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 15/3/15)

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

 

ROWG report 14-20/3/15

Phil Nock reports: The March ROWG working week started on Saturday 14/3/15 (and continued until 20/3/14-Ed) when we found ourselves in Minffordd Yard remodelling and re-sleepering some of the track down there. (Recent ROWG work parties have worked on the FR-Minffordd Yard is however the joint Track Maintenance base for the whole F&WHR system-Ed.). Our first task was to lift the p-way train siding, (which is/was between the Goods Shed and the red joinery shop) and replace the point with plain track, thus further clearing the site for the new Waggon Tracks & c. shed. From here, we moved onto the curve that gives train access to the Yard from the Mineral Line.

 

This Minffordd Yard view (14/3/15) shows half of the old point to the Minffordd pw train siding being lifted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The first panel of the inner track off the point by the diesel tank was lifted, the slate “ballast” dug out, then backfilled with new ballast and the track relayed, only with the old sleepers being exchanged for new hardwood ones. Then geotextile was laid over this track and covered with slate waste. This was done to allow better access for lorries delivering bulk materials and because the existing sleepers here were life-expired.

 

This Minffordd Yard view (16/3/15) shows volunteers digging out contaminated ballast on track by the Minffordd Yard diesel tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Minffordd Yard view (16/3/15) shows the same track after relaying and ballasting later the same day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Then we moved to the upper, (south), side of the diesel tank and lifted the track between the diesel tank point and the weighted point at the end of the Mineral Line. Again, the existing contaminated ballast was dug out, the track relaid on new softwood sleepers and those extant hardwood sleepers that were still serviceable and the whole lot re-ballasted. We had something of an international air about the group, with our old friends Ulrich Daemmgen and his son Jost from Germany, along with Alex Barac and Radu Tompa visiting from the Sibiu Agnita Railway in Romania.

 

This Minffordd Yard view (18/3/15) shows an atmospheric view of the Yard end of the Mineral Line during re-sleepering. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Nock and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

NG15 No.114 report 14-15/3/15

The new springs arrived from South Africa on 26/1/15. Work continued with the grease lubrication pipework during the 14-15/3/15 work party. Volunteers also started the manufacture of the grease nipple block that will fit onto the loco frames and that will provide the central grease point for the two front ball joints. At Boston Lodge the driving wheel axleboxes were being machined to size. Once these are done the loco will be re-wheeled, hopefully during the June working party. This task was originally scheduled for last year's Superpower weekend.

Some volunteers lent a hand with the dismantling of K1 in preparation for its 10 year overhaul. Some of the team therefore were helping remove the tubes from the boiler as well as removing, labelling and storing cab fittings.

For full details see NG15 website.

 

First Day trains 21/3/15

On the first day of services, No.138 stopped just short of the platforms at Beddgelert on the first southbound train so the loco could be watered before drawing forward into the platform. It is possible that the tanks at Caernarfon, Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu were not available. The train passed No.87 at Beddgelert hauling Observation Car Glaslyn on the first northbound train of the new season. Tracks across Britannia Bridge have been picked out with red road lines either side to identify the slots to cyclists. A green cycle route has been painted across Britannia Bridge on the south side between the railway and the pavement.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 20 mins 51 secs of video of No.138 hauling services on 21/3/15. The day was blessed with beautiful spring sunshine but the mountains were almost clear of snow. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional camcorder and is best watched at 1080p high definition quality. The video was published on 26/3/15.

 

Team Wylfa report 24/3/15

Clive Briscoe reports: The Team had to change mode this week - carriages first again with it being the running season once more! It was not so onerous this week as they'd only done 3 round trips since we did the pre-season check and oil-up two weeks ago so all that was required was a visual exam to ensure nothing had dropped off after they had been shaken into life again after their winter slumbers.

Then up to the Loco Shed to continue work on No.134 - and the Loco Shed was heated at last so it was more pleasant to work in there - a huge 'radiator' was giving off heat in the form of NGG16 No.138 gently simmering after its days' work!

We stripped the new valve jigger down to component parts so that we can paint it. Most of the parts are already primed but some were not. It took a surprisingly long time to unbolt the assemblies, wipe down the previously primed pieces and lightly abrade the bare steel items and prime them. No.134's frames now look like a gigantic washing line with all the parts hanging around them on wires for painting. Undercoating next week with top coat the week after then final assembly ready for use.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/3/15

Tony Baker reports: On 24/3/15 the task was to replace a rotten gatepost at LC 56.21. First the broken off and rotten stump had to be removed. We struggled with this for some time and found that even a Kango with a chisel bit was making little impression. So we dug a fresh hole adjacent to the original and much to our relief everything fitted together nicely, the gate hanging well and opening and closing in the prescribed manner. The posts used on these large field gates are eight inches square so that requires quite a hole.

 

This southerly view (24/3/15) shows the replacement of a gatepost in the Traeth Mawr area. 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.

 

Easter Events around the WHR 4-6/4/15

For more information including events of the FR see F&WHR website.

 

First trains of new season 21/3/15

Nos. 87/138 kicked off the new season on Saturday 21/3/15 in glorious Spring weather. No.87 hauled the first train from Porthmadog and No.138 from Caernarfon.

 

This northerly view (21/3/15) shows No.138 running through Salem with the morning train from Caernarfon, in wonderfully sunny Spring weather. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (21/3/15) shows No.138 running around its rake at Caernarfon in preparation for the first train of the blue timetable, the 1000 departure, in wonderfully sunny Spring weather. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Wooden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (21/3/15) shows No.138 returning with the 1405 from Porthmadog, crossing the A4085 at Nantmor as seen from the cliffs on the west side of the valley. 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.

 

Ospreys are back 19/3/15

RSPB Conwy reports that the female Pont Croesor Osprey was back on 19/3/15, two days earlier than last year, and the male is expected soon. There is still plenty of snow cover on Carnedd Llywelyn on 20/3/15. The Glaslyn Osprey Centre at Pont Croesor will open soon and was revamped in early March. Passengers can still leave the train for an extended stop at Pont Croesor halt to visit the centre or use the Wildlife Centre car park to visit the centre then join the train. Please note the WHR car park has been closed and returned to the farmer. See Glaslyn Wildlife Centre Facebook page.

 

Boston Lodge upgrade

There has been a start the clearance of vegetation and removal of the ash pile at Boston Lodge. The majority of the vegetation has been cut down along the seaward side of the site so that the design of the new embankment/retaining wall can progress. Following slippage towards the road of sections of the side wall and bank beside the Boston Lodge access ramp, the Lineside Team have cleared all the scrub and brambles alongside the ramp and in the ‘Dell’ so that survey work can be carried out. The Structures Team are now looking at possible design options to improve site access for road vehicles, a difficult task given the restricted confines of the railway line on one side and the main road on the other, and the need to have a design sympathetic to the surroundings.

As part of the upgrading of facilities the existing septic tank will be replaced by a much larger unit to take account of the numbers of people now working on the site. The current septic tank is generally in a poor condition, as is the existing outside inspection pit, which is often flooded to a considerable depth with very dirty water making it unusable. This pit is an early addition by the present company, probably built during the 1950s. If anyone has information about the date the pit was constructed or any photographs of it being built - planners would be really grateful if you could send any photos or relevant information to Ian Hartill at the address/email below. The F&WHR would also like to improve the outside ash pit - at the moment the preferred option is create a short section of raised track where the smaller engines can empty their ash pans.

As well as improving the facilities we need to preserve heritage features that might otherwise be overlooked or neglected. The sand dryer is an iconic piece of the Boston Lodge landscape and as such we would like to preserve and reinstate it once works in the yard have been completed. If there are any volunteers who would like to take on the removal and restoration of this iconic structure please get in touch with Ian Hartill or by mail at Harbour Station, Porthmadog LL49 9NF.

 

Through trains start Saturday 21/3/15

The new season starts this weekend with the Blue Low Season timetable. This involves the 1000 and 1415 from Caernarfon and the 1045 and 1405 from Porthmadog. the southbound service allows about 2 hours in Porthmadog, plenty of time for a meal at Spooners. The northbound service allows just over an hour at Caernarfon. It is possible to change trains at Beddgelert or Rhyd Ddu for shorter journeys. The Blue timetable continues into April but some Mondays and Fridays have no trains. The High Season Yellow Easter timetable runs for 7 days from 3/4/15.

 

This Dinas view (19/3/15) shows No.87 being warmed up ready for a trip to Boston Lodge on 20/3/15 in preparation for the start of services on 21/3/15. The smokebox has been repainted in black this year. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Hugh Einion Jones (Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 17/3/15

Clive Briscoe reports: This week, the Team WERE able to get into the Loco Shed! So, we were able to do some more work on No.134.

However, this turned out to be more of a housekeeping session cleaning things up - the one remaining connecting rod got de-rusted, polished and oiled and with the loco's axleboxes at last being machined in Boston Lodge Works, re-wheeling is now very close so I checked the state of the horn guides and was horrified to see how much rust had formed on the recently ground surfaces. No. 2 job of the evening was therefore, to very carefully lightly abrade the surfaces to remove the rust and then coat with oil to prevent further rusting.

Luckily, the axlebox under keeps were found during the working weekend on the loco - they were in the Clip Shed where we had looked last week but, since they are made of brass, they had been VERY carefully hidden away by someone in a place where we hadn't looked perhaps quite hard enough. They are now reunited with the axleboxes in Boston Lodge.

 

Police, Camera, Action!

This aerial view (15/3/15) shows a train in the Aberglaslyn Pass on the last day of the Spring Green Timetable. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright National Police Air Service and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang 17/3/15

Tony Baker reports: I gather that they were cutting back gorse in the area Pen-y-Mount to Cae Pawb.

 

Megabash 14-15/3/15

This southerly view (14/3/15) shows service coach No.2011 awaiting re-marshalling at Porthmadog in 5 Road. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/3/15) shows Merddin Emrys with Prince on the front awaiting departure on the 1130 train to Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/15) shows Prince leading Merddin Emrys awaiting departure on the 1130 train to Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/3/15) shows volunteers reroofing the beehives on the platform. The central one of these provides a drinking water supply for the heating urns. The other two provide pumping facilities for sewage disposal. This was one of many tasks to tidy up Porthmadog station before the start of the main season. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (15/3/15) shows Prince shunting for the departure of the 1130 train to Beddgelert. Prince is currently facing north so it can attack the gradient to Beddgelert on the Green Timetable Service. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Kendall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Green service 8/3/15

This westerly view (8/3/15) shows Merddin Emrys piloting Prince hauling a train from Beddgelert. The train is viewed from the unusual location of the cliffs above Boston Lodge works. 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.

 

Deviation 50

Paul Bradshaw writes: This year marks 50 years since a small group of men and women gathered on a bleak hillside next to Dduallt Station. There in January 1965 the cutting of the first sod of the Deviation Project took place. Over the following 13 years volunteers, male and female (including your then teenage webmaster!), built cuttings, embankments, culverts, bridges and, with professional help, a tunnel. In June 2015 we intend to mark the 1965 event. On Saturday 20/6/15 there will be a special train and a celebratory meal at Tan-y-Bwlch for Deviationists.

So if you are one of the many who helped to construct the Deviation we hope you can join us. If you would like to know more about the event but have not yet been in touch to let us know please contact me without delay.

You can do so by emailing event@frdeviation50.org.uk If you do not have email, you can write to me at Plas-y-Graig, Penrhyndeudraeth LL48 6LS

 

Special Train

On Saturday 11/4/15, the Dee and Mersey Group is running a railtour to The Cotswolds, in collaboration with Chester Model Railway Club. The Class 47 diesel-locomotive hauled tour will utilise Riviera Trains carriages. The tour starts from Hooton at around 6:45am and picks up at Bache, Wrexham, Gobowen and Shrewsbury (about 08.15am). The train then proceeds via the West Midlands and Kidderminster, to arrive at our first drop-off at Worcester Shrub Hill (about six hours break). Worcester sits on the River Severn and is full of history, with its cathedral, the old buildings and shopping opportunities. The museum of Royal Worcester Pottery is not to be missed.

The tour then continues south through Cheltenham Spa and the outskirts of Gloucester to take the Golden Valley Line through Stroud, over Sapperton Summit and towards the Vale of the White Horse at Swindon. A fast run along the main line and a turn northwards (via the freight only Didcot West Cord) brings us to our main destination of Oxford (about four hours break). The city needs no introduction with its dreaming spires, college buildings and elegant shopping streets. The train returns along the Cotswold Line through Evesham and the heart of the Cotswolds, picking up at Worcester Shrub Hill and arriving back in Shrewsbury mid evening and Hooton late evening.

Each passenger will have a reserved seat, a free detailed route description and local plans. The train has a buffet car and a trolley service in first class providing light refreshments. Seating in First Class is in open coaches around tables for two (first come, first served) and four. Most Standard Class seats are at tables for four.

Fares are as follows

First: Adults £99, Children (5-17) £59, Children under 5 sharing a seat, free.

Standard: Adults £69, Children (5-17) £39, Children under 5 sharing a seat, free. For full information and online booking see www.chestermodelrailwayclub.com/railtours.htm.

The Group has been organising railtours since 1978 with the proceeds supporting many F&WHR projects, the most recent example being the purchase of the slates for the new Porthmadog Signal Box and Relay Room.

 

Team Wylfa report 10/3/15

Clive Briscoe reports: Bit of a hiccup this week for Team Wylfa - we found that we were locked out! 'Somebody' had inadvertently gone home with the inner security door keys. Luckily, we still had access to our old home, the Clip Shed and there was a need to try and find some of No.134's components that have gone astray. So, we spent an hour going through the shelves where a lot of the heavier bits are still stored. We didn't find the pieces we were looking for - the axlebox under-keeps but now think there is a good chance that they went down to Boston Lodge with the axleboxes. However, we DID find the box of spare pipe clips for the new lube lines that went missing when we moved out and we were desperate for some more to complete the lube lines installation this coming weekend - which is the March Working Weekend on the loco.

As mentioned in the last report, Team Wylfa/Tuesday Gang team member Peter Tweeddale passed away recently after bravely fighting a brain tumour for the last few years. His funeral was on Wednesday of this week and it was a real celebration of this well-loved personality. It was attended by his family and around 100 people from his past including a good representation from Team Wylfa, Tuesday and Black Hand Gangs.

On Wednesday we had a visitor from the Bennett Brook Railway in Perth, Western Australia who have a pair of NG15's - Nos. 118/123. Michael Watson is the Assistant Loco Manager and it was a pleasure to show him around. Tony Williams showed him around Boston Lodge and I then took over and took him to Dinas to see the progress being made with our NG15 No.134 and generally swop notes and reciprocate the hospitality that they had shown me when I visited the BBR in 2012.

 

EAG Meeting 19/3/15

Richard Watson reports: The next WHR East Anglian Group meeting will be on Thursday 19/3/15. We're pleased to welcome ALAN DENNEY, who is probably the best-travelled member of our Group! Alan will be presenting a selection of narrow gauge photos from countries he's visited, with the title 'ALL AROUND THE NARROW GAUGE'. It's sure to be an interesting talk, 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 6-6.30 p.m. Good evening meals are available in the restaurant or bar at reasonable prices. Meetings start around 8 p.m., with a half way break for coffee (£1.20 per person), and proceedings round off around 10 p.m. Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridor and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (Buses run every 30 minutes). Car parking at the pub is fairly limited, but there is usually space available on Church Lane, 1 3-5 minute walk away.

 

Tuesday Gang report 10/3/14

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 10/3/15 we were at LC 33.95 at Plas-y-Nant. We rebuilt one APG (anti-person grid) destroyed by fencing contractors and rebuilt another where the 6" x 1" foundation timbers had rotted away. To repair these foundations we used wood from a damaged gate that had been replaced by a metal one. It is called recycling.

 

This northerly view (10/3/15) shows the stripping of an old gate at Plas-y-nant level crossing for reuse of the timbers. It appears that the fencing contractor has moved the fence line onto the trackbed as timbers were rotting quickly in the boggy conditions on the actual property boundary. This new fence line might impede any future plan for a loop at this point as originally planned on the double track formation. The stub siding at the north end of the previously planned loop was removed several years ago. 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 (10/3/15) shows the refitting of timbers for the APG. The double track formation. is clearly visible up to the corner in the distance where a point was stored at the lineside for many years. 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 (10/3/15) shows the refitting of timbers for the APG. It appears that the Tuesday Gang must return to replace the centre crossing timbers that have rotted away. 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.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 8/3/15

This southerly view (8/3/15) shows the point rodding nearing completion on the siding at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (8/3/15) shows two B wagons stored in the siding at Beddgelert probably after use on the ash train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor Progress 8/3/14

This northerly view (8/3/15) shows the corral rails at the end of the down platform are now complete and the signage erected. At the other (up) side of the barrow crossing a post has been inserted for the matching sign. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Nikon D3300 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor road accident 8/3/15

It was bad luck that just after the new point was installed at Pont Croesor in early February, following a road traffic accident on the sharp bend off the bridge across the level crossing, it has been necessary to lock the loop OOU. A car travelling south towards Prenteg lost control, probably on ice, whilst crossing the bridge at night and spun backwards off the road onto the railway at the level crossing. Although no one was injured, the car demolished a wooden fence and the two substantial location cabinets containing the electronics controlling the level crossing and the trailable point indicator lights.

 

This northerly view (8/3/15) shows Merddin Emrys piloting Prince hauling the 1505 from Beddgelert. The train is being flagged across the level crossing as equipment was broken by the RTA. 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.

 

It has been decided that the cabinets and electronics are beyond repair and it is expected that the cost of replacement will be almost £40,000. Hopefully the car driver's insurance will cover the damage. As several vital components are out of stock it will be some weeks before the crossing can return to electronic operation. As a result the crossing will be operated by the fireman flagging trains across the road. The Up (southbound/westerly) platform line has been locked out of use pending reinstatement of the trailable point indicator white lights so the easterly platform road is in use, a rare example of left hand running on the WHR.

When the cabinets are rebuilt they may be moved to a less vulnerable position or protected with more robust crash barriers.

 

Coach No. 2044 released to traffic 7/3/15

This Boston Lodge view (7/3/15) shows coach No.2044 released to traffic after its winter maintenance, fresh from a clean up and re-varnish. This is one of the second batch of redesigned 13m long coaches with double doors for wheelchair access and a foldaway seat to allow space for wheelchairs. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Norman Bond and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Diamond Jubilee Appeal latest

At the end of February the Diamond Jubilee Appeal had raised over £650,000. The Snowdonian runs on 18/4/15 with all profits going to the Diamond Jubilee Appeal. Third class seats are still available at www.phase5.org.uk. One interesting feature this year involves a 10 coach triple headed train on the WHR part of the through train.

 

Have your say on NR Wales plan published 4/3/15

Network Rail has invited comments on its Network Plan for Wales by 9/6/15. There is no mention of Bangor-Caernarfon or for that matter the TRAWS Link down the west coast of Wales linking Caernarfon with Carmarthen via Aberystwyth. There is a link for replies by 9/6/15.

 

North Wales loco-hauled trains guaranteed until 2018

The Cardiff-Holyhead premier dining service loco hauled express has been funded for the Welsh Assembly for a further 3 years. The ATW loco hauled, which reverses at Chester to run via Wrexham, will continue to run until the end of the ATW franchise. See BBC story and Daily Post story. NR has also revealed plan to electrify the North Wales Coast line and provide faster services to the WHR. See BBC story.

 

Team Wylfa report 3/3/15

Clive Briscoe reports: Something a bit different this week! What is the date? What's happening in a couple of weeks' time? Yes, you've guessed, it's the operating season again so that can only mean one thing, CARRIAGES.

Yes, it was time to dust off the oil cans and grovel in the ballast in the carriage shed giving all the carriages that are currently stabled in Dinas a thorough going over. We checked and oiled them as required and identified a few minor maintenance items that need attention before the 'off'. We did all the carriages that were present because in the next week or two at the most, there will be a big shunt with several carriages coming back from winter overhaul at Boston Lodge and several leaving for the southern end to make up the two consists, E and F Set. For the first few weeks, one set will be permanently based at each end of the line - there only being a full return service from each end per day until Easter when a more intensive service starts and there are stock rotations with 1½ or 2½ return journeys from each end.

So, with that out of the way, next week, we will return to working full time on NG15 No.134 until our services will be required to inspect and oil up the carriages on a more intensive manner kicks in.

In addition to my news of our late colleague, Peter, could you now add details of his funeral please:-

Peter Tweedale RIP

Some sad news...

It is with deep regret that I have to announce the passing of our good friend and Team Wylfa and Tuesday Gang Member, Peter Tweeddale. Peter passed away quietly at home on the morning of St David's Day. He came down with a brain tumour some years ago and had to stop working with us because of it. He fought it all the way with amazing bravery and courage - confounding his doctors by surviving for more than two years past their original prognosis date. Whenever I've looked in, he would cheerfully announce, 'I'm still here!'

He first joined Team Wylfa in Spring 2004 - shortly after he had retired to the Caernarfon area and was looking for something to keep him busy. He quickly endeared himself by declaring that the job needed doing properly and not standing for poor standards. We were then working full time on stripping NG15 No.134 for assessment and then creating somewhere - the Clip Shed - in which to work on it under cover. This was followed by work on No.140's boiler and power bogie and eventually to the carriage oiling programme where he coined the phrase 'dead sheep' for the old SAR axlebox packings that we set to pulling out the smelly, life expired ones exchanging for new throughout the two sets. By this time he had discovered the Tuesday Gang and tended to work on the track as well as with us on the carriages and became firm friends with Martin and Val Kressman. One of the last tasks he was involved in was helping strip No.138 for its last 10 yearly overhaul but started suffering headaches - which was the beginning of the tumour and had to give up.

He will be sorely missed - up until when I last saw him a couple of weeks ago, he was still keenly interested in what we had all been up to on the railway. Funeral details will be released in the next few days.

We now have details of Peter's funeral arrangements:-

It is to be held next Wednesday, 11/3/15. The funeral service itself will be held at the Roman Catholic Church of St. David's and St Helen's, Twthill, Caernarfon at 10.15 am. It will be followed by cremation at Bangor Crematorium, Llandegai, LL57 4HP at 12.00. All are welcome at either ceremony. Refreshments will be provided after the cremation at Peter and Brenda's home at 14 Erw Wen, Caeathro, Caernarfon, LL55 2TW.

Donations in Peter's memory may be made to: Marie Curie: http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/donate

Clatterbridge Cancer Charity: http://www.clatterbridgecc.org.uk/howtodonate

Clive Briscoe, Team Leader, Team Wylfa

 

Tuesday Gang report 3/3/15

Tony Baker reports: On 3/3/15 we worked at Pont Croesor on LC 55.48 the footpath crossing just north of the river bridge. The ballast was falling away from the track exposing the sleeper ends and causing voids. The solution was to insert 3 wooden sleepers as steps to act as a ballast retaining wall.

 

This westerly view (3/3/15) shows the problem developing at Pont Croesor footpath crossing, north of the bridge. 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 (3/3/15) shows the problem cured at Pont Croesor footpath crossing, just north of Pont Croesor. 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.

 

Harbour station IT upgrade 2/3/15

Customers are advised that a major reconfiguration of the IT infrastructure at Harbour Station begins on Monday 2/3/15. The WiFi service in Spooner's will be liable to interruption, as will the new Porthmadog webcam, which was lagging a lot last weekend when viewers were watching the start of the 2015 season. Services are expected to return to normal by the end of the week and the F&WHR apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

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:

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
6-15/3/15 Welsh Pony components at Carrog for LlR Steam, Steel and Stars Gala
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

 

V4.2996 updated 28/3/15