Rolling Stock Page
V4.1 updated 28/12/04
K1 out and about
K1 was out on the line on 7/12/04 with further load trial tests and further tests took place on 8/12/04 and 9/12/04. The later saw the loco's first steaming to Waunfawr, which was light engine. Unfortunately, the hot axlebox problem resurfaced again and must now be fully investigated. Hopefully, it will prove to be a lubrication problem and not require the removal of the wheelset.
Further trials are due on Wednesday December 15th. Trials are said to be going well by FR management and it seems the loco may be able to pull a full length rake to Rhyd Ddu. It has certainly managed six coaches on the steepest section of the line between Caernarfon and Dinas. K1 working parties are planned for 11/12 December, 15/16 January, 19/20 February and 19/20 march, the latter to prepare for the Easter public launch of K1.
The front water tank on K1 is considerably smaller than that of a NG16 and it remains to be seen if the current watering facilities will be sufficient for reliable operation. At the moment all locos fill at Caernarfon for the 24 mile round trip and top up at Waunfawr. A small temporary tank has been placed on the ground at the north end of Waunfawr platform. This requires a hired pump to make it useful. Phase 4 will require two water towers at Rhyd Ddu and the early completion of one of these might help all locos on the WHR in 2005. Some Heritage Group enthusiasts would like the former Snowdon Ranger tank rebuilt.
Team Wylfa report
Team Wylfa's electrical alterations to the Clip Shed have been accepted by the FR electrical engineer. Volunteers unrolled a tarpaulin over No.134's chassis to keep out further wet weather. Then they moved back into the Goods Shed and continued the work installing the 415V, 3-phase supply by the roller shutter door. Many thanks are due to Wylfa Power Station's onsite joinery firm, Onnen Wen Joinery, for providing the WHR with a magnificent wooden enclosure with hinged door, to protect the socket outlet and its earth leakage trip unit. Volunteers mounted it on the wall on 7/12/04 but it needs varnishing to finish it off.
There is still no sign of a free lift for No.134's chassis into the Clip Shed. Team Wylfa's working parties are changing over the next few weeks. There is no working party this Thursday (11/12/04). Volunteers will be at Dinas next Tuesday and Thursday but they will be taking a break during the following week, in the build-up to Christmas and will not be back until the New Year.
EAG wagons progress
On 27/11/04 the East Anglian Group (EAG) “Paint Your Wagon” session saw all four ex-Duxford WWI wagons practically completed as basic flat beds. One wagon (EAG 1) has not yet had the deck bolted down, as it awaits welding work in preparation for the installation of corner stanchions. These latter will be made removable, if this is desired by the WHRCL. One, or possibly two, further sessions should see the wagons completed. The next EAG working party has provisionally been set for Saturday 15/1/2005, at Cardinal's Green, Horseheath, Cambs., from around 9.00 a.m. New faces are always welcome.
This image (27/11/04) shows the latest view of the EAG wagons project. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Richard Watson. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Meanwhile, the Group have been asked to make station name-boards for the WHR platforms. Two have been requested for Waunfawr, for the eastern (Rhyd Ddu – Caernarfon) face of the platform, which currently lacks such a refinement. Work has already begun on these, and two frames have been made ready for the facing boards to be applied. The EAG have also been asked to make a further three signs for Rhyd Ddu, two for Caernarfon and one for Bontnewydd. It is hoped that the Waunfawr boards will be delivered to the WHR in time for the new season.
K1 in load test trials
It is reported that K1 has notched up some 15 miles hauling 4 carriages on Tuesday. The loco was still simmering gently in the Goods Shed at the end of the day. ECS Trial trains have apparently been running between Dinas and Caernarfon with carriages 2020, 2021,2022 and 100. Today (1/12/04), the rake was strengthened by the addition of coaches Nos. 24 and 26.
This northerly view (1/12/04) shows K1 storming up the bank on the approaches to Dinas. The loco has reportedly performed well hauling six coaches on the steep gradients. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Jon Marsh and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The loco apparently made a fine sight storming past Tesco's in Caernarfon. No doubt the steep bank in Coed Helen cutting tested the power of the loco to haul full length trains. Further tests are provisionally timetabled for 7-8/12/04. K1's log showed 15 miles by 30/11/04 and a total of 27 miles by 2/12/04. However, it is reported that the loco is still suffering slightly from a hot axlebox.
Team Wylfa is still waiting for a friendly crane driver to call by and lift No.134's chassis so they can move it into the Clip Shed. In the meantime, they are moving components from the container to the Clip Shed to strip, clean, assess and refurbish if possible. Currently boiler fittings are the centre of attention - they have the turret and all its valves. The intention is to strip, clean it and refurbish all the valves then repaint with heat resistant aluminium paint. They also have a set of gauge glass cocks which will also be overhauled.
Replacement lighting units for the Clip Shed are still awaited and the free paint donated to the group turned out to be unsuitable colours so Team Wylfa are still looking for a donation of about 20 litres of white emulsion to brighten up the interior of the Clip Shed.
On Tuesday evening (23/11/04), with almost a full crew, Team Wylfa rescued the steam dome and took it down to the Clip Shed. Being more awkward to handle than particularly heavy, this was a good exercise in team manual handling. After several years standing out in all weathers, the sealing face is quite badly pitted so will require a bit of 'elbow grease' to make good. Team Wylfa still has some of the running plates to repair and paint or use as patterns to make new. These tasks will keep them busy until No.134's chassis arrives in the shed.
K1 returns to Goods Shed
Following a K1 working party that weekend, K1 returned to the Goods Shed by 21/11/04. No.138 Millennium had previously been moved out, having had its spring repaired/replaced and returned to service. Further snags with K1 are being dealt with and it is still aimed to launch the loco into service in the Spring. The next working party is on 11-12/12/04.
Merddin Emrys, WHR 'test loco' back in the 1920s, is back in Boston Lodge having the new tanks fitted. It is intended to return this loco to traffic in 2005. Vale of Ffestiniog, the FR's Funkey has also returned to service after its major refit and it can only be a matter of time before it visits the WHR maybe to be paired in a Super Power Gala?
New build L&B replica Lyd, destined for the WHR in the near future, is at the back of the Maenoferren shed at Minffordd Yard. Funding is building up following its recent boiler purchase. The boiler cladding will be made and fitted over the next few weeks and work is expected on the motion in the summer after work to make the FR fleet fully operational.
K1 receives partial pass
On 6/11/04 the wooden cab floor was fitted along with the replacement 4-way lubrication splitter. The following day, after completion of the cab flooring, the loco was shunted outside the Loco Shed in preparation for HMRI tests on 8/11/04.
Monday's HMRI inspection achieved a partial pass for K1. The loco is now allowed to undergo live loaded steam tests to Rhyd Ddu and to double-head service trains. A further HMRI inspection is required before K1 can single head passenger trains and a small list of jobs has been given to complete.
On 9/11/04, Nos. 143 and K1 were simmering in the Loco Shed in the evening. K1 has had its dome cover refitted. Meanwhile, in the Goods Shed, No.138 sits with the rear end jacked up due to the rear LH spring failing on the pony truck.
With all the loco failures this year, it is clear the WHR needs another large loco so it is good news that the frames of No.134 will soon be craned into the Clip Shed. This has now been fully cleared out following the installation of a temporary lighting connection. Replacement lighting units and a permanent connection are still awaited.
K1 in steam at Dinas
K1 was noted in steam at Dinas on 4/11/04. Here are some images courtesy of Cliff Garnett. Cliff apologises for the quality of the images! The loco was trialled for inspection by HMRI on 8/11/04 in Dinas station limits.
This northerly view (4/11/04) shows K1 shunting through Dinas platform for steaming tests for an HMRI type approval visit. The cladding on the steam dome still needs fitting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright Cliff Garnett. Image captured on Pentax SLR with Fuji film and scanned with a flatbed scanner. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (4/11/04) shows K1 standing in Dinas Up platform during steaming tests for an HMRI type approval visit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright Cliff Garnett. Image captured on Pentax SLR with Fuji film and scanned with a flatbed scanner. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (4/11/04) shows K1 on shed following steaming tests for an HMRI type approval visit. The comparison in size is emphasised in this view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright Cliff Garnett. Image captured on Pentax SLR with Fuji film and scanned with a flatbed scanner. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Brake van out
The SAR brakevan was out on the line on Friday on a short trip to Caernarfon and back and is out again on Monday 8/11/04 on a charter with No.143. This follows stirling work by Tony Williams and a few other volunteers to get it into running order.
K1 tested to Castell Cidwm
K1 was shunted up the line to Castell Cidwm for clearance tests on 2/11/04. The loco was propelled by Upnor Castle and subsequently returned to the Loco Shed to await its HMRI trials, where testing was understood to include some shunting with rolling stock. Approval in principle was granted back in 1997. Clearance was said to be quite tight at a few locations although no serious clashes occurred.
This northerly view (2/11/04) shows K1 nearing Castell Cidwm bridge, with chimney and cab back on, propelled by Upnor Castle for clearance tests. The cladding on the steam dome still needs fitting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright John Wooden. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This westerly view (2/11/04) shows K1 just north of Castell Cidwm bridge, propelled by Upnor Castle for clearance tests. Staff are riding behind water tank to check side clearances. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright John Wooden. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
K1 in HMRI test
K1 is to be inspected in steam by HMRI w/e 7/11/04. It will shunt within station limits under 'shunt token' possession in preparation for hauling passenger trains. Work has continued on K1 w/e 31/10/04 and there have been appearances outside the Good's Shed with two men working on the loco during the course of the week.
The loco was fuelled w/e 31/10/04 for light steam tests to check the steam-tightness of all the tubing that has now been reassembled after its journey from Boston Lodge. The dome lagging/cover was still off midweek until the tests were completed.
Clip shed lit up
On 12/10/04 the Clip Shed was lit up for the first time by Team Wylfa electricians. They hoped to complete the job within the week and move the chassis of No.134 in there as soon as a crane lift is possible. By 22/10/04, wiring was complete and an external, motion activated (PIR) light was in action too, although all awaited final inspection and connection.
More progress was made with K1 on the weekend of 16-17/10/04. The chimney and cab have been refitted and some mid-week work is underway to correct the hot bearing. The loco now seems likely to steam in November and hopefully will be tested to Rhyd Ddu before the tracks are ripped up in December for winter pw work near Glan-yr-afon. The public launch is now likely to take place next Easter.
This easterly view (20/10/04) shows K1 nearing completion, with chimney and cab back on, stabled outside the Goods Shed at Dinas. The cladding on the steam dome still needs fitting. The interior of the cab has been finished in gloss red. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy and copyright John Wooden. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
EAG wagon news
Ex-Duxford Hudson wagon EAG3 is now substantially complete. The wagon was timbered on 2nd October, and now only needs certain finishing touches such as corner stanchions (if these are required by the Phase IV engineers). Three other wagons remain to be timbered in the same fashion.
The Group has been in consultation with WHRCL (Welsh Highland Railway (Construction) Limited) and consequently the decision has been made that the four wagons will be completed in different ways. One wagon will be completed as a straightforward flatbed, and two others will have low "ends" made of timber, together with 75mm kerbs or edges to prevent slippage of loose items. The fourth will be equipped with removable stanchions, probably of substantial steel angle.
The next working party is expected to take place at Cardinal's Green, Horseheath, Cambs., on Saturday 30th October, from around 9.00 a.m. New faces are always welcome.
This view (2/10/04) shows wagon EAG3 substantially complete while the volunteers take a break! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Richard Watson. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
It is likely that the next EAG project will be the manufacture of station signs for the WHR. The EAG has been asked to make two more signs for Waunfawr, with possibly more to follow.
Race to finish K1
Now K1 is safely stored in the Goods Shed at Dinas, the K1 Group has organised regular working parties at Dinas with the aim of completing the loco for line trials on the WHR. These are planned for the weekends from 16-17/10/04 and 6-7/11/04, with the hope of getting the loco out on the line for trials sometime in November.
The first K1 working party at Dinas was on 9-10/10/04. A number of jobs were tackled that need to be completed prior to refitting of the cab, including some cab pipework, lagging of the main steam pipe from regulator to rear engine, gloss painting of all cab interior upper (red) parts, and finally sorting out all our tools, equipment and loco parts following the move from Boston Lodge. All parts to go on the engine are now labelled and laid out on racking for easy location and recognition.
All of K1's spares and stores have now arrived at Dinas. The racking and cupboards have gone into the Clip Store along with Team Wylfa's tool cupboards. As of 9/10/04, K1 still required the refitting of the cab, steam dome, chimney etc. taken off for the move to Dinas.
Progress on the new Clip Store home for No.134's chassis has been limited this week by team members' holidays/shift patterns etc. However, on the evening of 7/10/04 Team Wylfa mounted the first of three fluorescent lights, ex-Caernarfon new station building, on some 2x4 timber they erected from the front to back wall. Next Tuesday will see the remainder mounted on the south wall above the benches and, if volunteer numbers allow, their wiring up. The group is hopeful of getting a crane lift sooner rather than later to lift No.134's chassis and position it on the temporary track to run it into the Clip Store.
Team Wylfa has now been 'evicted' from the Goods Shed with the arrival of K1. They have been gradually moving their equipment out over the last 2-3 weeks but last Thursday night (30/9) saw a big purge and all the remaining pieces of No.134 were moved to the Clip Store. This location is their new operating base and Team Wylfa have been fixing battens to the walls and pillars ready to take fluorescent lights. The lights are due for delivery by 2/10/04 and hopefully volunteers will have proper illumination inside by 7/10/04 so they can work through the dark winter evenings. They are still working on the problem of how to move the chassis into the shed!
Prince, Gelert and coach No.23 left on the 13th September. No.23 was wanted to re-enact the first train across the cob on the FR vintage weekend. It was due back at Dinas soon afterwards but at the end of September a date was still awaited. Meanwhile coach No.26 is taking its place.
Coach No.23 will also take part next year in the July 23rd re-enactment of the original 1955 'FR first train', when Mary Ann trundled across The Cob on 23/7/55 with Nos. 10 & 23 in tow. Mary Ann will have her original Dorman petrol engine reinstalled.
This westerly view (2/10/04) shows coach No.26 at Dinas, on loan from the FR for an extended period. Note the lower roof profile to fit the smaller FR loading gauge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ben Fisher and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
K1 touchdown at Dinas!
K1 finally touched WHR metals at 1250 on 2/10/04. The earlier trip by transporter company 'Locomotion' to the W&LR was aborted as their coach was found to be too long for the trailer and so all the action took place on Saturday. K1's cab sheeting had arrived the previous day and was dumped next to the Goods Shed. The loco itself was loaded at Minffordd on the morning of 2/10/04 with dome and chimney stored in a space between the boiler and tank.
This southerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows the Locomotion transporter reversing K1 into Dinas Yard past the Goods Shed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The transporter left Minffordd yard at around 1045 but turned left towards Maentwrog as the right turn was too sharp. It then turned in the Penrhyndeudreath industrial estate. Your webmaster arrived at Dinas at around 9am as there was a chance the unloading would happen early. He then attempted to get a picture at Pen-y-groes footbridge but the cold wind forced him back to Dinas at 11am after a fruitless hour on the exposed bridge in shorts! This delay at least allowed the sun to come out at Dinas.
This northerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Conway Castle coupling up to K1 on the transporter. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The Locomotion lorry arrived at Dinas about midday, reversing into the South Yard. Conway Castle went to collect a barrier wagon (B1621) and parked near the Goods Shed. The lorry drove forwards onto the Goods Shed road and dropped its trailer with K1 facing south. The ramp was set up and unloading began after coupling up the barrier wagon. The lorry cab unit was chained to the loco for the gravitating stage. While the forward bogie went on smoothly, two attempts had to be made to get the rear bogie firmly on WHR metals.
This northerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Conway Castle drawing forwards K1 off the transporter. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Conway Castle pulling K1 off the transporter. This aerial view was taken from the platform on top of the fuel tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The transporter was then removed from the trackbed so that Upnor Castle could be coupled onto the rear of the loco to draw it back towards the headshunt. This manoeuvre allowed Conway Castle and the barrier wagon to be released. The assemblage went into the bay platform for a short while before K1 was propelled into the Goods Shed later in the afternoon by Upnor Castle.
This southerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Conway Castle drawing forwards K1 forwards towards the Goods Shed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Conway Castle pulling K1 clear of the transporter. This aerial view was taken from the platform on top of the fuel tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (2/10/04) at Dinas shows Upnor Castle shunting K1 into the Goods Shed. The cab sheeting can be seen on the ground to the left of the shed door. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
K1 moves to Dinas!
K1 is now scheduled to be loaded at Minffordd late afternoon on Friday 1/10/04. Unloading at Dinas may be delayed until morning of the following day if the Friday operation runs late and into darkness. The reason for this uncertainty is that the MAV coach from the W&LLR will be loaded there by crane on Friday morning and offloaded at Harbour Station on Friday afternoon. The time taken for this operation will determine the exact timings for K1 loading and unloading.
K1 moved to Minffordd
As predicted in these pages, K1 was moved to Minffordd pw yard on 22/9/04 for ease of road access prior to moving to Dinas. The cab and dome cover were removed at Boston Lodge during a K1 working party over the weekend of 18-19/9/04. The move involved tight clearances through Rhiw Plas bridge and elsewhere but there were fortunately no scrapes. The onward lorry move to Dinas is likely to be in early October. Minffordd yard has NO public access.
Other work completed on 18-19/9/04 included making and fitting the copper piping for the rear bogie steam sanders. While the cab is off, the opportunity is being taken to give it a final coat of paint. The nameplate will be applied and unveiled at the naming ceremony and Supporters special train, possibly in late Autumn, given satisfactory performance on test runs on the WHR. These are unlikely to occur before November.
Team Wylfa completed the 2nd (outside) track panel for the Clip Shed on 23/9/04 so all is now ready to receive No.134's chassis and roll it into the shed for Winter work. All that is now needed is a crane lift. As these are expensive due to being a full day hire, this may have to wait for one to be hired for WHR purposes.
Team Wylfa are back in action. They started their Autumn campaign with good progress on the evening of 14/9/04. The Clip Shed now has rail laid within (a complete track panel) and two skip chasses are now sitting on it patiently waiting for No.134's frames. Subject to the weather, Team Wylfa will make up another track panel on Thursday evening that will be slewed through the doors to join up with the rail inside when time comes to lift the frames off the wheelsets, so they can then be rolled inside for the winter - all snug and dry.
This westerly view (14/9/04) inside the Clip Shed at Dinas shows the panel of track laid in preparation for No.134's frames. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Keene and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Team Wylfa have had a tentative offer to fund a set of fluorescent lights for the Clip Shed as a result of their Super Power weekend display. They are just costing it up.
K1 to leave FR via Minffordd Yard?
K1 may now leave Boston lodge via Minffordd Yard. The loco was scheduled to leave via the FR Harbour Station headshunt but agreement could not be reached with local landowner. It was also possible to remove the loco via the old WHR formation from The Cob but this may have damaged the platform and block paving outside the Goods Shed.
The loco profile has been checked as regards width and just fits through Rhiw Plas bridge. However, the cab, chimney and steam dome will have to be removed to fit under the bridge. The removal of the cab may involved dismantling of many steam pipes and reassembly at Dinas/Minffordd. Under 100 small snag jobs remain to be completed. The K1 Group is hoping to buy a few more weeks of Roland Doyle's time before he goes on to his new job (see below).
K1 will steam on 12/9/04
It has been decided K1 is not ready to travel to Dinas for Super Power this coming weekend. The loco is still receiving engineering attention at Boston Lodge that must be completed before it journeys to Dinas where the engineering facilities are not so comprehensive.
This view (22/8/04) of K1 at Boston Lodge shows the loco in steam around 7pm about to shunt in the yard up to the headshunt. This was the first time the loco had moved under its own power since 1929, a truly historic moment being first of its type! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
However, the loco will be steamed on Sunday 12/9/04 at Boston Lodge between 10am and 1700 with occasional movements in the yard. The K1 team will welcome visitors. Visitors should sign in at the Lobby Office in the usual way and sign out as they leave.
Good progress has been made on the loco since its line trials on 3/9/04. On the second run the loco had got up to 15mph but the left rear side rod bearing became hot again and the trial had to be terminated. The following day the motion was disassembled and the problem traced to faulty lubrication.
Over the next three days the steam powered sand ejectors were fitted with their delivery pipes and the rod bearing reassembled after curing the problem. There are still some minor snags to deal with and these will hopefully be dealt with during a regular K1 working party on 18-19/9/04.
EAG wagon news
To date the EAG wagon team has:
Derusted and painted the underframes
Refurbished the axleboxes
Raised the height of the wagons by insertion of steel channel between underframes and axlebox U irons
Designed and fitted parking brakes
Removed the side buffers and constructed central buffing gear
Sourced new coupling chains
This view (5/9/04) at Horseheath, Cambs, shows the EAG wagon project nearing completion. The photo illustrates mocked up timber work and potential end stanchion. Parking brakes are also visible. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Hornsby and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Virtually all that remains is to re-deck the wagons with new timber, and it is estimated that this can be completed by November, well before they will be needed for construction work on Phase 4. The Group is considering the addition of removable corner stanchions - perhaps of hefty steel angle - but will be consulting end users to obtain opinions as to the usefulness of this feature.
K1 in Cob line trials
K1 undertook line trials on 3/9/03 along The Cob. Sadly the increasing drizzle after several days of fine sunsets put a dampener on affairs. The loco steamed out of Boston Lodge at 1900 after the final service train had returned and made two trips across The Cob. The loco was only allowed as far as the Harbour Station home signal as there were fears it might foul the canopy or platforms edges.
This view (3/9/04) shows K1 returning to Boston Lodge after the first trip across The Cob. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (3/9/04) shows K1 returning to Boston Lodge in the increasing murk after two trips across The Cob. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (3/9/04) shows K1 in steam at Boston Lodge ready for its trip across The Cob. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The steam pipe that delivers 'simple' steam to the LP cylinders was made and fitted on 24/8/04 and the loco made a trip a very short way along The Cob that evening between 9 and 10pm, sadly in the dark! K1 steamed very well in both simple and compound mode during this test run. It had been intended to work up to the Harbour station disc signal. Sadly, the run was cut short by the discovery of a warm side rod bearing. K1 was noted cold on the afternoon of 25/8/04 receiving remedial attention in the erecting shop. The K1 team is now very optimistic about completing the loco in the near future.
The Sandstone Heritage Trust in South Africa (twinned with the WHR) are helping by sending over a couple of lubricator splitter valves from their spares stock to replace the ones obtained elsewhere that have failed. In addition to the warm side rod bearing that needs to be eased, there are several other minor tasks such as a piston rod gland that is not properly seated. These small snags are part and parcel of the commissioning and testing process of any loco that has had a major rebuild.
K1 moved under its own power for the first time since 1929 on 22/8/04. With the K1 Group AGM taking place at Boston Lodge, the working party pulled out the stops to get the loco moving over the weekend and it was noted moving about 7pm on 22/8/04.
This view (23/8/04) at Boston Lodge shows K1 outside the erecting shop after its first powered shunt. Work was in progress on its making its front bogie operational and the chimney was off yet again! Note the widened cabside ledges. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Concord 3340z (3.1 Mega pixel) digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The loco has now had the cab footplate extensions fitted. These cabside features are essential to allow safe access to the cab. K1 is unusual in having its pistons at the inner end of each bogie. When passing through curves, the rear pistons swing through the space that might otherwise be occupied by cab steps, so the steps are placed about a metre further forward. A steel plate with grip texture has been riveted onto the existing cabside ledge so that this is now wider by in excess of 5cm, allowing safer access between the cab door and steps.
Further progress was made with NG15 No.134 on 24/8/04 and 26/8/04. The side rods were removed but Team Wylfa still have to tackle the horn stays. On Thursday evening, the side rods were moved to the Clip Store, where six predrilled sleepers have been laid to form a temporary track for running in the frames. By 4/9/04, the tender was shunted out of the Goods Shed and stored in the diesel refuelling siding to make way for K1's arrival, anticipated in the first week of September.
While the Carriage Shed is free during the day, No.134's frames may be shunted over the pit and the bolts that retain the front Krauss-Helmholtz truck and the rear Bissell bogie can be undone so that they will release when the frame is lifted after Super Power.
The side of the Clip Shed with double opening doors has been cleared out to house No.134's frames over Winter. Some temporary track will be laid to this location and the frames trundled in on skip/ambulance bogies. This will allow progress on the frames in comfort whatever the weather during the Winter evenings. Team Wylfa are standing down over the next two weeks for holidays etc. They will be manning a No.134 stall at Super Power.
Consideration is being given again to new coaches when they can be afforded. Currently two FfR coaches are borrowed to maintain two six coach rakes and tour traffic has had to be turned away on peak days. More saloons are needed (Nos. 2043 onwards), another brake coach (No.2091) and another Pullman (No.2116).
The addition of toilet facilities has been considered and is currently thought not important as the new timings allow toilet stops at all stations. Toilet installation is expensive and reduces seating capacity. When the line is extended to Beddgelert and beyond, on-board toilets will be a more important consideration.
The brake van now has a coupling at either end and has a newly painted roof, though it is not planned to be used in the Super Power event. Stencils have been finished on DZ 1403. It seems all remaining wagons have acquired roughly painted numbers in green paint on their decks. The wagon carrying the point just north of the Carriage Shed carries DZ 2004 and DZ2003 lies at Plas-y-nant siding.
This westerly view (22/8/04) at Dinas shows the newly stencilled DZ wagon. This wagon does not have end panels. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Trials and tribulations!
A few minor problems have arisen during the intense August peak timetable. No.143 is beginning to 'clank', a sign of worn motion out of adjustment. This loco is destined for an overhaul during the Winter similar to that given to No.138 earlier this year.
Another problem concerns Castell Caernarfon, which has an issue with its handbrake. This loco will require more maintenance than usual during the coming Winter to ensure its continued reliability. In comparison, the FfR Funkey, Vale of Ffestiniog is currently undergoing major work on its bogies at Boston Lodge. With Castell Caernarfon out of commission for a while, more steam operation over the Winter might be required as services are normally diesel hauled for much of the timetable after 24/10/04.
Following a short sharp storm, a tree fell down, blocking the line (west of Waunfawr?) during the week ending 22/8/04. It had to be cut up by pw staff before trains could run. Police had to be called on 22/8/04 when malingerers were causing vandalism at Caernarfon station. The 1500 departure was delayed several minutes.
Sandstone Trust Brake Van
After Prince Charles had left on 30/7/03, the FR/WHR(C) continued the celebrations with a twinning ceremony with South Africa's Sandstone Heritage Trust. The Trust has a 9-mile 2-foot gauge line in South Africa and has custody of several NGG16s and NG15s. Wilfred Mole, the Trust Chairman, presented the WHR with an ex-SAR goods brake van to go with the existing fleet of 23 ex-SAR wagons used on construction trains and Gala mixed trains.
This view shows the full side view of the type of brakevan with the guard's compartment to the right. This van is No.3179. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Marcus Ingram taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The vehicle is a bogie NG.V-16 type Goods Brake Van. It is one of six the Sandstone Trust has purchased from SAR and one of the best is coming to the WHR. The gift commemorates the twinning of Sandstone & WHR and is being given to us, shipped to a UK port. The body is arranged as about 1/3 guards van and the rest open van space. The guards van will complement the restored freight wagons and help with the aim of presenting a typical South African narrow gauge freight train on WHR. Being vacuum brake fitted, it will be able to run in both passenger and works trains.
This view shows the detail of the guard's end of guards van No. 3172. The van appears to have a side viewing cupola as did the curly roofed FR brake vans. The 4.33 tonne vans can carry a load of 4 tonnes (distributed). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Marcus Ingram taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The fund that Marcus Ingram was collecting for transport of this brake van to the UK will now be used to restore the van. To contribute to this fund click on the link to e-mail Marcus directly, who can give you more information on brake van restoration.
For more information about the Sandstone Heritage Trust in South Africa and its railway click below.
Click here for Sandstone Railway
B wagons labelled
Around Easter 4 B wagons were completely stencilled, 1 half stencilled leaving one not started. The white lettering includes loco numbering, tare information etc, some of which requires the addition of boxes around the data panels. The wagon typeface is not an exact match for SAR practice but it is close.
It took Marcus three nights of scouring the internet for a very close match that was free of charge. These were then printed onto card using an inkjet printer to the correct scale. Detailed sketches carried out by John Hine and provided by Tony Williams, enabled the positioning to be exact. The last job was the cutting of some 60 stencils ranging from one large letter to complete words by craft knife individually (a very painstaking and slow process!!). A white spray can has been used to apply the lettering.
Wagon fleet news
On 5/12/02 work started on repainting B wagon no. 1621, the fifth B wagon.
One B wagon was unfortunately damaged during the Betws Garmon bridge delivery on 13/5/03. It was the only one not to have had its bogies fully serviced. In future 'Not to Go' signs will be applied to unserviceable stock. Attention is now switching to repainting the other wagon types in the fleet. Initially, the four grey DZ wagons that still retain sides might be a good target.
The WHR is expected to exchange the small FR Brake/Obs No.11 with a larger brake coach, possibly FR No.100 on 21/7/03. This is to prepare for clearance tests for the second rake as a two train service will run from the July opening until the August Bank Holiday. The recently refurbished No.100 can hold many more passengers than No.11. Also coming is coach No.113. This will mean the second rake will be made up to six coaches, namely the two new 'opens', Nos. 23/24 and Nos. 100/113.
With a two train service needed in the peak from the opening day, it is essential that K1 be available, not just for lighter train services but also to provide maintenance cover for the other two steam locos, Nos.138/143. The following statement comes from K1 group chairman Colin Hill.
'All outstanding work has been listed and Boston Lodge Works are currently assembling a detailed estimate of the cost of completion. The results of that estimate will form the basis of an agreement to be reached between the K1 Group and the FR Co. on the allocation of manpower resources to K1 work, the determination of timescales for completion and the allocation of specific jobs to staff and volunteers.
The Welsh Highland Railway Society has made a generous grant of £15,000 towards K1 which will be used to pay for labour and materials at Boston Lodge and will be charged by FR Co. directly to the WHRS. The WHRS now has Charitable Status in its own right and donations made through that organisation may now be done in a tax-efficient way.
Further recent donations from supporters have swelled the available funds to the point where paid work can recommence as soon as agreement is reached with the FR Co. on allocation of resources and the work schedule.
However the funds available are still insufficient to complete the locomotive and further donations are still earnestly sought. Meanwhile, it may be necessary to put into service an "incomplete" locomotive that lacks some of the finer touches of completion in the interests of the WHR's motive power needs and the desire to see K1 in action again as soon as possible. The missing elements will be completed as soon as money and opportunity permits.'
K1 latest-paid work stops-more funds urgently needed!
K1 is currently being re-constructed in Boston Lodge works. Although the loco boiler has passed all its tests, re-assembly did not reach the stage of allowing the loco to be tested across the cob in December as planned. Money has unexpectedly run out and on 20/12/02 the K1 group asked the FR to stop paid work on the loco.
It is still hoped the loco will be available for the planned opening to Rhyd Ddu on 30/6/03. Funds are sought to complete the loco. Some £20,000 is still needed bringing the total cost of restoration to £180,000. A press campaign called the 'Heat Appeal', aiming to put heat into the loco and the fund-raining, will be launched towards the end of February and it is still hoped that the loco will be launched on the WHR between May and July. Meanwhile, fortnightly volunteer work parties are continuing at Boston Lodge with renewed vigour.
The K1 Group has launched an excellent new website with full illustrated details of the project.
As well as being historically interesting as the first Garratt loco, K1 will be a useful loco for medium length trains on the WHR. Operationally, the loco is interesting with its simple to compound changeover being effectively a second gear for the loco! To support progress financially or join the group contact Ian McKenzie. If just 1/3 of WHRS members gave about £30 under 'gift aid', the loco could be quickly finished.
This Boston Lodge view (31/12/02) of K1 shows the loco in an advanced state of reconstruction, though minus its smokebox door, chimney and boiler cladding. The chimney was removed as it was too high for the erecting shop! The cab has been erected at the rear end and many of the cab fittings have been added. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram taken on a Sony digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
No. 140, the 'lost Garratt' or 'Red Devil', has been hauled out of Glan-y-pwll shed on the FR for a boiler examination. This is to see if the boiler is in better condition than that on No. 143. Boiler swaps were common on SAR. The boilers of the two operational Garratts on the WHR will be examined after several years of regular use.
No. 138's fuel tank was repaired in September and No.143 received the same attention in October. No. 143 has received considerable attention since, with the front end being lifted on the yellow ex-Channel Tunnel narrow gauge railway jacks to allow the front bogie to be removed. This allowed attention to a steam leak under the smokebox.
This image was taken in the loco shed at Dinas during October 2002. The front end of No.143 has been lifted on jacks purchased from the disposal of the narrow gauge construction railway used in the construction of the Channel Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram taken on a Sony digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The initial intention is to give all four saloon coaches an exterior "make-over" so that the WHR has smart sets for the re-opening to Rhyd Ddu. Volunteers started with No. 2042, the coach which suffered most in the encounter with the tractor, and on examining it, they decided to replace the damaged panel (Boston Lodge have a stock of the aluminium faced ply used in their manufacture).
Since they had to remove some of the plastic beading to get at the panel, the decision was made to replace the entire plastic, on both sides, with wood. The plastic has not been satisfactory; it expands and shrinks too much and joints quickly open up and look unsightly and let in water.
WHLR volunteers have nearly completed coach No. 2042, and it should be in traffic for the February half-term holiday service. As well as a complete exterior paint job, the tables have been modified to make them safer and less vulnerable to collisions with a buffet trolley by shortening them a little. Volunteers have thoroughly cleaned the upholstery (one volunteer is a retired contract cleaner who still has some of his valet gear) so the volunteers hope that it will look something special.
WHR volunteers Cliff Garnett and Ray Williams intend to repeat this process on the other saloons. Obviously, this will require more man-hours than had initially been anticipated, so volunteers may not complete all four saloons this winter. In addition to the painting, there is a programme to shorten and fix securely the tables in the saloon coaches. Volunteer helpers are always welcome. Work is indoors, not too strenuous and jolly good fun!
This November 2002 view shows the attention given to one of the saloons by WHR volunteers in the former WHR Goods Shed. The finished product should be much more presentable that the original design of coach. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram taken on a Sony digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Preparations are going ahead to make a 7 wagon set for the proposed Driver Experience Courses. The fifth wagon (B1621) has received (15/12/02) its first coat of red oxide paint. The sixth is unpainted and the seventh and final wagon is untouched. Over Xmas/New Year, the seventh wagon (B934), currently stored in the headshunt with loose wheels, will be dragged out for attention. The intention is to use spare bogies from the former tracklaying machine (now defunct) to make this a serviceable wagon. Once the 'B' fleet is complete, volunteers hope to work on the DZ fleet, making a rake of about 10 wagons available.
This view (29/12/02) of the seventh and final wagon to be refurbished (B934) shows the bogie being removed. Mike Hart and Marcus Ingram jacked up the wagon and later removed a bogie from the former tracklayer. Conwy Castle shunted the new bogie around to the shed on 31/12/02, removing various items of rolling stock (e.g. tank wagon) that were in the way. This is the first use of the new carriage shed pit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram taken on a Sony digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Meanwhile, progress on repainting wagons continues in the Goods Shed. There are now five wagons fit to run on the main line with passenger stock for the proposed Driver Experience runs, B1621, B1824, B1848, B1899 and B2925. The remaining wagons are B934 on which work has just started and B1835. B1806 is stored at Glan-y-pwll depot on the FR.
This Goods Shed view (1/1/03) of the fifth wagon to be refurbished (B1621) shows the repainting with the third and final coat of red oxide paint. Running numbers and black information panels are yet to be added. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram taken on a Sony digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Super Power Success
The WHR Super Power Weekend was a huge success with trains packed on both days. The weather was fine and even though a few exhibits did not turn up, everybody enjoyed the action.
This northerly view (15/9/02) at Caernarfon shows one of the unsung heroes of the event, 'Caernarfon Castle', hauling freight wagons leading passenger stock. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes taken on Samsung Digimax 230 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
On the evening of 12/9/02, after normal train services, a test train was run from Dinas to Waunfawr. It consisted of No.143 pulling the five open wagons, both ballast hoppers, coaches Nos. 2021, 2022, 23, 24 and brake van No. 1001. No problems were encountered and all concerned were pleased with the performance of the loco and stock. The train looked impressive and No.143 was heard to be working really hard hauling this heavy test train up the gradient.
This northerly view (14/9/02) at Dinas shows No.138 Millennium (left) ready to depart for Waunfawr whilst No.143 is shunting light engine in the Down platform. It is unusual to see the two locos side by side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The Superpower Weekend seems to have been the most successful weekend ever on the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon). Early indications show a marked increase on previous events. The event was designed to showcase the two 62 ton Beyer-Garratt locomotives, No. 143 & No. 138 “Millennium” along with the powerful diesel “Castell Caernarfon”, hauling the largest trains to date on the WHR. This was achieved by using the existing coaching stock (minus the Pullman which is being attended to at Boston Lodge) and the heritage stock that had been used for the summer “Heritage Train”. All three open coaches were used, the latest still missing a few bogie dampers. The bogie conversions to passenger standards have brackets fitted for up to 4 dampers per side. The FR Chief Engineer is experimenting with different combinations on an ongoing basis. In addition 7 freight wagons were prepared for use to create the first mixed passenger trains on the reopened line.
This northerly view (14/9/02) at Dinas shows Upnor Castle busy shunting the freight rake ready to attach to the mixed train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes taken on Samsung Digimax 230 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
At Dinas there was also visiting locomotive “Velinheli” providing footplate rides from the Goods Shed to and through the Carriage Shed. Next to this was the incomplete “Lyd” which had been brought up from Boston Lodge where it is being built, along with a newly completed pony truck. This engine is destined to work on the WHR. The boiler will be delivered in the next few weeks. The Goods Shed contained sales outlets and stands for the WHR Heritage Group and a display from the Welsh Highland (Porthmadog) too.
This northerly view (14/9/02) at Caernarfon shows one of the future smaller locos, Lyd, destined to be based at Dinas. The loco is due to receive its boiler very soon from Israel Newton's (Bradford) and may be completed in 2003/4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes taken on Samsung Digimax 230 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The weather on Saturday produced brilliant sunshine and the trains were packed from the very start. The timetable built up towards the mixed trains, starting with a single headed train of wagons and coaches, before the finale of both days, the “Maximum Mixed” train, double headed with the two Garratts hauling 7 wagons and ten coaches – a very impressive sight with very impressive sounds too. For most people it was the first time that a Garratt had been heard to “chuff”.
This northerly view (14/9/02) at Dinas shows No.138 Millennium passing a northbound mixed working with a tail load consisting of the B wagons and hopper wagons. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes taken on Samsung Digimax 230 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Apart from the varied train service, there were open top bus rides from Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu to view the current construction works. There were also track walks to Betws Garmon along the next 800m of line, both proved extremely popular with the public. Top deck bus passengers were advised to duck as the road rarely sees double deck buses and trees often raked the bus! The ride was worth it as there were particularly good views of the new Rhyd Ddu station from the top deck.
This easterly view (14/9/02) at Gwredog Isaf curve shows No.138 Millennium + No.143 hauling the maximum mixed working. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Wooden (buffet car attendant) taken from the end of the train. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
NG15 locos No.133/4 were shunted together in the bay platform revealing the extent of the progress on No.134 compared to No. 133, which has only received cosmetic treatment. Work on No.134 has been suspended since early 2001, but is expected to restart in due course. Information panels attached to the loco suggested that No.134 is likely to move to Boston Lodge for completion once Garratt K1 is finished. Alternatively it may stay at Dinas, where work on No.134 had previously proved a useful focus and impetus for volunteers. The WHRS K1 Group has expressed an interest in getting involved in conjunction with Boston Lodge staff, and an appeal fund is likely to be launched to support completion of No.134. The WHRS has already agreed to fund the 94 new boiler flue tubes which are required.
Some exhibits failed to show, including the Daleks, the tank transporter and the Supercoach. However, Dinas visitors were entertained by a Belgian mechanical organ!
Sunday started off with duller weather but the sun came out again later, and while the railway was not as busy, the trains were still full. Another first for the weekend was the introduction of the emergency brake van No. 1001 (the Chattendon & Upnor coach), which was used on the second large set. The vehicle is now passed for passenger use too, so may well appear in different functions on the line (see above).
The September event is now a traditional WHR feature and already plans are being drawn up for 2003, with of course the extra 6 miles of track and the 'long drag', not to mention the reverse curves approaching Rhyd Ddu. Another Maximum Mixed train seems likely to be a major crowd puller!
This northerly view (15/9/02) at Dinas shows Caernarfon Castle hauling a mixed train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes taken on Samsung Digimax 230 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Prince returns to FR
WHR traffic figures have been given a positive boost by the two train service, with the Heritage train hauled by Prince. By mid-August, traffic was almost 20% up and takings 33% up. No doubt an unusual number of wet days in August has contributed to this! There is now more mid-week travel, as on the FR.
Further good news came with the August Bank Holiday with good loadings. The 1555 ran with No. 143 instead of Caernarfon Castle and the full two train steam service was also offered on the Bank Holiday Monday even though the timetable leaflet suggested a reduced one train service! It is surprising how many people turn up for the 1555 given it is only advertised at the stations and on the website.
This northerly view (3/6/02) at St. Helens Road bridge shows Prince charging the Seiont Bridge gradient with a very full bank Holiday Heritage train. Original newly painted and refurbished WHR coach No. 23 leads. This coach only just made it for the Spring Bank Holiday. Coach No. 24 may arrive in time for the August Bank Holiday Weekend and may allow a four coach rake if Prince can manage! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Slide taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Prince returned to the FR during the stock movements for the Super Power weekend.
No. 138 named on1/3/02
Beyer Garratt No. 138 has been repainted into Edison green and was named Millennium at a ceremony on 1/3/02. A special train departed Caernarfon at 1400 carrying invited guests. No.138 was named by the Mayor of Caernarfon whilst at Waunfawr.
This westerly view (2/3/02) of No.138, now named Millennium, at Waunfawr shows the loco's new nameplate. The right-hand side of the loco carries the Welsh version of the nameplate Mileniwm. The repaint into a darker apple green has been sponsored by Edison Mission Energy. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Image captured from Hitachi VM-D865LE using Studio DV and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
The loco subsequently hauled trains on the following weekend 2-3/3. Daffodils were placed in the carriage windows to commemorate St. David's Day. The same weekend saw the launch of the new North Wales Resident's Railcard priced at £5 and valid for five years on the WHR/FR. The card offers a 75% discount on normal fares, free car parking at Caernarfon and also discounts on catering at FR/WHR outlets e.g. 10p off a cup of tea/coffee on the train. Purchasers will need to bring a passport sized photo and proof of residency to Caernarfon/Porthmadog/Blaenau Ffestiniog Stations.
This westerly image (2/3/02) shows Millennium ready to depart with the final train of the day from Waunfawr. The loco carries sponsorship detail on its leading water tank. The loco has received some new rods and reversing gear (the shiny components in this view). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Image captured from Hitachi VM-D865LE using Studio DV and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Some changes have been made to Millennium prior to release. The loco now sports some new reversing gear on all four cylinders with some associated rodding. The triangular yellow indicator carried on a shaft above the front tank shows the driver when the steam valve for the sander has been rotated to the closed position. The NG16 class is prone to slipping even when running 'light engine' and on some occasions sand has run out when the sander has not been properly closed.
No.143 in action for the 2002 season's first trains
With No. 138 withdrawn for repainting into the correct shade of Edison green, No. 143 was pressed into service for the first trains of the new year on 9/2/02. Unfortunately, a section of the brake rigging fell apart on the south end bogie at Caernarfon on the final trip to Dinas and passengers were returned to Dinas by car.
The CME came out from Boston Lodge and a temporary repair was effected for the ECS to return to Dinas two hours later. The loco was back in service the following day.
No.138, Millennium took over from its March naming and was still operating over Easter.
This southerly view (9/2/02) shows No.143 running round at the south end of Waunfawr station. The loco has been brought out to release No.138 for repaint. No.143 was later to fail on the last train of the day at Caernarfon with dragging brake rigging. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Slide scanned at 200 dpi using Olympus ES10 and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology.
Prince/Heritage Train details
Prince was moved to the WHR from Boston Lodge on 26/5/02. The loco was accompanied by coaches Nos. 11 and 12. As a last minute stand in for the incomplete refurbished coaches, coach No. 39 was considered just for the 3-6/5 Half Term holiday week. However, refurbished No. 23 made it in the end and joined Nos. 11/12 in the Heritage Rake.
This northerly view (3/6/02) at Dinas main road bridge shows Prince slowing for the 10 mph pw restriction under the bridge with a very full Bank Holiday Heritage train. Original WHR coach No. 23 leads, newly painted and refurbished. This coach only just made it for the Spring Bank Holiday. Coach No. 24 is due to arrive in July for the High Season to form a four coach rake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Slide taken on a Sigma SA300 SLR using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
This rake offers First Class accommodation and allows a buffet service (almost all in the same colour!). The train will run as the Heritage Service in the timetable (see below). The first outing of the service is during the first four days of the Half Term Holiday Week commencing Monday 3/6/02. The new replica coach 'Works 24' will join the rake for the High Summer service commencing 20/7/02, making a four coach train.
The Board has cancelled the order for two saloon coaches for 2003 as the Heritage train will also run next year and provides a similar number of seats. An additional modern rake will be required for when the route is complete as up to 4 rakes will be required for a 25 mile route.
Alan Keef Ltd.made good progress with the new Open coaches Nos. 2021/2. One coach was delivered on 9/4/02 (see above) and the second is expected by July. The design is the same as the Open coach No. 2020, which saw some volunteer rectification work over winter.
Boston Lodgemade good progress with the overhaul of original WHR coach No. 23 which has been re-panelled and repainted for its permanent move to the WHR for the Peak Service Heritage trains. New seat cushions for No. 23 were in place in the Goods Shed on 29/6/02 and were fitted in late July.
The work on No. 26, funded by an anonymous donor, revealed that successive FR rebuilds have left no original parts. It has now been decided to reconstruct the carriage as a sister to No. 23 but to the original 1894 Ashbury's design. This will make it taller than No. 23 as the latter was cut down for operation on the WHR.
The new coach will be numbered No. 24. The steel underframe for 'Works No. 24' was complete by the end of February. Glazed windows will be provided as in No. 23 to provide more comfort than the Victorians endured! The design even includes the unusual curly spoked wheels.
Boston Lodge will do its best to complete No. 24 in time but as there are items like wheel tyres and bearings that are beyond its control, there may be delays. Delivery to Dinas is now programmed for July.Boston Lodge is also upgrading the eight ex-SAR bogies for the new modern coaching stock.
The Brake Saloon No. 2090 had its guard's compartment extended earlier this year by removing one bay of seats. This provides more room for the buffet trolley and stores. There are ongoing works on the Chattendon coach which runs as the brake coach to the pw train (and the spare brake for the passenger rake). The current job (29/6/02) involves painting and lining to make a respectable finish.
Locos for Rhyd Ddu opening
With Russell's boiler ticket due to expire this Autumn, a visit for the reopening to Rhyd Ddu at Easter 2003 now seems unlikely. However, as Blanche gained an extension on the FR, perhaps Gelert's Farm works will be equally lucky?
With a Merddin Emrys Appeal launched in 2000, the possibility arises of having an original double Fairlie for the Rhyd Ddu opening or a later opening. The loco is returning to steam for 2003 (possibly using Earl of Merioneth's power bogies). Merddin Emrys' boiler left Boston Lodge on 30/6/01 bound for Israel Newton's of Bradford for the renewal of throat plates and addition of longitudinal stays to prevent the flexing that had led to the loco's withdrawal. It was back at Boston Lodge by 28/12/01 and progress depends on the power bogie situation.
Merddin's boiler and frame were displayed at Glan-y-pwll depot during the Blaenau 20 event on 3-4/6/02. The work on one power bogie is fully funded and is due to get underway in the Autumn. Work on the second power bogie now depends on funding. However, Earl's power bogies will become available in 2003 if planned maintenance proceeds.
Merddin Emrys was to be parked in Platform Number 2 but this area was utilised by Lilla driver experience shunts during the Blaenau 20 celebrations. The loco has been one of the FR's mainstays for more than a century, and has changed shape with successive rebuilds. Major overhauls/rebuilds were undertaken in 1895, 1921, 1934, 1961 and 1970.
There is a kit of parts for one power bogie but a second will need to be manufactured, if Earl of Merioneth's cannot be spared. Three double Fairlies could then be turned out. Even if Merddin Emrys is not completed in time, the loco could re-enact the 1923 test trains for the Rhyd Ddu-Porthmadog opening in 2005/6.
However, there is concern about the long double Fairlie boiler priming on the 1 in 40 sections of the new WHR, so the loco may be limited to the easier grades of the Waunfawr-Rhyd Ddu section. The double Fairlies were said to prime badly on the WHR, explaining their infrequent use on the line and the lack of photographic evidence.
The Boston Lodge Newsletter has aired the question of an official project to rebuild the NG15 for medium weight trains for the opening to Rhyd Ddu. This would give the line four working locos including 138/143 and K1. No. 133's tender has been stripped to the frames and is stabled in the headshunt with painted red headstocks marked 'Dinas'. However, work appears to have come to a stop since 9/00 when the loco was removed from the engine shed.
K1 has had its newly designed welded boiler approved by insurance inspectors. All boiler parts have been sent to the Bradford factory of Israel Newton & Sons for assembly where they waited in the queue behind the boiler from Merddin Emrys. The frames, cab and motion of K1 are complete at Boston Lodge where final assembly will be undertaken in 2002. It is hoped the loco will be ready to run in passenger service on the WHR from Easter 2003.
K1 boiler steamed
The new boiler for K1, the world's first Garratt loco, was filled with water for the first time on 1/8/02 at the Bradford Works of Israel Newton. This is preparatory to the Hydraulic Test which is likely to take place early next week, bringing to completion the construction of the new all-welded boiler. The FR/WHR boiler design is based on an original 1909 design.
Transportation of the boiler to the FR's Boston Lodge Works took place on 15/8/02 after the successful completion of the hydraulic test on 8/8/02. The boiler is currently being prepared for its first steam test. This occurred on 15/9/02 in advance of the insurer's Boiler Inspection.
When that is successfully completed the boiler will be united with the frames of K1, which have been undergoing restoration in Boston Lodge Works. Then the race will be on to complete the rebuild of the loco by the end of 2002. This puts the locomotive in a good position for substantial completion of engineering by the end of 2002, followed by line trials on the Welsh Highland Railway during the early part of 2003.
It is hoped that there will be a public launch early in the 2003 operating season. Hopefully the full 12 mile length of the line to Rhyd Ddu will be available at that time. K1 will play a major part in the WHR motive power diagrams during 2003, especially on the lighter off peak trains.
The boiler will be mated with the loco during the Autumn and all the pipework added and cab erected. If the reassembly goes as expected, the loco will have its first trials across The Cob from Boston Lodge in December and be moved to Dinas for line trials in January. The loco had not been test run by 31/12/02 and was still at Boston Lodge.
A black livery is envisaged and the loco will be named 'Herbert William Garratt' in honour of the inventor of the Garratt principle. The long nameplate will be carried on the boiler barrel. The K1 group is still seeking some £4,000 in funding to finish the loco.
Dolgarrog at Rhyd Ddu
Simplex 'Dolgarrog' in Innogy (ex-National Power) Blue Livery was delivered from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu on 3/5/02 and the lease was handed over to the WHLR at 1030 on 4/5/02. After driver training during the morning at Rhyd Ddu, the loco was used with its small braked trailer to run to the rail head at Clogwyn-y-gwin.
This northerly view (4/5/02) at Rhyd Ddu, shows Innogy's Resources Manager John Baxendale (right) handing the loco's starting handle over to the WHLR volunteers. The starter slot is actually on the other side of the loco. The light loco is ideal for the track which has yet to be tamped and requires ballast dressing. The loco is positioned on the loco shed track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Image captured from Hitachi VM-D865LE using Studio DV and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Dolgarrog will normally be used at the north (downhill) end of the train much like the operation of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. This is for safety reasons as the gradient is downhill, mostly at 1 in 90, to the Head of Steel.
Six RRMs are now at Rhyd Ddu. Four will be used to carry two pairs of rails at a time to the Head of Steel. In view of the tight curves a specially bar has been made to join the two sets of RRMs so that the rails on one RRM do not catch those on the other as they swing out with the curvature during the move to the railhead.
The rails will be dropped in the 'two foot' at the rail head. The loco will then propel the rake back up to the rail store. The remaining two RRMs based at the rail head will then be used to move the rail to the Head of Steel where they will be dragged over rollers into position.
This southerly view (4/5/02) at Ch.13740, the former junction with the Clogwyn Incline (left), shows 'Dolgarrog' leading its running wagon downhill driven by WHLR volunteers. The loco has to stop and sound its horn at the crossing in the background. The fenced viewing area behind the loco (LC62) will make a good viewpoint when steam pounds up the grade at this point in years to come. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes from a slide taken on Sigma SA300SLR. Slide scanned at 200 dpi using Olympus ES10 and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Dolgarrog (Motor Rail 22154 of 1962) has a 30 h.p. Lister Blackstone engine. It is not the first loco from the Cowlyd Reservoir line to work on Welsh Highland construction as in 1922/3 the WHR contractors made use of a Bagnall 0-4-0ST that had previously been used there. Recently, Dolgarrog has been seen in public on exhibition at FR Galas together with wagons from the Llyn Cowlyd tramway.
This westerly view (4/5/02) at the approach to Rhyd Ddu, shows 'Dolgarrog' propelling its running wagon uphill driven by WHLR volunteers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Image captured from Hitachi VM-D865LE using Studio DV and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.
Dolgarrog does not currently carry a nameplate. It was formerly used on the Cowlyd Reservoir tramway, falling out of use between 1968 and 1975 and initially stored at Dolgarrog Hydroelectric Power Station when the tramway was pulled up. Dolgarrog is in the Conwy Valley between Llanwrst and Llandudno Junction.
In the mid-1970s Dolgarrog saw use on the contract to lay power cables to 'Electric Mountain' at Llanberis. The Simplex was one of several small diesels that were used on the major contract to install underground power cables alongside the Llanberis Lake Railway, feeding power from the Dinorwig pumped-storage scheme into the National Grid. Underground cables were specified as the area is a popular tourist attraction.
Dolgarrog was then mounted on a plinth at Dolgarrog with a few wagons. The loco was trialled in Minffordd Yard a few years back and thought to be out of gauge. However, inspection of the wheelsets at Boston lodge proved this was not the case. The loco has been stored at Dinas for the last 2 years awaiting a high profile outing on Phase 3 of the WHR rebuilding.
Although the lease precludes any permanent alterations, the WHLR will add a weatherproof cab over the seat using existing bolt holes. The loco has a horn which is used at level crossings.
This is the first loco at Rhyd Ddu since the demolition of the route in August 1941 for the wartime scrap drive. The 1941 loco was also a Simplex! Prior to the arrival of Dolgarrog at Rhyd Ddu, the pw gang was having to devote three of its team full time to bring the rail down from Rhyd Ddu the 800m plus to the Head of Steel. It was a hard job pushing the RRMs a half mile back up the 1 in 90 grade!
The loco has been chosen because it is the lightest one on the track and will not distort the track before the new tamper arrives to fettle the track into the permanent alignment both horizontally and vertically. The Wernlasddu point has been lifted and moved to Rhyd Ddu where a siding has been laid near to the rail store. This leads into a 20 foot container where the loco will be stored safely between working parties.
The point at Rhyd Ddu has been repositioned and a base laid for the loco shed/container. Also over the 21-2/4/02 one and a half panels were connected on to the point at Rhyd Ddu (right hand track looking southwards) to provide a spur towards where the container will go to house the works locomotive. The mess has been removed from Ffridd Isaf worksite. The North Wales track gang is working on site every fortnight and they hope they will have a loco by May as the RRMs take 20 mins to push back uphill to Rhyd Ddu!
This rail gap feature will be updated periodically as the gap narrows! The current target is Ch.12900 in Glan-yr-afon Yard, leaving space for the viaduct contract.
No. 143 hauled trains on 9/2/02 but failed at Caernarfon on the final return working to Dinas with dragging brake rigging.
No. 143 hauled trains on 23/2/02.
No. 138 hauled trains on 1-2/3/02, during March and over Easter including 3/4/02 and 6/4/02.
Caernarfon Castle hauled trains on 8/4/02 on the midweek diesel service.
No.138 hauled trains on 14/4/02 with some severe slipping on greasy rail approaching Dinas/Dinas main road bridge/Rhostryfan road bridge.
No. 138 hauled trains on 4/5/02 pausing for 20 minutes by the footbridge on the run round on the lunchtime working.
No. 138 hauled trains on 1/6/02-4/6/02. On 1/6/02 it handled the first 7-coach rake with no problem, with two open coaches and No.23. It has a slight water leak from the front tank.
On 3/6/02 No.138 ran an extra round trip (1555 ex-Caernarfon). On 4/6/02, the same extended service ran but Caernarfon Castle took over from Dinas as it was required to haul the following new evening service with the same rake.
Prince hauled the 3-coach Heritage Train with no problems on 3-4/6/02.
No.138 operated services on 5/6/02 and dropped off the extended 1555 return working at Dinas. To ease working, it coupled on ahead of the Funkey on the 1800 at the bottom points, double headed the train into the station and then uncoupled to run light into the loco shed.
No. 143 took over from 16/6/02 probably for the first time since February and also operated services on 29-30/6/02.
No. 143 operated the Eryri Express 5-9/8/02.
No. 138 operated from 13/8 to 17/8/02.
No. 143 operated services on 18/8/02.
Prince plus No. 143 operated services on 24-6/8/02.
Caernarfon Castle hauled trains on 28/10 to 1/11/01 including the Ghost Train on 31/10/02.
No.138 hauled trains on 26-27/12/02.
Caernarfon Castle hauled trains on 30-31/12/02 but it was hoped to use a steam loco on 1/1/03 and the final weekend of the Xmas service.
Caernarfon Castle hauled trains on 26/1/03.
No.143 hauled trains on 8/8/03.
Loco performance 2000
David Lloyd George
Earl of Merioneth
Vale of Ffestiniog
The figures above are provided for the year 2000 from the FR Society magazine. As well as locos used on the WHR, some FR locos are provided for comparison.
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Version4.1 dated 28/12/04