Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 1/2/19)

Snow Scenes (updated 10/12/18)

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

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

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

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Waunfawr progress 10/2/19

Work has resumed in earnest on Waunfawr station after a gap for the bad weather. The chimney has been completed and progress is being made with the random stone walling.

 

This northerly view (10/2/19) shows work on Waunfawr station as seen from the footbridge. The chimney been completed and the random stone cladding is rising to cover the blockwork interior walls. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (10/2/19) shows work on Waunfawr station. The random stone cladding on the east side looks very similar to the original appearance even though the stones are smaller in size. Spaces in the black insulation show where windows will be. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (10/2/19) shows work on Waunfawr station. The northern aspect has a number of doors including access to operations rooms. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (10/2/19) shows work on Waunfawr station. The complete northern aspect shows two doorways. It is hoped the building may be ready for the new season depending on weather. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 progress report 8/2/19

No.87 was the first steam loco to cross Cae Pawb NR Crossing in 2009 when the WHR was first completed and now, 10 years later, it is receiving its 10 year boiler overhaul after a final run on 7/10/18. The loco was soon dismantled in mid-October and by early November the boiler was at Israel Newton's. By the end of November the tubes had been removed and the boiler inspector found that only minor work was necessary before re-tubing. It is hoped the boiler will be back in the spring. Meanwhile work progresses on riveting repairs to the boiler cradle at Dinas.

The loco needs new power bogie frames as the current ones have cracked more than once. The new bogies are under construction at Dinas but may not be ready in time for the return to service. It is hoped No.130's introduction into service will fill the gap. The plan is to overhaul No.140's power bogies and fit these to No.87 in the meantime. These would become maintenance spares when No.87's are complete.

 

This Dinas loco shed view (8/2/19) shows work on No.87's boiler cradle. Andy heating the rivets while Bryn moves the riveting jig into place. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas loco shed view (8/2/19) shows work on No.87's boiler cradle. Martin operates the press controls. The upper end of white hot rivet can be seen in the jig and a completed rivet to the left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas loco shed view (8/2/19) shows work on No.87's boiler cradle. Martin operates the press controls. The rivet is now driven home but the holes in the plate show many more to be competed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHRS AGM moved to 22/6/19

The F&WHR has reduced events this year and no SuperPower event is planned for September. The main event will be the Welsh Highland Heritage event 21-23/6/19 which replaces SuperPower and is focussed on the Porthmadog end of the line. Consequently the AGM has been moved to Saturday 22/6/19 which is in the middle of this event. The AGM will be in Porthmadog as a result for the first time.

 

Baldwin for WHR Heritage event 22-24/6/19

In addition to Russell and WD No.1215 (aka No.303) the latest announcement is Baldwin No.608. This loco is vacuum braked so it is anticipated will take part in the WHR events allowing recreation of historical scenes at Beddgelert if Russell is allowed to run there. The Baldwin may also haul the August Sunday Heritage trips to Tryfan Junction and Rhyd Ddu.

 

Caernarfon station progress 2-4/2/19

This northerly view (2/2/19) shows the start of work on track relaying at Caernarfon after a break of two weeks. The North Wales Track Gang has taken ownership of this project. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/2/19) shows track being laid against the extended platform. Eventually a 12 coach rake can be accommodated. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/2/19) shows work progressing on laying the track against the platform extension. It is hoped the work will be complete by 30/3/19 for the start of the new season's train services from Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (3/2/19) shows the extended headshunt at Caernarfon. This can just about take a two Garratts running round from a double headed train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (4/2/19) shows the situation after the end of the relaying at Caernarfon. The North Wales Track Gang will be back in two weeks to finish the job. Track in the platform road needs to be connected just south of the point and the run round need to be completed using spare rails on the platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BF&TR Society first AGM 3/2/19

The newly reconstituted  Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway Society held its first AGM on 3/2/19 in CellB Blaenau Ffestiniog. A committee was elected and hopes to resume negotiations with NR in due course to restart the project to reopen the line from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd Lake. The new organisation is called the Bala & Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Trust and its website is now available to view.

 

No.130 report January

Strangely, the No.130 Facebook page has been silent about progress with Peter Best's Garratt No.130 since 23/12/18. Presumably work is continuing at Dinas as it is hoped the loco will join the fleet this year to take the place of No.87 which is having its 10 year boiler overhaul and work on the frames.

 

North Wales main line

Nos.88003/5 hauled the Valley flasks on 4/2/19, a working normally hauled by a pair of Class 68s. This freight traffic is due to finish in the spring bringing an end to commercial freight on the North Wales Coast Line. The view of the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Straits from the Marquis of Anglesey's tower has been unavailable since 2012 as the internal steps have been closed for H&S reasons a heritage lottery grant will help reopen it soon. See BBC news story.

 

Snow report 1/2/19

After heavy snowfall across North Wales on 29/1/19, which caused the A55 to become blocked, the snow that affected much of the southern UK on 31/1/19 did not reach that far north. Temperatures are warming up again in advance of the MFX Half Term holiday service from 16-28/2/19 but there is plenty of time for another snowy period and the mountains will at least look alpine.

 

Pullman afternoon tea package

The F&WHR has introduced a bookable Pullman Experience package consisting of afternoon tea with optional Prosecco including first class return travel from Caernarfon to Porthmadog or vice versa. The deal costs 165 for two (20 extra for Prosecco). There are limited seats available so early booking is advisable. The service is available Saturday 16/4/19 to 2/11/19 and Wednesdays 1/5/19-19/6/19. See F&WHR website for full details.

 

NG15 No.134 report 19-20/1/19

With the boiler away being repaired, this year's activity will concentrate on making the frames ready to receive the boiler when it returns. Planned work includes jobs such as fitting the pony trucks and all the suitable couplings so the loco and tender can be moved around safely. However, the task for the January's Working Party was to ensure no further deterioration of No.133 took place. This involved covering all the motion and boiler in wax oil, a protective coating that is very good at keeping moisture out and wicking it away from the components. The bulk of the weekend was therefore spent removing any loose material then applying the wax oil. We also made various covers to close off a number orifices of the boiler.

The trailing pony truck wheelset that had been returned from Boston Lodge. This was cleaned and given a coat of primer before being temporarily put under the pony truck. In order to get the pony trucks ready for receiving their wheelsets volunteers took the hanging pony trucks from where they had been stored vertically along the side of the workshop and placed them flat on the floor.

A couple of new faces joined the team and whilst they are involved with the running of the railway as a guard and fireman, the hope is that they can join in when they can. See NG15 No.134 website for full details.

 

North Wales main line

On 29/9/19 37099 was stabled at Bangor with the Q train. 67014 hauled the ManWAG on 28/1/19. A rockfall in Blaenau Ffestiniog tunnel led to closure of the line for a 9 days from 20-28/1/19 with trains terminating at Betws-y-coed and bustitution from there to Blaenau Ffestiniog. On 22-23/1/19 Britannia was tested on a Crewe-Chester-Shrewsbury-Crewe circular journey with D1924 (47810) was on the rear for insurance.

 

History show at Kings Cross

The F&WHR will be showing Velinheli and Chaloner as part of a historical display of locos at Kings Cross from 16-24/2/19. Help is needed to run the display.

 

Moving Pictures No.27 22/1/19

Click on the YouTube link to watch 25 mins 29 seconds of video covering Waunfawr station building construction, work on NG16's at Dinas, No.133's move at Dinas, Boston Lodge new throat construction and a 10 minute FRS promotional video from 1956-7. This YouTube was published on 22/1/19 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in 2160p 4K HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively, View on YouTube where all options are available.

 

Dinas Update

Four NG16s are receiving attention at Dinas. No.143 has had a boiler washout for a pre-season boiler inspection. The frames of No.87 have received strengthening while the loco is disassembled for its 10 year boiler check. The trial fitting of cab and tanks on new Garratt No.130 has been reversed to complete work on the boiler.

Spare NG15 No.133 was pulled out of the north headshunt by Bill with some reluctance. The loco did not want to go around sharp curves because the pony trucks did not have adequate sideways movement. Lubrication eventually solved the problem and the loco was left in position for a boiler assessment.

 

KS4415 progress 20/1/19

Over last weekend volunteers were at Boston Lodge fitting the gearbox. The frame plate that didn't quite fit on the previous attempt at installation was machined down and this time it went straight in. With the gearbox safely located in the frames volunteers spent time cleaning out all the old oil and muck and then refitted all the internal parts. The gearbox was then filled up with new oil and the lid bolted back on. With the gearbox basically finished, volunteers can move onto other parts relating to the chassis; the next things will be the vacuum pipework and the band brake. Another job volunteers completed in January was making a test rig for the vacuum pump. They did some testing with a couple of coaches and there will be more of the same in the future until  it working as well as possible. See KS4414 Facebook page for images and video of gearbox operating.

 

North Wales failure 22/1/19

No.67020 failed on the ManWAG at Newton-le-Willows on the morning of 22/1/19. It was rescued by No.66177 and ran ECS to Warrington Bank Quay before the stock was returned to Crewe. The pool of locos for the ManWAG has now increased from three to five locos, Nos.67012/14/16/20/22.

Nos.68016/17 hauled three empty flasks to valley Nuclear electric siding on 23/1/19 and silver liveried No.67014 on the ManWAG.

 

RAIB investigate Penrhyn Level Crossing incident 6/1/19

The RAIB published a notice on 23/1/19 about an incident at Penrhyn Level Crossing on the FR. An engineering train returning to Minffordd was unable to stop to open the crossing and collided with the gate across the A4085, coming to rest across the highway. The gate was damaged but no injuries were reported. The RAIB is publishing a Safety Digest in a few weeks rather than a full report. This is the second time the RAIB has been involved with the F&WHR in the last several months following the Garratt derailment near Rhyd Ddu 10/6/18 . See RAIB website.

 

Boston Lodge progress 19/1/19

This southerly view (19/1/19) shows work on the extension to the existing Carriage Shed at Boston Lodge and the removal of the roof. The foundations for the extension are in place which will be at an angle to the existing building to allow for the sharp curve off the new throat under construction. To the right an excavator in working on the made ground provided by the new piled seawall where the new carriage shed will be. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (19/1/19) shows the new headshunt and buffer stop Boston Lodge throat. This has been in place and unused for a year but the tight curves into Carriage Shed extension and new Carriage shed on the seaward side have now been connected to the new junction. The existing Pen Cob Junction point is still in place nearer to Boston Lodge and won't be removed until all the pointwork in the throat is connected up. 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 and Lyn for The Snowdonian 13/4/19

Having appeared as a pair at the L&BR Gala, Lyd and Lyn will visit the WHR in the Spring. They will haul The Snowdonian on 13/4/19 on the WHR section from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and return. Lyn is the new build Baldwin replica No.762 that has been running on the L&BR since it was completed last year. The loco had a brief appearance on the WHR at SuperPower last year but did not operate with Lyd. For full details and booking see F&WHR website. Funds raised for the Diamond Jubilee Appeal will help complete various projects such as the new Carriage Shed and Garratt Shed at Boston Lodge.

 

North Wales Main Line news

Nos.68016/17 hauled the Valley Nuclear flasks on 21/1/19 as the countdown to the termination of this traffic, the last freight on the North Wales Coast, has begun. Trains are due to cease in March.

No. 67016 was propelling the 0534 Holyhead-Cardiff on the same day. TfW hopes to replace this service with Class 68/Mark 4 sets over the next few years and provide additional loco hauled rakes for midday services. Meanwhile the popular ManWAG Class 67 hauled trains also continue SSuX despite there being no mention of these loco hauled services in the long term Keolis/Amey prospectus published last October. No.67020 was on the 1307 Holyhead-Manchester today.

 

Snow Report 21/1/19

Extended periods of snow/sleet are forecast on 22-23/1/19 in the Rhyd Ddu area with temperatures about 3C.

 

Caernarfon station 19/1/19

This northerly view (19/1/19) shows track being relaid in the extended headshunt at Caernarfon. In the distance can be seen the red bufferstop. The North Wales Track Gang is making good progress over the weekend. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (19/1/19) shows track being lifted by a crane in the bus layby onto storage area on the platform to complete the platform track extension. The rail bolster wagon is being repaired so the movement of rails was by road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Waunfawr station progress 19/1/19

This westerly view (19/1/19) shows the random local stone being fitted to the Waunfawr station building. The stonework still requires weather-struck pointing but the general appearance is very similar to the random stonework of the original structure. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (19/1/19) shows roof insulation and battens in place. Good progress is being made with the external wall along the east side of the station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS4415 update 19/1/19

KS4415, the experimental shunter that was trialled on the WHR in the 1920s, has today been fitted with its repaired gearbox. Some adjustments had to be made to frames and brackets to support the gearbox which occupies the sloping area at the front of this historic loco. See KS4415 Facebook page for images.

 

North Wales main line

Class 67 No.67012 was terminated on the northbound Gerald service on 18/1/19 at Shrewsbury. The locomotive hauling this service has suffered a power fault, causing a loss of power and loss of coach lighting/heating. Meanwhile 67020 hauled the ManWAG service to/from Holyhead the same day. BR Standard Class 7 No.70000 Britannia had hauled a test train to Chester 16/1/19 with a support coach. Nos.68018/34 had hauled the Valley nuclear flask train on 14/1/19.

 

Start ceremony for Caernarfon bypass 17/1/19

Ken Skates, Welsh Assembly Economy minister cut the first sod for the Caernarfon/Bontnewydd bypass on 17/1/18. It is likely that all trees on the route will be cut down by the start of the bird nesting season in March and the haul road and fencing be completed. The route crosses the WHR by means of an overbridge just north of Bontnewydd halt. See North Wales Chronicle story and Daily Post story.

 

Hunslet No.303 for June gala

The WHR 'Past, Present and Future Gala' on 21-23/6/19 will feature the ex-WD Hunslet loco No.1215 of 1916. This loco missed the Hunslet Gala last year due to late completion. Locos will run Porthmadog to Beddgelert but Russell will limited to the section to Hafod-y-llyn. Enthusiasts also hope the VoR will contribute one of their GWR steam locos as the F&WHR has lent Palmerston to the line several times.

 

Boston Lodge remodelling 17/1/19

This easterly view (9/1/19) shows Whitehouse Construction of Ashbourne, Derbyshire in support of tracklaying in the Boston Lodge throat. Some curved points have been used to allow the tight curves into Carriage Shed. 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.

 

Betws Garmon progress 14/1/19

This southerly view (14/1/19) shows Betws Garmon station building being conserved by the WHHG. Now stonework is finished it is planned to cap the walls with turf. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (14/1/19) shows Betws Garmon station building being conserved by the WHHG. Loose stone has been secured with a lime mortar and the random stone stored on pallets under Waunfawr footbridge has been used for this purpose as the stone was too random for use in Waunfawr station rebuilding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

End of the line for Wylfa B

Hopes of building Wylfa B nuclear power station, also called Wylfa Newydd, were dashed today in a report by the BBC when Hitachi, owners of Horizon Nuclear, said the funding package was not suitable and work was stopped. Work will also stop on Horizon's other project at Oldbury on the Severn Estuary. Although Wylfa B would not have produced any construction traffic for the North Wales Coast line (a new dock was to be built), there were hopes that the nuclear flask traffic would revive shortly after the reactor came on line in the mid 2020s. The government has now indicated that it will consider directly funding the reactor programme. The two reactors would provide baseload electricity for over 10 million people. Nuclear flask traffic is the last freight on the North Wales Coast line and is scheduled to finish this spring as Wylfa A's closed reactors are emptied. See BBC news story.

Class 68s Nos. 68003/4 hauled the flask train on 17/1/19. It is hoped that the Valley Nuclear Electric siding will be maintained against further possible use should Wylfa B be restarted. The triangle there is used to turn steam locos after hauling excursions on the North Wales Coast.

The Government's disarray over Brexit is matched by its disarray over its Civil Nuclear programme with only one replacement reactor under construction and all but one of the remaining reactors set to close by 2030. Nuclear Power provides about 20% of baseload electricity in the UK.

 

Rhyd Ddu resignalling 9-10/1/19

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

 

This southerly view (9/1/19) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling the S&T train into Rhyd Ddu with cabling for the Rhyd Ddu starter signal project. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Coast trains 11/1/19

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

 

No.133 moves 11/1/19

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

 

Waunfawr station progress 9/1/19

This southerly view (9/1/19) shows blocks of random local stone delivered to give a similar appearance to the original station building. Yellow bricks have also been delivered for the window and door surrounds. This section appears to have been built inside the station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon relay 6/1/19

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

 

This southerly view (6/1/19) shows the new position of the north loop point at Caernarfon alongside the gated entry to the Service Road. The position of the gate means the public and enthusiasts will no longer be able to closely watch the loco going through the points as before. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Waunfawr station external wall test 3/1/19

This easterly view (3/1/19) shows a trial section of external wall built at Waunfawr for approval. The random local stone gives a similar appearance to the original station building, however the stones there were somewhat larger and less manageable. This section appears to have been built inside the station building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New map for TRAWS 3/1/19

This new map (3/1/19) from TRAWS, the campaign to reopen the West Coast Wales Rail corridor from Bangor to Carmarthen,  shows how the red Bangor-Afonwen route, together with the blue Aberystwyth-Carmarthen route, would complete a west coast  rail corridor from North to South. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Trackworks starts at Boston Lodge 4/1/19

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

 

This easterly aerial view (4/1/19) shows the new Pen Cob Junction laid early last year but not connected. New ballast has been spread out for the fan of sidings that will lead from the new Pen Cob Junction to the yard throat and the extended Carriage Shed. The old Pen Cob Junction under the PW train will also be removed. Several sets of new points can be seen receiving attention next to the flat bed lorry that delivered them. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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

 

This westerly view (4/1/19) shows the PW train out on the main line. The new red fencing will be extended to the west to separate the yard from the main line as Pen Cob Junction is moving west. New points are stacked after delivery before moving to new locations. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (4/1/19) shows the new points pre-fabricated on plastic sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (4/1/19) shows the points to be lifted as part of the throat remodelling and fresh ballast stored to the right. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line news 4/1/19

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

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

 

Work starts on Caernarfon relay 6/1/19

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

 

This southerly view (6/1/19) shows the North Wales Track Gang lifting track with the points up on blocks ready to be lifted to its new position further north. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (6/1/19) shows the North Wales Track Gang lifting track with the points set to be moved later in January to a location in front of the excavator which is levelling the new base ballast for the extended headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (6/1/19) shows track lifted by the end of the weekend working party at Caernarfon. In the distance the excavator is extending and levelling the ballast bed for the new headshunt alongside the station building. The points will move north of the kink in the platform which is where the end of the rake will normally lie. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (6/1/19) shows track lifted by the end of the weekend working party at Caernarfon. Rails are piled on the platform ready for relaying. The point will probably be split in two and moved by excavator to its new position. The tarmaced area visible north of the new run round ballast is for bins. A plastic covering remains fitted to the rotunda to minimise leaks until snagging is complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work restarts at Waunfawr

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

 

This northerly view (5/1/19) shows the southerly aspect of Waunfawr station building with trusses almost complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/1/19) shows the easterly aspect of Waunfawr station building with one truss needing to be fitted. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/1/19) shows westerly aspect of Waunfawr station building with insulation being fitted. Galvanised wall ties can be seen protruding through the insulation that will tie in the external random stone facing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5/1/19) shows cladding fitted to the north wall of the building. Galvanised wall ties will link the blockwork to the external stone facings. The damp proof layer is also in evidence. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Happy New Year!

Your webmaster wishes all readers a Happy New Year.

 

Snow report 1/1/19

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

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

 

No.143 on final Mince Pie specials 1/1/19

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

 

This southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 running round and preparing for the final train of the Xmas Holidays with Mike Hart observing the run round. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 running round and preparing for the final train of the Xmas Holidays. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 near Ffridd Isaf curve with the final train of the Xmas Holidays. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/1/19) shows No.143 near Ffridd Isaf curve with the final train of the Xmas Holidays. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

For those missing snow on the WHR!

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

 

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

 

Mainline news

There will be a series of railtours both to and from North Wales in 2018 while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least providing the only freight traffic on the route. In recent years steam on the North Wales Coast/Blaenau Ffestiniog has declined and steam on the Cambrian disappeared due to NR reneging on its promise to provide a mobile ERTMS unit. Railtours are diesel hauled unless otherwise specified. It is good to see a few railtours starting from Bangor but sad to see nothing on the Cambrian again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2018

Keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure in general, fit for trains to run is an essential task. Volunteers have a lot to offer by assisting with this. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.

The programme for 2018-19 is as follows:

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

^ Bank Holiday weekend

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

WW-Working week Saturday-Thursday

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating most Tuesdays.

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

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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

 

Site development

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

 

Comments

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

 

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

 

Maps & Plans and links

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

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

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3716 updated 10/2/19