Welsh Highland Railway
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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.
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)
'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 4/10/16)
Snow Scenes (updated 20/11/15)
Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)
Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)
Volunteer Contact details page (updated 18/5/16)
Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)
Video list (new 9/11/15)
Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.
If you would like an automated announcement of site updates, email me at the NEW (2013) address below replacing the letters 'dot' with a full stop
This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.
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.
New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.
New text in RED!
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
Tuesday Gang report 18/10/16
Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 18/10/16 we had a break from level crossing repairs and had a rare chance of a bit of trackwork. We were at Boston Lodge assisting the PW permanent staff with the trackwork associated with the new developments behind the existing works. We laid membrane along the line of the new track joining the point installed by ROTWG on their last visit. We then ballasted this new point and finally started the new trackwork to join the point to the existing carriage siding. This job is ongoing and at this point we do not know if we will be involved again next week.
This southerly view (18/10/16) shows the third and final new point being placed for the newly erected framework of the Heritage Carriage shed at Boston Lodge. The newly redesigned entrance shows a double door on the left rather than three single doors. A hydraulic rock breaker in the background continues to break out the trench for the formation. 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 (18/10/16) shows the new point being ballasted and tamped. In the background is one of the last of the Post Office telecoms trailers that the GM promised to get rid of! 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 (18/10/16) shows the trackbed on Teram geotextile, ballasted and levelled with a wacker vibrating plate. In the background is one of the last of the Post Office telecoms trailers that the GM promised to get rid of! 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 (18/10/16) shows the trackbed on Teram geotextile being ballasted by the Tuesday Gang to reconnect the existing through siding. In the background is the C2 Project Chinese loco shed. The NG15 Project could do with a shed like this at Dinas! 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.
Dinas newsMartin Kressman reports: The stainless steel cross bracing for the roof supports of FR carriage No.152 have been finish welded into position. Two driving wheelsets ex Garratt No.138 have been returned from having the tyres re-profiled at Boston Lodge. Third class saloon carriage No.2041 has been withdrawn and is currently being converted at Boston Lodge into a third class brake saloon including a toilet compartment.
TRAWS scheme moves forward
The Welsh Government has committed £300,000 for a Feasibility Study into the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth section of the TRAWS North Wales-South Wales link line utilising the Cambrian Coast line. See South Wales Evening Post story.
East Anglian Group meeting 20/10/16
David Gander reports: With apologies for the short notice, the first meeting of our 2016-2017 season will take place this coming Thursday 20/10/16.
We welcome Dave Waldren who will be presenting a ‘Narrow Gauge Miscellany’ of his videos and pictures.
Our November meeting will be on Thursday 17/11/16, when Steve Sedgewick presents ‘Railway Photography – A Different Point of View’.
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 (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 (excepting December when it’s the second Thursday), with meetings held until May– with a break in January.
Latest on WalesRail franchising 13/10/16
Railway Gazette reports: The four bidders shortlisted for the contract to be the 'Operator & Development Partner' holding the next Wales & Borders franchise were announced by the Welsh Government's Economy & Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates on 13/10/16.
(With all these foreign nationalised railways proposing to run our railways the question has to be asked why we cannot do it ourselves with a UK nationalised railway and retain the profits in the UK?-Ed)
The current franchise held by Arriva Trains Wales was awarded by the UK Department for Transport, but the replacement ODP contract is to be awarded by the devolved Welsh Government through a very different process with much more design input from the bidders. The Welsh Government sees the new franchise as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to build an integrated transport system, with the contract to be awarded through a negotiated procedure and less tightly specified than a DfT deal. The contract is to run for 15 years from late 2018, but the ODP may have a longer-term role in infrastructure development maybe the TRAWS Scheme-Ed).
The ODP would be required to support the development of the South Wales Metro concept, which aims to provide better multi-modal connectivity. The form of this is very much up for discussion as part of the bidding process, with bidders being asked to submit proposals which could range from 25kV 50Hz electrification of the Valley Lines to tram-train or extensive light rail conversion and street running. The Welsh Government’s in-house company Transport for Wales (TfW) will evaluate the bidders’ proposals against its objectives before deciding which to adopt.
It is envisaged that the lines north of Cardiff Queen Street would be transferred from Network Rail to the Welsh Government and then managed by the ODP through a vertically-integrated model. Separate infrastructure delivery partners would be appointed to undertake Metro construction and maintenance. Bidders will also be asked to submit proposals for complete renewal of the rolling stock fleet (including the dedicated Class 158 ERTMS fleet on the Cambrian, which may be an opportunity to ditch this restrictive system-Ed). The Welsh Government says a 'not for profit' model is to be used for the new contract, but this refers specifically to TfW not seeking premium payments from the heavily-subsidised franchise.
The ODP would be incentivised to deliver quality and value rather than fare revenue, and would focus on train operations and infrastructure development (e.g. the TRAWS scheme?). TfW envisages taking direct responsibility for activities such as station management, ticketing, marketing, car parking and advertising sales. The Welsh Government had hoped to attract interest in the ODP contract from non-profit organisations, but none came forward. The Welsh Government had unsuccessfully lobbied for permission to submit a public-sector bid, which is not permitted by UK legislation. While the overall cost of the contract and Metro project would be dependent on the bidders’ proposals, the Welsh Government believes it has sufficient money in place. UK government funding agreed for Valley Lines electrification can be used for the Metro project, and negotiations are underway to secure European Union funding agreements ahead of the UK (potentially-Ed) leaving the EU.
Holloween Train 27/10/16
Tickets are selling fast for the WHR's Holloween train on Thursday 27/10/16. The train departs Caernarfon at 1830 and gets back at 2100. It stops at Waunfawr station for 'fiendish finger bites' at the Snowdonia Parc Brewpub. Tickets cost £18 adult, £13.70 children (10-15) and £12.10 children under 10. tickets can be reserved at the Caernarfon booking office 01286 677018.
FR Victorian Gala 7-9/10/16 YouTube
Click on the YouTube box to watch 29 min 1 sec of video of the FR Victorian Gala 7-9/10/16. This video features WHR depot pilot Bill in action on shunting duty at Harbour Station. The loco still has not made it to Dinas and from the look of it, the transfer will be a long and uncomfortable ride for the driver! This video is copyright John Wooden (F&WHR) and was published on 13/10/16. It is best watched in 1080p HD mode.
Kerr Stuart 4415 Facebook page
A new Facebook page has been started for F&WHR diesel shunter Works No.4415 which was used on trials on the F&WHR in the 1920s. Some 64 photos showing restoration to date have recently been uploaded.
Trawsfynydd Railway update
There have now been six working days on the railway in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area since working parties commenced in September. The F&BFRC website shows views of progress with clearance. The society is looking for new members and membership costs £20. Prospective members can join online via the website. If this project comes to fruition it is uncertain whether it will extract traffic from the F&WHR or add another attraction to make a longer stay in the area more likely. In the longer term the railway could be extended up Cwm Prysor with spectacular views to a new loop at the summit alongside the A4212 road to Bala.
2020 Re-run of Little Wonder loco trials?
Paul Lewin, the F&WHR General Manager, has expressed the view (in Heritage Railways magazine) that in 2020, when the new double Fairlie James Spooner enters service, there could be an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Little Wonder trials. These trials proved the Fairlie concept in that Little Wonder, the first double Fairlie loco, was much more powerful than the England engines operating on the FR at that time. The loco is thought to have been pitted against Welsh Pony, which should be completed and in service by then, although progress has paused over the summer. The Fairlie patent eventually led to the establishment of the modern mainline diesel/electric format with two power bogies.
Supporters' Special 9/10/16
Click on the YouTube box to watch 1 min 35 secs of video of Lyd sure-footedly restarting the heavily laden Supporters' Special from Beddgelert up the 1 in 40 through the Cwmcloch S bends. This video is copyright John Berry and was published on 10/10/16.
This southerly view (9/10/16) shows Hugh Napier on footplate duties passing the newly erected framework of the Heritage Carriage shed at Boston Lodge. The loco fleet may be stored in here as a temporary measure over winter if the track is laid in time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (9/10/16) shows Lyd with the Supporters' Special at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (9/10/16) shows No.130's bogie in Dinas Shed during the Supporters' Special visit conducted by the General Manager. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This southerly view (9/10/16) shows Lyd with the Supporters' Special at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Patrick Collins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This easterly view (10/10/16) shows Taliesin being prepared for a change of motive power from that advertised, pictured near the old Loco Shed near Boston Lodge works. Taliesin may he used on the Hafod-y-llyn shuttles in the new Orange timetable that starts in November as in previous years. 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.
At the WHR AGM in September the F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin stated that there was no progress to report on No.109. This loco had been re-imported from SAR in mid-June 1995 by the Exmoor Steam Railway (nothing to do with the abortive Robin Hood's bay scheme) and arrived at their depot on 3/7/95. No progress was made with restoration other than preventative maintenance such as oiling the rods and painting the platework.
After being impressed by NG16s on a visit to the WHR Pete Waterman acquired the loco for an apprentices project at his LNWR works in Crewe and the loco was transferred there on 16/10/09. Sadly the apprenticeship scheme lost Government sponsorship with the economic downturn and eventually Pete Waterman sold the works and his various locomotives were dispersed with the WHR agreeing to host the boiler and the bogie that had been worked on. These parts came to Dinas on 16/1/14 and lie in the North Yard. Other components are stored elsewhere. Earlier this year Pete Waterman sold his large collection of miniature steam locos at auction to raise money to complete his various loco projects but no further progress has been made on No.109 at Dinas. The GM opined that Pete Waterman may have reached a time in life where he would wish to retire from loco projects.
This westerly view (7/10/16) shows Taliesin arriving at Porthmadog with Merddin Emrys on a freight from Minffordd Yard on the first day of the three day FR Victorian Gala. This train became a mixed train to Blaenau Ffestiniog later. Taliesin may he used on the Hafod-y-llyn shuttles in the new Orange timetable that starts in November as in previous years. 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 (7/10/16) shows Palmerston hauling the 1000 to Beddgelert, the first of 3 vintage trains to Beddgelert on the first day of the three day FR Victorian Gala. These trains only operate on Friday 7/10/16. 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.
Lyd for Diamond Jubilee Special 9/10/16
Lyd is set to haul the Diamond Jubilee Special on Sunday 9/10/16 taking subscribers to view progress at Minffordd Yard, Boston Lodge and Dinas. The six coach rake will head over the WHR and is above the normal load limit for Lyd on the WHR's 1 in 40 so will make an interesting challenge for the loco. Any photos of the event would be welcome.
From early May the PW gang started their 0600 shift with 3 hours of tamping on the WHR before transferring to the FR for the rest of the shift. June saw the annual outing of the weed-killing train. The S&T team has been at work at Hafod-y-llyn installing a lever frame and rodding for the new Orange timetable Winter timetable that starts on 2/11/16. The loco will run round in the loop at this location but it is unclear why trains cannot operate to Beddgelert as there is plenty of time in the timetable to allow this as in previous years.
At Boston Lodge John Roberts of Ffestiniog has been using a large hydraulic rock breaker (commonly called a 'donker' from the noise it makes) to make good progress in clearing the site of the future Heritage Carriage stock shed. It was necessary to reduce the level of the site to avoid an unacceptable 1 in 60 gradient. It is now 1 in 120. The large volume of rock removed has been stockpiled for use in widening the foreshore area to support the new Carriage Shed. Work on the foundation bases and site drainage took place in September and a start was made on the erection of steelwork in the first week of October. A change in the shed's design sees two roller doors rather than three as there was insufficient room for the door motors. One door will therefore be double track and the other single. The points for the new shed were due to be delivered from trackworks manufacturers K G J Price of Bedwas, Caerphilly and fitted during October. If enough volunteer labour is available track will be laid into the shed during the late Autumn and the loco fleet will be stored inside as a temporary measure over Winter.
The PW Winter Major Works programme sees work on The Cob from 2/1/17 which will improve the track for WHR ecs moves from Boston Lodge as well as FR services. This will involve removal of the spiked track at the Porthmadog end and footpath/road closures.
L&BR Lyn progress
While all the Lyn components are now to hand at Alan Keef's workshops except for small items like boiler cladding that have been ordered, the L&BR replica Baldwin loco needs some £85,000 to finish. The full rolling chassis was displayed at Keef's workshop open Day on 17/9/16. Given successful fund raising and early completion, the loco may be tested on the WHR this Winter before its first public steaming on the L&BR scheduled for 13/5/17. The L&BR extension scheme is still awaiting planning permission from the Exmoor National Park Planning Authority (the equivalent of the SNPA who administer planning for the WHR). The 762 Club promoting the loco are convinced the WHR is suitable for testing the loco as the heavily graded L&BR route contains similar gradients and curves to the WHR. While the planning application for the southern section of the L&BR near Wistlandpound reservoir has been approved by another planning authority, the ENPA is dragging its feet on the central section. See planning application. A TWO will also be necessary as some land may need to be compulsory purchased.
Coach Works report
Work continues on new build WHR saloon No.2047 which will hopefully be ready for Easter 2017. Ex-Shotton Steelwork stockyard shunter Bill has been painted and is awaiting delivery to Dinas as Works shunter.
Merddin Emrys and Taliesin back in action 4-5/10/16
Taliesin was back in action on FR trains on 4/10/16 after a considerable period sidelined. Merddin Emrys emerged from Boston Lodge works on test on 5/10/16 for the first time in a year. Both locos will appear together double headed during the FR's Victorian Gala (7-9/10/16).
This easterly view (5/10/16) shows Merddin Emrys on test outside Boston Lodge without its dome covers. 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.
Dinas update 4/10/16
Martin Kressman reports: The stainless steel vertical stanchions that will support the roof of carriage No15(?)/152 have been tack welded in preparation for the structural welds to be made. The valve cylinder on the left hand side of the rear power bogie of NG16 No. 130 was being re-bored in situ today. We have installed more of the compressed air pipework in the Loco Shed at Dinas on 4/10/16 which eventually will deliver compressed air to various working positions within the building. As the company has obtained a site licence for Dinas it is intended to have more social events in the Goods Shed. Consequently, the uneven concrete floor is being broken up to be replaced with new.
Barmouth Viaduct fire 4/10/16
The BBC reports that train services between Barmouth and Tywyn have been replaced by buses after a fire was noted on the Barmouth Viaduct at 0600 on 4/10/16. NR engineers are inspecting the damage. ATW has stated the line will be closed until at least Monday 12/10/16, affecting visitors to the F&WHR over the FR's Victorian Gala 7-9/10/16. See Daily Post story. The small fire was put out by fire crews who used PW trolleys to reach the location of the fire. Journey times are considerably extended by bustitution between Tywyn and Barmouth via Dolgellau. Fortunately a train was stranded north of the bridge so train services will operate between Barmouth and Pwllheli and outstable during the disruption.
This northerly view (5/10/16) shows No.143 heading towards Porthmadog and about to pass the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. 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.
No.134 report 17-18/9/16
Clive Briscoe reports: Not much work done on No.134 this last weekend (17-18/9/16)- sorting and throwing junk away and identifying the remaining parts still stored in our old base, the former Dinas Clip Shed. Once access had been gained, we found our tool cupboards had been moved with several having had their locks removed. Also, our heavy duty 4-wheel flatbed trolley that I made that we use to move gear about the site on has been broken up. We're NOT happy. The few who turned up ended up working on NGG16 No.138, which required some repairs to one of its fore unit connecting rod bearings.
High level discussions will be taking place about finding somewhere suitable for us to work on No.134 - we're not giving up.
No.134 Working Party reports: Unfortunately, due to pressure of work on the various NGG16s the F&WHR has been unable to get space in the Loco Shed to work on No.134. Rather that be twiddling their thumbs or going home they set to and helped dismantle NGG16 No.138's leading power unit. The full time staff had started this during the week so volunteers continued taking down the motion and other components off the unit and out of No.138's cab. As they were getting themselves in a right mess from the build up of oil and muck on the floor they also had a go at pressure washing the floor in the area around the power unit.
A visit was made to the tender in the Carriage Shed to see how the modifications to the tender body had progressed. Volunteers anticipated it wouldn't be much as again pressure on shed space meant Brunswick Ironworks, who are doing the work for the No.134 Group, couldn't get the time in the shed they needed. Next month (19-20/11/16) the group hopes to make much better progress as a group is coming to help from Imperial College in London. There'll be many hands available that weekend so there should be good progress to report.
F&WHR Victorian Gala update 7-9/10/16
Visiting locos Marchlyn and Lautoka Mill No.19 will be working in Minffordd Yard during the even which begins on Friday 7/10/16.
Merddin Emrys was due to be running during the FR high season but work was necessary on the power bogies. As a result machinists were taken off work on Welsh Pony in order to complete Merddin Emrys in time for the FR's Victorian Gala this coming weekend, the first time it has been in service in 2016. Earl of Merioneth had to be taken out of service for a steam leak on one occasion and Prince and Palmerston were called in to haul the train. The Earl is nearing the end of its life and staff are working hard to fix water tank and smokebox leaks. Even FR Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog has been called in to substitute on an FR train when David Lloyd George broke some fire bars. It has been decided to dispense with the more expensive chrome-steel alloy fire bars as they have not lasted any longer that the standard steel fire bars despite claims they would.
The Funkey has new cylinder heads fitted to its Cummins diesel engine resulting in improved performance and less smoky exhaust. A new roof was fitted to the engine compartment. Nevertheless it failed with a split water hose whilst working 5 wagons to Dinas and had to be rescued by Criccieth Castle.
Progress with Blanche has seen the tubes removed for the boiler inspector to check the boiler. Taliesin's boiler was also checked at the same time and the loco is now available for the FR Gala following work on the power bogie and brake gear. This loco has hardly been used since last year. Lyd deteriorated early in the season with leaking superheater elements which took some time to repair but was back in traffic in time for the L&B Gala in September.
At Dinas, in addition to the fire bar problems, there have been problems with flexible blower pipes in the smoke boxes of the NG16s. Also a new problem has been distortion of the Garratt ashpans. Work continues on No.130's power bogies and boiler cradle, which must be ready to receive the new boiler when it arrives. At Boston Lodge No.130's driving wheels are having new tyres fitted and some of the crankpins replaced. The old pony truck tyres had not yet been removed in early Summer.
WHR Santa trains
With Caernarfon station closed, the 2016 Santa Trains will run from Dinas this year to either Snowdon Ranger or Rhyd Ddu. If the former is used, push pull operation will be needed due to the lack of a loop at Snowdon Ranger. F&WHR management must be rueing the decision not to complete the loop at Plas-y-Nant which would have been the ideal journey length for the Santa Trains and might have provided operational flexibility on the long, steeply graded, Waunfawr-Rhyd Ddu section. Santa trains operate three times a day at 1000, 1215 and 1440 on 10-11/12/16, 17-18/12/16 and 22-23/10/16 and must be booked in advance. See WHR Santa leaflet.
Martin Kressman adds: Santa trains will be top and tailed to Snowdon Ranger to give Santa time to talk to all the children. Passengers will be discouraged from alighting here (although there are toilets on the train there are no toilets at Snowdon Ranger-Ed). The train will then reverse to Waunfawr where passengers will be allowed to alight in order for them to stretch their legs (and toilets are available-Ed) before the train returns to Dinas.
Britomart at the NYMR 1/10/16
Britomart is seen emerging from the former Grosmont horse-worked railway tunnel in images on the NYMR Facebook page on 30/9/16. This is the first steam loco to work through the 120m tunnel which was built in 1836. The tunnel was superseded in 1847 when the double track railway tunnel built when the Whitby-Pickering route was upgraded for locomotive use. Britomart hauled bugboxes Nos. 1/12.
This southerly view (1/10/16) shows the Britomart inside the Grosmont horse tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Bernard Cruickshank and was taken on a Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 and processed in Adobe Photoshop.
This southerly view (1/10/16) shows the Britomart emerging from the Grosmont horse tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Bernard Cruickshank and was taken on a Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 and processed in Adobe Photoshop.
This southerly view (1/10/16) shows the Britomart emerging from the Grosmont horse tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Bernard Cruickshank and was taken on a Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 and processed in Adobe Photoshop.
With the end of the Yellow timetable in prospect on 30/10/16, attention now turns to the new Orange timetable. This runs from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn as there are no Winter services on the FR due to trackwork on The Cob, at Boston Lodge and Tan-y-bwlch. It is a pity the Orange timetable could not run to Beddgelert as last year's Green did. There are probably WMWP trackworks planned in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Trains will run SWTO aimed at coach traffic at 1115 and 1405. The train lays over for 95 mins at Porthmadog so there would have been plenty of time to go to Beddgelert. Trains run until 8/12/16 and reappear during March extended to Sundays as well (MTFX). It is not yet clear if it will be possible to join the train at Hafod-y-llyn but if so a return journey would be possible at 1155 arriving back, after time for a meal at Spooners, at 1435. Return journeys from Pont Croesor are possible departing about 10 mins later than Hafod-y-llyn or Porthmadog.
Food on the move
From early August, the new 'At Table Meal' menu which was tried last year in First class has been introduced in Second class too. It is hoped this will reverse the trend in food (and guidebook) sales which were consistently down on 2015 on the WHR. In contrast the sales of food and guidebooks on the FR is an amazing 36% up despite the longer WHR journey and more personal space in WHR coaches lending itself to eating a meal on the train. Spooners is also down 4% overall due to weaker custom in the evening.
Britannia bridge issues 30/9/16
The Cambrian News carries a story about a Gwynedd Council report on the issues of cyclists and flangeways on Britannia Bridge. It is possible the track on the bridge might be upgraded to include a Velostrail section which involves a rubber flangeway infill that is claimed to be easily depressed by rail flanges but not by bicycles. Any such work would require a major closure of the WHR for several weeks to break out the current tramway concrete deck and replace it with Velostrail panels. It would best be done during the Winter closed season and would also cause major disruption to road traffic although that is less important now that the Porthmadog Bypass is open. There is also a question about whether Velostrail panels could be specially manufactured for the narrow gauge track with its complex curves over the bridge.
Merddin Emrys and Taliesin return for FR Gala 7/10/16
Merddin Emrys and Taliesin, missing from the loco roster with problems for much of the year, are to return on Friday 7/10/16 (during the FR's Victorian Gala) with two morning trips coupled together from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The locos will appear in new or nearly new liveries.
TRAWS news 27/9/16
TRAWS, the group hoping to reopen the whole Cambrian Coast route from Bangor to Carmarthen, is calling for members to form a northern branch to push for Bangor-Afon Wen (for Porthmadog) to be reopened as an alternative to going ahead with the Caernarfon/Bontnewydd Bypass. However both bypass and railway may be needed in the long term in view of the heavy road traffic through the area. See Cambrian News story and Daily Post story.
TRAWS benefitted from over 1500 signatures when attending the Freshers' Fayre at Aberystwyth University at the end of September.
Trawsfynydd Railway group starts work 23/9/16
Following NR's approval of access arrangement at the end of August the Trawsfynydd & Blaenau Ffestiniog Community Railway has made a start clearing the line. See Cambrian News story and BBC news story. On 23/9/16 the group started clearance at Cwmbowydd Road level crossing in Blaenau Ffestiniog working along the overgrown 200m towards the mainline station. Heras site fencing has been erected next to the headshunt buffer stop to separate the clearance site from the operational railway. A chipper is to be brought in to clear the saplings that have been cut down. Network Rail, which remains in ownership, is to survey the line when cleared. See T&BFCR Facebook page. Initially the group hopes to open the line to Trawsfynydd Lake Halt but the route is largely clear beyond that to Cwm Prysor summit on the A4212 towards Bala and would provide an exciting ride on the high cliff ledge above the valley and over the viaduct near the summit. The attraction would provide an interesting add on for F&WHR visitors at Blaenau Ffestiniog but competition is also likely.
Tuesday Gang report 20-27/9/16
Tony Baker reports: The last 2 Tuesdays (20/9/16 and 27/9/16) have been spent at Weirglodd Isaf LC 43.56 where we replaced a number of rotten timbers. The crossing APG's were clogged with weed before we started and a replacement outer timber was chamfered to fit over the web of the rail. Strangely the centre timbers were 5 inch and the outer timbers 4 inch in depth.
This northerly view (27/9/16) shows the Tuesday Gang lifting the central timbers at Weirglodd Isaf crossing in the middle of the upper S curve. 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 (27/9/16) shows the Tuesday Gang chamfering the middle timbers for Weirglodd Isaf 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.
Size issues 22/9/16
Following the problems at the Snowdon Mountain Railway when booked passengers were bumped off trains due to the large size of other passengers, the F&WHR has responded concerning the design of its newest rolling stock, which takes into account this increase in the average size of passengers over the last 100 years. See Daily Post story.
Comings and goings 20/9/16
Gasworks Siding in the Llyn Bach car park was busy on 20/9/16 with two locos arriving and one departing during the evening. Lautoka No.19 and Marchlyn were arriving from Bethesda where they had visited the nascent Penrhyn Quarry Railway over their gala event 17-19/9/16 and Lyd was going away to visit the L&BR Gala on 24-25/9/16. See L&BR website for more details.
This easterly view (20/9/16) shows Lyd heading north during the evening to Gasworks Siding to be transported by low loader to Woody Bay for the L&BR Gala the following weekend. The loco is being propelled by Criccieth Castle. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This easterly view (20/9/16) shows Marchlyn and Lautoka No.19 arriving by lowloader in Gasworks Siding. Lyd awaits to be loaded (following the unloading procedure) to the right propelled by Criccieth Castle. 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.
No.138 update 20/9/16
After appearing on service trains for a few days after SuperPower e.g. 13/9/16, the mid-term overhaul of Garratt No.138 has commenced as the loco had been clanking a bit. The front power bogie has been removed from the locomotive and dismantled, reports Martin Kressman. On 20/9/16 volunteers were cleaning all the filth from the frame and the wheelsets which have been removed. Good progress has also been made on the manufacture of the underframe for new FR Observation Carriage, possibly to be numbered as No.152.
Funkey rescue 16/9/16
Following a failure of the booked NG16 at Dinas, Castell Caernarfon was called into action on 16/9/16. When it arrived at Porthmadog FR Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog was coupled for the return journey as the train faced the long 1 in 40 climb to Rhyd Ddu which would have been too much for a single Funkey with a full load. The F&WHR admits there is interest in their fleet of diesels as well as the steam locos so maybe there is a case for a diesel Gala in the future?
This northerly view (16/9/16) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading Castell Caernarfon crossing Britannia Bridge with the 1405 Porthmadog-Caernarfon. 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.
Trackwork Volunteering 2016-17
Keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure in general, fit for trains to run is an essential task. Volunteers have a lot to offer by assisting with this. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.
Please note dates for 2016-7 notified 26/7/15.
The programme for the remainder of 2016 is as follows:
^ Bank Holiday weekend
LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday
WW-Working week Saturday-Friday
# For dates for April, June, August and October are subject to confirmation-contact Paul Bradshaw if you are interested. Dates for November and December 2016 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme.
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.
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.
Contact Tony Baker for details. Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com
North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: email@example.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.
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!
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.
|1/1/16||Final Mince Pie Special 1000 return from Caernarfon|
|12-21/2/16||Princess visit to King's Cross with coaches Nos.1/12|
|13-20/2/16||Start of WHR 2016 Green Timetable Porthmadog-Rhyd Ddu (2 trains a day)|
|24/2-17/3/16||Green Timetable MTFX|
|19/3/16||Start of WHR 2016 Season Blue Timetable|
|26/3-29/3/16||Start of WHR 2016 Season Yellow Peak Easter Timetable (4 days only)|
|26-28/3/16||Family Easter Events around the F&WHR including cab rides with DHR No.19|
|16/4/16||The Snowdonian including DHR No.19|
|16-17/4/16||New Volunteer Event|
|30/4-2/5/16||FR Members Weekend (DHR No.19 on FR trains and may feature special workings on WHR)|
|30/4-2/5/16||Hugh Napier visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool with two coaches on a short running track|
|7-8/5/16||Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Le Petit Train de Haute Somme, Picardy, France.|
|14/5/16||Extra trains from Porthmadog for Caernarfon Food Festival|
|20-22/5/16||Rail-Ale 12th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas|
|21-22/5/16||Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Apedale Railway, Newcastle-under-Lyme.|
|28-30/5/16||Hugh Napier at National Trust Penrhyn Castle Steam Days, Bangor|
|11/6/16||The Snowdonian Limited - a limited rerun of The Snowdonian|
|11-12/6/16||Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Beamish Museum, Durham.|
|1-3/7/16||Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta visit Beamish Museum, Durham.|
|12-13/8/16||Launceston's quarry Hunslet Velinheli and FR coaches Nos.1/12 at Shrewsbury Flower Show|
|18-21/8/16||Launceston's quarry Hunslet Velinheli and FR coaches Nos.1/12 at Southport Flower Show|
|25/7-29/8/16||Summer family events around the F&WHR including Beddgelert this year|
|21/8/16||Classic Car and Family Day at Dinas including slate shunt, footplate rides and miniature railway|
|9-11/9/16||SuperPower 2016 (WHRS AGM 10/9/14)-A repeat of 2015 Great & Small III with layouts at Dinas|
|24-25/9/16||Lyd visits L&BR Gala|
|30/9/16-2/10/16||Britomart and Bugboxes visit NYMR Gala|
|7-9/10/16||FR Victorian Weekend (some events on WHR in Porthmadog-Beddgelert 7/9/16)|
|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|
If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.
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.
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
V4.3365 updated 19/10/16