WHR

The 40 km Dream

Archive Page

 from November 1997

V4.4 updated 1/10/20

with images to 9/5/98? 

 

This page is organised as a timeline updated from Episode 17, May 1998.

 

The 40km Dream Phase 2

This is part 2 of a regular series covering the history and images concerning the lead up to Phase 2 of the construction of the WHR, initially prior to the start of this website. Hopefully those who are housebound through Covid-19 social distancing (like your webmaster) will find it an interesting read. The title '40 mile Dream', featured on websites and magazines, comes from the idea that when the WHR, length when complete approximately 25 miles, is added to the FR, the total length of the narrow gauge network approaches 40 miles. The WHR element is 40.2km so, as the WHR is a metric railway, the title of this story is the '40 km Dream'!

 

The 40km Dream Episode 17

May 1998

Funding for the new Carriage Shed in the North Yard had been agreed. This was to be a two road shed in anticipation of extra rakes when operations were extended onto the WHR proper with a run round exit at the north end that connected into the existing headshunt. Bay No.2 track was being laid. Lamp posts were to be reduced by 3' and vintage lanterns installed. Platforms were to be surfaced in tarmac and yellow edge warnings applied. Holes for the uprights for four additional station running in boards were preformed in the platform surface in anticipation of longer rakes in the future. It had been decided that the railway would be styled as the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway. A generous donor had come forth to pay for the sympathetic rebuild of the original WHR station building at Dinas.

As regards operational detail, water would be taken on the first trip at Dinas with a top up for the 1 pm departure and again on the last trip to Caernarfon. the original boiler on No.138 was Ketel No.7114 of 1968 whilst that on No.143 was Ketel No.7017 of 1951. Wagons Nos.1412/23 were back in service on their bogies.

A museum piece loco had been bought for 500 after the Gloddfa Ganol closure in 1997 to be a talking point plinthed at Dinas. It was Llanfair of 1895, a De Winton 3' gauge vertical boilered 'coffeepot' loco. It has two vertical pistons and Stephenson's Link motion. The 5 tonne loco was built at Caernarfon and used at the Penmaenmawr Quarries and named after the local village of Llanfairfechan.

Alterations had been agreed at Caernarfon with conversion of the Cross Town Railway tunnel to road use and a roundabout at the entrance. This would allow the station to be extended to the north in the summer. The alignment at the south end could be straightened too and a large station sign erected on the cutting wall.

Your webmaster was back in North Wales at Dinas later in the Spring either the weekend of 25/4/98, the Bank Holiday weekend from 2/5/98 or 9/5/98 but most likely the Bank Holiday. Help would be welcome identifying this date. One clue is that scaffolding is being erected to work on the roof of the station building.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 emerging from a cloud of steam at Caernarfon on the first train of the day as seen from St Helen's Road. The watering siding white painted buffer stop is visible in this view. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 emerging from a cloud of steam as it departs Caernarfon on the first train of the day as seen from St Helen's Road and the start of Lon Eifion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 uncouples to run round on possibly the first arrival from Caernarfon with the sun in the east as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Work has started on the rebuilding of the Dinas station building and scaffolding is up to give access to the roof. The No.2 road in bay platform is now fully laid but the point joining it to the yard is yet to be laid. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 running round on possibly the first arrival from Caernarfon as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Three of the six lamp posts on the future southbound platform have been fitted with their period lanterns. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 starting from Dinas on possibly the second Caernarfon train with the sun in the east. Sleepers have been laid for the No.1 track in the bay platform. Work appears well underway on the station building and a temporary toilet block is visible on the north side. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 starting from Dinas in a cloud of steam. Lanterns have been fitted to the lamp posts in what was to become the future northbound platform. The skull and crossbones sign refers to the fact these locos once operated under overhead wires at their SAR terminus. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.134 stabled near the Goods Shed for inspection that morning. It was hoped that once No.143 was available the restoration teams could switch to this loco. Nearby on the right the underframes of an Isle of Man coach that was purchased for possible reuse are lying on the ground. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.133 stabled in the North Yard headshunt with No.138 passing on a morning service from Caernarfon as seen from Lon Eifion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 starting from Dinas on a midday service as viewed from Lon Eifion with the area designated for the new Carriage shed cleared on the left alongside the North Yard headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows No.138 arriving at Caernarfon as seen from the Segontium Terrace footbridge. The red water tank is just visible above the watering siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows passengers getting off No.138 after arriving at Caernarfon as seen from the Segontium Terrace footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the new station sign prominently against No.138 recently arrived at Caernarfon from the steps of Segontium Terrace footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the new station temporary Portacabin ticket office at Caernarfon with No.138 recently arrived at Caernarfon and running round in the headshunt from the steps of Segontium Terrace footbridge. This was the first of 3 temporary station buildings. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the new station sign prominently against No.138 running round at Caernarfon from the steps of Segontium Terrace footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

For the rest of the visit your webmaster decided to look at the WHR trackbed to see a 'before' view, with construction unlikely to start until 1999.

 

This easterly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the former station site at Bryngwyn from the former level crossing on the Dinas-Bryngwyn lane. The site was in private ownership of the white house to the right but the incline can be seen rising from the motorboat, passing to the left of the church towards Drumhead near the left slate tip. It was not planned to restore this route but a question mark lay over what should be done with the land. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the site of Waunfawr station with the original station building still in existence. The former station master's house had some time previously been converted into the Snowdonia Parc pub and two tracks ran between the station building and the boundary fence with the pub. Building work was underway at the pub under new management with a play area nearer the bridge and a new toilet block in the caravan field to the left of the station building. The former yard is to the left of the station building and used to house a coal siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the reputed site of Salem Halt with the railway on a shelf on the far side of the Afon Gwyrfai. The trackbed is very curvaceous at this location. The river opens up here into a small lake and a local resident has a boat with a canopy that sometimes takes to the river. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/4/98-9/5/98) shows the site of Plas-y-nant Halt where a passing loop was proposed and initially a siding was provided. Later, with the railway becoming more prominent in the news, a local resident took umbrage at the reopening of the railway and tipped a large pile of rubbish on the trackbed at this location. The prominent rock buttress on the right is Castell Cidwm (never really a castle). Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 16

April 1998

Two of the NG15's stored at Pickering for the aborted Robin Hood's Bay railway were purchased for the FR by sponsorship courtesy of benefactor FR Co. director Mike Schumann. Nos.133/134 had been worn out in the final years of use and were quite rusty having been stored in the open. Both had been stripped of non-ferrous metal. It was expected that the locos would move to Dinas in late April from their owner's, Simon Boak, storage site at Pickering. These two Franco-Belge 2-8-2 locos were from the 1953 batch and look like proper locos as there is no tank in front of the smokebox. The large tender designed for the arid desert regions where they worked may be redesigned to reduce its impact and permit better running in reverse in the absence of a turntable. Once volunteers have restored No.143 it was hoped the team would turn to the better of the two locos and get it into traffic within two years.

The AGM of the WHR(P) approved the Agreement reached with the FR by a substantial majority. It gives the opportunity to build and operate a section of the railway from Pen-y-mount to Pont Croesor and possibly further north but the WHR(P) would need to raise funds for the construction and new rail.

Your webmaster visited the railway at Easter which initially was a bit dull. Any help with dates would be appreciated.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 emerging from the Loco Shed ready for service on the first train of the day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 being dragged from South Yard by Upnor Castle to be prepared for hauling the first train of the day as viewed from Ty'n Llan road bridge. This was though to be normally Castell Caernarfon's duty. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 being dragged from South Yard by Upnor Castle to be prepared for hauling the first train of the day as viewed from Ty'n Llan road bridge. The light engines take the run round loop as the rake of coaches is already in the platform on a rather wet day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 coupled to the front of the train ready to leave for Caernarfon on a rather wet Easter Holiday morning. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 using the watering siding to tank up with water ready for the several Dinas-Caernarfon trips timetabled for that day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 coupled to the front of the train ready to leave Caernarfon on a rather wet Easter Holiday morning. The final alignment of the track did not meet the revised platform edge in this area. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 heading towards Dinas during a rather wet Easter Holiday. The loco has just crossed Hendy level crossing which was at this time a Stop and Proceed Crossing but later became a PSR when local traffic got used to it. It was sometimes difficult to restart trains here with the rake still on the steep ascent of Coed Helen bank. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 heading back towards Caernarfon approaching Bontnewydd footpath crossing, the site of the future Bontnewydd Halt. The train has just crossed Bontnewydd viaduct visible in the background. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows Upnor Castle in Dinas North Yard with the rail bolster wagon behind. A dumper truck is being used to construct the way platform and release road and the ballast bed has already been formed with piles of sleepers available. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 heading back towards Dinas approaching Bontnewydd viaduct passing the site of the future Bontnewydd Halt. The train has just crossed Bontnewydd footpath crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 heading back towards Caernarfon departing Dinas as seen from Lon Eifion. Upnor Castle can be seen in the North Yard siding with the rail bolster wagon and spare rails can be seen in the two foot in front of the loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows some 8 volunteers working on laying the release road in the bay platform area at Dinas starting from a genuine ex-SAR buffer stop. Upnor Castle can be seen in the North Yard siding with the rail bolster wagon. Spare rails can be seen being levered over from a stockpile to the right. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

It seems your webmaster returned the following day with better weather with sunny periods.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 shortly after arrival at Dinas in the early afternoon as seen from footpath crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 running round shortly after arrival at Dinas in the early afternoon as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 running round shortly after arrival at Dinas in the early afternoon as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 coupling up at Dinas ready to take an afternoon departure to Caernarfon as seen from Lon Eifion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 heading north passing under Plas Dinas bridge in the early afternoon as seen from Lon Eifion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 departing Caernarfon in the late afternoon as seen from St Helen's Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 shunting at Dinas in the late afternoon as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 running round at Dinas in the late afternoon as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 approaching Caernarfon crossing the Seiont Viaduct in the late afternoon as seen from St Helens Road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 departing Caernarfon in the late afternoon as seen from the southerly footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 running round at Caernarfon in the late afternoon as seen from the platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 running round at Caernarfon in the late afternoon as seen from the platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 taking water in the watering siding at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 reversing out of the watering siding at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 completing its run round move at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 setting back onto the at Caernarfon in the late afternoon as seen from the platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 crossing the Seiont Viaduct in the late afternoon as viewed from the Open Coach. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows No.138 setting back onto the Loco Shed at Dinas at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8-11/4/98) shows Castell Caernarfon in the depot headshunt at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/4/98) shows heavy snow on the Horseshoe Pass from the days before Global Warming on the way home at the end of Easter. An Open Top tour bus is running Easter trips from Llangollen to the top of the pass for the hardy few! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow persisted for a week and was still present when Hertford Rail tours brought National Power liveried No.59205 L Keith McNair to the Trawsfynydd branch the following weekend on the Roman Nose railtour. The new Funkey was polished up and posed alongside its big brother in Blaenau Ffestiniog station on 18/4/98.

 

This northerly view (18/4/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog in its National Power livery posed in platform 2 alongside No.59205 L Keith McNair in the same livery. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (18/4/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog in its National Power livery posed in platform 2 alongside No.59205 L Keith McNair in the same livery. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/4/98) from the FR's headshunt shows Vale of Ffestiniog in its National Power livery posed in platform 2 alongside No.59205 L Keith McNair in the same livery. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/4/98) shows No.138 running round at Caernarfon in late afternoon sunshine. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/4/98) shows Upnor Castle with No.133 at Dinas. The loco had just arrived there from Pickering. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 15

March 1998

After the closure of the Inquiry into the LRO, the FR was urging supporters to write to the Snowdonia National Park Authority to protest about their decision to withdraw support from the WHR project. Originally the SNPA gave their full support in the Draft Local Plan as the rebuilt railway could provide a public transport function and keep cars out of the Snowdonia National Park, an environmentally sensitive area by providing a regular local service of several trains a day to rival local bus services. The line could be used for transporting timber from Beddgelert Forest from a new siding at Hafod Ruffydd keeping large articulated vehicles off the inadequate local roads. In November the SNPA made a U-turn, overturning the advice of its officers, and excluded the WHR from the Local Plan.

Mike Hart, the FR Chairman, appealed to supporters to write into the SNPA to indicate the level of support and get the WHR reinstated in the Local Plan. 'We know many people want to see the WHR rebuilt. If they can just spend a few minutes to write to the Local Plan Inquiry Inspector, he can judge the wide level of support against the three objections to the WHR. Letters had to arrive by 10/4/98. Your webmaster was one of those who wrote in supporting the rebuilding of the WHR.

Some deliveries to the WHR had gone to the WHR(P) at Gelert's Farm by accident so the FR took out adverts in the local press directing local suppliers to Dinas for the WHR(C) and the WHLR (Dinas). Unfortunately timetable materials prepared for the WHR had gone to print before the agreement to characterise the WHR as the WHR(C) as it is based in Caernarfon and the WHR(P) as that based in Porthmadog Gelert's Farm. Preparations were being made for the Easter season of this the first full year of WHR operations which were due to begin on 4/4/98 in time for the school Easter holiday break (Easter weekend 10-13/4/98). Consideration is being given to Santa Specials, Xmas Holiday trains and February Half Term Holiday trains over Winter 1998-1999.

Engineering solutions/quotes for the underpinning of bridges on Phase 2 from Dinas to Waunfawr were being sought as well as solutions to the major landslip just east of Tryfan Junction. All the WHR are much too small for the Garratt/Funkey loading gauge. Some thought was also given to potential rockfalls in the Aberglaslyn Pass and insurance liability of persons using Bryn-y-felin bridge and the Aberglaslyn Tunnels permitted path. It was deemed essential that Phase 2 Dinas-Waunfawr, which was already funded, was ready to go the moment a positive decision to allow the LRO to go ahead was received from the Minister.

After a further inspection, on 19/3/98 the HMRI gave full and permanent approval to the FR to operate Caernarfon-Dinas following the temporary permission granted October 1997. The only change required was that structures are numbered for maintenance records rather than named as in the past. Cast plates have been ordered to be fixed to every structure. As the railway is built to modern metric measures a kilometre based 'chainage' is being used for all underbridges and overbridges based on 20km 'zero' at Caernarfon station footbridge. This will avoid duplication with FR mileposts out of Porthmadog if these also change to metric measures in future.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 14

February 1998

Work continued to improve the rolling stock and the track of the Caernarfon-Dinas section. Dinas Works was kitted out and the machine shop came together in the building on the site of the old loco shed.

As regards the Inquiry, which reached its end in January, the inspector was expected to take three months to present his decision to the Transport Minister and after due consideration, the Minister was expected to make his recommendation after a further 3 months. The Inspector had visited the railway and experienced run pasts to determine the noise levels of the trains using No.138.

Railtrack withdrew their objections to Cambrian Crossing which was to become Cae Pawb to distinguish it from other similarly named crossings on the Cambrian Coast route. Welsh Water was happy to reroute the Nantmor water supply, which uses the Aberglaslyn Tunnels, along the A498 through the Pass. The Forestry Commission was also happy with fire prevention procedures agreed with the FR. However the Snowdonia National Park authority overturned its officers recommendations and opposed the TWO as did the Rambler's Association, who wanted the trackbed as a walk, despite support from local members who had sought mitigation for an improved Fishermans' Path through the Aberglaslyn Pass. The paths through the Aberglaslyn Pass tunnels and the Bryn-y-felin bridge were to be fenced off for insurance reasons once the FR took possession of the trackbed. The National Trust also objected to the closure of their permitted path on the trackbed through the Aberglaslyn Pass despite the FR offering to fund improvement of the Fishermans' Path.

The FR was planning a small gala over the weekend of 2-3/5/98 centred on Glan-y-pwll with the completed Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog on view and footplate rides. There would be a bus link from Blaenau Ffestiniog and a six train service on the FR. A main line steam visit to the town was also due in May. During a small ceremony on 21/2/98 Vale of Ffestiniog was handed over to the operating fleet in Boston Lodge works.

 

This Boston Lodge archive view (21/2/98) shows the newly rebuild Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog resplendent in National Power livery. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge archive view (21/2/98) shows the naming ceremony for newly rebuild Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog resplendent in National Power livery. The loco was named by Linda Fairney, wife of Professor Fairney, the recently retired chairman of The Year of Engineering Success NP Executives and local councillors in attendance. Maybe the stage should have been on the sunny side of the loco that afternoon? Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting off Boston Lodge for a run up the FR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog waiting at Pen Cob Junction for the path. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge archive view (21/2/98) shows Earl of Merioneth passing light as the new diesel prepared to enter the running line at Pen Cob Junction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tan-y-bwlch archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving on the inaugural train carrying guests from the hand over ceremony. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tan-y-bwlch archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog running round the special train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tan-y-bwlch archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog running round the special train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Porthmadog Harbour archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arrived on the special train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Porthmadog Harbour archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog running round the special train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Porthmadog Harbour archive view (21/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog preparing to depart Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Meanwhile at Dinas later that day....

 

This northerly archive view (21/2/98) shows Castell Caernarfon stabled outside the Loco Shed at Dinas with trackwork now complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Your webmaster went back to Dinas a week later with his father on one of their regular visits to view progress.

 

This southerly archive view (27/2/98) shows Vale of Ffestiniog with No.138 outside the Loco Shed and the rake of carriages stabled in the short lived South Yard siding as seen from Lon Eifion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This internal view of Dinas Loco Shed (27/2/98) shows No.143's boiler on ambulance bogies and the Gullick & Dobson tamper. The stair and office accommodation (since removed for the shed expansion) can be seen behind the loco. Each road could accommodate one Garratt initially before the shed expansion. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This internal view of Dinas Loco Shed (27/2/98) shows No.143's boiler, dome and chimney painted in aluminium paint on ambulance bogies and the Gullick & Dobson tamper on the newly completed pit. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This internal view of Dinas Loco Shed (27/2/98) shows No.143's boiler, dome and chimney painted in aluminium paint on ambulance bogies and the Gullick & Dobson tamper on the newly completed pit. The base support frame and lids for the Caernarfon water tank are being assembled on the right hand road as seen from the office stairs. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view of Dinas Loco Shed (27/2/98) shows No.138 and Castell Caernarfon outside the Loco Shed. The Garratt had been dragged out to allow work to proceed on the Caernarfon water tank in dry conditions. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (27/2/98) shows a wagon and buffer stop in the depot headshunt with the overgrown cutting leading to the A487 overbridge in the background. In Phase 2 it would be necessary to lower the ground level in this area to provide adequate clearance for Garratts/Funkey loading gauge under the road bridge. This would require gabions to the left of the wagon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (27/2/98) shows the five coach rake in the temporary carriage siding in south Yard. In Phase 2 it would be necessary to lower the ground level in this area and to remove the siding. The coaches were later stored in the North Yard Carriage shed when completed some time later. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (27/2/98) shows the No.138 dragged out of Loco Shed by Castell Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (27/2/98) shows the No.138 dragged out of Loco Shed by Castell Caernarfon. In the background is the short lived coach siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (27/2/98) shows a view of a snowclad Snowdon from Dinas in the days when we used to get snow in the Winter!. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 13

January 1998

The Public Inquiry in Caernarfon came to a close in January after some 4 weeks of gathering evidence. Work continued on the WHR to improve the ride with tamping allowing 25 mph in future. The Stop and Proceed operation at Hendy Crossing was examined to see if it could be replaced by a speed restriction in consultation with the Railway Inspectorate. Work was underway to make the carriage connections fit for passengers to use which would also permit trolley sales when the line extended to Waunfawr. A full year's timetable was planned for 1998 with trains starting for the Easter holidays and continuing to the Autumn Half Term holiday, with thoughts given for eventual Santa Trains and an Xmas service as on the FR.

The boiler of No.143 was due to be completed at Ian Riley Engineering at the ELR by the end of January after some delay waiting for bottle ended superheater flues from the manufacturer. The boiler was to be placed on its cradle frame on return to Dinas on accommodation bogies as work is still underway at Boston lodge on the on the power bogies. The loco was to be reassembled by volunteers and it was hoped the loco would be complete by April, supporting No.138 on the Easter services and hopefully not requiring a spare loco from the FR. The reassembly of K1 had started at Tyseley Loco Works at the BRM but progress depends of volunteers and funds. a new boiler is under construction at Winson Engineering and the loco may be back in steam before the end of 1998.

On the FR, the Funkey diesel was nearing completion, to be named Vale of Ffestiniog, and it was hoped could be in use from Spring1998. The loco resembles a miniature BR Class 58 has acquired new cabs and the power unit and bogies have been overhauled at Boston Lodge. Along with the unaltered Castell Caernarfon, the loco was purchased from the Port Elizabeth Cement Co. South Africa, but has been cut down to meet the FR tunnel profiles. National Power has sponsored much of the work and it is hoped to have a NP Class 59 and the Funkey side by side in Blaenau Ffestiniog at some stage.

An abortive project to build a 2' gauge line on the trackbed of the closed Scarborough & Whitby line at Robin Hood's Bay, a popular north east coast tourist spot produced an unexpected benefit for the WHR. An enthusiast had purchased five steam locos from Port Elizabeth SAR arriving in the UK in mid-January at Tilbury Docks. The locos went into store on arrival when the project folded whilst the locos were on the high seas. NG16s Nos.87/115/130 along with NG15s Nos.133/134 were to be available for purchase if any sponsor would like to support the WHR.

Final agreement was reached in early January after solicitors checked the FR/WHRL (64 Co.) agreement of 30/11/97.

FR Chairman Mike Hart said he was 'delighted' that agreement had finally been reached and that everyone should work together for the benefit of the WHR project. The WHLR had consequently withdrawn its opposition to the granting of the WHR LRO.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 12

December 1997

The Millennium Fund had granted the FR 4.3 million on the assumption the FR would reopen the WHR throughout but the reopening of Dinas-Porthmadog had aroused local opposition and become subject to a Public Inquiry which started on 9/12/97 in Caernarfon. Some 372 objections had been raised and a similar number of letters of support had been received. As a consequence the Inquiry would continue into late January.

Conservation groups, farmers and Gwarchod representing some of the local community were against the plan even though the scheme was reopening a railway that had never been formally abandoned and was essentially, except for rails, in place as a vacant trackbed. Evidence of the scheme's worth to the local community was presented as the railway as more than 9,000 had travelled on the short 3 mile Caernarfon-Dinas line during its very brief 3 week opening in October/November. Caernarfon's shops and cafes had benefited from increased tourism brought about by the opening of the railway and the town supported the extension of the railway to Porthmadog. The FR estimated that if the full route was permitted to be opened it could attract as many as 200,000 visitors per year and increased employment, both permanent and seasonal.

One of the main objectors to the routes reopening south from Dinas was the Snowdonia National Park Authority whose Planning Committee members voted against withdrawing their objections even though the railway forms part of the Local Plan!! There was concern from environmental groups that as the area already has the largest concentration of outdoor pursuits in Europe, another railway would do even more environmental damage in terms of pollution.

The NFU had also raised objections. Farmers had been using the trackbed for access without permission since the closure for over 50 years. Some 15 of its members had enclosed sections of the trackbed into their fields claiming the trackbed was not maintained by the Official Receiver and they had not purchased the land. Now they were saying they should not be forced to give it back! The Ramblers Association objected that parts of the route were a permitted path near Rhyd Ddu and in the Beddgelert Forest and Aberglaslyn Pass.

Your webmaster visited the Inquiry 22/12/97 and made some observations:

At Dinas 'Llanfair', a 3' gauge De Winton of 1895 was in evidence weighing 5 tonnes. It had previously worked at Penmaenmawr Quarries and had been purchased for 500 as an exhibit. The 0-4-0 loco 'coffeepot' loco has 2 vertical cylinders and a Stephenson Link motion. No.143's boiler was due for return at the end of the year. Components of the former Southam water tank were on site and a curved roof and tank support columns had been delivered.

 

This northerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows the complete Loco Shed tracks at Dinas with a flat wagon on the newly commissioned easterly shed road carrying two ex-SAR buffer stops. The Loco Shed is on the site of the original WHR Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows a PW train being loaded in the depot headshunt which curves into the WHR cutting under the A487. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows the completed track layout at Dinas South Yard with the rake of coaches stored in the very temporary siding curving into the yard and the Loco shed headshunt on the left. The building on the right stands on the site of the WHR Loco Shed and was becoming a machine shop. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows Upnor Castle on a PW working at Caernarfon. The train is returning to Dinas with RRM's connected at the rear by a long towing bar. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows Upnor Castle on a PW working departing Dinas possibly the next day as seen from Ty'n Llan Road bridge. The train is returning to Caernarfon propelling RRM's connected at the front by a long towing bar. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows Upnor Castle on a PW working crossing Hendy Crossing. The train is returning to Caernarfon with ballast wagons on the rear but no sign of the RRMs. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows Upnor Castle on a PW working at Caernarfon. The staff are laying the water tower siding and loose rails are being moved from the loop track as seen from Segontium Terrace. Sleepers have been laid out ready to receive the rails which are being slid over from the left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (22-24/12/97) shows Upnor Castle on a PW working at Caernarfon with rails being laid for the water tower siding as seen from Segontium Terrace in the later afternoon sunshine. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 11

November 1997

Following the preliminary meeting on 28/10/97 between WHLR officials and DoT officials the format of the Public Inquiry was agreed and the date set for the start on 9/12/97 in Caernarfon. It was expected the Inquiry would last until late January. the Inquiry was ordered by the new Labour government and will ultimately be a decision to be taken in the spring by the Secretary of State for Transport. If the order is approved the WHLR will have the right to reopen the 22 miles from Dinas to Porthmadog along with powers of compulsory purchase. Letters of support (including one from your webmaster) and objections were invited from interested groups and the WHLR was invited to discuss mitigation with objectors.

Railtrack has withdrawn its objection to the WHR reinstating its former level crossing of the Cambrian Coast line at Cambrian Crossing (likely to be renamed to avoid confusion as there are so many similarly named crossings on the Cambrian Coast line). Agreement has been reached for the crossing to be controlled by signals with electronically interlocked catch points on the narrow gauge. These will be interlocked with controls for adjacent level crossings.

Since the Caernarfon-Dinas section was opened traffic on this short line has been better than the FR envisaged with 18361 single journeys made by some 9200 passengers. Alco Mountaineer returned home to the FR at the end of the season after seeing little use with No.138 hauling most of the trains except when there were problems with the oil burners. Yorkshire Engines took delivery of the ex-Chattenden & Upnor Combination coach and some spare ex-SAR bogies. When work is complete the coach will be used on the Works Train for the extension of the WHR to Porthmadog. On the trackwork side, the opportunity was taken to tamp and tweak the alignment of the railway to improve running speeds to the eventual line speed limit of 25 mph. Initially trains had operated at 15 mph.

AIRPS Chairman and solicitor David Morgan chaired a meeting between the FR and WHR (P) in Warrington starting on 20/11/97 aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute between the two railways. A further meeting at Harbour Station on 30/11/97 confirmed arrangements subject to examination by solicitors for the two parties. The WHR Ltd (aka 64 co.) was to build the track as far as Pont Croesor and beyond depending on their finances. They would run trains on this section until the FR reached there. The WHRL agreed not to compete for grant monies against the FR. Once the line from Caernarfon to Porthmadog was complete the WHRL would have guaranteed access over this section subject to certain provisions:

The agreement also envisaged the possibility of FR trains terminating at Tremadog road as there was still some uncertainty about the Cross Town Link. Access charges were still to be agreed.

The dispute about the name Welsh Highland Railway was resolved as the whole line will become the WHR when complete but until that time the northern section will be known as the WHR(Caernarfon) and the southern section as WHR(Porthmadog). This was too late however for the printing for the 1998 season's trains.

 

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