Welsh Highland Railway

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V4.3913

News (4/12/20)

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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 30/7/20)

The 40km Dream Phase 2 (Updated 1/10/20)

'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 1/12/20)

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

 

Hugh Napier steams 3/11/20

Hugh Napier was returned to steam on 3/12/20 at Boston Lodge. Its 10 year overhaul was completed in four months with a heavy chassis overhaul and a new smokebox too. The chimney has also been restored to its original height. The loco appeared to be on test as it ran the full length of Glan-y-mor headshunt to Pen Cob headshunt several times between 14:00 and 14:30 before retiring to the Erecting Shop area.

 

This easterly view (3/12/20) shows Hugh Napier in steam at Boston Lodge after a successful test run in the yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow on the mountains 4/12/20

Martin Kressman reports: The first snow of the season fell yesterday on the Glyders and Carneddau down to about 250 metres on 4/12/20.

 

This easterly view (3/12/20) shows an empty Porthmadog station with snow on the Rhinogs above Harlech. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line 2-3/12/20

Class 37 No.37099 ran an NR test train Chester-Shrewsbury on 2/12/20 and No.56302 was on the RHTT. The Class 37 had reached Bangor by 3/12/20 when it was hauling a Bangor/Blaenau Ffestiniog-Crewe test train.

Another Tory election promise bites the dust! The Government is to cut £1 billion from the rail infrastructure budget reports the BBC. So much for restoring Beeching!

 

F&WHR Members' Festive Specials 3/12/20

On 3/12/20 WAG announced that Welsh travel restrictions had been eased and travel into and out of England is now allowed for English Tier1/2 locations but not for Tier 3. See BBC Report. This has encouraged the F&WHR to suggest it will run 'one or two trains for Society Members' on the FR over the Festive Period but sadly with no mention of the WHR which could operate Porthmadog-Rhyd Ddu or Caernarfon-Waunfawr as the Plas-y-nant bridge replacement is underway preventing through trains. However, there will be no Santa Trains or Festive services over Xmas.

 

This painting Xmas card shows Merddin Emrys waiting with a train at Minffordd. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was painted by David Perrin. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR announcement

WINTER IS COMING - AND IT WILL BE VERY QUIET ON THE F&WHR..!

This week, the Welsh Government announced a new set of regulations which will particularly affect the hospitality sector, whilst warning of a new rise in Covid cases across Wales.

Many local hospitality businesses are planning to close as a result of these changes. Therefore, with this in mind - and for the safety of all our customers, staff and supporters - we have sadly decided that we will not run any Passenger or Santa trains for visitors this winter. This was a very difficult decision for us to make and not one that has been taken lightly.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, staff, volunteers, members and friends who have both supported us and worked tirelessly throughout this year to keep our railway steaming. It has been a year full of difficulties and challenges, but your support and generosity has epitomised all that is great about the F&WHR.

Thank you all and stay safe..!

PLEASE NOTE:

• Our Gift Shop in Harbour Station remains open at present (10:00-15:00 Wed. to Saturday) and our online shop @ www.festshop.co.uk is also currently available ‘24/7’. Any purchases will, of course, help to support the F&WHR at this time.

• The Tea Room at Tan-y-Bwlch Station will re-open over the festive period, with opening times to be announced soon.

• All other services and facilities around the F&WHR will remain closed.

• Don’t forget - maintenance and inspection trains can run at any time, so please keep off the railway tracks.

• It is hoped to run one or two trains for Society Members on the Ffestiniog Railway during the festive period - details of these will be announced at a later date.

• Whilst it is difficult to provide any further clarity at this moment in time, we hope to restart services and reopen our other facilities in Spring 2021.

 

F&WHR activity 2-3/12/20

A steam loco was fired up at Boston Lodge at midday on 2/12/20. On 3/12/20 Vale of Ffestiniog took a short rake up the WHR passing Gelert's Farm at 10:32. It later reappeared at Porthmadog at 14:00 in the WHR platform having had time to run to Rhyd Ddu or Beddgelert and back.

 

This northerly view (3/12/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog  heading up the WHR passing Gelert's Farm at 10:32. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and was taken on an iPhone camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (3/12/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving back in Porthmadog from the WHR at about 14:04. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The loco shunted the rake into the yard at Porthmadog at 14:15 before detaching and shunting onto a rake of loaded ash wagons at 14:30. These eventually departed for Boston Lodge at 15:00 where they arrived at 15.10.

 

This easterly view (3/12/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog after depositing its rake in the yard at 14:20. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (3/12/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting out of the yard with full ash wagons at about 14:29. In the background, the steam loco on test can be seen returning to the Erecting Shop. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh lockdown Version 3 (30/11/20)

The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced new restrictions that apply across Wales on 30/11/20 as there has been a sudden rise in new COVID infections over the last few weeks following the end of the 'Firebreak Lockdown' on 9/11/20. It has taken just 3 weeks for restrictions to be re-imposed after it seems under 25s in particular relaxed their behaviour too much and have spread COVID infections to their families! The rapid rise has seen cases doubling in a week in some parts of South Wales. This is particularly unfortunate for Gwynedd which has seen hardly any change with less than 50 cases per 100,000.

The new restrictions make it very unlikely that F&WHR will be able to open Spooners anytime soon but leave the question of services over the Festive season open. However the F&WHR may benefit from WAG grants being offered to support the business sector. The current travel restrictions prevent anyone from outside Wales visiting for holidays, however the WAG will look at travel restrictions later this week after the end of the English lockdown from 3/12/20 to decide if any change is justifiable.

See Welsh Press Conference.

From Friday 4/12/20 the new restrictions are as follows and will be reviewed on 17/12/20.

In a cheap political jibe Tory Michael Gove said Wales is now suffering from lifting the country's COVID restrictions too soon whilst forgetting the English Lockdown was applied two weeks after the Welsh lockdown, late as usual.

 

F&WHR 30/11/20

A rake of 5 coaches was visible in the WHR loop line on 30/11/20 from 11:30 with possibly Van No.10 on the rear and possibly NWNGR coach No.24   near the east end. It was a rainy day at Porthmadog and increasingly cold wintry weather forecast from Wednesday with snowfall likely on Snowdon every day from then on until the limit of the forecast on Sunday.

Vale of Ffestiniog came over from Boston Lodge and coupled up at 15:30 and the rake had gone to Boston Lodge a few minutes later as the Funkey was noted on shed by 15:40. Again it is not certain what the purpose of this working is other than staff training

 

This easterly view (30/11/20) shows a rake of several coaches waiting in the WHR loop just before midday waiting for Vale of Ffestiniog to collect them at about 13:35. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Main line 30/11-1/12/20

Nos.56096/302 top and tailed the Rail Head Treatment Train to Holyhead on 1/12/20. On some days this has been single headed with a need for run round at the terminus. 

A TfW livery Class 67 ran an ECS working from Holyhead to Crewe on 30/11/20. Driver training has also been taking place between Chester and Cardiff. Currently no loco hauled trains are in service due to the lower demand, but Cardiff and Manchester workings are due next year and there is hope a Birmingham International service might also be reinstated.

 

New Welsh stations and rail routes proposed

Mr Skates (WAG Transport Minister) said Deeside Parkway and Ely Mill would be "key components" of their respective Metro developments with "major contributions to improved urban connectivity, employment/economic growth and reduced car use". New stations at Carno and St Clears - to replace those which closed in the 1960s - would be seen as supporting "strong employment and sustainable economic growth through improved regional connectivity". The minister also suggested longer-term discussions on new stations for Greenfield in Flintshire and Magor in Monmouthshire, as well as reopening passenger services between Gaerwen and Amlwch on Anglesey. He also called for talks on restoring the line which served Abertillery in Blaenau Gwent, as well as the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen and Bangor-Caernarfon routes.

Plans to open a new station at Bow Street, near Aberystwyth, and at Cardiff Parkway station on the eastern outskirts of the city are already in progress.

The spokesman for the UK government's Department for Transport said investing in rail infrastructure was crucial to restarting the economy. We look forward to receiving several bids from Wales in the latest round of the New Stations Fund to connect communities across the country, Each will be independently assessed in order that we fund the schemes which are most beneficial to passengers and communities.

See BBC story.

In a BBC story on 19/11/20 WAG confirmed that they had commissioned TfW to 'undertake a feasibility study on innovative ways to operate a rail service along the west coast - including the link between Bangor to Porthmadog." Due to development at Chwilog, a few miles of new line would be required taking the line to a new Pwllheli facing junction between Pen-y-chain and Abererch and requiring reversal at Pwllheli for any through services to the Cambrian Coast.

See BBC story.

There have also been calls recently for a Dolgellau rail link. The trackbed is currently part of the Cross Britain Way and your webmaster has cycled it. The final mile into Dolgellau and station site are occupied by the A494/A470 Trunk Road so any new station would have to be at Dolrhyd roundabout 1 mile from the town centre without major construction. The cost of restoring the route from Morfa Mawddach station are minimal and a shuttle service could operate to Barmouth linking with Cambrian Coast trains.

 

F&WHR activity 24-25/11/20

Vale of Ffestiniog was out and about again with the 9 coach rake performing the same ECS moves as the previous day on 24/11/20. It was noted departing Tan-y-bwlch at 12:30. At 13:12 it waited at Minffordd Yard crossing for the shunter to re-board after manually resetting the points and ran into the WHR loop at Porthmadog. The Funkey ran round promptly at 13:30 and, after waiting for the shunter to re-board, set off from the king point for Boston Lodge at 13:33. This ECS has now run on two consecutive days and it is not certain what the purpose of this working is other than staff training.

 

This easterly view (23/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving back at Porthmadog with the same rake as the previous day  at 13:30. This time the loco ran round via the WHR platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work continued at Boston Lodge with an excavator replacing worn out points in front of the Loco Shed. One length of rail fell apart when it was lifted out as it was so badly cracked. The new curved point have been made by KG Price of Caerphilly which supplied other new points to the F&WHR in recent years. The sleepers appear to be the new plastic type.

 

This easterly view (24/11/20) shows Criccieth Castle in the Carriage Shed on the right. The new curved point that leads to the Loco Shed and the Heritage Carriage Shed/Carriage Sheds release road has been placed in position. The excavator is completing the trackbed to the Paint Shop.. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Smoke was rising from the Boston Lodge shed in the morning so it appeared steam was being raised. About 13:00 a steam loco left the area of the Carriage Shed and set off across The Cob but pausing by the trident signal for a while staff went to the signal box and operated the signals. The diesel crews had seems to drive straight into the station area during the previous two days. Linda eventually arrived in the yard light engine at 13:15.

 

This easterly view (23/11/20) shows Linda arriving at Porthmadog light engine at 13:14. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

After a delay, possibly for fuelling and watering, the loco emerged at 13:40 and set back into the FR platform to collect its rake. A party of junior school children visited the station at 2:30 and were rewarded by the sights and sounds of trains in action. The loco the reappeared at 14:35 hauling No.107, a Service Car and Observation Car No.152, with internal decorations and passengers, to Tan-y-bwlch. This was probably a hire working for a wedding as the loco was bedecked with white ribbon! After running round, the train departed Tan-y-bwlch at 15:34 pausing at Minffordd at 16:00 while the points were manually wound over and were left set 'wrong line'. The train paused at the trident signal before arriving back at Porthmadog at 16:25. After running round in the FR platform the rake was back at Boston Lodge by 16:45.

 

First snow Winter 2020!

Snowdon showed the first snow of the season on 19/11/20. Snow has become very scarce around the WHR during it operating season in recent years. Needless to say the F&WHR is selling festive Xmas cards. These are available from the F&WHR on line shop or over the counter as the shop is open again. The packs cost £5.50 and contain 5 bilingual cards of each type. Sales of these items will support the F&WHR through the difficult period when the pandemic has hit the F&WHR's income with only £1 million being earned in 2020 compared to an anticipated £6 million. The 2020 calendars have sold out but other railwayana is available.

 

This view (23/11/20) shows the F&WHR's Xmas cards for 2020. Snow is very rare at both these locations so paintings rather than photographs have become the order of the day! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Past snow reports about the F&WHR are shown in the Snow Scenes page which contains WHR snow images and video going back to 2000.

Although Heritage Railway reports in its 27/11/20 edition that the F&WHR will run no 'Festive Trains', other railways are doing so e.g. Tal-y-llyn which offers . 'Tinsel & Turkey' trains over three days  2,6,9/12/20, Santa Trains 23-4/12/20 and Festive Specials 26-28/12/20!! There is still a chance that compulsory booking trains might run as visitors return in numbers sufficient to make it economic especially if COVID vaccinations become available in December.

Here are some useful resources to check if there is snow around the F&WHR. These include the A55 webcams. The Bangor webcam can be helpful though it is nearer sea level than the WHR. These views refresh every five minutes rather than every minute as in previous years, giving time for them to be shut off if an incident occurs.

Traffic Wales

The F&WHR webcams are useful and might show snowfall at Tan-y-bwlch at a similar height to the area north of Meillionen Halt above Beddgelert.

F&WHR Webcams

The WHHR webcams would show the rare sea level snow cover at Porthmadog.

WHHR webcams

The Meteorological Office provides a useful animated radar weather map covering the last 6 hours that shows the rain/snow coming into Britain and can be watched as an animation updated every 10 minutes.

Rainfall radar

The main Meteorological Office website also has a page where you can enter e.g. Beddgelert that shows the predicted weather for that area for the next seven  days.

Meteorological Office

 

F&WHR activity 23/11/20

There is still activity of the F&WHR with Moel Hebog on a BZ2004 (a low sided variant of the ex SAR B/DZ types) a single wagon lineside clearance train. This was present at Tan-y-bwlch on 23/11/20 at 13:40 and was passed by Vale of Ffestiniog with a 9 coach rake from Glan-y-pwll still labelled with compartment numbers, heading for Porthmadog. The Funkey departed at 14:04 and the PW train left for Glan-y-pwll at 14:13 after the loco had received some attention.

With the English lockdown finishing on 2/12/20 perhaps the F&WHR will chance operating a service again in December or over Xmas holidays. Santa trains are not currently envisaged. 

 

This westerly view (23/11/20) shows Moel Hebog on the PW train and Vale of Ffestiniog taking a rake towards Porthmadog at 13:55. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Funkey arrived at Porthmadog about 15:00, ran round using the WHR loop and hauled the rake into Boston Lodge. Brake No.113 was on the rear as the rake departed for the new Carriage shed at 15:26.

David Jaquis adds: I think Vale of Ffestiniog may have taken the same rake up the line earlier that morning passing Minffordd at 10:45. I’m pretty sure No.113  was the last car when it ran round  in Porthmadog. Looks like Upnor Castle escaped for a bit as well.
 

 

This easterly view (23/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog running around the rake via the WHR loop at 15:15 before hauling it to the new Carriage Shed at Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (23/11/20) shows Upnor Castle in Porthmadog Station yard at 12:24. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Grand Shunt part Two 17/11/20

As the F&WHR 'packed away its toys' on 17/11/20, Vale of Ffestiniog was called upon to complete the sorting of the carriage stock at Harbour Station, begun the day before by Linda, and drag it back to Boston Lodge, With the new Carriage Shed tracklaying half completed, one and a half of the 3 new under cover sidings were available for protection of rolling stock until they are needed again, hopefully at Christmas.

Work was already underway at 10:25 when a green signal was noted and the Funkey hauled two saloon coaches across The Cob, returning light engine at 11:25 and shunting the yard. It emerged with 3 saloons and Brake No.113, which was propelled back into the WHR platform and left there at 11:44. The other three coaches were shunted to the WHR loop line at 11:46 before the Funkey returned to shunt the Sea Wall siding. Two bowsiders and brake No.10 were extracted and shunted back into the adjacent siding. The rake was shunted out of the yard with Nos.24/26/22 attached to the rear and at 12:12 propelled back onto No.113 in the WHR platform. The team then took lunch in the signal box.

 

This easterly view (17/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog taking the first rake of the day over to Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (17/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog had returned and was shunting the yard in Harbour Station preparing rakes into some order for taking to the new Boston Lodge 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 13:00 work resumed with the rear seven saloons left in the WHR platform and the Funkey propelled the rest including Nos. 23/24 to collect more stock from the yard. An addition 4 coaches were extracted and Observation Car No.152 on the rear and these were shunted back into the FR platform at 13:13. Nos. 23/24 and the bowsider were then shunted to the WHR platform at 13:22 which now contained 7 bogies. The lead coach was shunted onto the rake stabled in the WHR loop and the remaining long rake drawn out at 13:30 and further shunting took place before the Funkey collected the 3 FR Opens Nos.37-39 at 13:44.

 

This easterly view (17/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog had formed up a couple of rakes on the WHR side of the station for taking to the new Boston Lodge 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

By 14:09 an 11 coach rake had been assembled including the two WHR Opens Nos.2021/2022. At 14:15 the rake departed for Boston Lodge. The Funkey was back at 16:02 to haul the remaining 8 coach rake formed up in the WHR platform. At 16:10 this departed into the fog for Boston Lodge after picking the shunter at the king point.

 

This southerly view (17/11/20) shows a couple of rakes stabled inside the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed. The track on the left road is half complete and coaches had to be shunted in from the Glan-y-mor headshunt. The right hand track is complete and entrance could be gained from the Pen Cob headshunt fan. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Glen Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Grand Shunt part One 16/11/20

Linda spent the afternoon shunting Porthmadog station yard in poor weather. The loco emerged first from Boston Lodge at about 10:30 and spent some time at the old Loco Shed before returning to shunt the Heritage Carriage shed around 11:30. At 12:17 Linda emerged from Pen Cob Junction yet again and came over The Cob with Observation Car No.152 Eryri Snowdonia in tow. The train arrived at the king point at 12:22 and the shunt team went for a well deserved lunch break in the signal box until 12:54. The weather grew increasingly poor during the afternoon and Linda's demountable cab back sheet offered some protection.

 

This easterly view (16/11/20) shows Linda detaching from No.152 and commencing the run round in the WHR platform as the FR side of the station was full of coaching stock. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (16/11/20) shows Linda running round No.152 before propelling into the yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 13:56 the Observation Car was dropped in the WHR platform and Linda ran round. At 14:12 the train was back at the king point and the loco propelled No.152 into the yard. Running round in the WHR platform has been a regular occurrence recently with all tracks in Harbour Station Yard full of stock. At 14:22 the Observation Car was deposited and the loco proceeded to shunt the other rakes in the sidings into some order. Initially coaches Nos. 24/26/22, a bowsider and opens Nos.36/37 with brake No.107 were extracted before being shunted back to collect one more saloon and No.152. At 14:54 this long rake stopped at the queen point whilst the staff discussed strategy for several minutes before shunting into a different siding at 15:01.

 

This easterly view (16/11/20) shows Linda propelling No.152 into the yard before commencing the big shunt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (16/11/20) shows Linda commencing the big shunt by collecting and dragging a long rake of coaches out to be shunted into various sidings. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At 15:07 Linda reappeared with the first four coaches and shunted into the Sea Wall siding to collect two green saloons No.10, four wheelers Nos.3/4/8 and Open No.39 at 15:20. These were shunted back and the rake reappeared truncated at No.10. At 15:40 further shunting saw the rake cut back further to the bowsider. At 15:49 Linda emerged light engine and shunted back into the yard to sort out the coaches.

At 16:14 in fading light Linda moved to a free siding and four wheelers Nos.3/4 followed by No.8 were hand shunted to the front of the loco. At 16:28 these were propelled to the signal box and the shunting team set the route for Boston Lodge before locking up the box for the night. The rake set off across The Cob as darkness fell at 16:30. There is likely to be further shunting on Tuesday as stock is stored in the recently completed 22 road in the new Carriage Shed.

 

Plas-y-nant bridge renewal 14/11/20

In wet and windy weather, on Saturday 14/11/20 members of the Black Hand Gang removed the rails from the bridge over the river at Plas-y-Nant in preparation for its removal and replacement with a new structure. This means that the WHR is split until completion of the bridge replacement project over Winter so stock at Dinas must be used to maintain the northern 10 km of the railway.

 

This southerly view (14/11/20) shows the North Wales Track Gang removing the track from Plas-y-nant bridge as part of the WMWP. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beaver Bridges of Shrewsbury has won the order for the new Plas-y-nant bridge. The F&WHR has taken care to ensure they are happy to work alongside volunteers, a difference to some of the original stages of the WHR reconstruction. The contract is a Design, Build and Install type. The design replicates the appearance of the existing bridge with a cantilevered walkway on the west side. If the footpath is provided, let us hope the gate is fitted to the north end of the bridge and avoids the nearby landowner of Pen-y-gaer claiming ownership of the footpath over the bridge which appears never to have been used anyway.

The bridge is being replaced as it is life expired and cannot take the weight of a double headed NG16. The design will feature modern materials and construction techniques including a welded design rather the current riveted design. The waybeams will be curved. The bridge will be replaced during the WMWP with a handover date of 1/3/21 in time for the hoped for new season's spring timetable. Natural Resources Wales have already granted permission to work in and around the Afon Gwyrfai during the construction. The old beams will be disposed of directly from the site as part of the contract.

John Sreeves, the WHR's volunteer bridge engineer prepared an ‘indicative’ design upon which Beaver Bridges based their tender. The intention was that the bridge would replicate as closely as possible the dimensions and the appearance of the original, to retain heritage aspects in much the same way as was done for the three truss bridges in Phase 4. The main girders will retain the hog back shape but with the flange to web connections welded rather than joined by riveted angles. The cross beams will be bolted to the main girders at the web stiffener positions to ensure improved stiffness compared to the existing bridge. Track fixing details will be unchanged.

This is the second of the 3 bowstring bridges to be replaced. The one at Betws Garmon was replaced by an adapted BR structure. The one near the Pipe bridge at Salem was lifted out and reconstructed on site before being craned back onto rebuilt abutments. This will remain for the time being as the final example in use. The historic beams from Plas-y-nant are likely to be stored in Dinas South Yard along with those from Betws Garmon. There was discussion at one time about repurposing them for use as a turntable at Dinas so that NG15s could run boiler first.

 

F&WHR news 12-14/11/20

Work seems to be underway on the footpath crossing from The cob to the end of the platform with orange plastic barriers in place across the WHR loop line visible on 14/11/20. There will be a large shunt on 17/11/20 as stock is taken to the newly completed undercover siding in the partially completed Glan-y-mor Carriage Shed. There is a single B wagon stabled close to Minffordd Station in the exchange yard adjacent to the Maenofferen shed presumably for spoil collection as this area is being tidied up.

 

This easterly view (13/11/20) shows the orange barriers across the WHR loop allowing works on the footpath crossing from The Cob path to the end of the platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Carriage shed ready for stock storage 17/11/20

Welcome news for the protection of carriages over winter has been the completion of one of the three roads in the new Glan-y-mor Carriage Shed. Work started 15 months ago and after a massive team effort made the more difficult by the pandemic one road in the carriage shed is now far enough advanced to permit carriages to be stored in the shed from next Tuesday 17/11/20. Work will continue over the winter on the other two roads and the fitting out works.

 

This easterly view (13/11/20) shows the fan of points leading to the new Carriage Shed with Vale of Ffestiniog standing the release  leading to Glan-y-mor headshunt and the Heritage Carriage shed. The track for the left hand roads, Nos.20/21, is in place but not yet complete. 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.

 

The three roads are numbered 20-22 with 22 road being closest to the sea. It is 22 road that has been completed first. A reinforced concrete base was formed about 90 cm wide and steel baseplates fixed by studs drilled and glued into the concrete roughly every metre. Now the rails were fixed down the excess studs will be removed with an angle grinder. The concrete bases for 20/21 roads appear to have been completed and some track laid on 20 road as well. Eventually the whole floor will be concrete up to the rail heads to make a level work area.

 

This southerly view (13/11/20) shows the fan of points at the southern end the new Carriage Shed with the release  leading to Glan-y-mor headshunt. The track for the left hand roads, Nos.20/21, is in place but not yet complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (13/11/20) shows the concrete base of 22 road and the fan of points at the western end the new Carriage Shed  leading to Pen Cob headshunt. The slight mismatch in the concrete base and access track has been compensated by having additional baseplates at the end of the concrete. 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 (13/11/20) shows the concrete bases of all three sidings in new Carriage Shed complete. Some track has been laid on the leftmost siding, 20 road, and a van is stabled on that siding probably with the track fixing tools. Baseplates appear to be fixed nearly a metre apart. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR news 11/11/20

After some shunting at Boston Lodge about 10:00 PW diesel shunter Moel Hebog emerged and hauled a coal delivery train  across The Cob before arriving at the king point at 10:21. The rake of two B wagons arrived in the WHR platform at 10:24 before shutting down for a while. At 11:07 the loco detached and ran round arriving at the king point at 11:11 and reversing onto the rake, coupling up at 11:13.

Moel Hebog dragged the coal train to the king point and set back into the yard at 11:15. After depositing the coal wagons the loco re-emerged at 11:20 and departed for Boston Lodge at 11:22 light engine, arriving there at 11:27 and doing some further shunting at the depot.

 

This easterly view (11/11/20) shows Moel Hebog running round two B wagons filled with coal in the WHR platform via the WHR loop. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (11/11/20) shows Moel Hebog running round two B wagons filled with coal in the WHR platform via the WHR loop. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (11/11/20) shows Moel Hebog propelling the two B wagons loaded with coal into the loco servicing point in Porthmadog yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR news 10/11/20

For the first time in a long while Harbour Station appeared deserted though there are reputed to be a couple of rakes stored in the sidings out of sight of the webcam. There is no news of any potential restart of services which may have to wait until at least the end of the English lockdown on 3/12/20. Santa trains are unlikely this year on either railway.

 

This easterly view (10/11/20) shows a rare empty view of Porthmadog Harbour station. The railway really does look closed down though there are probably other rakes stored in the sidings. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Harbour Station shop reopens 11/11/20

Whilst the familiar sight of locomotives steaming through the Snowdonia Mountains is temporarily absent, there is still plenty of reason to be merry in the run up to Christmas at the F&WHR! The Harbour Station shop will reopen 11/11/20, with opening hours of 10:00 - 15:00, Wednesday - Saturday. The F&WHR shop is the perfect place for all your Christmas gifts this Winter!

There are hundreds of fantastic items available including Artwork, Books, Calendars, Clothing, DVDs and Miniature Railway Models. The F&WHR shop also have a range of new additions to the online shop this Winter, including a selection of themed Gift Sets. These range from a ‘Counting Sheep’ set to a ‘Welsh Dragon’ set, the perfect Christmas gift!

Orders are being accepted via the Online Shop, with a range of festive wrapping options available! All purchases will be a huge help towards the Railway, especially in times where the F&WHR is unable to operate regular services.

Visit our online shop here: https://www.festrail.co.uk/shop/

 

Six months of progress with KS4415

Kier Stuart KS4415 was he experimental diesel that ran on the F&WHR in 1928-29. initial work saw it handling the Bryngwyn branch freight and then, after fitting vacuum brakes, the WHR Winter Passenger service. In 1929 it operated as the FR's bottom end shunter before being returned to the manufacturers as  the FR's owner Colonel Stephens did not have the money to purchase it. After repatriation from Mauritius in 1971 restoration started at Boston Lodge in 2014.

6/5/20 Although the Ffestiniog Railway and Boston Lodge remain closed on this date, work on KS4415 is carrying on in the background. One of the team's volunteers is reassembling the donkey engine at home. A new collar has been made to marry the carburettor up to the inlet on the head, and new valve cotters to replace missing bits. The team is looking forward to getting back to normal and working on the loco again, but safety comes first.

6/6/20 Some merchandise in the form of a Warhol inspired T shirt £15.00+P&P are available to purchase to support the project on the FR Heritage website

or email sales@frheritage.org.uk.

Sizes are for guidance only as they are an AVERAGE measurement of  'LAY FLAT' & ' TO FIT CHEST SIZE'

Small - 32" - 34"

Medium 38" - 40"

Large - 41 - 43"

XL - 44 - 46"

XXL - 47"-49"

12/6/20 The team had the cam for the vacuum pump back from Newman Cams. They have made a new double lobed cam and welded it onto the original gear. The team is looking forward to testing the vacuum pump when they can get back to Boston Lodge, and seeing what a difference this has made as it will now suck on two of the four strokes.

16/6/20 Work continues on the donkey (starter) engine in Lancashire. One of the team has made a steel insert for the worn bearing recess in the crankcase, and fitted the bearing, including making some countersunk screws with oversized heads to retain the bearing. Progress is now being made with new fittings for lubrication pipework, including the banjo pipe end.

20/6/20 There were only a few promotional T Shirts left on that date.

22/10/20 The newly cast MDB4 rocker covers for the replacement engine loaned by Armley Mills Museum of Leeds have been delivered. Because team members still can't get to Boston Lodge (or even Wales at the moment!) they are going to be machined by one of the team volunteers in his workshop at home. Also back from the foundry are the plates for the engine and radiator, one spelled MACLAREN for the radiator and one spelled McLAREN-BENZ for the engine.

 

F&WHR not reopening 9/11/20

Despite it being the end of the Welsh 'firebreak' lockdown today (Monday 9/11/20) the F&WHR is not reopening. This is because most passengers come from England as day trippers or holidaymakers and it is thought it would be uneconomic to run a service as both English and Welsh restrictions do not permit crossing the border for holiday/leisure activities. The situation may be looked at again at the end of the English lockdown on 3/12/20. Click here for WAG pandemic advice from 9/11/20.

F&WHR statement 9/11/20

This update follows the culmination of the ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ period here in Wales. Following an in depth review and evaluation of the Railway’s current situation, we have decided that train services will not recommence at the present moment. Our catering outlets at Spooner’s, Porthmadog Station, Tea Room at Tan-Y-Bwlch Station and Café De Winton at Caernarfon Station will remain closed. Our retail outlets at Porthmadog Station and Caernarfon Station will remain closed.

Please note, the commercial side of the railway will continue to operate and therefore orders can be placed via the online shop. Our Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways Online Shop is the perfect place for all your Christmas gifts this Winter! We have hundreds of fantastic items available on our Online Shop including Artwork, Books, Calendars, Clothing, DVDs and Miniature Railway Models. All purchases will be a huge help towards the Railway, especially in times where we are unable to operate our regular services.

The developing situation will be kept under constant review, with further announcements being made via our website and social media pages in due course. We would like to thank you all for your support.

* IMPORTANT NOTICE - All ongoing operations will be subject to any further changes in Welsh Government policy in response to the Covid-19 situation.

 

F&WHR news 7-9/11/20

On 7/11/20 a freight train was noted Minffordd hauled by Britomart and Lilla which were taking water ready to go towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. The train consisted of several wagons loaded with loco ash, a bug box and brake van. This may have been the rake taken to Minffordd Yard on 5/11/20. The train returned quite late the same day in the dark.

During the morning of 9/11/20 the signalbox was manned and the two FR coaches that had been shunted into the FR platform on 2/11/20 were extracted from the FR platform at 09:47 by Vale of Ffestiniog after some difficulty, probably with the brakes. The FR coaches had been formed up into a rake of 6 coaches with others stored in the station since the initial two had been shunted into the platform. The four coaches in the WHR loop were also removed by late afternoon on 9/11/20, again probably by Vale of Ffestiniog.

 

This easterly view (9/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog in the FR platform removing two the FR coaches for storage at 09:47. At this time the four coaches in the WHR loop were still present but had been removed by late afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image was provided by Bob Guinness, courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (9/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog departing the FR platform removing a six coach rake for storage, presumably at Boston Lodge, at 09:54. At this time the four coaches in the WHR loop were still present but had been removed by late afternoon probably by the same loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image was provided by Bob Guinness, courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No sign of restart 6-7/11/20

There has been no announcement from the F&WHR and there is nothing on the F&WHR websites to suggest there will be any service or even the reopening of Spooners from the end of the Welsh 'firebreak' lockdown on Monday 9/11/20. There was no visible change at Porthmadog with the 4 saloons stabled in the WHR loop and 2 FR coaches in the FR platform on both Friday and Saturday 5-7/11/20 and two other rakes stabled.

 

Mountaineer replica progress

There has been further progress with the Mountaineer Project in its attempt to recreate the original pannier tank style England engine of 1863. The loco was No.3 in the FR fleet after Princess and Prince but was actually the first loco to arrive at Boston Lodge and was withdrawn after just 16 years in 1879 and subsequently scrapped and used for spares for the other three small England locos. It never received the saddle tank that the other five England engines received.

The FR archive had the original drawings which have been redrawn into 3D. Boston Lodge still has casting patterns suitable for the loco along with several other original parts. North Bay Engineering of Darlington is in charge of the project which is costed at £250,000. The all welded boiler is being constructed by Israel Newton. The backhead and throatplate have already been formed using the formers used for Welsh Pony's new boiler. The boiler was completed and hydraulically tested in January 2020. All the boiler fittings are still required, gauges, injectors, firebars, ashpans, Salter's' safety valve and the firebox door.

A Facebook campaign raised £8,000 for two complete wheel and axle sets which are currently being machined. Cylinders and valve chests have also been cast and machined following the loan of the pattern from the F&WHR. Peak Pattern Foundry of Sheffield has won the quote with £5000 plus VAT will buy the castings but machining costs of £7000 plus VAT must be added from NBR with a total cost £14,000. A supporter has started the fund with £5,000. A share issue is planned at £1 each and a prospectus is being prepared. The loco will visit the F&WHR when invited and other 2' gauge heritage lines.

For further information or to donate see The Mountaineer 1863 Project website.

 

F&WHR news 5/11/20

On Thursday 5/11/20 a rake of 4 modern bogie saloons was standing in the WHR platform at Porthmadog with PW Van No.51 at the west end at about 10:40. The two FR coaches were still present in the FR platform from the previous day. Lilla emerged from the yard at about 10:44 with an FR Observation Car and worked to Boston Lodge arriving at 10:50. At 11:07 the coach was shunted to the Heritage Carriage shed and some further shunting occurred there. At 11:25 Vale of Ffestiniog was noted shunting within Boston Lodge and Lilla emerged at 11:28 reversing at Pen Cob Junction and entering the Old Loco shed sidings a few minutes later where some shunting occurred.

At 11:47 Lilla returned to Pen Cob Junction and shunted into Boston Lodge at 11:49. At 11:50 Vale of Ffestiniog shunted and coupled to the front of Lilla and the pair came over The Cob to shunt Porthmadog station. The Funkey detached at the king point and ran into the WHR loop while Lilla ran into the WHR platform to couple to the rake stabled there. There seemed to be some problem with the coaching stock as the underframes were subject to examination before Lilla hauled them out onto The Cob at 12:18 and then propelled them back into the WHR loop.

At 12:22 Lilla departed to Boston Lodge light engine while the Funkey shut down for a short lunch break. The Funkey had left by 13:05 and Van No.51 had also gone so it was probably needed for inspection work somewhere on the WHR. The four coaches originally in the WHR platform were left in the WHR loop.

 

This easterly view (5/11/20) shows Vale of Ffestiniog in the WHR loop with Lilla about to shunt a rake onto the rear of the Funkey. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Funkey returned with the van at about 14:30 probably from an inspection trip to Hafod-y-llyn/Beddgelert, and after a stop in the WHR platform departed towards Pen Cob Junction at 14:55 before pausing just past there. At 15:30 Moel Hebog, the PW shunter, emerged from Boston Lodge at Pen Cob Junction and shunted wagons onto the rear of the van. The ensemble departed for Minffordd with the shunter attached to the rear at 15:37. At Minffordd the train stopped to reset the points to right hand running to ease the reversal into Minffordd Yard at 15:45. The train consisted of the WHR ballast wagon and two B wagons which will be needed for the WMWP and reversed into the yard at 15:50. The train consisted of Van No.51, PW ballast wagon 4023, B921 and B1824.

 

North Wales main line 5/11/20

Colas locos Nos.56078/56113 have been active for the last few days on RHTT workings.

 

F&WHR news 4/11/20

On Wednesday 4/11/20 the two FR coaches moved from the WHR platform to the FR platform were still in position and could be used as a Spooners overspill if/when it reopens as expected next Monday 9/11/20. This also leaves the WHR platform, which had been blocked for months, free to use for any possible Hafod-y-llyn service that might also start from 9/11/20 or PW/stock transfer workings.

 

Gowrie progress

The project to build a replica of Gowrie the final NWNGR loco of 1908 has moved forwards with a quote to laser cut the frames. CTL Seal Ltd. of Sheffield has won the order. three sets of frames are on order for the single Fairlie comprising the boiler frame, power bogie and trailing bogie, buffer beams stretchers etc. The Gowrie Loco Trust is now appealing to supporters to raise £4,500 cost of the order.

About half a tonne of castings for the loco have already been made despite the pandemic. These include horn guides, axlebox underkeeps, regulator quadrant and valve spindle gland followers. New boiler calculations have helped finalise the CAD files for the frames. The replica loco will be fitted with both vacuum and airbrakes to allow it to haul trains on both the F&WHR and WHHR.

The loco was used until 1918 and was reputed to be a poor steamer. In an attempt to improve on this the new boiler, to be built by Israel Newton Ltd, will be 6 inches longer. Gowrie was sold to the government in 1918 and believed to be scrapped in the 1920s or possibly 1931 after being advertised for sale several times. Many WHR supporters would like to see a Moel Tryfan replica as being more representative of the NWNGR/WHR history as Gowrie did not make it into the WHR era.

See Gowrie Trust website for latest news and details of how to support the project.

 

F&WHR considering Hafod-y-llyn trains for November?

The WAG First Minister Mark Drakeford announced post 'firebreak' restrictions on 2/11/20 that would take effect from 9/11/20. However, these might be altered to take into account the 4 week English lockdown from Thursday 5/11/20. Tory Minister Michael Gove said it was quite possible the English lockdown would be extended beyond the current 2/12/20 end point 2/12/20 if the situation did not improve.

The First Minister expressed concern that English residents may cross the border into Wales to “escape” their month-long pandemic lockdown that is due to come into effect on 5/11/20. Mark Drakeford said he was worried that when the Welsh hospitality industry reopens next Monday after the country’s 17-day “firebreak” people in England might be tempted to visit pubs in Wales.

The F&WHR will be following his words with interest to see if they can reopen on 9/11/20 in any shape or form on a commercial basis. Basically the F&WHR and its hospitality outlets are allowed to reopen. There will be no travel restrictions within Wales, but people will not be able to leave the country except for essential purposes like work during the English lockdown. The FR could therefore reopen but only residents of Wales will be allowed to visit the railway.

On 2/11/20 the rake of four B wagons in the Hafod-y-llyn loop was removed (see below). This could mean the F&WHR is considering the Winter Season trains from 9/11/20 should go to Hafod-y-llyn as in previous years. The short flat journey across The Traeth could allow a fairly long rake with small engines with low coal consumption which could run round or top and tail as in previous years. this would also suit the local coach tour market.

 

F&WHR movements 2/11/20

The mixed four coach rake was still in the platform on Monday morning amidst sunshine and blustery showers. At 11:50 Upnor Castle arrived across The Cob in what was to prove to be a Grand Shunting operation! The loco stopped at the king point as the signalbox appeared to be unmanned. At 11:58 the Upnor Castle made its way to the rake in the WHR platform and coupled up. The rake was dragged out beyond the king point at 12:05 and then shunted back into the FR platform at 12:07 where it became obvious there was a B wagon coupled to the rear. Upnor Castle then detached at 12:12 and shunted back to the WHR platform at 12:14 light engine and shut down presumably for a lunch break. It left towards Dinas about 13:00 presumably for Hafod-y-llyn.

Upnor Castle reappeared about 14:30 with four B wagons thought to be the empty ash wagons from Hafod-y-llyn loop. This train was deposited in the WHR platform. The loco uncoupled and shunted to the yard about 15:00. At 15:22 it emerged with the Observation Car No.11 and Mess Car No.1111. At 15:24 the rake was shunted towards the four B wagons that had been left at midday in the WHR platform. For some reason the reversal was only accomplished on the fourth attempt, possibly through bad vacuum couplings, through the WHR platform point but then the train returned to the king point before reversing down the loop line and depositing the Mess van in the loop instead. At 15:32 Upnor Castle and the Observation Car pulled forward to the king point and the four wheeler was reversed into the yard. Emerging from the yard at 15:38 the loco then extracted the B wagon and two WHR Opens from the front of the rake in the FR platform and shunted the Opens into the yard before emerging with two B wagons at 16:06.

 

This easterly view (2/11/20) shows the long shunt that took place during the afternoon to extract 6 B wagons from the station and Hafod-y-llyn and move them to Boston Lodge for storage. There is hope the service may return from 9/11/20 when the Welsh 'firebreak' ends, possibly from Hafod-y-llyn (now that the wagons have been removed from the loop there) as in previous years. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The rake set back onto the Mess coach in the WHR loop and coupled the wagons up at 16:10. It was then shunted onto the four B wagons in the WHR platform and coupled up at 16:15. These in turn were shunted onto the rake in the WHR loop at 16:15 and were coupled up at 16:18. Upnor Castle ran round the train of 6 B wagons and the Mess van through the WHR platform, coupled up to the rear and after some problems obtaining a vacuum, departed at 16:32 propelling the rake to Boston Lodge. There was a brief stop at the king point to pick up the signalman at 16:35 and the loco propelled the rake into Boston Lodge at 16:42, a most unusual main line propel movement.

 

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 2020

1/1/20

Final Mince Pie special (two Caernarfon-Rhyd Ddu trains)

15-23/2/20

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

26/2/20-26/3/20

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

28/3/20

Main Season Easter service starts POSTPONED

18/4/20

The Snowdonian POSTPONED TO 17/4/21 and subsequently POSTPONED AGAIN INDEFINITELY

2/5/20

FR AGM and FR extra services? VIRTUAL AGM-NO TRAINS

9/5/20

Caernarfon Food Festival with additional train on WHR? POSTPONED TO 2021

5-7/6/20

WHR Beer Festival POSTPONED TO 4-6/6/21

19-21/6/20

Fairlie Eventful (may include some WHR events) POSTPONED TO 18-20/6/21

27/6/20

Welsh Pony Launch (Live Stream). The public launch/naming is POSTPONED TO VICTORIAN WEEKEND

20/7/20 Restart of limited services with virus compliant protection measures on FR ONLY six times daily all week
13/8/20 Restart of limited services on the WHR with an 11:00 once a day TWThSO service to Beddgelert with hampers

11-13/9/20

SuperPower POSTPONED TO Sept 2021 (may feature Baldwin No. 608 and K1)

12/9/20

WHR Society Members Day. Two special trains between Porthmadog and Beddgelert with No.5 (Welsh Pony)

9-11/10/20 Bygones Event replacing FR Victorian Event will feature two trains Porthmadog-Beddgelert on both 10-11/10/20
5/11/20 The Snowdonian Limited (0800-2000 possibly some running in dark with fireworks?)

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2020

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 2019 is as follows with the ROWG in BLACK and the North Wales Track Gang in RED:

January

 

February

March

April

May

June

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

 

V4.39123 updated 4/12/20