Welsh Highland Railway

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News (20/4/21)

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Star Picture

This southerly view (3/11/19) shows No.608 hauling a heritage rake heading for Beddgelert between T2 and T3 in the Aberglaslyn Pass during the photo charter. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Phil Brown (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 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

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 1/4/21)

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 18/5/16)

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

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

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

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

 

Stop Press!!

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

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

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

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

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

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

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

One week to go 20/4/21!

FR services recommence on Tuesday 27/4/21 given no adverse advice from WAG. There are still plenty of seats still available on The Woodland Wanderer FR train to Tan-y-bwlch though some trains are nearly full. See FR Booking Page for details.

Preparations for the first trains of the season are increasing. On 19/4/21, Vale of Ffestiniog passed through Tan-y-bwlch apparently hauling a rake of modern FR coaches from Glan-y-pwll to Porthmadog.

At 16:45 on 20/4/21 Vale of Ffestiniog shunted a long rake of WHR coaches in Porthmadog Yard presumably after the anti-COVID Perspex screens had turned the stock from Opens into virtual compartments. At 16:56 the Funkey left the yard and headed back to Boston Lodge. It cannot be long before steam comes out on test on the FR for competence runs and running in.

 

Snowdonian Statesman 19/5/21

The Snowdonia Statesman on 19/5/21 'Tan-y-bwlch option' is sold out. The FR steam hauled add-on from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Tan-y-bwlch and return is being run in connection with the excursion from Hull to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The train is likely to be hauled by an LSL Class 47 from Hull to Blaenau Ffestiniog where it lays over for about 3 hours in the afternoon. It is likely to be shunted into the run round to allow normal service trains such as the 14:57 to Llandudno to use the platform. The FR special will see one of the few uses of the Dduallt-Blaenau Ffestiniog this year unless the timetable changes radically. This might impact the advertised timetable.

 

Railway Touring Company specials 19-20/7/21

In association with their Snowdonia and the Northern Fells Tour, the RTC has organised a one way trip over the complete WHR on 19/7/21 from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. The following day there is a complete one way trip over the FR from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. How this impacts on the normal service timetable is unclear.

 

North Wales Main Line 14-20/4/21

Freightliner Class 66 No.66547 was noted on a light driver trainer to Holyhead on 14/4/21 presumably is association with the restart of Penmaenmawr stone traffic.

DB livered Class 67 No.67010 hauled the Holyhead-Crewe Mk4 driver trainer on 15/4/21.

NR Class 37 No.97302 Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways / Rheilffyrdd Ffestiniog ac Eryri escorted a tamper bound to Barmouth on 16/4/21. This is necessary as the line is equipped with the discredited ERTMS system which requires stock to be fitted with a form of cab signalling.

A Class 37 on an NR train visited Blaenau Ffestiniog hauling a Shrewsbury Coleham depot to Shrewsbury trip on 20/4/21. This was possibly to check how the Conwy Valley line was bedding in after its recent reopening at Easter.

 

K1 confirmed for Autumn visit

Paul Lewin (F&WHR Manager) has confirmed that K1 has been invited to visit the WHR from its new home at the Statfold Barn Railway. Presumably this will coincide with the WHR's SuperPower event planned for September given further improvement in COVID regulations. K1 was restored to use at the SBR last year and has featured in their open days.

 

Boston Lodge shunt 19/4/21

Further shunting of carriage stock was noted taking place at Boston Lodge at 16:20 on 19/4/21. 

 

L&BR applies for extension study grant

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway has applied for a grant of £50,000 from the Restoring your Railway fund to pay for a feasibility study into reopening the whole L&B railway, the only narrow gauge railway to submit a bid. The route to be studied runs from a new station at Lynton, convenient for the Lynmouth cliff railway and town centre, to the former depot area at Pilton in west Barnstaple, the route through Barnstaple to the former terminus having been built over. Lyd regularly visits the L&BR and Baldwin replica Lyn No.762 has also visited the WHR. Various sections of trackbed are being negotiated for or are already in the hands of sister organisation Exmouth Associates, including the recently purchased Bratton Fleming station.

Clearance work is currently underway with test borings along the route of the currently authorised extension between Killington Lane station and Wistlandpound Reservoir (both planned to be temporary termini). The short section currently operating between Woody Bay and Killington Lane reopens 24/4/21. Two new replica Manning Wardle locos Exe and Yeo are planned for the expansion of the line based on the success of Lyd and fundraising for them started in 2019. See L&BR website.

 

WHR tidy up 17/4/21

More than 20 volunteers turned out for the first ‘On Shed with Shane’ weekend on Saturday 17/4/21. The socially distanced work went well with locos cleaned, firewood cut, rubbish  moved and plastic litter collected and an ash train run to clear the loco ash from the south end Caernarfon station.

 

This northerly view (17/4/21) shows Lilla running round the ash train at Caernarfon. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (17/4/21) shows Lilla coupling up to the ash train at Caernarfon. The loco ash in the foreground has been scraped up by an excavator and loaded into the B wagon. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/4/21) shows Bill extracting No.138 from the Goods Shed where it has been stored with one ambulance bogie awaiting the return of its rear power bogie from Boston Lodge. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/4/21) shows Bill propelling the rolling chassis of No.134 being propelled into its new home in the Goods Shed where volunteers will be able to work on it in coming months under cover now COVID restrictions have been eased. The FR Van No.7 is attached at the rear. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/4/21) shows Bill propelling the new tender up to the rolling chassis of No.134 for the first time, illustrating the incredible length of this loco compared to the NG16s. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/4/21) shows No.87 being given a good clean outside the Loco Shed and will be standby steam loco this season. New Garratt No.130 is visible to the rear. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moelwyn shunts Porthmadog 15/4/21

The afternoon of 15/4/21 saw Moelwyn shunting stock in Porthmadog Harbour station. Additional rolling stock may have been brought over from Boston Lodge.

 

This easterly view (15/4/21) shows Moelwyn shunting Porthmadog station at 15:58. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (15/4/21) shows Moelwyn shunting Porthmadog station at 16:01. A bowsider has been added to the seawall siding and additional stock lies behind Moelwyn in the FR platform. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A55 average speed cameras

People travelling by car to the F&WHR via the A55 should be aware of the 40mph average speed cameras on the A55 between Junctions 12/13 Aber to Tai'r Meibion. This is for the final stage of upgrading of this, the earliest section of the A55 to be dualled. The scheme consists of widening, flood prevention and closing central reservation gaps originally provided for farm access. Advance drainage works were completed in 2017 and the whole scheme will be completed by 2022.

 

Mountaineer II cylinders cast (23/3/21)

The project to build a replica of the original 1863 parallel tank style England engine Mountaineer has had a major boost with the casting of new cylinders. Peak Pattern of Sheffield made the casting and the project team from North Bay Rail Engineering Service (Darlington) collected the right hand cylinder on 23/3/21. The left hand cylinder was cast around that date and wheels were expected to be delivered during March. The whole project is likely to cost £250,000. Anyone wishing to donate to the project is invited to contact the 1863 Mountaineer Locomotive Company. The short lived loco was scrapped in 1879 after just 16 years service. Many WHR supporters would like to see a group build a Moel Tryfan replica, one of the final locos to run on the WHR in the 1930s.

 

Welsh 'Reversing Beeching' schemes

Of the 85 applications for £50,000 grants to restore local railways, two are in North Wales. The disused 18 mile Gaerwen-Amlwch line is one of them. While new Anglesey Tory MP Virginia Crosbie supports the project, she may not have won herself any friends by suggesting that the route could be converted into a cycleway! The local council wants the line re-opened as a commuter route and a service restored at least between Llangefni and Bangor to reduce heavy commuter traffic over the A55 Britannia Bridge and A5 suspension bridge. The Local Authority suggest that the cost of restoring the railway would be a lot less than building a new bridge across the Menai Straits. The revivalist group Lein Amlwch supports the restoration of the route and has been clearing sections under an NR licence with the eventual aim of running a heritage service. This could operate between Llangefni and Amlwch if the Local Council succeeds in reinstating the Llangefni commuter service.

The other scheme to appear in the list is the Bangor Caernarfon-Afon Wen route supported by the local Plaid Cymru WAG MP Llyr Gruffydd. This is a more costly and longer scheme and would require rebuilding a few sections, including third railing through Caernarfon WHR station to Dinas. It is part of a broader scheme to link the Cambrian Coast as a through route to Carmarthen proposed by TRAWS, which had a WAG feasibility study a few years ago for Aberystwyth-Carmarthen (click on the link to see the map and documents).

 

Prince to visit Statfold (12-13/6/21)

Prince will not be available for FR duties on 12-13/6/21 and maybe a few days before and after to allow for transport as it will appear at the Trangkil Sugar Mill Event scheduled for that weekend at the Statfold Barn Railway. Tickets for this strictly 'book in advance' event can be obtained from the SBR.

 

Moving Pictures No.49 15/4/21

Click on the YouTube window to watch 23 mins 3 seconds of video covering the WHR including No.130 on test including the first test train to Beddgelert and Lilla and Van No.7 heading north from Beddgelert to Rhyd Ddu in the snow. This YouTube was published on 15/4/21 and was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a 4K digital camcorder. It is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on the YouTube link.

 

Upnor Castle PW working 15/4/21

Upnor Castle was noted arriving at Porthmadog WHR platform at 10:32 on 15/4/21 with a short PW train consisting of Van No.51 and a couple of wagons. The loco ran round the train via the WHR loop by 10:41 and departed back across The Cob at 10:55. It seems run round is still mot possible at Boston Lodge as normally that would have happened there and the train would have been propelled onto The Cob before setting out up the FR.

 

No.130 test train 14/4/21

With the arrival of the WHR coaches in Dinas on 13/4/21, complete with COVID partitions, it was possible for No.130 to run its first test train to Beddgelert with a scratch passenger in advance of the start of the season on 1/5/21. The unusual formation contained two Observation cars Gwynedd and Glaslyn (both turned to face south) behind the loco, a B wagon, WHR coach, Service Car, Romanian Carriage No.2060 and a third Observation Car Gwyrfai on the rear! The rear Observation cars faces north so one faces each way. For other images from Chris Parry see F&WHR Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (14/4/21) shows No.130 being prepared for its first trial on passenger stock to Beddgelert. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/21) shows No.130 on its first test passenger train to Beddgelert. A section of guide rail in the foreground still needs to be fixed in place. Click on the image to expand. This digital camera image is copyright Chris Parry (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/21) shows No.130 on its first test passenger train to Beddgelert approaching Rhyd Ddu. Snowdon still has a dusting of snow! Click on the image to expand. This digital camera image is copyright Chris Parry (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BHG/RoWG at Plas-y-nant 10-14/2/21

The North Wales Track Gang (BHG) worked on the Plas-y-nant bridge over the weekend of 11-12/4/21 with their Mess Car ex-FR Coach No.111 (fitted with toilet) in attendance, hauled by Bill, the ex Shotton Steelworks shunter. The loco disappeared from the worksite for other duties from time to time. The main task was to complete the guide rails over the bridge which restrain sideways movement of rolling stock in case of a derailment. The Rest of the World gang was present completing the job on 14/4/21.

 

This northerly view (14/4/21) shows the RoWG fixing guide rails to the bridge at Plas-y-nant in advance of the public service starting 1/5/21. A section of guide rail in the foreground still needs to be fixed in place. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/4/21) shows the cut up remains of the Plas-y-nant bridge at Dinas on wagons in the North Yard. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work starts on Porthmadog Premier Inn 13/4/21

Progress is being made with the construction of the new Premier Inn on the site of Ty Moelwyn Tax Office which was demolished in January/February. A lorry delivered some of the steel for the framework of the new building on 13/4/21.

 

This northerly view (13/4/21) shows a crane unloading steel from a lorry on the site of the new Premier Inn at Porthmadog as seen from Harbour Station platform. Click on the image to expand. This iPhone image is copyright Keith Holland and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Grand Shunt 13/4/21

Tuesday 13/4/21 saw the reverse of last year's 'Great Shunt' with stock being returned from the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed to be stored in Porthmadog station yard and holidaymakers and spotters turned out to watch the fun. The action kicked off at 09:48 with a train of 10 WHR coaches hauled to Dinas by Vale of Ffestiniog. The rake contained at least one Observation Car and there was possibly a loco on the rear assisting this heavy train up the 1 in 40 out of Beddgelert. The loco returned at 17:08 and went on shed at Boston Lodge. It was expected that there might be a test train to Beddgelert with No.130 the following day.

Meanwhile, in Porthmadog, green PW loco Harlech Castle brought over rakes and shunting also took place throughout the day though the manual points in the yard appeared to need some greasing as much use of the boot was noted to ensure the sidings' points were in the correct position. The WHR showed signs of use as the rust had gone from both platform and run round tracks.

 

This easterly screengrab from the F&WHR webcam (13/4/21) shows Harlech Castle hauling the second rake into the FR platform at 11:36. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

10:36 Harlech Castle was noted running round after pulling four coaches into the FR platform with open No.37 at the west  end, FR Nos.106/102 and WHR service car No.2010.

10:40 The train was propelled into the seawall siding and No.37 was left there.

10:46 The train was back out at the signalbox

10:48 The train was propelled into the siding next to the seawall where WHR service car No.2010 was deposited

10:55 The train was propelled back into the third siding where Nos. 106/102 were deposited.

11:00 Harlech Castle left light engine for Boston Lodge.

11:36 Harlech Castle arrived back hauling 7 coaches which were left in the FR platform road. These were Nos.26/24/2021/2022, two WHR saloons (one of the newer panoramic window style from Nos.2046-2048 and one original style from Nos.2040/2042-45 with top light windows) and a green FR compartment coach No.21.

11:44 Harlech Castle left for Boston Lodge light engine.

12:30 Harlech Castle was back with another rake of 5 coaches which ran into the WHR run round track

12:35 Harlech Castle was stabled in WHR platform for staff lunch break.

 

This easterly screengrab from the F&WHR webcam (13/4/21) shows Harlech Castle running round the third rake via the WHR platform at 11:33. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

13:10 Harlech Castle shunted onto the rake in the FR platform.

13:15 Harlech Castle shunted the rake into the siding adjacent to the seawall siding and deposited WHR Opens Nos.2021/2022 there.

13:24 Harlech Castle drew out the remaining three coaches and propelled them into the FR platform.

13:28 Harlech Castle returned light engine to the siding with the WHR Opens.

13:36 Harlech Castle drew out the WHR Opens Nos. 2021/2021 now connected to the Service Car and Pullman No.2115 Bodysgallen, the latter of which must have arrived in an unobserved shunt move before 10:30. The rake headed across The Cob for Boston Lodge.

A delay then ensued while several of the F&WHR's 'orange army' appeared to be giving attention to the pointwork outside the small Loco Shed. Another PW staff member inspected the track all the way across The Cob.

15:12 saw an unusual move in that a rake of 5 coaches (three FR and two WHR) was propelled very slowly across The Cob by Harlech Castle into the WHR platform suggesting some pointwork problem in Boston Lodge Yard which prevented a run round there.

15:17 saw the two original style WHR coaches (from Nos.2040/2042-45) removed and shunted into the siding next to the seawall siding by Harlech Castle.

15:27 Harlech Castle then emerged from the yard light engine before backing onto the 3 coach rake in the FR platform, which was drawn out and shunted onto the WHR coaches just deposited in the sidings.

15:40 Harlech Castle then removed FR coach No.21 from this rake and shunted it back into the FR platform.

15:46 Harlech Castle promptly removed the three FR coaches Nos.21/24/26 to The Cob and shunted them back onto the 5 FR coaches left in the WHR run round line.

15:52 Harlech Castle hauled the combined FR rake out of the WHR run round loop and onto The Cob from where it was propelled back into the seawall siding.

16:05 Harlech Castle was back on The Cob having hauled two of the four FR coaches in the WHR platform. These were propelled to the sea wall where one was left. The other was placed in the third siding from the seawall.

16:20 Harlech Castle collected the final two FR coaches from the WHR platform and propelled them into siding 3 about 5 minutes later.

16:35 with the Grand Shunt job completed Harlech Castle left light engine for Boston Lodge.

It is possible more shunting make take place Wednesday 14/4/21.

Visitors were freely walking on the platform to The Cob and sea wall, some without face masks. The webcam now has a useful 'back 10s' feature. The F&WHR website is noticeably slower this year and the webcams sometimes reach their 'resource limit' when too many people request access simultaneously. Time Outs are imposed on people who watch the webcams for a long while.

 

FR line clearance train 13/4/21

Upnor Castle was up at Tan-y-bwlch running round a lineside clearance train on 13/4/21 at 11am. This train featured Upnor Castle, and, from east to west, the cherry picker, a converted low sided B wagon with the shredder, a B wagon for waste and a brake van. This departed for Minffordd at 11:11.

 

Gelert Explorer 1/5/21

The Gelert Explorer Gold compartments are now sold out on the first train 1/5/21 but standard class compartments are still available. The other trains that first week of the new season from Tuesday 27/4/21 also have availability.

 

North Wales Main Line news

ROG's No.37800 was hired as a Crewe-Holyhead route learner on 12/4/21 in preparation for renewed stone traffic from Penmaenmawr. GBRf has won the haulage contract and there will be two loaded outbound trains a day SuX from 17/5/21. One 'jumbo' return working of empty wagons is envisaged. The orange army was out in Penmaenmawr yard after Easter clearing vegetation and rehabilitating the track. This will mean the welcome return of revenue earning freight to the North Wales coast Line after 2 years of absence since the Wylfa nuclear waste traffic ceased. The other scheme to restart freight from Llandudno Junction Yard has yet to make any progress.

A TfW officials special ran on 8/4/21 from Cardiff to Holyhead and back. The train ran as the 1Z48, the 07:17 ex Cardiff and had the DVT leading at Bangor after reversing at Chester with TfW liveried 67017 on the rear. The driver was advised at Bangor that no platform was available at Holyhead so the train ran into the stabling sidings at Holyhead! Maybe a case for reopening the disused platform 3? The rake consisted of four TfW livery Mk4 coaches including first restaurant plus DVT which can carry bicycles etc. Driver training on the route has been going on for several months and it is hoped the service might be introduced with the timetable change in May given planned COVID relaxation in Wales.

LSL's Crewe-Carmarthen excursion ran into problems on the Central Wales line on 2/4/21 when 45231 'Sherwood Forester' developed wheel flats and was taken off at Llandeilo. The special working continued to Carmarthen sidings with the diesel 20107 which was the 'insurance' loco, arriving 441 minutes late. The steam loco remained there for some days before being rescued by a Class 37.

230008 was on test on the borderlands line on 12/4/21.

 

Dinas Volunteer call

The team that maintain the Welsh Highland fleet based at Dinas are looking for a bit of help with a tidy-up after the long winter and the work to get Nos.87/138 back in traffic. Shane Rademan, the site manager, and the team are looking for volunteers to come and lend a hand on the weekend of the 17-18/4/21. There is lots to do and, as it is a big site, we can spread out well for social distancing safety. There is some work on locos to be done, work around the site and a train collecting bits and pieces from Caernarfon (clearing the loco ash from the south end of the station). If you would like to join in, please drop an email to plewin@ffwhr.com. For more images see F&WHR Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 departing Dinas with a loaded test train heading for Waunfawr. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

All Britons can holiday in Wales from Monday 12/4/21

Wales will welcome holidaymakers (and non-essential travellers) who live in the whole of Britain from 12/4/21 though they must stay in self-contained accommodation e.g. static caravans and holiday cottages, for the time being. Hotels and motels appear to be limited to Welsh residents only still according to motel websites,  though there is still confusion about this as Premier Inn states they are 'open to all'. These and touring caravans sharing communal toilet blocks and showers will follow later, possibly after 17/5/21. Non essential retail can also open from 12/4/21. On 26/4/21 outdoor hospitality reopens, including tourist attractions like the F&WHR. Indoor hospitality will follow later provided the trend in COVID cases continues to fall/remain low.

 

Fairlie Event postponed yet again! 11/4/21

The F&WHR announced on 11/4/21 that they have considered the practicality of holding any major events this year and have decided to cancel the Fairlie Event. Although the overall situation is improving at present, it is impossible to say with certainty what will be the situation throughout the coming few months. Therefore, the F&WHR have regretfully decided that they will not hold the postponed 'Fairlie Eventful' event this year after all, as they cannot give it the status or attention it deserves. It will now take its place as a major part of the planning for our 2022 events programme - when the F&WHR should be able to organise the quality of event they had originally hoped to hold, and which will be a worthy celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Ffestiniog Fairlie locomotive!

 

WHRS Special Trains sold out 10/4/21

The WHR Society Special /No.130 launch planned for Friday 30/4/21 sold out within a few days of appearing on the internet. There are still plenty of seats on the FR trains 27-29/4/21 and the first Beddgelert Explorer on 1/5/21 though there is only 1 Gold compartment left on this train.

 

'Roles on the Rails' explained 10/4/21

In an attempt to attract volunteers again post-COVID lockdown the F&WHR is making an effort to explain the roles available. A series of articles on the FR's social media will explain what is involved, starting with Loco Crew. See F&WHR Insider page.

 

Pre-season WHRS Members' Special Train 30/4/21

On Friday, 30/4/21, there will be a pre-season ‘Gelert Explorer’ train specifically for members, Caernarfon to Beddgelert and return, as part of testing and preparation for the season the following day. The train will run in the normal path, leaving Caernarfon at 1100 and giving time to take a walk into Beddgelert during the layover. This train will mark the official handover of NGG16 No.130 from the workshops to the operating railway and Peter Best, who sponsored the loco, will be on the train. There is no ticket charge for WHRSoc. members and their immediate family bubble, travelling together in a seating bay. WAG rules require that all passengers travel in their bubble on this service.

There will not be a buffet service on board but the hamper service will be available to book in advance when ordering tickets. Prices vary from £10 per person.

Details of the hampers can be found here.

The De Winton Cafe/Caffi De Winton in Caernarfon station will be open for takeaway only. Hot and cold drinks will also be for sale at Beddgelert during the layover.

To book onto this special train, please click here.

Members will need to enter their membership number with prefix, so will need to have their card ready!

If members have any problems booking they should contact the Booking Office on 01766 516024, which is open 10:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday. Please note, compartments are strictly limited in number.

IMPORTANT - All ongoing services and events will be subject to any further changes in WAG policy in response to the Covid-19 situation.

 

Lilla visits Dinas 6/4/21

Lilla made a surprise visit to Dinas on 6/4/21 with FR Van No.1 in tow. The loco struggled through variable weather with snowstorms at Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu. The sun came out later and the staff took the opportunity to take photos on the recently completed Plas-y-Nant bridge without the van. The gate on the bridge has been moved to the correct position on the north side of the bridge. This stock movement is remove the unsightly large piles of ash that have accumulated around the run round track at the south end of Caernarfon station. No doubt B wagons will be filled with the ash and Lilla will haul them to Dduallt for disposal or possibly the Beddgelert Forest site used previously. More ECS trains, including No.130 tests with a full length coach rake to Beddgelert, are likely before services restart in May. For more pictures from Chris Parry (F&WHR) see F&WHR's Facebook page.

 

This easterly view (1/4/21) shows Lilla with FR Van No.1 hauling a stock movement back to Dinas from the FR. The train struggled through heavy Easter snow showers at the summit. This is the only snowy picture from Winter 2020/21 to come to hand. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Chris Parry (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/4/21) shows Lilla with FR Van No.1 detached posing at Plas-y-nant bridge in brilliant sunshine. The gate on the bridge has been moved to the correct position  of the property boundary at the north end of the bridge. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Chris Parry (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR volunteer hostel available for booking from 12/4/21

Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri / Welsh Highland Railway Society’s volunteer accommodation at Dinas, Station View, is available for use by both Society members and others volunteering on both the WHR and FfR with effect from 12/4/21.

Bookings can be made at: www.whrsoc.org.uk/index.php/volunteer-hostel

or by post to: Volunteer Accommodation Dinas, WHR Society/Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri, Station View, Dinas, Caernarfon. LL54 5UB.

The accommodation comprises two bedrooms for sharing and one single room; along with shared bathroom facilities; shared kitchen/ dinner and a lounge. For the time being bookings can only be accepted on a “single occupancy” or “one household” basis in compliance with Welsh Government regulations. Bookings are presently accepted contingent upon compliance with local regulations and may be cancelled at the sole discretion of the Society in the event that regulations change. There is parking for two cars on-site with additional parking at the rear. Facilities for camping are not available.

Provision of facilities for motor homes and small caravans.

There is now a space for a maximum of three vehicles. There are three electrical hook up points with a standard 16amp connection available plus water taps. Enquiries about bookings can be made by email to: proughley@ffwhr.com

 

North Wales main line 3/4/21

GBRf continue to use their path to Valley Nuclear Electric sidings on an occasional basis for crew route retention purposes. There is no traffic from the siding and it seems traffic is unlikely ever again now that Wylfa B project has been abandoned though there is some possibility of traffic as the reactor is disassembled. Nos. 68005/002 hauled one empty nuclear flask there and back on 3/4/21 and presumably ran round the Valley triangle.

 

Conwy Valley line reopens 29/3/21

An NR test train visited the Conwy Valley line on 23/3/21 with 37099 and 37175 (3Q08 Crewe to Crewe via Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog) in advance of reopening. Train services resumed on the Conwy Valley line for Easter from Monday 29/3/21. This was after the train service had been disrupted by Storm Christophe's heavy continuous rainfall on 20/1/21 which caused several washouts of the track on the Conwy Valley Line between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog. This despite the several month's closure for 'resilience' repairs last year to future proof the line from the increasing incidence of storms. The route had been bustituted since late January. There were a few cancellations on the first day due to staffing or stock availability and so the first train was the 16:17 from Llandudno and the 17:35 return. Two trains ran on 30/3/21 in the morning and the service was restored to the standard 4 trains a day on 31/3/21 allowing travel to work/shopping in Llandudno and back.

 

F&WHR looking for Head Chef 1/4/21

The F&WHR has put out a job advert for a Head Chef for Spooners in anticipation of reopening Spooners with the restart of services in May. Other job opportunities are being offered too as the F&WHR prepares to reopen. See F&WHR job opportunities.

 

Test trains and stock movements likely in April

A series of test trains is likely in April to renew staff competences, test the locos and rolling stock to be used and the systems for dealing with passengers. It seems the WHR test trains cannot start to run to Beddgelert until the completion of tracklaying at Plas-y-nant this week, though shorter trains to Waunfawr are possible. Some WHR stock movements are due as soon as Plas-y-nant bridge tracklaying is complete. This must have been completed by 1/4/21 allowing the stock movement shown below.

 

This westerly view (1/4/21) shows Vale of Ffestiniog with Harlech Castle hauling a stock movement back from Dinas to the FR. The consists contains Bodysgallen presumably going for refurbishment at the Coach Works and the PW Depts' cherrypicler. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Phil Brown (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Woodlands Wanderer to start 27/4/21

The F&WHR is to reopen on 27/4/21, four days earlier than expected, with The Woodland Wanderer Porthmadog to Tan-y-bwlch. Trains will operate for 3 days from 27-29/4/21 (Tuesday-Thursday) at 11:05 and 14:20 with no service on Friday in advance of the previously advised opening Saturday 1/5/21. See Booking page for full details. The WHR Beddgelert Explorer service will not be starting until Saturday 1/5/21. Trains on Saturday 1/5/21 are booking well. Already the 11:05 Mountain Prince is fully booked and just 3 Gold compartments were left on the Gelert Explorer. The booking website gives up to the minute information on train availability and additional trains. See F&WHR booking website calendar view.

 

Carriage No.37 ready for action

FR Open carriage No.37 has been completed by the Coach Works and turned out with compartment dividers made of flexible plastic sheets attached to hooks on the inside of the vehicle. This doubles the carrying capacity of the vehicle which is popular in warm weather.

 

This westerly view (31/3/21) shows Boston Lodge pilot Moel y-gest shunting the completed open coach No.37 to make space for other projects in the Coach Works. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (31/3/21) shows the detail of the flexible plastic dividers in open coach No.37 that have doubled the capacity of the coach. These can easily we removed at a later date when COVID is hopefully over. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WAG to allow visitors from England (1/4/21)

Mark Drakeford has announced visitors from England will be allowed into Wales from 12/4/21 and outdoor hospitality will reopen from 26/4/21 allowing the F&WHR to open its De Winton, Spooners and Tan-y-bwlch cafes for take aways and outdoor seating. Indoor hospitality will reopen by the Spring Bank Holiday week at the end of May, all subject to a continuing improvement in COVID infections.

Camping and caravanning in Wales using campsite's shared showers and toilets, as opposed to self contained accommodation that opened on 27/3/21, will probably reopen for the Spring Bank Holiday from Saturday 28/5/21. This will be confirmed in the COVID review on 17/5/21 if infections continue to fall and England is able to follow its 'roadmap' plan out of COVID.

 

Call for volunteers

There has been a call for volunteers to give a 'Spring Time Spruce Up' to the FR and ready it for the return of passengers on 1/5/21. See F&WHR Insider page for contact details. Presumably there will a similar call for the WHR shortly as it opens on the same day.

 

Plas-y-nant bridge trackwork completion 31/3/21

With the replacement bridgeworks complete on 11/3/21, PW staff moved in to replace the track on 31/3/21. Rails displaced by the project were dragged back onto the bridge, set to gauge and screwed down to the sleepers fixed to the waybeams. The work was in readiness for some stock transfers that need to take place before services commence on the 1/5/21.

 

This northerly view (31/3/21) shows PW staff using a gauge bar to set the gauge of the rails to be screwed down to the new Plas-y-nant bridge. Wooden sleepers have been bolted to the waybeams and the rails are screwed down to the sleepers. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (31/3/21) shows PW staff using a gauge bar to set the gauge of the rails to be screwed down to the new Plas-y-nant bridge. The additional rails outside the running rails are check rails used on all bridges on the WHR to contain movement of any derailed rolling stock. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR timetable and fares announced 29/3/21

The F&WHR timetable (subject to any WAG COVID rule changes) and fares were announced on 29/3/21. A live calendar of services is available on the F&WHR website and shows when trains are fully booked. All trains run subject to demand and additional trains may be run if the demand increases. 'Y Cerdyn' discounts for local residents remain suspended until further notice but FR and WHR Society Member's discounts are shown in a later story. The first Mountain Prince was sold out within hours of opening bookings on 29/3/21. The calendar shows services to 23/7/21 as follows:

The Mountain Prince operates daily 1-28/5/21 and 7/6/21 to 23/7/21 from Porthmadog to Dduallt Barn Cutting. It is replaced by The Woodland Wanderer from Porthmadog to Tan-y-bwlch daily from 29/5/21-6/6/21 for the Spring Bank Holiday/school Half Term Holiday week and will be extended to additional dates over the school summer holidays.

The Beddgelert Explorer runs STThO 1/5/21-5/6/21 from Caernarfon to Beddgelert with additionals on 30/5/21 and 2/6/21 during the Spring Bank Holiday school half term break. The service is expanded to 4 days a week, MFSuX from 29/6/21-23/7/21 with an additional on Monday 5/7/21.

The Glaslyn Venturer initially operates 4 days a week Porthmadog to Beddgelert FSSuX from 29/5-3/6/21 and then three days a week TWThO until 22/7/21.

Timetable

The Mountain Prince departs Porthmadog at 11:05 and 15:00 but an additional two rakes can be put into service according to demand providing up to five departures a day with the third rake providing just one trip. The diesel loco used for top and tail between Tan-y-bwlch and Dduallt Barn Cutting will probably come up with the first train and return with the final working. The journey allows an hour break at Tan-y-bwlch for the cafe and toilets. Departure from Tan-y-bwlch is about 13:00 and the train arrives back at 13:50 ready for Zoono cleaning and use in a second working at 15:00 which departs Tan-y-bwlch around 17:00 and arrives back at Porthmadog at 17:45. Additional trains can be added running at roughly hourly intervals.

The Woodland Wanderer also departs at 11:05/14:20 leaving an hour for exploring the woods at Tan-y-bwlch. This train also arrives back at 13:50 and so departs Tan-y-bwlch about 13:00. Two additional rakes can be put into service at roughly hourly intervals according to demand offering up to six round trips a day.

The Gelert Explorer departs Caernarfon at 11:00 and arrives back at 1600, with 1.5 hours to explore Beddgelert giving a 5 hour trip (although the F&WHR website suggests this is 6 hours!). The return service departs Beddgelert around 14:15. There is only one train a day but, as it uses most of the WHR stock with new Perspex divider 'compartments' for up to 6 passengers in a 'bubble', there will be plenty of seats compared to last year. The train will include the two WHR Observation Cars, one at each end as well as the Pullman coach Bodysgallen.

The Glaslyn Venturer departs Porthmadog twice a day at 10:15 and 13:40 and gives about an hour to explore Beddgelert. The 10:15 departs at about 1200 and arrives back at Porthmadog at 13:00 ready for cleaning and use on the second train of the day which arrives back at 17:45. This train is set to use modern FR rolling stock with Perspex dividers forming 'compartments' for up to 6 passengers in a 'bubble'. The train will include the two FR Observation Cars, one at each end. This is likely to be a long train pulled by a Garratt based at Boston Lodge (or possibly a double Fairlie if unavailable).

While the FR probably has sufficient modern coaches to add additional trains on The Glaslyn Venturer route at hourly intervals, the absence of any other Observation cars means the service would have to be advertised differently. If this year's anticipated boom of staycations materialises it is possible the F&WHR might have to disappoint intending passengers at peak times. Congestion at Beddgelert with two trains running round is possible as from 1/6/21 both WHR trains will run round in Beddgelert, though it appears The Gelert Explorer is timed to arrive and depart between the two Glaslyn Venturer trains. The WHHR might also apply to run Russell services having passed a satisfactory test two years ago to Beddgelert.

Prices

Fares are based on a compartment for two/additional adults/additional children (3-15)/dogs within the same 'bubble'.

The Mountain Prince                                     £60/£30/£1/£3

The Woodland Wanderer                               £50/£25/£1/£3

The Gelert Explorer  (Standard)                    £88/£44/£2/£3

The Gelert Explorer (Gold-bay of 4)             £128/£64/£32/guide dogs only free

The Gelert Explorer (Gold Obs-bay of 6)     £138/£64/£32/guide dogs only free

The Glaslyn Venturer (Standard)                  £70/£35/£1/£3

The Glaslyn Venturer (Gold-bay of 4)          £100/£50/£25/guide dogs only free

The Glaslyn Venturer (Gold Obs-bay of 6)  £110/£50/£25/guide dogs only free

Hampers (Basic)                                            £10 pp

Hampers (Pullman)                                        £28.50 pp

Single passengers must pay the compartment fare. Single journeys must pay the full return fare. It is possible to make a through journey from Caernarfon to Porthmadog (or vice versa) on days when both the Gelert Explorer and Glaslyn Venturer are operating but this would require full return fare booking of a compartment on both trains so would be very expensive.

Locos

The F&WHR is unable to specify which loco will be on a particular train due to the fluid nature of the rostering. The Gelert Explorer and The Glaslyn Venturer will be hauled by one of the Beyer Garratt Locomotives. The Woodland Wanderer and The Mountain Prince will be normally hauled by one of the smaller locomotives such as Welsh Pony, Prince, Palmerston, Blanche or Lyd but double engines could be used according to availability. The F&WHR reserves the right to change motive power at short notice which may very occasionally be a diesel if there is nothing else that is available. This is unlikely on the WHR as there is no diesel able to haul a full length train.

 

Drakeford reveals WAG COVID relaxation plans 28/3/21

Speaking on 'Andrew Marr' on BBC on Sunday the Welsh First Minister said he would be announcing the 'prospectus' for reopening Wales on Thursday 1/4/21 for the whole of April and into May. Specifically on 22/4/21 he will make announcements giving Tourism and Hospitality, such as the F&WHR, firm guidance as to when they can reopen. Currently the F&WHR plans to reopen on 1/5/21. Outdoor Hospitality can however open in late April he hoped if the COVID keep going in the right direction. Support for businesses including the F&WHR are unlikely to be announced before the WAG Senedd elections on 6/5/21.

 

Members benefits after reopening (26/3/21)

Whilst the F&WHR still need to make as much as possible from every train, they recognise the huge contribution the Societies have made to keeping the railways going – both financially and through volunteer help at all levels. So, up to 23/7/21 travel privileges for members are as follows:

Annual members will be entitled to book a standard class compartment/seating bay on their member railway at no charge. This covers two people. Any additional people in the compartment pay full individual ticket price as appropriate for that train. They may also book a compartment on the other railway at a 50% discount to cover two people travelling. Again, extra people in the compartment pay the full individual ticket price. This can be done through the online Buy Now gateway. Members will need their membership number with six numbers and prefixed by the letter F – e.g. F123456 for Ffestiniog Society members or W – e.g. W001234 for Welsh Highland Society members. Family memberships with more than two members will need to telephone the booking office to book their ticket. 01766 516024.

Life members will be entitled to book a first class or standard class compartment on their member railway at no charge. This covers two people. Any additional people in the compartment pay full individual ticket price as appropriate for that train. They may also book a compartment on the other railway at a 50% discount for two people travelling. Again, extra people in the compartment pay the full individual ticket price. This can be done through the online Buy Now gateway. Members will need their membership number with six number and prefixed by the letters FL – e.g. FL001234 for FRS life members or WL – e.g. WL000123 for WHRS life members.

Ticket prices will vary depending on member's choice of experience; and work on the basis that members must first purchase a compartment or seating bay in order to travel. This seating bay is cleaned before travel and is then the member's for the duration of their visit. Most compartments hold up to six passengers but if members are a part of a group of more than six, please telephone the booking office on 01766 516024 to make a booking.

Please Note:

If members are unable to book online or they have a combination of guests that does not easily fit the above, please phone to book. 01766 516024. This is a largely untried system so please bear with the Booking Office. The Booking Office will be open 10:00 – 16:00 on weekdays.

Whilst the F&WHR is offering free compartments, there is a donation option at the end of the booking. The F&WHR would be extremely grateful if members could find a little extra, which will in turn, help the Company next Winter. Note: Members will be required to verify their discounted purchase by showing their signed membership card on check in with the station hosts. Failure to do so will result in the full fare being charged.

The Talyllyn Railway is kindly offering a 75% reduction on compartment prices to members of either FR or WHRS societies until 23/7/21, but members must telephone in advance to book on 01654 710472. Please remember that the TR too needs all the help it can get so members may wish to offer a small donation when making their booking.

Gift Cards

Current gift card holders will be able to use their card for booking online. If the booking has been deferred from 2020, they should call the Booking Office on 01766 516024 to reschedule.

Note: Gift Vouchers can now only be used for purchasing travel related items, either on line or through the Booking Office. Any remaining balance can either be used for further travel related sales or be transferred onto a voucher which can then be used at one of the F&WHR's retail or catering outlets. This must be done through Porthmadog Booking Office. New sales of Travel Gift Cards will be done through the online travel experience portal and will be for travel related sales only.

The Online Shop remains open and is the perfect place for railway merchandise and gifts! The shop has hundreds of fantastic items available including Artwork, Books, Calendars, Clothing, DVDs and Model Railway supplies. The ‘A Year in the Life of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways – 2020’ DVD/Blu-ray is now available to buy from the web shop. Take a look back at the highlights from an historic year at the F&WHR with over 4 hours of footage!

 

F&WHR announces start of season (26/3/21)

As predicted, the F&WHR intends to open for business, subject to any changes in WAG's COVID rules, from Saturday 1/5/21. Initially two services have been announced with two others joining later. It is possible an earlier opening may be allowed by changes in WAG's rules. The initial timetable covers 1/5/21-23/7/21 when a Summer Timetable will be issued anticipating higher demand in the school holidays from late July to early September. With international travel curbed by high rates of infection in mainland Europe, the UK government is suggesting that holidaymakers do not book foreign holidays but holiday within the UK. F&WHR tickets go on sale from Monday 29/3/21 at 10am when full details will be available on the F&WHR website along with FAQs. The initial trains are The Woodland Wanderer/The Mountain Prince on the FR and The Gelert Explorer and The Glaslyn Explorer on the WHR.

The Woodland Wanderer utilises the Heritage compartment sets from Porthmadog to Tan-y-bwlch. This operation will be very similar to last year's with pre-booking essential and passengers travelling in their 'bubbles' in the same compartment with an hour break at Tan-y-bwlch. Trains will operate according to demand with from 1 to 6 run possible as last year. There will be an hour break at Tan-y-bwlch and the cafe will be open. The Mountain Prince will be an additional service with up to 5 trains from Porthmadog to just beyond Dduallt. A heritage diesel will be attached at Tan-y-bwlch and the train will advance to Barn Cutting, just beyond the Rhoslyn spiral bridge to give enhanced views over the Rhinog mountains. It will then return to Tan-y-bwlch for a refreshment break. There will be from 1-5 of these services operating as an extension of The Woodland Wanderer.

On the WHR, last year's operation will be repeated with Perspex screens separating the WHR coaching stock into virtual 'compartments'. There will be one service a day but trains will only operate 4 days per week. The two WHR observation cars Glaslyn and Gwyrfai will top and tail the train. One of these will be turned so that both observation cars give good views in one direction. The popular hamper service will again be offered on this train. Later in the year a second train will operate presumably with modern FR stock fitted with Perspex dividers between Porthmadog and Beddgelert. This will also have the two FR Observation Cars attached and presumably one will be reversed to give better views.

Spooners, De Winton and Tan-y-bwlch cafes will open probably as take-aways when services restart but Porthmadog Harbour Shop will be closed except for online purchases. Last year the F&WHR General Manager suggested that services would operate over the full length of the F&WHR. However, it does not appear there will be a through service on the WHR, while the FR's tracks will remain rusty beyond Dduallt. It seems that the Beddgelert 'Frontier' operation of the 1930s is here to stay for a while at least and trains may not even permit a through journey.

 

WAG's COVID rules latest 27/3/21

Wales opens up for internal travel and holidays in self-contained accommodation on Saturday 27/3/21 but holidaymakers from England are not allowed to travel until 12/4/21 at the earliest. Infection rates in North Wales have levelled out recently so First Minister Mark Drakeford is likely to be more hesitant about further relaxation. Currently it is planned to allow Wales' outdoor hospitality to reopen from 22/4/21 but this date is at risk of any increased infection rates. The F&WHR does not see itself able to run economic services until visitors from England are allowed so late April/early May remains a more likely time to restart services.

 

No.130's trials 25/3/21

No.130 has received additional snagging fixes and went on a loaded test for the first time on 25/3/21. The train worked six B wagons down to Caernarfon and up to Waunfawr to see how it would perform on the steep gradients on the ex-BR section. This was also an opportunity for staff to maintain competences and F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin drove the train. Apparently the test went well with 3 return trips between Caernarfon and Waunfawr. Thanks to Paul Lewin F&WHR General Manager for these additional images of the three loaded test train. No.130 may soon be tested to Rhyd Ddu and the 1 in 40 to Beddgelert. Tests with a full length passenger train are likely before the start of The Gelert Explorer currently planned from 1/5/21.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 being prepared to depart Dinas with a loaded test train. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 running round the loaded test train at Caernarfon. A surprising amount of loco ash litters the station around the watering point. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 topping up with water at Waunfawr after one of the three test runs from Caernarfon. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 with the 6 wagon test train ready to depart Dinas. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 with the 6 wagon test train arriving at Waunfawr. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/3/21) shows No.130 with the 6 wagon test train returning from Caernarfon passing under the new A487 Caernarfon-Bontnewydd Bypass bridge just north of Bontnewydd Halt. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge trackworks 22/3/21

Track has been reconnected to the small loco shed but the track from the point to the Garratt siding has yet to be completed. As a Garratt may be stabled at Boston Lodge when services resume it is essential to complete this siding before they do.

 

This westerly view (22/3/21) shows the track complete into the small Loco Shed. The unusual curve is to provide additional clearance to maintain a loco outside the shed but still allow passing traffic on the Glan-y-mor headshunt track curving to the right. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR job opportunities 18/3/21

With the F&WHR hoping to start services as soon as WAG gives permission, the company is advertising catering job opportunities. Last year some 30 staff were laid off to make economies because of the effect of the various lockdowns and reduced income. Now staff are being hired and further staff will be needed in the near future. Staff will need to be trained so an early start is being made in advance of the next WAG COVID restrictions update expected at the 1/4/21. Jobs are being offered at Spooners and Tan-y-bwlch tea rooms and Caernarfon is not currently mentioned. See FR job advert.

 

The Snowdonian 2021 (17/3/21)

Both The Snowdonian and The Snowdonian Limited were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID. This year The Snowdonian will run on 24-25/7/21, unusually over two days rather than having a through run. The Welsh Highland Railway leg will take place on the Saturday, and the Ffestiniog leg on the Sunday. There will also be organised tours of Boston Lodge on the Friday and Saturday evenings. The F&WHR hopes to be in a position to confirm more details in the coming weeks. See The Snowdonian webpage.

 

A487 Bontnewydd Bypass overbridge beams placed

The new bridge beams for the Caernarfon Bontnewydd A487 Bypass were placed just north of Bontnewydd halt recently. They do not allow clearance for standard gauge as hoped. The trackbed would have to be reduced by over a metre to accommodate standard gauge. This kind of simple measure, asked for by WHR engineers during planning, could have facilitated a restoration of the Bangor-Afonwen route as proposed by TRAWS, the campaign group supporting a North Wales-South Wales Cambrian rail link.

 

Carriage Works update 17/3/21

Progress is being made with Hudson Carriage No.39 which was built by Winson Engineering in 1992 on Wagon No73's underframe. The carriage has had heavy work over the years with a plastic canvas roof fitted 10 years ago and doors some years before that. With the carriage now almost 30 years old the plate work and wooden components were showing significant signs of corrosion and rot. Therefore all the end and floor timber is being replaced and new side steelwork and doors are being fabricated. See F&WHR Facebook page for images.

 

Boston Lodge trackworks continue 16/3/21

In the absence of any service trains due to WAG COVID restrictions, the opportunity is being taken to complete the trackwork improvements to Boston Lodge's Carriage Shed run round.

 

This westerly view (16/3/21) shows the first of two new points laid. The rails to the left lead into the small Loco Shed and still needed to be fixed when this images was taken. The track that continues leads to the Garratt siding, the Heritage Carriage shed and Glan-y-mor headshunt for the Carriage Shed run round. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (16/3/21) shows the second of two new points laid. The rails to the lead into the Garratt Siding. The track that continues leads to the Garratt siding alongside the Small Loco Shed but the track needs to be connected to the Garratt pit road off the Carriage Shed run round at the moment. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving Pictures No.48 16/3/21

Click on the YouTube window to watch 27 mins 6 seconds of video covering the FR ash train, replacement of Plas-y-nant bridge and movement of No.134 at Dinas. This YouTube was published on 5/3/21 and was taken by Hornby Magazine staff on a digital camcorder. It is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on the YouTube link.

 

Cambrian's Gobowen proposal 15/3/21

The Cambrian Railways at Oswestry is seeking funding from the Rolling Back Beeching monies to reopen a short length of the railway from Gobowen to a Park Hall Halt which is adjacent to the main entrance to the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. They could use their recently delivered Class 144 Pacers donated by Porterbrook DMUS currently stored in Gobowen sidings for the service. They see this as a first small step to restoring the service to Oswestry. However the Highways Authority is opposed to reopening the A5 level crossing which still exists. The Gobowen-Park Hall Halt line is only 0.5 miles long and requires some re-sleepering, attention to an overbridge and restoration of the platform. See Shropshire Star report.

Meanwhile the railway is busy extending its Oswestry operation to Weston Wharf, just short of the A483 level crossing, 2 km south of the station. Further extension towards Llynclys is again blocked by the Highways Authority's opposition to reopening the existing A483 level crossing but it could extend to the A5 level crossing some 2 km north of the town centre station. The platform and sidings at Weston Wharf were finished last year. The completion of the run round loop at Xmas means the railway will be ready to extend as soon as permission is given subject to completion of ballasting.

 

Llandudno Junction Shed webpage moves to new address

The interesting Llandudno Junction shed webpage has moved to a new address. The website has hundreds of images from steam days to modern diesels and includes up to date mainline news about North Wales Railways. Click on Llandudno Junction shed.

 

Lilla train cleans The Cob 13/3/21

Lilla was used on Saturday hauling a short train to Porthmadog with volunteers clearing The Cob of rubbish washed up on the foreshore. This also renewed competences for staff who have had little experience of operating trains in the last three months.

 

This westerly view (13/3/21) shows Lilla with the waste train standing at the end of the Porthmadog platform. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Disappointment with WAG's COVID 'roadmap' 12/3/21

The announcement today about cautious relaxation of WAG COVID rules will offer little comfort for the F&WHR and the hopes of reopening at Easter. Mark Drakeford (the Welsh First Minister) announced today that the 'Stay at Home' is being changed to 'Stay Local' i.e. within 5 miles (a little more in rural areas). He further announced that self contained accommodation such as chalet caravans could reopen from 29/3/21 for Easter with the end of 'Stay Local', however, bookings must not be taken from England, where restrictions are still in place. Any further reopening would be halted he said if that was found to be the case. Discussions would take place with local authorities and the Police to see how this might be controlled. There was no mention of further opening for English visitors. The WHR's General Manager has previously stated it would be uneconomic to reopen until English visitors were allowed to return to Wales.

See BBC News story.

 

Plas-y-nant completed 11/3/21

Beaver bridges completed the installation of the new Plas-y-nant bridge on 11/3/21 and were off site. The PW team will now reinstate the track over the next several days.

 

This southerly view (11/3/21) shows the final work done on the bridge with walkways fixed in position and ballasting and sleepers repositioned up to the abutments. The bridge is very similar to the structure it replaces. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.d at 96dpi. at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/3/21) shows the final work done on the bridge with walkways fixed in position and ballasting and sleepers repositioned up to the abutments. The bridge is very similar to the structure it replaces. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 moved 10/3/21

On 10/3/21 the rolling chassis of NG15 No.134, complete with pony trucks, was moved from the Loco Shed to create room for the potential restart of the season in the spring. The running fleet of NG16s will require some maintenance. The weather was atrocious but the chassis ran well through the pointwork. Ex-Shotton steelworks shunter Bill was used to haul the chassis out of the shed and move it to the Carriage Shed in the North Yard. With no date from WAG yet that would allow the return of volunteers from England, the chassis is being stored in the dry. When volunteers can return in a few months hopefully, the next job is to attach side rods, which might require its return to the Loco Shed to line up the pinions.

 

New Plas-y-nant bridge in position (8/3/21)

As predicted the new steel structure of Plas-y-nant bridge was craned into position on 8/3/21 by the Bob Francis crane on site. With the new structure now resting on its bearings all that remains is to finish the bridge this week and to relay the track and clear the site next week. The plan is to return the route for traffic in time for a hoped for reopening at Easter dependent on WAG's announcement about COVID relaxation due 12/3/21.

 

This westerly view (8/3/21) shows the crane lowering the new bridge structure onto its bearings. The bridge is very similar to the structure it replaces. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8/3/21) shows the last stage of lowering the bridge into position. The curved waybeams are visible bolted to the bridge cross members.. The walkway grids are being placed either side of the track. A footpath bridge giving access to the land of a local resident has again been provided cantilevered from the west bridge main girder. Some of the new recycled plastic sleepers will be used on site. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More drone images showing the placement of the bridge are available from the WHR Soc. Facebook page courtesy of Dave Thurlow.

 

Boston Lodge pointwork continues 8/3/21

Work was visible on the F&WHR webcam at Boston lodge where a second point was apparently being laid giving access to the Garratt siding and future shed.

 

WAG warning (8/3/21)

Mark Drakeford, WAG, First Minister, warned last week that after any easing of COVID restrictions to be announced this Friday (12/3/21), he would re-impose 'stay local' rules if the R number started to rise again. The statement was confirmed again in a WAG Press Conference on 8/3/21.This would be bad news for the F&WHR which is hoping to start a new season at Easter if WAG eases COVID restrictions as expected. The First Minister's comments are in stark contrast to Boris Johnson's statements that his 'roadmap' to easing restrictions is 'irreversible'.

 

BFI Deviation Rhoslyn spiral video

A new video has emerged of the work of Deviationists in 1967/68 building the Rhoslyn Spiral and the opening of Dduallt station. Your webmaster was a volunteer during his Sixth Form years in 1968/69 and later and is always looking to see film of his younger self or legendary characters like 'The Mad Axeman'. See BFI website.

 

Linda bows out 6/3/21

Linda hauled a final train on 10/3/21 before reaching the end of its 10 year boiler certificate. The train was formed of FR wagons carrying loco ash at Boston Lodge using Vale of Ffestiniog. The rake was deposited on the curved siding at Dduallt for emptying into the hollow and the loco was noted heading light engine towards Blaenau Ffestiniog, presumably to take on water. It is hoped to have the loco back in traffic in 2022.

In the meantime, if the FR operates a similar small train policy as last year, it will be short of small locos and so Blanche, Prince and Welsh Pony could be used more intensively. It would be useful if Taliesin rejoined the fleet. On occasions Palmerston can be used while the double engines could be used on the Blaenau services as the General Manager suggested the whole route would be used in 2021.

 

While the UK was in the EU, it benefitted from inward investment of £5bn for infrastructure projects, many under the Trans European Network scheme such as the A55 upgrade or Regional Development programmes. The Tories promised that leaving the EU would see infrastructure and regional development no worse off. In fact the budget has committed under one third of the funds previously allocated by the EU with just £1.5bn. This will mean much needed rail and road improvements, such as redoubling the busy Wrexham to Rossett rail route and the Penmorfa Bypass, put on the back burner.

 

Plas-y-nant drone views (6/3/21)

Three drone views of the progress with replacing Plas-y-nant bridge published 6/3/21 have appeared on the WHR Society's Facebook page courtesy of Dave Thurlow. See WHRSoc Facebook page.

 

More Plas-y-nant images 5/3/21

More images have emerged of the Plas-y-nant mains girders which have been cut up and loaded onto a PW train for removal presumably to Boston Lodge as the new bridge is still awaiting track. The Beaver Bridges Twitter Feed dated 5/3/21 shows the images. Beaver Bridges, the manufacturer of the new bridge state that the bridge will be installed next week i.e. from 8/3/21.

 

Hornby Magazine features FR films 5/3/21

The independent Hornby Magazine has released a YouTube featuring video of the FR during 2020 of interest to modellers and F&WHR supporters alike.

 

Click on the YouTube window to watch 77 mins 17 seconds of video covering the FR and modelling techniques. This YouTube was published on 5/3/21 and was taken by Hornby Magazine staff on a digital camcorder. It is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on the YouTube link.

 

TfW's named Mk4 DVTs

Charities are to feature as names on TfW's Mk4 DVTs, it has been announced. There are 3 rakes and the service is due to begin in May, with Class 67 hauled trains from Holyhead to Cardiff, now including a lunchtime working via Wrexham. The names chosen are

 

Porthmadog webcam back on track

After a period when it was focussed on the demolition of Ty Moelwyn, the Porthmadog webcam is now back facing along The Cob, a position it will show the staff competency trains that are due to run in advance of any reopening, hopefully from Easter. See Porthmadog Webcam.

 

Bala Lake Railway appeal succeeds

The appeal for £50,000 to support the BLR's extension into Bala has received £71,000 in donations and the railway will now progress the next stage in planning the extension. Natural Resources Wales are carrying out urgent essential flood mitigation works at Bala alongside the lake where the proposed railway extension is planned. They were prepared to accommodate the Railway's Bala extension in their works, provided the Railway guaranteed the funding, which it has now done.

 

Porthmadog Gasworks site to be redeveloped?

The small patch of polluted land beside the WHR in Porthmadog at the north end of Llyn Bach car park may be redeveloped as old gasholder sites are cleaned up. There is currently a national campaign to remove the final gas holders and clean up the associated sites. See BBC news story.

 

Hope for Bangor-Caernarfon?

The Government allocated £40million in the budget this week for reinstatement of rail services from Exeter to Okehampton in Devon as well as funding East West Rail Oxford-Bletchley and a line in Durham. How long can it be before they invest in Wales reopenings? Prime Welsh candidates are the Llangefni/Amlwch Branch on Anglesey, the Aberyswyth-Carmarthen Branch and of course the Bangor-Caernarfon branch. See Okehampton Times.

 

Boston Lodge pointwork upgrade 5/3/21

Further PW work took place at Boston Lodge on 5/3/21 to upgrade the pointwork in Boston Lodge Yard. Two sets of points are being replaced on the Carriage shed run round road that leads to Glan-y-mor headshunt. The first set gives access to the Loco Shed and the second set to the Garratt siding. While the track was lifted the opportunity was taken to renew surface water drains in the direction of the Heritage Carriage shed and the mains water supply to the Carriage Works upgraded. It is thought that the trackwork has been provided on recycled plastic bearers produced by the usual South Wales manufacturer.

 

This easterly view (5/3/21) shows the turnout positioned alongside the Carriage works that gives access to the Small Loco Shed. Ground prepared beyond gives space for a second turnout  for access to the Garratt siding (visible in the background) while the track continues around the rear of the Carriage Works to the Heritage Carriage Shed and the Glan-y-mor headshunt. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/3/21) shows the ballast bed ready for the second turnout positioned alongside the Carriage Works that gives access to the Garratt siding. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR awaits crucial Wales COVID review due 12/3/21

The F&WHR is hoping for good news from WAG's 12/3/21 COVID Review which could allow the F&WHR to reopen booked services over the full lengths of both the WHR and FR at Easter or soon after as currently planned. Modern coaches are being fitted with Perspex screens to allow twice as many people to be carried, though services will still have to be booked in advance on line. It is hoped the railways might be allowed to open in a COVID compliant way for Easter Bank Holiday weekend from Good Friday 2/4/21.

 

Bala Lake Railway Diesel Gala (17/10/21)

Subject to WAG's COVID regulations, the BLR has announced they will hold a Diesel Gala on 17/10/21. Full details are available on the BLR web site. Many enthusiasts have been encouraging the F&WHR to hold a similar event with its large fleet of diesel locos, some rarely seen on passenger workings. As with the F&WHR, the BLR is still not able to predict an Easter reopening date.

 

Llan Ffestiniog station plans

Subject to relaxation of the Welsh COVID regulations the Bala & Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Trust hopes to restore Llan Ffestiniog station in regular working parties this year starting from April.

 

Oldest signal box

NR's oldest signal box is now thought to the crossing box at Llanfair P.G. on Anglesey.

 

North Wales-Manchester Airport connection row

Even though TfW has stated it will restore the loco hauled service to Manchester with Mk4 rakes, moves by planners in Manchester to cut traffic through the congested Oxford Road route have seen the suggestion that the paths for the very popular Holyhead/Llandudno-Manchester trains should be removed. Others suggestions include a slower path via Crewe (reverse).

 

Plas-y-nant bridge progress 2-4/3/21

On the 2/3/21 the existing structure of Plas-y-nant bridge was craned out by local company Bob Francis Cranes and set down in the field adjacent to the halt where it is said to have been cut up. Another local company M&R Scaffolding had previously installed scaffolding in the river around each abutment in order to maintain the abutments and bearings. The new steel structure with many galvanised parts arrived on 4/3/21 and was assembled on site on wooden sleepers in the field ready to be craned in. The bridge was showing cracks due its skew nature putting unbalanced loads on the main 'bowstring' beams. The Betws Garmon bridge beams have been retained in Dinas South yard for historical reasons and also with the possibility of further use as a turntable.

The installation of the bridge might hopefully be completed this week and track relaid in time for the hoped for resumption of passenger services for the new Season at Easter. The whole project cost about £100,000.

 

This northerly view (2/3/21) shows the crane team preparing to lift out the whole Plas-y-nant bridge structure, now freed from its bearings. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (2/3/21) shows the crane depositing the Plas-y-nant bridge structure in the field alongside Plas-y-nant Halt. Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (4/3/21) shows the galvanised parts of Plas-y-nant bridge ready for assembly in the field alongside Plas-y-nant Halt. The old girders can be seen to have been cut in half for ease of removal. The FR's Mess car is in attendance to the south of the bridge. Click on the image to expand. This image is copyright Cedric Lodge and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (4/3/21) shows the crane assisting with the positioning of the new girders in the field alongside Plas-y-nant Halt where the kit of parts is being assembled. The cantilevered footpath is to the right but when the structure is swung into place the footpath will again be on the west side of the bridge. Any gate should be placed at the north end of the footbridge where the resident's property begins not the south end as previously! Click on the image to expand. This image is courtesy F&WHR and was post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Gwynedd COVID shock 4/3/21

The Daily Post revealed on 4/3/21 that Gwynedd has the highest COVID infection rates in Wales. Nevertheless the figures for Wales overall have decreased in recent weeks leading to speculation that the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford might soon announce relaxation of restrictions allowing the F&WHR to reopen at Easter.

 

Rail Ale 2021 deferred to 2022

The WHRSoc's annual Rail Ale event will not be taking place this year as the F&WHR continues to adhere to Welsh Government regulations. This event has become a staple social gathering in the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway calendar over recent years. An opportunity for the Railway community to come together, enjoy live music performances and sample some of the finest local Welsh ales. Whilst it is disappointing to postpone the event for yet another year, the safety of all our visitors, staff and volunteers remains the highest priority. The WHRSoc aims to make the next Rail Ale event better than ever and hope all can come together to celebrate this fantastic event in the not too distant future. In the meantime, plans are actively being established for a reopening of train services during Spring. Whilst this will be in accordance to Welsh Government regulations, the F&WHR hopes to see trains steaming along the WHR soon!

 

Llangollen Steam Railway receivership 2/3/21

Despite receiving two major grants in recent months supporting the railway until it reopens, the Llangollen Railway, recently under new management after internal Board arguments about Corwen station roof columns, went into receivership on 2/3/21. Out of £350,000 owed, some £250,000 is in engineering disputes, presumably with the new build and restoration companies who have been moving their locos away over the last year. The railway was just in the final stages of completing its extension to its new Corwen terminus and hopes to operate in some form in the future, after rehiring staff. Tickets bought in advance will be refunded or offered future bookings. See BBC report.

 

English 'Road Map' gives hope of WHR visitors 1/3/21

The Prime Minister's 'road map' out of COVID restrictions has given hope to the F&WHR management who are currently planning for reopening at Easter. Paul Lewin has stated it is uneconomic to reopen the FR/WHR without visitors from England. However most virologists refute the Prime Minister's claim that the relaxation of rules is 'irreversible' as he states, suggesting that English school's returning on 8/3/20, could push the R number above 1 again. Meanwhile infections in Wales are dropping and North Wales no longer has the highest rates in the country. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford will decide in the next few weeks whether leisure activities in Wales such as the F&WHR can reopen for Easter. 

 

WHR Carriage COVID modifications

Coach No.2048 is being modified at Boston Lodge with bespoke partitions to hopefully double the number of potential passengers that can be safely carried within COVID restrictions on a train. The Perspex sheets have dowelling for support on the edges facing the central aisle. Stainless steel brackets attach the partition to the back of the seats. It is hoped a rake can be finished before Easter when WHR services may restart subject to WAG's COVID regulations. The same type of partition may be fitted to modern FR coaches to increase the carrying potential of FR rakes.

 

North Wales Railtour news

Railtours are starting up again subject to COVID rules with a bunch planned in North Wales for early May. Locos listed with an S prefix are steam engines.

Date Railtour Name From-To Promoter Loco
1/5/21 North Wales Coast Express Tyseley-Llandudno Vintage Trains S7029/47773
1/5/21 Llandudno Statesman Ely-Llandudno Statesman Rail LSL Class 47
3/5/21 Victorian Day Pullman Skegness-Llandudno West Coast Railways WCR Class 47/57
3/5/21 Settle and Carlisle Circular Bangor-Carlisle Statesman Rail LSL Class 47
19/5/21 The Snowdonia Statesman Hull-Blaenau Ffestiniog Statesman Rail LSL Class 47?
31/521 North Wales Coast Express Worcester-Holyhead Saphos Trains Steam
1/7/21 The Bristol Forty Bangor-Bristol Saphos Trains LSL D213
18/7/21 North Wales Coast Express Liverpool-Holyhead Railway Touring Company Various steam/diesel
19/7/21 The Welsh Mountaineer Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway touring Company Steam
20/8/21 The Cambrian Coast Express Bristol Parkway-Pwllheli Pathfinder Class 67 and Class 97/3

Promoters:

Pathfinder

Saphos Trains

Statesman Rail

West Coast Railways

Vintage Trains

 

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.

 

Special Events and Service Trains 2021

1/1/21

Final Mince Pie special CANCELLED

13-21/2/21

Half Term Blue timetable Caernarfon-Porthmadog (one return service from each end) CANCELLED

26/2/21-26/3/21

MTFX Orange timetable Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn twice a day CANCELLED

Easter 21 Easter Service CANCELLED
April 21 Rail Ale DEFERRED TO 2022

1/5/21

Main Season Spring service starts

24/7/21 Summer Season starts

24-25/7/21

The Snowdonian-WHR 24/7/21 and FR leg 25/7/21

12/21 Santa Specials
27/12/21-1/1/22 Festive Specials

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2021

Volunteering is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The F&WHR has a small number of staff ensuring the railway remains secure. 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 and will be needed later in the year when the railway resumes service. 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 2021 is awaited as soon as COVID restrictions allow with the ROWG in BLACK and the North Wales Track Gang in RED:

January          
February          
March          
April   10-11/4/21      
May   8-9/5/21      
June 5-6/6/21        
July          

August

1-2/8/20

 

15-16/8/20

 

29-30/8/20

September

 

5-10/9/20WW

 

 

26-27/9/20

October

 

10-11/10/20

 

 

24-25/10/20

November

7-8/11/20

7-11/11/20WW

 

21-22/11/20

 

December

1-2/12/20

15-16/11/20WW

 

 

29-30/12/20

^ 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.

 

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

 

V4.3960 updated 20/4/21