Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

This northerly view 14/4/14 shows No.138 drifting down towards Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1116. Most of the services leading up to the Easter Bank Holiday weekend were hauled by Nos. 87/143 so this was a relatively rare outing for the red Garratt. The train was due to depart Beddgelert at 1125. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on September 8 2004 with news about work on Phase 4 of the WHR scheme. In addition to this Stop Press page and a Phase 1/2 page, there are 9 location pages, covering the Phase 3 works between Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. There are a further 9 pages covering Phase 4, the full route through Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, including the Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount works recently constructed by the WHHR with three regularly updated map links for this area by Laurence Armstrong.

Finally, there are pages covering 'Phase 5', Views from the Line, the history of the abandoned PBSSR works around Beddgelert, Archived News and a Contacts page for volunteers. Another page covers the current operation of the WHHR southwest from Pen-y-Mount.

 

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

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

Route section pages

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

 

Phase 4 pages

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

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

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

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

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

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

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

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

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

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

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

 

Other pages

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

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

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

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

Archived News Page (updated 15/2/15)

Snow Scenes (updated 6/12/14)

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)

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

 

Prince to visit TR 150th Anniversary in July

Prince will attend the 150th Anniversary Gala of the Talyllyn Railway at the 3-5/7/15. The loco will be in steam and will presumably operate on a short length of 2 foot gauge track in Tywyn Wharf station as the TR is 2' 3" gauge. Before then Talyllyn and Dolgoch will be officially launched in their special 150th liveries at ‘The Quarryman Experience’ Gala week-end between 2-4/5/15.

Chris Price General Manager of the Talyllyn Railway comments: ‘To have all three locomotives in steam together at Tywyn Wharf station over the Gala will be truly unique. Together they represent over 450 years of locomotive history, and bringing them together for the first time is truly historic. Completing the line-up will be our other locomotives, each of which has a place in Talyllyn history. This is an event that no narrow gauge steam enthusiast will want to miss, and is only part of the planned celebrations for the weekend.’

 

Rest of the World Gang report 14-20/2/15

Phil Nock reports: The first four days of the February ROWG working week saw us lifting a pronounced dip in the track, over three panels, (that's about 60 metres), between Snowdon Ranger Halt and the open crossing. The formation parallels the footpath between the railway and the old station building, and with the formation being higher than the path, there had been a problem with the ballast falling away, hence the dip. We jacked and kango-packed the track and installed a timber ballast wall to hold the ballast back where it is needed, rather than it spewing onto the path. On Tuesday a ballast train deposited a hopper of additional ballast to fill up the cribs and create a ballast shoulder. Thankfully they brought Daffodil, the ballast plough; a few passes with her saved us a lot of shovelling.

 

This southerly view (14/2/15) shows jacking and kango-packing at Snowdon Ranger. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (17/2/15) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving with the ballast train late in the morning at Snowdon Ranger Halt, comprising an SA hopper, the Romanian hopper and Daffodil the ballast-plough. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Southey and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (17/2/15) shows the end product at Snowdon Ranger, with the track lifted, ballasted, ploughed and a timber ballast wall installed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright James King and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On returning from the Snowdon Ranger trip, the ballast train then deposited half a hopper of ballast between Cae Pawb and Pont-y-Cyt, on Tuesday afternoon and the following day we had the pleasure of kango-packing this ballast to lift the track, where the lack of a ballast shoulder on the high-rail had caused the track to loose its alignment.

 

This southerly view (18/2/15) shows jacking and kango-packing between Cae Pawb and Pont-y-Cyt at the site of Porthmadog New station, with the latter and the old flour mill providing a backdrop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Southey and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

We moved on to Minffordd on Thursday to help shovel-pack and align part of the Mineral Line.

Three of the team were loaned to James Hamlin of the historic buildings department for a few days, whence they performed a number of tasks, including investigating the drainage, (or rather the lack of it), in wagon turntables at Boston Lodge and removing the old floor from Plas Smart, which comprised a lot of rotten timber and some 1960's strictly non-heritage concrete, the latter task aided and abetted by Messrs. The Tuesday Gang South, albeit on Wednesday!

 

This easterly view (18/2/15) shows Martin White and Martin Everitt from ROWG, investigate the drainage, (or lack of it), under a wagon-turntable at Boston Lodge, with historic buildings manager James Hamlin, looking on from the right. 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.

 

Porthmadog webcam live 26/2/15

After extensive testing the Porthmadog webcam became live on 26/2/15 and operates 24/7. The webcam overlooks the WHR platform and run round loop but also shows the FR platform in the distance. This is just in time for the start of the Green timetable Porthmadog-Beddgelert SSuO service which starts on 28/2/15. This weekend's trains will be hauled by Merddin Emrys and Taliesin. The service continues for 3 weekends until 15/3/15 from whence the Blue through timetable becomes active from 21/3/15. Click here for F&WHR live webcam link.

 

Practical Classics April Edition

Following Practical Classics visit to the WHR on 10/12/14 the April Edition features a front cover picture of Linda and Taliesin being paced on the Pont Croesor straight.

 

This southerly view (10/12/14) shows Linda piloting Taliesin on a staged pacing shot on the B4410 just north of Pont Croesor. The image shows the front cover of Practical Classics magazine's April edition which was in the shops at the end of February with a feature on the F&WHR. The car is a restored Fiat 126. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 24/2/15

Clive Briscoe reports: A smaller team than of late this week. We continued cleaning up and oiling No.134's side rods - it being especially necessary to ensure that all rust and debris is removed from inners of the bare steel big and small ends as we need to carefully measure these shortly for manufacturing the new brasses. By the end of the evening, there was just one connecting rod left to clean up.

Also worked on was the new vacuum brake train pipe. I'd been looking at the 'loop' at the rear end where it goes over the ashpan door operating lever. Having a second look and working the lever, it looked like there could be a clash so the loop was unscrewed and a start was made on making a longer spool to go in the top of the loop then a shorter one at the bottom rear.

We're still waiting for the valve jigger axles and rollers to appear then that job can be signed off after testing.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/2/15

Tony Baker reports: The gang were once again at Bron Hebog level crossing on 24/2/15 where a badly wasted outer crossing timber was replaced by a better timber taken from the centre timbers which had previously been replaced by new. Quite a bit of work was needed to convert a centre timber to an outer timber some of which was carried out at Dinas beforehand using power tools. The work at Bron Hebog is now complete.

 

This easterly view (24/2/15) shows the replacement of rotted crossing timbers at the Upper Cwmcloch 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 northerly view (24/2/15) shows the replacement of rotted crossing timbers at the Upper Cwmcloch 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.

 

WHR maintenance train 21/2/15

This easterly view (21/2/15) shows Taliesin piloting Merddin Emrys (substituting for Linda) departing Porthmadog on a FR Half Term service. A works train is stabled on the adjacent WHR tracks where the Green timetable Porthmadog-Beddgelert service is set to resume on 28/2/15. 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.

 

West Midlands Group working party report 22/2/15

Mike Hadley reports: Three members of the West Midland Group (Mike Hodges, Paul Townsend and Mike Hadley) spent much of the weekend painting the outside of the toilet block at Beddgelert in preparation for the start of this year's train service (the Green service from Porthmadog to Beddgelert starts on 28/2/14-Ed). Although the block is only a temporary structure pending the construction of proper toilets as part of the station building, it at least now looks smart having been painted in the 'corporate' colours.

On the Saturday there was a steady stream of people disappointed at the lack of a train service including a family of nine who ended up picnicking in one of the platform waiting shelters. The weather was quite good on the Saturday but appalling on the Sunday.

 

This westerly view (22/2/15) shows the repainted toilets at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Hadley and was taken on an iPhone. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (22/2/15) shows the repainted toilets at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Hadley and was taken on an iPhone. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog webcam 21/2/15

This easterly view (21/2/15) shows a test still from the F&WHR's new webcam at Porthmadog station. The webcam gives a clear view of the WHR platform and run round with the FR platform to the right. An FR train is seen in action on a half term holiday service. The webcam is set to go live soon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital video camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Pony latest

The Welsh Pony fund topped £100,000 at the end of January and it looks certain that the loco will be finished in time for its 150th birthday in 2017. Already the saddle tank has been finished and painted in temporary plum livery but a final decision on colour has yet to be made. The new cylinders are likely to be cast in February in a foundry in the south of England using the patterns made for Palmerston.

 

Ballasting at Porthmadog New

With work on the FR now complete the KMX tamper and ballast wagons will be used to ballast and tamp the recently relaid section through Porthmadog New south of the NR Crossing. This section between Y Cyt and Cae Pawb crossing was relaid in January with a half rail stagger. A considerable amount of extra ballast is now required to lift the rather undulating high rail and to form a more substantial ballast shoulder.

 

Prince at the NRM 15/2/15

The NRM's 'Day's Out with Paddington' event continues until 22/2/15. Prince is operating with four wheelers in the South Yard. The train has been popular with children.

 

This northerly view (15/2/15) shows Prince with four wheelers at the NRM. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang South report 17/2/15

Steve Broomfield reports: On 17/2/15 the Tuesday Gang South excavated a deep hole at the North end of the 'down' platform of Pont Croesor Halt and subsequently inserted both a round steel and a square wooden post. The former will carry the appropriate signage for a foot (barrow) crossing and the latter will have corral rails attached, tying it in to the existing fencing arrangement.

 

This northerly view (15/2/15) shows the minimalist excavation of a hole for signage at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steam Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (15/2/15) shows the signage pole and fencepost erected at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steam Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 17/2/15

Clive Briscoe reports: The Team worked on two fronts this week - Dennis and David started cleaning up the side rods which had gone rusty. We need the insides of the big and small ends polishing out so we can get accurate measurements for making the new brasses. Myself and Pete carried on with the valve jigger - all that was needed was to drill and tap M16, the remaining 3 holes in one baseplate so that the rail guide angle could be bolted on. The guide angle required the 3 pilot holes opening out to M16 clearance. After this, we brought the unit back into the Loco Shed and assembled the complete set and checked it all out for size. Fits beautifully. Just need the axles from Llandrillo College (due imminently) and the self-aligning bearing 'rollers' pressed onto them and we're ready for action!

 

This Dinas Loco Shed view (15/2/15) shows the completed assembly (less axles and rollers) shown with the rail guide angles bolted underneath the baseplates - these will only be used on rail that sits above the concrete, for where they are in the picture, they'd be used with them off. 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 Loco Shed view (15/2/15) shows the completed assembly (less axles and rollers) shown with the rail guide angles bolted underneath the baseplates - these will only be used on rail that sits above the concrete, for where they are in the picture, they'd be used with them off. 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.

 

Tuesday Gang report 17/2/15

Tony Baker reports: On 17/2/15 we were back at Bron Hebog, LC 45.70. We fitted the second of the centre timbers and removed the well rotted outer timber. However, our plan to replace this with the original centre timber was put on hold as we now realize that quite a bit of work is required to make it fit. Hopefully this will happen next week. Whilst in the area we cleaned out all the gullies in Cutting Mawr.

 

This northerly view (17/2/15) shows the replacement of rotted crossing timbers at the Upper Cwmcloch 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 (17/2/15) shows the replacement of rotted crossing timbers at the Upper Cwmcloch 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.

 

New season starts on F&WHR 15/2/15

This easterly view (14/2/15) shows Taliesin piloting with Linda (carrying its tender cab) departing Porthmadog on the first FR train of the 2015 season. The adjacent WHR tracks will remain rusty for another fortnight as Half Term Holiday trains have been cancelled for a second year! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The half term holiday started for many this weekend but not the WHR. Indeed trains restarted on the FR on 15/2/15 after the KMX tamper was used to tamp the relaid section through Minffordd station. F&WHR management has made a commercial decision not to operate Half Term holiday trains on the WHR this year yet again. The WHR service begins on 28/2/15 with Porthmadog-Beddgelert Green timetable trains but through trains from Caernarfon do not commence until 21/3/15. The management has also expressed some doubt about the Green timetable service in future years as it relies upon coach traffic and the (often elderly) passengers are possibly not happy with the long walk from Beddgelert station down to the car park. Surely the answer is to run the Green service to Rhyd Ddu where the short walk from the southern end of the platform to the bus lay-by is almost level.

WHR traffic figures for 2014 will probably come out slightly down on 2013. Fewer services might have had an impact on this as passengers turning up at Caernarfon and just missing a train would have to wait over three hours for the next with the three train peak timetable in operation last year-many feel the passengers might just walk away. A marquee is to be put up at Beddgelert and the F&WHR is looking for family friendly activities to include. A Family Day is planned for Dinas for 23/8/15 including classic cars, sausage making and footplate rides.

A major objective is to improve the two ten coach WHR sets. Coaches cost £100,000 and take about a year to build but No.2047, a saloon with large panoramic windows like No.2046, is now funded and in the production programme and it looks like a new sponsor will come forwards for a second Observation Coach. The target of two ten car sets with two toilets in each set will soon be realised. Some supporters still believe operating 3 or 4 shorter sets would allow a shorter gap between services and encourage more patronage at Caernarfon, a priority aim to garner the North Wales Coast holiday maker, according to the General Manager. Further fitting of roller bearings will remove the back breaking weekly task of oiling plain bearing that Team Wylfa volunteers complete.

Martin Kressman adds: Whilst Team Wylfa is grateful that the WHR carriages are being equipped with roller bearings, this does not mean that we will be unemployed. Each of the reconditioned bogies is fitted with a full complement of grease stick holders. The grease sticks, which lubricate the edge of the wheel flanges to minimise wear and noise on sharp bends, have to be replaced on a regular basis. This is a job that is as, if not more, uncomfortable to carry out than lubricating the axleboxes.

 

Pont Croesor car park clearance

The new PW train consisting of modified DZ wagons is to be used to clear Pont Croesor car park which was OOU last year. This land was hired to the F&WHR from the local farmer and must be returned to agricultural use. A digger can be driven the whole length of the rake over fall plates between the wagons. The probable work method will involve excavation of the hard core which will be moved to a point alongside the railway, probably by the Osprey Centre crossing and loaded onto the wagons.

 

Diesel report

Work on one of the Shotton Steelworks stockyard shunters is nearing completion at Boston Lodge and the loco will replace the tired Conwy Castle as Dinas depot pilot. The other loco, currently stored grounded near the Carriage Shed at Dinas, will then enter Boston Lodge and be refurbished in a similar way to become Boston Lodge pilot. Ex-sugar cane loco No.9, under restoration at Dinas, is also nearing completion. A vacuum exhauster is needed and an appeal has been made for funds to complete the loco. No.9 is set to become the WHR pw loco, possibly to be named Castell Cidwm.

 

Crossing the tracks at Beddgelert

Concern has been expressed that people are crossing the tracks at the north end of the platform at Beddgelert to get a better shot of the loco being watered. Another train may be coming downhill from Rhyd Ddu and dangerous situations may develop. Some feel a solution to the problem is to build a boarded crossing at this location with access to the existing footpath just a few yards away that leads up the private road to the farm. This road is part of the new Beddgelert-Rhyd Ddu footpath. A new boarded crossing would provide easier public access to the north end of the station as the existing public footpath from the private road goes down towards the car park then back up towards the ticket office making prospective passengers from this end walk the full length of the platform before being able to access it. With the new Rhyd Ddu-Beddgelert walk becoming more widely known since its opening in 2014, maybe it is time to build a safe access at the north end of Beddgelert Station.

 

Gasworks Siding 13/2/14

This southerly view (13/2/15) shows the Gasworks Siding site and the future road/rail transfer point. The ballast pile needs to spread out and the track still laid from the stub point to the gate. The artic will park on the fresh tarmac to receive rolling stock propelled onto them through the gate. The turnout can be seen just to the left of the ballast pile. 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.

 

Llyn Bach car park alterations 6/2/15

This southerly view (6/2/15) shows the extension of the car park onto railway land. This part of the car park is set aside for F&WHR staff use and currently does not require a car park ticket. It is being fenced off from the main part of the car park. 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.

 

Gasworks siding 17-18/1/15

The Llyn Bach car park is being enlarged so that additional spaces are available. The F&WHR section at the north end is to be fenced off. The allocated space for the Gas Works siding has been incorporated into the car park to increase the number of spaces available for F&WHR passengers. The point is not being removed as a stub will be laid off this to a relocated gate at the Wilko end of the car park. From this point the pick-up lorry will connect the portable ramp to the end of the stub and winch the item to be transported onto the back of the lorry. This will presumably remove the need to use the Snowdon Street transfer point, just north of the level crossing and avoid blocking Snowdon Street.

 

This northerly view (17/1/15) shows local council contractors extending the Llyn Bach car park onto the site of the proposed Gasworks Siding that was never completed. The stub of the siding will remain and become a stock transfer point. 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.

 

This northerly view (18/1/15) shows the completion of the sub base. The road/rail transfer point will be south of orange safety fence where a new gate will be installed. A short length of track must be laid from the Gasworks Siding point up to this gate. 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.

 

West Midland Group Meeting Thursday 19/2/15

Dave Waldren reports: If you live in the West Midlands area, why not come along to the WHRS West Midland Group meetings in Birmingham? You don't have to be a member of the Society or the Group; everybody is welcome to come and sample our friendly hospitality! We kick-off the season on Thursday 19/2/15 with a fairly informal double-act produced by two of our own members. In the first half, John Hine will be entertaining us with a look at railways on several gauges and three continents, whilst after the interval, Dave Waldren will be showing some of his late father's archive of railway pictures and films taken around the Midlands and North Wales from the 1950's to the late 70's. You can be sure of a warm welcome, great entertainment and plenty of lively discourse on all things Welsh Highland. The meeting will be held at 7:30pm at the Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane), Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Team Wylfa report 10/2/15

Clive Briscoe reports: This week was much the same as last - working to complete the valve jigger. Whilst the upperworks are only waiting for the axles, it was time to mount the removable angle iron guides under the baseplates to keep the 4 roller units 'in gauge' should they are used on rails raised above workshop floor level. After carefully marking up, it was drilling time. One angle was used as a template in order to mark the baseplates for drilling and then drill the other 3 angles so once all the base plates were marked up and hole centres 'popped', the production line could start properly - Pete drilling the angles, me drilling the base plates then David tapping the M16 threads in each baseplate as it came off the big drill.

At the end of the evening, we were left with just 3 holes to drill and tap in one baseplate. The college managed to borrow a M24 die from a local engineering firm in Colwyn Bay last week so we expect the axles very soon.

On another tack, discussions took place with our new member, Dennis, whose main strength is in electrics / electronics. Before too long, we will need to sort out some electrics for No.134 - the turbo-generator, head/tail lights, lights in the cab - overall cab lighting and specialist for gauge glasses and for the principal pressure gauges. These will all be in modern LED lights. Also, the battery compartment in the tender complete with 230/110V ac to 24V dc charger and changeover to turbo-generator charging. There's quite a lot to think about. The design / sourcing of all this is something that Dennis can take on. Also, he's keen to have a look at the spare Stone's turbo-generator to see what needs doing to it.

 

Tuesday Gang report 10/2/15

Tony Baker reports: The Gang were at Bron Hebog (Beddgelert) level crossing on 10/2/15 where one rotten centre timber was replaced and repairs carried out to the APG grids.

 

Snowdonian tickets still available 10/2/15

The Snowdonian is booking well for its F&WHR round trip on 18/4/15 but there are still tickets available for both First and Third class seats. See F&WHR story.

 

Prince departs to NRM 9/2/14

This easterly view (9/2/15) shows Prince departing Porthmadog for Dinas where road transfer will be effected. The short rake consists of the ecs transfer of coach No.119, which is having its last journey on the WHR as it is being moved to Dinas ready for onwards movement to the Golden Valley Light Railway at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley. A second similar coach, No.117 will be transferred to the GVLR in 2016 following purchase of the pair by the GVLR. Dinas is preferred to Snowdon Street as it has easy access to the A55 North Wales coast road dual carriageway, whereas Snowdon Street can be used for out of gauge loads. 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.

 

New timetable leaflets available

The new F&WHR timetable leaflets are out in a new expanded format that should appeal more to the tourist traffic that is the backbone of the F&WHR traffic. The basic Caernarfon-Porthmadog return fare this year is £35.80 (over 65s/Registered Disabled/Full Time students £32.20) with a sliding scale first class upgrade from £6-£10 single depending on distance travelled. These fares are up marginally from £35 last year, a 2% rise. Dogs/cycles are charged £3. The one child under 16 free per adult continues to be offered with additional children at half fare. Children under 3 are free. The Snowdonia Single introduced last year, one way Caernarfon-Blaenau (or vice-versa), has increased from £30 to £32 (a 7% increase). Click here to see the new leaflet which has been expanded from 12 to 18 sides this year.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 19/2/15

Our first meeting after the Christmas break will be on Thursday 19/2/15. We are pleased to welcome back the cine and video expert Jon Marsh, who will be presenting cine footage entitled Archive Railway Cine Films including some newly discovered narrow gauge gems. It’s sure to be fascinating, so do come along and please bring a friend. The Group meets at The Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH normally on the third Thursday of the month. We gather at any time after 6-6.30pm; good evening meals are available in the restaurant or bar at reasonable prices. Meetings start around 8pm , with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person), and proceedings are rounded off around 10pm. Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (Note: Bus runs every 30 minutes). Car parking can be busy at the pub, but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk away.

 

David Lloyd George nears completion 3/2/15

This northerly view (3/2/15) shows David Lloyd George nearing completion, just requiring its brass domes to be fitted. It is hoped the recently repainted loco will be out in service in the Spring and may occasionally operate on the WHR in Galas etc. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 3/2/15

Clive Briscoe reports: It looks as though the Team has gained a new member at last - an ex REME man from Llanfair PG on Anglesey. Welcome Dennis.

This week, we carried on making the 'valve jigger' roller assemblies. There were two tubular spacers to face off and machine to exact length. Done. After that it was assemble everything during which it was ascertained that a small mod was required. On the free ends of the threaded bar each side that has a nut to screw each pair of rollers together (and thus squeeze and lift a loco wheelset off the railhead), there was not enough clearance for the nut - between it and the large bolt head holding the upstand angle to the baseplate. Two further tube spacers were required and the head of the adjacent M24 bolt required 'shaving' by about 4mm so that the tube thrust spacer would fit. By the end of the evening, two heavy walled tubular spacers and both bolt heads had been machined.

The two tie bars that will keep each pair of rollers 'in gauge' had pilot holes drilled in their ends. All that's needed now is to drill and tap holes in the inner side of the base plates. Hopefully the self-aligning bearings that will be used for the rollers will arrive this coming weekend - it's the monthly No.134 Group working weekend again - and the axles should be delivered from Llandrillo College possibly next week so the jigger assembly is almost finished. Probably just in time too - it was noted that No.134's springs have arrived back at Dinas from resetting and heat treatment. The axleboxes we're told have been in the line borer at Boston Lodge so if the wheels are back too, No.134's re-wheeling is imminent - if not this next weekend, then certainly at the March working weekend!

 

Penny Steam Boston Lodge YouTube 3/2/15

Click on the YouTube link above (published 3/2/15) to watch 24 mins 24 seconds of video showing preparation of WHR and FR locos at Boston Lodge in 2014 as well as some FR scenes. This video is copyright Ken Baker of Penny Steam and is best watched in 1080p high definition mode.

 

Tuesday Gang report 3/2/15

Tony Baker reports: On 3/4/15 six volunteers changed the centre crossing timbers at LC 46.43 Cwm Cloch and replaced one broken APG triangle. There was a bit of snow about but the day was sunny. Major roadworks at Rhyd Ddu with a convoy system caused delays and should be avoided if possible. These extend from the start of the village to the station car park and involve drainage and resurfacing.

 

This northerly view (3/2/15) shows the removal of rotted crossing timbers at the Lower Cwmcloch 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 northerly view (3/2/15) shows the new crossing timbers fitted at the Lower Cwmcloch level crossing. Unfortunately no trains are running except works trains at this time of year. 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.

 

Welsh Pony Appeal latest 2/2/15

The Welsh Pony rebuild project passed a new milestone at the end of January when donations passed the £100,000 mark. The F&WHR have the drawings for the new welded boiler, which it is planned will be fabricated at Boston Lodge. The new cylinder castings patterns have been sent to the foundry for construction by the end of February.

 

This plan (2/2/15) shows Welsh Pony's proposed new boiler. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snowdonia snow 2/2/15!

More snow is forecast today around Rhyd Ddu but with no passenger trains running any photos of works trains in the snow would be welcome.

 

Prince at NRM 14-22/2/15

Prince and three historic four-wheeled carriages will be travelling to the NRM at York offering rides to those attending the museum's Half Term 'Paddington Bear' event in February. For further details see the NRM website.

 

Caernarfon Tunnel closed from 9/2/15 for 6 weeks

Essential maintenance will require Caernarfon Road Tunnel to be closed for 6 weeks from 9/2/15. This route is often used by visitors to the WHR coming from the A55 and may in future form part of the extended WHR to a joint NR/WHR station near Morrisons supermarket if the Bangor-Caernarfon line is reopened. It is hoped the route will be reopened by the Easter Holidays and for the start of the WHR Caernarfon services on 21/3/15. See Daily Post story.

 

Snow scenes

138_BWH23-12-10Hendy S.jpg (85266 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1042, just south of Hendy Crossing, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. No.138 was substituting for the booked K1. 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 iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

After a very mild year in 2014 with every month (except August!) above average temperature maybe not much should be expected of snow around the WHR this Winter. After the Xmas Holiday service from 27/12/14 to 1/1/15 there will be no trains during the February school holidays but Porthmadog-Beddgelert weekend trips start from 28/2/12.

Click here for views/videos of WHR trains in the snow in previous Winters.

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 WHR(P) 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 predicted weather for the Porthmadog area for the next five days.

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2015

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.

The programme for the remainder of 2015 is as follows:

February   14-20/2/15WW 21-22/2/15    
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 23-26/10-15LW 31/10/15
November 1/11/15   14-15/11/15 21-27/11/15WW 28-29/11/15
December   12-13/12/15      

^ Bank Holiday

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating pretty well every Tuesday.

Arrangements may change so contact the working party organiser before you commit yourself to joining us just to make sure.

Contacts

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

Tuesday Gang:

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

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

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

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

 

Gradient graph

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

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

This image is courtesy/copyright John Hopkins and is derived from data courtesy John Sreeves with additional work by Michael Bentley. Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Events 2015

1/1/15 Final Mince Pie Special 1000 return from Caernarfon
14-22/2/15 Prince in steam at the NRM during the Paddington Bear event aimed at children
28/2/15 Start of WHR 2015 Green SSuO Timetable
21/3/15 Start of WHR 2015 Season Blue Timetable
4-6/4/15 Easter Frolics family events around the F&WHR
18/4/15 The Snowdonian
1-4/5/15 150 Years of Passenger Trains on FR (maybe some events of WHR)
15-17/5/15 Rail-Ale Beer Festival based at Dinas
25-28/5/15 May Day weekend family events around the F&WHR
25/7-31/8/15 Summer family events around the F&WHR including Beddgelert this year
11-13/9/15 SuperPower 2015 (WHRS AGM 12/9/14)
9-11/10/15 FR Victorian Weekend (some events possible on WHR in Porthmadog)
29/10/15 WHR Halloween Train Caernarfon to Waunfawr
12-13/12/15 WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr
19-20/12/15 WHR Santa Trains Caernarfon-Waunfawr
22-23/12/15 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

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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

 

V4.2974 updated 28/2/15