WHR

The 40 km Dream

Archive Page

November 1995-October 1997

V4.10 updated 21/8/20

with images to 28/10/97

 

This page is organised as a timeline updated to Episode 10, October 1997.

 

The 40km Dream

This is the first part of a regular series of the history and images concerning 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'!

 

Episode 1 (November 1995-January 1997)

11/95 Millennium Commission Grant for Caernarfon-Dinas 735,000

12/95 GC grants Planning Permission for Caernarfon-Dinas

Mid/96 GC agrees 999 year lease of Caernarfon-Dinas trackbed for 999, signed early 1997.

26/7/96 Un-rebuilt Funkey named Castell Caernarfon in Castle Square Caernarfon (see images)

Mid/96 GC start moving out of Dinas in preparation for sale to F&WHR in December 1996

Late 96 WHRS working at Glan-y-pwll preparing track material from ex-Channel Tunnel Narrow Gauge Railway materials and helping prepare new shed and test track for Garratt testing

9/96 Some 700 tonnes of rail arrive Dinas from SAR Umzinto-Donnybrook Line via Immingham plus B wagons with track components (see images)

10/96 European Regional Development Fund Grant 735,000 awarded being matching the Millennium Grant and together covering the estimated cost of getting the Caernarfon-Dinas section open.

30/10/96 Garratt No.138 on test at ACR following refurbishment and subsequently shipped to Immingham

30/10/96 Six vacuum braked coaches ordered from Winsons in a 400,000 contract for delivery in June 97, following granting of a Welsh Tourist Board Grant of 100,000 towards the cost.

11/96 500 tonnes of rail arrive Dinas from same source including the tenth B wagon of track components

18/11/96 Tender deadline for construction of trackbed, consultants Travers Morgan recommended John Mowlem PLC's 705,000 contract

11/12/96 Mowlem sign contract set up site at Dinas. The contract included waterproofing of two viaducts, making the trackbed on the east side of the formation and diverting the Lon Eifion long distance footpath to the west side, fencing, drainage and bottom ballast plus other minor works.

20/12/96 Dinas station site purchased from GC for 170,000

28/12/97 WHLR staff/volunteers move into Dinas and lay three panels of track into Goods shed for the Funkey.

6/1/97 Mowlem staff move into Dinas and start work almost immediately scarifying the trackbed

14/1/97 Castell Caernarfon arrives Dinas and is stored in the old Goods Shed on the first lengths of rail

15/1/97 Start of Works event with Caernarfon Castle (see image)

3/97 300 tonnes of rail as complete panels arrive Dinas from same source

It is interesting to look back at the initial plans and they change and evolved due to circumstances.

In 1996 plans for the WHR got well underway with EU grants applied for and a schedule for opening in 1997. With closure of Trawsfynydd Nuclear Reactor some funds were also available for local developments for engineering and the FR built the new shed on the Glan-y-pwll branch. The track was relaid on the branch with a headshunt at the Afon Barlwyd bridge and a three road shed alongside BR tracks near the Crosville depot. This shed would later become home to No.138 and a test track for Garratts. The WHRS were active here sorting out track materials recovered from the narrow gauge Channel Tunnel construction railway which were being disposed. A set of jacks came to the F&WHR from the same source.

Notes of WHR plans made in this period are interesting to read.

September 1996: Track arrives at Dinas

October 1996: Garratt arriving Glan-y-pwll depot

November/December 1996 : Trackbed clearance starts

January/February 1997: Tracklaying starts

March 1997: Track in Caernarfon station/Garratt delivered to Dinas

April 1997: Trial runs

May 1997: Steaming

June 1997: Snagging

July 1997: Public Opening

Due to some slippage in the schedule, the opening did not occur until 13/10/97 and missed the Summer season holiday traffic!

Scanning and dating the WHR archive has taken a considerable amount of time, partly due too poor record keeping, partly because some slides need cleaning up but mostly because they were mixed up at some stage and do not have printed dates/numbers on mounts. A few of these photos were published in Railway Magazine for a short period but all predate this website which started about 2000. These pictures were taken around the end of August 1995 with a processing date of 10/9/95.

 

This southerly view (30?/8/95) shows the trackbed on the narrow shelf in the gorge at Plas-y-nant. The landowner claimed right of access over the Plas-y-nant bridge which was to result in a gated cantilevered footbridge being required and apparently never used as with the footpath crossing immediately to the north! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Slide scanned with Minolta DiMAGE ScanDual III AF2840 and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (30?/8/95) shows the Caernarfon station site used as a car park at that time as viewed from Segontium Terrace footbridge. Gwynedd Council had provided railway style gates on the Lon Eifion to restrict access to vehicles. There was as similar gate at Hendy Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Slide scanned with Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III AF2840 and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (30?/8/95) shows the Caernarfon station site used as a car park at that time with Caernarfon Castle framed by Segontium Terrace footbridge. Originally the Afon Wen and Llanberis branches passed under this bridge and the horse worked Docks Branch took off to the left just after the bridge where the formation became wider. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Slide scanned with Minolta DiMAGE ScanDual III AF2840 and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Engineers examined Pont Croesor and determined that the existing lintels that carried the WHR were sufficiently strong to carry the rebuilt railway. Initially a concrete ballasted deck was proposed. The bridge was rebuild by Gwynedd Council in 1994 with a new concrete deck and new high impact resistance highway balustrades. As GC was aware that the WHR was being planned care was taken to ensure the railway alignment was unimpeded. The initial plans were for a concrete deck with track ballast trough. Plans changed with the wider loading gauge and a steel beam structure was eventually built slightly cantilevered upstream to the west to allow for wider rolling stock and a walkway.

 

This northerly view (5-6?/4/96) shows the line of the WHR on the vacant piers adjacent to the recently rebuilt Pont Croesor road bridge. The studs of the holding down bolts are still visible in the concrete lintels. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Slide scanned with Minolta DiMAGE ScanDual III AF2840 and post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Track materials were being lifted from the Donnybrook line in South Africa, stored in B wagon bodies to be delivered to Dinas, with extra bogies purchased for coaches. On the rolling stock side two NG16 Garratts had been purchased Nos.138/143 and two Funkeys from PPC Porth Elizabeth SA. Winsons in Daventry had the order for the initial rake of coaches and a giant track laying machine that it was hoped would mechanise the laying of preassembled track panels. A Pullman to be named Bodysgallen was being donated by the owner of the Luxury Spa of the same name at Llandudno. Initially 10 forty foot coaches were to be ordered with a design speed of 25-30 mph in view of the 25 mile length of the WHR. Similar coaches on the Port Elizabeth line in South Africa were operated at 30mph. In the event an initial tranche of 5 coaches (plus the Pullman) was ordered for delivery in September 1997.

 

This easterly view (17/6/96) shows a BR DMU heading towards Llandudno Junction passing the new Glan-y-pwll shed which was to become the initial operating base of the WHRS and see trackworks. The shed was soon to see the first work on an NG16 and three roads were laid inside. A connecting test track was laid from the shed to a headshunt and back along the old trackbed alongside the Afon Barlwyd to the junction with the FR 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 taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The WHR's Funkey was unaltered given the larger loading gauge designed for the line. It is a large loco for narrow gauge measuring 31' by 7' and weighing 27 tonnes. The loco is vacuum braked as is all F&WHR rolling stock and has a 350hp Cummins diesel power unit. The 6 cylinder unit is turbocharged and linked with a fluid flywheel to the final drive.

 

This easterly view (26/7/96) shows the unaltered Funkey Castell Caernarfon in new maroon livery displayed in Y Maes, Caernarfon town square. The loco was to be named shortly afterwards. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (26/7/96) shows the Funkey being named Castell Caernarfon by Dafydd Wigley, the local MP, Tony Smare and Mike Schumann in the rain. Unusually for the FR it was monolingual, without a English nameplate Caernarfon Castle on the other side. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (26/7/96) shows the Funkey being named Castell Caernarfon by Dafydd Wigley, the local MP, Tony Smare and Mike Schumann in the rain. Given the weather there were few onlookers! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (26/7/96) shows the Funkey being named Castell Caernarfon by Dafydd Wigley, the local MP, Tony Smare and Mike Schumann in the rain. Unusually for the FR it was monolingual, without a English nameplate Caernarfon Castle on the other side. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (26/7/96) following the naming shows a spare nameplate Castell Caernarfon being presented to Dafydd Wigley, the local MP by Mike Schumann. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (26/7/96) following the naming shows a spare nameplate Castell Caernarfon being presented to Dafydd Wigley, the local MP by Mike Schumann. An information shop was opened on Y Maes and a teenager won the prize of a model railway and later became a buffet attendant! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (26/7/96) following the naming shows the loco getting thoroughly wet after the ceremony. The loco was on display for a few days before being moved to Dinas, following the FR taking possession of the site. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (26/7/96) shows the complete trackbed north of St Helens Road bridge and passing over the Gwyrfai viaduct. Gwynedd Council had just completed the new A487 Gwyrfai Bridge and included in the design in collaboration with the FR, space for the WHR and the Lon Eifion long distance cycleway. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (26/7/96) shows the complete trackbed with the new St Helens Road raised up to pass over the new bridge, previously it had passed under the railway. The design allowed for the new WHR Funkey loading gauge with the Lon Eifion long distance cycleway on the left with some ballast on the right for the future railway. This was arguably the first section of the railway to be completed but will require further alteration if the standard gauge Bangor-Afonwen link is reopened. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (26/7/96) shows the propped Coed Helen lane bridge. The original Carnarvonshire Railway was build with structures completed for double track in future but there was never more than a single track. The prop needed to be replaced and moved to the right as the trackbed would be on the left in this view. GC was responsible for overbridges and eventually replaced the prop with a new structure that gave adequate railway clearance. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Things started to move quickly in mid-1996 with the Gwynedd Council (GC) site at Dinas sold to the FR and evacuated over the next few months. Track materials were purchased from the redundant SAR Donnybrook line and shipped to the UK but at times it was a race between the locals and the contractors to remove the rail in South Africa. Some came as panels and some disassembled for use on curves. Track components came in B wagons which were stored at Dinas up on the bank behind the future Dock Siding. The following views were taken on 30/9/96 by invitation.

 

This easterly archive view (30/9/96) shows some of the workshops retained at Dinas that had been constructed by Welsh Water. B1899 complete with bogies and filled with track components stands in front of the shed. The shed was later to be known as the Clip shed where many track clips were cleaned and greased. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the Goods Shed at Dinas and some initial clearance of the Welsh Water site sufficient for the delivery and storage of track materials. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the convoy of lorries delivering loose rail to Dinas parked in the area that was to become the future platform. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (30/9/96) shows bundles of 5 rails being unloaded to a stack on the site of the future Carriage Shed. In the background are the Welsh Water offices that were soon to be removed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the pile of rails growing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the B wagon bodies, still with bogies attached and full of track fittings, stored on the bank about the future Dock Siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the Clip shed on the left and the erstwhile Gwynedd Council offices. A pile of ballast has been delivered presumably to level the site as tracklaying was not to start until the following Spring as the constrictor Mowlem refused volunteer access to the site whilst it was under construction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the south face of Dinas Goods shed which was to become a temporary home to Castell Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the east face of Dinas< station building with an extension that was soon to be knocked down. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (30/9/96) shows the narrow gauge bridge just south of Dinas station building. The WHR was to use the standard gauge bridge to the left and this bridge remains in use as a road access to the WHR depot at Dinas where they had purchased the southerly half of the Welsh Water building. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The following views are probably from 1/10/96 as it looks like the weather had changed from the photos of the previous day's rail delivery to Dinas.

 

This northerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the old Bryngwyn incline as seen from Rhosgadfan Road-Y Fron road. The section of track from Tryfan Junction to Bryngwyn was to be sold off to Gwynedd Council for use as the future Slate Trail as it was not envisaged that it would be restored. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (1/10/96) shows Caernarfon Castle from the old Bryngwyn incline as seen from Rhosgadfan Road-Y Fron road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the overgrown Summit Cutting from the A4085 road bridge at Pitt's Head. At this time the cutting was overgrown and flooded due to poor drainage at the site of Pitt's Head halt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the overgrown Summit Cutting from the A4085 road bridge at Pitt's Head. At this time the cutting was flooded due to poor drainage at the site of Pitt's Head halt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (1/10/96) shows Summit level from the A4085 at Pont Cae'r Gors. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the trackbed in rather open conditions near the Cwm Du Forest Car Park. Later planting obscured the views at this location but a new footpath crosses the line at this point. Snowdon is visible touching the cloud cover. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the trackbed in rather open conditions at Cwm Du bridge. There are no views from this area now as deciduous forestry has grown since the area was clear-felled in 2000. Snowdon is visible touching the cloud cover. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the view now lost to forestry looking south towards Beddgelert near the Afon Cwm Du bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (1/10/96) shows the view now lost to forestry looking towards Snowdon near the Beddgelert Forest car park at Cwm du. The track curves north towards Pont Cae'r Gors cutting. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

While work at Dinas had yet to start, some work was underway at Glan-y-pwll building a new shed and test track for Garratts. Money for this came from a government fund set up to ease the closure of the Trawsfynydd nuclear Power Station.

 

This easterly archive view (1/10/96) shows the headshunt of the Glan-y-pwll test track alongside NR tracks near the former Dinas (FR) station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (1/10/96) shows the new shed at Glan-y-pwll and the test track extending towards Glan-y-pwll junction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (1/10/96) shows the test track at Glan-y-pwll Junction. Some redundant bridge beams had been used to shore up the disused and dilapidated FR formation at this point. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Here are the final two images from October 1996, just prior to the start of WHR construction. Subsequent images (starting January 1997) will have detail from your webmaster's notepad used in coverage for magazines of the period. The two previous images shown further below have been re-dated to an accurate date of 10/11/96 through internal cross-referencing of notebooks. Both of the images shown below confirm structures on the Carnarvonshite Railway (sic) were built for future expansion to double track which fortunately gave space for both the Lon Eifion and the WHR.

 

This southerly archive view (26?/10/96) shows the Lon Eifion crossing Bontnewydd Viaduct as the contract for reconstruction was being considered. Both the Seiont and Gwyrfai viaducts were stripped out, waterproofed and repointed under the Mowlem's contract in 1997. The old Nantlle Tramway bridge over the Afon Gwyrfai can be viewed to the left from this point. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (26?/10/96) shows the Lon Eifion passing under Plas Dinas overbridge. The old Nantlle Tramway tunnel is in a lower cutting to the left under the same road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Scanning of your webmaster's slide collection through the construction and launch period of the WHR to 1998 has made good progress over the last few weeks and with the help of friends and magazine articles your webmaster wrote, many slides now have dates. Updates will appear more regularly after this gargantuan task of cataloguing is complete! Apologies for lack of updates over the last two weeks while this process was completed.

Here are some views, probably taken 10/11/96 before work started.

 

This northerly archive view (10/11/96) shows the former level crossing style gate erected at the future Hendy Level crossing to prevent vehicular access to Lon Eifion long distance path. In the cutting just north of the crossing there was a caravan in adverse possession selling plants from a makeshift garden centre. By this time the caravan was left abandoned on site for the WHR contractors to remove but some of the shrubs have survived over 20 years to make an interesting wild garden 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 taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The WHR reconstruction in 1997 used the former LNWR Afonwen-Caernarfon branch, itself largely on the Nantlle Railway alignment between Pen-y-groes and Caernarfon. Much of the formation of the 1825 Nantlle Railway was used by the Carnarvonshire Railway (later LNWR) to reach Caernarfon Harbour and the Chester & Holyhead Railway Caernarfon Branch (opened 1852), although many curves were eased meaning the WHR is now as much as 50m off the route of the Nantlle. The Carnarvonshire Railway opened to a temporary station at Coed Helen cutting known as Pant on 2/8/1867 but the Cross Town link to Caernarfon station was stalled. This meant that the Nantlle operated an isolated section between Pant and Caernarfon Quay for about 4 years. The Nantlle tunnel under Coed Helen Road and the shelf to the now demolished Seiont Bridge is still visible today. The Caernarfon Town line was opened 5/7/70 connecting both the isolated Llanberis Branch and Afonwen branch to Caernarfon station through what is now the road tunnel. The horse worked Quay branch followed in December 1871 at which point the isolated section of the Nantlle line through Coed Helen tunnel was abandoned.

 

This southerly archive view (10?/11/96) shows the former Nantlle Tramway tunnel under Coed Helen lane. The tramway saw extended use after the Caernarvonshire Railway was opened to Pant (Coed Helen Cutting) with transhipment there. It finally fell into disuse a few years later when the Caernarfon Cross-Town link and Quay Branch was opened. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work was to be divided into three sections with the Lon Eifion closed for the duration of the 4 month construction period and used as a haul road. The sections would be released to F&WHR staff for tracklaying midweek. The WHRS had completed the tracklaying for the new Glan-y-pwll shed and test track at the end of December and their expertise was to be used at weekends on tracklaying gangs. It was planned that by 21/1/97 PW vehicles and the Funkey would be on site at Dinas. It was hoped to start tracklaying mid-February if Mowlem released that section to schedule. Some 100 lengths of rail were to be delivered as assembled 60' panels and were to be laid in the platforms in order for PW stock to be railed. These left South Africa in mid November with the 11th and 12th B wagon of track components.

It was announced that the railway was funded to Waunfawr (6 miles) and this had been a condition of releasing the full Millennium Grant. A provisional opening date of 1/7/97 was set for opening the first section from Dinas to catch the Summer Holiday traffic. It was hoped that the six coaches ordered from Winson's would arrive in June allowing time for testing and snagging. One hundred ex SAR diamond frame bogies had been ordered for WHR stock. The ones for use on passenger coaches would be refurbished with dampers to provide an improved ride. The design of the coaches was quickly agreed and construction started in January 1997. The coach design was for 2+1 seating with three saloons, Nos.2040-42, and a composite brake, No.2090, with cushioned seats, an Open with slatted seats and no windows, No.2020, and a Pullman, No.2115. The standard coaches were to seat 36 passengers. It was initially planned that the Pullman would come as a body shell to be completed at Boston Lodge Carriage Works and would seat 20 in 5 bays with 1 + 1 seating. The cost of the Pullman would be borne by Historic House Hotels and would be named after their Llandudno hotel 'Bodysgallen'.

The FR's construction arm was named Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd. and a new manager was to be appointed in January. Roland Doyle, a regular FR volunteer and later driver, got the job. Staff arrived on site along with volunteers on 29-29/12/96 with Mowlem's staff arriving a few days later on 6/1/97. It soon became apparent that due to questions of site insurance Mowlem would not allow access and the whole schedule was going to slip. Mowlem started on the Section 1 between Dinas and Bontnewydd in early January, clearing trees and bushes etc. It was hoped they would be hand over the section in early March to the tracklayers but this was not be. Some clearance works were needed at Dinas and remaining council office cabins would be demolished. All NWNGR/WHR buildings were to be retained which mean the toilet extension to the ex-WHR waiting room would be carefully removed. A 200m platform was to be build (all WHR measures were to be metric) on the site of the old Down platform but due the narrower loading gauge the Up platform could be wide. A bay platform would be constructed at the north end for a possible Dinas-Caernarfon shuttle service. At Caernarfon a short 100m platform with run round was planned at the country end of the station allowing retention of the car park. This was to be extended to the full 200m in time for the expected traffic boost in the Year 2000. The station footbridge was designated the initial Zero point.

Initial tracklaying was planned for the loading dock and a siding into the Goods Shed to store the Funkey due to arrive from Minffordd early in January with several ex SAR wagons for use on PW trains also stored at Minffordd. The third load of ex Donnybrook track was expected over Christmas including 12 sets of points, a further two wagons and materials for coaching stock suck as vacuum gear swan necks and some 60 bogies. A fourth and final delivery was envisaged containing buffer stops to complete the trackwork.

On the loco front, No.138 was on its way to North Wales after refurbishment in South Africa and No.143 was ordered in the same shipment in relatively poor condition as the final Garratt built, to be restored at Glan-y-pwll. After 6 months of negotiations, red Garratt No.140, owned by some German/Swiss enthusiasts, was gifted to the railway for a nominal fee of 100. It was hoped it could be restored with Millennium Funds and due to arrive in Glan-y-pwll in the Spring and be shown at the FR Gala 3-5/5/97. Options had been taken on Nos.139/142 meaning only No.141 was needed to complete the set of last 6 Garratts built in Manchester. There was also on option on a further Garratt, either No.149/151 from the South African built Hunslet-Taylor variants. At this time it was hoped to ship the locos from snagging in Glan-y-pwll to driver training at Dinas in June prior to the opening on 1/7/97.

Elsewhere, work underway on K1, the original Garratt, at the Birmingham Railway Museum Tyseley had hit a snag. Cracks had been found radiating from rivet holes in the firebox throatplate. Although the K1 Group had raised 65,000 towards the cost of refurbishment it was likely to need up to 15,000 more for a new firebox. Cracks had also been found in the engine unit pivot plates that support the boiler frame. Stronger steel plates were likely to be fitted to guard against any reoccurrence of this problem. With reassembly of the loco taking place at Tyseley it was still hoped to have the loco ready for the proposed WHR opening on 1/7/97 (see images).

Two lengths of rail were laid into the Goods Shed and Castell Caernarfon arrived 14/1/97. There was a press rollout of 15/1/97. The first recorded loco movement at Dinas. Your webmaster started visiting the site regularly from January 1997 at weekends and school holidays and observing progress with his late father who had been recently widowed. Leaving the car at Dinas we would walk down Lon Eifion to Caernarfon and catch the bus back. After a while Lon Eifion was closed and we were on one occasion turned back by Mowlem's staff.

 

This southerly view (15/1/97) shows the roll out of Castell Caernarfon at Dinas with the JCB marginally winning the race. The press event was staged to mark the start of work on the WHR, though the Funkey was emerging from the standard gauge side of the Goods Shed!. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nos.138/143 arrived at Felixstowe on 6/1/97 in seven containers and the boiler units were moved to Glan-y-pwll on 14/1/97. The boiler units went to Minffordd Yard where they were shunted to Boston Lodge works by Linda. These four power bogies or 'engine units' were to be brought up to FR standards by the Spring then taken to Glan-y-pwll for fitting and trial running on the new test track up to the new Coach Shed. Basic trackwork there was completed by 11/1/97 and a 50 tonne crane used to unload the boiler units. Moel Hebog then hauled the boiler units on ambulance bogies up the 400m test track and shunted them into the Glan-y-pwll shed alongside NR tracks. It was hoped that NG G16 No.138 (Beyer Peacock Works No.7863) would be in steam for the FR Gala (3-5/5/97) while NG G16 No.143 (Works No.7868) will follow later.

Mowlem's work started week beginning 6/1/97 with clearance of the Dinas site and scarifying the trackbed all the way to Caernarfon by 19/1/97. This involved clearance of some LNWR/BR structures like an abandoned roofless PW hut between Bontnewydd and Dinas. Mowlem agreed to place packs of sleepers at regular intervals as they finished bottom ballasting the trackbed. The initial plan saw the Dinas site being released by mid February and the three miles of trackbed cleared by the end of April. At the end of March it was hoped the Dinas-Bontnewydd Viaduct (exclusive) section would be released for tracklaying from 1/4/97. Initially access to Lon Eifion was allowed and it was noted that the construction posts had Dinas at 9.6km with markers at 100 m intervals along the trackbed. However with the footpath being diverted in places residents were informed it would be closed from time to time.

In January it was confirmed that K1 would need a new firebox costing 20,000 but Bob Meanley of the Birmingham Railway Museum, kindly offered to design it free of charge. The loco would now be delayed until at least the 1998 season. On the positive side, Gwynedd Council decided to donate its Debenture WHR stock (nominally some 29,000) to the F&WHR. Councils had helped finance the WHR in the 1920s as a project to make work in to deal with unemployment in the area after the First World War soldiers returned by completing the unfinished PBSSR works of 1906 with deviations to ease gradients. The FR had bought up about 75% of this stock previously and was now in total financial control of its assets. Meanwhile at Minffordd WHR volunteers, denied access to the WHR trackbed, were at work adjusting sets of points for later use at Dinas and Caernarfon. The gauge had to be reduced slightly from the SAR's 2' gauge.

 

This northerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the newly built test track at Glan-y-pwll as seen from the junction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.138's boiler mounted on ambulance bogies in the new shed at Glan-y-pwll. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the headshunt of the Glan-y-pwll test track alongside NR at the missing Afon Barlwyd bridge near the FR's original Dinas terminus. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the fan of sidings that leads into the new Glan-y-pwll coach shed alongside NR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.138's power bogie with tank removed in Boston Lodge shed for fettling. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.138's power bogie with water tank removed from the front in Boston Lodge shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.143's power bogies with water tanks still attached in Boston Lodge Yard. Behind is the other power bogie from No.138. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.143's and No.138's power bogies with water tanks still attached in Boston Lodge Yard from the reverse angle and No.138's other power bogie on 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 taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows No.138's power bogie with tank removed in Boston Lodge Yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the coal tanks and cabs from Nos.138/143 on flat wagons in Boston Lodge Yard where they had arrived a few days before on 14/1/97. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the cabs and coal tanks from Nos.138/143 on flat wagons in Boston Lodge Yard where they had arrived a few days before on 14/1/97. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (18-19/1/97) shows the scarified trackbed with Hendy 'level crossing gate' visible in the distance. Clearance had reached at least as far as this point judging by the cut vegetation on the side 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 taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 2

February 1997

By February 1997 Mowlem's work was apparent throughout the 5km Dinas-Caernarfon stretch and progress was being made in Boston Lodge on the loco bogies, Minffordd Yard on the points and Glan-y-pwll on the loco boilers.

The two viaducts across the Seiont and Gwyrfai had been excavated down to the brick arches to weather seal them. They were then to be backfilled with reinforced concrete to strengthen the structures. The Lon Eifion trackbed walk was then closed for a few months to allow this work to progress uninterrupted. Following scarifying, the trackbed centreline was marked out with a 3m clearance. Many trees were cut down as a result that had grown since 1936 and impinged on the trackbed or reduced safe sighting lines approaching the many crossings. Some had been marked by the local council's tree officer for saving.

It had become obvious that while the Gwyrfai Viaduct was double track that the embankment either side had not been completed to full double track width when the Carnarvonshire Railway was opened. Gabions were used to establish a firm trackbed of sufficient width. These steel mesh cages were filled with local rock. some 80,000 was required to complete the work either side the Afon Gwyrfai. Here and there the Lon Eifion was to be moved onto the western shoulder of cuttings to create sufficient width for the trackbed.

At Dinas station in mid February demolition was complete and the platforms were being to appear alongside the old BR trackbed. A new access road and car park was being constructed from the station gates around the east side of the Goods Shed and south along the trackbed to the Welsh Water shed, the south end of which was to become the Loco Shed. It was hoped that parts of the Dinas station site could be released at the end of March so that tracklaying could begin in the platforms. Work on the points at Minffordd had started on 23/2/97 and these were being regauged by 1/8 inch. It was hoped complete assembled units could be transported to Dinas by lorry in the Spring.

No work had begun yet at the Caernarfon station site which remains a car park. Documents were due to be signed leasing the trackbed after negotiations with Arfon Council on a 999 year lease at 1per annum. However Gwynedd Council took over as a Unitary Authority on 1/4/96 which may have caused some delay. Sufficient track had been delivered or was on its way to complete the railway to the site of Betws Garmon station. Transport & Works application documents were being prepared to present to the DoT in early march for the rebuilding of the line from Dinas to Porthmadog.

On the loco front, more than 20 volunteers turned up to help ready the locos at Boson Lodge in February. No.138's tanks had been finished in green, the same shade as Blanche whereas it had originally intended that the locos would appear in red. Meanwhile No.143 would appear in black as in SAR. Work on the power bogies was progressing well with No.138's rear 2-6-2 unit completed in January and the front unit being attended to by Boston Lodge in mid February. Red Garratt No.140, being donated by the Swiss/German consortium, was moved to Durban ready for shipping in early February. The loco was to arrive by Easter and the be stored at Glan-y-pwll new shed. Once the first two (Nos.138/143)are up and running it was to be given a full overhaul ready for the anticipated expansion of services to Rhyd Ddu by the Millennium.

Roland Doyle took over management of Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd. at Dinas in mid February. He was monitoring the Mowlem's contract and was to also coordinate the volunteers. There was a call for a big effort by volunteers to start track laying soon and open the line by 1/7/97. Discussions were underway with Winson of Daventry, from whom the coaching stock was being purchased, for a tracklaying gantry to speed up the process.

 

Any help with the dates for the following slides would be much appreciated.

 

This westerly view (15-17?/2/97) shows the FR's Vale of Ffestiniog assisting on the WHR many times over the years, especially when Castell Caernarfon was out of service. Initially the loco was due to appear in National Power's blue livery as seen on its main line Class 59/2 locos. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (15-17/2/97) shows the FR's Vale of Ffestiniog with a cab at both ends much like its larger cousin National Power's blue livery Class 59/2 locos. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (15-17/2/97) shows the FR's new PW Mess coach No.1111 freshly outshopped in undercoat. This coach was also to appear on the WHR from time to time during PW activity. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (15-17/2/97) shows the FR's PW diesel Harlech Castle with a simulated freight in Harbour Station. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (15-17/2/97) shows the cabs for the rebuild of FR Funkey diesel Vale of Ffestiniog at Boston Lodge looking remarkably similar to a BR Class 58. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (15-17/2/97) shows the cabs for the rebuild of FR Funkey diesel Vale of Ffestiniog at Boston Lodge looking remarkably similar to a BR Class 58. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (15-17/2/97) shows the freshly painted green water tank for No.138 at Boston Lodge. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (15-17/2/97) shows the front power bogie for No.138 receiving attention from the fitters. 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 Sigma SA 300 SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 3

March 1997

By the end of March the WHLR Ltd had settled the 80,000 cost of its Dinas Loco shed site, the south half of the 1960s built National Rivers Authority depot in Dinas South Yard. This stood on the site of the original WHR carriage shed. The shed is suitable for a two road shed for Garratt locos. It is hoped to transfer ownership in May allowing much needed maintenance and trackwork to be laid out of the public area of Dinas North Yard. Looking to the future when the route is completed to Porthmadog (estimated to be 2005), the FR has bought the sandpit area to the east of Boston Lodge for a running shed for the Garratts.

In other financial developments on 10/3/97 there was a financial settlement between Gwynedd Council and the FR over the two remaining obstacles, these were a bridge debt of 27,000 and the Debenture Stock of 29,000 referred to in the last episode. The bridge debt represented sums paid out for reinforcing WHR under-bridges (e.g. Coed Helen) for heavier traffic experienced since the railway closed in 1936. GC was now fully supportive of the WHR project and it was hoped will progress the next application to the EU for ERDF grants thus relieving the WHLR management of considerable cost and time.

Red Garratt No.140 was on its way, due to arrive in England about 20/3/97. It was destined to be stored at Glan-y-pwll shed by Easter for the time being before eventually moving to Dinas. Further parts of the 'train set' were on the same ship from South Africa with 9 wagons and a level crossing unit. It had been discovered that there was corrosion of the dome rivets on No.138 which were failed by the Boston Lodge boiler inspector. These have been keyed and fitted with nuts thus ensuring 10 years of boiler life. Unfortunately the same problem was found with No.143's boiler, unusual for such young locos built in 1958, a consequence of being stored by the sea at the terminus of the Alfred County Railway. It was likely No.138 would be ready for the FR's May Gala and would be steamed on the Glan-y-pwll test track.

Early March saw a key stage begin with construction when ballasting began from over the length from a point 250m north of the Gwyrfai Viaduct at Bontnewydd from a farm underbridge for 1km back towards Dinas. This allowed the dumper trucks to serve the trackbed from a Dinas ballast store making a 30cm depth bed of bottom ballast. By 12/3/97, kerb stones were in place to form the platform edges at Dinas though the toilet block attached to the WHR waiting room had yet to be removed. It was hoped that Mowlem would release the platform area could be released to the WHLR by the end of March so that tracklaying could be completed in the area over Easter.

Work on the reinforcement of the two viaducts and one underbridge (just north of Bontnewydd) was nearing completion adding another 100 years of life to these 1860s Carnarvonshire Railway structures. Around Bontnewydd, gabions were nearing completion to widen the formation to its full double track width needed for railway formation and Lon Eifion. This area had been skimped by the Victorian contractors due to lack of fill from the Plas Dinas cutting to the south. Mowlem had additionally used geotextile to strengthen the embankment and ensure it could bear the weight of a Garratt loco.

Clearance at Caernarfon has revealed the three track width of the formation. The easterly track was the Llanberis Branch and the central track was the Afonwen branch while the westerly track was the horse worked docks branch, later worked by a tractor pulling wagons. The WHLR has made a decision to build a carriage shed at the south end where the Llanberis branch peels off on the east side of the formation. This idea met with approval by GC's planning Department and Lon Eifion was diverted further west south of St. Helens Road bridge to make way for this. The new entrance to the footpath/cycleway was made further along St Helens Road at the south end of the future WHR platform opposite Gwynedd Tyres.

The WHLR manager called for a big volunteer effort over Easter to ensure the line opened on 1/7/97 as planned to capture the Summer tourist traffic income. Volunteers were needed in every department from April onwards without impinging of the FR's operations. Looking ahead, once the WHR trackbed has been purchased from the official receiver it will be scarified, with removal of 60 years of growth, including some small trees. Ditches would need to be cleared and fencing restored during the Autumn and Winter as the project heads towards completing the 1998 terminus proposed on the WHR proper to be at Waunfawr. This work can be progressed ahead of a TWO as the railway has the right to take good care of its land whatever the outcome of the TWO process. In some places the embankment must be restored after removal by farmers and a landslip dealt with. A number of project coordinators have been set up to be points of contact with volunteers in tracklaying, rolling stock refurbishment and train crew etc. Colin Hill, who was leading K1's restoration was to be the first point of contact.

 

This northerly archive view (22-23?/3/97) shows the new road built around the site at Dinas. The Goods Shed has a giant sign advertising the project, contractors and funding bodies. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the new wall and gate at Dinas nearing completion. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the laying of kerb stones to form the platform faces at Dinas in the space where the former BR tracks ran.. The toilet block attached to the WHR Dinas waiting room still needed to be removed at this stage. The viewpoint was Ty'n Llan bridge and a section of the Lon Eifion was open at this stage. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows a view along the platform Dinas with the toilet block waiting to be demolished. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the northern end of Dinas station with the platform kerbing curving away. The bay platform face for the proposed 'Caernarfon shuttle' is also visible along with contractors equipment north of the Goods 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 northerly archive view (22-23?/3/97) shows the head of ballast progressing south towards Dinas from the Afon Gwyrfai Viaduct. Fencing would soon be erected to separate the Lon Eifion on the left from the railway formation. The location is believed to be just north of the Dinas headshunt and footpath crossing with the railway dropping into Plas Dinas Cutting in the background. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the ballast bed approaching Dinas. The viewpoint believe to be the climb from Plas Dinas Cutting with the Dinas headshunt and level crossing in the distance. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the ballast bed just north of an overbridge over a farm road some 250m north of the Afon Gwyrfai viaduct which was in the process of having a new deck installed. The metal spikes inserted in the ballast bed denote the surveyed positions of the rails. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the newly reinforced concrete deck of the accommodation bridge about 250 south of the Gwyrfai Viaduct at Bontnewydd. The ballast bed starts just south of this point and extends for almost 1 km back to Dinas headshunt. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the gabions required to widen the trackbed just south of the Afon Gwyrfai Viaduct. The head of ballast can be seen just over the works for the farm accommodation underbridge. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the refurbishment of the Afon Gwyrfai Viaduct nearing completion The trackbed on the right is complete and rebar and concreting is underway on the left for the Lon Eifion footpath. The old Nantlle Railway formation can be seen as a shelf on the hillside below the houses and crosses the Gwyrfai on a single arch which still exists the right. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the situation at Hendy Crossing with the BR style gate pushed aside to allow dumper trucks and 360 degree backactors to access and lay ballast. The caravan and 'garden centre illegally occupying the trackbed just north of the crossing had been removed by this time although a range of interesting shrubs remained. This was the location of the former Pant terminus of the Carnarvonshire Railway where slate for the harbour was transferred to the final stub on the Nantlle Railway that connected to the quayside. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows Coed Helen Cutting. It was important to restore the drainage of trackbed on the right in this rather wet cutting. The old Nantlle Railway formation can be seen as a shelf on the left and was converted into the Lon Eifion as the cutting is two narrow for both railway and footpath. The Coed Helen lane overbridge can be seen in the background. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the refurbishment of the Coed Helen cutting. The old Nantlle Railway formation can be seen as a shelf on the hillside to the left. At this point the Lon Eifion has descended off the shelf and rejoined the formation on the left. The propped Coed Helen overbridge can be seen as well as your webmaster's father. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the refurbishment of the Afon Seiont Viaduct. The concrete and rebar insert for the railway formation on the right hand side is nearing completion while that for the Lon Eifion on the left is complete. In the distance is the new St Helens Road bridge shows the way to Caernarfon. 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 (22-23?/3/97) shows the laying of kerb stones to form the platform faces at Dinas from Ty'n Llan lane over bridge.. The kerbs for the bay platform are also visible and a large ballast pile at the end of the platform to complete the ballasting. To the right in the distance are the retained GC sheds which were used by the railway for sorting and cleaning track clips, becoming known as the Clip 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 southerly archive view (22-23?/3/97) at Dinas from Ty'n Llan lane over bridge shows the National Rivers Authority shed on the left on the site of the original WHR's Carriage Shed and beyond that another building on the site of the former Loco Shed.. The WHRL took ownership of the south half of the nearer shed and the land beyond the gate. The railway trackbed was to curve in from the Lon Eifion on the right to pass at an angle between the two sheds. 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 4

April 1997

Garratt No.138 was steam tested for the first time on 18/4/97 after being assembled by a 75 tonne crane of 7/4/97. Paul Lewin (later to become FR General Manager) had worked hard to get the loco ready for the FR Gala (3-5/5/97) after the loco's boiler was found to be below British standards. It was intended to do some driver training before the Gala weekend. On the other hand the boiler of No.143 will have to go away to be repaired, possibly to the SVR. It is hoped to have the dome rivets and drain plugs replaced by the time the WHR services start.

The same crane used on No.143 was also used to unload No.140 from its lorry when it arrived at Glan-y-pwll. It was intended that No.140 be overhauled over winter and retain its 'Midland Red' livery whereas No.138 is in green livery and No.143 will be in SAR black. To save transport costs, No.138's two power bogies were moved from Boston Lodge to Glan-y-pwll via the FR on 6/4/97 sandwiched between Criccieth Castle and Upnor Castle after the end of scheduled passenger services. The journey was slow at times as the bogies were a tight fit in several locations.

A decision was made to site the Carriage shed at Dinas rather than Caernarfon as the site is more secure and there have been occasional vandalism problems in Caernarfon from time to time. This will be at the north end of the yard and will be 80m long, alongside the headshunt from the former loading dock area. A loco running shed will also be located with fuelling and inspection facilities. This will be open to the public.

An appeal for 30,000 has been launched for K1's new boiler. Some 10% of the cost has already been raised and the target is to get the loco in steam on the WHR summer 1998. The K1 Group is holding an Open Day on 7/7/97 at the Birmingham Railway Museum at Tyseley where the loco is based. There will be an opportunity to drive a BRM steam loco is the evening. Entry to the Open Day is free but tickets for the evening events should be obtained from Colin Hill, the K1 Group Organiser.

With tracklaying about to begin the WHR took on 4 permanent staff to ensure the line opens as planned on 1/7/97. Roland Doyle, the Welsh Highland Light Railway manager, appointed 4 trackmen on 16/4/97 from some 72 applicants. After training the PW team will start work laying track at Dinas in early May. It is hoped volunteers will form regular gangs working at weekends between the weekday shifts of the PW team. Mowlem's contract has gone quite well with much fine dry weather and they hoped to finish in mid June. A 30 cm deep bottom ballast bed is complete from an underbridge just north of Bontnewydd Viaduct to Dinas and the centreline has been marked out. At the north end of the project ballasting was underway from Hendy Crossing towards Caernarfon with 9,000 tonnes being required for the full Phase 1 project.

A clearout of track materials from South Africa has seen 24 sets of points shipped to Immingham and a further 26 lorry loads delivered to Dinas in April. A set of 80 preassembled straight track panels were included which are intended for the initial track lay in Dinas platform in May. Winson Engineering, Daventry, which also won the initial coaching stock order, has won a contract for the construction of a rail gantry crane that will assist tracklaying. The structure will be based on an ex SAR DZ flat wagon and have overhang girders both ends capable of lifting rails or track panels off a supply wagon to the rear and passing through to the head of steel and placing them ahead of itself. With two shifts operating it was anticipated that 150m of track a day could be laid after staff have mastered the learning curve. A refurbished narrow gauge tamper has been ordered from the Yorkshire Engine Company at Long Marston. It is hoped to complete the 3 miles of tracklaying and tamping within two months of starting. The two machines will then be used on the 20 miles south of Dinas to Porthmadog.

On 27/3/97 the T&W documentation was submitted, including a lengthy environmental statement. The plans were available for public inspection at Porthmadog and Caernarfon public libraries or 42 from Harbour Station. A non technical summary is available for 2.70 and a traffic projection analysis for 13. Given the urgency of reaching Rhyd Ddu by 2000 it was hoped the order would be granted by early 1998 at the latest. In the meantime, once possession of the land is gained, possibly by summer 1997, fencing and clearance of the route can be undertaken under landowner's duties.

Over the weekend of 26-27/4/97 driver training was underway at Glan-y-pwll on the short test track in typically dull wet Blaenau weather in pr3eparation for the FR Gala the following weekend. A supporter sent your webmaster some prints of this event as your webmaster's slides do not appear to have been returned by Railway Magazine, which carried a picture dated 27/4/97 by your webmaster. Could the supporter please email me and full credit will be given. It is not known if the scans depicted below are in the right order but all are assumed to be from 26-27/4/97.

 

This westerly archive view (26-27?/4/97) shows No.138 with a driver training run on the test track at Glan-y-pwll as viewed over the BR tracks from wasteland off Dinas Road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy of a supporter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (26-27?/4/97) shows No.138 approaching the Dinas end of the test track at Glan-y-pwll as viewed from the end of the line off Dinas Road. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy of a supporter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (26-27?/4/97) shows No.138 with a driver training run returning to Glan-y-pwll as viewed from the west side of the formation with BR tracks behind the loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy of a supporter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (26-27?/4/97) shows No.138 with a driver training run returning to Glan-y-pwll as viewed from the west side of the formation with the new Glan-y-pwll shed in the background. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy of a supporter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (26-27?/4/97) shows No.138 setting off from Glan-y-pwll Junction with a driver training run returning to the Dinas end of the test track. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy a supporter and was taken on of a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 5

May 1997

After driver training on the Glan-y-pwll test track over previous several days, green liveried No.138 did appear in steam at the FR Gala 3-5/5/97, along with a static No.140 in red livery and parts of No.143.

 

This southerly archive view (3/5/97) shows No.138 in steam at Glan-y-pwll. This poor view is all that remains of several views your webmaster took at the time which has subsequently been lost. 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 (3/5/97) shows a static No.140 on display at Glan-y-pwll, a rare view as the loco was to be cannibalised when it arrived at Dinas a few years later and now exists as a kit of parts with some in use on other locos. A temporary bridge had been built across the Afon Barlwyd on the right to allow visitors to access a viewpoint of the test track and No.138's test runs. The FR's new PW Mess Coach is also visible in grey undercoat. 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 (3/5/97) shows No.138 running on the test track as seen from the viewpoint on the eastside of the Afon Barlwyd. The loco is on the pointwork for the new Glan-y-pwll shed and the buffer stop for the missing Afon Barlwyd bridge can be seen in the distance below the incline. 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 (3/5/97) shows No.138 in steam at Glan-y-pwll setting off for the headshunt near Dinas (FR). In the background can be seen the boiler of No.143 as well as PW loco Harlech Castle and small shunter The Colonel. The temporary bridge across the Afon Barlwyd gave access to viewpoints of the test track from the eastern side. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Russell Edwards and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying began at Dinas over the period 12-14/5/97 when a hired crane placed several hundred yards of track panels between the platform faces. The 9 DZ wagons purchased from Alfred County railway were placed on these panels and loaded up with the spare panels with each wagon holding five 18m panels, enough for over 100 yards progress towards Caernarfon. Three of the wagons on the track nearer the station building were loaded with loose rails for use on curves. Eight trackmen were now employed and, with safety training underway, tracklaying is set to begin in earnest at the end of May. The panel wagons with clear identities were in order from south to north DZ863/DZ1365/DZ1418/DZXXX/DZ977? and two others whilst the row of three held two unidentified wagons and DZ1410. Other wagons identified on site were 1848/1899/1806 and all were to be fitted with FR style chopper couplings.

 

This northerly archive view (3/5/97) shows stacks of track panels and 9 flat wagons at Dinas in the area north of the Goods 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.

 

Winsons of Daventry were commissioned to build a tracklaying machine which would be delivered to Dinas by the end of May. It consists of a 100' long cradle to be fitted to a DZ wagon at Dinas with compressed air lift/travel to carry a 2 tonne track panel or two rails from the overhang gantry at the rear to the overhang gantry at the front. The idea was that the tracklayer wagon would be propelled to the rail head with a wagon of track panels or loose rail to the rear. Once at the railhead, the gantry carrying mechanism would lift a panel of track from the wagon at the rear, carry it through to the front and place it ready to be joined to existing railhead. The process would then be repeated until the loco has to take the empty wagon back to Dinas and return with a fresh wagon of track panels/rail. This would mean a lot of movements on the railway with the possibility of 150m a day being laid once the learning curve is mastered and, with two shifts in action (6am-2pm and 2pm-10pm), the railhead could advance at a rate of up to 1 mile per week.

The WHLR has acquired Hibberd 4wDM Upnor Castle from the FR for use on the PW turns and it will arrive by road by the end of May. Some consideration has been given to using the tracklayer south to Dinas on the original WHR route to Rhyd Ddu. There are locations where the rail gantry will be out of gauge for bridges and so would need to be disassembled and reassembled beyond that point. As part of Mowlem's contract, packs of 13 steel sleepers have been placed at regular intervals along the trackbed, with 23 needed for each length of rail. Discussions were taking place with Mowlem about releasing sections of trackbed for tracklaying teams given the short time until the planned opening day of 1/7/97 but there were contractual questions of insurance so a delay in opening looked increasingly likely.

Volunteers have been working in the Clip Shed, one of the old GC sheds retained at the north end of the Dinas site, to grease and ease the track screws that will clamp the rail to the steel sleepers. These come in different sizes to allow for gauge widening on curves etc. While a 30 cm depth of bottom ballast has be laid, top ballast and tamping will follow when track has been laid and tweaked into its final smooth alignment. Yorkshire Engine Co. of Long Marston won a 25,000 contract to supply a refurbished ex NCB mines diesel hydraulic tamper to be tested on the FR in early June after being altered to fit the FR's loading gauge. This was one of several 60HP high speed tampers built by the NCB just before privatisation and was of a twin cab design with gauge adjustable between 2' and 3'.

 

This northerly archive view (17?/5/97) shows track laid at Dinas just a few days before as seen from Ty'n Llan road bridge. Fencing was being erected separating Lon Eifion from the trackbed and traditional style lamp standards were in place. The toilet block on the rear of the WHR waiting room had yet to be removed. There are six wagons in the left hand track each carrying 5 track panels whilst on the other track are 3 wagons with loose rail for curves. In the yard a large number of track panels, rails and sleepers can be seen as well as a large pile of ballast. 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 (17?/5/97) shows track laid at Dinas just a few days before. One of the flat wagons carrying five track panels can be seen. 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 (17?/5/97) shows loose rail laid on the track at the north end of Dinas. One of the 3 flat wagons carrying loose rail can be seen on the left. Mowlem's construction equipment can be seen in the yard. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the head of steel in the platforms. One of the flat wagons carrying six track panels can be seen. Fencing has been erected on the right separating the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway from the platform. 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.

 

Mowlem's contract was winding down at the end of May and it was hoped they would have finished the main contract by mid-June, though they might be retained for some additional work. By 17/5/97, the centre line fencing separating the railway from the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway had advanced to Bontnewydd and ballasting had reached the Garden Centre level crossing just north of Bontnewydd (about half of the total). A start had also been made at the Caernarfon end and ballasting now reached southwards from Caernarfon to the former Llanberis Line divergence near Point Seiont. As Lon Eifion had been moved to the west between the station and St Helens Road bridge a large area has been cleared on the east side of the formation where the Llanberis line peeled away. Initial thoughts were to have a Carriage Shed at this location but it made more sense to assemble the train at Dinas where the loco would also be prepared, even if it meant more ECS running at the beginning and end of the day.

Mowlem's clearance, ditching and drainage has been good but one of three ex LNWR PW huts survived for a while half a mile north of Dinas. An ex LNWR rail was also found buried in the trackbed. Progress has also been made at Caernarfon station which was to consist of an edge platform on the west side with a run round loop on the east side against the Segontium Terrace retaining wall. As the site is so narrow the platform is just 5' wide in places. At the south end of the loop a siding was to be provided for shunting purposes. It was to be capable of accommodating two Garratt locos.

The WHLR has appointed an administration assistant Jan Woods to be based at the new site office block erected at Dinas next to the Clip Shed at the north end of the new car park. The WHLR hoped that volunteers would contact her by phone to organise tracklaying parties. The Dinas site has benefited from a late Grant of 300,000 from the Welsh Office environmental improvement fund. This helped pay for the improvement works already completed allowing the lottery grant to be used on more basic railway requirements.

Viewpoints were to be created on the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway. The viaducts have already been identified as places for seats which will be made with a railway theme from rail and sleepers and feature old bicycles too. Photographers would find the Seiont Bridge near Caernarfon and the locos charge the 1 in 45 bank. Once the ballast bed has been laid and the centre line marked out it became obvious that clearances for the Garratts would require further cutting back of trees and vegetation. Some further clearance at the several footpath crossings will be needed to provide adequate sightlines for loco drivers.

Winson's also has a coach order coach order is progressing well and the first coach will be delivered soon for testing on the FR before delivery to Dinas. The Pullman coach was delayed so that the main order of 5 coaches could be quickly completed.

Some objections have been lodged to the T&W order application to the extension of the WHR to Porthmadog. Objections included

The period for objection closed by May and the WHLR was waiting to hear if a Public Enquiry would be needed as seems likely. A local community group which became known as Gwarchod (The Guardians) formed to coordinate opposition to the reinstatement of the railway calling it a 'white elephant'.

 

This northerly archive view (17?/5/97) shows the head of ballast just north of Plas Dinas bridge. At this point the former Nantlle line crosses the Carnarvonshire Railway in a 1m deep cutting and a culvert had to be constructed to carry water from the nearly Plas Dinas tunnel on the Nantlle Railway behind the viewpoint. Fencing had been erected in the distance separating the railway's bottom ballast from the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the completed Gwyrfai viaduct with the railway to the left with fenced posts separating the railway and footpath while the original edge fencing had been re4stored to preserve the appearance. Fencing has been erected in the distance separating the railway's bottom ballast from the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway. The Lon Eifion path became popular with joggers and two are seen here resting. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the head of ballast just south of the more southerly footbridge at Caernarfon. A new bund on the left separates the railway from Lon Eifion which has been moved off the formation and close to St Helens Road. The rubble stone wall here was not up to the quality of that supporting Segontium Terrace above the station and collapsed in later years. The space on the right was originally considered for a possible 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 northerly archive view (17?/5/97) shows the ballast just south of the more southerly footbridge at Caernarfon. A piles of steel sleepers on the right awaited the attention of the tracklaying teams who were yet to start out from Dinas, nearly 3 miles distant. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the ballast just north of the more southerly footbridge at Caernarfon. The railway formation sensibly keeps to the west side of the former BR double formation at this point which used to carry both the Llanberis and Afonwen branches. Various attempts had been made by BR over the years to shore up the wall. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the start of the platform kerbing at Caernarfon. There was plenty of space here for a run round track and a short siding off it which later became the watering point. 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 (17?/5/97) shows the first attempt at platform kerbing at the south end of Caernarfon. The platform was rather narrow at 5' at this point. BR had made further attempts to shore up the rubble stone wall that supported the footpath above at this point. Piles of kerbstones and metal sleepers await use near the future location of the water tank siding on 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 (25/5/97) shows the start of volunteer tracklaying from Dinas on one of the first weekend working parties with track laying showing good progress compared to the preassembled panels visible the previous week (probably Sunday 17/5/97, see above). Some 10 volunteers are gathered around the head of steel and have spaced out some sleepers ready for clipping rails to the curve off the end of the platform. A wheelbarrow on the platform to the right contains all the volunteer's tools. Already a few curved sections of track have been laid from the preassembled panels laid in the platform. The trackbed is ballasted all the way out of the station and piles of steel sleepers await use. Several B wagons remain on the bank above the Loading Dock full of PW materials. Mounds of rubble dominated the rest of the Dinas site and needed to be cleared but Mowlem's ballasting operation has moved out. 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 (25/5/97) shows the start of volunteer tracklaying from Dinas on one of the first weekend working parties. Two volunteers are laying sleepers and clips ready for laying rails. Some 23 sleepers and 92 clips and bolts were needed for every 18m length of rail. 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 (25/5/97) shows the progress Mowlem had made with ballasting out from Caernarfon back towards their ballast dump at Hendy. The Lon Eifion cycleway/footpath had been moved to the extreme left and this created a large space on the right where the ballast dump. It was initially thought a Carriage Shed might be located at this point where the Llanberis branch. Mounds of ballast and slate fines for Lon Eifion are visible on the right. 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 (25/5/97) shows the realigned platform edge at Dinas after it was determined the restricted width of the platform at the south end might fall foul of current safety regulations. Packs of sleepers are stored on the left. Scarifying had reached the BR style level crossing gate that formerly marked the start of the Lon Eifion however the gate and two concrete car park bollards still needed to be removed though some can be seen stacked by the wall on the left. Piles of sub-base are visible on the right to make up the platform. 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 (25/5/97) shows the progress later that afternoon. One rail has been clipped onto the sleepers laid previously. Track clips and bolts are positioned alongside each sleeper. 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 (25/5/97) shows volunteers making progress later that afternoon. A second rail has been clipped onto the sleepers laid previously. Rail tongs are being used to drag a rail forwards over sections of pipe positioned to reduce friction. John Sreeves (the WHR's volunteer bridge engineer) is present in the T-shirt, one of two people on the rail tongs. Other volunteers are holding crow bars to guide the rail into place and holding sleepers up so that clips can be fixed onto the rail. Jacks are visible for lifting up the track when making a fishplate join to the existing rail head. The buckets contain collections of track fixings. The track panel is shifted with crowbars so that the offset from the metal survey poles seen on the left is constant and there is a smooth curve. 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.

 

John Sreeves has kindly released his notes as a typical volunteer experience of the day from this first volunteering weekend travelling from Aylesbury to the WHR.

Diary entry: Friday 23 May 1997. End of school. Drove to Dinas arriving 22.45. Slept in car.

Saturday 24 May 1997.

Safety induction talk. Cleaning sheds(?) easing bolts and general preparation. Fine, dry, sunny, but a cold wind. Overnight at Snowdonia Parc Campsite.

Sunday 25 May 1997.

A touch of ground frost. Track laying. Sleepers for four panels + one RH rail, 4 LH rails. Each rail 59', 24 sleepers per rail. Fine, dry, sunny, very hot. Sunburn on neck and arms. Overnight at campsite.

Monday 26 May 1997. Bank Holiday UK

Track laying continues apace. At the end of the day 7 panels were complete over the two days. Very hot, dry, sunny. Depart 15.50. Very heavy traffic everywhere.

That weekend was the first of many regular attendances from then on, although I had attended a practice track session at Glan-y-Pwll earlier.

 

This southerly archive view (27/5/97) shows the track panels on the wagons were now propped to stop the rails bending under the weight of the panels above. 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 (27/5/97) shows the south end of Dinas station with work stopped (probably Tuesday 27/5/97 was an Easter week off for the contractor). There was still a considerable amount of waste to dispose of at Dinas and the platforms required making up but ducting was in place for the lighting circuits visible on the right. 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 (27/5/97) shows the new ballast stockpile just south of Hendy Crossing (probably Tuesday 27/5/97). A back actor is visible and a dumper truck used to load and transport the ballast to the head of the ballast bed both north and south of this point, this freeing Dinas to Bontnewydd for tracklaying.. 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 (27/5/97) shows the view of Caernarfon station as seen from Segontium Terrace footbridge. The former De Winton ironworks is on the right. The platform extends up to footbridge but has yet to be backfilled. The platform was quite short for the 4/5 coach initial train service. 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 archive view (28-30?/5/97) shows a view of Winson's Daventry factory where five coaches were under construction for the WHR. The one on the far right is the Open Coach No.2020 with saloons Nos.2040-42 nearer the camera in various stages of completion. All five coaches of Winson's first batch order are visible in various stages of construction. 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 archive view (28-30?/5/97) shows a view of Winson's Daventry factory with Open Coach No.2020 nearing the final stages of completion. This coach does not have side windows and was planned as a summer coach where passengers could enjoy the environment in a more open way. 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 archive view (28-30?/5/97) shows a view of Winson's Daventry factory with Open Coach No.2020 nearing completion and a fully glazed saloon visible to the right for comparison. 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.

 

Work was nearing completion on the 10 tonne ex-NCB tamper at Long Marston. Yorkshire Engine Co. had purchased two that happened to be above ground at the time of the collapse of the coal industry. With its hydrostatic drive it could tamp, pack, lift and slew track of the lightweight type used in mines. The planned testing took place on the Bala Lake Railway, rather than the FR as planned, where the wiring of the machine was also refurbished before it came to the WHR. This meant much initial tamping of track was done by hand with Kango hand tampers.

 

This archive view (29-31?/5/97) shows the Gullick & Dobson tamper being restored to working condition for the WHR on a standard gauge wagon at Yorkshire Engines Co., Long Marston. Two cab roofs have been fitted to deal with the occasionally less favourable weather in North Wales. This articulated unit was due to be delivered to the FR by the end of May for evaluation and staff training. 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 6

June 1997

The Caernarfon terminus was beginning to take shape in June with the platform kerbs had been laid and the surface tarmaced. The line of kerbing has been adjusted to give a 2.5m platform the full length of the station, which may be a temporary location as thought had been given to other locations e.g. in the town centre with better car parking. By 14/6/97 ballasting had advanced about 1km south from the station to beyond Coed Helen overbridge while from the Dinas direction ballasting has reached Pant level crossing, which continues to be the main delivery point/stockpile for ballasting. It was anticipated construction work would be completed and Mowlem off site at the end of June.

In the absence of the tracklaying machine, which was due from Winsons (Daventry), WHLR staff and volunteers have been progressing the head of steel by manual means. In the two weeks since the start of June some 400 yards of track had been laid working north form the station, including an occupation crossing for Dinas farm. WHLR staff are pleased with the volunteer effort and 8 lengths were laid over the Spring bank Holiday weekend to add to the track panels previously laid in Dinas platforms. In all about 1/10th of the track (totalling 4.4km with sidings) has been laid so far. Rails are carried in matched length pairs on a Jubilee skip bogie to the railhead by manual means in the absence of a lightweight diesel loco at Dinas. Fortunately it is all downhill to Caernarfon but the skips have to be pushed back uphill again to collect more! FR diesel Upnor Castle was being refurbished and was due to arrive at the end of June to assist but it was becoming Obvious that the 1/7/97 opening date would be missed and a date later in the Summer Holiday period was more likely. WHLR manager Roland Doyle was looking at improved methods of getting rails to the railhead and to assist with shunting Dinas yard as points and sidings would be laid soon.

No.143's boiler was to go to East Lancs Railway where boilersmith Ian Riley would be working on it throughout July. It was hoped the boiler would be back for the start of services, now anticipated for August. A new concrete lining had been added to the firebox at Glan-y-pwll but the condition of some of the rivets left much to be desired as ultrasonic testing had revealed 29 to be suspect. There are 54 wash out plugs on the loco and 10 were found to be broken or in scrap condition. The FR has been concerned to discover the standard of maintenance and lack of refurbishment when it examined to loco in detail. On the other hand No.138 passed its hydraulic test with 270il pressure of cold water and ran faultlessly on the Glan-y-pwll test track over the FR Gala 3-5/5/97. Driver experience courses raised over 2,000 for the Lyd Appeal.

Dinas Yard was beginning to take shape and on 14/6/97 a refuelling road complete with ex SAR buffer stop was laid close to the former loading dock at the north end of the site. To further tracks are to be provided for a two road Carriage Shed in this area with a headshunt reaching to the accommodation crossing. The yard tracks would be connected to the Goods Shed and a crossover provided from the headshunt to the main line. In addition a bay platform and parallel siding were to be provided and a point at the north end of the platform loop. Pointwork for all of these 8 points was the crucial challenge with staff at Minffordd Yard working on 12 examples covering three for Caernarfon and the south loop point at Dinas. Each point requires 5 man-weeks of labour as re-gauging by half an inch needs special care to ensure there is no risk of derailment. There was an appeal for more help to complete this essential element of the work.

Work at Dinas station was nearing completion with recent grants enabling the purchase of 5 period lamp standards, block paving and the attractive gate and fencing. The ex-WHR/LNWR station building would be restored to its original style following demolition of the modern toilet block, which in turn will allow completion of the platform. By 14/6/97 tracklaying had reached the first Nantlle Railway culvert just before the Plas Dinas bridge while sleepers were laid out to the level crossing just south of Bontnewydd. Ballast been laid north of there to the former Pant ballast dump while fence poles to divide the railway from the Lon Eifion had reached the same location. Ballast was nearing completion with a gap of just 80m between Pant and Coed Helen Cutting although Caernarfon station needed completion.

The Yorkshire Engine Co. Becorit tamper was delivered to the Bala Lake Railway at Llanuwchllyn. There it was hoped Roger Hine, the mechanical engineer, would check the operation of the machine before deliver for trails on the FR. The articulated ex-NCB tamper was finished in yellow hi-vis PW colours and it was anticipated it would be available for tamping WHR track in July. Mrs Jan Woods, Dinas Admin Assistant, was still encouraging volunteers to get in contact as it was planned to have volunteer tracklaying each weekend with permanent staff working two shifts on the long summer days in June and July so that the railway could be opened in August. It did not appear there was a volunteer working party doing any tracklaying on 14/6/97, a rather dull wet weekend.

 

This southerly archive view (14/6/97) shows the completed track at Plas Dinas Farm crossing with the future headshunt to the left where rails are stored. pools of water confirm it was a dismal wet weekend. 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 (14/6/97) shows the head of steel on that day with a pile of sleepers ready to use in the foreground. This location is at the point where the former Nantlle Railway crosses from right to left in a cutting with Plas Dinas bridge behind the viewpoint and Lon Eifion to the right separated by a fence from the railway. Regular weekend volunteer groups appeared not to be in action on this date. 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 (14/6/97) shows the completed ballast bed at Bontnewydd level crossing with the viaduct in view to the north. 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 (14/6/97) shows the completed ballast bed just south of Pant Farm level crossing with Pant Road overbridge visible in the background. 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 (14/6/97) shows the completed ballast bed at Hendy crossing, the former site of Mowlem's ballast dump after they moved out of Dinas. 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 (14/6/97) shows the completed tarmac platform at Caernarfon, now the same 2.5m width throughout 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 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 (14/6/97) shows the completed tarmac platform at Caernarfon, and the scarified trackbed as viewed from the Segontium Terrace footbridge. The WHLR had by now taken ownership of the former car park on the station site. 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 FR had submitted a request for permission to reopen the WHR on 27/3/97 under the T&WO regulations a distance of 21.5 miles from Dinas to Porthmadog where end on junction would be made with the FR. Glenda Jackson, the Minister for Local Transport, responded on 5/6/97 announcing that the decision would be referred to a Public Inquiry. In all there had been 328 letters of objection, many from members of the Snowdonia National Park Society. These did not query the principle of the railway but rather wanted to seek a harmonious development, such a drystone walling.

A petition has been signed by 180 residents of Porthmadog who were concerned about the level crossing of the A487 at Britannia Bridge. This area was frequently congested in holiday times with long queues from both directions. The FR had proposed a hazard box crossing with tramway signalling similar to those adopted on the Manchester Metro. Research on behalf of the FR, produced for the T&W documentation, states that if signals are tied into signals for foot crossings nearby no further congestion will occur. Trains would not be signalled away from Porthmadog until the hazard box was clear. A 'hurry' signal would permit emergency vehicles to cross.

Railtrack said it was happy with the proposals for the proposed reinstatement of the flat crossing of the Cambrian Coast Line, often a source of expense and awkwardness in GWR days which led to WHR eventually terminating just north of the crossing in the final years. The new crossing would be protected either side by catchpoints on the WHR (but not on the standard gauge) and lights wired into the local level crossings and BR's Porthmadog station starter signal.

Footpaths along the trackbed were to be diverted along improved local footpaths at the WHLR's expense. This was particularly important in the Aberglaslyn Pass where a new footbridge was needed and diversion of the Fisherman's Path out of the tunnels, one of which, T4, was 400m long. FR sources say there is no problem with the millennium Commission grant about the Public Enquiry as it was always known this might be the case.

Purchase of the derelict trackbed was continuing from the Official Receiver on the original timescale despite the Public Inquiry. Following purchase, boundary and clearance works can proceed under the normal responsibilities of a landowner, whilst waiting for the result of the Inquiry. The WHR Project had been subject to a previous Inquiry in 1995 which adjudicated between opposing claims by the FR and the WHR(64 Co.) as to who had the right to redevelop the WHR. This earlier Inquiry granted the Transfer Order to the FR on the basis it was the more successful organisation. The FR anticipated that the new Inquiry might start in August of 1997 and the decision be announced the following Spring. The FR's team was negotiating with objectors in the hope that with appropriate mitigation, many of the objections would be withdrawn before the Inquiry. Nevertheless, the local opposition group that represented residents alongside the line, Gwarchod, was becoming more vociferous and would be expected to continue objecting.

On the last day of June the first coach No.2020 was being prepared at Winsons for dispatch. The tracklaying gantry was also being readied for dispatch to arrive at Boston Lodge and Dinas respectively at the start of July.

 

This Daventry archive view (30/6/97) shows the completed tracklaying gantry being loaded at Winsons for transport to Dinas for fitting to a DZ wagon. The gantry was to appear in yellow hi vis PW colours at Dinas. 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 Daventry archive view (30/6/97) shows the completed WHR Open coach No.2020 being loaded at Winsons for transport to Boston Lodge on test. The slings were covered in sleeves to avoid damaging the paintwork. 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 Daventry archive view (30/6/97) shows the completed tracklaying gantry being loaded onto a flatbed articulated lorry at Winsons for transport to Dinas for fitting to a DZ wagon. Because of its length the lorry probably ran under Convoi Exceptionnel rules with an escort. 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 Daventry archive view (30/6/97) shows the interior of the completed WHR Open coach No.2020 receiving a final clean before loading at Winsons for transport to Boston Lodge on test. The slatted seats were used to help drain any water that entered through then open sides during inclement weather. 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 Daventry archive view (30/6/97) shows the final pieces of the completed tracklaying gantry being loaded onto a flatbed articulated lorry at Winsons for transport to Dinas. 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 7

July 1997

The FR management was considering sending ex WD 2-6-2T Alco Mountaineer to the WHR as a back up steam loco on the WHR when it opens later in the Summer to assist Garratt No.138. Trains are likely to be lightly loaded in the Autumn and the Alco was thought to be able to handle the short 1 in 43 up Coed Helen bank. There is a historical precedent for the use of ex-WD locos on the line as Colonel Stephens bought ex WD Baldwin No.590 to the line to assist with motive power shortages in the 1920s. Another loco being considered for the WHR was Monarch, an articulated Bagnall Meyer of 1953 built for Bowater's Paper Mill Railway, Sittingbourne in Kent and currently in store at Minffordd Yard. This 0-4-4-0T medium powered loco may suitable for lighter off-peak WHR trains and is historic as being the last narrow gauge industrial steam loco built in Britain. The loco was purchased by the FR in 1991 after fitful use on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway from 1966-1978 but there were concerns about the slow steam raising power of its marine boiler.

The tracklaying gantry had been delivered to Dinas by 5/7/97 and assembled and painted PW hi vis yellow by 9/7/97. Winson staff had welded the girders to DZ1403 once they had arrived at Dinas. Two refurbished ex SAR 16 tonne (6.28 tonnes tare) ballast wagons Nos.1412/23 had been railed on the refuelling siding for use in the PW train. Also present are the final two larger wagons containing track parts B1806/48. Upnor Castle was delivered to Dinas on 18/7/97 to help with the PW train now being assembled. Track had also been connected to the WHR Goods shed in order to release Castell Caernarfon for PW duties. The lighter loco will be used initially as Castle Caernarfon is heavier and might derail until the track has had a basic tamp.

By your webmaster's visit on 5/7/97 the toilet block at the rear of the ex-LNWR/WHR waiting room had been demolished allowing the platform to be completed in this area. Platforms will be right hand running as with the majority of the FR so the easterly platform at Dinas will be the Down platform, taking trains north to Caernarfon. With so many imponderables in the delivery of stock and the delayed tracklaying, the FR has had to reschedule the opening to August from the original date of 1/7/97. It was hoped that the new line might be opened by the August Bank Holiday and catch the last of the Summer Holiday traffic given good progress with the tracklaying in July/August. Basic tracklaying should be finished in August and the Garratt loco and coaches delivered soon. The FR intended to apply for permission soon to run a service in late August on a one engine in steam basis initially as the route is unsignalled.

The Lon Eifion footpath reopened on 4/7/97 giving spectators a good view of progress with tracklaying with an almost 3 mile walk from Dinas to Caernarfon. Centreline fencing has now separated the railway formation from the footpath for almost the entire length to Caernarfon. Ballasting was complete 3except for a small gap at Hendy level crossing where a short road closure was necessary. Galvanised fencing had been provided for the underbridges. By 5/7/97 tracks were being extended towards the South Yard at Dinas and the original WHR formation. The WHLR hoped to have access to the south yard during August and to extend their half of the existing NRA workshops southwards to provide a 2 road shed for the Garratts.

Chainage markers on the trackbed provided a good guide for progress with the head of steel. By 5/7/97 the track had just passed Plas Dinas overbridge, Ch.3610 i.e. 3.61km or 2.25 miles from Caernarfon station footbridge. By mid July, the Head of Steel had advanced almost to Bontnewydd Viaduct, nearly 1 mile north of Dinas, laid entirely by manual means. Two small under-slung rail carrying trolleys have been constructed called RRM1/2 (Roland's Rail Movers, after Roland Doyle, the WHLR manager). Use of these should speed up progress in July/August. Stainless steel smoke deflectors had been fitted to the Ty'n Llan over bridge at Dinas and further were ordered for three road bridges and two footbridges nearer Caernarfon but the props under Coed Helen road overbridge still needed replacement. Further tree clearance has improved sight lines at level crossings. Badger flaps have been provided in the central fence line at several locations where there was evidence of badger activity.

Open coach No.2020 had arrived at Minffordd from Winsons on 1/7/19 and was promptly shunted to Boston Lodge after traffic for tilt tests and other checks. The coach resembles a Great Orme Tramway coach with its open sides and 36 slatted seats on six bays of 6 in a 2+1 format with a wide central isle. It is finished in Mercedes Red and Cream which were set to become the WHR coaching stock colours. Four more coaches are under construction at Winsons Daventry, one with a Guards compartment and wheelchair access. The coaches are almost 9' high and 40' long and so their width and height are out of gauge for much of the FR. Corridor connections will allow delivery of food and drink via a trolley service to all seats.

After riding trials with No.2020, the remaining coaches were to be delivered in mid-August. These four will have a red moquette cushioned seats with new FR/WHR logo. There is plenty of leg room on the new vehicles and the height to the roof centreline is 6' 7". Each bay of seats has a table on both the four seat side and the two seat side. Internally they are fitted with brass handles and varnished Brazilian hardwoods from fast-growing eco-friendly plantations. Becorit windows can be slid up and dawn at every table. Heating, lighting and public address systems are also provided making these coaches some of the most comfortable on any narrow gauge railway. A sixth coach frame will be provided as a kit of parts for completed at Boston Lodge as a Pullman for a proposed 'Steam and Cuisine' operation.

There is an urgent need for a Mess Coach for PW staff working on the WHR and a volunteer project based on an ex-Isle of Mann frame based at Southam has not progressed as quickly as hoped and the new FR PW coach No.1111 is needed on that line. Instead the WHLR has purchased the Combination Coach (ex- Chattenden and Upnor Railway) that was languishing at the South Tynedale Railway, Alston. The coach was originally purchased from the Royal Navy's 2'6" gauge line in Kent for use on the Welshpool and Llanfair railway. Winsons were contracted to re-gauge the coach for the WHR.

Both the WHR(P) and the Llangollen Railway planned to send teams of volunteer tracklayers by the end of July to help push the head of steel towards Caernarfon. Three turnouts have been laid at Dinas thereby allowing access to the platform loop and the North Yard siding. Another three were scheduled to be laid in Caernarfon with the crane also being used to lift the water tank onto its supports if it arrives in time. The historic water tank, formed from heavy cast iron panels, was recovered from Rugby Cement, Long Itchington near Southam, where it had been used to water the several Peckett 0-6-0ST locos used on the 2' gauge network e.g. Triassic, now at the Bala Lake Railway, see Long Itchington Cement Works Railway.

 

This easterly archive view (5/7/97) shows WHR Open coach No.2020 on test at Boston Lodge. 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 westerly archive view (5/7/97) shows WHR Open coach No.2020 on test at Boston Lodge. 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 (5/7/97) shows the FR's new PW coach No.1111 released from Boston Lodge in grey undercoat. This vehicle would be exclusively limited to FR until the WHR reached Porthmadog. It would have been very welcome on the WHR where a conversion of the Chattenden & Upnor coach was being considered as mess coach. 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 westerly archive view (5/7/97) shows Alco Mountaineer shunting at Boston Lodge. The loco was being considered for use on shorter off peak trains on the WHR. 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 westerly archive view (5/7/97) shows Boston Lodge with Criccieth Castle and Conwy Castle, with Blanche in the background, all of which were to appear on the WHR in coming years. There was a pressing need for a lightweight diesel and Upnor Castle was initially delayed with an engine failure. Either of these diesels could have been helpful in the early days on the WHR. 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 Boston Lodge archive view (5/7/97) shows Vale of Ffestiniog's cab in National Power livery nearing completion at Boston Lodge. The loco was to feature on the WHR after the two railways were linked and frequently after Castell Caernarfon's protracted refurbished after gearbox problems in 2015. 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 (5/7/97) shows WHR station building now with toilet block removed. The platform edge had also been completed next to waiting room. Track panels are still stored on wagons in the left hand track which will become the future Up track as the WHR was to adopt the FR's right hand running rules. The bridge behind the viewpoint had smoke deflectors fitted and progress was being made to extend the track into South Yard but your webmaster was short of film after taking too many in Boston Lodge so not recorded! 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 (5/7/97) shows the tracklaying gantry ready for fitting to DZ wagon No.1403. The gantry was to be painted yellow and assembled over the next few days. 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 (5/7/97) shows laying track under Plas Dinas overbridge. 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 (5/7/97) shows the small gap in the ballast bed for Hendy level crossing. The ballast was complete from here to Caernarfon but you webmaster ran out of film after taking too many in Boston Lodge! 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 absence of Upnor Castle was being felt and the small green 0-4-0 shunter Harold was assigned to the WHR to drag the RRMs back uphill to Dinas from the railhead on 19/7/97. Glan-y-pwll pilot 0-4-0 diesel The Colonel was also moved to Dinas for shunting on the same day. DZ1410 and two bogie bolsters were initially used to carry rail to the railhead allowing flexibility on sharp curves. DZ2001 was one of the two wagons carrying rail on the bolsters marked 1963 SAR. A visit by the Llangollen Railway tracklaying team on 19/7/97 pushed the railhead northwards. In a gesture of friendship the WHR(P) volunteers also laid 12 lengths, a record number for one day, on 26/7/97, contributing to more than 500m of track laid that week. By 27/7/97 the head of steel had advanced to Ch.2720 (past the halfway point) showing 890m or fifty 18m lengths had been laid over the three weeks since your webmaster's last visit. Dinas bay platform had been excavated to formation level and was ready for ballasting. Mowlem advised they would be finished by the first week of August with the outstanding work including walling, clearing up and probably completion of the South Yard at Dinas. A new cast reinforced concrete base had been formed at Coed Helen overbridge in a new position allowing sufficient room for the railway on the east side of the formation.

Winson Engineering of Daventry, who were building the WHR's coaches, won the contract to supply a new boiler for K1 and the specification was due to be agreed by the end of July with construction due to be finished by Christmas. Some 75,000 had been received in donations to support the new boiler allowing the order to be placed. However, in order to maintain progress Ian McKenzie was looking to raise a further 30,000 to complete the loco, which is historic as being the first Garratt loco.

On 28/7/97 Castell Caernarfon emerged from the Goods shed and was shunted down the newly connected siding to a point alongside Lon Eifion to participate is a small ceremony with Sustrans celebrating the reopening of the Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway earlier in July.

 

This northerly archive view (27/7/97) shows the small gap in the track off the Up (southbound) platform. The first version of the rail carrier consisted of DX1410 and two bogie bolster supports. The gantry crane has been assembled on DZ1403 and 5 B wagons of track components reside on the bank above the former loading dock. 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 (27/7/97) shows the turnout at the north end of the station platform loop and the sharply curved track leading to the Goods Shed. A spare bogie lies on the Down platform track The tracklaying gantry was yet to be painted yellow at this stage just before use. Space had been excavated in the bay platform for ballast to be laid. Mowlem's equipment still litters the site but was due to be removed a week later. 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 (27/7/97) shows the crossover for Dinas North Yard with the headshunt on the left. A vast mound of rubble occupies the site of the future Carriage Shed on 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 southerly archive view (27/7/97) shows a typical farm accommodation crossing just north of Pals Dinas overbridge. 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 (27/7/97) shows the new galvanised metal fencing on the farm underbridge just south of the Afon Gwyrfai Bontnewydd viaduct. 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 (27/7/97) shows the Bontnewydd Viaduct with new galvanised fencing. The pile of sleepers and the rail store in the 'two foot' shows the viewpoint is near to the head of steel. 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 (27/7/97) shows the Bontnewydd footpath crossing with more rail stored in the 'two foot'. The area to the right was later to become Bontnewydd Halt after requests by locals. Unfortunately it has become little used in recent years. 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.

 

Unfortunately some 13 slides of work on the WHR north of Bontnewydd, including the head of steel on this day, have gone missing from your webmaster's collection for 27/7/97 but may yet turn up, hopefully.

 

This southerly archive view (27/7/97) from Ty'n Llan bridge at Dinas the completed trackbed curving up to the South Yard boundary fence with sleepers ready to be laid. The Lon Eifion footpath/cycleway is to the right following the ex-BR line to Afonwen. 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 8

August 1997

It became clear in early August that it was unlikely the railway would be open by the revised date at the end of August as had been hoped. It was much more likely that a date in late September or early October was possible. By 3/8/97, a determined effort by manual means had seen a speeding up in tracklaying, helped by volunteers from other railways, with the head of steel passing the halfway point at the 2.2km marker as measured from Caernarfon footbridge. On 8/8/97 the newly assembled tracklaying gantry was tested to see if it could lift a 2 tonne 18m track panel and the test proved successful. The panels tended to jam when passed through the framework because of limited clearance over the sleeper ends and a tendency to sway, so the lift mechanism was adjusted to allow the panels to be carried at a slight tilt thus improving the clearance between the vertical supports. The unit was then in use laying complete panels on the long straight approaching Hendy. A dedicated Volunteer phone line was set up to provide information about how to volunteer.

Work is in hand on occupation crossings and triangular grids are being fitted either side of all crossings to deter straying animals or trespassers. Mowlem finished in mid-August with one of their last tasks being to alter walls at Hendy crossing and Caernarfon station to improve visibility and moving the bridge prop base at Coed Helen on 11/8/97 which allowed completion of the ballast bed. By 7/8/97 the BR PW hut south of the Gwyrfai Viaduct had been demolished and the tracklayer had been painted yellow and tested and approved for use. The railhead had progressed by 12 lengths to Ch.2500 with a rail store by level crossing Ch.2520. The railhead advanced to Ch.2155 that day but fencing on the viaducts had been damaged by vandals.

Small 0-4-0 shunter Harold (No.7195 of 1994) arrived on 9/7/97 but it was found the small 39hp loco could only manage 1 ballast wagon on the steeply graded BR section of the route. Upnor Castle, the originally proposed loco, was fitted with a new engine after the first failed during refurbishment and consequently arrived at the WHR somewhat later than expected on 13/8/97 to take over from Harold. The loco had no nameplate on the left hand side. The Railway Inspectorate visited the FR in August and gave type approval to Garratts, Funkeys, new WHR coaching stock and ex-SAR wagons that will be used on the WHR. The original rolling stock has 'grandfather rights' and does not need specific type approval.

 

This southerly archive view (7/8/97) shows Harold in use during its short stay on the WHR in August just south of Bontnewydd Viaduct. 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 (7/8/97) shows the head of steel on the long straight just north of Bronnydd Crossing. The wooden sleeper spacing tool is visible on 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.

 

Work began at Caernarfon station on 11/8/97 when three points were craned into place. However, the Southam Cement Works water tank was not ready as hoped so was to require an additional crane hire. The 15m3 tank will be installed next to the siding next year. There will be a run round loop and a siding capable of taking two Garratt locos. As the station site is deemed to be temporary by the FR, a short 200m tarmac platform has been constructed. Long term plans include double track south of the station and a Carriage Shed on the wide formation where the BR Llanberis branch diverged. A temporary ticket office was to be provided for the Autumn opening but permanent buildings are unlikely to appear until GC has agreed a final site for the station. The car park on the site of the original Caernarfon BR station just west of Morrisons has been considered and this could form an interchange station if the BR line from Bangor is ever reopened.

A delay in the delivery of boiler tubes has put back the completion of No.143, making its return to Glan-y-pwll later than expected. This meant it was more likely that a small loco such as Mountaineer or Blanche would be needed to support the WHR steam service. Ian Riley Engineering (Bury) is making good progress but the loco was to be delayed beyond the expect August return date. Meanwhile the delivery of No.138 to Dinas awaits the completion of the Loco Shed extension, now that the land had been purchased from the National Rivers Authority. Trackbed pointwork and sidings also need to be completed in the South Yard area of Dinas. The land and south half of the existing shed was transferred to the WHLR on 14/8/97 for 80,000 after vacant possession was gained on 11/8/97. The NRA retained the north end of the shed for the time being but may eventually sell it to the WHR.

By the end of August the south end of Dinas will be completed with the station loop points installed and the track curving sharply east onto the original WHR formation. A crossover will allow access to the loco headshunt near the A487 overbridge and another turnout will give connect the two roads in the loco shed to the headshunt. The main line will curve right off the WHR formation into the south yard and serve as a temporary secure storage location for the rake of coaches, due to arrive soon. In the future, after a Carriage Shed is constructed in Dinas North Yard, the siding will be used as a PW base to start work on Phase 2, the extension along the original WHR trackbed to Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu.

After representations by the local community, the FR has agreed to build a halt at Bontnewydd next year. This will be sited just north of the footpath crossing north of the Afon Gwyrfai Viaduct. The WHR (64) Co. had suggested that the Public Inquiry into the extension of the WHR Project to Porthmadog must be delayed as signage needed to be erected inviting objections from users of the Permissive Paths on the trackbed that would need to be closed. The Parliamentary answer was given in response to the Ramblers Association which uses paths near Rhyd Ddu, in the Beddgelert Forest and through the Aberglaslyn Pass.

With the first few coaches coming off the production line at Winsons (Daventry) details of the new coach numbering sequences have been agreed, allowing for future fleet expansion.

The initial fleet consisted of Nos.2000, 2020, 2040-2042 and Pullman Car which was to be finished later at Boston Lodge No.2115. Brake wheelchair access coach No.2000 was to be renumbered No.2090 when the first Brake coach proper is delivered in a later batch. It appears that initial plans were to have a push/pull rake, possibly diesel powered with Castell Caernarfon, much enhanced First Class accommodation with first class saloon coaches and at least one other Pullman car to go with the second rake. The number series starting with 2000 was chosen so as not to clash with existing FR rolling stock.

On a very wet day, 23/8/97 some two weeks after the previous views, fresh supplies of rail were propelled out of Dinas by recently arrived Upnor Castle for use laying the long straight approaching Hendy level crossing. The tracklaying gantry, now in PW yellow hi-vis livery, was already waiting at Hendy Crossing for fresh supplies of rail. On 24/8/97 three lengths had been laid north of the crossing. By the end of the Bank Holiday weekend on 25/8/97 Upnor Castle and the mechanical tracklayer had crossed over Hendy Crossing and were working down the gradient of Coed Helen Cutting with the remaining preassembled track panels. Hendy crossing is a special 60' long unit inn view of the size of caravans that go down this farm track to the campsite.

 

This southerly archive view (23/8/97) shows the recently arrived Upnor Castle propelling complete panels of rails out of Dinas North Yard in order to lay track on the long straight approaching Hendy Crossing. The DZ wagon contains a compressor for use with the tracklayer airlift and also tamping. The bay platform track had still not been completed and it appears most of the wagons with panels of track in the westerly platform had been used. 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 (23/8/97) shows the recently arrived Upnor Castle propelling two DZ flat wagons carrying three panels of track out of Dinas North Yard in order to lay track on the long straight approaching Hendy Crossing. The DZ wagon contains a compressor for use with the tracklayer airlift and also tamping. A generator was also provided for electrical tools to drill fishplate holes and tighten fishplate bolts. The train is tacking the points for the main line and further wagons piles high with track panels can be seen in the headshunt. 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 (23/8/97) shows the tracklaying gantry at Hendy Crossing with Upnor Castle and its train to the rear in the pouring rain. The tracklayer's airlift/transport mechanism can be seen to have a slight tilt induced by a block of wooden to stop the sleepers scraping against the vertical supports. The wall on the left had recently been altered by Mowlem to reduce its height and improve visibility at the crossing. Six members of staff can be seen, some drilling holes for fishplate bolts. 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 (23/8/97) shows Upnor Castle and its train to the rear of the tracklayer and two of the three panels have already been laid. The loco would go back to Dinas to collect additional supplies later in the day. Staff can be seen drilling holes for fishplate bolts. 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 (23/8/97) shows the tracklayer and its crew completing the fishplates to the panel laid previously. It appears another panel has already been laid in the foreground, possibly the panel that contains Hendy Crossing where metal flangeways were incorporated into the structure and a centre tarmac support between the rails for carts etc. Clearly some adjustment was required before tracks could link to the crossing unit. 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 (23/8/97) shows Upnor Castle and its train as viewed from Lon Eifion. At this stage the Lon Eifion was a rolled gravel surface and it was to be some time before GC provided a tarmac surface. 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 (23/8/97) shows Upnor Castle and its train along with the tracklaying gantry as viewed from Lon Eifion. Red/white barriers can be seen protecting Hendy Crossing just beyond the tracklayer. The compressed air link can be seen hanging from the near corner of the tracklaying gantry. 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.

 

Your webmaster was staying in the family caravan in Beddgelert Forest and was able to cover several days of progress in late August. The weather was much improved on 24/8/97 and tracklaying advanced north of Hendy Crossing. The WHLR moved into the Dins South Yard area in mid August and started to construct a Loco Shed by extending a garage built on the site of the WHR's original Carriage Shed. The shed is being extended to the south and new trusses will allow a common height throughout its 69' length sufficient for the taller locos such as Castell Caernarfon. The two road shed will have a 50' long inspection pit on the eastern side sufficient for a Garratt loco.

 

This northerly archive view (24/8/97) shows the trackbed curving into the station from Dinas South Yard. The new stainless steel smoke deflector can be seen fitted to the Ty'n< Llan road bridge. Just one wagon with 5 track panels remains in the westerly track in the station. 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 (24/8/97) shows the tracklaying gantry being propelled by Upnor Castle and the PW train towards Hendy Crossing. 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 (24/8/97) shows Upnor Castle, the PW train and tracklaying gantry from the Fron Goch Garden Centre level crossing viewed through Pant Road bridge. Spare sleepers litter the trackside. 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 (24/8/97) shows the PW team manhandling loose rails across Hendy Crossing to start track laying into Coed Helen Cutting. The rails are being dragged forwards with tongs on steel tube roller, themselves rolling on planks of wood places on the sleepers to reduce friction. 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 (24/8/97) shows the PW team explaining the project to passers by. 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 (24/8/97) shows the new prop erected under Coed Helen bridge and the completed ballast bed. The trackbed was now available for tracklaying right into Caernarfon with this last obstacle removed. 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 (24/8/97) shows the PW team completing two panels of track laid that day north of Hendy Crossing. The crossing steel flangeway construction can be seen before tarmac was added. Some temporary wooden infills were used before the track was tamped and permanent tarmac laid in the roadway approaches and central island between the flangeways. Click on image to enlarge and click again see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a slide copyright Barrie Hughes was taken Sigma SA300 camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (24/8/97) shows the PW team returning to Dinas at the end of the day with Upnor Castle and a DZ wagon with compressor/generator and tools passing Pant Farm crossing with Hendy Crossing in the background. 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 (24/8/97) shows the PW team returning to Dinas at the end of the day with Upnor Castle and a DZ wagon passing Pant Farm crossing with Pant Road bridge in the background. The bridge has been fitted with a stainless steel smoke deflector like other overbridges. 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 sun finally came out on 25/8/97 as Castell Caernarfon also come out to help with PW trains. Today saw the tracklayer advance beyond Hendy Crossing into Coed Helen cutting at 1450. Strangely only the first 8 out of a possible 24 photos are present in your webmaster's collection, the others likely being misplaced or not returned from magazines.

 

This northerly archive view (25/8/97) shows Castell Caernarfon shunting the DZ wagons loaded with stack of 5 rail panels in Dinas North Yard headshunt in preparation for them being taken down the line to feed the tracklayer. There is at lease one wagon on the headshunt loaded with rail panels. 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 (25/8/97) shows the tracklaying gantry being propelled across Hendy Crossing by Upnor Castle. The curve north of the crossing had been laid the previous day so it was possible to lay straight complete panels in Coed Helen Cutting. 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 (25/8/97) shows the tracklayer being shunted across Hendy Crossing. The side of the tracklayer has grids attached to prevent the PW team getting caught between a panel and the vertical supports as a panel was transported from the rear gantry to the front gantry. 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 (25/8/97) shows Upnor Castle with the PW DZ to the rear propelling a DZ wagon with three complete track panels and the tracklaying gantry across Hendy Crossing. 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 (25/8/97) shows Upnor Castle with the PW DZ to the rear propelling a DZ wagon with three complete track panels and the tracklaying gantry across Hendy Crossing. 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 (25/8/97) shows Upnor Castle with the PW DZ to the rear propelling a DZ wagon with three complete track panels and the tracklaying gantry across Hendy Crossing. 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 (25/8/97) shows Upnor Castle with the PW DZ to the rear stabled north of Hendy Crossing while the tracklayer prepared to lay track. 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 (25/8/97) shows Upnor Castle with the PW DZ to the rear propelling a DZ wagon and the tracklaying gantry as the PW team prepare to lay the 3 complete panels in Coed Helen Cutting, north of Hendy Crossing. A member of the PW team is starting up the compressor ready for the tracklaying gantry air lift. 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 (25/8/97) shows the tracklaying gantry lifting a panel of track off the DZ wagon just north of Hendy Crossing at the start of Coed Helen Cutting. A PW worker is carrying a spare sleeper to the head of steel. A block of wood can be seen angling the track panels in the lift mechanism so that they would present a narrower profile to the vertical supports of the tracklaying gantry after experience showed they tended to jam. Looking at clearance, it seems three panels would be the limit that could be shunted under the gantry. In this case something seems to have caught and all three panels are lifting off the rear of the nearer DZ wagon. A PW worker is attempting to unjam the stack After difficulties using the tracklayer it was decided not to use it on subsequent phases. 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.

 

Subsequent photos would have shown further stages in tracklaying that afternoon. If the remaining 16 slides are found they will be added here.

Your webmaster was back in North Wales the following weekend when tracklaying had reached the outskirts of Caernarfon, with fine weather to assist the tracklaying gang. On 28/8/97 two LH points and a RH point were delivered to Caernarfon. There will be concrete base for the Caernarfon water tank between the two supports for Segontium Terrace alongside the water siding. The 15m3 tank was delivered by 11/8/97 but will need new supports capable of taking the weight. A mains supply capable of providing a full tank every hour is being sourced as Garratts have a 7.5m3 tank. A second tank is envisaged at Dinas or maybe Waunfawr, where locos are serviced before their turn of duty.

By 31/8/97 track had just under a mile to go and was almost up to Coed Helen overbridge, now with newly installed pops as it has a weak deck. Exterior guide rails were to be provided here at the request of the HMRI as there was a risk that a derailed train could demolish the prop structure and bring down the bridge. With Mowlem off site, local contractors are completing the Dinas bay platform and work in Dinas South Yard as well as the Loco Shed extension, including the provision of an inspection. Excavations in the bay platform area which was the site of original WHR tracks unearthed an NWNGR point crank and a firebar. Measurements are underway to see which loco the firebar make have come from, whether Moel Tryfan, Snowdon Ranger, Beddgelert or even the Baldwin No.590.

When the WHR opens, it was planned that the Goods Shed would be used to sell tickets/snacks with possibly a small restaurant. Four ex-LNWR platform seats will be available for Dinas/Caernarfon initially. Minffordd Quarry is providing 5,000 tonnes of ballast to complete track and a further 4,000 tonnes for top ballast and tamping. Some 3,500 has been spent on wood for posts. Track will initially be tamped for 15mph.

 

This southerly archive view (30/8/97) shows the loop point and ballast laid in Caernarfon station. Unfortunately it had not been possible to use the same crane hire to place the water tank in the space to the left as it had not arrived at Dinas in time. 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 (30/8/97) shows the completed ballast bed at Caernarfon station with fencing to protect passengers from locos that would be making run round manoeuvres in this area. The loop point can be seen placed roughly in position under the footbridge. 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 (30/8/97) shows the headshunt area at Caernarfon with some sleepers and signage advertising the Millennium Commission project and the contractors. The car park was still in general use but was soon to become a railway passenger car park. The temporary ticket office was to be a Portacabin placed where the white van is located. The loop point can be seen in the foreground. 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 (30/8/97) shows the tracklaying gantry advancing through Coed Helen Cutting as viewed from the Coed Helen road bridge. 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 (30/8/97) shows a close up of the tracklaying gantry advancing through Coed Helen Cutting as viewed from the Coed Helen road bridge. The Lon Eifion cycleway/footpath ascends steeply onto the former Nantlle Railway alignment on a shelf to the right at this point. 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 (30/8/97) shows Castell Caernarfon in the Dinas Goods 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 northerly archive view (30/8/97) shows Castell Caernarfon in the Dinas North Yard with a loaded ballast wagon. Stacks of complete track panels litter the yard. The WHLR offices are to the right of the red fuel bowser and staff facilities to 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 (30/8/97) shows Castell Caernarfon in the Dinas North Yard with a loaded ballast wagon and the newly delivered Gullick and Dodson tamper. 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 (30/8/97) shows the extension of the Dinas Loco Shed underway in Dinas South Yard Dinas North Yard. At this stage no track had been laid in the area with ballast and track finishing at the Heras site fencing on 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 (30/8/97) shows Dinas North Yard with the bay platform and siding area excavated to formation level. Stacks of completed points are visible to the right and a pair of RRMs can be seen in the platform along with wagons loaded with three track panels. Track panels litter the yard. 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 (30/8/97) shows Upnor Castle in Coed Helen Cutting having laid the last of the track panels from the wagons. Lon Eifion can be seen on the left descending steeply from the Nantlle formation shelf to run alongside the WHR and pass under Coed Helen road bridge. Staff appear to be getting ready to pack up and go home. 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 (30/8/97) shows the tracklayer just south of the propped Coed Helen overbridge. The tracklaying gantry and empty wagons appear to be left in the cutting ready for use the next day. 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 9

September 1997

In September, given continuing good news about tracklaying during August and rolling stock deliveries, the WHR's Opening Day was set for 13/10/97 subject to HMRI approval. The Lady Mayor of Caernarfon was booked to welcome the first train into the town since 1972. Public services were planned to begin the next day and it was hoped trains would run at least hourly with trains continuing during the school Half Term Holiday until 2/11/97 both on weekdays and at weekends. After this the line would close until Easter for an intensive track tamping/slewing phase to improve speed limits and riding comfort. Initially trains would be limited to 15mph as track has not yet settled properly. A journey time of under 15 mins was likely for the 2.75 mile line and it is possible a half hourly service might be run if traffic exceeds the 200 that can be accommodated on a 5 coach train. On 18/10/97 a Mayor's Fun Day was to be held on the line with profits going to charity. Over the FR's Vintage weekend 26-27/10/97 there would be a Dinas Works Open day, as well as regular train services.

The last panels laid by the tracklaying gantry were positioned on the Afon Seiont Viaduct in early September and Upnor Castle returned the tracklayer to Dinas for storage. The weekend of 6-7/9/97 saw another seven lengths laid manually using the RRMs. At the end of the Sunday, Castell Caernarfon inched gingerly down the untamped track to St Helens Road bridge, just outside Caernarfon, to collect volunteers and return them to Dinas. There is less than half a mile from this bridge to Caernarfon buffer stops and it is likely to be a centre of attention for photographers as locos work hard up over the viaduct and up the 1 in 45 bank to Hendy Crossing.

 

This southerly archive view (6/9/97) shows the head of steel just south of St Helens road bridge with Bontnewydd Viaduct in the background as viewed from the level crossing. The steep gradient across the viaduct can be seen against the level balustrades. 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 (6/9/97) shows the head of steel just south of St Helens Road bridge with Bontnewydd Viaduct in the background as viewed from St Helens Road bridge. The 'thruppenny bit' nature of the panel track can be compared with the smoother manually laid rails in the foreground. Piles of spare steel sleepers remain to be used. 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 (6/9/97) shows track comfortably laid through the newly propped Coed Helen bridge now that adequate clearance was available. The stainless steel smoke deflector had yet to be fitted. 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 (6/9/97) shows the PW team bringing rails forward with RRMs and placing them in the 2' in Coed Helen Cutting ready to be taken forward by volunteers later in the weekend to extend the head of steel into Caernarfon. Upnor Castle was in attendance to drag the RRMs back to Dinas to reload. 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 (6/9/97) shows the PW team picking up rails with RRMs to take forward from the rail store just north of Hendy Crossing. Upnor Castle was in attendance and the ballast wagon and compressor is also visible just beyond the rail store. Rails were paired in terms of length and handedness according to head wear to reduce cutting. 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 (6/9/97) shows the PW team picking up rails with RRMs with Upnor Castle attached to help move the rails. There are still plenty of steel sleepers stored at the side of the line. 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 (6/9/97) shows the plethora of signs needed at a level crossing in Wales, twice as many as in England due to the bilingual policy. This is Dinas Farm crossing just north of Dinas. 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 (6/9/97) shows the head of steel just south of St Helens Road bridge with volunteers manhandling track over rollers and planks on carefully spaced out sleepers. 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 (6/9/97) shows the head of steel just south of St Helens Road bridge with the Afon Seiont Viaduct in the background as viewed from St Helens Road bridge. The 'thru penny bit' nature of the panel track can be compared with the smoother manually laid rails in the foreground. Piles of spare steel sleepers remain to be used. 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 (6/9/97) shows the extension of Dinas Loco Shed well underway as viewed from Lon Eifion with roof trusses erected. At this stage the local contractor had not made a start of the trackbed through the South Yard site. 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 oldest UK diesel loco was set to return to the WHR after 67 years. Kerr Stuart No.4415 was built in 1928 in Stoke on Trent and was trialled on the WHR arriving at Dinas in July 1928. The 10 tonne chain drive 0-4-0 loco was booked for trials on the Bryngwyn branch and operated the winter passenger service but was transferred for shunting duties on the FR in March 1929. It left in August 1930 as Colonel Stephens could not afford to purchase it. The loco saw some use in construction of the East Lancs Road before it emigrated to Ireland and then Mauritius where it worked on a sugar cane railway from 1934-1971 after which it was plinthed. From the start of 1996 the Greenwich & District Narrow Gauge Society with some French help was in discussions with the Mauritius authorities about repatriating the loco due its historic nature. The loco has now been donated by its owners Mon Tresor and the FR is paying for its return to Wales, possibly in time for the Vintage Weekend 26-27/10/97.

In mid September tracklaying had reached within two lengths of the south end of the station loop which was planned to be completed during the weekend 20-21/9/97. Creation of the formation and tracklaying in Dinas South Yard was a priority with rolling stock about to arrive. Work started in mid-September extending the line eastwards from the BR formation into Dinas South Yard. The secure area will become the line's PW base and loco maintenance area as well as providing secure storage for the rake of coaches. It had been suggested that one of the NWNGR's bowstring bridges could be repurposed and restored for use as a turntable in the yard as they are thought to be too weak to support Garratt locos. There are three of these bridges between Betws Garmon and Plas-y-nant and at least one of them will be replaced, possibly with a repurposed NR bridge that is redundant.

Alco 2-4-2 Mountaineer was expected at the end of September along with the WHR Open coach No.2020 from Boston Lodge, following satisfactory completion of its ride tests. Garratt No.138 was due to arrive as a complete unit during the first week of October allowing time for driver familiarisation on the route. The final items are the four Winson coaches expected around the same time. It was hoped to run a photo special for WHRS members on the morning of their AGM at 'The Mount' Dinas on 4/10/97. Steam tests will follow with the Garratt and Winson coaches leading up to the final HMRI trials days before the opening. The WHLR is still looking for volunteers to finish tracklaying, tamp the track and generally help prepare the line for the October opening.

 

This northerly archive view (7/9/97) shows the Castell Caernarfon propelling the PW train with staff north across Hendy Crossing for duties near St Helens Road bridge. At this stage the crossing tarmac was still to be applied after tamping. 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 (7/9/97) shows the Castell Caernarfon propelling the PW train with staff just north of Hendy Crossing for duties near St Helens Road bridge. 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 (7/9/97) shows the Castell Caernarfon propelling the PW train with staff examining the rail stockpile in the 2 foot. The rail store to the left appears empty. 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 (7/9/97) shows PW staff riding and pushing the two RRMs carrying two rails downhill towards the Afon Seiont viaduct as seen from Coed Helen Lane bridge. It is a little surprising the RRMs needed pushing as the gradient was 1 in 45 in favour at this point. There are still plenty of steel sleepers at the trackside which would have to be collected later. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon stabled in Coed Helen Cutting on the untamped track as seen from Coed Helen Lane overbridge. The train consists of a ballast wagon, the compressor wagon and a small red rail trolley with a tool box. Staff can be seen starting up the compressor ready for tamping. The track behind the train cannot be tamped as it still has rails stored in the two foot. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon in the dappled light of Coed Helen Cutting stabled on the PW train as seen from Lon Eifion. The track in front of the train still has spare rails in the 2 foot so cannot be tamped until they are moved forwards. 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 (7/9/97) shows the PW team using a pair of RRMs bringing a pair of rails down Coed Helen bank passing through the new bridge prop at Coed Helen Lane overbridge as viewed from Lon Eifion. 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 (7/9/97) shows the head of steel at the end of the weekend as seen from St. Helen's Road overbridge. This location is where the Llanberis branch diverged to the right at a lower level hidden in the trees. Caernarfon station is half a mile further ahead so track laying was on the last lap. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon in the dappled light of Coed Helen Cutting preparing to move forwards and collect the PW team at the end of the day. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon gingerly approaches the head of steel crossing the Afon Seiont viaduct for the first time seen from St Helen's Road overbridge. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon propelling its rake under St Helen's Road Bridge for the first time as seen from St Helen's Road overbridge. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon preparing to move forwards and collect the PW team at the end of the day with St Helen's Road bridge in the background as seen from Lon Eifion. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon stabled under St. Helen's Road bridge, the closest a train had been to Caernarfon in 25 years. The head of steel was just sufficient to allow the loco to nose out from under the bridge. 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 (7/9/97) shows Castell Caernarfon taking the PW train and staff back to Dinas as seen from St Helen's Road overbridge at the end of the day. The RRMs are stored in the ballast wagon next to the loco . 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.

 

At this stage you webmaster was making the 200 mile trip to Caernarfon every fortnight to photo progress but seemed to be hitting the dull weekends. This was not to last however. Track was laid into Caernarfon station a fortnight later and the points were being connected up. This time Upnor Castle was on PW duty. By 1630 the track was connected to the south loop point and one length laid in the platform which has previously been ballasted.

 

This southerly archive view (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle on the PW train at the south end of Caernarfon station as viewed from over the fence from St Helen's Road. The RRMs are in front of the loco the loco. 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 (20/9/97) shows PW staff clipping a recently laid rail to the steel sleepers at the south end of Caernarfon station as viewed over the fence from St Helen's Road. 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 (20/9/97) shows a general view of the track layout at Caernarfon station with sleepers for the platform and loop laid out and the left hand turnout for the watering siding visible on the left. PW staff are busy clipping a recently laid rail to the steel sleepers at the south end of the platform road as viewed from Segontium Terrace footbridge. 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 (20/9/97) shows a general view of the track layout at the south end of Caernarfon station with the right hand turnout for the loop laid out as viewed from Segontium Terrace. Most points delivered from SAR were left handed. PW staff are busy clipping a recently laid rail to the steel sleepers at the south end of the platform road thus connecting the turnout to the head of steel. Planks and rollers are in position to take the next set of rails forward from the point. 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 (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle has brought the RRMs forward with another set of rails to advance beyond the loop point as viewed from Segontium Terrace. Some 10 staff and volunteers stand ready to drag the rail forward from the RRMs onto the rollers. This is achieved by releasing the rail from the front RRMs onto the roller and then dragging the rail forwards with tongs, still supported by the rear RRM which is pulled forward in the process to meet the front RRM. The rail, now roughly in position, can be released from the rear RRM and manhandled with crowbars and tongs into its final position. Jacks are used to align rail for fishplating and crowbars to lift sleepers to get the rail clipped up. The new end of Lon Eifion is visible next to the loco. 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 (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle with the bar ready to connect to the RRMs and drag them back to collect additional rails. The two long timbers were for the turnout lever and mechanism. The small generator in the foreground is was used to supply power tools such a rail cutters, bolt tighteners and rail drills. A locked gate provides a southern entrance to the platform. 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 (20/9/97) shows the first rails being laid in the platform as viewed from Segontium Terrace. The point for the watering siding is placed roughly in position. PW staff are carrying the rollers and planks forward for the next length to be laid. 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 (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle preparing to take workers back to Dinas at the of the day. The RRMs are coupled together and the hauling bar is visible connection them to the loco. 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 (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle taking workers back to Dinas at the of the day as viewed from the footbridge at the south end of the station. The RRMs appear to have been left behind at Caernarfon chained to the rails. 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 (20/9/97) shows Upnor Castle taking workers back to Dinas at the of the day as viewed from the footbridge at the south end of the station. This section of rough stone retaining wall was to give problems in later years but various plans at this stage had included double track and a Carriage Shed south of the station between here and the point at which the Llanberis branch diverged close to St Helen's Road overbridge. The Lon Eifion diversion is visible to the right of the loco. 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 following day the weather had improved and your webmaster was back at the WHR again recording progress. Upnor Castle was again on duty on the works train departing Dinas at 9:30 and track was being laid in both Caernarfon platform and the loop line. The water tower siding was connected up and track was extended in parallel down the platform and the loop. At Dinas 0-4-0 shunter The Colonel was stabled and track had appeared in the South Yard with a point laid to access the Loco Shed and a long temporary siding for stock storage. The Loco Shed tracks and headshunt were due to appear at the end of September before the arrival of steam locos at the start of October.

 

This southerly archive view (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle heading for Caernarfon with the PW train with about 10 staff and volunteers crossing the Afon Seiont Viaduct as viewed from St Helen's Road overbridge. 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 from Segontium Terrace (21/9/97) shows PW workers and volunteers laying track in the platform at Caernarfon. By midday preparations were being made to join the loop track to the water tower siding point. A wooden spacer tool can be seen being used to space out the steel sleepers in the loop track while volunteers clip the rails to the sleepers in the platform. 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 (21/9/97) from Segontium Terrace shows RRMs delivering another set of rails to extend the Caernarfon platform track with about 12 staff and volunteers laying a rail north from the loop point. Initially the rails are connected with fishplates while straight but then curved with the help of crowbars to retain them until fully clipped down. 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 (21/9/97) from Segontium Terrace shows Upnor Castle back with the ballast train while staff and volunteers take a well deserved break. The second attempt at the platform edge still does not match the curve of the track and was used as an access to the south platform gate as the platform was longer than the initial lengths of train. This area was to be changed in later years as train lengths increased. 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 from Segontium Terrace (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle carefully advancing into the platform over recently laid track with the RRMs in the loop track while volunteers prepare to extend the loop to the water tower point. 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 from Segontium Terrace (21/9/97) shows PW workers and volunteers laying track in the loop at Caernarfon while Upnor Castle gingerly advanced up the platform road. Volunteers were clipping down the length in front of the loco while in the loop road, volunteers are about to clip in the length that joins the track to the water tower siding. 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.

 

While good advances were being made at Caernarfon your webmaster checked out changes at Dinas before returning to Caernarfon to see progress by the end of the weekend then heading back home with a 200 mile drive over the Berwyns.

 

This northerly archive view (21/9/97) shows track laid into South Yard at Dinas through the security gate on the right as seen from Lon Eifion. The completion of the platform loop at the south end would allow locos to run round their trains and has been laid out for right hand running as with the FR. The platforms are now clear of wagons that formerly carried track panels. 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 Colonel, one of two shunters moved to Dinas when Upnor Castle's engine failed before delivery to Dinas, was original purchased by Colonel Campbell of Dduallt Manor and was bequeathed to the FR. The loco saw short term use on ballast duties by the WHLR during August and September and is a 20HP Simplex normally to be found at Glan-y-pwll Yard on the FR.

 

This easterly archive view from Lon Eifion (21/9/97) shows The Colonel, a small 0-4-0 DM shunter, along with two FR ballast wagons Nos.168/171. The loco was based at Dinas during August and September, remaining for a while after Harold returned to Boston Lodge following the delivery of Upnor Castle. 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 (21/9/97) from Ty'n Llan Road bridge shows Dinas South Yard. Track has been laid to form a short lived siding that curves right to store carriages. The  point just beyond the gate was to give access to the loco depot which was nearing completion, though no track had yet been laid. 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.

 

Back at Caernarfon in the late afternoon, PW staff and volunteers were packing up after a very productive weekend with six lengths laid, three each in Caernarfon platform and loop. The PW train departed at 16.55.

 

This northerly archive view from Segontium Terrace (21/9/97) shows PW workers and volunteers laying track in the loop at Caernarfon while Upnor Castle waits to take them back to Dinas at the end of the shift. With the water tank siding point connect, volunteers were laying another length north of that point. 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 from Segontium Terrace (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle carefully advancing into the recently laid loop track for the first time propelling two RRMs with a set of rails for the loop track. Some 14 PW staff and volunteers are preparing to pack up at the end of a productive weekend. 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 from Segontium Terrace footbridge (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle while a decision is made to leave two RRMs with a set of rails for the next day. PW staff and volunteers are clipping down the last rail laid in the platform. 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 from Segontium Terrace footbridge (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle, now back in the platform road, with staff and volunteers packing away. A few final track clips are being inserted in front of the loco while the point is being checked in the distance. 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 from Segontium Terrace footbridge (21/9/97) shows Upnor Castle with staff and volunteers climbing aboard for the ride back to Dinas. 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.

 

On 23/9/97 the main rake of 4 coaches was delivered from Winsons and the test coach No.2020 from Boston Lodge along with the Alco Mountaineer. The coaches were stored in the new long siding in South Yard for security. It was proposed to test the rolling stock within days and have the Railway Inspectorate visit to approve the line shortly after with a view to opening as soon as possible in October.

 

The 40km Dream Episode 10

October 1997

In October the Welsh Highland Railway was set to open having previously been set opening dates of 1/7/97 and August Bank Holiday. Coaches and the Alco Mountaineer had arrived on 23/9/97 and tracklaying in Caernarfon was completed by the start of October with points tested and some basic ballasting/tamping done sufficient to invite HMRI to inspect the line. The inspectors came on 2-3/10/97 and produced a snag list giving a positive indication of approval when snags were completed on a one engine in steam basis. The WHRS AGM was being held on 4/10/97 at The Mount pub in Dinas. Driver training was underway and Mountaineer was first out being tested with the full rake of 5 coaches. Next came No.138 light engine and finally it was announced at the AGM that No.138 would be running loaded at 4pm which encouraged an early finish to the often verbose AGM questions and Points of Order! Castell Caernarfon was also trialled on the test train so all three large locos were used.

Your webmaster was in North Wales for the weekend and must have taken many photos but this film has failed to surface as yet. If it does it will be added here. Fortunately, friends (including the late Dr. Ben Fisher) provided me with photos of the day but more would be welcome and due credit will be given!

 

This southerly archive view (4/10/97) shows Castell Caernarfon on the test train during the WHR AGM during dull weather as it prepared to start from Dinas. The train made a return trip from Dinas to Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Russell Edwards and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (4/10/97) shows Castell Caernarfon on the test train during the WHR AGM as it crossing the Seiont Viaduct. The train made a return trip from Dinas to Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Russell Edwards and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (4/10/97) shows Castell Caernarfon on the test train during the WHR AGM after it had arrived at Caernarfon as seen from Segontium Terrace footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Russell Edwards and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (4/10/97) shows No.138 on the test train leaving Dinas shortly after 4pm as viewed from the site of the future Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Dr Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly archive view (4/10/97) shows No.138 on the test train leaving Dinas shortly after 4pm as viewed from the site of the future Carriage Shed. The Gullick & Dobson tamper is to the right in the North Yard headshunt. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Dr Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly archive view (4/10/97) shows No.138 on the test train returning to Dinas near Bontnewydd. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Dr Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The pace of developments now speeded up as the snagging list was dealt with. The LRO was granted on 8/10/97 and HMRI granted an initial operating permit for one engine in steam on 9/10/97 until 30/11/97. The opening ceremony was set for 13/10/97 with advertised public services starting the following day 14/10/97. In fact with most of the season's traffic lost from the previous suggested opening dates of 1/7/97 and August Bank Holiday, it was decided to run an unadvertised service over the weekend of 11-12/10/97 to try and recoup some of the lost revenue.

For some reason your webmaster was not in the loop and, as it happened, had responded to a crisis at work to go in with the team on Saturday 11/10/97 to help. On the way into work a teenager pulled out of a side road and wrote off your webmaster's car in a serious accident. Although injuries to both drivers consisted of heavy bruising, it took some time to hire a car and feel well enough to drive the 200 miles to Dinas so it was not until Half Term that your webmaster was able to visit the WHR. So again the website has to rely on photos from friends.

 

This northerly archive view (11/10/97) shows No.138 with one of the first arrivals of the unadvertised public service at Dinas. The discounted fares attracted quite a crowd and despite the lack of advertised, trains ran 3/4 full by the end of the weekend. Many also stood by the lineside to take pictures of the passing trains despite the damp autumn weather. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is scanned from a negative copyright Dr Ben Fisher and was taken on an SLR camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 2.5 mile long line was officially opened by the Lady Mayor of Caernarfon on Monday 13/10/97 when after speeches, the opening special carried the Mayoress, Millennium officials and local politicians from Caernarfon to Dinas and back. The station was decorated in bunting and flags and the opening train, hauled by No.138, left Caernarfon at 1330. Mr Wigley, the local MP spoke about his hopes that people would unite behind the project (the self styled opposition group Gwarchod was gearing up for a fight in the coming Public Inquiry). He hoped the railway would produce spin off for employment and bring extra visitors to the area. 'I want visitors to empty their pockets and go home happy' he said. At the reception Mike Hart, who was leading the project, injected a note of caution. 'There is plenty to do over Winter to turn a basic railway into a tourist attraction. We need to be able to move onwards towards Beddgelert and Porthmadog', he added.

Any help with photos from this day would be gratefully received and full credit given.

Over the first weekend of advertised services 18-19/10/97 over 900 people were carried on both days. this traffic volume is equivalent to a good shoulder season on the FR and required extra trains to be run. The management was said to be delighted with the response. Services begin at 10 am from Caernarfon with the stock running ECS to and from Dinas. Five return trains a day are scheduled though some thought has been given to starting trains from the bay platform at Dinas in future. As part of the HMRI rules, corridor connections are currently locked OOU as they are considered too short. This matter was to be remedied over Winter.

Despite the help offered by the WHR tracklaying volunteers over the Summer, an EGM of the WHR '64 co. rejected an offer by the FR to finally settle all outstanding matters. Alistair McNichol, the '64 co. Chairman claimed 'The goalposts have been moved' following receipt of a draft agreement from the FR which they claim did not agree with the Heads of Agreement formulated earlier in the year. The FR had asked if they could use the WHR(P)'s Tremadog Road terminus as a temporary measure following difficulties getting approval for the Cross Town Link on the original alignment. In exchange the FR had agreed that the WHR(P) could build the section to Nantmor following opening of the Waunfawr section planned for 1999 and operate trains on it. Although the WHR(P) was in favour of this they were not prepared to release the name 'Welsh Highland Railway' for the FR to use for its Caernarfon-Dinas line and extensions to Porthmadog. Instead WHR(P) members voted to raise a fighting fund for their recently registered name and logo.

In response FR Chairman Mike Hart was seeking a meeting of all parties under an independent chair from the AIRPS, who agreed to the proposal subject to WHR(P) agreement. Mike Hart denied that what was being offered was different to the Heads of Agreement from the previous meeting on 19/8/97. 'It was becoming clear that their interpretation of what were offering was diverging from what we had put in writing', he said. 'I hope they will accept this initiative to restart negotiations under AIRPS chairmanship and that the differences of opinion can be resolved' he added.

Your webmaster was finally recovered enough from the car accident to embark on the 200 mile drive in a replacement car by Half Term and visited the line on 27-28/10/97 when Mountaineer was in charge of services. Unfortunately this coincided with a short period of unavailability of No.138 which has problems with its oil burners. Services closed until Easter on Sunday 2/11/97.

 

This northerly archive view (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer with a lunchtime arrival at Dinas. The Open Coach was placed next to the loco so that enthusiasts could enjoy the loco working hard up the bank out of Caernarfon. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer running around its train at Dinas. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer  being serviced at Dinas. There was a temporary water tank at this location and the delivery pipe can be seen on the right. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer being serviced at Dinas as viewed from Ty'n Llan bridge. The temporary water tank and delivery pipe can be seen and a red oil fuel bowser. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer being prepared fro its next turn at Dinas as viewed from Ty'n Llan road bridge. There are good crowds on the platform but the bay platform still has no track. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer, having run round, preparing to leave Dinas. The yard area is cordoned off with orange plastic tape as work was still underway tidying up the area. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer arriving at Dinas in the late afternoon passing Castell Caernarfon stabled in the yard as rescue loco. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer being serviced at Dinas before possibly its final trip of the day. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer running round at Caernarfon. The initial position of the ticket office (a Portacabin) can be seen on the left and temporary toilets were provided. The car park looks pretty full! 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer passing Hendy Crossing now with full tarmac and road markings, with possibly the final train of the day returning ECS to Dinas. 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.

 

First Hydro, which operates the pumped storage power stations at Dinorwig and Ffestiniog, reached a sponsorship deal with the FR worth 100,000 to help some WHR rolling stock. The first tranche sees First hydro sponsor the disabled coach No.2090 with the company logo carried on the coach. The second tranche sees support for the restoration of a loco, presumably No.143, which will be named Edison after Edison Mission (California), First Hydro's holding company. The loco was to appear in Edison Mission's house colours. The final part of the sponsorship will see a coach painted in First Hydro's house colours for the Millennium. Nigel Petrie speaking First hydro said that the FR was viewed as an important neighbour and a good friend adding that the WHR project was 'exciting'. No.138 appeared in three different shades of green before acquiring the name Millennium for the Millennium.

The next day (28/10/97) dawned fine and your webmaster arrived bright and early to photograph the first trains of the day in sun from the southeast. Access was also granted to photograph the completion of the South Yard and Engine Shed.

 

This southerly archive view (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer being prepared for possibly the first train of the day at Dinas already coupled up to the rake in the platform. Brake/disabled coach No.2090 with extra wide doors is next to the loco. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer departing Caernarfon from St Helens road bridge. The train is just starting the 1 in 45 climb towards Hendy Crossing. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer passing Hendy Crossing in the morning light on probably the first train of the day returning to Dinas with a loaded Open coach. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer arriving at Dinas. 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 (27/10/97) shows Mountaineer being serviced at the temporary water tank at the south end of Dinas. 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 (28/10/97) shows Upnor Castle stabled in Dinas South Yard with the completed trackwork and Loco Shed extension. At this stage the more easterly of the two loco shed roads was still being laid as can be seen from the use of RRMs just outside the shed. Another loco lies inside the shed on the left hand road probably No.138. The track in the foreground leads to the temporary Carriage Siding and PW Yard. 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 (28/10/97) shows the depot headshunt which tantalisingly heads into the cutting towards the A487 overbridge at Dinas indicating the way towards Porthmadog. 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 (28/10/97) shows spare track panels in the south Yard at Dinas. The building on the left stands on the site of the original WHR Loco Shed and that to the right 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.

 

After lunch your webmaster went back to record the afternoon workings, again in bright sunshine.

 

This southerly archive view (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer crossing the Afon Seiont Viaduct approaching Caernarfon as seen from St Helen's road bridge on an afternoon service. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer running round at the south end of Caernarfon station. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer hauling the return service to Dinas attacking the 1 in 45 bank over the Seiont Viaduct taken from Lon Eifion on the viaduct with St Helen's Road bridge in the background. The Open coach again looks popular in the Half Term holiday. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer hauling the return service arriving at Dinas. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer having detached from the train being serviced at the watering point at the south end of Dinas station. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer hauling possibly the penultimate return service approaching Hendy Crossing having stormed up Coed Helen bank very audibly. The Open coach was again very popular. 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 (28/10/97) shows a silhouette of Mountaineer hauling a late afternoon train heading north past Hendy Crossing. 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 (28/10/97) shows Mountaineer hauling possibly the final train of the day crossing the Gwyrfai Viaduct. 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.

 

A preliminary meeting was held on 28/10/97 between WHLR officials and DoT officials to agree the format of the Public Inquiry into reopening the Dinas-Porthmadog section of the WHR due to start before the end of the year.

 

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