch time shuttle runs between Caernarfon and Dinas. The booking system contains five different shuttle tickets including separate Friday and Saturday £5 Caernarfon-Dinas and Waunfawr-Dinas tickets and separate £5 tickets to come back. The fifth ticket is a £15 Friday and Saturday ticket between Caernarfon and Waunfawr. These appear to be Rover tickets and might be available from intermediate halts at Bontnewydd and Tryfan Junction for WHRS members on request. The diesel haulage of the Festival Shuttle could be Criccieth Castle or Vale of Ffestiniog. It is likely the NG16 haulage will be No.87 as that is the usual loco based at Porthmadog. It is possible The Harbourmaster rake might be used for the midday shuttles. Exceptionally The Harbourmaster will call at all intermediate stations on both days (and possibly halts for WHRS members only). None of the trains have a refreshment service but there will be live music and variety of refreshments available at Dinas provided by outside caterers.

The Harbourmaster prices have been reduced for those buying RailAle entry. Prices from Porthmadog are given with standard prices in brackets but there re no reduced fares indicated for Beddgelert/Meillionen, possibly an oversight. WHRS Members may be allowed free travel on The Harbourmaster as normal. Using The Harbourmaster gives over two and a half hours at Dinas.

Table for £90 (£110)

Bay for 3 £135 (£165)

Additional adults £45 (£55)

Child £3

Solo return £45 (£55)

 

 

Welsh Government to hear appeal for British steam coal

WAG has agreed to meet the HRA to discuss the issue of steam coal for heritage railways following the closure of the last supplier at Ffos-y-fran and given the ban on Russian coal following their invasion of Ukraine. A new supply of Welsh steam coal could bridge the gap in the medium term until sustainable alternative fuel experiments determine a suitable fuel. Steam railways are vital to the Welsh tourist economy and if trains are unable to run it could hit the Welsh economy as well as similar operations across the UK. The proposed Whitehaven deep mine in Cumbria might not provide a suitable steam coal whereas Welsh reserves are well known and easily accessible. No date has yet been set for the meeting.

 

Corris No.10 to steam in September?

If the current Appeal is successful, the new build Hughes Falcon 0-4-2ST No.10 will be steamed at Keef's soon. Keef's Charity Open Day on 24/9/22 could be the first opportunity to see the loco prior to it entering service in 2023. The loco is needed to replace the existing loco which is due to go out of service in a couple of years for its 10 year overhaul. The Falcon loco is based on the TR's example but with a taller cab as the average height of people is taller than the average in Victorian times. For a short period the Corris Railway will have two locos in steam before No.7 which entered service in 2005 goes into the works for its 10 year boiler overhaul. For full details of the new Corris loco see Corris website.

Meanwhile the Corris Extension to Coedwig South loop, replacing a section of formation taken by the A487 widening, is making progress. The railway is benefitting from the arisings from the A487 Dyfi Bridge Bypass road scheme. See Corris Extension page for latest images dated 22/4/22. The eventual aim is to extend south to Pont Ifans, then Esgairgeiliog, the Forestry car park at Tan-y-coed and finally to Pantperthog for the popular Alternative Technology Centre. The trackbed south of there to Machynlleth still exists alongside the A487 but the Millennium foot bridge has replaced the washed away railway bridge across the Afon Dyfi. The terminus station building in Machynlleth Industrial estate still exists but it would be very expensive to reach this location and provide a link for tourists arriving by TfW trains.

 

L&BR buying 3 sections of trackbed

Exmoor Associates, a Community Interest Company, are buying three sections of the L&BR trackbed to make a continuous length of 2 miles of trackbed in ownership of the L&BR in association with land already owned. They are appealing for help with the purchase. The F&WHR's Lyd is frequently loaned to the L&BR for Galas as the loco is of the type that operated on the line. The larger Baldwin No.762 Lyn also visited the WHR SuperPower 2018 and on The Snowdonian in 2019. The L&BR is busy planning to extend initially from its small operational length at Woody Bay towards Wistlandpound Reservoir for which it has planning permission but then continuing south from there to Barnstaple Pilton Yard. The sections being purchased are south of Wistlandpound Reservoir where a small deviation is needed around the dam, a situation reminiscent of the FR's Deviation to get around Llyn Ystradau which was flooded while the FR was closed.

As the current purchases will exhaust Exmoor Associates funds supporters are requested to buy shares in Exmoor Associates or make a donation to the Yeo Valley Trust, specifying the money be used for the L&BR trackbed purchase. The Trust can claim Gift Aid of 25% if the donor is a UK taxpayer and signs the Gift Aid form.

 

F&WHR services w/c 16/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 15/5/22

Sunday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 20C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Harbourmaster through train).

No.87 was on the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer and Merddin Emrys hauled the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. No.87 swopped with No.130 on Sunday after completing its duties. It will remain at Boston Lodge for a few weeks.

 

This easterly view (15/5/22) shows the unlikely scene of No.87 heading for Dinas light engine at 13:45 at Pen-y-Mount after completing the morning Glaslyn Venturer duty The loco was being exchanged for No.130 which was to be based at Boston Lodge for the next few weeks. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Blanche hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer and the 13:55 At 16:20 Blanche returned the ECS from the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge to finish the day.

 

BLR celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Bala Lake Railway celebrated 50 years (30/4/-2/5/22) since it started services on the former BR Ruabon-Barmouth branch alongside Bala Lake, closed by BR on 18/1/65 following flood damage to the line. The 2' gauge railway expanded from its initial base at Llanuwchllyn northwards to the site of the original Bala station by the Dee Bridge. The railway has purchased the final piece of land allowing it to extend into its proposed town centre terminus. A decision on the planning application is due this summer.

 

F&WHR 14/5/22

Saturday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 15C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star through train) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer).

No.87 was on The Harbourmaster and Merddin Emrys arrived into the FR platform at 09:50 for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche arrived at 10:24 in the WHR platform with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer, a change of haulage after Prince hauled most of theses duties this week. At 16:30 Blanche was being disposed at Boston Lodge but the returning Harbourmaster (expected 16:30) was still awaited at Porthmadog in the afternoon sunshine. The Garratt eventually arrived about 25 minutes late at 16:55. The problem seems to have been poor steaming as the loco had problems on return from Caernarfon with stop for a blow up at Tryfan Junction, slow running, Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. Eventually the train missed its path across Cae Pawb and had to wait for clearance from Machynlleth PSB. Prompt platform work saw the ECS off just 8 minutes later to end the day at Porthmadog.

 

This westerly view (14/5/22) shows a general view of Boston Lodge with the new Carriage Shed in the foreground with solar panels to reduce electricity consumption.. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/5/22) shows No.130 heading to Caernarfon departing Porthmadog with the new Premier Inn dominating the foreground. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/5/22) shows Merddin Emrys heading through Penrhyndeudraeth with the morning Mountain Spirit. 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 quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rail Ale event appeal 10-11/6/22

Rail Ale returns to the WHR over the weekend of 10-11-/6/22 after two years absence due to COVID restrictions. It is the most profitable event on both the WHR and the FfR producing useful income for the Company, which all helps to keep the show going. The WHRS need volunteer help as the festival requires a large number of volunteers in order to work well and of course avoids the need to have to pay for persons to help. Help is also needed on two previous days to set up the festival in advance as well as to pack it all away on the Monday, 13/6/22. If you can help we'd really like to see at Dinas but firstly contact Graham Hoyland by email.

 

Llangollen Railway Corwen terminus nears completion 9/5/22

The Llangollen's Railways extension to the new Corwen central terminus is nearing completion following a ballast drop and a visit by the tamper on 9/5/22. For images see Unofficial Llangollen Facebook page.

During the Platinum Jubilee Weekend, from the 3-5/6/22, the railway will be operating tours of the Corwen Station site, the public will also be able to see a static ballast wagon set within the station. The station will be open between 10am and 4pm with no need to book with easy car parking at the Corwen Central car park with toilets available. By popular demand, the Berwyn Shuttle and Driver for a Fiver are also returning for the Bank Holiday weekend. Tickets for these specials can be booked on the day at Llangollen Station.

 

K1 at the W&LR 22-25/5/22

Clair Britton writes:

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway are celebrating the 120th birthday of their original locomotives - ‘The Earl’ and ‘The Countess’ - with a ‘Beyer Bash’ weekend which is taking place on 20-22/5/22. They have several Beyer locomotives visiting - including Gorton Works Shunter No.1827, Steam Tram No.47 from Crich, Isle of Man Railway’s Fenella and our own Garratt K1.

We have just been invited to have an outdoor stand at Welshpool, alongside the visiting locos, to promote the F&WHR and the Statfold Barn Railway. K1 will be on a length of track prepared for it, but will not be in steam due to the complexities of getting it on and off the lorry.

That same weekend on 21-22/5/22, we are holding our own small event in Minffordd Gweithdy - a Model Railway Workshop - and so we are in need of a bit of help to cover both events.

🟣  WLLR: 'BEYER BASH'

The Marketing Dept. will set up their marquee on Thursday, taking literature, etc ready for the weekend. We will also arrange for collection at the end of the weekend. What we need is two/three people each day who will make sure ‘K1’ is clean (it will have been cleaned well before it leaves Dinas on the Wednesday) and to man the stand, chat If anybody fancies a day out at ‘The Beyer Bash’, please get in by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com

🟣  MODEL RAILWAY WORKSHOP:

There is a small entry charge for visitors. Can anybody help out on the door please..?

Saturday ... (EDIT: Volunteer found)

Sunday - 10:00-16:00

Again, please get in touch by email to volunteer@ffwhr.com. Thanks in anticipation.

 

F&WHR 13/5/22

Friday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C after a dull start. There were NO departures from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and TWO from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains). The Cob still has a road closure with a trench across the road by the old Toll House at Boston Lodge but the footpath/cycleway is still open. On Saturday The Harbourmaster and Snowdonia Star will run in addition to the FR trains.

Prince departed on the lightly loaded morning train at 10:55 and was running round at 13:30 for the 13:55 working which was sold out. At 16:15 Prince was running round in Harbour station before departing ECS as the last movement of the day at 16:21.

 

Early morning weedkilling train 12/5/22

This easterly view (12/5/22) shows Criccieth Castle with the Weedkilling train running through the WHR loop line having done the platform line a few minutes before. At 07:45 the train worked through the FR platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy Philip Clark and F&WHR and was captured from the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wylfa B moves a step closer 13/5/22

Maybe Friday 13th is an inauspicious day to launch the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund but UK Government ministers visited Anglesey on Friday to promote the Fund given initially £120m by the government to get New Nuclear started. Ministers said the Wylfa site had everything going for it and that three nations were interested in building new nuclear power stations in the UK. This could bring nuclear waste traffic back to Valley 'Nuclear Electric' siding. The Government has an ambitious project to build up to 8 nuclear reactors by 2020 to improve energy independence in the face of Russian aggression. Cynics might wonder why there have been no nuclear power stations built in the 14 years the Tories have been in power! See Daily Post story.

 

Llangollen Class 03 donated to railway 15/4/22

Wirral Council has donated 03162 to the Llangollen Railway. The loco has been at the railway on load for the last 33 years arriving in working condition from Chester Depot in green livery as D2162 and named Birkenhead North Depot 1875-1985. The shunter was used on PW trains and in Galas. In 2003 it was repainted in BR blue but still carries the painted on name. OOU since helping with the Corwen East extension in 2014, the loco will be restored subject to an appeal, by 2025. See The National for an illustrated story of 03162.

 

This easterly view (March 1996) shows 03162 stabled with a ballast wagon midweek preparing for the opening of Carrog station on 2/4/96. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line

From Monday 16/5/22 Avanti will be restoring some train services to London cut because of decrease in traffic caused by Covid/staff absences. There will be 9 Avanti services along the North Wales Coast, two of which will be diagrammed as double Voyagers with 10 coaches. There will be four Holyhead-Euston trains, three Holyhead-Crewe trains, a Bangor-Crewe train and a Chester-Euston train. A further increase in train services is planned for September. News is still awaited about TfW's increases to services to add loco hauled trains to the Holyhead-Cardiff route and remove inappropriate DMUs from this very long journey. while some of the Mk4 fleet will be used on Swansea-Manchester workings, there has been little mention of restoring the Holyhead-Manchester Airport/Birmingham International Airport services to loco haulage.

 

F&WHR 12/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The Cob still has a road closure with a trench across the road by the old Toll House at Boston Lodge.

No.87 arrived in the WHR platform at 09:37 with the ECS for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. The train departed on time while Merddin Emrys waited in the FR platform with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and Prince waited at the home signal with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. As usual, Prince waited to complete its run round until after Merddin Emrys left at 10:30 and departed on time at 10:55.

No.87 returned at 13:01 and departed ECS shortly afterwards as the platform was needed by the returning Mountain Spirit. Prince departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer on time while Merddin Emrys was shunting in the yard. The Fairlie coupled up to the ECS Mountain Spirit at 14:05 soon after Prince had cleared the section and departed for Boston Lodge at 14:08. Prince was being disposed on shed at 16:30 to complete the day's activities.

 

James Spooner progress 11/5/22

Good progress is being made with the F&WHR's new Fairlie James Spooner. The loco was on view in the 'Wet Shed' during a Boston Lodge Tour for FR Society members. The latest news on the loco is that its four sandpots are currently in the Paint Shop. The distinctive design is completely different to the more familiar cylindrical sandpots normally associated with FR locomotives.

 

May Carriage works report

The roof of the 1970's part of the Carriage Works is being renewed so that is restricting progress. Work is underway on projects for three new coaches for the TR for delivery next year. The next Garratt No.143 needs to be refurbished needs painting soon before the roof work. The green water tank is back at Dinas in Dinas Deep Brunswick Green, different to the GWR Green carried previously. Various panels are being repainted and the coal bunker is at Boston Lodge for a heavy repaint. Boiler cladding sheets will be done next then sent back to Dinas to allow the loco to be completed later this year. 

A monthly volunteer project is making steady progress to create a replica NWNGR Ashbury brake. The timber framework is complete and a start has been made on the panelling. Another weekly volunteer project is FR Coach No.101 which will be due in the Paint Shop soon. No.10 van and porthole bug box No.12 are both in progress and will soon be finished and go into store for special events. Bowside FR Carriage No.18 is also having a full repaint. There is no news about progress with the WHR's Bodysgallen.

 

F&WHR 11/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to have a sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit). The Cob still has a road closure.

Merddin Emrys was on the 10:30 Mountain Spirit and Prince hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. By 16:25 Prince was being disposed at Boston Lodge as the final movement of the day.

 

Train services w/c 9/5/22

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

Moving Images No.64 11/5/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 24 minute 51 seconds of video covering visiting locos and the boat race which took place over the FR society AGM weekend. Not only but also Carriage Works roundup with Glenn Williams. This video was published on 11/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video was produced by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K Betamax camcorder.

 

F&WHR 10/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to have a sunny afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C after a dull start. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer trains). The Cob still has a road closure.

No.87 arrived with the ECS for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer at 09:30. Merddin Emrys had already run round the 10:30 Mountain Spirit by the time the Glaslyn Venturer left. Prince was able to complete its run round after the Mountain Spirit left the FR platform and was ready to depart on the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer by 10:40 in the WHR platform.

At 13:30 Prince was running round in the FR platform ready for the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Merddin Emrys ran round in the WHR platform after arriving at about 13:40. The loco ran to the yard shortly afterwards to be serviced while Prince departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer. Once clear of station limits the Fairlie ran round to return the ECS Mountain Spirit to Boston Lodge, departing at 14:19. Prince arrived back at 16:05 into the FR platform with running round completed promptly by 16:10. The ECS left to close the day at 16:13.

 

Mainline news

Class 66 No.66796 hauled 24 loaded box wagons on the Penmaenmawr-Tuebrook working on Tuesday 10/5/22. There is still no word about the new freight flow of slate waste from Llandudno Junction yard that the sidings have been restored cheaply with wooden sleepers.

 

Caernarfon food festival 14/5/22

The F&WHR is sponsoring the Caernarfon Food Festival this year on Saturday 14/5/22. No additional services are being provided on the WHR unlike previous years though it is possible to visit during The Harbourmaster midday break.

 

NR Inspection coach on tour 11/5/22

NR's inspection coach Caroline is believed to be on its first private railtour on 11/5/22, the first time it has been available for private hire and carry a headboard for 30 years! The coach was recently used on a trip to Porthmadog and F&WHR staff were invited. This trip is a circular journey from Derby to Derby via Litchfield curve, Stoke on Trent, Middlewich, Altrincham, Edale and Toton. The train will be formed of 37418 and 975025 Caroline. See https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:U79452/2022-05-11/detailed for further details.

 

Road closure

The Cob is closed until Friday 13/5/22, except for access to Boston Lodge, for the provision of metered services.

Click on the image to enlarge. this image is courtesy F&WHR.

 

F&WHR 9/5/22

Monday F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR 8/5/22

Sunday was forecast to be a sunny at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 16C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and one Glaslyn Venturer) plus an excursion.

No.87 was on the 10:14 Glaslyn Venturer and Merddin Emrys on the 10:30 Mountain spirit. Prince hauled the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer for a change. No.87 was back by 13:00. Once the train had left ECS for the depot, Merddin Emrys arrived in the WHR platform about 13:40 and the loco ran round at 13:45. At 16:21 Prince departed Porthmadog with the ECS from the final Woodland Wanderer to complete the day's activities.

 

NLHF April update

An update has been released about progress with the National Lottery Heritage Fund Boston Lodge project. Works at Boston Lodge have reached the tender stage but 'ridiculous increases in construction costs' may impact the scope of the project. See NLHF link for further details.

 

F&WHR 7/5/22

Saturday was forecast to have sunny at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of a warmer 17C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (The Snowdonia Star)  and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, one Mountain Spirit and The Harbourmaster).

The ECS for The Harbourmaster pulled into the WHR platform at 08:48 hauled by No.87 with a very full coal bunker, over an hour in advance of its 10:00 departure time. the motley rake looks incongruous compared to the WHR rake. It has the lower profile FR Super Barn coaches, taller WHR coaches and the extra tall Romanian coach No.2060. By 10:05 the WHR train had gone and Merddin Emrys had run round the 10:30 Mountain Spirit rake in the FR platform. Blanche had arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer a few minutes later and began its run round at 10:13. Today the loco was able to complete the run round and couple up at 10:18 in the absence of a 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer service. no.130 arrived with The Snowdonia Star shortly around 12:10 and the loco detached and ran to the yard to water at 12:20 before returning to Caernarfon departing about 2 hours later.

 

New railway museum on Anglesey

Tacla Taid museum at Newborough on Anglesey has become a railway museum with the delivery of the last rolling stock from the clearout of Octel Amlwch factory site. The final one of the three shunters formerly used at Octel was a Hunslet 0-4-0DM loco and was accompanied by a Bromine tanker and a flat wagon. The other two locos and some other rolling stock previously went to the Anglesey Central Railway at Llanerch-y-medd in Central Anglesey after storage in the sidings at Anglesey Aluminium. The ACR (aka Lein Amlwch) are busy restoring the line for a potential tourist route, although it has also been placed on the 'Rolling Back Beeching' list by the local Tory MP. Tacla Taid have laid a short length of track and hope to restore the loco to operational use in the future. See Daily Post story.

 

Caernarfon bypass speed trap

The Bank Holiday weekend saw 65 drivers caught by the Police exceeding the 60mph limit on the Caernarfon Bypass, used by many to visit the WHR. With only one train a day from Caernarfon, there is no alternative if you miss a booked train. Some sections of the bypass have lower speed limits approaching roundabouts. It is thought that the alternating 3 lane nature of the road encourages some drivers to exceed the speed limit to pass slow vehicles as they approach the end of a three lane section. There have been several accidents on the road including one on the opening day in February.

 

Main Line news

More PW work is taking place at Rhyl this weekend. Locos No.56078 and Nos.70806/12 were present.

 

F&WHR 6/5/22

Friday was forecast to have rain in the afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 12C. There were NO departures from Caernarfon  and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit).

The first train of the day was the 10:30 Mountain Spirit which arrived ECS in the FR platform and had run round by 10:10. Blanche arrived with the ECS for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer at 10:16. Run round was completed at 10:21 as there was no Glaslyn Venturer today.

 

Five Quarry Hunslets 30/4/22

This easterly view (30/4/22) shows Hugh Napier, Erin, Sybil, Britomart and Lilla steaming out of Porthmadog station. Three of these were used on shuttles during the FR AGM weekend. 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.

 

Bodysgallen refurbishment

First Class Pullman saloon No.2115 Bodysgallen is currently at Boston Lodge awaiting refurbishment. The WHRS is looking for help to fund the expensive work needed to bring this coach up to standard. There has been a big demand for first class travel and it is possible a second Pullman saloon may be constructed once Bodysgallen has been restored to use.

 

Cambrian Railways plans expansion

The Cambrian Heritage Railway at Oswestry has had a successful start to the season and now operates trains regularly from Oswestry south to Weston Wharf. The railway does not have the right to cross the A5 to the north or the A483 to the south of Weston Wharf even though both level crossings still exist. This is a legacy of the Highway Agency building both bypass roads on the cheap and not building railway bridges as the branch had just one stone train a day. It is hoped to improve the disconnected Llynclys to Pen-y-garreg line so that services may be resumed next year. The way north is currently subject to the ongoing feasibility study of the Community Rail Project to Gobowen.

Most likely is infrastructure consolidation to be undertaken at Oswestry, centred mainly on the completion of the middle road and the reinstating of the down-line and associated platform. This would require a point being installed 50m or so north of the Coney Green Crossing. Once the line is in place, it would allow access by heavy equipment to construct the platform. At the moment, the middle road terminates some 200m south of the Medical Crossing and, historically, rejoins the main up-line some 100m north of the crossing. The status of the Medical Crossing is open to question as it was built without regard to due process.

 

F&WHR 5/5/22

Thursday was forecast to have sunny periods at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FOUR from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit and the Glaslyn Venturer reappears today).

By 09:45 No.87 had appeared in the WHR platform with the rake for the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer. Only the morning run was scheduled today. At 10:07 Merddin Emrys arrived with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit. Blanche made its way over The Cob to the trident signal as No.87 prepared to leave at 10:15. The Fairlie completed the run round as the ECS for the Woodland Wanderer pulled into the recently vacated WHR platform at 10:20 and immediately commenced its run round.

Merddin Emrys was back by 13:50, just before Blanche left for its afternoon Woodland Wanderer working. After fuelling and watering the Fairlie emerged from the yard to take the ECS back to Boston Lodge at 14:10. Blanche returned at 16:12 with the afternoon Woodland Wanderer and was soon disposed to the depot as the final movement of the day.

 

F&WHR 4/5/22

Wednesday was forecast to be an improving day with a sunny afternoon at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. Wednesday trains were a repeat of Tuesday's. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit). The Glaslyn Venturer reappears on Thursday.

Merddin Emrys departed with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit after Blanche ran round the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. On days when there is a Glaslyn Venturer departing at 10:15 it is difficult and therefore rare for the Woodland Wanderer loco to arrive and complete the run round in the WHR platform before the Mountain Spirit requires The Cob token.

 

Early FR film discovered on YouTube

A film showing the very early days on the FR in 1957 has been published on YouTube. Click here to view. this video shows how Prince was used to wrench tree stumps out of cuttings and volunteers generally restoring  and operating the railway.

 

Spooners update 29/4/22

Spooners is currently unable to provide meals, without explanation, a loss to the many customers who enjoy their themed nights and weekend meals. Apparently the pub closed at 6pm on 30/4/22 due to lack of staff. Large wooden benches have been provided to replace the light weight metal chairs previously used in the patio area that got broken.. The F&WHR announcement is as follows.

SPRING AT SPOONER’S

🔵  Picture the scene… the sun is shining, trains are steaming and visitors are enjoying a coffee on our new Outdoor Terrace benches.

🔵  That’s the idyllic scene here at Spooner’s this Friday..!

🔵  We’re open daily this Spring and looking forward to a busy season ahead.

🔵  A selection of hot drinks, cakes and confectionery will be available from our Café, while our Bar will be serving a range of beers, ciders, local cask ales and non-alcoholic refreshments.

🔵  We are unable to serve meals at the present moment; however, a small range of sandwiches are available on most days.

🔵  So, as the evenings get brighter, why not come down and say “Hello” - we look forward to welcoming you..!

 

F&WHR 3/5/22

Tuesday was forecast to be a bright but cloudy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 13C. Tuesday trains were much reduced. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and THREE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains and one Mountain Spirit).

At 09:32 Criccieth Castle was noted taking the AGM Weekend shuttle coaches to Glan-y-pwll shed passing through Tan-y-bwlch. David Lloyd George followed, passing through Tan-y-bwlch at 11:06 with the 10:30 Mountain Spirit whilst Criccieth Castle waited for the token to return to Minffordd Yard. In the event it waited for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer to arrive before departing light engine. Criccieth Castle was shunting loaded coal B wagons into the refuelling point at Porthmadog Harbour station at 13:50. Blanche departed on the 13:55 Woodland Wanderer on time. At 14:11 the ECS rake from the 10:30 Mountain Spirit in the WHR platform left for the Carriage Shed. Criccieth Castle emerged from the yard at 14:15 awaiting a light engine path back to the depot and departed at 14:21. Blanche arrived back in sunshine with the afternoon Woodland Wanderer at 16:11 and the rake was promptly disposed to the Carriage Shed ECS at 16:20 to close the day's activities.

 

Tan-y-bwlch station cafe still open despite roadsigns! 3-4/5/22

Message from F&WHR

'PLEASE IGNORE THE ROAD SIGNS:

We are open as normal..! Strange request, but access to the Tea Room at Tan-y-Bwlch Station is NOT affected by the roadworks taking place on the B4410 between Garreg/Llanfrothen and the Oakley Arms, Maentwrog. There is a sign for vehicles approaching from the A487 that states the road to Garreg is closed from 2nd-4th May. However, the work is taking place beyond the station and Tea-Room - so, if you want to visit us, just drive past the sign. Anyone wanting to visit us via Garreg / Llanfrothen will have to travel through Penrhyndeudraeth. So, don't be put off by the sign - WE ARE OPEN everyday and look forward to seeing you here for some tasty treats, drinks and snacks..!'

 

Images from 1/5/22

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Elin's footplate and controls at Minffordd at midday on the shuttle arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Elin at Minffordd at midday on the shuttle arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/5/22) shows Britomart at Minffordd at midday on the rear of the shuttle after arrival. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Melvyn Hughes and was taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Change of web platform

The TSOHost web platform was changed at their request on 1/5/22 and this may lead to the website being unavailable for a short while as the new DNS percolates through the servers around the world. The website has been tested and is available on EE's 4G network and was available via TalkTalk broadband  tested on 2/5/22 at 16:35.

 

F&WHR 2/5/22

Bank Holiday Monday was forecast to be a bright but cloudy day at Porthmadog with maximum temperatures of 14C. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and EIGHT from Porthmadog (five Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and one Glaslyn Venturer) plus SIX FRS/WHRS Members' Shuttles (2 to Pont Croesor and 4 to Minffordd). This is the first time the FR has operated all five Woodland Wanderer paths.

Today was the first run of the 09:45 Woodland Wanderer, hauled by Prince, which departed the FR platform after No.87 had arrived ECS in the WHR platform for the 10:15 departure. After the departure of No.87 on the Glaslyn Venturer at 10:15 the station became a hive of activity with Britomart and its shuttle rake with Sybil on the rear moving to the WHR platform for the 10:50 departure and Blanche reversing its rake into the FR platform for the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer. Meanwhile Elin shunted to the seawall siding.

Sybil was back with the Pont Croesor shuttle at 11:35. Five minutes later Erin arrived back from Boston Lodge with the rake of 8 skips. Sybil departed for Minffordd a little later with Britomart on the rear. Erin did a demo shunt in the station yard with 2 skips at 11:53 that extended to more than half an hour to the delight of the audience.

Towards the end of the day David Lloyd George returned at 17:35 with the afternoon Mountain Spirit into the WHR platform. The loco uncoupled promptly. Once the final Woodland Wanderer had arrived back with Prince the Fairlie took the ECS back to Boston Lodge departing about 18:05. The final movement of the FR AGM Weekend came at 18:17 when Prince took the ECS of the Woodland Wanderer back to Boston Lodge.

 

Videos from 1/5/22

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 minute 14 seconds of video covering Elin shunting Harbour Station in the rain just before midday on 1/5/22. This video was published on 2/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 21 seconds of video covering the live steam Model Railway Exhibition at Minffordd at midday on 1/5/22. This video was published on 2/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

Meillionen Halt

The F&WHR has confirmed it will stop to pick up/set down at Meillionen/Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt which will be a boon for those who holiday in the Beddgelert Forest campsite/cabin accommodation. Initially it is the northbound Harbourmaster that will call there on public services but Society members can use all stations and halts subject to space being available. However, the Fareharbor booking website does not have a Meillionen page. Those passengers who wish to join the train probably have to use the Beddgelert page.

 

Beddgelert Station update

With Beddgelert station now established as a 1936 style frontier station under the F&WHR's current operating plans, more shelter is being provided, more picnic style tables and a new temporary booking office and refreshment facility. It may be 18 months to 2 years before a permanent station building is completed on the concrete slab provided when the line was opened. The F&WHR has appointed Rob Chambers as architect to design the new station building.

 

F&WHR 1/5/22

Sunday was forecast was for cloudy weather with rain on and off and a chilly 11C maximum temperature. There was ONE departure from Caernarfon (the Gelert Explorer) and FIVE from Porthmadog (two Woodland Wanderer trains, two Mountain Spirit trains and one Glaslyn Venturer plus SIX FRS/WHRS Members' Shuttles (2 to Pont Croesor and 4 to Minffordd).

At 09:45 No.87 was in the WHR platform with the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer while Britomart arrived with the shuttle into the yard with Erin on the rear. David Lloyd George arrived at 10:02 into the FR platform with the ECS for the 10:30 Mountain Spirit.

At 10:00 the Boat Race was staged with Spooner's sail powered 'boat' wagon making its way across The Cob in a race with rowers from the local rowing club (see story here). It looks like Spooner's boat may have just won!

 

This easterly view (30/4/22) shows Spooner's boat running into the Harbour Station yard at about 10mph near the signalbox aided by a stiff breeze from the south west and beating the rowers who can be seen in the bay to the right of the signalbox. No.87 is ready to depart with the Glaslyn Venturer in the WHR platform and the rake for the Mountain Spirit stands in the FR platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was captured from the F&WHR web camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Glaslyn Venturer and Mountain Spirit left on time and at 10:40 Blanche was shunting the 10:55 Woodland Wanderer out of the yard to the WHR. Sybil came over The Cob light engine at 10:50 allowing Blanche to depart a little late at 10:58 on the Woodland Wanderer. The skips left for Boston Lodge at 11:12 and arrived back at 11:50 after the Pont Croesor shuttle had arrived back a little early at 11:35. There was space available on the Minffordd shuttle so members of the public standing with little soaked-through children watching on the platform were invited for a free ride to Minffordd and back and to see the Model Railway exhibition there. That probably made another lifelong rail enthusiast!

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 1 minute 24 seconds of video covering the FR AGM with Sybil hauling 8 skips to Boston Lodge at 11:00. This video was published on 1/5/22 and is best viewed at 1080p with Chrome. This video is copyright Melvyn Hughes taken on a Google Pixel 3a XL phone camera.

 

Additional F&WHR events

Additional 2022 event s have now been confirmed by the F&WHR, shown below in blue. On the basis of what has happened in previous years here is a speculative attempt to predict what other events (marked with a question mark) the F&WHR might offer in 2022, subject to COVID restrictions. This will be updated as hard information is received and dates confirmed.

1/1/22 Final Christmas Cwellyn/Christmas Glaslyn trains
17-27/2/22? Half Term Holiday trains? CANCELLED
26/3/22 Start of new season
26-27/3/22 Photo charter on WHR with K1/Welsh Pony on passenger and freight
Easter 16-18/4/22? Easter Bank Holiday Weekend Service
23/4/22 The Snowdonian
30/4/22-2/5/22 FfRS AGM Weekend with visiting traction (possibly some on WHR)
2-5/6/22 Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend services
6/6/22 PGA Tours full length of F&WHR
10-11/6/22 Rail Ale
July 22? Summer Season starts?
30-31/7/22 WHR 100 Dinas-South Snowdon (aka Rhyd Ddu)
29/8/22 Bank Holiday. End of Summer Season trains?
September 2022? Snowdonian Limited (over 2 days)
17-18 September 2022 WHR SuperPower and WHRS AGM
19/9/22 PGA Tours full length of F&WHR
7-9/10/22 FR Bygones Weekend event
30/10/22? Final trains of the season?
December 22? Santa Specials-Twice a day Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu on 10-11/12/22, 17-18/11/22 and 22-23/12/22?
December 22? Christmas Cwellyn-Twice a day Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu until 1/1/23?
December 22? Christmas Glaslyn-Twice a day Porthmadog to Beddgelert 27/12/22 until 1/1/23?

 

More Cambrian Coast Expresses excursions

After the disappointment last season when a careless lorry driver hit Machynlleth station road bridge with his tipper up leading to cancellation of excursions, there are four from Pathfinder this year! The excursions will be hauled by NR's yellow Class 37s (aka Class 97) from Shrewsbury to Pwllheli.

Very few railtours will visit North Wales in the early part of the year with COVID suppressing the market.

Locos listed with an S prefix are steam engines, otherwise diesel locos.

Date Railtour Name From-To Promoter Loco
19/2/22 Settle and Carlisle Circular Telford-Carlisle pu Shrewsbury-Chester Statesman Rail TBA
13/4/22 The Devonian Pullman Bangor-Kingswear pu NWC Midland Pullman Midland Pullman Blue HST set
27/4/22 Severn Valley Enterprise Llandudno Junction-Brignorth pu NWC Saphos trains Diesel, steam from Crewe
30/4/22 Llandudno Victorian Statesman Ely-Llandudno Statesman Diesel
30/4/22 North Wales Coast Express Tyseley Loco Works-Llandudno Vintage Trains Class 20
30/4/22 Northern Belle Conwy/Bodnant Gardens York-Llandudno Junction Northern Belle Diesel
13/5/22 Cambrian Coast Express Oxford-Pwllheli pu Banbury-Shrewsbury Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
20/5/22 Cambrian Coast Express Bristol Temple Meads-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
25/5/22 Snowdonia Statesman Swindon-Blaenau Ffestiniog Statesman Diesel, 2x LSL 47s
12/8/22 Cambrian Coast Express Cardiff-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury
9/9/22 Cambrian Coast Express Oxford-Pwllheli Pathfinder Diesel, 2x 97/3 from Shrewsbury

Loco: TBA=To be announced

pu=pick up locations e.g.. NWC = principle stations on North Wales Coast

Promoters:

Branch Line Society

InterCity

Pathfinder

Midland Pullman

Northern Belle

Pathfinder

Saphos Trains

Statesman Rail

Steam Dreams

West Coast Railways

Vintage Trains

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2022

Volunteering is currently organised differently due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.

The programme for 2022 is fortnightly for the North Wales Track Gang in RED but details are still awaited for the ROWG in BLACK:

January   8-9/1/22   22-23/1/22  
February 5-6/2/22   19-20/2/22    
March 5-6/3/22   19-20/3/22    
April 2-3/4/22   16-17/4/22   30/4/22-1/5/22
May          
June          
July          
August          
September          
October          
November          
December          

^ 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 Phil Nock.

Tuesday Gang:

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

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG): Phil Nock Email: pnock@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!

 

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.

 

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Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.4271 updated 26/6/22