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 16/5/16)
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
Welsh Pony progress 25/5/16
This Boston Lodge view (25/5/16) shows Welsh Pony's original valve gear under restoration. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
'Countryfile' on the F&WHR 19/5/16
BBC's 'Countryfile' will be broadcasting its Snowdonia Special edition at 1900 on Sunday 29/5/16. The programme features a ride on the new FR train to Beddgelert with Lyd haulage.
F&WHR in the Caravan Club
Terry Scott reports: The F&WHR has made it to the June edition of the Caravan Club magazine in a piece about Snowdonia. There is a picture of No.138 hauling a Porthmadog train looking back towards Beddgelert from above Bryn-y-Felin on the cover. There are also two pictures, one of Merddin Emrys by power station lake heading toward Porthmadog, the other being an older picture of No.138 with a DZ wagon leading the set round the curve following Bryn-y-Felin bridge.
Barrie Clark's bench
Following the very successful appeal to fund a bench in memory of Barrie Clark, to be placed on the platform at Waunfawr station, the date for unveiling and dedicating the bench has now had to be changed to suit the arrangements of Barrie's family. This short ceremony will now take place on Monday, 20/6/15 at 12:00 at Waunfawr station. Barrie was a very loyal, generous and supportive member of the WHR. He was a long term member of the infamous Black Hand Gang and the K1 Group.
F&WHR seeks organiser for Caernarfon new station
The F&WHR management is moving ahead with the next stages of the £2m project which will equip the Welsh Highland Railway with a prestigious new station in Caernarfon. As the project has heavy grant funding input it is imperative that we have a team member who can help us keep a close track of the project finances and communicate effectively with both the project and company finance teams. The project will take around two years and will mean a significant improvement to the railway and, more importantly, the product we offer to passengers. If you are feel you could help, have some relevant experience and have a day or so a week to spare the F&WHR management would like to hear from you. This is a one-off opportunity to be part of a team delivering a station that will make a great step towards finishing the job for the Welsh Highland Railway. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
These northerly and southerly views (20/5/16) shows No.143 at Dinas Loco Shed. The loco is reported to have performed well at Rail Ale last weekend. 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 views (25/5/16) shows No.143 crossing Britannia Bridge and entering Porthmadog Harbour station. The loco has substituted for No.138 on this week's roster. 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.
Tuesday Gang report 24/5/16
Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 24/5/16 we were at LC 30.74 where there was a rail stack in Phase 3 days. The task was to replace 3 rotten outer timbers. The weather was warm and sunny with 7 volunteers and trains reasonably well loaded.
This northerly view (24/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang removing rotten crossing timbers at LC30.74 at Llwyn-y-bedw between Waunfawr and Betws Garmon. 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 (24/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting new crossing timbers to size at LC30.74 at Llwyn-y-bedw between Waunfawr and Betws Garmon. 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 (24/5/16) shows the finished job at LC30.74 at Llwyn-y-bedw between Waunfawr and Betws Garmon. 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.
Bank Holiday weekend footplate rides 28-30/5/16
There will be four locos available for footplate rides this weekend. Velinheli and Lilla will work Saturday, to be joined by Britomart and Palmerston Sunday and back to the original two on Monday. Velinheli arrived from the Launceston Steam Railway on 23/5/16 and Hugh Napier departed for the Bank Holiday weekend where it will run at the National Trust 'Steam Days' event at Penrhyn Castle 28-30/5/16.
Moelwyn visits Beamish museum events
Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta are continuing their tour of the country with an extended visit to the Beamish Museum near Durham. They arrived by lorry on 25/5/16. They will feature in the upcoming 'Power from the Past' 11-12/6/16 and 'Battle of the Somme Centenary' 1-3/7/16 events.
Seesaw weather 25/5/16
Porthmadog again hit the headlines on 25/5/16 with 21°C on 24/5/16 then 13°C. It is hoped the regular reports of fine weather at Porthmadog hitting the national headlines will bring more tourists to the Cambrian Coast and benefit the F&WHR.
Rail Tourism Grants
The first UK Velorail project has received Government funds of £75,000. A scheme to reopen the mothballed Gwendraeth Valley line in South Wales has received the maximum funds from the Government's Rail Tourism Awards announced 25/5/16. This line previously featured the triple-headed Class 03/cut down Class 08 trips between Pembrey Docks/Kidwelly to Cwm Mawr. Those supporting the reopening of the Blaenau-Trawsfynydd line may be pleased to hear that this the Antur Stiniog Velorail scheme did not receive funding.
The 'Great Little Trains of Wales' has received funding of £67,000 to fund a project to used the big train to visit the little train. this will include promotional material including a modern equivalent to the Bradshaw's Guide popularised by Michael Portillo. Many would think the money would be better spent providing a mobile ERTMS unit to allow steam/diesel excursions to return to the Cambrian Coast.
More No.130 news
Richard Watson advises: According to the Friends of 130 Facebook page No.130's old boiler has been scrapped but various parts have been saved for reuse.
Busy week on the Cambrian
The Cambrian lines have seen more locomotives than usual recently. On 17/5/16, Inspection Saloon 'Caroline' was taken from Derby to Pwllheli led - as required by one of NR's four ERTMS fitted Class 37s allocated to the route. No.97303 was attached at Coleham west of Shrewsbury, where the fleet is shedded. This yellow NR liveried loco now carries a small red dragon transfer under the driver's window. A regular performer is the past in North Wales, No.37425, was on the rear. The two locos were on the front when they returned through Porthmadog on 18/5/16. The same loco pilotted an ecs with WCR's No.57313 to Aberystwyth on 20/5/16 for a Statesman Rail excursion to Carlisle the following day. The same Class 97 hauled a stoneblower unit across Barmouth Bridge on 22/5/16 having run light engine from Coleham (the stoneblower was reported stabled at Tywyn on 18/5/16 by Bob Rainbow). Nos. 37668/9 which were fitted with Hitachi ERTMS units last year have still not put in an appearance on the Cambrian to give a bit of flexibility and allow more railtours to visit the Cambrian.
TRAWS News 9/5/16
Aberystwyth Town Council gave a grant of £2,500 to TRAWS to support the campaign to reopen the Cambrian Coast link from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen (and in Phase II, Bangor-Afon Wen/Porthmadog). This money will cover the recent costs of flying the route to prepare a video showing the work that needs to be done to reopen this link. It is hoped that if the link is reopened it will bring extra tourists from South Wales to the Cambrian Coast by public transport thus benefitting the F&WHR.
Beer Festival YouTube 22-22/5/16
Click on the YouTube link to 17 mins 27 secs at Rail Ale 20-22/5/16, published 22/5/16.This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode.
Clive Briscoe reports: A small team from the No.134 Group attended the May working weekend. A big clean up on the loco's frames took place, measured and marked up the proposed route for the twin vac lines on the tender. Martin and Laurence went back to their Blue Peter roots - 'And here's one we made earlier, children' - luckily plenty of cardboard boxes were available from the beer festival going on in the Dinas North (Station) Yard and a supply of parcel tape. They made up cardboard, full size replicas of the proposed new sandboxes which will fit on the running plates atop the frames - nearly as original with a new one to allow sand to be delivered for backwards running, so were back and forth between the Loco Shed and No.134's frames and No.133, now shunted down to the furthest extent of the long siding below the Carriage Shed in the North yard - not far short of ½ mile each way, to check the fit... Design almost finalised.
The NRM Fairlie, Livingston Thompson has moved to a more central location near the turntable at the NRM. The loco lies alongside the final Class 66 which has been turned out in BR express passenger livery similar to No.92220 Evening Star. GBRF's No.66779 (also named Evening Star) has itself been promised to the NRM at the end of its working life.
The Snowdonian taster YouTube 19/5/16
Click on the YouTube link to 2 mins 40 secs of a promotional video showing The Snowdonian at various locations on the F&WHR on 16/3/16, published 19/5/16. The full video is available from the F&WHR web-shop. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode.
No.140 to be resurrected
No.140, the original red liveried NG16 has been parked at the back of the Loco Shed with little work done on it for the last 10 years. Various parts have been cannibalised for use under the other three operational NG16s. This was the third Garratt to come to the F&WHR, donated by a group of German and Swiss enthusiasts who had rescued it from South Africa but No.87 jumped the queue as it was supported by a benefactor. The loco was originally stored at Glan-y-Pwll after arrival in 1997 before moving to Dinas in 2005 when work started on its reconstruction. This soon stalled after a while when worked switched to No.87 in 2006. Now the F&WHR's management is finally looking at returning this loco to steam. Two other NG16s are stored at Dinas, No.109 (Pete Waterman) and No.130 (Pete Best -see below), making a fleet of 6 in all.
No.143 on test 18/5/16
This southerly view (18/5/16) shows No.143 on steam test at Dinas in preparation for its use on Rail Ale shuttle this weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (18/5/16) shows No.143 on steam test at Dinas double heading No.87 on the 1415 from Caernarfon as far as Waunfawr. The loco is reported to have performed well. 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.
Initially No.130's boiler was sent to the South Devon Railway for assessment but was found to be uneconomic to repair. Quotes were received in November 2015 and a new boiler has been ordered from A. D. Dalgleish on Teeside for delivery to Dinas by June 2017 with first steaming planned for early 2018. See Steam in Action website.
Tuesday Gang report 18/5/16
Tony Baker reports: Today the gang were in Minffordd Yard carrying on with the level crossing over the Waggon Tracks rail into their shed. An unusual crossing as it is over a set of points. Care had to be taken to protect the switch blades from any ballast. The final ballasting used a ballast hopper conveniently parked a short way away on a siding. The Minffordd Yard inner ring road has now been reopened.
This westerly view (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang completing the road crossing next to Minffordd Waggon Tracks Shed. 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 (3/5/16) shows Harlech Castle entering the Minffordd Waggon Tracks Shed. This was possibly the first loco to enter there. On the right is the lower deck of the Glasgow Tram, restoration of which has recently been completed in Boston Lodge Carriage Works. 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 (3/5/16) shows the completed road crossing next to Minffordd Waggon Tracks Shed. 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.
No.130 report 17/5/16
Martin Kressman reports: Last week No.130's boiler cradle was sandblasted in preparation for painting and dye penetrant non-destructive crack testing was carried out. Today (17-5/16) a start was made on the painting (the loco is owned by Pete Best of Steam Powered Services-Gloucester and was purchased from the Exmoor Steam Railway collection in 2014-Ed).
No.143 progress 16/5/16
This northerly view (16/5/16) shows No.143 on steam test at Dinas following release from Dinas works, resplendent is a new lined green livery. 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 southerly view (16/5/16) shows No.143 on steam test at Dinas. 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.
Safety Manager special 16/5/16
This northerly view (16/5/16) shows Linda hauling the new Safety Manager's inspection special stopped on the shelf in the Aberglaslyn Pass between T3 and T4, the long tunnel. 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.
'Rail Ale' Beer Festival Gala 20-22/5/16
The 'Rail Ale' weekend gala now has its own Facebook page. Newly released No.143 and Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog will haul the Caernarfon-Waunfawr shuttles in addition to Nos. 87/138 on the main services to Porthmadog. see also the Rail-Ale website for full details, including a three day timetable. On Friday and Saturday the Funkey will haul shuttles approximately hourly from 10:45 ex-Caernarfon with a special rake with no toilet. From 1805, No.143 will take over the main line set (ex-Porthmadog 15:35) with toilet facilities to operate as a shuttle during the evening. The last service is a 23:00 from Caernarfon that returns at 00:15. On Sunday there is a reduced service with just the Funkey in action on the short rake with no toilet. Services begin at 1045 with just two trains to Waunfawr. Later in the day the 1505 ex-Caernarfon only runs a return trip to Dinas and there is a balancing working ex-Caernarfon at 1555 to return the stock to the depot.
The Event is centred on Dinas where a marquee has been erected for the Friday/Saturday evening music. Admission to the Dinas event is £10 (£3 Sunday only) with train fare extra and includes a souvenir glass. The Caernarfon-Waunfawr weekend Rover is £20 or £5 a day for Caernarfon-Dinas or Dinas-Waunfawr Day Rovers.
'Track to Trenches' at Apedale Railway 14-15/5/16
Neil Fraser reports: The Baldwin (Moelwyn) and Mary Ann have been at Apedale this last weekend for the 'Track to Trenches' event and were running with other WW1 equipment.
This Apedale view (15/5/16) shows the Moelwyn and Mary Ann with other WWI locos at the 'Tracks to the Trenches' event. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil Fraser and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This Apedale view (15/5/16) shows the Mary Ann hauling typical WWI WD wagons at the 'Tracks to the Trenches' event. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil Fraser and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
'Caernarfon Food Festival' special 14/5/16
Lyd and Earl of Merioneth hauled the Caernarfon Food Festival special on 14/5/16 from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and return.
'BBC Countryfile' special 13/5/16
On 13/5/16, John Craven travelled on the WHR with a filming team for an episode of Countryfile about Snowdonia to be broadcast on 29/5/16. They viewed the Ospreys at Pont Croesor and travelled through the Aberglaslyn Pass before reversing at Beddgelert. The train, formed of the new FR coach set, was hauled by Lyd.
This westerly view (13/5/16) shows Lyd hauling a BBC Countryfile special to the Aberglaslyn Pass to film for a future edition of the programme. 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.
East Anglian Group meeting 19/5/16
David Gander reports: Our last meeting before our Summer break will take place this coming Thursday 19/5/16. We welcome Alasdair Stewart who will be presenting his ‘Narrow Gauge World’. Our meetings will resume on Thursday 21/10/16. 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.
No.143 progress 12/5/16
No.143 is rapidly reaching completion and should be available for the peak season this summer after it is run in, maybe double headed with No.87 or No.138.
This easterly view (12/5/16) shows the Dinas team preparing No.143's rear power bogie to receive the fuel tank. 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 southerly view (12/5/16) shows No.143's rear power bogie now fitted with the fuel tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Huw Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
James Spooner plans 4/4/16
The F&WHR Company Board has given its approval for the building of a new Double Fairlie locomotive, the eighth to run on the railway and the fifth built entirely at its workshops at Boston Lodge. This is a bold departure from the original plan to get a new boiler for Earl of Merioneth. James Spooner will be No.8, as was its predecessor, built by Avonside in 1872 and withdrawn in 1928. Some parts of the original survive to the present day, the wheels being under Livingston Thompson at the National Railway Museum in York.
The new loco will take the place of Earl of Merioneth in the FR's frontline fleet of Double Fairlies alongside Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George, built in 1879 and 1992 respectively at Boston Lodge. Earl of Merioneth was built in 1979 and will hold a unique place in railway preservation history as the first new-build steam loco on any preserved line in the UK and the first to be withdrawn. The loco will be placed in dry storage on its original 1979 bogies so as not to preclude restoration at a later date. Cab fittings and controls will be removed for use on the new James Spooner.
Earl of Merioneth, affectionately known as 'The Square' due to its angular appearance, is approaching the end of its ten-year boiler certificate and needs a new boiler, boiler cradle, smoke boxes, chimneys and water tanks. Only its power bogies, built in 1986, are serviceable and they are in need of heavy overhaul and new tyres. The decision was thus made that building a brand new loco was the best approach rather than patching up one that is effectively life-expired.
The new James Spooner will have a traditional appearance, yet will be clearly identifiable alongside Merddin Emrys and David Lloyd George. Features will include stovepipe chimneys and a removable cab roof centre section reminiscent of how Merddin Emrys looked in its original form. It is hoped that some original components and design details will be incorporated into the new loco, making it a (very) heavy rebuilt as was the case with Taliesin!
The first components for the new boiler have already been delivered. This will be the fourth new boiler built in the works and will be of hybrid welded / riveted construction, currently being designed at Boston Lodge. It is planned that the loco will enter traffic in 2020, in time for the 150th anniversary of the Little Wonder trials in 1870, when the world's first successful double engine hauled a train of 111 slate wagons, six carriages, 60 passengers and 12 goods wagons some 1,350 feet long.
F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin commented: "Back in the early days of rebuilding the FR, when reopening to Blaenau Ffestiniog seemed an impossible dream, volunteers would have thought it inconceivable that 50 years later, legendary locos such as Welsh Pony and James Spooner would be in action on two wonderful railways, stretching 40 miles'. The attraction of new locos to rail enthusiasts (and indeed the general public) is not lost on the General Manager so many enthusiasts will hope to see No.140 and Moel Tryfan appearing in due course.
Moelwyn returns 11/5/16
Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta returned from France via the Channel Tunnel on 11/5/16.
Tuesday Gang report 10/5/16
Tony Baker reports: Today we were tasked with installing a level crossing in Minffordd Yard where the Minffordd circular road intersects the new tracks into the Waggon Tracks shed. Until this is done large vehicles entering the yard will find it difficult turning. Parked a few yards away was Lilla after its holiday by the Mersey and Ffestiniog trains can be seen going over the bridge in the distance. Finally to send our Diesel friends into delirium there is a shot of Lilla being towed away by Criccieth Castle. We will be returning to complete the job next week.
This westerly view (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang excavating space for new level crossing timbers where the Minffordd circular road crosses the new tracks into the recently erected Waggon Tracks shed. 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 (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang fitting timbers for new level crossing timbers for the new crossing. It appears this will be an unusually complex job as the crossing coincides with pointwork. 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 (3/5/16) shows Criccieth Castle hauling Lilla and the two bugboxes that had just returned from Liverpool. 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 Loco progress 10/5/16Martin Kressman reports: Today (10/5/16) a small fire was lit again in the boiler of No.143 to dry out the replacement brick arch that had to be fitted after the removal of the original that was used to replace the one that collapsed in No.138.
The last Team Wylfa working party!! 10/5/16
Clive Briscoe reports: Well, that's it. Eh, what? Yes, the very last report from Team Wylfa. After 13 years and 4 weeks, the Team has been disbanded.
I started the Team when Phase 3 of the WHR's rebuild was in progress when volunteers were called into action to paint the replacement river bridge at Betws Garmon and as I've previously stated, the Team literally took off when fellow contract project engineers at the power station with nothing to do in the evenings on Anglesey whilst away from home joined in the fun. We did refurbishment of SAR track clips and fishplates for the weekend tracklayers, actually did some tracklaying and when Phase 3 was opened, moved on to stripping and assessing No.134 for its future major rebuild. In 2004, the power station lifetime upgrade project was complete and most of the engineers went home but local volunteers joined in to keep the Team alive.
Soon after, a halt was called on No.134 work (in favour of so-called 'core' work-Ed) and we were moved on to other jobs - stripping NGG16 No.138 for its 10 year overhaul, stripping NGG16 No.140 when it arrived from storage, rapidly doing complete strip downs and rebuild of the rail carrying trolleys - RRMs - when Phase 4, onward to Porthmadog suddenly kicked off.
Then in 2006 came the main task which we have continued until Tuesday this week - safety inspections and oiling up the carriages during the running season. The numbers in the Team had dwindled these last 2 years and I had warned that permanent staff would be required to cover our work from May this year as I was retiring and moving away. Boston Lodge works had worked a miracle this last winter and the final bogie conversions to roller bearing axleboxes has been made on both sets so with me retiring - the last true Wylfa man and the main reason for the Team's being in recent times - the oiling up now being a thing of the past, it is the right time to wind up the Team.
So did we actually achieve anything tonight you ask? Well, with an unprecedented 4 members having turned up, we did the final visual inspection of F Set and then went down to the Loco Shed to do work on No.134. However... we were thwarted. The 40 x 5 mild steel strip hadn't arrived to make the double saddle pipe clips for the twin vacuum pipes being hung beneath the RHS of the tender's tank so that job was out. No.134 had become a dumping ground again so I suggested we made an effort to clean it up, again... Another however... The Loco Shed roof has just been renewed and we found that the running plates were covered in dust, white dust, AND small pieces of broken asbestos cement roofing sheets so an immediate halt was called and we evacuated the loco shed. It needs specialist vacuuming clean before we go near it again.
So with it only being 20:45 was there anything we could do? Not really so to celebrate the end of Team Wylfa, we decided a trip to Waunfawr and the former Station Master's house was called for - yes, the Snowdonia Parc Hotel, where I dug deep into my pocket to buy everyone a final pint and toast what we have achieved these last 13 years.
So instead of going out with a bang and actually achieving something, the Team has simply fizzled away. One final point, if, IF my final house move happens to be in the direction of Porthmadog next year then, just like when the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway closed down in the 1930's and someone put a wreath on the stop block with a card stating, 'Perchance it is not dead but sleepeth', who knows what might happen...
I'd like to pass on my thanks to ALL who have made the Team work so well over the years, we really DID make a difference. In recent years it's been Pete T and Big John who have been my right hand men but there have been many occasional others - like Pip who heard my cry for help last month and Ben who came along tonight. I'll still be seeing you all but just a little less often.
I'll still report on the No.134 working weekends once per month as I’ll be working on those so there will still be some news of No.134 filtering through but you'll have to wait a few weeks in between..!
Until then, this is Clive signing off - for now.
PS. The B Team on Thursday evenings under Martin Kressman has now morphed into the ‘WHR Carriage Maintenance Team’ and they will be carrying on the tradition of carriage inspections (with NO oiling up to do) so all isn’t lost…
Lilla in Liverpool 8/5/16
Click on the YouTube link to 3 mins 51 secs of video showing Lilla at the Albert Dock event in Liverpool in early May, published 8/5/16. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode.
Merddin Emrys reassembly 8/5/16
After a successful 10 year boiler overhaul, Merddin Emrys is being reassembled at Boston Lodge and will probably reappear in service later this year.
Overseas visit 7-8/5/16
Moelwyn, Mary Ann and Busta have been visiting France over the weekend of 7-8/5/16 to attend the 100th anniversary event of Le Petit Train de la Haute Somme at Dompierre, Picardy. These represent locos used in the trenches in WW1.
Extra trains for 14/5/16
An additional early service will run from Porthmadog on Saturday 14/5/16 at 0940 arriving in Caernarfon at 1200 in association with the Caernarfon Food Festival. There will be an additional late departure at 1730 from Caernarfon arriving back in Porthmadog at 1940. This will allow those travelling by train to have the full afternoon in Caernarfon.
No.134 progress 6/5/16
Clive Briscoe reports: Mending No.134 is like eating an elephant - one bit at a time! My tame welder at work has welded the tender vac brake line spacer bits together for me. Another cracking job and likely to be the last as he too, is being made redundant from Wylfa nuclear power station in a couple of weeks, like me. We 'might' have No.134's tender in the Loco Shed this forthcoming working weekend (over Rail Ale 20-22/5/16, hic!). We therefore might get a chance to weld these to the bottom of the RHS of the tender's tank so we can get on with mounting the twin pipes.
This view (6/5/16) shows the completed spacers for No.134's vacuum pipe run. 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.
Team Wylfa report 3/5/16
Clive Briscoe reports: Pete and I were at Dinas on Tuesday 3/5/16 for the next to last working party of Team Wylfa. With my retirement from Wylfa Power Station in a couple of weeks’ time, me being the last actual Wylfa worker, diminishing numbers in the Team and the last of the WHR carriage bogies now having been converted to roller bearing axleboxes over the winter - the main reason for the Team’s being in recent years - has evaporated, so it’s the natural time to wind things up. With only visual inspections, topping up of the flange lube grease sticks and oiling the couplers left to do, Martin Kressman, Rod Williamson and Pete from this, the Tuesday Team, will carry on, on Thursday evenings under the banner of the WHR Carriage Maintenance Team.
So, what did we do? Well there was a change – it was F Set at last due to extra trains having run over the busy Bank Holiday Weekend causing a stock rotation. Boston Lodge HAD been very busy with the roller bearing conversions – Nos. 2042/90 had been running with one original and one Mk1 roller bearing conversion for the last few years but both bogies on each carriage had been fitted with the Mk2 conversions. With other coaches on this and E Set, if I’m not mistaken, that makes 10 Mk2 conversions done over the winter – an incredible feat considering all the other work Boston Lodge has been doing. Must have been the gypsy’s warning I gave them last year about the Team disbanding in early 2016… ;-)
After a thorough visual inspection of F Set, we went straight back onto K1’s motion as we weren’t happy with some areas of the motion that we’d cleaned off with just Scotchbrite – still some rust, so this time it was attacked with emery and by the end of the evening, all of K1’s motion was shining like new again on both fore and hind units, and with a good coating of oil to stop the rust reforming.
This Dinas shed view (3/5/16) shows the gleaming product of Team Wylfa's work on K1's motion. 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.
May Day Bank Holiday YouTube
Click on the YouTube link to 14 mins 27 secs of video showing some trains on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend event, including several WHR shots with the Pont Croesor shuttles, published 3/5/16. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode.
Tuesday Gang report 3/5/16
Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 3/5/16 we were back at LC 24:46 at Dinas Works crossing where we finished off putting in a further 2 outer timbers. No.138 was on shed having a collapsed brick arch seen to so Castell Caernarfon hauled a reduced 6 car set to Porthmadog on the 10:00 from Caernarfon.
This northerly view (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang removing old timbers from the accommodation crossing next to Dinas Loco Shed. 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 (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting new timbers to fit. 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 (3/5/16) shows the Tuesday Gang fitting new timbers to the 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.
Double Funkeys 2/5/16
Following the collapse of No.138's brick arch Castell Caernarfon hauled the 1000 ex-Caernarfon on 2/5/16 with a reduced formation of six coaches. It appears the 1255 return service was piloted by Vale of Ffestiniog and on its return from Caernarfon at 1545 it had the dull 9 coach rake to deal with the heavy loadings on the afternoon train.
This northerly view (2/5/16) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading Castell Caernarfon on the 1545 from Caernarfon entering the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (2/5/16) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading Castell Caernarfon on the 1545 from Caernarfon threading T2/3 in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
Lilla in Liverpool 2/5/16
This southerly view (1/5/16) shows Lilla hauling two bug boxes on the temporary track at Hartley Quay, Canning Dock, Liverpool as part of the celebrations at Albert Dock. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Gareth Jackson and was taken on an iPhone. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.
This northerly view (1/5/16) shows Lilla hauling two bug boxes on the temporary track at Albert Dock as viewed from above in the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Gareth Jackson and was taken on an iPhone. Image post pr 10 year boiler exam. 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 2015/16
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 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 and August contact Paul Bradshaw if you are interested for confirmation. Dates for November and December 2016 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme. Dates will be confirmed in Autumn 2016.
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: email@example.com
Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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|
|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|
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
V4.3290 updated 27/5/16