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 22/7/14)

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

 

Russell Returns event brass tickets still available 2/8/14

There are still a few of the commemorative brass tickets available for the WHHR's Russell Returns event on 1/8/14.

 

This view (27/6/14) shows the WHHR's commemorative Russell Return's brass Edmondson ticket. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 22/7/14

Tony Baker reports: On 22/7/14 the gang were doing level crossing maintenance between Waunfawr and Plas-y-Nant .

 

Recent views of the WHR 20-22/7/14

This southerly view (20/7/14) shows two ash wagons still stabled in the siding at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (20/7/14) shows a History Points QR label at the end of station fence out on The Cob. Unfortunately, not everyone can receive 3G at this location. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (22/7/14) shows Linda on an FR train unusually stabled in the WHR platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell nears completion 27/7/14

This Keef's view (27/7/14) shows Russell's nameplate has been fitted at Alan Keef's works Ross-on-Wye. Some coupling rods and cab fittings are still required. The loco is due at the WHHR's Russell Returns event on 2/8/14 in less than a week so all have their fingers crossed it will be completed and delivered on time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Palmerston goes to VoR YouTube 23/7/14

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 5 mins 58 secs of video from 26/6/14 (published 23/7/14) of Palmerston at the Vale of Rheidol under test light engine to Devil's Bridge. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 12 mins 17 secs of video from 1/7/14 (published 23/7/14) of Palmerston at the Vale of Rheidol under test with a trial load of VoR stock to Devil's Bridge. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 2 mins 19 secs of video from 1/7/14 (published 23/7/14) of Palmerston at the Vale of Rheidol along with the VoR's No.9. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Bachmann Baldwin

Bachmann, the producer of model railway items, id to produce an 009 scale model of Baldwin No.778 and a range of wagons to coincide with the outbreak of WW1. The WHHR is recreating No.590 as their next project after the completion of Russell this Summer. Bachmann even had the Leighton Buzzard Railway's No.778 at Barwell, near Leicester, for the launch event. See Bachmann website.

 

Russell race to the finish 23/7/14

This Keef's view (23/7/14) shows Russell's tanks having been lined out at Alan Keef's works Ross-on-Wye. The driving wheels have been fitted but coupling rods are still required. The loco is due at the WHHR's Russell Returns event on 2/8/14 in a week's time so all have their fingers crossed it will be completed and delivered on time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Scorchio!

Porthmadog reached record temperatures of 29.2C on 23/7/14 with day-long sunshine. Similar weather is forecast until the weekend.

 

Team Wylfa report 22/7/14

Clive Briscoe reports: It was a much diminished A Team that attended Dinas on 22/7/14 and we had double the work to do. The B Team have literally jumped ship and are sailing to the Isle of Man this week for the annual WHRS North Wales Group holiday - this time visiting the railways on the Isle of Man. So no working party on Thursday. We had the E Set to check and service in its entirety and at the beginning, there were only two of us. We found Big John in the Carriage Shed assisting the wash down and he only joined us later on after the carriages had been cleaned. Doing the whole set took until nearly 21:30 so there was no time to do any work on No.134 this week. There is the last of the monthly working weekends on No.134 before the summer break this weekend. Any new volunteers are kindly requested to get hold of Andie Shaw, Pete Randall or myself beforehand (F&WHR safety requirement). Contact details on the No.134 website.

 

Palmerston visiting VoR

Palmerston is currently visiting the Vale of Rheidol railway to raise funds for the Welsh Pony restoration. The VoR has recently completed a project to improve its halts to original appearance. The loco arrived in late June and ran a light engine trip to Devil's Bridge on 26/6/14, followed by a loaded test run on 1/7/14. The F&WHR's 'spare' England engine was used in both the construction of the VoR and the WHR and will be present at Aberystwyth over the coming weeks of the school Summer Holidays and used on special trains on 20-21/9/14 and 27-28/9/14. See F&WHR news story.

 

Fiji cab rides 22/7/14

This easterly view (22/7/14) shows Fiji in the foreground offering cab rides at Porthmadog Harbour station. No.138, Linda, Hugh Napier and Criccieth Castle are also visible from left to right, with Vale of Festiniog approaching in the distance. 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.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 4 mins 27 secs of video (published 18/7/14) of various locos in action as well as the entertainment on offer during the Summer of Fun aimed at children (including free Fiji cab rides). This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Fiji will be offering cab rides at Porthmadog from 25-27/7/14 and 1-3/8/14. Lilla will be offering cab rides 8-10/8/14, 15-17/8/14 and 22-25/8/14 in its final season before a major refit. See F&WHR website for full details.

 

Beer Festival YouTube

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 19 mins 52 secs of video (published 16/7/14) of various locos in action as well as the entertainment on offer at Rail Ale 2014, 16-18/5/14. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Prince at DRS Open Day 19/7/14

Prince was in light steam at Direct Rail Services Open Day at Gresty Bridge Depot, Crewe on Saturday 19/7/14. It was a question of little and large as Prince was parked alongside the newest class of loco operating on NR, the Class 68, named after ships of the Royal Navy. The loco was placed alongside No. 68002 Intrepid, possibly the oldest and youngest pairing of locos numbered 2 in the world. There was also a stand manned by F&WHR employees and volunteers handing out promotional material. As well as hauling DRS freight, the Class 68 locos are set to replace Class 67 locos on Chiltern's Birmingham-Marylebone Inter-City passenger services later this year.

 

This westerly view 19/7/14 shows Prince, the F&WHR's No.2, alongside DRS's No.68002 Intrepid at the DRS Open Day at Gresty Bridge Depot, Crewe. 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 19/7/14 shows Prince, the F&WHR's No.2, alongside DRS's No.68002 Intrepid at the DRS Open Day at Gresty Bridge Depot, Crewe. 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 19/7/14 shows Prince, the F&WHR's No.2, alongside DRS's No.68002 Intrepid at the DRS Open Day at Gresty Bridge Depot, Crewe. 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 2014 latest

An intensively timetabled service is planned for SuperPower over the period 12-14/9/14. According to adverts placed in the railway press, all four Garratts, including K1, will be in action. There will also be a Funkey, a Fairlie and two England locos, singly or in multiple with a 'never seen before highlight'. A dedicated microsite will be launched as soon as details are available. Many supporters hope the WHHR's Russell will put in appearance and run the full length of the WHR for the first time since 1936, following its launch at the WHHR on 2-3/8/14.

 

Tuesday Gang South 15/7/14

On Tuesday 15/7/14, the following tasks were undertaken by the Tuesday Gang South:-

1) Two additional benches (seats) were correctly positioned and bolted down, at Beddgelert.

2) The posts for the second Pont Croesor running-in board were trimmed to height and capped.

3) "History.org" signs were attached at Harbour Station (3) and on the Cob footpath fencing (3).

4) Fixing a F&WHR notice board to the Chapel railings in Porthmadog High Street was evaluated.

 

This northerly view (15/7/14) shows the new benches at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on an Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/7/14) shows the new Pont Croesor Halt running in board. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on an Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 15/7/14

Quite a busy Tuesday evening for Team Wylfa's A Team this week. We had two visitors - firstly Tim Heeks from the Puffing Billy Railway in Australia - he's ex-WHHR/F&WHR and has recently designed the new all-welded boiler for their NGG16 No.129 that is currently being converted to 2' 6" gauge, and sent its old 1958 Hunslet built boiler back to the WHR. Secondly our German colleagues (also BHG members) Ulrich & Gabi Daemmgen - but only on a flying visit being good ambassadors for the railways by bringing and showing some of their German friends around. They'll be back on a working visit later in the year.

As usual, the evening started with carriages - E Set this week. In addition to oiling up, some track niggles had been reported and a detailed inspection of wheel profiles was needed. Some excess wear was detected in a couple of wheelsets and they will need to be monitored closely for the rest of the season.

After that it was down to the Loco Shed to continue work on No.134. It had been planned to drill and tap the top of the frames to allow the new vacuum brake train pipe to be clipped but we found a shortage of sharp drills and had to spend a while grinding them up. The tool chest had become a jumble so a couple of the guys emptied it out, sorted, cleaned and re-stowed them in a more usable way. Meanwhile, up on the loco's platform, the paint pot came out and the cleaned surfaces were primed.

With a set of sharp drills, next week should see the train-pipe clipped down and possibly the flanges tack welded in position.

 

Bont Briwet Facebook page

For up-to-date images of Bont Briwet and commentary (some in Welsh) see Bont Briwet Facebook page.

 

Tuesday Gang report 15/7/14

Tony Baker reports: The morning was spent at Caernarfon Station. Previously we had assisted S & T with the provision of a telephone line to the water tower. This line had been accidentally damaged by the discharge of hot ashes. S & T engineers have repaired the cable, splicing in a new piece. It is now longer and can be buried at the base of the wall avoiding the hot ash dispersal area. This was completed by lunch time.

After lunch we set off to LC 42.75 Hafod Ruffydd Ganol where we replaced 6 broken APG triangles. Another broken triangle was replaced at 42.54 Hafod Ruffydd. The remains of a fence was also recovered from 42.75. While this was going on one gang member was cutting back vegetation at LC44.30 Camp Site to improve the sightings. It was noted at this location that the crossing timbers will require attention before too long. All wooden debris was deposited in South Yard to be used for lighting up.

 

This easterly view (15/7/14) shows No.138 on the 1320 from Caernarfon approaching Hafod Ruffydd Ganol. 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.

 

Russell sponsors train delayed until 2/8/14

During the latter stages of Russell’s overhaul a technical issue has arisen. The WHHR's contractor, Alan Keef Ltd, is working with a specialist contractor to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, and a timetable for the necessary work has been agreed and is now underway. However, as a precautionary measure it has been decided to re-schedule the Sponsors/Donors Event planned for 26-27/7/14 to 2/9/14, in order to avoid the possibility that Russell is not quite ready, and guests arriving on the 26-27/7/14 and being disappointed by the locomotive not being available. The Sponsors/Donors Special Train will now run on the morning of Saturday 2/8/14. The WHR Ltd Shuttle Service planned for that day, which includes the First Public Service Train, will start at a slightly later time than planned at 11:00, and will then continue to operate for the rest of the day as originally scheduled.

 

Royal Scotsman tour 14/7/14

This westerly view (14/7/14) shows No.87 arriving at Porthmadog station with the Royal Scotsman Tour Special. This working required service trains to be retimed to work later, the only special of the year to require this advertised alteration to the timetable. 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.

 

Fiji kicks off 'Summer of Fun' 18/7/14

Fiji is due to start the child-friendly cab experience opportunities, probably at Harbour Station, at the start of the school Summer holiday on 18/7/14.

 

Titbits Spring 2014

The Welsh Pony Appeal has raised more than £50,000 for the continued restoration of this loco.

Easter saw disappointing traffic on both the WHR and FR following the severe weather across the country.

A return visit by the F&WHR promotional team to the Shrewsbury Flower show on 8-9/8/14 might see Prince on a short running track as last year.

David Lloyd George was released from Boston Lodge in temporary grey livery. The loco has reduced coal and water space due to having been designed for oil firing. It is hoped that the new piston valve bogies will compensate for this. Three Fairlies were available for the May Adventure weekend. Merddin Emrys then came into the works for its annual boiler exam. It should be back in action for the Summer. There is no planned use of the Fairlies for timetabled WHR trains this Summer with all trains being diagrammed for NGG16 haulage.

 

Spring Carriage News

The Boston Lodge Coach Works have sent four carriages out after overhaul/maintenance of varying degrees. The curved glass of Observation Car Glaslyn which cracked in the first winter has been replaced. The sides below waist level were originally constructed using two layers of plywood glued together in situ. This delaminated in places and has been replaced with one layer of ply. It has obviously had a full repaint and full sign-writing. Open car No.2022 has been fitted with panoramic windows in the middle two bays making a second 'Gladstone Coach'. The coach has also had a repaint and vinyl upholstery has been fitted along with new Formica topped tables which it is hoped will look tidier for longer. WHR 2090 has had a repaint and a varnish and fitted with reupholstered seats. Replica Ashbury No.24 has been in for a light clean and a varnish.

 

No dogs in Spooners

Dogs have been banned from Spooners for hygiene reasons but they are still allowed in the new beer garden area.

 

Harbour station progress

Various finishing off jobs have made steady progress over the last month. Following the erection of the trident signal in mid-May further progress is being made behind the scenes. All the parts are now in stock and much painting is going on before the final assembly and fixing the finials. Volunteers are refurbishing the remaining signal motors required to move the arms. Once this has been completed they will be attached, followed by testing and commissioning.

The remaining old spiky top railings near Spooner's have been replaced with new bow top style railings by North Wales Fencing. The old fence sections have been put into stock for use elsewhere. Tuesday Gang South volunteers have been busy completing the foot crossings at the end of the platform, building the walkway crossing by the water tower across to 4 road to enable the buffet stewards to wheel their supplies to the train, making ‘anti-trip’ shields around all the new point levers, and installing an anti-trespass grid across the track by signal 10. The water supply on the platform for making tea and coffee on the trains has been connected to the mains and the electric supply has been commissioned (beehives). Water for cleaning the new toilet pumping stations is now connected, but the pumps have not yet been installed.

Gelli return to site in early July to fit the correct lids to the remaining 17 manholes around the site which up to now have had only plywood lids. They should have completed these by mid-July, so that work can continue with more track packing and ballast spreading around the site, helping to improve the overall appearance of the new station. One of the final jobs will be to connect up the platform lights and decide on external lighting for the beer garden.

The organisers of Kids Week 2014 have expressed an interest in tackling the new station garden. This will involve increasing the height of the rear wall with stone blocks from Minffordd and filling the new flower bed area with soil in time for the planting out weekend later in the year.

 

Fiji returns for the Summer 9/7/14

The 'Summer of Fun' initiative will be featuring footplate rides throughout the summer at a number of locations using Statfold Barn's Fiji, which returned to Dinas on 9/7/14. K1 and Lilla will also feature in the programme. As usual, rides will be free but visitors will be encouraged to give a small donation in the buckets provided. And, for the whole of August, all proceeds will go to Ysgol Eifion Wyn to help the Porthmadog primary school buy new playground equipment.

Many supporters hope the loco will stay on for SuperPower and be in action over that weekend (12-14/9/14).

 

Team Wylfa postscript 8/7/14

This Dinas Loco Shed view (8/7/14) shows the top platform of No.134 clear of debris, components and tools. The new vacuum brake train pipe coming rearwards from the smokebox saddle with the next spool with a curved upwards joggle almost ready on the left. This will come through the boiler mounting bracket from the triangular flange, diagonally to the right - up and over the black ashpan door operating lever then a further bend to bring it out to the side of the platform. NGG16 No.143 can be seen ahead to the left sans rear bunker for repairs to the reversing gear reach rod and NGG16 No.87 - the in-service loco ahead of No.134. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 8/7/14

Clive Briscoe reports: On Tuesday evening this week, the A Team assembled as usual and first visited the Carriage Shed to do a visual exam of the F Set, oil the couplings and service the two carriages parked outside of the shed - NWNGR No.23 and FR No.116. The B Team will service the remaining two plain bearinged bogies and top up the flange lubricators on the rest of the set inside the shed on Thursday evening.

With the carriages out of the way, it was straight down to the Loco Shed to continue work on NG15 No.134. Basically, we carried on with last week's work - finished off clearing the top of the frames of tools, spare gear and raw materials. After this it was out with brushes to sweep all the grinding and other accumulated dust off the top and give the old girl a final wash up top. It looks a lot better and will be a LOT safer for us to work up there from now on with a platform to walk on with no slippery dust or bits and pieces to trip over. With full access to the new vacuum brake train pipe now, next week should see the top of the frames drilled and tapped for pipe clips to mount it in its final position, also, to make a template for, and hopefully make, the final spool piece at the rear.

Other items worthy of comment: The station yard looks strangely empty now that the last vestiges of oil firing days have gone - the big green fuel tank has gone to a new home along with a similar one plus another tank from the FR's Minffordd Yard.

After last week's woes with NGG16 No.87 having to have the hind unit run out to sort a lubrication failure of the rear pivot and rear spherical steam pipe joint, this week it was NGG16 No.143's turn to have urgent repairs requiring the rear tank/bunker lifting off to repair the reversing gear reach rod (hence its replacement by No.87 on Tuesday-Ed).

 

Tuesday Gang report 8/7/14

Tony Baker reports: The gang were once again on Level Crossing Maintenance. We fitted 'Shut and Fasten Gates' signs to new gates at LC 21.64 Pant, changed out a broken APG at 42.54 Hafod Ruffydd and at the same time fitting ballast retaining wing timbers to the APG's at this crossing. LC 42.75 Hafod Ruffydd Ganol needed 4 broken APG replacing but we had no sooner moved down to this site than there was a clap of thunder and the heavens opened. We sat in the van for a while but it got worse so we finished for the day. On the way down we had stopped off to plant a missing chainage marker at 28.30.

 

This easterly view (8/7/14) shows No.87 on the 0940 from Porthmadog vice the booked No.138. This view is near the 'Ugly Bridge' just east of Tryfan Junction 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.

 

SuperPower latest

Porthmadog Harbour Station will feature in this Autumn's WHR event, SuperPower, 12-14/9/14. Freight trains will be the order of the day. Boston Lodge will have an Open Day to show some of the work in progress and there will be some tours of Minffordd Yard which is both the stronghold of all outdoor engineering and the site of several exciting projects. Over the weekend there will also be a chance to look at the progress with No.134 at Dinas when they will making an exciting move forward re-wheeling the loco. Visitors should expect some very large mixed trains and double headed Garratt action. With the planned return of Russell to the WHHR on 2/8/14 many supporters hope that Russell might for the first time since 1936 travel the full length of the WHR on some special workings if agreement can be agreed between the two railways.

 

Prince on tour 19/7/14

The F&WHR has been invited to take Prince to the Direct Rail Services Open Day at their Crewe Gresty Bridge depot on Saturday 19/7/14. They will be launching their new Class 68 loco at the event and the plan is to do an 'Oldest and Newest' display with Prince. We'd like to have the loco in light steam, which means the F&WHR needs volunteers to warm the loco up on the Friday in Crewe, and generally mind the loco and help greet the public, hand out TLCs and so on during the show. Contact cparry@ffwr.com if you are able to help. For full event details see DRS website.

 

'Summer of Fun'

The F&WHR is organising a Summer of Fun promotion for the upcoming school holidays in late July until the end of August. This is the busiest time of year for the railways but families are on tight budgets and still need to keep the kids entertained. There will be a series of free or cheap add-on events such as footplate rides or face painting. We will also be promoting good family things to do such as the new playground at Beddgelert which was part-sponsored by the F&WHR. There will be a section on the website with a calendar of events and there will be posters and point of sale advertising too. If you have any good ideas and are able to carry them out, they can soon be added to the calendar. An appeal has been made for volunteers on days when extra activities are happening.

 

Moelwyn visits WHHR 6/7/14

Encouraging signs of further cooperation between the F&WHR and the WHHR were seen at the weekend when Moelwyn visited the WHHR and hauled a rake of empty slate wagons. Many hope that Russell will visit the F&WHR during the SuperPower event over the weekend of 12-14/9/14.

 

This northerly view (6/7/14) shows Moelwyn hauling slate empties at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman (WHHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 3 mins 4 secs of video showing Moelwyn hauling slate empties on the WHHR on 6/7/14. This video is best watched in 1080p HD mode. This video was taken by Andy Goodwin (WHHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

Porthmadog platform shelters

Holes have been cast on the new long platform to support platform shelters if they can be afforded at some time in the future.

 

Russell painted red 4/7/14

This northerly view (4/7/14) shows Russell's tanks having been painted in a new red shade at Alan Keef's works Ross-on-Wye. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Oil tank removed

The Dinas bunded oil tank along with that from Minffordd was noted going east on the A55 just before the start of the 50mph limit at Colwyn Bay at about 07.45 on 2/7/14. The lorry was operated by Cawley Bros, who are based in Llanwrst.

 

Team Wylfa report 1/7/14

Clive Briscoe reports: The A Team were at Dinas as usual on Tuesday evening and started as normal with carriage checks and oiling up. E Set was the target this week and after a thorough visual check and topping up of the flange lube grease sticks, we oiled up several of the carriage axleboxes on the top end, leaving the rest of the carriage bogies for B Team on Thursday. With that out of the way, we had a clear 2 hours to work on No.134 and achieved much. With re-wheeling just 10 weeks away, the top of the loco’s frames had become a dump / repository for raw materials and components. These all need to be cleared off and we carried on with the weekend’s purge (an extra No.134 Group working party). The running board plates needed to go back on too so that we can locate the new lube line and their pipe clips. During the course of the evening, all of the plates were relocated and temporarily bolted down. This has now made it a lot safer to work up top too as there is no loose gear to step on/over and there’s actually a proper walkway to work from – there’s some work on the vacuum brake train pipe still to finish. Overall, an excellent nights’ work with lots of visible progress. NB. The plates will need to be lifted just one more time for final painting in due course, after which, they will be bolted down permanently.

We returned to the Station Yard to find our cars had been blocked in by a rather large artic lorry with an equally large HIAB crane on the rear end of the tractor. It had arrived to move the last remains of oil firing days – the big green fuel tank. Not only was he blocking us in but it seemed we were blocking his best lifting position so we came to a compromise, he de-rigged and we moved our cars! We also moved a stack of Heras fence bases that were stacked in front of the tank for him. As his tachograph time was almost up (he had come from Lowestoft) he decided the best thing to do was park up in the yard and wait for first light and lift the tank at 6am. So, by the time you read this report, there will be another huge area of yard free.

 

Tuesday Gang 1/7/14

Tony Baker reports: The gang spent the 1/7/14 on level crossing maintenance firstly at LC 22.70 Bontnewydd Station where one pedestrian gate had disintegrated to the point where it had to be replaced and on the other side of the crossing the life of the gate was extended by inserting coach screws into a split top timber. Then it was on to LC 21.87 Fron Goch where we made up the road surface where the garden centre folk trundle the trolleys of plants over the line. Meanwhile other gang members were gathering timber from life expired pallets at a local builders' merchants and taking it back to Dinas for fire lighting.

 

This Bontnewydd view (1/7/14) shows the rebuilt gate. 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 (1/7/14) shows the 9:40 ex-Porthmadog with No.138 in charge passing Bont Newydd at midday. 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.

 

Harbour Station development project volunteering 2013-14

Volunteers are right at the forefront of the effort to get the work finished in time. The station must be ready for trains on both railways by mid March. 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 2013 and the first months of 2014 is as follows:

July     19-25/7/14WW 26-27/7/14  
August   9-10/8/14 15-18/8/14LW 23-24/8/14^  
September 6-7/9/14 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 7-10/11/14LW 15-16/11/14   29-30/11/14
December 5-8/12/14LW 13-14/12/14      

^ 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

 

V4.2803 updated 29/7/14