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 (New 2016 page updated 1/2/16)

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 20/12/14)

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

 

Green timetable starts today 13/2/16

Earl of Merioneth and Linda have been diagrammed for both Green timetable services for the Half Term holiday week from 13/2/16. This may be the first time for this particular pairing. Linda is having is demountable tender cab fitted in case of inclement weather. In this mode the loco looks very like Blanche. Linda is currently facing north so its sanders can be used effectively on the challenging 1 in 40 gradient from Nantmor to Rhyd Ddu. Trains depart Porthmadog at 1010 and 1335 from 13/2/16 until 20/2/16 before becoming MTFX from 24/2/16 until the Easter whole line timetable starts on 19/3/16. A return journey is possible from Rhyd Ddu at 1140 giving about 30 minutes in Porthmadog.

 

This easterly view (12/2/16) shows Linda on a three coach test train departing Porthmadog for Rhyd Ddu to test the Green 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.

 

This westerly view (12/2/16) shows Earl of Merioneth joining the rear of Linda's three coach test train later on. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

East Anglian Group February meeting 18/2/16

Our first meeting of 2016 will take place next Thursday 18/2/16.

We welcome WHR Construction webmaster Barrie Hughes, who will be showing scanned slides to us about North Wales in the 1970s. Plenty of nostalgia for all of us!

We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH. We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm.

There is a charge of 2 per meeting for Group members, 3 for non members.

Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (Note: this bus runs every 30 minutes until 23.36, via Cambridge railway station where it arrives at 00.05) Car parking can be busy but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk to the pub.

You are most welcome to join us. We meet on the third Thursday of the month, with meetings held until May, when we take our Summer break until October.

 

Spooner's Kitchen nearing completion 12/2/16

The newly enlarged Spooner's Kitchen extension is nearing completion and will allow expanded food service in Spooner's and the beer garden. The building gives a zigzag edge to the western end of the WHR platform access.

 

This easterly view (12/2/16) shows the Spooner's kitchen extension and the zigzag edge of buildings alongside the WHR platform access. The roof appears to have new slates and the building is likely to be clad similarly to the buildings either side. 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.

 

No.143 news 12/2/16

After one of the longest and heaviest overhauls of an NG16 by the F&WHR, No.143 is slowly coming back together. On 12/2/16 Upnor Castle shunted the near complete front power bogie into Dinas shed. No.143 contains many parts from No.140. See Huw Einion Jones' video on Facebook.

 

Local MEPs to try for EU funds for TRAWS

TRAWS may get a boost from EU funds as MEPs are to enquire whether funds might be available for the purpose of reopening Bangor-Carmarthen Welsh West Coast route. Funds have been used to help reopen the moribund Irish West Coast route.

 

Snow coming (and going) in forecast!

The new 7 day Met Office forecast (up to Friday 19/2/16) is predicting temperatures in the range 3-6C next week for Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel (the nearest forecast point to Rhyd Ddu station) with sunny periods most of the time. There is some early sleet forecast before the first trains on 13/2/16 before sunny periods. Snow has disappeared from the weekend forecast but sleet has reappeared in the forecast for Wednesday evening with sunny periods for most of the week. The WHR Green timetable commences this weekend and runs all week until 20/2/16. The mountains are likely to see snow all week and heavy snow at times providing an attractive alpine scenic background to the WHR even if there is no snow at the height of the WHR.

 

This southerly view (31/12/00) shows the service train setting off from Waunfawr during a very snowy Xmas holiday in 2000. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Centon DF300 SLR camera. Slide post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Princess at King's Cross 12/2/16

Princess has arrived at King's Cross and will be displayed there for the week. For more images see F&WHR Facebook page. The F&WHR is offering a free family ticket to parents as the prize for the best photo of their children on the loco. Entries should be posted on the F&WHR's Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (12/2/16) shows an early morning view of Princess on display at King's Cross with Paul Lewin (F&WHR General Manager). The loco will remain on display until 21/2/15 over the Half Term holiday period. Copies of TLC will be available for distribution. 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 (12/2/16) shows an evening view of Princess on display at King's Cross with many parents encouraging children to 'cab' the loco. The loco will remain on display until 21/2/15 over the Half Term holiday period. Copies of TLC will be available for distribution. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alan Frewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor closed 11/2/16

Engineering work at Pont Croesor will not be completed in time for the start of the Green timetable on Saturday 13/2/16. The foot crossing to the easterly platform needs to be completed once the westerly track (the southbound loop) is realigned onto the new point. In the meantime the easterly track will operate as a bidirectional single track with points clipped OOU. The station is therefore closed until further notice and passengers can neither join trains nor alight there.

 

This graphic (10/2/16) shows the station with wooden Brio track plan illustrating the realignment at the north end of the loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This graphic is courtesy F&WHR on an image copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa extra

Clive Briscoe adds: It was noted that the new piston rods for No.134 are all but finished with the piston end now having been threaded and special nuts to secure the pistons made. It just remains for the slots to be cut through the tapered ends where they fit into the crossheads - a cotter fits through to secure the rod into the crosshead.

 

Hot food for Half Term trains!

The WHR Green timetable trains have a warming menu this year with hot baps, toasted sandwiches, Welsh rarebit, jacket potatoes, soup and roll or quarter pound Welsh beef burger.

 

Pont Croesor progress 10/2/16

This northerly view (10/2/16) shows permanent staff ballasting the realigned Down (northbound) track in preparation for the start of services on Saturday. The telephoto lens is emphasising the sharp bend at the end of the platform. The mountains still have a dusting of snow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 9/2/16

Clive Briscoe reports: Well, Team Wylfa made it up to 4 of us on 9/2/16! Big John was back briefly and Ben A came along for the first time in ages since he qualified as a Fireman - his early turns on Wednesdays normally means an early bed on Tuesdays these days.

So, what did we get up to on No.134? Luckily, I found a useful length of 50 x 8 flat mild steel in the scrap bin at work. There was just over 1m so was just what was needed to make the extra 2 ties for the valve jigger modules - they needed to be exactly 500mm long. It didn't take long to tidy them up and drill a 20.5mm hole in each end then take to the loco. Again, a wriggle and squeeze job to get between the frames to fit them. We tried pulling the wheels up off the ground and they certainly do the job, keeping the modules parallel with the wheel faces but there's a little fettling / adjustment still to do - there's about 2 - 3 mm too much clearance between the inner wheel faces and the upstands of each module so the outer upstands (holding the rollers) is just fouling the outer faces of the wheels. The final job was to undo all 4 ties ready for easing the holes outwards by 2 - 3mm. This will be Saturday's task. Yes, it's the February weekend Working Party on the old girl already! 'Hopefully' we should get a turn of the wheels by Saturday afternoon.

While a couple of us were busy with the jigger rollers, Ben and John rubbed down some of the vacuum brake train pipe in way of welds where the paint had burned off and some of the new pipe clips. Also some chips and scrapes along the pipe. These were then all primed and may get undercoated at the weekend.

It's a long, slow job this loco restoration but at least there is something to show each week now.

 

TRAWS/WAG meeting report 9/2/16

There was a very positive meeting on 9/2/16 at the WAG offices in Aberystwyth attended by two representatives from TLC, and numerous other interested parties, from WAG, Ceredigion CC, Network Rail, Arriva Trains, GWR Trains, etc. Sadly no representative from Carmarthenshire CC turned up, despite being on the invite list, somewhat surprising for such a game-changing campaign and considering about half the route lies in that county.

The meeting decided that more information is needed and this should be obtained through the first stage of the WelTAG appraisal process (see page 31 of the Scoping Study Report- top box outlined in red). The analysis will be carried out by AECOM. The aim will be to look closely at the problems associated with, and objectives of, the proposed railway reopening. This process will be completed by the end of February, at which point the Working Group will reconvene in Aberystwyth to consider the report. On the basis of that, a decision will be taken as to whether or not to recommend to the Minister that she agrees to fund a full Feasibility Study.

 

Loco mileages 2015

This infographic view shows passenger loco mileages for 2015 including diesels Criccieth Castle and Vale of Ffestiniog. Apparently Castell Caernarfon did not haul a passenger train last year! This includes ECS mileage between Dinas and Caernarfon, formerly available as advertised services. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 9/2/16

Tony Baker reports: The gang were at LC 33.95 (halfway along the site of the originally planned Plas-y-nant loop-Ed) where a major overhaul of the APG's was required. Two of the four segments needed a complete rebuild using heavier base timbers instead of the 6x1 inch originally used. The opportunity was also taken to paint preservative on all of them.

 

This southerly view (9/2/16) shows the APG in situ. The strand line around the fencing shows the area has been subject to frequent flooding that has no doubt led to the premature demise of the APGs. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David George and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (9/2/16) shows the APG out for inspection. 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 (9/2/16) shows works train loco Castell Caernarfon, hauling the works train, on top of the rebuilt APG. There was stock either side of the Funkey as it left the works train at the LC and went on to Castle Cidwm to collect more stock that had been used for a culvert repair. The loco ran around on way back at Waunfawr to put things in order. 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 (9/2/16) shows the completed job with the APGs coated in preservative. 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.

 

Pont Croesor update 9/2/15

This northerly view (9/2/16) shows the new right hand point being ballasted by permanent staff at Pont Croesor. The alignment looks much better but the track still needs ballasting and tamping before services can run next Saturday. The KMX tamper can quickly complete tamping of the plain line section once ballast is dropped and regulated by Daffodil, the ballast plough. The loop line still needs to be realigned to connect to the point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Statistics!

Almost 60 percent more trains ran on the FR compared to the WHR in 2015 according to recently released statistics (987 to 628) though both passenger miles (26,728 to 30,455) and carriage miles (243,559 to 255,905) favour the WHR, no doubt because the WHR route is twice as long, compensating for fewer trains. The average length of FR train was about one longer than the WHR (9.11 to 8.03). No.138 holds the F&WHR record at 13,127 miles (compared to the FR's Merddin Emrys 8.331 miles mostly on the FR, due to the WHR being twice as long, even though fewer trains ran. It is good to learn that 91% of trains ran to within 5 minutes of booked time which compared well with some main line TOCs! For full statistics see the F&WHR's monthly newsletter Inside Motion

 

Princess on the way 8/2/15

PW diesel Moel Hebog was used to shunt Princess and two bugboxes to Minffordd Yard at the weekend for onward delivery by lorry to King's Cross. Princess will be on display in the new circulation area during the Half Term holiday week from 12-21/2/16 where copies of TLC6 will be distributed. The loco will be removed in the early hours of Monday 22/2/16.

 

The Tea Train 15/4/16

Running as 'The Tea Train' DHR No.19B will haul Adrian Shooter's 'Parlor Car' Carrabasset, on the 1300 Porthmadog-Rhyd Ddu special on 15/4/16 during The Snowdonian Diamond Jubilee fund raising event. Afternoon tea and champagne will be served to the passengers. There will be photo run-pasts at Beddgelert. Only 10 seats are available and bids are invited of at least 500 by phoning 01766 515835. The wining bids will be selected on 29/2/16. The carriage will remain on the F&WHR and be available for private hire throughout the Spring before returning to the Beeches Light Railway. There is a new Diamond Jubilee Appeal website.

 

Pont Croesor point replacement 5-7/2/16

The north end point was replaced at Pont Croesor by the North Wales Track Gang over the weekend of the 6-7/2/16. Work may have taken place over the two weekends before (as planned) as volunteers arriving this weekend found the old point had been removed the day before and dumped in the car park and the site of the new point (funded by the WHRS) had been dug out ready. The running line was re-positioned all the way back to the platform to get the correct alignment.  The work is being completed this week very close to the start of the Green Timetable season on 13/2/16. The previous layout had a very awkwardly aligned left hand point which had been purchased new last year and installed in the closed season. This was replaced by a newly built right hand point, more suited to the right hand running through loops that the FR insists on.

Despite the rain all day Saturday, good progress was made. The first job was to remove the foot crossing between the platforms prior to the surveyors' marking out the new alignment. The volunteers cleared the site ready for the placing of the new points. The lorry craned the points in and then removed the old points from the site.  On Sunday, it started clear and good progress was made laying the two halves of the points. However, the weather became very windy, wet and cold in the afternoon and the job (originally scheduled for 3 weekends) was not quite finished despite the best efforts of volunteers in appalling conditions. The Down (northbound) running line is connected although the short closure rails were not clipped to the sleepers to allow final positioning of the point. The permanent staff will need to adjust the alignment and tamp the ballast before trains run next Saturday. Work to realign the Up (southbound track) to connect to the point remains to be completed. The Pont Croesor loop is not currently used for passing trains in any timetable but is used in Galas, out of course running and passing works trains. See also F&WHR Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (5/2/16) shows the awkward alignment at the north end of Pont Croesor loop, originally necessitated by the PW materials available from SAR. A new replacement left hand point had been installed last year continuing the kinked layout. Permanent staff are seen starting the removal of the foot crossing with power tools to allow realignment. The mountains are showing some snow cover. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (6/2/16) shows the unloading of the new turnout on the Osprey Centre level crossing at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (6/2/16) shows the site of the old point dug out at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (6/2/16) shows the site of the old point dug out at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/16) shows the first part of the new right hand point in position at Pont Croesor with the ballast redistributed to form a bed for the new point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/16) shows the first part of the new right hand point in position at Pont Croesor with the weather closing in. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/16) shows the completed right hand point at Pont Croesor although, some tweaking of the alignment is necessary. The sleepers need clipping and all needs ballasting and tamping. The loop line still needs realignment to connect with the new point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (7/2/16) shows the new right hand point in position at Pont Croesor but the southbound loop line not yet connected. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lib Dems call for electrification of North Wales Coast line

New Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, speaking at the party's Welsh Conference, called for planning to start now on completion of the electrification of the Crewe to Holyhead line in order to improve services. If this was brought about it would improve access to the WHR by those who use public transport. The measure would be paid for through a better redistribution of financial resources between North and South Wales. See Daily Post story.

 

TLC 6 available on line

The latest edition of TLC (No.6) is now available to download and will be available to purchase in hard copy on 17/2/16. They will be distributed during Princess' visit to King's Cross to attract custom to the line.

 

Appeal for second WHR Observation car

An appeal has been made for a second Observation car to go with the second WHR set matching the quality of Glaslyn. This popular coach brings in extra revenue for the WHR. If every member donated 20 the cost of the new vehicle would be covered or 10 in each year of the two year appeal. The new coach will be numbered No.2101 and will build on the experience of Glaslyn which developed a crack in its curved window.

A previous appeal led to the building of carriage No.2046 which has been well received by passengers. A second saloon to the same design No.2047 is currently being constructed in Boston Lodge and the upper framing was nearing completion at the end of the 2015. The Carriage Works will complete the woodwork once the Winter maintenance is over and the coach may enter service later this year.

 

Snow report 5/2/16

The week ahead Met Office weather forecast is predicting temperatures dropping slightly around the WHR from 8C on 5/2/16 to 5C by 10/2/15, so still too warm for snow sadly. However snow IS forecast on the mountains making fine alpine scenery possible. The lack of snow at lower levels at least facilitates travel to the WHR for passengers from further afield. WHR Green timetable services begin on Saturday 13/2/16 so there is still time for Winter weather to appear-just!

 

Welsh Pony progress 31/1/16

This Boston Lodge view (31/1/16) shows the new flanged backhead for Welsh Pony's new boiler. All components are now in place for the completion of Welsh Pony by its 150th birthday in 2017. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Lewin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa 2/2/16

Clive Briscoe reports: The Team Wylfa 2 were hard at work on No.134 again this week, continuing last week's work on the new valve jigger.

It's a relatively short report of last night's activities - it doesn't seem much but both of us had a lot of wriggling and squirming to do - No.134 may be a big beast, but there's not that much space between the frames now the wheels, brake beams & rodding and vac brake train-pipe are in.

We quickly had the two new tie bars drilled out to full size (for the valve jigger module bolts) in the workshop and then squirmed and wriggled between the frames to fit them. First go was with them across the inner, outer two bolts. Whilst I guided them, Pete started to wind the nut on each side in turn, to bring the modules closer together until the wheels were raised just clear of the ground on the rollers. Unfortunately, we still had 'kick' and it was the inner edges of each module that swung until they fouled the back of the wheel's faces and prevented us from rotating the wheels. Back to square one but this time, bolt the ties to the inner, inner module bolts. This was better but there was still some 'kick' and fouling of the wheels faces.

Careful measurements show that if we make another set of ties and fit them to the outer module bolts in addition to the inner ones, with two sets of ties on each fore and aft set of modules, will stop any kick and allow the wheelset to sit exactly in the middle of the roller modules and allow the wheels to rotate freely.

Next week's job... (If we can find two 500mm lengths of 50 x 10 flat steel).

 

Tuesday Gang report 2/2/16

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 2/2/16 the Tuesday Gang were at Waunfawr where we replaced two rotten timbers in LC 30.36, the crossing at the end of the platform. We also applied non-slip material to LC 33.25 (just before Plas-y-nant Halt-Ed). Six volunteers were present. It was cold but dry with not a trace of snow anywhere.

 

This southerly view (2/2/16) shows volunteers removing rotten timbers at LC33.35 Waunfawr Station level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (2/2/16) shows the completed job at LC33.35 Waunfawr Station level crossing. 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.

 

Tuesday Gang South

Steve Broomfield reports: TGS spent most of last year doing work on the Signal Box at Pen-y-Mount, mainly on fitting out the inside, but also adding Barge Boards and Finials. We are effectively disbanded at present as one of us is moving. I am still involved in Track Inspections on the WHR and with 'The Greasers'.

 

WHR timetable leaflet published

The F&WHR has published the timetable leaflet for the WHR for the 2016 season. An updated leaflet will be produced later in the year when decisions about the November/December services are finalised. See F&WHR timetable leaflet. Although the leaflet is exactly the same format as 2015's, photographs have changed. Ticket prices have increased too with the main fare up by 6% on 2015 from 35.80 to 38 and 6% rises on most fares.

 

Snow reports

With the Green timetable starting on Saturday 13/2/16, less that two weeks away, there may be snow on the WHR if there is a let up in this warm, wet and windy 'winter' weather we are having. The last two weeks of February often see snowfall in North Wales, however, the forecast for the week ahead shows temperatures dropping to only 5C by 7/2/16. At least the mountains are becoming snowclad again and will present an attractive alpine backdrop to the trains.

 

F&WHR seasonal recruitment drive 9/2/16

The F&WHR is looking to recruit seasonal staff for the coming season in roles such as stewards, catering assistants, booking office assistants and other front of house roles. The recruitment event will be held in Spooner's bar on Tuesday 9/2/16 from 2pm until 6pm. See F&WHR Facebook page for more details.

 

TRAWS Campaign moves forward 29/1/16

As a follow up to the recent publication of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Re-opening Scoping Report, a meeting to discuss its contents, and hopefully take it forward to the next stage, has now been arranged at the Welsh Assembly Government offices in Aberystwyth. The Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Feasibility Report review workshop will be held on 9/2/16 under WAG auspices. It will report back to the WAG Transport Minister. This will include representatives from WAG, Ceredigion & Carmarthenshire Councils, AECOM (the company that wrote the Scoping Report), ATW, GWR Trains, NR, TRAWS and other interest groups. This is very positive news and demonstrates how seriously the campaign is being taken. TRAWS wants to see the whole Bangor-Carmarthen route reopened.

WAG will no doubt have noticed that the recently reopened Borders Railway in Scotland has been much more successful than projected with 500,000 passengers in 5 months when 625,000 were forecast for the whole year. There have been a rising number of demands to increase the amount of double track (cut back from original plans) and extend to the line south, eventually reopening the whole of the Waverley Route. However, the WHR's GM offered the comment at last year's WHRS AGM that no allowance for the Bangor-Afon Wen reopening was being made in the design of the WHR's new Caernarfon Station building, currently planned for the existing site. TRAWS is organising a meeting in Bangor or Caernarfon later in 2016 in order to kick start a campaign group to reopen the Bangor-Afon Wen missing link.

 

Team Wylfa report 26/1/16

It was the usual suspects, Pete and myself, at Dinas again this week. After the biting cold of last week, it was a positively balmy +9C when we arrived at work - and we even took our coats off in the Loco Shed.

The task this week was to try out the new valve jigger to lift each wheelset in turn to rotate them and lubricate the journals before the 'tin worm' sets in (as it has started on other bright surfaces). The first task was to get a pallet truck to move pallets of NGG16 No.130's bits away from No.134. Next, how were we actually going to get oil into the bearings? It looked like the only way for now is to dribble it down the gap between the wheel's faces and the bearing brasses so Pete started to 'oil around' while I dug the jigger out. With it taking time to oil around, I looked at the vacuum brake train pipe. The forward flange on the 'up and over' section (over the ash pan operating rod) has only been tacked onto the pipe for some time while we awaited our best welder to turn up. It has been bugging me. The MIG welder was set up in the new welding bay, how confident did I feel? Oh, go on then, give it a try. So out came the pipe spool, shield gas on, welding mask on, flash, flash - job done. Considering I'm out of practice, I did a reasonable job - the welds, external and internal seal weld I would describe as 'competent' and up to the task. So at last, the train pipe is complete from front buffer beam to just in front of the cab.

Back to the jigger. We set the modules up under the front set of driving wheels but then found that the tie rods weren't quite right for the NG15's - these are to hold the inner edges of each module away from the wheel's face when the modules are screwed together to lift the wheels - they 'kick' inwards. So, exact measurements were taken and transferred to a spare pair of 50 x 10 steel flats to make a modified set. They were cut to exact length and pilot holes drilled for where they will bolt into the module base plates. And by the time we'd done all this, moved the pallets of No.130's bits back, it was time to go home.

The ties will be finished in no time next week - just the 4 holes to open out for the M24 bolts and only a few minutes to fit so we should have some wheel rotations.

Team Wylfa's future

As a lot of you will be aware, Wylfa Nuclear Power station shut down for good 4 weeks ago (on 30/12/15-Ed). Since November last year, my job has been under a cloud as come 31/3/16, the Projects Department where I work, will cease to exist, and with this, a lot of jobs will disappear. For me personally, it has worked out perfectly as I was going to retire this year anyway. What does this mean for Team Wylfa? I am selling up in Anglesey and moving back, temporarily, to our old house above Mold in NE Wales which will mean it is too far to travel for the Tuesday nights. So, from late April/early May, Team Wylfa's Tuesday night activities will cease. Martin and Rod will probably continue on Thursday evenings and Pete has said he'll join in with them. I'll still be working with the No.134 Group and once retired, will be able to devote a whole weekend a month and once No.134 is up and running, hope to be a regular crew member keeping an eye on her. If our final retirement home - later in 2016 or early 2017 comes about as planned (possibly in the Porthmadog/Penrhyndeudraeth area) then Team Wylfa (ex-pats!-Ed) may reconvene.

 

Dinas Loco Shed news 26/1/16

Even more shunting has taken place, new diesel No. 9 is out, No.138 has been shunted further back (using the space released by No.9-Ed) and both of No.143's bogies are now over the pit. In place of No.143's bogies on the other road, is No.87. Both Garratts have all the boiler wash plugs out and look like they're being readied for annual boiler exam. On Pete Best's No.130, reboring the cylinders on one bogie has now started and the driving wheel tyres are being removed for replacement.

 

Tuesday Gang 26/1/16

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 26/1/16 we were replacing rotten timbers at LC 25.53 Plas Bodaden between Dinas and Tryfan Junction. Two full length outer timbers were replaced plus one half length on the pedestrian part of the crossing. The work took place in high winds and driving rain although it calmed down somewhat after lunch. The works train consisted of Castell Caernarfon plus the SA tool van plus carriage No.111, the deluxe mess coach. It is a requirement upon us that all the seats are covered with suitable clean garments whilst in use.

 

This easterly view (26/1/16) shows volunteers removing rotten outer timbers at LC25.52 Plas Bodaden. 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 easterly view (26/1/16) shows the finished job at LC25.52 Plas Bodaden. 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 westerly view (26/1/16) shows the finished job at LC25.52 Plas Bodaden with works train brake van in the background. 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.

 

TRAWS meetings

Plans are being made for TRAWS to give presentations in Bangor/Caernarfon and Swansea later in the year for their plan to complete a rail route down the Cambrian Coast from Bangor to Carmarthen.

 

ROWG Report, Bryn Siriol, 16-21/1/2016

The first task of our Rest of the World Gang working week was to reinstate the panel of track, taken up by the BHG the previous weekend, to install a new drainage culvert under the track at Coed Bryn Siriol, LC29.43. This done, we moved 100m down the line to do a realignment on the reverse curves at Cae Bryn Siriol, between, approximately, 29.18 and 29.30. We marked up offsets from Alasdair's centre line, as this was soon lost with the ground-works. Eight panels of track were then lifted. From the offsets we marked the boundaries of the new alignment and employed a 360 mini-digger to dig out the excess ballast, of which there was quite a lot. We did shovel a little bit of ballast at the start of the process, but because there was so much ballast to shift, we hired in a contractor with a mini-digger, who did it in 3/4 of a day. If we'd had to shovel it all by hand, we'd probably still be there now!

A new centre line was then marked and the eight panels of SA track reinstated to the new alignment. This included installing a half-rail stagger to ease the pressure on the rail joints, on what is quite a tight radius pair of curves. It was to ease these two tight radii that the work was being done, as the previous alignment made for rough running at the line speed of 20 mph (in this area-Ed).

 

This easterly view (19/1/16) shows ROWG volunteers digging out the excess ballast at Cae Bryn Siriol on the morning. The two, parallel, yellow lines, painted on the ballast, mark the boundary of the new alignment. The right hand edge of the old alignment is clearly visible. A contractor with a 360 degree excavator moved most of the ballast. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (19/1/16) shows ROWG volunteers a few hours later and at much the same site of the previous picture, the track is being relayed on the new alignment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Banbury and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (20/1/16) shows the new alignment trench on the following morning. The old alignment is only some 0.5m to the right in the foreground, but further back it was as much as 1.5m. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (20/1/16) shows another view of the track being reinstated later in the afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Special timetable for Caernarfon Food Festival 14/5/16

An additional return train service will run on Saturday 14/5/16 (a yellow timetable day) in connection with the Caernarfon Food Festival. The train runs at 0940 from Porthmadog arriving at Caernarfon at 1205 and returns at 1730 arriving back at Porthmadog at 1940. Trains cross at Rhyd Ddu. Another alteration to the yellow timetable occurs on 11/7/16 when the 1000 from Caernarfon departs at 1030 in connection with an incoming rail tour.

 

Updated on-line timetable

The new WHR timetable up to 1/1/17 is now available on line except for November services, which have seen some reconsideration after the fine November weather of 2015 produced more traffic than expected on the Green timetable to Rhyd Ddu. However, the November Green timetable may possibly return to the FR as in previous years.

WHR trains commence on 13/2/16 with the Green timetable operating throughout the Half Term week to 20/2/16 then MTFX until 17/3/16. This year, instead of a Blue (Off Peak) and Yellow (Peak) timetable the colours are Yellow and Red (Red is also used for Santa Trains!). The peak timetable operates on 69 days (83 in 2015) and this is a considerable cutback as the WHR traffic was below expectations last year.

Yellow timetable trains start on 29/3/16 for Easter and continue until the end of the Half Term Holiday on 31/10/16 and operate on 136 days (up 12 on 2015 by converting Peak days to Off Peak days). There are no trains on some Mondays and Fridays in April and even in May. There are no Friday June services after 3/6/16 but all other days have trains. There are trains every day from 25/6/16 to 29/9/16. As last year, the October timetable sees trains run MFX until the Half Term holiday week when the final Yellow timetable trains run on 30/10/16. The times and crossing patterns for the Yellow timetable are the same as last year, using Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu which allows for 'halfway traffic'. Hafod-y-llyn, used a few years ago, is again missing from the table of halts now that the platform is on the short loop line and trains cannot stop there.

Red timetable trains run at Easter 26-29/3/16 and at other school holiday/Bank Holiday/special event times; 30/4/16-2/5/16, 20-21/5/16 (Rail Ale), 30/5/16-2/6/16, TWThO 14/6/16-28/7/16, all of August and 1/9/16 and 6-8/9/16. Red timetable trains have been retimed for an earlier finish to suit families with children. All trains cross at Rhyd Ddu. The first train of the day is unaffected but the second train leaves Porthmadog 20 minutes earlier at 1255 and Caernarfon 20 minutes earlier at 1300. The last train of the day departs Porthmadog 20 minutes earlier at 1535 and Caernarfon also 25 minutes earlier at 1545. This has been achieved by cutting down the turnback times by 20 minutes on the first trains of the day in each direction. This will still allow passengers time to use the station facilities /Spooners (55 minutes and 35 mins at Caernarfon, 45 minutes and 20 minutes at Porthmadog).

 

WAG transport survey

The Welsh Assembly Government has launched a consultation to inform the specification for the next Wales and The Border Franchise, 'Walesrail'. The consultation runs from 22/1/16 to 18/3/16. It will consider services, capacity, performance, fares and rolling stock. This an opportunity to demand more loco-hauled services such as 'The Irish Mancunian' and 'The Gerald' rather than single Class 158s wedged solid! The opportunity is there to bid for redundant HST sets (as has ScotRail) as almost 119 Class 43 locos hauling 54 HST rakes will become available when the GWML Electrification is completed.

It is also an opportunity to ask for the TRAWS route to be reopened from Bangor down the west coast of Wales to Carmarthen to improve accessibility to the WHR via public transport from North Wales and the North West. Other projects worth note (due to low rail investment in North Wales) are e.g. Amlwch line reopening (no progress since NR survey 5 years ago), the electrification of the Borders Route (Wrexham-Bidston), and redoubling of Wrexham to Rossett (scheme was cut back to Saltney Junction to Rossett to avoid cost of two new bridges on the A483 dual carriageway), through services to London such as the ill-fated W&SR service etc. Finally WAG might encourage NR to develop a portable ERTMS unit to allow Cambrian Coast to London and tourist trains again on the Cambrian Coast line.

See WAG survey website for more details (long download).

 

Rear view of WHR ride

A new YouTube link has appeared giving a mostly rear view, probably from a lock up coach, of a northbound journey on the WHR on 13/5/15 and published on 23/1/16. The video shows work underway to repair the Pont Croesor level crossing. Click here for YouTube link to Peter Proctor's 53 minute 41 second video, best watched in 1080p HD mode.

 

Conwy Valley line problems continue

Bustitution continues on the Conwy Valley line following the disastrous floods in December. NR is continuing to rebuild the washouts but work will not be complete until at least Mid-February and so may affect access to the F&WHR (FR services do not begin until 19/3/16). The Llandudno Junction-Blaenau Ffestiniog replacement bus timetable is available on the ATW website.

 

Team Wylfa report 19/1/16

Clive Briscoe reports: It was the Team Wylfa Two again this week. When we arrived at Dinas, for the first time this winter, it was sub-zero. First thing, a trip down the 'coal hole' to look at a job on No.134's tender - Pete Randall had machined some spacers to be welded to the bottom of the tank, behind the drip strip. These will allow twin vacuum brake pipes to be held up and I wanted to check the pipe run was going to be clear of the tank lifting points. The pipes are:

1. The vacuum pipe between the air ejector / brake setter and the new vacuum tanks in the rear compartment

2. The train-pipe running through (with a branch off to the tender's brake cylinder). All looked good so we beat a hasty retreat to the Loco Shed and first job, get the big fan heater on (it didn't make much impression!).

The task was to tidy up the new pipe clips that I had fitted on Sunday to the train pipe atop the loco's frames. They were 'raw' and needed sharp edges filing smooth. Another pipe clip was required so that, and a spacer for under the pipe were located and the top plate of the loco's frames drilled to take the mounting bolts.

Over in the workshop, No.134's new piston rods are being worked on with one now mounted in a lathe for finish machining. One of the old rods, which was still connected to the crosshead on Sunday, has been released from the crosshead thus allowing the new rod to be trial fitted in due course. It will need a slot milling through the tapered end where it locates in the crosshead to take the cotter which will secure it into the crosshead. The push is now on to have all the motion completed and end up with a rolling chassis in the next few months. The main stopper will be the new piston valve spools as these haven't been manufactured yet - this will be one of the next jobs.

 

Dinas Loco Shed news

There had been a big shunt around in the Loco Shed since Sunday 17/1/16. No.143's boiler module (on ambulance bogies) has been moved out of the Loco Shed and No.138 has been moved over to take its place to release the pit. Pete Best's NGG16 No.130's stripped, cleaned and undercoated fore unit has been moved from the Goods Shed and now occupies the pit road and cylinder re-boring work is now under way on the hind unit (also on the pit road).

Between these two Garratt units is diesel No.9 - the Tuesday North Wales engineering support group are nearing the end of work on this. The drawgear is currently being modified - lowered so there isn't a crank on the drawbars to bring them in line with F&WHR standard drawbar height.

Also noted that No.140's cab components which have lain outside for the last few years (since delivery -Ed?), have been brought inside. The boiler cradle has gradually been coming back together during this last year and now sports new running plates so it looks as though the cab is about to be reassembled.

 

Tuesday Gang 19/1/16

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 19/1/16 we were replacing rotten outer timbers at LC 22.51 Cefn Werthyd. This crossing is at a diagonal to the line making the crossing timbers half as long again as normal so 3 timbers were used, one being cut in half and added to each side. As can be seen from the pictures there was no luxurious mess coach for us today, we had to make do with the open air. Thankfully the weather was kind to us. The works train Castell Caernarfon and 1 DZ which returned to Dinas while we got on with it.

 

This northerly view (19/1/16) shows volunteers removing rotten outer timbers at LC22.51 Cefn Werthyd. 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 (19/1/16) shows volunteers having a coffee break at Cefn Werthyd level crossing. 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 (19/1/16) shows the finished job. Cefn Werthyd level crossing is an unusually acute crossing. 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.

 

NG15 No.134 report 17/1/16

Clive Briscoe reports: It was the first working weekend of 2016 on NG15 No.134. Not a big turnout and it was the seniors who did turn out in the cold - we're 'ard, us lot! Work did progress on several fronts. A disappointment was in the way the 3 new cylinder drain cocks per cylinder line up - the holes in the cylinder castings mean they don't exactly line up and the replacement drain cock actuating arms will not align with the existing operating rods and linkages to the cab. Sunday lunchtime was thus an extended lunch around the table sketching and discussing what to do. With several bits of the original rodding missing or badly worn, thoughts are moving to using a pair of redundant Garratt sanding gear steam servo cylinders to operate them. Nothing cast in stone yet as first, we have to find the ex-Garratt steam servo cylinders and second, will Boston Lodge let us have them? Only then will we have an idea of what bracketry is needed to hold them and also what rodding to actuate the valves before we can even draw up a design. We may go back to rodding all way back to the cab but there's still some redesigning to do for this option.

 

This Dinas view (17/1/16) shows No.134's train pipe clipped down and joggled over the ashpan operating rod and up a little near the rear spring in the foreground. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

We were pleased to see one of the pistons fully machined and two new piston rods almost complete in the workshop.

 

This Dinas view (17/1/16) shows No.134's new piston. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Dinas view (17/1/16) shows No.134's new piston rods rough machined to shape. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Your scribe completed (at last!!) the plumbing of the vacuum tanks in the tender's rear compartment and on the loco, the rear end of the train-pipe where a joggle was put in last week, had the pipe clips fitted - this involved some grinding of the RHS running plate (chequer plate) in way of the spacer under the pipe to make it smooth then drilling the second hole through the running plate the opposite side of the clip for the second bolt. In mid frame, on looking at the top plate again, it was realised that it could be drilled all the way through for the bolt and nut to secure the single sided pipe clip so that saved time in not having to drill a blind hole and tap it for the bolt to screw into. These pipe clips will need tidying up and painting on Tuesday night and the joggled pipe will require a repaint as a lot of paint came off in the pipe bender.

 

These two Dinas view (17/1/16) show No.134's rear brake compartment with the pipes to the four brake cylinders complete. The down angle in the left image of the left side of the compartment will be connected to the train pipe in due course. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Martin finished the weekend by going over all bare metal / sliding surfaces on the loco with an oily rag as they were starting to rust again.

For full details and images see No.134 website.

 

WHR PW works Bryn Siriol 17/1/16

Castell Caernarfon hauled a pw train on the WHR over the weekend to attend to work at Bryn Siriol just west of Waunfawr, where a reverse curve is being eased and drainage is being improved.

 

This easterly view (17/1/16) shows Castell Caernarfon with the works train at Bryn Siriol. The train had reversed from Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (17/1/16) shows one panel being lifted at Cae Bryn Siriol level crossing (LC29.43) to install a large diameter drain pipe. Hopefully this will control flooding on the south side of the lime at this location. It takes a long while to remove one panel of rail given the SAR track fittings used on this section. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (17/1/16) shows the formation has been widened slightly on the north side within the existing fence lines at Bryn Siriol. A ballast bed has been built up on the compacted slate waste over Teram Geotextile that stops clay mixing with the sub base and the new centreline has been marked in white. Good progress has been made despite the removal of the setting out posts, possibly by the sub base contractor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (17/1/16) shows the formation has been widened slightly on the north side within the existing fence lines at Bryn Siriol. A ballast bed has been built up on the compacted slate waste sub base and the new centreline has been marked in white. The white line shows the future alignment. The 20kg PW trolley in the foreground is ideal for reaching remote locations. It has a Safe Working Load of 1 tonne, suitable for carrying tools and has automatic brakes, important given the 1 in 40 on many WHR locations! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow reports

With snow last weekend finally making it to lower levels, North Wales put on a sparkling display of wintery mountain scenes from 15/1/16. As the Rhyd Ddu Green Timetable runs from 13/2/15, in addition to current works trains, there are chances of snow around the regular passenger service before the likelihood of snow disappears in the Spring. Here are some useful resources to check if there is snow at the WHR. First Hydro has four webcams in the Llanberis valley. If the one pointed at Llanberis shows snow, this would give a good indication of snow in the Gwyrfai valley as they are around the same height. However, it should be noted that snow cover generally decreases from east to west.

First Hydro weather cameras

Other useful resources include the A55 webcams (pages 7-13). The Treborth Interchange (Bangor) webcam can be helpful though it is nearer sea level than the WHR.

The FR webcams show Porthmadog, Minffordd and Tan-y-bwlch (130m so about half the height of Summit Cutting, Rhyd Ddu at 200m).

The WHHR webcams would show the rare sea level snow cover at Porthmadog. http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/gelertsfarm/

The Meteorological Office provides a useful radar weather map covering the last 6 hours that shows the rain/snow coming into Britain and can be watched as an animation updated every 30 minutes. See Rainfall radar

The main Meteorological Office website also has a Porthmadog/Wales page that shows the weather warnings for the Snowdonia area.

See the Snow Scenes Page for previous images of the WHR in the snow.

 

Merddin Emrys report 21/1/16

This Boston Lodge view (22/1/16) shows Merddin Emrys' new smokebox being welded up. The larger doors being fitted will allow easier removal of chuff. 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.

 

Winter PW work

The maintenance programme on the Welsh Highland Railway will be undertaken by volunteers and/or contractors. The WHR bridges will be receiving some maintenance after inspection earlier this year. The south end point at Pont Croesor loop is to be replaced with a new turnout following completion of the north end point last year. There will be some realignment on the WHR at Bryn Siriol, just west of Waunfawr and also a number of other vitally important jobs such as fishplate maintenance.

There are gaps at some weekends that the F&WHR volunteer coordinator needs to fill so volunteers are encouraged to come along as individuals or join together with friends, neighbours or colleagues and form a gang. On the list of jobs, a red star means no volunteers have yet signed up for the task and there are a lot of red stars. See Contacts Page to contact Dafydd Thomas/Alun Tomlinson.

 

Date Group Task
31/10/15-1/11/15 North Wales Track Gang Lever frame at Rhyd Ddu
7-13/11/15 Rest of the World Gang Fishplate servicing
14-15/11/15 North Wales Track Gang Bridge maintenance
21-22/11/15 To be confirmed Lever frame at Rhyd Ddu
28-29/11/15 North Wales Track Gang Lever frame at Rhyd Ddu
5-11/12/15 Rest of the World Gang Bridge maintenance and fishplate servicing
12-13/12/15 North Wales Track Gang Lever frame at Rhyd Ddu
19-20/12/15   Santa Trains
26/12/15   Boxing Day
27-30/12/15 Joint Gang Something different and interesting!
2-3/1/16 To be confirmed Lever frame at Rhyd Ddu
9-10/1/16 North Wales Track Gang Track work at Cae Bryn Siriol and Cae Pawb.
15-22/1/16 Rest of the World Gang Track work at Cae Bryn Siriol and laying new track at Coed Bryn Siriol
23-24/1/16 North Wales Track Gang Installation of new turnout at Pont Croesor
30-31/1/16 To be confirmed Completion of turnout at Pont Croesor
6-7/2/16 North Wales Track Gang Completion of turnout at Pont Croesor
13-14/2/16 To be confirmed Fishplate servicing

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2015/16

Volunteers are right at the forefront of keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure, in general, fit for trains to run. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept an extra a hand. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.

Please note revised dates for 2015 and new dates for early 2016 notified 26/7/15.

The programme for the remainder of 2015 is as follows:

March 7-8/3/15 14-20/3/15WW 21-22/3/15    
April 4-5/4/15   18-19/4/15 24-27/4/15LW  
May 2-3/5/15 9-15/5/15WW 16-17/5/15    
June 5-8/6/15LW 13-14/6/15   27-28/6/15  
July 4-10/7/15WW 11-12/7/15   25-26/7/15  
August   8-9/8/15 14-17/8/15LW 22-23/8/15  
September 5-6/9/15 12-18/9/15WW 19-20/9/15    
October 3-4/10/15   17-18/10/15   31/10/15
November 1/11/15 7-13/11/15WW 14-15/11/15   28-29/11/15
December 5-11/12/15WW 12-13/12/15      
January   9-10/1/16 16-22/1/16WW 23-24/1/16  
February 6-7/2/16   20-21/2/16 22-26/2/16SWW  
March 5-3/3/16 12-18/3/16WW 19-20/3/16    

^ Bank Holiday

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

SWW-Short working week Monday-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: [email protected]

North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: [email protected]

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: [email protected]

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 2015 Green Timetable Porthmadog-Rhyd Ddu (2 trains a day)
24/2-17/3/16 Green Timetable MTFX
19/3/16 Start of WHR 2015 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
16/4/16 The Snowdonian including DHR No.19
16-17/4/16 New Volunteer Event
30/4-2/5/16 FR Members Weekend (may feature special workings on WHR)
14/5/16 Extra trains from Porthmadog for Caernarfon Food Festival
20-22/5/16 Rail-Ale 12th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
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.

 

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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

 

V4.3233 updated 13/2/16