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 (updated1/4/07)

 

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 18/7/16)

Snow Scenes (updated 20/11/15)

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

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

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 18/5/16)

Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)

Video list (new 9/11/15)

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!

 

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

 

Porthmadog cab rides Saturday 30/7/16

As part of the Summer of Fun offerings, there will be cab rides on Saturday from 10:00-16:00 at Harbour station using Velinheli/Hugh Napier.

 

Railtours 24-26/7/16

No.45690 Leander visited North Wales on the North Wales Coast Express on 24/6/16 reversing at Holyhead BNFL triangle Valley. WCR's 37668, one of the two fitted with the new Hitachi ERTMS system, was on the rear (as yet unseen on the Cambrian). No.46115 'The Scots Guardsman' made it to Blaenau on 26/7/16 on this summer's 'Welsh Mountaineer' replacing booked No.48151 due to NR last minute gauging issues (yet again!-Ed). The North Wales Coast express runs again on 21/8/16 and 4/9/16 with either No.45690 or No.46115.

 

This northerly view (26/7/16) shows No.46115, arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog, dwarfing Earl of Merioneth. 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.

 

Martin Kressman adds: On Monday 1/7/16 the first departure from Caernarfon was postponed by half an hour to permit passengers from 'Royal Scotsman' to travel to Porthmadog on the WHR.

 

Blaenau Vintage 40 day/Classic Car show 31/7/16

The F&WHR will be putting on footplate rides. There will be a stall for the proposed Blaenau-Trawsfynydd Rail project. See event Facebook page.

 

Take the big train to see the little!

A booklet is to be launched at King's Cross on 2/8/16 that will promote visiting tourist attractions in Wales by train. The booklet is a collaboration between Great Little Trains of Wales and ATW. The collaboration is a result of a £67,000 government grant. An exhibition promoting the booklet will remain open until 7/8/16.

 

Tuesday Gang report 26/7/16

Tony Baker reports: Today we spent the morning at Beddgelert finishing off from last week which was cut short due to excessive heat (32C). The job was to install the 2 blackboards in the 'Summer of Fun marquee'. This was achieved by lunch time and then it was off to Tan-y-Bwlch to fit anti slip material to LC 7.35. This is the pedestrian crossing half way down the platform which gives our customers with push chairs level access to the trains. Trains on both lines very full but it was a bit drizzly at Tan-y-bwlch.

 

This Beddgelert view (26/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang crawling out from under the 'Summer of Fun' blackboards after fixing them down. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Local timetable leaflet distribution

Martin Kressman adds: As far as I am aware there is no one person responsible for distributing timetable leaflets on the WHR. For the last five or six years I have taken responsibility for distributing WHR Society membership leaflets and for logistical reasons I also put timetable leaflets in both train sets. This I do on a weekly basis when I am working at Dinas. I distribute Society leaflets to all the stations by train approximately every three weeks and top up timetable racks at the same time if necessary. However the popularity of the timetable leaflets is such that the racks become empty in a very short time. I cannot afford the time to do it any more frequently than I already do as it takes all day to travel the line and back. The situation is made even more difficult since the current leaflets are twice as thick as the original design and the racks therefore can only hold half as many. On a more positive note Rod Williamson, who lives at Rhyd Ddu, has recently agreed to keep an eye on the situation there (maybe buffet stewards could top them up?-Ed).

 

NWC Electrification proposed

North Wales and Cheshire local authorities have joined forces in a bid to create jobs by improving transport links, reports The Daily Post. Electrifying the North Wales Coast Line would slash journey times and might lead to 70,000 new jobs in the area. Trains from HS2 could run to Holyhead/Llandudno without any change being necessary. Additional trains between Manchester and North Wales are also proposed. Wrexham-Liverpool trains by an already funded Halton Curve would be part of the plan along with doubling frequency on Wrexham-Bidston for Birkenhead/Liverpool. £50m would be spent on Chester station to increase capacity.

 

Third Menai crossing to be expedited

Carwyn Jones, Welsh First Minister, has said a third Menai Crossing, costing up to £200m, is his top priority for North Wales, partly to reduce peak hour traffic flows. The Anglesey Railway project has a scheme to reduce these flows by running commuter trains between Llangefni and Bangor via a redoubled Britannia Bridge. They have been clearing the track with NR's permission in recent years-see ACR website. Concerns have also been expressed about North Wales-South Wales journey times and worries that withdrawal of EU funding if Brexit goes ahead will mean schemes like TRAWS (Aberystwyth-Carmarthen) will be impossible to fund.

Carwyn Jones lead a meeting of the four subsidiary UK parliaments on 22/7/16 which insisted any Brexit deal should be ratified by the four regional parliaments. He was concerned about the withdrawal of Regional Funds (which might damage F&WHR projects such as Caernarfon station-Ed). See BBC story.

 

TRAWS update

TRAWS had a stall at the Aberystwyth Carnival on 23/7/16. An extra 1,000 signatures were obtained for the petition demanding reinstatement of the North Wales-South Wales rail link (Aberystwyth-Carmarthen).

 

Full steam ahead

The BBC TV programme 'Full steam ahead', features some WHR shots in the Aberglaslyn Pass but is primarily an FR programme. See BBC iPlayer.

 

Porthmadog area news roundup

New owners of the Shell petrol station next to Britannia Bridge have decided to stop offering 24 hour petrol. The self service Tesco petrol station remains available. The former WH Smith newsagents shop, Siop Eifionydd, has stopped being a newsagents (despite the continuing presence of the newsagents sign) and now only offers Welsh language material. As part of its proposed cutbacks, Gwynedd Council has considered closing the majority of its public conveniences and charging for the remaining free car parks in Porthmadog. However, on some days in June, all the Llyn Bach car park ticket machines were broken (since rectified). Leicestershire County Council's outward bound centre at Aberglaslyn Hall, close to Pont Aberglaslyn, has been closed due to cutbacks and sold and there are concerns for similar venues in the area.

Hamdden Caravans (formerly on Heol Madog next door to the Purple Moose Brewery) has moved to larger premises at the Texaco garage on Ffordd Penamser near Lidl and Aldi. There were concerns that this garage might have closed as this road is effectively bypassed for through traffic by the A498 and the A487 Tremadog Bypass. The large pylons over the Dwyryd estuary at Penrhyndeudraeth are to be replaced by a buried cable though there are local concerns about the route of the cable.

Mid evening Cambrian Coast Line trains do not stop at most stations including Penrhyndeudraeth and Minffordd. A new halt may be build and Bow Street near Aberystwyth in the hope of developing this as a park and ride location (See BBC report). Concerns about the service proposals for the new WalesRail franchise, due for implementation in October 2018,  have been expressed as the existing Cambrian services to Birmingham may be terminated at Shrewsbury with onward connections. A few years ago ATW applied for a Class 158 path to London, reprising the Cambrian Coast Express, albeit in DMU form.

The cafe at the Prysor Centre at Trawsfynydd Lake is under new management. Colin Dale, the former owner, continues to promote the Blaenau-Trawsfynydd branch and states his team is in negotiations for a lease with NR. There will be a stand with full information on progress in the Classic Car show in Blaenau on 31/7/16.

The Belmond British Pullman  'Royal Scotsman' set made a round Britain tour in early July and visited North Wales. The train was hauled by 66743/6 painted in Royal Scotsman livery. On 10/7/16 it was noted heading west along the North Wales coast. In 11/7/16 it ran from North Llanwrst loop back towards England. 

 

Station name boards revamp

Richard Watson reports: The station name (or running in) boards seen throughout the WHR are gradually being replaced with plastic equivalents. The running boards provided to the WHR by the East Anglian Group, and others, broadly follow the design used on the former NWNGR. The latter were reputed to have been made for the NWNGR by the London & North Western at Crewe, and are similar to boards used extensively on the latter's system. Each new sign made for the WHR was based on a tanalised timber frame on to which signwriter's Foamalux (expanded polystyrenes sheet) was pinned on both sides. Early signs were covered in signwriter's sticky backed black vinyl, but it was found that this degraded under UV and tended to split and peel with time. Later examples were made with self-coloured black Foamalux, dispensing with the vinyl, but even this was found to have problems as it tended to expand unevenly under the sun's rays. The casings and cornices - the 'picture frame mouldings' - were made from boat builders' mahogany and to avoid the prospect of the joints gaping and allowing ingress of 'liquid sunshine' the joints were strongly glued with Araldite and further reinforced with brass screws. Regrettably even this 'belt and braces' approach proved insufficient under Snowdonian weather conditions and gaps quickly opened up!

The timber surrounds were given two coats of marine quality primer, two coats of best quality exterior undercoat and two coats of best quality exterior gloss, rubbing down each coat before applying the next. Unfortunately the North Wales weather again bettered our efforts and sadly the signs have deteriorated to the point where they are being replaced with plastic equivalents made elsewhere.

 

Kerr Stuart No.8

More work took place over Winter on heritage diesel No.8 (KS4415), the shunter repatriated from Mauritius that was trialled on the WHR in the 1920s. The frames have been stripped, grit-blasted and painted and the rear stretcher replaced. Much work has taken place on smaller parts including the casting of four new brake blocks and numerous pins. Although the loco operated on the WHR and FR the flange profile is suitable for 2' gauge rather than the F&WHR's 1' 11.5" gauge. As the loco is likely to be a travelling ambassador, a compromise wheel profile may be produced to allow the loco to run on either gauge. For full details see No.4415 website or blog updated to March 2016.

 

Coach update

The Boston Lodge coachworks re-varnished Bodysgallen and No.2045 over Winter.

 

Boston Lodge changes

The clearance works at Glan-y-mor beyond the Carriage Shed have progressed well (see RoTWG story below). A digger and a rock breaker will be employed to create an area for the new Heritage Stock Shed. The plans for this area are shown in the latest edition of Inside Motion. The shed had three roads and lies between the Glan-y-Mor Carriage shed release road and the cliff to the east. The excavated rock will be used to widen the foreshore embankment for the new Carriage Shed.

Orders have been placed for six new turnouts and KGJ Price are currently manufacturing these in South Wales for staged delivery in September and November this year. The turnouts will be prefabricated in the factory and delivered as completed units on EcoTrax recycled plastic bearers (as used in Porthmadog station reconstruction) using new S30 rail. With as much standardising of components as is possible to allow for easier maintenance and the need to hold fewer spare components as parts will be interchangeable with many of the other new turnouts on the network (KGJ Price turnouts have been used recently on the WHR). Three of the turnouts are destined for Boston Lodge where as part of the ongoing redevelopment project they will form the throat into the shortly to be erected Heritage Shed. Surveyor's paint marks are already on the ground indicating the location for these three turnouts. Installation of these three turnouts will occur during late September early October.

 

'Summer of Fun'

A marquee is being erected at Beddgelert on the concrete base for the future station building. It will feature Summer of Fun events aimed at children now the school Summer holidays are starting. See Summer of Fun brochure.

 

Loco policy

Blanche has been withdrawn and, being in good condition, dismantling started after the locos last service on 1/5/16. Mountaineer, which hauled some of the early services on the WHR, is to be subject to an appeal and a plan is being formulated to return the loco to service. The loco is currently stored in Glan-y-pwll depot and is likely to be converted to coal firing. Earl of Merioneth's power bogies will be used as the basis of a brand new loco James Spooner (to be known as No.8) that will resemble David Lloyd George. The old 'tired' boiler and other discarded parts will be retained. 

 

Tuesday Gang report 19/7/16

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 19/7/16 whilst 2 of us put down anti slip on the foot crossing outside Dinas engine shed the rest loaded the marquee kit onto the pickup where it was taken to Beddgelert for the 'Summer of Fun' and erected in temperatures approaching 32C.

 

Rhyd Ddu upgrade

The SNPA has upgraded the public conveniences at Rhyd Ddu station car park. These have been provided with sensor taps, however these were not working in mid-July. Rhyd Ddu station was also devoid of any timetable leaflets.

 

No.138 14/7/16

This northerly view (14/7/16) shows No.138 on the 1255 ex-Porthmadog approaching Cemetery Crossing as seen from the vicinity of Gelert's Grave. 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.

 

Brexit effects

With news that one of the candidates for leadership of the Labour Party wants another, but this time 'honest' referendum on Brexit, spelling out its already apparent threats to the economy, it is daily becoming clear that Brexit would have a large effect on heritage railways such as the F&WHR. The petition, supported by a record 4 million people for a second referendum if the result was marginal, has secured a debate in Parliament on 5/9/16.

A steam magazine has reported that there are many more downsides for heritage railways (such as the F&WHR) than benefits and the Chairman of the HRA has expressed his regret at the outcome of the advisory referendum and worries about the consequences. The WHR construction was funded by EU grants of almost £6m. Obviously this major source of funding will cease if Mrs May's Tory Government goes ahead and triggers Section 50, the EU rule that starts the pull out process. The pound has collapsed with Brexit worries and that means imported coal, copper for boilers, steel (priced in dollars) and other construction materials will become much more expensive.

An economic downturn has been widely predicted, even a recession, and some savings funds have been frozen preventing savers from withdrawing money. The Bank of England has started to make preparations to deal with a recession. Pensioners, who form a considerable part of the demographic group that supports heritage railways, may be particularly hit. With a declining economy, increased unemployment and reduced tax income the Government is likely to have less money to shell out in supporting projects such as the WHR. Visitor numbers could decline with the UK population faced with decreasing disposable income. The F&WHR is particularly vulnerable to the price of petrol, which is likely to rise as oil is priced in dollars and, as The Times reports, the pound is already down by 12% against the dollar.

The claimed reduction in 'red tape' regulation is unlikely to have a positive effect as the ROGS rules across the railway industry are unlikely to be removed. Already a major provider of cheap foreign holidays has collapsed 'because of Brexit and the exchange rate collapse'. It seems likely that there may be more 'staycations' with more UK residents holidaying in the UK as foreign travel becomes too expensive. Last year some 26 million foreign travellers came to the UK (according to The Times) and will benefit from the pound's exchange rate collapse. However, only 2% of such travellers come to Wales, though this may increase with marketing. Some potential visitors from Europe may feel unwelcome in the UK after the advisory referendum vote.

 

Spring Titbits

Dinas shed was so full over Winter that No.9, Upnor Castle and the PW Mess Coach have been stored outside so the Tuesday Engineering Group could make no progress on the Mess Coach until the start of the running season. With one NG16 stabled at Boston Lodge for the first northbound train of the day work can resume on the Mess Coach. A new air compressor was ordered and fitted to No.9 as its frequent shunting and braking caused delays to rebuild pressure.

Sidings No.4/5 were relaid in Dinas North Yard. Work on No.2047 is soon to start at Boston Lodge and the coach will be essentially the same as No.2046. The coach's underframe and stainless steel structure are complete and the coach will be finished later this year.

The WHR ended up 0.3% last year thanks to good shoulder traffic last Autumn after an otherwise relatively poor 2015 season. A good buffet season tailed off towards the end of November with the wet weather.

Repairs to Merddin Emrys firebox was complete and the boiler re-tubed. Some attention might be given to the power bogies and a repaint looks likely. Earl of Merioneth was also repaired.

NG16 No.138 was the highest mileage loco last year with 14120 compared to 13189 for No.87. There are no figures for Castell Caernarfon or the other Dinas shunters but Vale of Ffestiniog did 1386 miles, some of it on the WHR.

 

This northerly view (13/7/16) shows the No.9 stabled in the North Yard at Dinas. 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 (13/7/16) shows parts of Pete Waterman's No.109, NG 15 No.134, K1 ( of which news is expected shortly) and not least, some Roland Railmovers stabled in the North Yard at Dinas. 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 (13/7/16) shows the relayed siding 4/5 in the North Yard at Dinas. The cleared and levelled area was used 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 (13/7/16) shows parts of Castell Caernarfon, the former Llanwnda LNWR signal and, in the distance, No.9 in the North Yard at Dinas. 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.

 

DLG surprise 17/7/16!

David Lloyd George made a surprise appearance at Beddgelert on a northbound unadvertised special train with 6 FR coaches on Sunday 17/7/16 at about 09:30.

Matthew Hall adds: I stewarded the train on 17/7/16. It was a special for a group of German train enthusiasts who are doing a tour of Wales. They tried to do the Snowdon Mountain Railway the day before then had a private train on the WHR on 17/7/16, with a round trip on an FR service train 18/7/16. They did Port to Rhyd Ddu, photo stop/run past at Rhyd Ddu, then onto Dinas for a tour of the sheds, then back to Beddgelert, then a stop at Port and then across the cob for a tour of Boston Lodge.

 

This northerly view (17/7/16) shows David Lloyd George, on a special working for a group of German enthusiasts, paused at Dinas whilst the group toured the loco works. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matthew Hall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/7/16) shows David Lloyd George, on a special working for a group of German enthusiasts, paused at Beddgelert on the return. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matthew Hall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

SuperPower 2016

Statfold Barn resident Lautoka Mill No.19, a Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0 saddle tank loco and stablemate to Fiji, will be the guest loco for Great & Small III in September's SuperPower at Dinas on the WHR. The loco will be joining Lilla, Hugh Napier, Velinheli and Britomart as well as having three NG16s in action. As well as model railways at Dinas, additional trains on the main line will offer a varied selection of freight and passenger stock.

 

Snowdonian Limited raises £10K!

The popularity of The Snowdonian 80 mile round trip over the complete Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland system earlier in the year proved such a success that the organisers arranged a second outing for those unable to get a seat. The Snowdonian Limited ran on 11/6/16 and had a special attraction - it would be the first-ever non-stop run between Porthmadog and Caernarfon using steam traction. Garratt No.143, fresh from overhaul, was selected for the run and while Boston Lodge was confident the loco could do the trip using just its internal water capacity, the WHR water tank wagon was attached ‘just-in-case’. As it happened, the engineers’ predictions were proved right and No.143 arrived at Caernarfon after the non-stop run with water to spare. As a bonus, the train then ran non-stop between Caernarfon and Rhyd Ddu and Rhyd Ddu-Pen Cob where the locos were swapped for the FR leg of the run hauled by Velinheli, Prince and Linda.

The train had 60 passengers and raised £10,000 towards The Sustainable Railway Appeal. The Snowdonian, running on 16/4/16, was fully booked with 150 passengers and raised £40,000 for the Appeal. It is planned to run both trains again next year.

 

Tuesday Gang report 12/7/16

Tony Baker reports: Today we were fitting anti-slip surface to LC 59.18 Wilkinson's (next to Llyn Bach car park exit-Ed) and LC 59.70 Harbour Station. As we worked Earl of Merioneth passed beside us.

 

This southerly view (12/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to lay the non-slip membrane on the crossing next to Llyn Bach pathway used to access Harbour Station from the car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang starting completing the non-slip membrane on the crossing next to Wilkinson's. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (12/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to lay the non-slip membrane on the crossing at the east end of Harbour Station near the signal box, while Earl of Merioneth arrives on an FR train . Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang have completed the non-slip membrane on the crossing at the east end of Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New L&BR replica Lyn to be tested on WHR?

A steam magazine has reported that new build L&BR 2-4-2T Baldwin replica Lyn will be on display in Keef's Ross-on-Wye works on 17/9/16 and then rapidly assembled before testing on the WHR this Winter. The loco is due to debut at the L&BR Spring Gala on 13/5/17. The support group is looking for some final funding. For full details see Lyn website. The L&BR railway has recently received planning permission for its extension to Whistlandpound Reservoir (the proposed temporary southern terminus) and alterations to its Blackmoor Gate station. However planning permission for the intervening section from Killington Lane to Blackmoor Gate will not be decided until the Autumn. The L&BR is closely associated with the F&WHR and regular features Lyd the replica L&B loco built at Boston Lodge so a return visit by Lyn would be most welcome. See L&BR website.

 

A week on the Welsh Highland 10-17/7/16

The week of 10-17/7/16 was pretty much 'as booked' with No.138 (with clanking rear bogie) andNo.143 on service trains. On Saturday 16/7/16 however No.87 took over from No.138 at lunchtime at Caernarfon making the unusual spectacle of two Garratts at Caernarfon. The KMX tamper/liner was based at Rhyd Ddu all week and did not appear to have done any work, certainly not south of that point. The week was surprisingly cold and wet for mid-July and this hit passenger numbers on the Yellow timetable trains Mondays and Fridays and at the weekends but the Red timetable trains on Tuesday-Thursday were well loaded. The bridge at Plas-y-nant was being examined on Sunday 17/7/16.

 

This northerly view (12/7/16) shows the No.143 passing Meillionen level crossing near Beddgelert Forest campsite. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on an iPhone 5 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (13/7/16) shows the No.138 passing Dinas. The nearer bogie was making a lot of clanking sounds. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on an iPhone 5 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.9 on test 26/6/16

This northerly view (26/6/16) shows No.9 on test in Dinas North Yard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Fernilee for Q&C II event?

The FR's Quirks and Curiosities event next May might see new build loco 0-4-0VBT Fernilee attending. The loco is currently running on the Llanberis Lake Railway and the owner hopes the loco will be allowed to run on the WHR.

 

Busman's holiday!

There will be no updates for a week as I'm taking a holiday at Beddgelert. Normal service will be resumed on 17/7/16.

 

WHHR No.590 update

The WHHR's Baldwin programme is still underway and there is to be an announcement soon. The new boiler for the Imperial War Museum's No.794 from India (and previously based at Duxford) is currently based at Gelert's Farm. The loco's rolling chassis, currently at Alan Keef's. The loco looks the same as the original WHR's No.590 and will carry this number on the WHHR and hopefully the WHR too, if/when agreement is reached with the F&WHR to run Russell and WHHR special trains on the WHR. See WHHR Baldwin Appeal page.

Michael Chapman adds: No work is currently being done at Gelert's Farm on No.590; the chassis and lots of associated parts are at Alan Keef & Co and have been for a number of years; however, following the unfortunate death of Keef's steam fitter work has come to a halt. The WHR Ltd are currently looking for another contractor to finish the locomotive and an announcement is expected very soon. A lot of money has already been raised for the Appeal and unlike some other locomotive projects, tens of thousands of pounds are required rather than hundreds. The WHHR recently advertised for contractors to finish the loco. All donations are welcome and we may see the locomotive back a lot sooner than people expect. One of No.590's original tanks survives in the museum at Gelert's Farm at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway - this may be re-used in the rebuild adding to the authenticity of the loco (another heavy rebuilt like Taliesin!-Ed).

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/5/12) shows the boiler plate for the new No.590 boiler which had been delivered to the WHHR's Gelert's Farm Works earlier in 2012. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/5/12) shows the new boiler for No.590 which had been delivered to the WHHR's Gelert's Farm Works earlier in 2012. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/5/12) shows the original pannier tank from No.590 which may be fitted to the rebuilt loco. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 5/7/16

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 5/7/16 we carried on with fitting anti-slip at 3 crossings at Rhyd Ddu station and then at Dinas station. Next Tuesday the plan is to do Bryn y Felin and Wilko's Crossing (near Llyn Bach car park-Ed) and possibly Harbour Station crossing (the east end of the station near the signal box-Ed).

 

This northerly view (5/7/16) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to lay the non-slip membrane on the crossing next to Rhyd Ddu south water tower in variable weather. In the background the Plasser tamper occupies the long siding with its running truck. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5/7/16) shows No.87 passing the Tuesday Gang in variable weather. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

 

NG15 No.134 moved 1/7/16

Clive Briscoe reports: There's been a big clearout in the Loco Shed AND Clip Shed in the North Yard. Both No.134 loco and tender rolling chassis have been banished to the Carriage Shed. Interesting times ahead - especially in winter, it will be freezing in there!

 

This northerly view (1/7/16) shows Dinas staff preparing to move the chassis of No.134 from the Loco Shed to the Carriage Shed with one rake stabled at Porthmadog in the running season there is plenty of room inn the shed. The cardboard boxes are the models for the future sand hoppers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/7/16) shows Dinas staff preparing to drag the chassis of No.134 across the concrete. This section of the Loco shed does not have rails. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/7/16) shows Upnor Castle dragging the chassis of No.134 out of the Loco Shed and into the headshunt. The removal of the loco will release room for other paid work e.g. No.130 and the welder to start building carriages. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/7/16) shows Castell Caernarfon moving the chassis of No.134 from the Loco Shed towards Dinas station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (1/7/16) shows No.134 from the Loco Shed towards Dinas station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/7/16) shows the close fit between No.134's cylinders and platform. The loco does not have its pony trucks so will probably ride higher when the suspension is set up properly. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas Carriage Shed view (1/7/16) shows No.134's new home near the entrance to the shed. This will be further from engineering resources. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 was removed by Upnor Castle after dragging the loco with a chain to the nearest track in the Loco Shed. The purpose may be to extend the track the full length of both roads in the shed. The space is needed for paid work. The chassis was led north by Castell Caernarfon and eased past the platforms where clearance was tight and shunted into the Carriage Shed where K1 and stored. The loco may be moved to the Goods Shed for the volunteers to work on it during the Winter.

 

No.130 news 2/7/16

There is continuing good progress with Pete Best's NG16 Garratt No.130. The loco was originally purchased from South Africa for the abortive Robin Hood's Bay project and then stored at Slater's yard at Pickering before moving to Exmoor Steam Railway for possible use there. Work started in November 2015 with the frames being stripped and cleaned at Dinas. The power units were sandblasted early in the New Year and then primed.

All the wheelsets were removed by February and the old tyres removed from the driving wheels to be replaced by new tyres delivered for fitting at Boston Lodge. The wheels were NDT tested in February and 11/12 passed. One crank axle needs to receive attention. A new frame stretcher was fitted in mid-February. A set of six refurbished pressure gauges was acquired in March. Boston Lodge ground the slide bars in March and in April new crank pins were turned at Boston Lodge.

The condemned boiler was delivered to Mathew Storey's yard at Hepscott in May and useable parts recovered including, the header, dome, smokebox door and chimney. The header will need to be needle-gunned, crack tested and hydraulically tested to see if it is re-useable. Mathew will be making a new set of superheater elements in due course.

Parts for the fire-hole and foundation ring were delivered to the Stockton boilermakers at the start of June. Work on the frame began at Dinas in early June with metal being built up to allow the horns to be trial fitted. This part of the process will take until August. Further crank pins are being machined and the pony truck has been taken apart to straighten the frame and re-bush. The new coal bunker destined for No.140 in store in the Carriage Shed was allocated to No.130 on 17/6/16. The front tubeplate former was delivered on 2/7/16 and will be used to form the front tubeplate of the new boiler.

For full details and images see Friends of 130 Facebook page.

 

Loco Shed report 2/7/16

Clive Briscoe reports: Ex-No.143's partly overhauled hind bogie has also moved to the Carriage Shed (along with NG15 restoration project No.134-Ed). Ex-No.143's boiler on No.140's boiler cradle remains in the Loco Shed with most of the tubes now very recently cut out. No.140 is slowly being worked on as and when labour is available.

 

FR Chippy Train cancelled 2/7/16

Due to circumstances beyond the F&WHR's control the 11:25 Porthmadog-Blaenau Ffestiniog on Saturday 2/7/16 will be unable to offer hot food but will run as a normal service train.

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2015/16

Keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure in general, fit for trains to run is an essential task. Volunteers have a lot to offer by assisting with this. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. 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.

Please note dates for 2016 notified 26/7/15.

The programme for the remainder of 2016 is as follows:

March 5-3/3/16 12-18/3/16WW 19-20/3/16    
April 2-3/4/16 9-11/4/16LW# 16-17/4/16   30/4/16-^
May -1/5/16^ 7-13/5/16WW 14-15/5/16   28-30/5/16^
June   11-12/6/16 18-20/6/16LW# 25-26/6/16  
July   9-10/7/16 16-22/7/16WW 23-24/7/16  
August   6-7/8/16 13-15/8/16LW# 20-21/8/16  
September 3-4/9/16 10-16/9/16WW 17-18/9/16    
October 1-2/10/16   15-16/10/16   29-30/10/16
November   5-11/11/16WW# 11-13/11/16   26-27/11/16
December 3-9/12/16WW# 10-11/12/16      

^ Bank Holiday weekend

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

# For dates for April, June and August contact Paul Bradshaw if you are interested for confirmation. Dates for November and December 2016 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme. Dates will be confirmed in Autumn 2016.

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 2016

1/1/16 Final Mince Pie Special 1000 return from Caernarfon
12-21/2/16 Princess visit to King's Cross with coaches Nos.1/12
13-20/2/16 Start of WHR 2016 Green Timetable Porthmadog-Rhyd Ddu (2 trains a day)
24/2-17/3/16 Green Timetable MTFX
19/3/16 Start of WHR 2016 Season Blue Timetable
26/3-29/3/16 Start of WHR 2016 Season Yellow Peak Easter Timetable (4 days only)
26-28/3/16 Family Easter Events around the F&WHR including cab rides with DHR No.19
16/4/16 The Snowdonian including DHR No.19
16-17/4/16 New Volunteer Event
30/4-2/5/16 FR Members Weekend (DHR No.19 on FR trains and may feature special workings on WHR)
30/4-2/5/16 Hugh Napier visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool with two coaches on a short running track
7-8/5/16 Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Le Petit Train de Haute Somme, Picardy, France.
14/5/16 Extra trains from Porthmadog for Caernarfon Food Festival
20-22/5/16 Rail-Ale 12th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
21-22/5/16 Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Apedale Railway, Newcastle-under-Lyme.
28-30/5/16 Hugh Napier at National Trust Penrhyn Castle Steam Days, Bangor
11/6/16 The Snowdonian Limited - a limited rerun of The Snowdonian
11-12/6/16 Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Beamish Museum, Durham.
1-3/7/16 Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Beamish Museum, Durham.
12-13/8/16 Launceston's quarry Hunslet Velinheli and FR coaches Nos.1/12 at Shrewsbury Flower Show
18-21/8/16 Launceston's quarry Hunslet Velinheli and FR coaches Nos.1/12 at Southport Flower Show
25/7-29/8/16 Summer family events around the F&WHR including Beddgelert this year
21/8/16 Classic Car and Family Day at Dinas including slate shunt, footplate rides and miniature railway
9-11/9/16 SuperPower 2016 (WHRS AGM 10/9/14)-A repeat of 2015 Great & Small III with layouts at Dinas
7-9/10/16 FR Victorian Weekend (some events possible on WHR in Porthmadog)
27/10/16 WHR Halloween Train Caernarfon to Waunfawr
10-11/12/16 WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr
17-18/12/16 WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr
22-23/12/16 WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr

 

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? If you have a correction or require a reply please leave your email address or, more simply, send an email directly to my email address shown near the top of this page, just after the list of links to other pages.

 

[Sign My Guestbook] [View My Guestbook] Powered by E-Guestbooks Server.

 

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

 

V4.3314 updated 28/7/16