Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

 

This southerly view (3/4/13) shows No.138 on the morning train passing Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1040 in the bright Spring sunshine. This train passes the morning southbound service at Rhyd Ddu. There were several days of brilliant sunny, if cold, weather around Easter 2013 and the mountains put on a good alpine display covered in snow down to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using Zoner Photo Studio 13 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 9/4/14)

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

 

Busman's holiday 12-18/4/14

This website will not be updated until 18/4/14 as your webmaster is taking a well earned break in North Wales staying at the Beddgelert Forest Campsite.

 

Views from 9/4/14

This northerly view 9/4/14 shows No.138 near the Relay Room crossing. The loco did not require watering and so just ran round before departing for Caernarfon at 1405. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view 9/4/14 shows No.143 arriving at Beddgelert as viewed through the historic tableau of the water tower and lamp room. It does not yet appear that the water supply is connected to the tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 9/4/14 shows the platform seating chained down over the water supply fittings on the newly extended platform at Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 9/4/14 shows Merddin Emrys departing the extended platform at Harbour Station on the 1335 departure to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor facilities closed for 2014

Pont Croesor station car park and toilets are closed for the 2014 season. Level access to the platforms can only be made via the footpath from the road bridge over the Afon Glaslyn (so it appears the station car park and toilets will be locked-Ed). The Glaslyn Wildlife Project has announced that they now have the funding in place to redevelop the site and plan to be fully open again for the 2015 season. However, during 2014 it is proposed to open the Viewing Hide during most of the Bank Holiday weekends and some other weekends from Easter onwards whilst the ospreys are in the area. The ospreys are still being monitored and there are improved camera facilities at the nest to enable better video coverage which will be available later in the year. See F&WHR story.

 

Welsh Pony latest 10/4/14

The F&WHR has released a 3 minute 47 second video about the restoration of Welsh Pony which is due to begin on 4/5/14. The video is called Unfinished Business Part one and featured F&WHR chief Mechanical engineer Jon Whalley. He reveals that the loco may need a new copper firebox and boiler which would be built at Boston Lodge. The loco was withdrawn in 1939 and has had only cosmetic restoration since then having been plinthed at various times. Visitors are invited to see the start of the dismantling process at Boston Lodge at 10am on that date. The loco has had its nameplate removed presumably for safe keeping. See F&WHR story.

 

Team Wylfa report 8/4/14

Clive Briscoe reports: It was a busy night for Team Wylfa on 8/4/14. No work on No.134 unfortunately as we thought we’d better look in a couple of E Set carriage axleboxes before carrying on down to the Loco Shed in view of the problems with the new wool packing we’ve experienced the last few weeks. The ones we opened up looked very dry so we opened up the lot and oiled up. Most were quite dry and 2 boxes on one bogie needed a couple of hastily made extra bundles of wool added (we’ve used up all the spare bundles we’d made up ready!). Andy & Big John got stuck into some ‘knitting’ and made up another 5 or 6 bundles to put in soak in axlebox oil before we went down to the Loco Shed and Andy has taken the spindle of wool and the template board home and will make another 20-30 ready to put in soak next week. Hopefully that should be enough for the rest of the season.

Then down to the Loco Shed. Diesel No.9: Matt and Big John carried on grinding the remains of the old coupling ‘boxes’ off the front and rear buffer beams. They found that the easiest/quickest way is to use 5” slitting discs to cut through weld on outside of the ‘boxes’ rather than try and grind the whole 1” thick box remains off. To be continued.

New water tank wagon: We’ve been asked to sort out and fit a new vacuum brake train pipe in order to speed up its departure to Rhyd Ddu in time for the higher fire risk season. Boston Lodge works have dropped off the brake cylinder and it is already partially refurbished and almost ready to refit.

Pete and I measured up and cut some lengths of 1½” steel pipe for the rear section of the train pipe. We’ll measure and cut another length for the front end (14ft long) next week. It will be run it down the underside of the RHS frame and across to front and rear standpipes up to goosenecks with a tee branching off to the brake cylinder and across to vacuum chamber (on the LHS) just to the rear side of where brake cylinder fits. As soon as we receive some 50x5mm steel strip we will make the pipe clips to hold it all on. I made a press tool for making these clips for No.134’s train pipe so it will do double duty!

 

Fiji news

Fiji was steamed for the first time at Dinas on 9/4/14. The loco has been delivered to the WHR with a new painted steel dome as the old brass dome that came from Fiji was 'battered' and the wrong size for the loco.

 

Tuesday Gang 8/4/14

Tony Baker reports: Another day at harbour station pulling in power cables into ducts. On our way down we took down 2 of the 3 running in boards from Rhyd Ddu and delivered them to Beddgelert workshops (aka Lamp room) for refurbishment.

 

Fiji latest 4/4/14

Martin Kressman reports: The Hudswell Clarke ex-Fiji sugar plantation locomotive, to be named Fiji, arrived at Dinas from the Statfold Barn Railway on Friday 4/4/14. Initially, it is to undertake running-in trials between Dinas and Caernarfon. On 9/5/14 it is due to haul a photographic freight charter. See: Railway Children Charity Day

It is my guess that the loco will also be used on the Caernarfon-Dinas-Waunfawr shuttles over the Beer Festival weekend of 16-18/5/14 (very likely-Ed).

 

Russell latest progress 2/4/14

This Keef's view 2/4/14 shows Russell with the air pump fitted in place. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's (Ross-on-Wye) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Diamond Jubilee Appeal launched

The F&WHR has launched an appeal to raise £8 million to 'finish the job' over the next 10 years. Leaflets were placed in Steam Railway magazine. This appeal follows on from the Phase 5 Appeal. It is now 60 years since Alan Pegler rescued the FR in 1954. The appeal identifies new station buildings needed at Caernarfon and Beddgelert and new coaches and the buildings to house and maintain the locos and coaching stock.

Urgent projects are new loco and carriage facilities at both Dinas and Boston Lodge. Most of the new build of coaches will be to the FR profile for flexibility allowing them to be 'able to work between Caernarfon and Blaenau Ffestiniog'. Bronze, Silver and Gold levels of membership is available for £25, £50 and £100 per month.

 

Relaunch of the F&WHR website

The F&WHR website was re-launched for the new season at the end of March. All the previous features appear to be there but with a new style. See F&WHR website.

 

Fijian Sugar loco to be named at F&WHR May Gala

During April, ex-Colonial Sugar Refining Company loco Lautoka No.11, repatriated from Fiji by the Statfold Barn Railway, will be making an extended visit to the Welsh Highland Railway for running in and testing. The loco is expected to be paired with K1 on a double headed service trains between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. The loco will be officially named (probably Fiji-Ed) at Porthmadog Harbour Station on Friday 2/5/14 during the "Our Railway Adventure" event. See F&WHR story and image.

 

The Snowdonian 12/4/14

The Snowdonian is running again on 12/4/14. The train is a through train on the F&WHR run by the Phase 5 fund raising team every year since the through line was completed. The train departs Porthmadog at 0845 and runs direct to Caernarfon arriving 1110 and departing 1155. There is a lunch break at Beddgelert from 1329 to 1449 before running through Porthmadog (hopefully non stop) at 1530. The turn round at Blaenau Ffestiniog is from 1704 to 1755 before a final arrival back at Porthmadog station at 18.35.

The haulage is K1 and No.143 on the WHR and Prince and Lyd on the FR. Breakfast, lunch and tea are provided and there are Observation Cars at both ends of the train. There may still be seats available. See F&WHR story for full details, timetable and booking form.

 

WHHR Baldwin No.794 2/4/14

Martyn Owen (WHHR chairman) reports: It is with great delight that I can advise you all that we have received a donation of £150,000 for the Baldwin Fund. The donation has been received from John Thomason, the brother of the late Peter Thomason who was a Director of the Railway some years ago. This incredibly generous donation will enable work to re-start on the restoration of the locomotive once RUSSELL is delivered back to us (later this year-Ed) and for rapid progress to be made. There will still be some additional fund raising to do which is currently estimated at approximately £50,000, but the combined figures are a realistic estimate of the remaining work required on the locomotive. We have set a target of having the locomotive back at Gelert’s Farm during 2017 which is the Centenary of the locomotive's original construction. I have already expressed our thanks to the Donor for his generosity. (See WHHR Baldwin website for further details-Ed).

 

Team Wylfa report 1/4/14

Clive Briscoe reports: After the problems experienced with the new wool packing in the plain bearinged carriage bogie axleboxes these last 2 weeks, news came through from the works that it had settled down, could we please help out in the Loco Shed on ex-Aussie sugar cane diesel loco No.9 and the new fire fighting water tank car.

So, down to the loco shed. Matt and Big John got stuck in with angle grinders, hammers and chisels to remove the remains of the old coupling ‘box’ on front and rear buffer beam on No.9 and Pete and Andy got stuck in on the tank wagon’s bogies – the DZF platform, complete with new tank, has been lifted high using the ex-Channel Tunnel synchronised jacks and the bogies run out from underneath. The DZF used was one from the ‘strategic reserve’ ex-Donneybrook, that arrived in 1997 and has lain idle ever since. The bogies are/were ‘orrible'. B Team’s Martin and Rod had cleaned up one bogie and by the end of the evening, Pete and Andy had the other one looking reasonable and almost ready for repainting. There were sparks and grinding dust flying about at one end of the shed and rust and other dust flying the other. Leather gloves, dust masks and goggles were the fashion accessories of the night!

Meanwhile, your scribe actually got some more work done on NG15 No.134. The new vacuum brake train pipe was progressed and now reaches to just behind the smokebox saddle casting. It now requires a notch cutting in the top platform support angle just ahead of the RHS cylinder block to bring it up truly vertical and the first two flanges welding to the spool ends just below. The next section behind the smokebox saddle requires two very short spools threaded one end (for elbows) and another pair of flanges. Beyond this it is a simple run rearwards to just in front of where the boiler firebox sits. Then some more ‘fun’ as it is lead outwards and down beneath the cab.

Here’s an appeal: We’ve a lot more pipe threading ahead – more on the vacuum brake pipework but still more on the water and steam plumbing in the not too distant future. Our ancient Easterbrook and Allencard pipe threading stocks are shot. We’ve got all the sets of dies for ¾” up to 2” BSP but can’t get spares for the stocks – amongst other things, the ratchet is broken so it will only move forwards and it is a pain not being able to reverse half a turn or so every so often to break any swarf. Likewise, you all but have to dismantle it to fully reverse it to then close it up for another run to deepen the thread. Does anyone have an unused, fully working pipe threading stock in their workshop that they could donate to us, please? Easterbrook & Allencard is the original but Presto bought them out so the dies will fit a Presto or similar more modern stock.

 

Russell progress 1/4/14

This Keef's view 1/4/14 shows Russell with one of its new riveted tanks in place. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's (Ross-on-Wye) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Keef's view 1/4/14 shows Russell with one of its new riveted tanks in place. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Keef's (Ross-on-Wye) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 1/4/14

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang were once again pulling in power cables from the new platform to Spooners. Unlike last week, a few problems were encountered and rodding of ducts had to be resorted to.

 

Fijian sugar loco 29/3/14

This view 29/3/14 shows the Fijian sugar loco now with balloon chimney and lining running on the Statfold Barn Railway. The loco is to come to the F&WHR in April. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jeff Cogan (Statfold Barn Railway) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Harbour Station 29/3/14

This westerly view 29/3/14 shows the Spooner's beer garden and platforms, now complete. It appears that 3 road still needs ballasting in the FR yard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A487 Caernarfon-Bontnewydd Bypass news

Following the decision last year to change the route east of Bontnewydd to the cheaper yellow route, rather than the purple route, a decision on appointment of contractors has been announced. The bypass starts at the Plas Menai roundabout at the western end of the Y Felinheli Bypass and finishes at the roundabout at the northern end of the Pen-y-groes bypass at Llanwnda, just south of Dinas. The route crosses over the WHR just north of Bontnewydd halt. See Daily Post story and Daily Post story from 2013.

 

Team Wylfa report 25/3/14

Clive Briscoe reports: The team ‘had’ planned to do some work on No.134 on Tuesday this week but first had to do what we ‘thought’ would be a quick check on the carriages after the first few days of running. However, on opening up the first two axleboxes we were dismayed to see that the new wool packing had shrunk alarmingly – despite us having topped the axleboxes up with another 2 bundles each last week. So, we had to use up the remaining spare bundles of wool that were in soak in axlebox oil AND rapidly make up in excess of 50 new bundles, using up almost a complete spindle of wool in the process. Each axlebox required another two bundles (with 2 or 3 requiring a third). We are using supposedly the same unbleached, natural woollen yarn, 125 x 10” lengths/bundle and it is the same axlebox oil we have been using for at least the last 5 seasons so what has changed? Previously when an axlebox has been cleaned out and repacked, 3 bundles to start with and then another after a week or two of running has been more than adequate for 4 or 5 years running. Most axleboxes now have a minimum of 7 bundles in and we’ll have to check again next week. All very odd! It was a very late finish and we didn’t lock up until after 11pm.

 

Tuesday Gang report 25/3/14

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang were at Harbour Station on the 25/3/14 doing one of the finishing off jobs now that trains are running. A power cable was pulled in along new ducting from a point about half way down the new platform to the corner of the old Goods Shed, now Spooners, where it will be terminated shortly in the cupboard containing the power supply boards. The cable is to provide power to what will be the new platform base for the plugging in of the hot water containers used for the on-train hot drinks.

 

This northerly view 25/3/14 shows the Tuesday Gang drawing cables through ducting to provide power to the new joint platform hot water container charging point. In the background The Cob fencing has been completed by the F&WHR after consulting GC. 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 25/3/14 shows the Tuesday Gang working on signage for the boarded crossing at the end of the platform. In the background The Cob fencing has been completed by the F&WHR after consulting GC. 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 25/3/14 shows the Tuesday Gang resting in the new Spooner's beer garden. The beer garden glass panel fencing has been completed and will provide a windbreak. 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.

 

Official opening of Harbour Station 22/5/14

While trains will now be running regularly, the official opening ceremony will take place on 22/5/14, with, hopefully, a local dignitary officiating. Reopening the station represents the proud culmination of the project to rebuild the Welsh Highland Railway, brought about by the generosity of donors and sponsors over many years, moist recently through the Phase 5 Appeal. However, much remains to be done to develop the railway, including new stations at Caernarfon and Beddgelert, more rolling stock, improved stabling and workshop facilities at both ends of the line and numerous other improvements. The Phase 5 appeal to rebuild Harbour station has been very successful at raising money for this purpose but in order to continue the work of improvement on both railways a new appeal is to be launched and full details will be published shortly.

 

Harbour Station finishing off jobs 24/3/14

This westerly view 24/3/14 shows the boarding crossing to the Relay Room. The lamp standards have had the lantern tops fitted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Harbour Station reopens 22/3/14

This easterly view 22/3/14 shows the FR and WHR trains about to leave on the first trains of the season. The rustic blocks and glass panels of Spooner's beer garden are visible but no tables and chairs have yet been placed. The works train is stabled in 3 road which still requires ballasting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 22/3/14 shows No.138 arriving at Porthmadog with the first train from Caernarfon. The new exit from the WHR platform is visible, finished in tarmac extending from the block paving just visible in the foreground. There is an entrance to Spooner's beer garden at the pinch point at the corner of Spooner's bar and the beer garden's glass panel windscreen is visible. 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 10 mins 59 secs of video of progress (Part Nine-the final part) with Harbour Station published 22/3/14 with news from 19-22/3/14. This video is best watched in 1080p HD mode. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

This westerly view 22/3/14 shows No.87 posing in the FR platform at Porthmadog with Taliesin and Merddin Emrys in the WHR platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 22/3/14 shows Mike Hart congratulating Project Manager Ian Hartill with Taliesin and Merddin Emrys in the WHR platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view 22/3/14 shows the signals down for the first FR departure. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 22/3/14 shows No.87 departing from the WHR platform with Harlech Castle and the pw train poised to complete the ballasting of 3 road. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 22/3/14 shows No.87 departing the WHR platform with the newly tarmaced exit visible. The completed Cob fence to the left in painted in FR colours and was paid for by the F&WHR after consultation with Gwynedd Council. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 22/3/14 shows the completed Spooner's beer garden with its differentiated block paving and glass panel windscreens. 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.

 

March 22/3/14, the opening day, dawned with some sunny periods and snow on Snowdon. Vale of Ffestiniog hauled in the FR rake, followed by No.87, Merddin Emrys and Taliesin, running into the WHR platform. The Fairlies then shunted into the FR platform and extracted the WHR rake to propel it into the WHR platform. No.87, having watered, posed for photos in the FR platform with the Fairlies in the WHR platform near the signalbox. No.87 then ran around the WHR train to prepare to take its train to Caernarfon and the Fairlies connected up the FR train before departing for Blaenau Ffestiniog as the weather deteriorated. Finally No.87 departed past the newly tarmaced exit to the WHR platform.

Coach Nos. 2022 and 2046 were in the first rake to depart Porthmadog on Open Day 22/3/14 after they had been refurbished by Boston lodge Carriage Works. Open coach No.2022 has had the central section glazed like the 'Gladstone Coach' No.2021 completed last year. New saloon coach No.2046 was also in the rake on the first day. This coach is to the standard WHR profile and was funded by the WHR Society. It has large panoramic windows with toplight sliding windows rather than the slide down Beclawat windows by each table. The coach is also fitted with roller bearings to reduce maintenance costs.

 

Porthmadog Station project summary

The Daily Post carried the following story recently on the Porthmadog Station project to celebrate the opening.

 

New Season opens Saturday 22/3/14

Staff, volunteers and supporters please make a note in your diaries. This Saturday morning 22/3/14 at 0900 there will be a chance to see a Garratt and a Double Fairlie lined up alongside each other at the new Porthmadog Harbour Station platforms for the first time before they depart with the first service trains to use the new station. Come and have your photograph taken with them on this very special occasion. Spooner's will be open from 0830. Don't miss it!

 

Harbour Station progress 21/3/14

Although the signal box has now been commissioned and is operational, temporary patches have been put on the illuminated diagram as signals no.11/12 and the Advance Starter are temporarily colour lights whilst awaiting the fitting of the trident signal out on The Cob. Glass panels have arrived to be fitted to the metal posts around the beer garden to provide a windbreak without spoiling the view of the trains. Work continued on the access route beside Spooners which is being surfaced in tarmac. The two signals protecting the Spooner's Ground Frame point show the aspects they will usually show when the ground-frame is not in use.

With one day to go the tarmac exit was completed alongside the new large exit door for Spooner's bar and the final glass panels were fitted in place for the beer garden. Various finishing off and tidying up jobs were undertaken e.g. placing the lanterns on the lamp standards. Criccieth Castle shunted a WHR rake through the WHR loop then removed the final ballast train. At this stage the glass panels were still fenced off for protection from the works. Finally a WHR rake was propelled by Upnor Castle for clearance testing in the WHR platform. Construction stock was still using the FR Yard and 3 road still needed ballasting.

 

Harbour Station progress 20/3/14

With two days to go No.87 arrived from Dinas to test the clearance through the FR platform where it is now allowed as the new alignment is clear of the canopy. At this stage the glass panel windbreaks for Spooner's beer garden were still fenced off. While the blocking on the west end of the WHR platform had been finished alongside the beer garden, the tarmac exit from the platform had yet to be completed. Harlech Castle was involved with shunting and final ballasting. The F&WHR had completed The Cob fencing after consulting GC and resurfacing of The Cob footpath.

 

This westerly view 20/3/14 shows No.87 arriving light engine at Porthmadog with the first test working from Caernarfon. The new exit from the WHR platform is visible, with platform kerbing underway. The platform will be finished in tarmac extending from the block paving to the station exit via the pinch point alongside Spooner's bar. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 20/3/14 shows No.87 testing clearance against the FR platform canopy. A WHR rake is visible in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 20/3/14 shows No.87 shunting out of the FR platform in poor weather. Harlech Castle is visible with the pw trains still finishing the tamping of the FR yard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view 20/3/14 shows Castell Caernarfon on an ECS move in the WHR loop. 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.

 

Harbour Station Progress 19/3/14

The final section of the WHR platform near Spooner's has been completed following withdrawal of tracked equipment from the site. The beer garden has been completed with its rustic block work and glass panel fence. Upnor Castle has been hauling test trains through the pointwork and checking rolling stock clearance against the platform edges.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 6 mins 53 secs of video of progress (Part Eight-the penultimate part) with Harbour Station published 19/3/14. This video is best watched in 1080p HD mode. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder.

 

This easterly view 19/3/14 shows the end of the new WHR platform. The platform edge kerb has been extended past the pinch point alongside Spooner's bar. Following the withdrawal of contractors' equipment this area will be tarmaced. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 18/3/14

Volunteers were pulling in power cables at Harbour Station. Inevitably some of the ducts had suffered from the intense surface activity and repairs had to be made.

 

Cambrian Coast line to reopen to Harlech 1/5/14

Network Rail has been working hard to reopen the Cambrian coast line, which was storm damaged in January, as far as Harlech. The £10 million project will be finished 2 weeks early. See NR website for full details. The bus replacement service between Harlech and Pwllheli will continue until the Bont Briwet bridge is complete later this year.

 

Railway Children Charity Day 9/5/14

An event is to be held in the WHR on Friday 9/5/14 to raise money for The Railway Children charity. The photo-charter day is covered at the 30742 Charters website.

 

Bont Briwet latest

A temporary bridge will not now be built to replace Bont Briwet for the Summer tourist traffic. The traffic will be guided between Llandecwyn and Maentwrog by a convoy system with traffic lights on sections with sharp corners starting 21/3/14. GC had been planning to open a temporary bridge in May. The railway bridge will open this Summer and the new road bridge in December 2014. See BBC news website.

 

Team Wylfa report 18/3/14

Clive Briscoe reports: On Tuesday evening this week, it was a complete change of tack for the Team. It’s THAT time of the year when suddenly, it’s time to take the toys out of their boxes. Yes, it’s the operating season from Saturday so that meant checking and oiling the carriages again!

During the day, there’d been an ECS move from Boston Lodge to Dinas bringing some of the E Set’s carriages that have been through the works for heavy overhauls and repainting over the winter. The return working was to take some of the carriages from Dinas that will be making up F Set – which will be Porthmadog based in the first few weeks of the season. The observation car, Glaslyn, isn’t quite ready – the works is just completing some internal seating and are just in the middle of a bogie swap to change its current, badly worn, plain bearing wheelset bogies for a set of modified SAR bogies having the latest, sprung, roller bearing axlebox conversions. This is due up on Friday to complete the E Set.

As explained a few months ago, there has been a flurry of activity in the works to modify a number of bogies to roller bearing type as many of the current carriage bogies have done many hundreds of thousands of miles since 1997 and there was significant wear on many of the wheels. There have been several iterations of roller bearing conversions tried in the last couple of years but the works are now happy with the latest version so several spare bogies had their wheel profiles corrected and made up into roller bearing type. If I’ve got my sums right, 5 carriages have had bogie swops over the winter. This has enabled the F Set to be made up with roller bearinged bogie carriages apart from two – and these have one plain bearinged and one roller bearinged bogie. E Set has a number of roller bearinged bogie stock but still a significant number of plain bearings which will still need oiling up for this year at least. And this is just what we did on Tuesday night except that we had to top up the ‘fleeces’ – B Team had cleaned out and repacked the axleboxes a couple of months ago but the ‘fleeces’ had settled. Luckily, we had plenty of spare wool bundles in soak in axlebox oil but now need to make up some more!

 

Harbour Station progress 18/3/14

With the new season due to start on Saturday 22/3/14, final preparations were being made this week. The signalling system is complete and tested. The final piece of tracklaying in 3-Road is awaiting completion over the extended pit. Paving of the platforms and beer garden and is complete. FR 'Terabash' volunteers have made a big difference to the state of the station over the last weekend with a large variety of maintenance and improvement jobs undertaken.

 

This westerly view 18/3/14 shows the boarding crossing to the signalbox. The WHR rake is positioned in 5 road during running in tests of the new layout. A buffer stop has been added to the FR yard headshunt. Harlech Castle is stabled in the FR platform as shunt loco. 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 to arrive in April

Hudswell Clark locomotive Fiji an ex-Colonial Sugar Refining Company loco from Fiji, has recently been restored by the Statfold Barn Railway, and it will visit the F&WHR for running in and general testing. The loco will be delivered to North Wales sometime during early April. The loco is currently known as Lautoka No.11, Lautoka being the sugar cane mill in Fiji at which it was based, and at which it was fleet No.11. The loco is expected to be paired with the world's first Garratt, K1, in double heading service trains between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. The loco will be officially named at Porthmadog later in the year.

 

This Statfold view shows Fiji under test. Since this time it has acquired a balloon chimney, which avoided sparks and fires in the sugar cane fields. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jeff Cogan and was taken on a 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:

April   11-14/4/14LW 19-20/4/14    

^ Bank Holiday

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

WW+-Working week Monday-Sunday

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 (Excursion?)
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

 

V4.2723 updated 12/4/14