Welsh Highland Railway
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News (updated 21/12/14)
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This northerly view 14/4/14 shows No.138 drifting down towards Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1116. Most of the services leading up to the Easter Bank Holiday weekend were hauled by Nos. 87/143 so this was a relatively rare outing for the red Garratt. The train was due to depart Beddgelert at 1125. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on September 8 2004 with news about work on Phase 4 of the WHR scheme. In addition to this Stop Press page and a Phase 1/2 page, there are 9 location pages, covering the Phase 3 works between Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. There are a further 9 pages covering Phase 4, the full route through Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, including the Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount works recently constructed by the WHHR with three regularly updated map links for this area by Laurence Armstrong.
Finally, there are pages covering 'Phase 5', Views from the Line, the history of the abandoned PBSSR works around Beddgelert, Archived News and a Contacts page for volunteers. Another page covers the current operation of the WHHR southwest from Pen-y-Mount.
The above OS map shows the route through the Aberglaslyn Pass and Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
Click here to use the free OS Get-a-map service.
Route section pages
Listed below are links to pages featuring progress on different sections of the line or archive views. Jump ahead to News section or follow the section links from page to page. Please note that access to the links below was restored on 2/9/04 at the new website www.isengard.co.uk
Phase 4 pages
Rhyd Ddu to Pont Cae'r Gors (updated 29/6/06)
Pont Cae'r Gors to Hafod Ruffydd Halt (new 8/10/06)
Hafod Ruffydd Halt to Beddgelert Forest Halt (updated 4/12/06)
Beddgelert Forest Halt to Beddgelert Station (updated 1/7/07)
Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)
Beddgelert Station to Bryn-y-felin (updated 1/7/07)
Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)
Nantmor to Pont Croesor (updated 16/7/07)
Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount (updated 1/4/07)
WHR (Porthmadog) (updated 1/4/07)
Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated 1/4/07)
'Phase 6' page (new 2/4/06)
Views from the Line Page (updated 26/2/05)
PBSSR Works Historical Page (updated 25/3/05)
Rhyd Ddu Opening Page (New 14/2/04)
Archived News Page (updated 19/12/14)
Snow Scenes (updated 6/12/14)
Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)
Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)
Volunteer Contact details page (updated 20/12/14)
Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)
Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.
If you would like an automated announcement of site updates, email me at the NEW (2013) address below replacing the letters 'dot' with a full stop
This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.
There has never been any intent by myself to suggest that the views on these pages represent the views, opinions or policy of the FR, the WHRCL or the WHRS.
I am happy to confirm that this is an INDEPENDENT web news service.
New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.
New text in RED!
Phase 2 DVD released
Following many requests, your webmaster's Hi8 (stereo) Phase 2 analogue camcorder footage has been captured with a digitiser and edited to make a 2 hour DVD. All footage is from the year 2000, including:-
Click here for the Clip List.
The previous Phase 3 VHS video has been edited from original material onto DVD. Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 DVDs come in library boxes with smart illustrated inserts and a clip list (no commentary). The DVDs themselves are attractively labelled with a snowy alpine railway scene at Rhyd Ddu. The DVDs can be provided in any format (+R/-R/+RW/-RW) and the DVDs are not regionalised. Special orders for NTSC versions could be considered if the technology proves workable. All monies raised from the sale of these DVDs will go to the WHRS to support Phase 4. Contact the WHR/FR Shop. Limited numbers of copies of both DVDs will be on sale at WHRS events.
Phase 3 Video Offer
A new video offer for Phase 3 was launched at Easter 2004. The last video generated over £1,000 all of which was donated to the WHRS and the new video sold out at Super Power 2004, raising over £400 for Phase 4 funds.
The new video shows the construction, works trains, Royal test trains and the opening to Rhyd Ddu. The video is over 1.5 hours long covering the period 2000-2003. It also includes a few Gala clips and a 'chase the train' sequence at Llwyn-y-bedw. The special Xmas Edition now contains K1 in action footage and the 2005 Gala and the delivery of K1 to Dinas.
Phase 2 is also available in DVD format mastered from digitised analogue footage.
Phase 3 is now available in DVD format mastered from VHS tape for better reproduction!
Click here for Phase 3 Construction video Clip List
Sept 2007-Aug 2008 Edition of Phase 4 DVD
A new edition appeared at Garratt 50 including scenes from SuperPower 2007 through Palmerston at Beddgelert, the Supporters' Specials in the Aberglaslyn Pass to the final stages of linking up at Traeth Mawr. The DVD is an hour long. John Wooden sold them from his shop and also his on-line shop with all money raised going directly to the WHRS for Phase 4 funds. Following the review to be published in the Winter 2009 TSR, more copies will be produced over Xmas.
Click here for FR on-line shop
Click here for DVD Clip List
Click here for the latest YouTube Clip or on the box below
Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 min of video of Prince crossing Bryn-y-felin bridge on 27/10/08 working a photo-charter. The quality of the YouTube clip does not represent the quality of the DVD. This video was taken by Barrie Hughes on a JVC Everio GZ-MG21EK camcorder.
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR North map dated 5/11/07
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR Middle map dated 14/3/10
Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR South map dated 14/3/10
Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS
Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS
Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference
Hope for snow at Xmas
After a mild spell from Sunday 21/12/14 to Tuesday 23/12/14 the Met Office is (on 21/12/14) predicting heavy snow on Snowdon Summit (1000m) for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. This will at the very least set up some nice Alpine scenery for the WHR's Xmas Holiday service over the six days from Saturday 27/12/14 to Thursday 1/1/15. There is always hope that the snow may extend down to the WHR at Rhyd Ddu (200m). If there is heavy snow the F&WHR may well send a test train from Porthmadog as in previous years to ensure the line is clear enough to operate a service. The Xmas service consists of a 10am from Caernarfon which gets to Porthmadog at 1205 and returns at 1405 (allowing a 2 hour break for lunch at Spooners!), arriving back at Caernarfon at 1620.
Final Santa Special 21/12/14
No.87 is set to haul the final Santa Specials on 21/12/14. The trains are fully booked but sadly there is no sign of snow.
Appeal for Christmas Holiday volunteers 27-30/12/14
Any volunteers wanting to take a break from Christmas over-indulgence might like to come and join the North Wales Track Gang working from 27-30/12/14 working on lineside clearance. This is part of an ongoing campaign to improve visibility, reduce leaf fall on the railhead and scratching of the paintwork on coaches. Every Wednesday from the beginning of May to the end of August there was an evening lineside clearance train. The train, usually hauled by Castell Caernarfon, never went south of Rhyd Ddu as it was not able to leave Waunfawr until the last service train had passed there at 17.40. This shows the need for a loop or siding at Plas-y-nant as originally planned to reduce the length of the long Waunfawr-Rhyd Ddu section. With the Winter shutdown, volunteers and members of the PW staff have been blitzing some of the more southerly stretches of the line. The original proposal for the Xmas break to install all the ducting and other components for the Waunfawr Shunt Token has now been dropped. Contact Dafydd Thomas (Infrastructure Manager), see Contacts page.
Winter infrastructure work
The Rest of the World Gang have been busy introducing staggered joints on the section of track from Glan-yr-afon viaduct to Tro Ffridd (past the Rhosclogwyn Quarry incline). The parallel joints on this sharply curved section have always been a problem and led to sharp jolts when running at even the reduced line speed of 10 mph limit through this section. The Black Hand Gang (aka North Wales Gang) has been installing the lever frame to control access to the siding at Beddgelert station. This has proved a far longer job than anticipated. It has been a sharp learning curve for all involved as they have not done this type of job previously and help was received from FR experts. The installation of the frame at Rhyd Ddu should be easier as a result of the experience.
The lineside team have been out clearing bushes which reduce visibility and scratch the side of coaches as well as giving the footplate staff the odd sideswipe. The wet weather earlier in the year along with the record temperatures (every month except August was a record) has caused rapid growth. A large number of trees were cut down at Weirglodd Isaf on the WHR. This should reduce the volume of the leaves that fall on the track at this location and cause fewer problems for locomotives pounding up the 1 in 40 grade towards Rhyd Ddu. Meanwhile at Caernarfon station the worn decking outside the booking office was replaced in time for the Santa Trains.
Volunteers have been carrying out inspections of structures on the WHR although a specialist contractor was required to check the larger WHR structures such as Pont Seiont (the ex-BR viaduct over the River Seiont at Caernarfon), Pont Gwyrfai (the ex-BR viaduct over the Afon Gwyrfai at Bontnewydd) and Pont Glanrafon (the Glan-yr-afon viaduct), where access is difficult. No major problems were reported.
Another SAR loco restoration 17/12/14
Steam Powered Services of Avening, Gloucestershire has purchased NG16 No.130 from the Exmoor Steam Railway. There is speculation the loco may be guest run on the WHR at some stage following its completion. The loco could not be used on the ESR which only has a half mile test track for 2 foot gauge locos and is no longer a tourist attraction. Withdrawn in 1985, No.130 was last operational on the Port Shepstone-Harding branch in Natal. It was imported for the proposed Whitby-Robin Hood Railway in the 1990s before finally being moved to the Exmoor Steam Railway. This will be the fifth loco that SPS has restored and a 3 year overhaul is likely with the loco planned to appear in traffic during the Spring of 2018. No.130 is one of a batch of 15 Beyer Peacock locos built in 1951 for SAR. No.77/115 remain at the ESR. See ESR webpage.
Standard gauge wagons removed 15/12/14
A long standing connection with BR days has disappeared with the removal of the two BR box vans from Minffordd Yard, the F&WHR's infrastructure maintenance base. The status of the short length of standard gauge track in the yard is unknown. While the yard was primarily the FR's slate transhipment location, the WHR transhipped slate at Beddgelert Siding, now the site of the WHHR's yard on the north side of Porthmadog. The wagons were loaded onto a lorry on 15/12/14 for the journey to Nemesis Rail in Burton upon Trent, where they will be refurbished for eventual use on the Battlefield Railway at Shackerstone.
Team Wylfa report 16/12/14
Clive Briscoe reports: There was no Team Wylfa last week (9/12/14) as the number of volunteers fell to one (myself!).
Tuesday this week (16/12/14) was the Team's last working party of 2014. It was just the two of us again - Pete and myself, nevertheless, there was work to do on No.134. A couple of months ago, I designed a set of rollers to fit and lift No.134's driving wheels 'just' off the railhead so that they can be rotated to enable accurate setting of the valves. I was very lucky in obtaining a sponsorship for the raw materials and these had arrived - we're very indebted to one of the power station's mechanical contractors for these. Not only had they procured the materials - base plates, various angles and nuts and bolts but they'd cut them to size for us too. All that remains is to drill, and tap where necessary and bolt together.
The roller axle material was delivered a few weeks ago and, through a deal with Llandrillo College (Colwyn Bay) their mechanical apprentices have machined them as an exercise. So, what had we to do last night? We took off all the sharp edges on the basic materials, cleaned them all up and painted them with a coat of primer. After our Christmas break, we will mark out the plates and angles, drill and tap as necessary and await the final parts, 4-off self-aligning bearings. Once these arrive, the Llandrillo apprentices will come over to do final assembly and, hopefully by then, be able to test the rollers under No.134's driving wheels and thus see engineering in action.
Hopefully we will restart on Tuesday 6/1/15 but Pete has to be away on business that day. I have the name of someone who might like to join the Team so will be chatting with him in the next few days - we really could do with some new recruits!
That's it for 2014. Could 2015 be the year of the NG15 - a '15 in 15? It's 'just' possible but there's still a mountain of work to do. All that remains now is to thank the Team, both A and B, for all their hard work and comradeship through 2014 and for me to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.
Changes in first class bookings system
Using the new MERAC ticket reservation system a better system is being trialled for booking First Class in observation cars on the F&WHR. Tickets may be reserved right up to departure time from a terminus station. The seat number will be printed on the ticket but there will be no seat labels so intending passengers will only be allowed to board if the have a ticket for that particular departure and coach. The guard will still be able to sell unbooked seats. Seats may be booked in both directions from originating terminus subject to availability.
Tuesday Gang Xmas break 16/12/14
There was no Tuesday Gang on 16/12/14 as Tuesday Gang is having an Xmas break and will return on 6/1/14.
K1 Update 16/12/14
With a surfeit of volunteers working on the NG15, spare volunteers transferred to working on K1 on 6-7/12/14. The loco is now being stripped down for its 10 year boiler examination so the loco needs a number of its major components removing to enable the boiler to be inspected. On the Saturday a few of the NG15 team therefore removed K1's ashpan and then removed the brick arch from inside the firebox. On the Sunday they then lifted the front tank off the front power unit.
NG15 Update 16/12/14
Work was progressed with the overhaul of the Chinese lubricator to ensure its correct function. It is interesting to note that this is almost an exact copy of a US Nathan DV type lubricator known to be one of the most reliable to be found. With the left hand (fireman's side) grease pipework complete volunteers are now concentrating of the driver's side as well as progressing a new pipe run to lubricate the ball joints where the two rear pony truck side compensation arms connect to the frames. The driver's side run consisted of the annealing of a number of pipes and their final bending into shape followed by the silver soldering of the end nipples. There are still some of these to be finished off followed by their final fitting and coaxing into the correct position in the pipework run.
For the new pony truck ball joints run, a suitable path for them to take was marked out and some suitable locations for attachment clips marked as well. This was followed by the manufacture of suitable clips and a start made on drilling and tapping attachment bolt holes for them. The continuing work on the vacuum pipe run is being mostly completed by Team Wylfa during their weekly evening working parties.
For full details and images see NG15 website.
NG15 News Autumn 2014
The planned re-wheeling of No.134 at SuperPower is September did not happen as there were issues with machining the faces of the axleboxes. These had been built up to counter wear. A good fit in the horns is required as well as the lateral movement to prevent binding or rough riding. The NG15 Group raised £300 from the few visitors who came to Dinas. The group also benefitted from some of the profits from Martin Coombs' new book 'Railways of Patagonia'.
Investigations have been made into the match between the loco's profile and the WHR's loading gauge. A slight taper has been made to the top of the cab to ensure good clearance through bridges. The tender has already passed through the line as far as Pen-y-Mount in an unloaded state, whereas when carrying a coal and water load it will obviously travel lower on its springs. The tender was visiting Gelert's Farm depot on the WHHR.
Sister loco No.133 has been shunted through all the sharp pointwork in Dinas Yard without problems so the line's sharp curvature should not be a problem. The front end overhang caused by the maximum movement of the front pony truck is about 11.5cm and discussions are underway with the F&WHR to see if this is an issue at any location on the WHR. At the worst a taper could be introduced on the running plate with no problems.
The main focus of the October or November weekend working parties has been that of finishing off the copper grease pipework on the left hand (fireman's) side of the loco. This consisted tweaking the pipework into its final position and then silver soldering on the end nipples that will attach into the terminating fittings at the various fixtures that are being lubricated by grease. Work also moved onto the pipework on the right hand (driver's) side, although there is much more still to be done on this side. Finally, work is underway on the Chinese mechanical lubricator to be used for the axleboxes. Although it had been inspected and cleaned earlier, some further detailed investigation work is needed to check it is correctly assembled.
Santa shunt 14/12/14
This westerly view (14/12/14) shows Prince running around and shunting a van onto the FR Victorian Santa rake as though arriving from Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Next generation webcams
The F&WHR are introducing next generation webcams. One is already in action at Tan-y-bwlch on the FR and two more are set to appear shortly at Porthmadog which may be working next weekend. See www.festrail.co.uk/webcam_single.htm. The webcams will also be viewable on Apple and Android devices.
The promised for snow did not appear last week. Not even Mynydd Mawr (aka Elephant Mountain) had a dusting and temperatures were forecast to rise to 12 degrees by next Thursday in advance of Xmas.
Pont Croesor car park disposed
Visitors to Pont Croesor will have been disappointed that the car park was closed this year. Parking on the road at this location is difficult, potentially dangerous and cars will not be secure at the area is isolated. This 'Northern Gateway' station functioned as a good place to terminate trains for a while. Part of the WHR's car park is to be retained by the farmer as a hard standing for his own use. The remainder is to returned to agriculture in the next few days. The Osprey site is to make its own arrangements.
Dusting of snow 11/12/14
North Wales is set to get a dusting of snow on Friday night and offer a marvellous alpine view of the mountains for the Santa Specials this weekend, which is forecast to have sunny periods. Sadly there are no Green timetable weekend trains but these continue WThO until 18/12/14.
Classic Car visit 10/12/14
The F&WHR was host to a visit by Practical Classics magazine on 10/12/14. The photographs will feature in an edition of the magazine early in the New Year.
This easterly view (10/12/14) shows Linda and the Classic Car team staging the start of a simulated road race on the WHR between Linda and the Polish Fiat, which continued later on the long straight between Pont Croesor and Ynysfor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Keolis teambuilding event 9-10/12/14
Transport company Keolis had a team building event over the period 9-10/12/14 at the F&WHR with staff involved operating the railway. They worked on the FR on 9/12/14 and the WHR the following day.
This view (10/12/14) shows Linda and the Keolis group at Beddgelert on the final day of their team building event. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Tuesday Gang report 9/12/14
Tony Baker reports: On 9/12/14 we replaced 2 broken grid triangles at LC 39.08 Rhyd Ddu and replaced the anti slip material at LC 44.39 Meillionen foot crossing. The weather was awful and we were soaked through by the time we had finished.
WHR Santa Specials selling out fast 9/12/14
A small number of tickets are still available on the 1000 Welsh Highland service on Sunday 14/9/12/14, all other WHR trains are now SOLD OUT. In contrast tickets are still available on the FR Santa Trains.
K1 workings 2014
Richard Douglas reports: Railway holiday company PTG ran a private charter on 2/6/14 – run as part of PTG’s “Snowdonia in Style” tour, but also available as an ‘early booking bonus’ for other clients like myself. The day started with a trip across the Cob (in dreadful weather!) to Boston Lodge, where K1 amongst others was being prepared for the day. Then K1 pulled us to Caernarfon (in improving weather) and back to Porthmadog, where she was replaced by Lyd for a run up to Blaenau and back. It ended with dinner in Spooners and a fascinating talk from Mr Lewin. A thoroughly enjoyable day out!
This view (2/6/14) shows K1 being readied for the PTG 'Snowdonia in Style' Special. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Douglas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (2/6/14) shows K1 hauling the PTG 'Snowdonia in Style' Special, being re-watered at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Douglas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (2/6/14) shows K1 hauling the PTG 'Snowdonia in Style' Special, at Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Douglas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (2/6/14) shows K1 hauling the PTG 'Snowdonia in Style' Special, returning through Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Douglas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This view (2/6/14) shows K1 being replaced on the PTG 'Snowdonia in Style' Special by Lyd at Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Douglas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
After repair earlier in the year K1 worked the following trains in 2014:
The loco was withdrawn on 5/11/14 after the expiry of its boiler certificate that day. The K1 volunteers hoped to finish the steam supply to the turbogenerators and the electrical circuits to power the headlights and charge its battery. Other jobs on the list before withdrawal include:
The K1 Supporters Group met on 14/9/14 and voted to wind up the organisation in October 2015, hopefully following completion of the loco's boiler refurbishment. No volunteers had come forward to take over the running of the group. Remaining funds would then be passed to the WHRS and it is hoped a support group would continue to maintain the loco in working condition. The F&WHR is supporting a volunteer effort to fit new boiler tubes.
EAG meeting 11/12/14
Richard Watson reports: The next WHR East Anglian Group meeting will be on Thursday 11/12/14. (Because of the festive season this is on the second Thursday of the month). It's our Christmas get together where traditionally members bring their own slides and DVDs. Richard Watson will open with 'A Narrow Gauge Enigma.'
It's sure to be fun so do come along and please bring a friend!
We'll meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH (Normally on the third Thursday of the month - but not this month - see above). We gather at any time after 6-6.30pm; good evening meals are available in the restaurant or bar at reasonable prices. The meetings will start around 8pm, with a halfway break for coffee and mince pies (£1.20 per person), and we aim to finish around 10pm. Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (Note: Bus runs every 30 minutes). Car parking can be busy at the pub, but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk away.
We hope to see you all at Fulbourn!
Six millionth visitor competition 7/12/14
Thanks to everyone for trying the competition and your congratulations. The competition closed at 1100 today. There are still well over 1,000 a day hits on the website, which is still updated almost daily, despite the availability of other channels of news.
The results are as follows:
Paul Kent (Treharris, South Wales) 6,000,001 at 1438 WINNER
Nick Oldfield 6,000,002 at 1440
Alan Frewin 6,000,006 at 1441
Andrew Sharpe 6,000,025 at 1513
Frank Nicholas 6,000,035 at 1509
Huw Kendall 6,000,111 at 1619
Richard Booth 6,000,150 at 1655
Phil Raynes (Ohio) 6,000,241 at 1801
Darien Goodwin 6,000,266 at 1819
Steve Holland 6,000,351 at 1959
Andy Pearson 6,000,356 at 1959
Ben Brampton 6,000,490 at 2203
Mike Docker 6,000,614 at 0149
Lee Williams 6,000,616 at 0212
Improvements to rail travel to WHR
Since the demise of the Cambrian Coast Express in 1991 and abortive attempts by ATW to obtain paths for 158s to Euston or Marylebone it has been impossible to travel by through train services to Porthmadog from London with multiple changes being required. Virgin will commence a new service from 14/12/14 using a Voyager from London to Shrewsbury with four trains a day. The train also calls at Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Wolverhampton, Telford and Wellington. See Shropshire Star story for more information, including train times. In a competition organised by the newspaper the train will be named 'The Wrekin Giant' after the isolated hill that towers over Telford.
On the North Wales Coast too journeys to the WHR are improving from December. The 'Irish Mancunian' is set to bring a welcome return of loco hauls SSuX from Monday 15/12/14 on the Manchester to Holyhead/Llandudno route using Class 67s in push/pull mode and four refurbished MkIII coaches in ATW colours. See North Wales Coast website. The timings shown are approximately correct, though some headcodes have changed and the 1913 Llandudno-Llandudno Junction shuttle and return has been dropped. The service starts from Crewe Carriage sidings, turns back in Longsight DGL and is advertised as Standard Only with trolley service.
First WHR Santa Special 6/12/14
This view (6/12/14) shows the return of Bob, the miniature snowman, with No.87 running round the first Santa Special of the season at Waunfawr, sadly with the absence of any snow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Six million hits competition 6/12/14
The Construction website is approaching 6 million hits. There is a small prize for the nearest screen grab to six million on the page counter. Please send a screengrab image by email (email address above) within 24 hours of capture to my email address. The web editor's decision is final.
|1/1/15||Final Mince Pie Special 1000 return from Caernarfon|
|28/2/15||Start of 2015 Green SSuO Timetable|
|21/3/15||Start of WHR 2015 Season Blue Timetable|
|4-6/4/15||Easter family events around the F&WHR|
|1-4/5/15||150 Years of Passenger Trains on FR (maybe some events of WHR)|
|15-17/5/15||Rail-Ale Beer Festival based at Dinas|
|25-28/5/15||May Day weekend family events around the F&WHR|
|25/7-31-8/15||Summer family events around the F&WHR including Beddgelert this year|
|11-13/9/15||SuperPower 2015 (WHRS AGM 12/9/14)|
|9-11/10/15||FR Victorian Weekend (some events possible on WHR in Porthmadog)|
|29/10/15||WHR Halloween Train to Waunfawr|
|12-13/12/15||WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr|
|19-20/12/15||WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr|
|22-23/12/15||WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr|
Santa Trains 6/12/14
The WHR's Santa Trains start this weekend with three trains at 1000, 1215 and 1430 on Saturday and Sunday from Caernarfon to Waunfawr. Seats on the Santa trains are selling out fast. There are additional services on the weekends of 13-14/12/14 and 20-21/12/14.
This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1128, pausing for refreshments whilst running around at Waunfawr, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.
Moel Tryfan wheels 5/12/14
This view (5/12/14) shows Moel Tryfan's trailing bogie wheels which were fitted to Blanche. Blanche is likely to receive a new pony truck wheelset due to wear of Moel Tryfan's. This could be the start of a Moel Tryfan rebuild project if funds come in. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1042, just south of Hendy Crossing, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. No.138 was substituting for the booked K1. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.
After a very mild year in 2014 with every month (except August!) above average temperature maybe not much should be expected of snow around the WHR this Winter. After the Xmas Holiday service from 27/12/14 to 1/1/15 there will be no trains during the February school holidays but Porthmadog-Beddgelert weekend trips start from 28/2/12.
Click here for views/videos of WHR trains in the snow in previous Winters.
Here are some useful resources to check if there is snow at the WHR. First Hydro has four webcams in the Llanberis valley. If the one pointed at Llanberis shows snow, this would give a good indication of snow in the Gwyrfai valley as they are around the same height. However, it should be noted that snow cover generally decreases from east to west.
First Hydro weather cameras
Other useful resources include the A55 webcams (pages 7-13). The Treborth Interchange (Bangor) webcam can be helpful though it is nearer sea level than the WHR.
The WHR(P) webcams would show the rare sea level snow cover at Porthmadog. http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/gelertsfarm/
The Meteorological Office provides a useful radar weather map covering the last 6 hours that shows the rain/snow coming into Britain and can be watched as an animation updated every 30 minutes. See Rainfall radar
The main Meteorological Office website also has a Porthmadog/Wales page that shows the predicted weather for the Porthmadog area for the next five days.
NRHA signalling award for Harbour Station project 3/12/14
John Sreeves reports: Not only Tryfan Junction won an award, but also the Porthmadog Harbour signalling scheme scooped an award at yesterday’s National Railway Heritage Awards ceremony. A great achievement to all for both. All the projects on show were superb and of very high calibre.
This view (3/12/14) shows the plaque awarded to the F&WHR for the Harbour Station signalling project by the NRHA supported by the Heritage Railway Association. The plaque may be affixed to a publically visible location such as the signalbox. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Tryfan Junction wins NRHA Volunteers Award 3/12/14
This southerly view (unknown date) shows Tryfan Junction station building with Lewis Esposito (left) relaxing in the sunshine with the finished project he helped create. The Welsh Highland Heritage Group has won the Volunteers' Award at the Railway Heritage Trust Annual Awards on 3/12/14 for the restoration of Tryfan Junction Station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Team Wylfa report 2/12/14
Clive Briscoe reports: Just the two of us again this week. Pete got straight on with dusting down and then painting the LHS of No.134's frames with its gloss topcoat whilst yours truly carried on fitting flanges to the vacuum brake train pipe down the centre top of the frames. The front end flange that I tacked up last week was first and I did a really good weld on that. However, when it came to the rear end's flange, I don't know whether I was tired or what but produced an absolutely horrible weld. I got the penetration but the finish was very uneven and blobby and I had to spend quite a bit of time dressing it with an angle grinder. Basically, it all comes down to practice and if you're not doing it frequently, then 'it' happens. Hard to believe that 35 years ago, I was a 'coded' welder... More practice required me thinks!
Due to Pete's work commitments (he's away on business) there won't be a working party next Tuesday evening. The next one will be Tuesday 16/12/14 and that will be our last one for 2014!
There's the last working weekend of 2014 on No.134 this coming weekend so if anyone fancies joining in, please contact me or Andie Shaw beforehand - contact details for me here: See Contacts page or contact Andie by email.
Tuesday Gang 2/12/14
Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 2/12/14 we were at LC 44.30, Coed Mawr, where the line enters the Meillionen (Beddgelert Forest-Ed) camp site. The level crossing had one badly rotted timber which it was our task to replace. As this is phase 4 territory the rails are fixed to the sleepers with Pandrol style clips which means that on one side of the crossing timber slots for the clips have to be cut out. The job was completed just as the light began to fade, not much in the way of daylight hours at this time of the year.
This northerly view (2/12/14) shows the Tuesday Gang replacing rotted crossing timbers at the level crossing just north of Beddgelert Forest Campsite. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (2/12/14) shows the Tuesday Gang replacing rotted crossing timbers at the level crossing just north of Beddgelert Forest Campsite. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (2/12/14) shows the finished job after the Tuesday Gang had replaced rotted crossing timbers at Beddgelert Forest Campsite. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
HISTORIC LOCOMOTIVES TO BE SAVED FOR THE FUTURE
J. W. Greaves & Sons Ltd at Llechwedd quarry is delighted to announce that they have commissioned a conservation management plan for two historic electric locomotives The Eclipse and The Coalition. They worked at Llechwedd quarry, and are currently housed at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog.
Andrew Roberts, Director of J. W. Greaves & Sons Ltd, stated: 'We are delighted it has been possible to arrange this plan for these two locomotives, which have been out of use for about forty years. Once the plan is completed in a few months we will know what the best options are to safeguard them for the future. They are an important part of Blaenau's heritage and of railway history. Our thanks to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway for continuing to store them, and we will be sharing results of the plan with the heritage community as soon as possible.'
The Eclipse and The Coalition are electric locos built in 1927 and 1930 using the chassis and wheels of two 19th century steam locomotives. They played an important role in keeping Llechwedd quarry working, and now tell the little-known story of 20th century innovation in the Welsh slate industry. (The locos were previously stored in the open at Llechwedd and suffered from the heavy rainfall-Ed).
Trackwork Volunteering 2014-15
Volunteers are right at the forefront of keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure, in general, fit for trains to run. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept an extra a hand. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.
The programme for the remainder of 2014 and the first months of 2015 is as follows:
^ Bank Holiday
LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday
WW-Working week Saturday-Friday
The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating pretty well every Tuesday.
Arrangements may change so contact the working party organiser before you commit yourself to joining us just to make sure.
If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday gangs, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw.
Contact Tony Baker for details. Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com
North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: email@example.com
If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday Gang days, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw. See Contacts page.
John Hopkins has contributed this image of the gradient profile of the WHR. It makes clear how much of a mountain we have climbed and how steep the drop through Beddgelert is. Maybe most of all, it reveals the challenge facing northbound trains after they stop at Beddgelert!
This image is courtesy/copyright John Hopkins and is derived from data courtesy John Sreeves with additional work by Michael Bentley. Click on the image to enlarge.
|22/3/14||Start of WHR 2014 Season|
|2-5/5/14||Sixty Years of Preservation-FR Gala (possible WHR events?)|
|3-5/5/14||WHHR Russell Gala-K1 at WHHR|
|9/5/14||Railway Children Charity Day (Fiji)|
|16-18/5/14||Rail-Ale Beer Festival|
|14/7/14||Special Timetable (to accommodate the Royal Scotsman Tour Charter)|
|18/7/14 onwards||'Summer of Fun'-Fiji cab experience at stations|
|19/7/14||Prince at DRS Gresty Bridge depot Open Day|
|23/7/14||'Race the Train'-Dinas-Caernarfon|
|2-3/8/14||Russell Returns event at WHHR and Russell available subsequent weekends|
|12-14/9/14||SuperPower 2014 (WHRS AGM 13/9/14)|
|6-7/12/14, 13-14/12/14 and 20-21/12/14||Santa Specials 2014 (Caernarfon-Waunfawr)|
|27/12/14-1/1/15||Mince Pie Specials 2014-5 (1000 return from Caernarfon)|
If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.
If you would like to make a comment about this website, why not visit my Guestbook?
Maps & Plans and links
Click here for Steve Harris' /WHRS' full list of Historical Maps and Gradient Profiles
DVD material can be purchased from Jon Marsh who is the WHRS' (DVD Only) Mail Order officer. All other materials are now sold in the F&WHRS shop.
Click here for the Mail Order web page
Click here for the Official WHR website
Click here for Official WHHR site
Click here for FR Company websites
Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group
V4.2920 updated 21/12/14