Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

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.

 

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The above OS map shows the route through the Aberglaslyn Pass and Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Click here to use the free OS Get-a-map service.

Route section pages

Listed below are links to pages featuring progress on different sections of the line or archive views. Jump ahead to News section or follow the section links from page to page. Please note that access to the links below was restored on 2/9/04 at the new website www.isengard.co.uk

 

Phase 4 pages

Rhyd Ddu to Pont Cae'r Gors (updated 29/6/06)

Pont Cae'r Gors to Hafod Ruffydd Halt (new 8/10/06)

Hafod Ruffydd Halt to Beddgelert Forest Halt (updated 4/12/06)

Beddgelert Forest Halt to Beddgelert Station (updated 1/7/07)

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

Beddgelert Station to Bryn-y-felin (updated 1/7/07)

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

Nantmor to Pont Croesor (updated 16/7/07)

Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount (updated 1/4/07)

WHR (Porthmadog) (updated 1/4/07)

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated 1/4/07)

 

Other pages

'Phase 6' page (new 2/4/06)

Views from the Line Page (updated 26/2/05)

PBSSR Works Historical Page (updated 25/3/05)

Rhyd Ddu Opening Page (New 14/2/04)

Archived News Page (updated 1/9/14)

Snow Scenes (updated 19/1/13)

Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)

Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 3/10/13)

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

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

There has never been any intent by myself to suggest that the views on these pages represent the views, opinions or policy of the FR, the WHRCL or the WHRS.

I am happy to confirm that this is an INDEPENDENT web news service.

 

Stop Press!!

New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.

New text in RED!

 

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.

 

News Section

WHR timetables

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR North map dated 5/11/07

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR Middle map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR South map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps 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

 

SuperPower 13/9/14

This southerly view 13/9/14 shows David Lloyd George in undercoat on an FR service at 1005. No.87 stands in the FR yard awaiting service on a WHR service. 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.

 

This southerly view 13/9/14 shows No.143 on a demonstration freight working approaching the summit at 1045. 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.

 

This northerly view 13/9/14 shows K1 with Vale of Ffestiniog assisting at 1115 approaching Pitt's Head. This was one of K1's last outings before withdrawal for its 10 year boiler refurbishment in November. 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.

 

This northerly view 13/9/14 shows K1 with Vale of Ffestiniog assisting at 1115 approaching Pitt's Head. 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.

 

This southerly view 13/9/14 shows No.87 passing Pitt's Head at 1154. 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.

 

This northerly view 13/9/14 shows No.87 passing Pitt's Head at 1154. 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.

 

This northerly view 13/9/14 shows No.143 with No.138 in the middle of the freight rake at 1208 approaching Pitt's Head. This method of working reduced the jerking experienced between double-headed Garratts and reduced coupling forces within the rake. 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.

 

This northerly view 13/9/14 shows No.143 with No.138 in the middle of the freight rake at 1208 approaching Pitt's Head. The new watertank wagon can be seen behind the loco. This type of wagon used to operate with NG15s to extend their range in the dry climate of Namibia with few water stops. 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.

 

Beddgelert Station point 25/8/14

This southerly view 25/8/14 shows the North Wales Track Gang adding a lever frame to the Beddgelert Station siding turnout. Presumably this will also control the catch point and will make the siding much easier to use. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tamping Porthmadog 11/9/14

Following some ballasting of the station area last week, the KMX tamper liner was used to tamp Harbour Station on 11/9/14 prior to the SuperPower weekend.

 

This easterly view 11/9/14 shows the KMX tamper liner being used to tamp the FR's platform road to tidy up the station before SuperPower this weekend. 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.

 

Weather set fine for SuperPower

The Met Office 5 day forecast is showing mild weather and sunny periods for Porthmadog on all three days for the SuperPower weekend 12-14/9/14. See F&WHR website for full details of SuperPower weekend.

 

Team Wylfa report 9/9/14

Clive Briscoe reports: Another busy Tuesday evening for the A Team and we didn't have to head South to service the carriages - with me having misread the carriage rotation spreadsheet!

So, the E Set got a fast once over then down to the Loco Shed to carry on with NG15 No.134. Uli unclipped the front sections of the new vacuum brake train pipe, rubbed it down and primed it plus the pipe clips and brackets. Pete and Matt undercoated the running plates that were primed last week so the whole top of the loco is a uniform colour now. Meanwhile, your scribe gloss painted the running plate support angles on both sides. At the end of the evening, laminated paper number plates were stuck on the front buffer beam - 'NG15' on the driver's side and 'NG134' - SAR style - on the fireman's. An oval '134' was stuck on the rear of the new tender tank on the way back to the mess room in the North Yard. All very photogenic for this coming Super-power Weekend!!

Other items of note: Diesel No.9's radiator has now been remounted and No.140's boiler cradle is changing colour from the red oxide primer - it's now being undercoated black.

We're now another man down with Andy having had to retire on ill health grounds a couple of months ago and now Matt, after two years as an extremely useful and valuable team member, is having to pack his bags from Trawsfynydd Power Station and is moving to Cumbria. Hopefully, he'll be able to join the main No.134 Group on our working weekends from time to time so I don't think we've seen the last of him! Thanks Matt. (Also thanks Uli for the last 3 week's work, have a safe trip back to Germany and we look forward to seeing you again in a few months' time).

So, that means the core A Team is down to just two of us - Pete and myself plus our occasional 'irregular' members. Would anyone like to come and join us? Plenty of interesting work besides the carriages.

 

VoR Palmerston special offer

VoR Press release: The Vale of Rheidol Railway is running a series of special trains to celebrate 25 years of private ownership and 100 years since Ffestiniog Locomotive No. 4 Palmerston was hired to help with the demands of the First World War. We have borrowed Palmerston from our friends at the Ffestiniog to help raise money for the Welsh Pony restoration fund and help us celebrate! As the Vale of Rheidol doesn't have a volunteer group we would like to offer F&WHR volunteers a discount to reflect the close working relationship the Great Little Trains of Wales have. Our Special weekends are 20-21/9/14, 27-28/9/14 when we are running a series of special trains with Palmerston and double-headed Rheidol tanks. This is the only time we will be doing this, so it's a unique opportunity.

 

This westerly view 9/14 shows Palmerston at Aberystwyth with the VoR's No.9 Prince of Wales passing on a train to Devil's Bridge. 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.

 

The discounted prices are as follows:

Weekend Rover all trains and one run up with Palmerston 30 Adults Children 10

Weekend Rover without Palmerston 25 Adults Children 9

One return trip with Palmerston 20 Adults Children 8

These tickets are available to members either on the day or in advance with the production of a valid membership card if in the ticket office or over the phone 01970 625819 if booking in advance. If you have already bought your ticket and are a member, then we will refund the difference with the production of a valid membership card in the booking office. NOTE THESE TICKETS ARE LIMITED SO EARLY BOOKING IS BEST BUT NOT ESSENTIAL

Many thanks, Vale of Rheidol Railway.

 

Tuesday Gang report 9/9/14

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang spent the day inspecting level crossings in Snowdon Ranger area and putting up notice boards there and at Caernarfon, Dinas and Beddgelert.

 

Loco news Summer 2014

No.143 had a grate problem early in the season and there was a diesel substitution. Locos have been starting well on the 1 in 40 using the steam sanders at Beddgelert and the Forest Campsite Halt. Your webmaster did not notice any slips in the second half of August. K1's boiler ticket runs out on 5/11/14 so SuperPower this weekend will be one of the last outings for this loco. When No.143's new tank was constructed enough pre-cut steel was ordered for a second tank and work has now started on this. Work has started removing tubes from No.143's old boiler, though rumours about starting work on No.140 cannot be confirmed. Another NG16 boiler has been donated by the Puffing Billy Railway in Australia (now under cover at Dinas) and the railway has bought a new set of Garratt tyres as part of the deal.

Volunteer teams in Dinas shed are working together with some cross fertilisation between those working on the water tank wagon and No.9, the new diesel shunter. The tank wagon, partly designed to assist fire fighting, had not yet appeared in the Rhyd Ddu siding by late August. The diesel is on its wheels and the brake gear has been refurbished. The rods need refitting and the radiator is being cleaned inside and out. The bonnet is being sandblasted and repainted to prevent any more rusting. The buffer beam has had various brackets used for connection to sugar cane wagons removed and work is underway to reduce the coupler height to the WHR standard.

 

Welsh Highland Heritage newsletter

Issue No. 63 of the WH Heritage newsletter was published in May after missing an issue at the start of the year and copies are now available in the FR shop. The delay was due to the resignation of David Allan and the death of John Keylock and, as a result, there are likely to be only 3 issues this year. The issue contains a Fond Farewell to John Keylock, news about the completion of Tryfan Junction Halt buildings, Four NWNGR characters, an analysis of station and halts, and a photo-analysis about Porthmadog New (1929).

 

Dinas 26/8/14

This northerly view 26/8/14 shows Dinas Yard was levelled between the Goods Shed road and the roadway in the Spring for the Beer Festival. 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.

 

This northerly view 26/8/14 shows Castell Caernarfon in Dinas Yard with the recently erected Llanwnda signal. 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.

 

This northerly view 26/8/14 shows the component parts of NG16 No.109 in Dinas Yard. 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.

 

This northerly view 26/8/14 shows wagon No.2005 in Dinas Yard. Interestingly, this wagon has WHR on one side and FR on the other. In the background is the new tender for No.134 with No.133. 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.

 

Let's Finish the Job

The booklet 'Let's Finish the Job', available from the F&WHR shop (5) shows outline plans showing the new facilities planned as part of the Sustainable Railway. This year's Snowdonian (12/4/14) raised 17,000 towards the project. One interesting diagram shows a comparison between the FR Superbarn and the WHR's coaches. It is intended that future builds will be Superbarns capable of running through or being switched between rakes running on either railway according to traffic. A new Observation Car like Glaslyn will be part of the new build.  

 

Driver's Eye view

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 3 mins 31 secs of video published 5/9/14 showing a driver's eye view from Rhyd Ddu to Caernarfon. The full video will be the final part of the trilogy and will be available soon in the F&WHR shop. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder and is best watched in 1080p mode.

 

Kerr Stuart No.8 news

No.8 (KS No.4415) was a pioneer diesel loco built by Kerr Stuart in Stoke on Trent in 1928. It was used as a demonstrator loco on free loan on the WHR and FR, first hauling freight on the Bryngwyn branch in the summer of 1928. After the fitting of a vacuum brake hauled winter passenger services on the WHR. The loco then moved to the FR in March 1929 to be used as bottom end shunter. After a year on the WHR/FR it was returned to Kerr Stuart in August 1929 as the impecunious railway could not afford it.

The loco went to Ireland and then Mauritius where it hauled sugar cane at the Union Vale Sugar Factory until 1971, after which it was plinthed. The loco came to the FR in October 1997 through the auspices of the Greenwich and District Narrow Gauge Society and was stored in Minffordd Yard. A suitable replacement McLaren power unit has been obtained. An applications was made to the Association of Industrial Archaeology but the grant application was unsuccessful.

After some patient work led by Rob Bishop, with David High in support, the diesel engine now runs, and runs well. Consequently morale among the volunteer team is high and some of that enthusiasm has transferred to the Boston Lodge staff.

It has been suggested that KS4415, with the replacement engine may make an interesting exhibit at Super Power (12-14/9/14). Staff are investigating what is involved is moving the loco by road or rail. The engine is already at Boston Lodge, having been moved to get it close to workshop facilities.

Volunteers are aiming to prepare some information boards on the project such as a set of drawings. The support group is also hoping to make application to PRISM & the Pilgrim Trust to help restore the loco to working condition as seen on the WHR in 1928-9.

 

Talyllyn goes home 19/8/14

The use of the WHR as far as Snowdon Street where stock may be transferred to a low loader is now becoming the preferred method of receiving/returning rolling stock.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 5 mins 32 secs of video on 19/8/14 (published 20/8/14) showing Criccieth Castle moving the TR's Talyllyn from Boston Lodge to Snowdon Street to transfer the loco by lowloader back to the TR following repair at Boston Lodge. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder and is best watched in 1080p mode.

 

WHR 24/8/14

This southerly view 24/8/14 shows No.138 about to depart the Rhyd Ddu on the 0940 from Porthmadog. Almost all trains stopped at Meillonen/Beddgelert Forest campsite in the last two weeks of August. The loco announced its arrival with its distinctive chime whistle. 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.

 

This northerly view 24/8/14 shows No.143 arriving at Rhyd Ddu on the 1000 from Caernarfon. The loco saw a lot of use in the last two weeks of August, whereas No.138 and No.87 shared turns. 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.

 

This westerly view 24/8/14 shows No.143 at Porthmadog on the 1000 from Caernarfon on a damp day typical of late August. 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.

 

This easterly view 24/8/14 shows No.143 at Porthmadog having prepared for the return service. Fiji (on cab ride duties) and Lyd are also visible. 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.

 

This westerly view 24/8/14 shows Lyd, Fiji and No.143 at Porthmadog in at line up at 1240. 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.

 

Team Wylfa report 4/9/14

It was much the same as last week for the team on Tuesday this week - get the F Set checked then straight down to the loco shed to work on NG15 No.134. Yet again, we managed another 8 man-hours work on it. The top platform is now totally painted in grey primer/undercoat and the new vacuum brake train pipe was dismantled, all screwed joints finally sealed and angles correctly set then the pipework was lightly abraded and primed. Another good night's work.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though we'll get any work done on No.134 next week as with the high season timetable now finished, the sets are stabled at Dinas and Porthmadog with no rotations for some weeks to come. This was the second week of F Set so we need to do another 'Team Wylfa Flying Squad' visit to Porthmadog to service the E Set next week.

It was noted that work is still ongoing on Diesel No.9 in the Loco Shed - the engine has been thoroughly cleaned and repainted in correct Gardener grey engine enamel and now looks very smart. The majority of the upperworks (including bufferbeams) have been painted in grey primer and now some of the engine compartment cladding has been painted in green undercoat.

 

Tuesday Gang report 2/9/14

The gang started today repairing the wooden steps to the GPO caravan at Dinas. Then it was down to Caernarfon Station to fit a gate at the back of the car park. Next came a trip to Betws Garmon Station to recover some APG components that had been left there. We then used some of these components to repair LC 31.40. Finally we visited Tros-y-Gol, LC 32.46 crossing and replaced 3 broken triangles.

 

This northerly view 2/9/14 shows the Tuesday Gang working on a level crossing at the site of Betws Garmon station. 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 2/9/14 shows No.87 with the 1315 ex-Porthmadog passing at the site of Betws Garmon station crossing the Afon Gwyrfai bridge. 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.

 

WHHR Baldwin news

The Imperial War Museum's Baldwin No.794 is being worked on at Alan Keef's for the WHHR to be renumbered as No.590, the loco that ran on the WHR. It is intended that the loco will be in steam for 2017, when it will be 100 years old. The project has received a major boost with a donation of 150,000, some 75% of the estimated total rebuild cost. A new boiler will cost 45,000. A few parts of the original No.590 survive. When complete the loco will operate on the WHHR and like Russell it is hoped that it will make occasional forays onto the WHR to allow recreations of historic tableaux at WHR locations such as Beddgelert on historic rakes. 

 

Loco news

As well as Palmerston visiting the VoR, Britomart is visiting the Beamish Museum, where it will haul trains from 4-7/9/14 on the colliery line. Lyd was the subject of a 6,000 donation from Accucraft who have made a model of the loco. The funds will be put towards the next 10 year overhaul of the loco. The loco will be visiting the L&BR for their Gala on 27-28/9/14 hauling their restored original coaches. Lilla has been disassembled in Boston Lodge works.

 

Russell 25/8/14

This westerly view 25/8/14 shows Russell about to depart the WHHR terminus at Porthmadog on the 1600 departure in very heavy rain with several passengers. Many hope that the loco will be available during SuperPower if only on the WHHR. 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.

 

This westerly view 25/8/14 shows the WHHR terminus at Pen-y-Mount in very heavy rain. Safety fencing has been erected to form a viewing area around the signal box with access to the nearby lane. 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.

 

SuperPower Volunteer Appeal

David Firth appeals: This year's Superpower will be based at the southern end of the line we will therefore be putting a marquee up on the future station building slab at Beddgelert. We therefore need volunteers to help erect the marquee on Thursday the 11/9/14 and set up the Society stand. We will also need to take it down on Monday the 15/9/14 and return all the equipment to Dinas. Over the weekend we will need volunteers to man the stand at Beddgelert. In addition we will need volunteers to help with the tours of the Infrastructure site at Minffordd, ideally somebody who is very familiar with Minffordd yard; otherwise if you are willing but a little unsure Dafydd Thomas will give a quick briefing session on the Friday morning. Boston Lodge will also be open over the weekend any anyone who is familiar with the site would be most welcome to assist with helping visitors. Other volunteers would also be very useful to assist with passengers and give out information on the platform at Porthmadog. Anybody able to help over all or any of the five days please let Tym Crowther know by emailing him at andy@tymcrowther.eclipse.co.uk or telephone David Firth at 01766 890367.

 

Bont Briwet latest 1/9/14

Passenger trains are now running over Bont Briwet. Trains started on 1/9/14 after two weeks of testing. According to RealTime Trains website the 2018 from Harlech to Pwllheli was the first passenger service the previous evening and the rail replacement bus service has now been stopped. Passengers may join at Llandecwyn station though there is a drop off point with a short walk to the station as work continues on the road access. Roadworks continue with the widening of the approaches to Penrhyndeudraeth crossroads where a traffic lights is surely required to cope with the additional traffic that will use the bridge that used to go via Maentwrog.

Phil Brown adds: The first passenger train was actually on Saturday 30/8/14 when the 0857 Machynlleth to Pwllheli was accidently entered in TRUST as a service to Pwllheli. This formed a 10:30 to Pwllheli and a return at 11:30. ATW then honoured this mistake.
 

 

This southerly view (1/9/14) shows No.158819 at Minffordd said to be the first passenger train to stop at Minffordd in 10 months (but see above). 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.

 

The rail bridge is opening late having missed the summer tourist traffic. Worse still, problems transferring the telephone and water main have caused further delays to the opening of the parallel road bridge element of the viaduct and this will not now open until Spring 2015. A Daily Post story includes a video of a class 97 crossing the viaduct. The Gwynedd Council website expresses dismay that contractors Hochtief will not complete the road bridge to the promised earlier deadline.

 

Lyd 23/8/14

This westerly view 23/8/14 shows Lyd running round at Beddgelert on the Ysgol Eifion Wyn School Special. This was a fund raising trip so that the school could purchase an Adventure Trail for the playground. 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.

 

Bont Briwet rail works 21/8/14

This westerly view 21/8/14 shows 97303 stabled in Porthmadog siding after a week of ballasting and tamping the approaches to the bridge. 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.

 

This westerly view 21/8/14 shows 97303 hauling Colas Rail's tamper Panther wrong line back to Shrewsbury. 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.

 

This westerly view 21/8/14 shows 97303 hauling Colas Rail's tamper Panther leaving Porthmadog making a surprise closing of the level crossing barriers for many drivers who had been used to the closure of the line for the last 10 months. 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.

 

This westerly view 21/8/14 shows 97303 hauling Colas Rail's tamper Panther approaching Bont Briwet with the newly widened road approach in the foreground. 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.

 

Moelwyn 16/8/14

FR diesel Moelwyn was noted passing Beddgelert Forest Campsite southbound at about 1600 on 16/8/14 with a four wheel van in tow on a bridges/structures inspection train. This was the only variation on a diet of Nos. 87/138/143 passing the campsite during the 12 days your webmaster was on holiday there.

 

Palmerston back at VoR 31/8/14

This westerly view (31/8/14) shows Palmerston at Aberystwyth. The loco had some secret tests on the line in July but will now haul several public trains on the Vale of Rheidol (see story below for full details and booking forms). 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 19-26/8/14

Clive Briscoe reports: After only being able to service the carriages last Tuesday, this week, with a full team (including our good friend from Germany, Ulrich) we were able to service the carriages in double quick time and managed 8 man-hours of work on NG15 No.134.

The remaining two running plates were sanded down and re-primed and the vacuum brake train pipe was completed as far as the cab. Some weeks ago, I had made up a 'plumber's nightmare' - up, over, down and then across assembly using f-f elbows and hex nipples to cross the ashpan door operating lever. However, there was a problem. It was vertically challenged by about 20mm and would have clashed with the bottom of the boiler barrel. In order to gain the clearance required, I looked at the options. To put a vertical joggle (bend) in the pipe wasn't an option because of horizontal clearance on the cab side - unless I was to put say a 45 deg horizontal bend before the joggle and take the pipe diagonally across with a further 45 deg bend on the far end. I decided it would look a bit untidy so looked at Option B - use an f-f elbow initially but then see if a m-f elbow would work with the male end screwed into the vertical facing female end of the first elbow. Yes, it screwed up much tighter and gave the clearance.

So, having acquired 2-off m-f 1" BSP elbows, I made up the assembly fitting a barrel nipple across the top to the 2nd m-f elbow. Beyond the assembly, once it reaches the top of the frames and faces rearwards, there was another elbow required to take the pipe outboard to where the ejector will fit in the cab. It needs to cross under the rear driving wheel spring in the gap between the hanger and the central push rod to the axlebox so a short length of pipe had to carefully measured, be cut and screwed to create the correct length spool to fit between the two elbows and allow this. With Uli on the other end of the pipe threading dies, the threads were quickly cut and the whole rear section of pipe fitted into place. All that now remains is to weld 6-off flanges to the bare ends of the 3 sections from front to back and the line will be finished - at last!

 

Tuesday Gang report 19-26/8/14

Tony Baker reports: Last week we spent the day replacing a gate post that had rotted and broken off at ground level at Parry's pig farm Hafod-y-Llyn. The hard part was getting the rotten stump out. The week before we had replaced 8 rotten fence posts between cycle path and railway at Coed Helen.

 

Aberglaslyn Pass 27/8/14

This southerly view 27/8/14 shows No.138 approaching Bryn-y-felin bridge on one of the few sunny day in the second half of August. 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.

 

This northerly view 27/8/14 shows No.87 crossing Bryn-y-felin bridge on one of the few sunny day in the second half of August. 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.

 

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 run 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:

September   13-19/9/14WW 20-21/9/14    
October 4-5/10/14   18-19/10/14 24-27/10/14LW  
November 1-2/11/14   15-16/11/14 22-28/11/14WW 29-30/11/14
December   13-14/12/14      
January 2015   10-11/1/15 17-23/1/15WW 24-25/1/15  
February 2015 7-8/2/15 14-20/2/15WW 21-22/2/15    
March 2015 7-8/3/15 14-20/3/15WW 21-22/3/15    

^ 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.

Contacts

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday gangs, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw.

Tuesday Gang:

Contact Tony Baker for details. Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com

North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: dthomas@ffwhr.com

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: pbradshaw@ffwhr.com

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday Gang days, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw. See Contacts page.

 

Gradient graph

John Hopkins has contributed this image of the gradient profile of the WHR. It makes clear how much of a mountain we have climbed and how steep the drop through Beddgelert is. Maybe most of all, it reveals the challenge facing northbound trains after they stop at Beddgelert!

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

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.

 

Events 2014-15

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 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 (WHR AGM 13/9/14)
31/10/14 Halloween Train
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)

 

Site development

If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.

 

Comments

If you would like to make a comment about this website, why not visit my Guestbook?

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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

 

V4.2832 updated 16/9/14