WHR

News Archive Page

2007

V4.14 updated 19/1/08

with news to 31/12/07

 

Newly archived sections are placed at the start of this page. This page contains archived news from 2007.

Click here for archived news from 2006

Click here for archived news from 2005

Click here for archived news from 2004

Click here for archived news from 2003

Click here for archived news from 2002 and earlier

 

CTRL progress south of Snowdon Street

Cuts have appeared in the tarmac for the tracks approaching the Snowdon Street level crossing. A public access to Llyn Bach public open space still crosses the line at LC125, adjacent to the former Co-op car park. Progress on the Llyn Bach path sewer protection works appears to be well advanced. No work has been started yet on the Britannia Bridge training wall repair or link span.

A contract has been let to Porthmadog Demolition of Penrhyndeudraeth to alter Cob Records' storeroom which intrudes onto the railway alignment. This is another example of letting WHRCL contracts to local firms to help the local economy. The building will be shortened by a metre or so at its north end next to the WHR, where the door there will be bricked up. This work will obviously take place after mitigation works to lengthen the building on the south side in the FR's car park. Work is due to start in early January 2008 and be finished by Easter.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Gasworks siding.jpg (49831 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the area immediately south of Snowdon Street level crossing, LC123. A realigned wall and gate has been constructed to the council depot. Cuts in the tarmac suggest where the railway alignment will go. The signalling diagrams suggest this will be the Gasworks Siding with the main line in the space on the left behind the orange plastic safety fencing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Coop N.jpg (74375 bytes) S14_BWH23-12-07Coop S.jpg (93662 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show progress in the Porthmadog car park area from LC125. The first view along the new railway alignment shows a large area of the car park now fenced off as Carillion prepares for the work south along Llyn Bach and Britannia Bridge. It is hoped to release the car park with its new boundaries by Easter to avoid impact on tourism. The second view shows the clearance of the Llyn Bach path with work on the Co-op conversion in the old Co-op car park. There is no public access to this section. The path is being moved to the left and the railway will occupy the space alongside the former Co-op boundary wall. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Britannia Bridge N.jpg (115578 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the area immediately north of Britannia Bridge. The trackbed has been excavated to provide protection work for the Porthmadog sewer that lies under it. The railway will follow the left hand wall here alongside the Petrol Station and the Llyn Bach path will be moved to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Cob Records store rear.jpg (55212 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the area around Cob Records' store and the FR's car park. Mitigation work to extend the Cob Records' store room on this side will be started in January, reducing the FR's car park slightly. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Spooner's Corner.jpg (65133 bytes)

This westerly view (23/12/07) shows the area immediately west of Spooner's bar patio at Harbour Station. The view is along the railway alignment and the modern extension to Spooner's, where the sign is, will be removed, as well as the patio. The front metre or so of the next building, Cob Records' store, will also be removed to allow adequate clearance from the road. The Cob footpath to the right will continue in its current position and the WHR west of here will be a tramway in the tarmac. Carillion's contract will finish at this location with the remaining works part of the Harbour Station contract due to be completed Winter 2008/9. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Harbour Station platform.jpg (76004 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the platform at Porthmadog Harbour station. Next Winter it will be rebuilt to curve more sharply into its new position further to the right where the first siding is. This will allow a finger platform of adequate width to be constructed between the WHR and the FR near the white buildings in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress north of Snowdon Street

Construction access to the section north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) is from Pen-y-Mount and already wooden sleepers are stockpiled there awaiting completion of the trackbed. It appears likely that the formation will be ballasted north from Cambrian Crossing to Pen-y-Mount. Movements across Network Rail will await finalising of signal procedures.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07PYM.jpg (92400 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows Pen-y-Mount Junction with the Carillion access along the east side of the line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_AG23-12-07PYM sleepers.jpg (75732 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows sleepers stockpiled at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_WHRP31-12-07Cambrian Crossing.jpg (53170 bytes)

This southerly view (31/12/07) shows the work just north of Cae Pawb Crossing (aka Cambrian Crossing), with gabions under construction alongside the WHR(P) caravans. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) by kind permission of Andy Goodwin and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Porthmadog New S.jpg (69330 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows the site of Porthmadoc New (1923) as seen from Gelert's Farm Crossing. The new gabion walling passes around the outside of the old water tower. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH23-12-07Snowdon Mill N.jpg (66054 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the completed gabion walling and trackbed between Y Cyt (UB220) and Snowdon Mill. The former motorbike museum on the left is now a car wash. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Network Rail's Cambrian 37s!

Network Rail has purchased four Class 37s for use on the Cambrian Coast Line in association with ERTMS signalling system. The locos will be retained for PW work after the scheme is completed and will normally be used in top and tail mode. The all-yellow locomotives, Nos. 37100/170/178/217, may also be available for railtours and are expected to have a life of at least 10 years. They will be stabled at the signal engineers sidings (Coleham Sidings), next to Sutton Bridge Junction, just south of Shrewsbury. The future of the West Coast Rail's summer Cambrian Coast Express operation is assured for 2008 but uncertain for 2009 as the cost of fitting a mobile ERTMS unit may be beyond West Coast Rail's budget.

 

Tracklaying reaches UB196

The Rest of the World Gang reached its objective of UB196 with an hour of daylight to spare on 30/12/07. The Head of Steel is at Ch27370, immediately north of LC104 and some 10m north of UB196 itself. Volunteers laid out wooden sleepers for the transition to the bridge and dragged two rails onto the bridge itself. Next weekend should see the North Wales Track Gang laying track on the bridge and associated guide rails. Ballasting south of the bridge does not start until 7/1/08 (see below) so the north Wales Track Gang will probably do some tidying up jobs in the Aberglaslyn Pass as well as completing UB196.

Upnor Castle made it to the Head of Steel at the end of the four day Xmas Tracklaying 'Week', presumably after some movement of ballast on the curve to the north. It was also necessary to clear a gorse bush that grew out of the cutting side on the curve at Ch.27300 and was scratching the side of the train. WHR volunteer bridge engineer John Sreeves was on hand to inspect the bridge, but no doubt he will want to check again when the first train goes onto it, possibly next weekend as it is a tradition for engineers to inspect the deflection!

 

S11_AK30-12-07Gorse bush clearance.jpg (63755 bytes)

This northerly view (30/12/07) shows Upnor Castle propelling the rails for UB196 around the curve at Ch.27250. The gorse bush that was scratching the side of the train was cut down later. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Keene and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AT30-12-07Upnor Ch27300N.jpg (75575 bytes)

This northerly view (30/12/07) shows Upnor Castle propelling rail south at Ch.27300. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AT30-12-07Upnor at HOSN.jpg (87307 bytes) S11_AT30-12-07Upnor at UB196S.jpg (84364 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 30/12/07) show Upnor Castle immediately north of LC104 and the Head of Steel. The first view shows the RRMs at LC104. The second view shows LC104 and UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. Track beyond the bridge will be ballasted week commencing 7/1/08 for the following weekend's track gang to advance track across the bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AT30-12-07laying wooden sleepers UB196.jpg (75052 bytes) S11_AT30-12-07UB196.jpg (75864 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 30/12/07) show wooden sleepers being laid across LC104 for the transition to the wooden deck of UB196. The second view shows engineers Stuart McNair and John Sreeves discussing progress. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AK30-12-07UB196N.jpg (57896 bytes)

This northerly view (30/12/07) shows rails placed on UB196, with the short gap across LC104. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Keene and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR(P) news

WHR(P) volunteers were at work on 29/12/07 near the site of Traeth Mawr loop. The aim is to maintain the condition of the track so that it can be used in push-pull mode as far as Ch.33000 approx, just south of LC119.

 

S12_AG29-12-07Traeth Mawr.jpg (44296 bytes)

This southerly view (29/12/07) shows work underway between Pen-y-Mount and the site of Traeth Mawr loop. The work is necessary to maintain the track for use by WHR(P) services in 2008. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Contract news 30/12/07

Contractor James Cyf. will return to work on site on 7/1/08 and set off with works south from UB196, the Afon Nanmor river bridge. The initial few hundred metres south from UB196 to LC105, the site of Hafod Garregog Halt, will be ballasted in the first week. Efforts will then be concentrated on the section from LC105 to Pont Croesor (UB212), as that is ideally suited to the use of the temporary construction yard already established by the WHRCL next to the line at Ynysfor level crossing (LC112). These works include completing the section of the line started last Winter as well as rebuilding the railway alongside the B4410 road south of LC112 to Pont Croesor bridge.

With a significant part of the works already done from UB196 as far as LC112, plus fairly straightforward work onward to Pont Croesor bridge, the contractor will soon hand over more than 3.5km of additional finished trackbed. This will ensure civils construction work remains well ahead of the tracklayers. With that part of the WHR finished, the existing Ynysfor compound can be released back to the farmer. Civils resources can then be moved forward to carry on work south of Pont Croesor in the expectation that tracklayers should not run out of ballasted trackbed right through to connection with existing track at Traeth Mawr.

With all that in hand, thoughts are also turning to getting track down from Pen-y-Mount to Britannia Bridge and the approach to Harbour Station as the trackbed on that section becomes available during first few months of the New Year. With volunteer tracklaying planned for every weekend, two working weeks already booked and more being considered later in the year, plus long lengths of fairly straight track ahead, rapid progress is anticipated. Bets already being taken among the track gangs on the date of the 'Golden Spike Day'!!

 

Tracklaying progress 29/12/07

The Rest of the World Gang made good progress on 29/12/07 with 9.5 lengths (some 160m) laid in better weather, taking the Head of Steel to Ch.27260 approximately. Track is being laid in a staggered formation around the curves from LC103 and one rail had to be turned as it was a right hand curve and the track curves left. Volunteers also installed the frequently used Hafod-y-llyn accommodation crossing (LC103) using slate waste and wood baulks. The Afon Nanmor bridge (UB196) is now in view from the Head of Steel. Upnor Castle may not make it to the bridge as the track is perilously close to the edge of the ballast in one place. Barrowing of ballast may be required to stabilise the track. About 8 lengths will be needed on Sunday to reach the south side of the UB196.

 

S11_AT29-12-07Ch27200 track.jpg (76791 bytes) S11_AT29-12-07HOSs.jpg (77811 bytes)

These southerly views (both 29/12/07) show tracklaying south of LC103. The first view also shows staggered rail being laid around the left hand curve. The second view shows the Head of Steel with UB196 in the distance. Straight track will aid the volunteers in their aim of reaching UB196 on Sunday. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AT29-12-07turning a rail.jpg (78664 bytes)

This southerly view (28/12/07) shows volunteers reversing a rail which curved the opposite way to that required by the left hand curve in the distance. The completed LC103 can also be seen just behind the volunteers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 28/12/07

The Rest of the World Gang made good progress on 27-8/12/07 despite the continuous drizzle. Seven lengths were laid on Thursday and eight on Friday advancing the track by some 270m. The Head of Steel now lies just south of LC103 at Ch.27100 approx. There are two lengths gapped up awaiting a rail cut first thing on Saturday as tracklayers move into the right hand curve. This is followed by a sharp left hand curve that will require staggered rails. There are some 300m of ballast (about 17 lengths) ahead of the tracklayers and similar progress on Saturday and Sunday should see the Head of Steel approach the limit of ballast at LC104 immediately north of UB196, the recently decked Afon Nanmor bridge.

 

S11_AT28-12-07HOS and pigs at HYL.jpg (65895 bytes) S11_AT28-12-07LC103S.jpg (60974 bytes)

These southerly views (both 28/12/07) show the Head of Steel at Hafod-y-llyn farm. The first view also shows the pigs which investigated whether the red plastic track pads were edible. The metal structure is the farm's loading frame, not an ancient gallows as some have suggested! The second view shows the sharp curve that lies ahead with volunteers laying out sleepers in the distance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AT28-12-07HYL flooding.jpg (63588 bytes)

This southerly view (28/12/07) shows Phase 4 Construction train stabled near the foot of Nantmor Incline. Spare material has been used to make livestock flood refuges as a mitigation measure for the farmer. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 allocated to New Year trains

K1 has been allocated as hoped to the remaining 4 days of Winter holiday trains though there is no sign of snow being forecast, sadly. The two train a day service continues until 1/1/08 with trains from Caernarfon at 1045 and 1355. On 28/12/07, the southbound K1 hauled service was terminated at Waunfawr when the trackbed was flooded in the subsidence dip at Plas-y-nant.

 

Construction progress south of UB196

Work south of UB196 stepped up a gear just before the Xmas break with James Cyf. transferring all of its men and equipment to this location from Hafod-y-llyn, operating out of bases at LC105, Hafod Garregog, and LC112, Ynysfor turn. The approaches to UB196 were completed and the footpath abutment finished by 23/12/07. Surveyors' level markers have been placed every 20m on this section.

A big step was to remove the Ynysferlas farm access off the railway alignment, though it is a good question as to how the farm was accessed before the railway was closed! This work was completed by 23/12/07 as a mitigation task. The 400m of trackbed from UB196 as far as LC105, the site of Hafod Garregog Halt, has now been completed and all sidelong drains and culverts completed. This section will be built up a little above the floodplain, though the Environment Agency has again cleared field drains adjacent to the railway. Sub base will then be added with a slope towards the cess and the section will be ballasted early in the New Year so that tracklaying, currently approaching the Head of ballast at UB196, will not be delayed.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07Ynysferlas diversionN.jpg (95052 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07Ynysferlas diversionS.jpg (83756 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the newly completed Ynysferlas access farm track on the southwest side of the trackbed. The first view also shows UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. The second view shows the 400m long straight to LC105, the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07UB198N.jpg (74748 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07UB198S.jpg (83768 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the trackbed at UB198. The first view shows UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, in the distance. The second view shows LC105, the former Hafod Garregog Halt, in the distance. It is hoped the recently cut drain along the southwest side the trackbed will be sufficient to keep it dry. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07LC105B.jpg (76749 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07LC105A.jpg (69172 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the trackbed at LC105. The first view shows the 400m long straight to UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, in the distance. The second view shows the site of Hafod Garregog Halt with the two rails used for name boards still extant and UB199 the Afon Dylif bridge in the distance. The trackbed has now been fenced in. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07LC105C.jpg (97991 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows LC105, the Hafod Garregog crossing, and the James Cyf. compound, adjacent to the RSPB caravan. The railway alignment crosses the farm track just before the tree in the foreground and the new mitigation farm track goes to the right just after the tree and before the caravan. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ballast bed ready for ROTWG tracklaying 27/12/07

With the Rest of the World Gang on site at Hafod-y-llyn from 27-30/12/07, the ballast bed is ready ahead of them as far as UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. Sleepers have been laid out ready for the tracklayers. A sharp curve alongside a rock face must be negotiated before the track lines up with UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. The tracklayers might be approaching the bridge by the end of the four days, though sharp curves and level crossings may intervene to slow progress.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07Ch.27100N.jpg (86956 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07ballast Ch.27200N.jpg (86928 bytes)

These northerly views (both 23/12/07) show the ballasted trackbed at the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt ready for ballasting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07ballast Ch.27300N.jpg (101042 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07ballast Ch27300S.jpg (108212 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the ballasted trackbed at Ch.27300, just south of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Minor works

The Rhyd Ddu north tank has had its water delivery bag added.

 

Rhyd Ddu north tank_BWH23-12-07.jpg (53579 bytes)

This easterly view (23/12/07) shows the blue plastic delivery bag added to Rhyd Ddu north tank. Various fixed signal posts have been fitted with black covers in conjunction with the recent shunt token installation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH23-12-07BS tank finished.jpg (87849 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows the Beddgelert water tower completed with delivery tubes, valve and overflow. After testing, the tank was drained for Winter. There is no water crane yet on the platform and the base has been blanked off. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH23-12-07BSviewing area N1.jpg (83881 bytes) S9_BWH23-12-07BSviewing area N2.jpg (75144 bytes)

These northerly views (both 23/12/07) show the view from the Beddgelert Station viewing area. A DZ wagon is stored in the western loop track. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07Nantmor Incline.jpg (62038 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/07) shows the Nantmor Incline completed, with a distinct increase in gradient halfway along the embankment. The embankment has been clad with local earth and will green over by the time the railway opens in 15 months. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Winter timetable

Boxing Day sees No.143 rostered for the 10.45 and 13.55 services from Caernarfon. K1 is rostered for Thursday and Friday (27-8/12/07) and possibly the weekend too. So far there is no snow forecast, sadly.

 

Xmas Crossword Competition results

Several entries were received for the WHR Xmas Crossword Competition. There was a small WHR related prize for the first successful entrant. The competition is now closed and the answers provided.

Winner- Peter Roughley

Runners up were:-

James King

John Browning (Queensland, Australia)

Andrew Thomas

Dick (Dryob@aol.com)

Crossword

Answers

 

Hafod-y-llyn siding

Wagons were stabled in Hafod-y-llyn siding over Xmas with wooden sleepers collected from the Aberglaslyn Pass on 18/12/07. Dolgarrog's shed has been placed at the end of the siding but the loco is still awaiting repair at Dinas.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07Dolgarrog shedS.jpg (79520 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/07) shows Dolgarrog's shed. When the doors are opened, linking sections of track are bolted in place. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07HyL siding B wagonsA.jpg (85071 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07HYL siding B wagonsB.jpg (88516 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the Hafod-y-llyn siding with two B-wagons stabled carrying wooden sleepers moved from the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH23-12-07LC100N.jpg (77908 bytes) S11_BWH23-12-07LC100S.jpg (108179 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show LC100, seen under construction. The track south of the level crossing has not been clipped down. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 23/12/07) show LC99, under construction. The second view shows pre-cast troughs and grids to be installed as mud traps either side of the line at the accommodation crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Xmas pressies!

Roger Dimmick has provided two montage views of No.87 and work by two modellers, one in the metal and one in Computer Aided Design (CAD) has also produced some nice views of the future.

 

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These montage views (both 24/8/07)show No.87. The first shows the loco at Boston Lodge and the second at Cwm Bychan, about to enter T4, the long Aberglaslyn tunnel. Original model images courtesy Backwoods Miniatures. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. The background image at Cwm Bychan is courtesy of Simon Starr. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

87_MC23-12-07Backwoods Miniatures model.jpg (41032 bytes)

This view (23/12/07) shows a model of No.87 (Backwoods' Miniatures) set against a background from The Cob with Cnicht and the Moelwyns behind. Note the taller chimney. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a phonecam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BS buildingA_PW23-12-07.jpg (16233 bytes) BS buildingB_PW23-12-07.jpg (20065 bytes)

BS buildingC.jpg (14987 bytes)

These CAD views (23/12/07) show the Beddgelert Station building. The first two show a slate grey finish with traditional NWNG yellow brick corner finish. The third view shows a white render finish to match the nearby Oberon Wood estate houses, again with yellow brick corners. The wooden awning supports have angled woodwork similar to original WHR buildings. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Paul Wood. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

UB196 finished

UB196 was finished just before Xmas except for a few of the wooden deck beams that need to screwed down. The southern access to the footbridge is complete and the gabions have preformed slots to accommodate the wooden fencing. Track is expected to be laid across the bridge early in the New Year.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 23/12/07) show UB196 essentially complete. The first view shows the wooden deck beams fully laid out. The second view shows the gabions forming the footpath access on the southern side. Preformed slots will allow the erection of wooden fencing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR(P) works 23/12/07

The WHR(P) has decided to make a new platform, numbered 1 at Pen-y-Mount on the west side of the run round track. The existing platform will become Platform No.2 and the main line (aka Harbour Branch) platform 3. Work was underway on 23/12/07 clearing ground for the new platform.

 

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This southerly view (23/12/07) shows work underway at Pen-y-Mount to clear a space for the new platform No.1. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 23/12/07

The Head of Steel has been identified at TWA Ch.26820, although the last panel south of LC100 is not clipped down. This leaves almost exactly 600m (about 32 lengths) of ballasted trackbed ahead of Paul Bradshaw's Xmas tracklaying week from 27-30/12/07. Progress will be limited by the sharp curves that feature between the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt and UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 23/12/07) show the Head of Steel at Ch.26820, one and a half lengths south of LC100, although the final panel is not clipped down. The northerly view shows LC100 under construction just north of the Head of Steel. The southerly view shows the formation ready for tracklaying over the Xmas working week. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 23/12/07

Carillion is advancing the gabions north from Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). Work has reached the WHR(P) volunteer caravans. Construction has now ceased for the Xmas break.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (23/12/07) show the work at Cae Pawb Crossing (aka Cambrian Crossing). The northerly view shows gabion boxes alongside the WHR(P) volunteer caravans. The southerly view shows the formation ready for sub base through the site of Porthmadog New (1923), immediately south of Cambrian Crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Goodwin and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (21/12/07) show the work just north of Cae Pawb Crossing (aka Cambrian Crossing), with gabions under construction alongside the WHR(P) caravans. The northerly view shows gabion boxes to the right ready for filling. The southerly webcam is now inside a caravan as it has been looking directly into the sun for much of the day and Carillion excavators are VERY close! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright WHR(P) by kind permission of Andy Goodwin and were taken on a webcam. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The links to the webcams are given below. Archived hourly images from the previous 24 hours are available.

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/HarbourBranch/index.htm

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/CaePawb/

 

K1 Santa Specials

There has been some brilliant sunshine in North Wales and Snowdon has been capped with snow. Roger Dimmick and Roy Woods have contributed some images of the K1 hauled Santa Specials. An extra non-advertised Santa Special was run on 21/12/07 for local schools, an annual extra working!

 

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These northerly views (both 21/12/07) show the K1 being coaled at Dinas from the new loading ramp. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roy Woods and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 15/12/07) show K1 taking water then running round at Waunfawr on a Santa Special. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 21/12/07) show K1 storming up the Coed Helen Bank out of Caernarfon and restarting from Cae Hen level crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows K1 pulling away from Cae Hen level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 21/12/07) show K1 just north of Dinas. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows K1 just north of Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 21/12/07

UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge has been decked. The trackbed south of there as far as the site of Hafod Garregog Halt is now free for laying sub base, following completion of the footbridge abutment, parallel mitigation road and sidelong field drainage. This will be tackled in early January so as not to impede the tracklaying, which is expected to reach UB196 by the end of the year.

There was no North Wales Track Gang this weekend, 22-23/12/07, as many were involved with Santa Specials. The North Wales Track Gang Special Aberglaslyn Pass Clearance Day has been cancelled at short notice as with Castell Caernarfon 'oou' pending fitting of new bogies, the planned loco Conway Castle is required at Dinas for shunting. Dolgarrog is still at Dinas requiring repair and Upnor Castle will be in use with Paul Bradshaw's Xmas working week from 27-30/12/07. The loco was stabled with the Phase 4 Construction train in Beddgelert Station west loop on 23/12/07. Rails were delivered to Hafod-y-llyn on 20/12/07 in preparation for the Xmas working week.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows the Head of Steel just north of the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roy Woods and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, which has recently been decked. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roy Woods and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 21/12/07) show the completed south abutment of the public footpath bridge at UB196. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roy Woods and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows the mitigation road deviation just south of UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roy Woods and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/12/07) shows early days in the preparation of the trackbed at Croesor Junction Deviation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roy Woods and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas coaling ramp

The coaling ramp has been fitted with a gate for safety reasons.

 

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These westerly and northerly views (21/12/07) show the former house gate in use as a safety gate on the coaling ramp. The skip is open for coaling K1. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (21/12/07) shows the ramp supports and bracing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cambrian Crossing/Cae Pawb Crossing box

Mike Hart reports on the Cambrian Crossing signal box:

'The Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb) Signal Box project is sum of three main components and cost; the timber building itself (modelled on the original GWR box), original style wooden fencing and replica timber gates (as recently purchased by the West Midlands Group). The project to recreate, as near as practical, the original scene was promoted by the Welsh Highland Heritage Group (WHHG) as alternative to the rather more functional infrastructure the WHRCL had in mind within its budgets. The largest part of the cost is the manufacture by contractor of the building.

The Cambrian Crossing box is a more substantial building than Rhyd Ddu waiting shelter and the cost is nearly twice as much. Competitive quotations have been sought for its construction and form part the overall £20k project cost budget.

Labour is naturally a significant proportion of the cost, but the WHHG feel volunteer resources are too stretched to build the box along with all the other activities going on around the railway. Nevertheless, if there is a suitably skilled volunteer/s out there able to take it on, all offers would be gratefully received!

Financing is spread among various members of the WHR family group. The WHHG is taking the lead and striving, with great success, to raise a large part of the funds. Some cash is coming from WHRCL using money saved from its original rather basic scheme. We can look forward in the New Year to seeing the GWR Cambrian Crossing Box finished with the prospect of being able to photograph a heritage train passing a splendidly recreated WHR scene that many will have worked so hard to fund and build.'

 

Beddgelert Station progress 16/12/07

The viewing area overlooking the old water tower and siding has been fenced in with wooden topped mesh to allow people to lean on it. This area is already open to the public and allows a good view across the station and siding. The water crane has not yet been fitted to the platform.

 

Xmas Holiday track work appeal

An Xmas message from the North Wales Track gang:

'Before you get into the Christmas spirit, a little something to think about for after Christmas. Dave Kent is going to run a Clearance Train in the Aberglaslyn Pass on either Thursday, 27th December, Friday 28th December, Saturday 29th December or Sunday 30th December. The decision on which day it will be will depend on your response, that is, the day that has the most volunteers available will be the day. So please let me know if you would like to come for this post Christmas event and on which day/s you could come. It will be a good day out with good company and we will be doing a much needed task to get the Railway ready for opening in 2009. The Aberglaslyn Pass is a particularly sensitive area and now that the track laying has been complete there we need to get the surplus sleepers as well as the other bits and pieces cleared.

So if you can make it send me an e-mail or give me a call on 01248 681019. Once we have a sufficient number for one particular day I will let you know which it is and where and when to meet up. Dave does not envisage a long day, 4 or 5 hours should see the job done. If you have not had the opportunity to work in the Pass or ride the train through it, now's your chance.

Merry Christmas and seasonal greetings to you all.

Dafydd Thomas'

 

EAG report 15/12/07

East Anglian Group vehicles Nos. 5003/4 have been dismantled, and their wheel sets are now at Pendre Works on the Tal-y-llyn Railway for re-gauging and flange strengthening. The wheels were loaded into the back of a large white van at Mill Green on 15/12/07 and arrived at Tywyn Wharf later the same day. An 'EAG Special' comprising ex-Bowater bogie wagon No. 36 double headed by TR diesels Nos. 9/10 was brought down from Pendre. The TR's Bobcat loader made short work of transferring the wheels from van to wagon, and the 2' 6" gauge wheels left shortly afterwards hauled by the diesels.

The Welshpool and Llanfair recently sent the EAG an appeal for help, as their stock of Grondana type couplings has run out. As the ex-RNAD bell and pin type provides a near equivalent, EAG volunteers managed to find a pair that had been removed from one of their wagons and these were dropped off at Llanfair as the wheels were taken to Tywyn.

At Mill Green, the temperature started reasonably, and became progressively colder as the wind rose. The revised weigh shaft arm angles for No.5002 were worked out, and the arms tack-welded. This job will be completed as 'homework', along with a pair of push links that also have to be modified. The wagons now require a replacement piston rod for the 12" vacuum cylinder. It will also be necessary to adapt a redundant item of handbrake gear as a cylinder arm welded onto the weigh shaft. This item would come from No.5003, the future mess/brake van, as this will have a pillar brake as opposed to side actuating levers.

Wagon No. 5004, now reduced to a bare frame resting on its horn guides, was de-rusted and a start made on priming the chassis. The roller conveyor superstructure removed from this wagon will be going to Dinas after Christmas for possible use by the platelayers on Phase 4.

 

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This view (15/12/07) shows EAG volunteers busy planning the braking system of No.5002. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nobby Clark and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The group also took delivery of ten 8 x 4 sheets of black Foamalux; these will be used to face future batches of signs on order from EAG. Meanwhile, four signs intended for Rhyd Ddu station, are 'sub-shedded' at a site in North Norfolk. Two are complete apart from actual lettering, with the others well advanced. All four should be ready to receive their lettering in the New Year.

 

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This view (9/12/07) shows one of the new signs for Rhyd Ddu nearing completion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 18/12/07

There were only two volunteers from the Team Wylfa on the evening of 18/12/07. Since all the carriage checks are complete for this year, they spent a useful evening sorting through, classifying and putting all the tools they have been donated in recent months in the correct cupboards. Team Wylfa has been so occupied in recent months that most still were in the several large boxes and bags that they came in. Volunteers had acquired another steel cupboard a while back but it required shelving to be of any use so that was attended to which then allowed some of the bigger power tools to be usefully spread out instead of being heaped together. They found that there are several duplicates in the larger spanner sizes so in due course, they will take their spares up to the main workshop or make up dedicated spanner sets for the various locos. It was a bitterly cold night; so much so that the diesel in the space heater had thickened to the extent that it would not fire up so by 10pm, the volunteers had had enough and were thoroughly chilled!

On that note Team Wylfa is signing off for 2007 and wishes everyone a safe, peaceful and Happy Christmas. Hopefully, they will resume again on Tuesday 8/1/08 but please check first.

 

Site Visits

John Ewing (WHRCL Safety director) has asked the following be published concerning site visits.

'The whole of Phase 4 is legally a construction site. Welsh Highland Railway Construction Limited and their contractors are responsible for the safety of individuals on the site. All visits to the site must be cleared in advance with WHR Construction Limited and may only take place with the agreement of the contractors. Visitors will be required to wear high visibility jackets, hard hats and steel toe capped footwear.'

 

Construction progress 18/12/07

James Cyf. was nearing completion of the south abutment of the Afon Nanmor footbridge on 18/12/07. They are using gabions for the foundation.

 

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This northerly view (15/12/07) shows James Cyf. workers busy completing the gabion abutment for the footbridge on the south side of the Afon Nanmor bridge UB196. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 coaling

With K1 now in regular use, a loading facility has been added in the Loading Dock siding at Dinas to ease the loco crew's coaling task. This consists of a wooden ramp and drawbridge which allows coal to be barrowed into the locos coal bunker with a lot less manual effort than previously. A nearby skip holds the locos coal supply.

 

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These two northerly and westerly views (all 19/12/07) show the newly built coal loading facility at Dinas. K1 crews are the first to benefit. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rails found on CTRL

Some rails have recently appeared in Carillion's sub-compound opposite Snowdon Mill. It looks as if they were removed when the short section outside the mill was excavated. Interestingly, they are chaired (double-head, or just very worn bullhead?) stock, unlike the section just on the other side of Y Cyt bridge which was apparently spiked flat-bottom. At least, when the turf there was initially removed, there were literally dozens of corroded old rail-spikes just under the surface, each about 5" long. Note also that one of the rails has a couple of widely-spaced holes bored through the web. This bit of rail looks narrower than usual and might have been part of a point switch-blade.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 19/12/07) show rails and chairs found near Snowdon Street Level Crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 18/12/07

The Tuesday Gang were busy in the Aberglaslyn Pass on 18/12/07. They collected the wooden sleepers that were originally intended for the area of T2/T3/T4 and cleared rubbish, filling two B wagons hauled by Upnor Castle. The sleepers were left at the Hafod-y-llyn siding and are believed to be destined for the CTRL.

 

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This southerly view (18/12/07) shows sleepers being loaded onto a B wagon near T2. The gauge frame is also visible. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cambrian Crossing gates delivered

The WHRS West Midlands Group has purchased the Cambrian Crossing gates (a.k.a. Cae Pawb crossing) on behalf of the WHR Heritage Society and these are now stored in the Carillion compound in Porthmadog.

 

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This view (13/12/07) shows the new Heritage style gates for Cambrian Crossing have been delivered to Porthmadog. These will be fitted as soon as the trackbed is finished in this area. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Allan. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bogie swap

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These views (15/12/07) show (on the left) the introduction of the first Romanian roller bearing bogie under a WHR coach (No.2115 Bodysgallen) and, for comparison (on the right), an SAR bogie on No.2044. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Coach 2060 progress

Roger Dimmick has kindly supplied a portfolio of images showing the rapid progress with Romanian coach No.2060. In December, the finishing touches were being applied, including lighting and PA system. The coach will be released for acceptance tests on the WHR in the New Year. Clearance trials, tilt tests and some non-passenger runs to Rhyd Ddu will precede introduction to service, possibly at Easter. The coach is taller than current stock and a little narrower. The windows are much larger and the coach may be popular as it will offer panoramic views of the scenery.

 

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These views (10/10/07) show progress on No.2060 after Boston Lodge staff managed to get it inside the Carriage Works. It was too tall for the door! The coach exterior was painted in Romania but the flooring and interior panelling was done by Boston Lodge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (10/10/07) shows panelling details and the large sliding windows of No.2060. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (12/11/07) show progress on No.2060 inside the Carriage Works with the seating. The passageway between the seats is a little narrower than on the standard WHR coaches due to the narrower profile of the coaches. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (1/12/07) show progress on No.2060 inside the Carriage Works was rapid. The seating was completed in early December but lighting and PA wiring remained to be finished. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Roger Dimmick and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 16/12/07

Nine panels were laid in all over the weekend of 15-16/12/07. Short hours of daylight and the need to stagger the rails on the curve reduced the progress possible. The HOS was at Ch.26790 at the end of the day, one length south of LC100. There are about 600m of ballast free ahead to UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, for the Xmas Tracklaying Week to attack.

Paul Bradshaw writes: 'Blow the Christmas cobwebs away - update. We will be running a track laying working party for four days between Christmas and the New Year from Thursday 27/12/07 to Sunday 30/12/07. If you are interested in joining us for all or any of those days please contact me as soon as possible, preferably by email, and let me know your availability.

Paul Bradshaw

Phone: 01766 770034 Email: paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk

 

Tracklaying progress 15/12/07

Good progress was made by the Rest of the World Gang with the Head of Steel on 15/12/07 with fine but cold and frosty weather. Upnor Castle arrived with the Phase 4 construction train having been stabled at Rhyd Ddu/Beddgelert and giving volunteers the pleasure of a ride through the Aberglaslyn Pass in brilliant crisp Winter sunshine!

Track advanced to the end of the Hafod-y-llyn straight and into the shallow left hand curve that leads to the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt, reaching approx. Ch26750 by the end of the day, about 2 lengths north of LC100. By the end of Sunday the Head of Steel may be approaching LC101 at Ch.26900, though the long curve, which may require rail cutting, and the level crossing work may slow volunteers down a little.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (15/12/07) show a cold frosty view of the Head of Steel a length or so south of LC99 as it was left by the North Wales Track Gang the previous weekend. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alun Evans and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/12/07) shows Upnor Castle at LC99 on the Phase 4 Construction Train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (15/12/07) show the Head of Steel a couple of lengths north of LC100 at the end of Saturday's tracklaying. In the first view the rails are first laid straight to help bolt up the fishplates and it is clear that the track has just begun the long gentle left hand curve to the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. In the second view, LC100 can be seen behind the volunteers. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alun Evans and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/12/07) shows the ballasting has reached Ch.27100, at LC103. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/12/07) shows progress south of UB196. Work is focussed immediately south of the bridge and there is not yet much to see between UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, and UB199, the Afon Dylif bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 on Santa Specials again 15/12/07

Following its successful use last weekend, K1 has again been diagrammed for use on this weekend's Santa Specials from Caernarfon to Waunfawr (15-16/12/07).

 

CTRL progress 14/12/07

Work continues just north of Cae Pawb Crossing (aka Cambrian Crossing). The gabions are advancing to the north and have almost reached the WHR(P) webcam post. Better views of progress will be possible next week when work passes the post, as the southern webcam looks into the sun.

 

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This southerly view (14/12/07) shows the work just north of Cae Pawb Crossing (aka Cambrian Crossing), with gabions under construction alongside the WHR(P) caravans. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) by kind permission of Andy Goodwin and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The links to the webcams are given below.

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/HarbourBranch/index.htm

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/CaePawb/

 

Plas Dolgarrog

Dolgarrog's loco shed has arrived at Hafod-y-llyn siding from Rhyd Ddu, releasing more of the yard headshunt there for shunting manoeuvres. The loco itself is still at Dinas awaiting attention to an oil leak. The purpose of the move is to cut down unproductive mileage by the loco now the main centre of work has moved south. Hafod-y-llyn is to become the main delivery point for ballast and the pw train may also be stabled here rather than at Rhyd Ddu.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 14/12/07) show the newly positioned loco shed container at Hafod-y-llyn. Dolgarrog will be moved here when it is repaired. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 14/12/07

James Cyf. is putting the finishing touches to its Hafod-y-llyn works before withdrawing its remaining equipment to the Ynysfor compound at Xmas. These include a final surface to the parallel mitigation farm track/bridleway now that heavy lorries have stopped using it. Passing places have been constructed on the side of the farm track and widening where farm vehicles need to turn into fields across the several level crossings in this area.

 

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This southerly view (14/12/07) shows widening of the farm track to allow turning into LC100. Track is likely to pass this point this weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (14/12/07) shows the completion of the farm track. Fencing is needed between the railway and the farm track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (14/12/07) shows the final surface of the farm track. The widening allows vehicles to pass and turning into LC102 to the left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work is nearing completion on UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. The foundation for the abutment of the cantilevered footbridge is under construction.

 

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This northerly view (14/12/07) shows the construction of the foundation for the footbridge link at UB196. The support is likely to be finished in matching style to the sawn slate walling visible on the opposite bank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South of the Afon Nanmor bridge, good progress is being made with the culverts between there and the Afon Dylif bridge. This section was hardly touched last Winter. Additional culverts have been found. The trackbed has been raised slightly above the floodplain to reduce the tendency to flood in this low-lying area.

 

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This southerly view (14/12/07) shows the construction of a parallel mitigation farm track at Ch.27450 to move the farm access that was using the railway formation off the trackbed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (14/12/07) shows the construction of the trackbed at the diagonal UB198. Fill has also been added raising the formation slightly above the floodplain and firming up the trackbed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (14/12/07) shows the construction of a previously unknown culvert UB198A between then Afon Nanmor bridge and the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa news 11/12/07

Team Wylfa was back at Dinas on Tuesday evening 11/12/07 with 3 volunteers. With the Santa Trains running, their job was checking/oiling up the 6 coach 'Santa' set. After keeping a close eye on the Pullman coach, Bodysgallen, all summer, as the axlebox bearings were deteriorating ever more rapidly after 10 years of heavy use, it was pleasing to note that it has received a bogie exchange and now sits on a pair of newly refurbished Romanian bogies which are fitted with roller bearings. The ride quality should now be much improved and the rolling resistance reduced. The old bogies will, in due course, go to Boston Lodge for refurbishment for use under one of the new coaches soon to be built, or used as spares for one or two other SAR bogies known to be nearing the time when they need major refurbishment on the current in-service coaches. Next week, Tuesday 18/12/07 will be the last working party for this year. Normal service resumes on Tuesday 8/1/08.

All the working steam locos were tucked up, dry and relatively warm under cover on 11/12/07. It was expected that No. 140's boiler cradle would be back in the Goods Shed to finish the cleaning and painting but No.138 was there instead. Plans have changed and No.138 is to be stripped for its 10 year overhaul and boiler exam. Team Wylfa will be making its contribution as part of a larger team working on the loco, including the permanent staff and the Garratt Working Group. Anyone interested in working on this loco and who lives locally in North Wales, please consider strengthening Team Wylfa on Tuesday evenings from 8/1/08 at Dinas North (Station) Yard 7-10pm. Contact details are on the Contacts page.

 

Loco news 11/12/07

At long last, re-erection of Castell Caernarfon's bogies is under way with the first one already sitting back on its wheels complete with new axles and refurbished gearboxes. There is still much to go back on before work starts on the second unit and then the bogie exchange itself, releasing Vale of Ffestiniog's bogies to go back to Boston Lodge. However, these may also receive new gearboxes when they become worn. Conwy Castle was noted in the running shed with all covers off for routine maintenance on 11/12/07.

Slow but steady progress continues on No. 140. Some work has recommenced on the nearly overhauled power bogie in the workshop. A taut wire has been set up down the centreline of the LH cylinder, running down the length of the frames in way of the wheel centres at nominal loaded condition.

The original WHR test loco Merddin Emrys is to receive slide valves and replacement bottom end bogie crossheads to improve reliability for the 2008 season. It is hoped this loco will be available for the Grand Opening at Easter 2009 and may reprise some of its activities on the WHR.

Work on No.87 continues to advance and the loco may appear in steam in late 2008. The tubes have now been fitted and the new firebox back-plate and backhead are ready for welding. Following major work on the front bogie, the unit may be on its wheels soon.

 

Coach news

Despite its height, Boston Lodge managed to get Romanian coach No.2060 into the Carriage Works. After the interior had been panelled, the floor was completed and the interior is beginning to resemble the recently completed WHR coaches. The framework for the new service car is under construction at Boston Lodge to be followed by a Pullman/observation car.

 

CTRL progress 12/12/07

Work on the Llyn Bach path has now reached the stage where the town's main outfall sewer that runs under there must be deal with. The sewer has been excavated between former Co-op store and Britannia bridge prior to laying of parallel ‘insurance’ pipe and casting of the concrete protection structure. This will ensure no weight comes on the pipes.

 

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This southerly view (11/12/07) shows work taking place to excavate the sewer under the Llyn Bach path. The railway will run in the space between the sewer and the wall to the right but to ensure no weight come on the sewer, it is to have a concrete underground bridge constructed over it, much as was done for the penstocks at Tan-y-grisiau Power Station, when the FR Deviation was built. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor progress 12/12/07

Surveying was underway on 12/12/07 at Pont Croesor. The templates for both the piers and the abutments were placed in position and marked up ready for drilling the new holding down bolts. Each bearing pad has four bolts so 8 holes must be drilled on each abutment and 16 on each pier.

 

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This northerly view (12/12/07) shows the setting up of the survey at Pont Croesor. The centre line has been marked on each pier and work is underway to position the northern abutment template. Cnicht and the Moelwyns look threatening in this telephoto view taken in the winter sunshine! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/12/07) shows the survey underway for the pier centreline so that the templates could be placed to drill the holding down bolts for the spans. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The survey gear was set up near the end abutments, along bridge centreline. It was used to check orientation of plywood templates for holding-down bolt-hole drilling. Pilot holes were drilled for location dowels on the piers. The template has been located on a pre-surveyed pin, and rotated into the correct orientation using the survey gear. Once correct, a bit of weight is added and two extra pilot holes drilled to define the template's position. The contractors will later reposition the template over each pier to allow the holes to accommodate the hold-down bolts to be drilled. The bolts will then later be grouted into position.

 

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This northerly view (12/12/07) shows the template being positioned on the southernmost pier at Pont Croesor and pilot holes being drilled. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly views (both 12/12/07) show work underway on Pont Croesor. With the old holding down bolts removed and the holes made good, it has been possible to survey and place the templates for the holding down bolts for the new spans. It is possible to see that the piers not at right angles to the alignment. The first view shows the northern abutment and the second a pier. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ballasting reaches the Afon Nanmor

James Cyf. completed ballasting from Hafod-y-llyn Halt site to the Afon Nanmor bridge on 11/12/07 and are withdrawing their assets to the Ynysfor compound to complete the section south of the bridge as far as LC112. They have already started working on this section which is due to be finished before the possible return of the Osprey's at Easter.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 11/12/07) show ballasting complete to the Afon Nanmor bridge. Work is visible underway south of the bridge. It appears that the new footpath alongside the railway in the field is being fenced off as a 2m wide strip. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Water tower complete

With the completion and testing of the water tower, the scaffolding has been removed to allow the use of the run round loop. The tower and valve have been drained for Winter to protect from frost damage.

 

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These northerly views (12/12/07) shows the Beddgelert Station water tower scaffolding removed. This allows the loop to be tamped and brought into regular use. The scaffolding was lowered on 11/12/07 and removed from the site on 12/12/07. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 12/12/07

Installation of gabions has started (11/12/07) immediately north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing), starting at the LC and working north. This embankment is very narrow to fit within the Limit of Deviation on the west (WHR(P) volunteer caravan side). The embankment batter (slope) will be formed to the outside of the gabions on the east side. The construction here is a combination of gabion (as a mass retaining wall) and reinforced earth techniques, with the two rows of rock baskets being tied together by a geotextile every 500mm vertically.

The route of the footpath has not been determined south of the WHR(P) RED Shed. However, north of the new wooden bridge over the former weighbridge pit, it will switch to the east side of the line to Pen-y-Mount. Work has also started on the repositioned wall for the Council Depot by the Snowdon Street level crossing. This allows for the construction of the Gasworks Siding.

 

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This southerly view (11/12/07) shows work taking place on gabions just north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). Geotextile is used to stop sand infiltration into the rock baskets. The formation is particularly narrow at this point and constrained by Limits of Deviation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (11/12/07) shows work taking place on repositioning the Council Depot wall just south of Snowdon Street Crossing. This allows for the Gasworks Siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor preparations

The galvanised girders for Pont Croesor are now back at Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon and are being assembled into spans. The spans are asymmetric as the walkway will be on the western side. As the piers are not at right angles to the railway, the ends of the girders are not square. A template has been constructed by Boston Lodge for the drilling of holes for the holding down bolts. The bridge spans will be delivered and fitted in January.

 

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This southerly view (11/12/07) shows the holding down bolt template for Pont Croesor bridge spans at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (both 11/12/07) show assembled spans at Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (11/12/07) shows the remaining beams for Pont Croesor bridge spans at Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 progress

No.87's replica tender is nearing completion at Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon. The original tender was badly rusted but was used for a pattern. The loco itself is still on course to appear in late 2008.

 

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This view (11/12/07) shows No.87's replica tender at Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 8-10/12/07

Work last week immediately next to Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) saw the loose panel of track moved out of the way and excavations take place right up to the NR boundary. The heavy transition panel next to the crossing unit has apparently been cut in two to facilitate access to the trackbed beneath. Removal of the complete panel would have necessitated an NR possession. Heavy rainfall over the weekend left the excavated section just north of the crossing flooded. An excavator used at the end of last week was stranded in the flooded section over the weekend. It was removed on 10/12/07 and the flooding subsided. More sub base was rolled in this section the same day.

 

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These southerly views (both 8/12/07) show excavation right up to the north side of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). The first view shows a firm foundation has been laid before the embankment is rebuilt. The second view shows the same view in detail, revealing the crossing works last year did put some geotextile down under the sub base. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Goodwin WHR(P) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/12/07) shows the flooded excavation of the trackbed just north of Cambrian Crossing, with the spare track panel moved out of the way of reconstruction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) by kind permission of Andy Goodwin and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (9/12/07) shows the flooded excavation of the trackbed just north of Cambrian Crossing, resembling a canal more than a railway line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) by kind permission of Andy Goodwin and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying Progress 9/12/07

The North Wales Track Gang (aka Black hand Gang) made good progress on Saturday 8/12/07 despite continuous rain. They progressed the Head of Steel 4.5 panels. They were all well equipped with Elwyn Jones's new all-weather kit so it was 'heads down and get on with it'. There was quite a rise in the river level seen where the bank has been strengthened between 0930 arrival on site and 1530 departure. Another 4.5 panels were laid on Sunday in more showery weather, leaving the Head of Steel a panel south of LC99 at TWA Ch.26628 and within sight of the possible Hafod-y-llyn Halt site. Upnor Castle was back in action to the relief of the volunteers!

 

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This southerly view (8/12/07) shows the Head of Steel at the end of the day at 1530 just north of LC99. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction Progress 7/12/07

With the trackbed nearing completion between Ch.27100, the Hafod-y-llyn Halt site and the Afon Nanmor bridge (UB196), sub base was being rolled from the bridge back to the north to LC103, Ch.27100, the current head of ballast on 7/12/07. LC104, just north of the bridge, has been completed and the footpath onto the cantilevered footbridge has also been rolled from LC104. It still requires a metal fall plate. The abutment of the footbridge has been finished attractively in sawn slate blocks. Ballasting of this 300m section north from UB196 started on 10/12/07 and was likely to be finished by 12/12/07 so that the Xmas Working Week can progress tracklaying to the Afon Nanmor bridge, some 800m ahead of the current Head of Steel. James Cyf. will be switching its remaining workforce to the Ynysfor compound next to LC112 this week once all is tidied up at Hafod-y-llyn.

 

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These southerly views (both 7/12/07) show the area south of Hafod-llyn Halt at Ch.27300 as seen from the recently provided public footpath. These views shows the final stages of trackbed preparation though work will be finished here by 12/12/07. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly, easterly and northerly views (all 7/12/07) show the area around LC104 and the north end of the Afon Nanmor bridge. The public footpath enters the bridge from the level crossing but will no doubt be fenced off. The final stages of trackbed preparation show rolled slate fines being added before ballasting began on 10/12/07. The footbridge abutment has been attractively finished with sawn slate blocks. A fall plate is required from the footbridge down onto the rolled slate fines. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South of the Afon Nanmor bridge, work is currently focussed on improving the low lying trackbed between there and LC105, the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. This section was hardly addressed last Winter but the section south of the Afon Dylif bridge is much nearer a final state. Sidelong drains are being excavated and the trackbed built up a little above the floodplain. Work will proceed southwards, releasing the ballasted trackbed ahead of the Head of Steel, probably in January.

 

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This southerly view (7/12/07) shows work on UB197, just south of the site of the Afon Nanmor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Signalling plans

The signalling diagrams for Harbour Station remodelling due 2008/9 are now to hand. They include five semaphore signals and 3 elevated miniature shunting arms controlled from a 15 lever signal box (3 spare) that will replace the existing ground frame. All signals and points will be motor operated. Train length markers are to be provided on the WHR platforms so that trains of up to 10 coaches can be accommodated and the footplate staff can be sure they are clear of Britannia Bridge Level Crossing. The WHR junction signal, out on The Cob, will have a route indicator showing W/F/Y according to whether the train is routed for the WHR platform, the FR platform or Harbour Station Yard. This may be duplicated on the FR Home signal. There are three track circuits, the WHR platform, the WHR junction, the FR platform and Headshunt.

Britannia Bridge Level Crossing will be protected by FR style red Stop Boards with flashing yellow lights at the top and bottom, similar to the shunt signals at Dinas and Rhyd Ddu. These will flash in unison, also indicating that the level crossing lights are activated. The WHR starter is operated by a token key switch that will also activate the crossing controls. A train approaching from the WHR will also activate the crossing by token key switches or a treadle. There is also a treadle south of the crossing to cancel the road lights once the train has crossed. Short trains starting from the FR platform have a banner repeater as they may not be in sight of the FR starter on the extended platform.

Further north, Gasworks Siding will be on the east side of the route with a small ground frame and telephone. It is only expected to be used for turnover engines during gala events and road/rail transfer operations. The treadle for Snowdon Street Level Crossing is to be effective for only 90 seconds after a train has passed over Britannia Bridge Crossing and the same will apply in the reverse direction to the Britannia Bridge treadle. The Snowdon Street Crossing treadle will also warn the Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) keeper to start the Network Rail crossing procedures.

Click on the links for the detailed signalling diagrams and explanations, which have previously been published in The Snowdon Ranger.

Harbour Station signalling scheme

CTRL signalling scheme

 

Pont Croesor progress 7/12/07

Despite heavy December rainfall this last week, the contractors have completed the coring of some of the old holding down bolts on the concrete pier caps of Pont Croesor. Eight must be removed from each pier and abutment. The cores reveal the old studs to have been hex-headed bolts, cast direct into the concrete. The concrete seems to have been of good quality, using sizeable granite aggregate. The contractor's wooden platforms were under a few inches of water during flood conditions on 7/12/07. Once all the bolts have been removed, the contractor will install new holding down bolts for the girders which are set to arrive for placing in early January.

 

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These westerly and northerly views (both 7/12/07) show work on the piers at Pont Croesor. The first view shows the eight holding down bolts of this pier have been cored and removed. The second view shows water covering the working platforms during Afon Glaslyn flood conditions. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (7/12/07) shows the cores removed from the piers of Pont Croesor. The holding down bolts seem to have been cast directly into the concrete caps of the piers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 7/12/07

More work was underway on 7/12/07 just north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) but this was limited by some minor flooding at the location now that it has been excavated some 2m below the trackbed for gabion work on the side next to the WHR(P) volunteer caravans.

 

K1 progress

The two brass headlamps manufactured in Stuart Fletcher's workshop for K1 are nearing completion. The lamps still require lenses and bezels to be made. The 'U' bracket supports are now being fabricated for the tank tops.

 

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These views (both 7/12/07) show both brass replica headlamps near completion. The white model for the headlamp is visible. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Rutter and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cross Town Link progress 6/12/07

Good progress is being made with the CTRL. From north to south, progress is as follows. A wooden footbridge has been built over the excavated site of the Beddgelert Exchange Siding weighbridge and the gabions have been finished alongside the WHR(P)'s RED shed. The footpath runs along the west side of the alignment from Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) to Pen-y-Mount. More gabions are being constructed on the east side of the alignment adjacent to Snowdon Mill, just south of Y Cyt. A trench has been cut along the west side of the alignment across the Porthmadog Central Car Park for telecoms cables and to define the kerb edge of the car park that will protect the railway alignment.

Work has also started along the Llyn Bach path with the removal of tarmac from both the north and most recently (on 6/12/07) from the south end adjacent to the Britannia Bridge. Wilkinson's contractor has also started on the conversion of the old Coop supermarket adjacent to the railway. No work has yet been done on the linkspan to Britannia Bridge or the two tramway road crossings.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (both 28/11/07) show the area around the WHR(P)'s Gelert's Farm works. The first view shows the new wooden footbridge over the former weighbridge pit. This allows the visible historic remains to be preserved. The second view shows the completed wider gabions alongside the WHR(P)'s RED shed that will carry the diverted footpath. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (5/12/07) shows work taking place on gabions alongside Snowdon Mill. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/12/07) shows work taking place on excavation of a trench across the Porthmadog Central Car Park for cable ducts and a new kerb line. The railway will be to the right of the trench. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (5/12/07 and 6/12/07) show the area around the Llyn Bach path. The first view shows the excavation of the path completed alongside the former Coop. The former Coop car park is now the base for Wilkinson's conversion of the disused shop. The second view shows the start of work to excavate the tarmac of the path just north of Britannia Bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 to work Santa Specials

The Boston Lodge roster shows K1 diagrammed to work the Santa Specials from Caernarfon to Waunfawr and return this coming weekend (8-9/12/07) and on the Xmas Trains and February Half Term trains. This should test the engine's mettle climbing St. Helen's Road bank out of Caernarfon as the train will be extended, compared to K1's usual timing load.

The loco was tested on 6/12/07 from Caernarfon up St. Helens bank with 11 bogies (7 coaches, 3 B wagons and a DZ bogie tool van today, simulating the heavier Santa Special loadings. The test ran from Dinas to Caernarfon, then to Waunfawr and back to Dinas without no hot boxes or any other problems! Water consumption was satisfactory with a full tank leaving Caernarfon (boiler water level of about 1" from the top of the glass). Arrival at Waunfawr showed about 1.5" to 2" water in the glass, tank level about 1" below the top of the cross stay, which is well above half of the tank. The driver would have been happy to continue to Rhyd Ddu with the water that was in the tank had there been no water at Waunfawr.

K1 was probably just a little under-fired, consuming approximately 1/2 tonne of coal, but it is difficult to estimate. Boiler pressure was adequate throughout and did not fall below 180psi at any time. A little more experience of the locomotive, particularly to establish the firing rate, and Tony Williams (Boston Lodge Works Manager and the test driver) is sure that pressure could be kept at or near blowing off with the injector on. It had been a wet day and the rail head was damp and rusty. Sanders were used on the steeper sections only and there was no problem with slipping. The hardest pull for the locomotive was from under the A487 bridge at Dinas to approaching Plas Bodaden, particularly the reverse curves south of the Cae Moel road bridge.

The K1 Group are delighted that the hard work over the many years by all has culminated in the 100 year old locomotive proving itself remarkably well.

 

Team Wylfa report 4/12/07

There was no Team Wylfa this week due to volunteers being unavailable at the last minute. Hopefully the beer stillages will be cleared from the Goods Shed after this week's second Staff Party and No.140's boiler cradle will be placed back in there, warm and dry, ready for Team Wylfa to continue the cleaning and painting through to completion next Tuesday evening.

 

Work starts on Pont Croesor

Work started on the abutments and piers of Pont Croesor on 3/12/07 and must be complete by early January when the beams are due to be fitted. The contractor has coned off the western side of the bridge to give themselves easier access and traffic controls are in use. The old holding down bolts are being removed. They will then make good the holes with grout, prior to the drilling of new holes and placing of bolts ahead of the bridge lift. No pointing to the abutments or piers is taking place at the moment. This will be done at a future date after the bridge itself is in (and hopefully when the weather is better and the water lower!). The coring has been a little bit of "trial and error" as nobody knew exactly what to expect but good progress was made on 4/12/07. The scaffolding around all the piers should also be finished before the end of 4/12/07.

 

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These northerly and westerly views (both 4/12/07) show work underway on Pont Croesor. The holding down bolts are being drilled out and new ones provided. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 4/12/07

James Cyf. is making good progress around UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. The trackbed has been made up either side but the approaches to the footbridge have not yet been completed on the south side. It is not worth decking the bridge for road vehicles for the short time required so ballast will be laid back from the bridge to Hafod-y-llyn Halt site at Ch27100, when the formation is completed. So far sub base has been laid on geotextile to prevent mud infiltration.

 

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This southerly view (4/12/07) shows the trackbed made up at Ch.27300, with UB196 in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 4/12/07) show work underway on UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. The trackbed has been made up each side. Weak mix concrete has filled a gap in the trackbed on the northern side and the approach to the footbridge has been built up but the footbridge approach on the south side was still to be dealt with. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/12/07) shows the trackbed at UB198. The Environment Agency has improved ditches here to accommodate run off. The section of trackbed between the Afon Nanmor and Dylif bridges has seen little work yet, although the parallel mitigation farm track has been constructed on the south side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 in service

K1 was in service last weekend (1-2/12/07). It is unknown if it will operate the longer Santa Specials which start next weekend.

 

Rhyd Ddu north water tower finished

Rhyd Ddu north water tower was completed by 2/12/07. The water supply and delivery hose were fitted. This tower will ease steam tests on Phase 4, removing the need for complicated shunts at Rhyd Ddu.

 

Tracklaying progress 2/12/07

The Rest of the World Gang was joined by members of ICRS this weekend. The Head of Steel was extended by 7 panels (126m) to Ch.26466, just south of LC98. Next weekend should see the North Wales Track Gang reach the corner and within sight of the future location of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. The Hafod-y-llyn siding (or future loop) was extended by 3 lengths on unballasted wooden sleepers. This is to accommodate the ballast wagons, to provide for deliveries of ballast at Hafod-y-llyn rather than Rhyd Ddu.

 

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This northerly view (2/12/07) shows the Head of Steel nearing the end of the long straight at Ch.26466, just south of LC98. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (2/12/07) shows the Head of Steel nearing the end of the long straight at Ch.26466, just south of LC98. This panel was clipped down as light faded fast. The sidelong ditches either side of the trackbed are keeping it well drained from winter rainfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tim Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dolgarrog remains at Dinas for repair and its shed, 'Plas Dolgarrog', remains at Rhyd Ddu. The tracklayers were a bit hampered by a lack of motive power. With the lack of availability of Dolgarrog, Upnor Castle worked the rail to the Head of Steel on Saturday. However, something went amiss with the loco's batteries overnight and it would not start on Sunday morning. Instead tools had to be taken to the Head Of Steel by road.

 

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This northerly view (2/12/07) shows the Hafod-y-llyn siding being extended to the south in wooden sleepers on unballasted formation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Another working week planned

Andrew Savage will be running a further working week from April 7th to April 11th inclusive 2008, to fill the gap between the ROWG and Black Hand working parties and create another nine day run at tracklaying. Anyone who is interested in joining him for that week should contact Andy at

andy.savage@festrail.co.uk

 

Staff &Volunteer Party MkII!

There was a very successful WHR- volunteers and staff party at Dinas on Friday, 30th November with a very pleasant evening of good company, good food and above all fun. Despite the best efforts of those who were there is some beer left over, so why not come and join the MkII party on Wednesday, 5th December from 7.00pm at Dinas to polish it off and get some practice in for Christmas! This time it will be just beer supplied but you are welcome to bring your own wine, soft drink & food, all we ask is a £1 per head contribution. All you have to do is just turn up with your £1 and give it to Elwyn.

 

CTRL Harbour Station programme

An environmental survey of the Harbour Station foreshore has been completed, where reclamation of the seaward side of The Cob is needed, and is with DEFRA awaiting approval. Work on the enlargement of the Harbour Station throat will then proceed and is due to be completed by March 2008. A contractor is already lined up. It is important that this takes place with minimum disruption to the FR and thus over the Winter closure period. Once the land works are complete, the new station throat, with its extended headshunt and signalling will be completed by September 2008. The alterations to the sidings needed for WHR run round will be completed by December 2008, with connection to the new station throat. During the period January to Easter 2009 (FR closed period), alterations will be made to the platforms and platform tracks and connection will be made to the new WHR junction layout.

 

CTRL signalling

An Electric Train Staff is to be used on the section Harbour Station to Pont Croesor with its two sidings (Gasworks and Pen-y-Mount Junction). This will allow trains to join or leave at these two intermediate points with the security that the line is clear. Pen-y-Mount Junction will have a four lever ground frame, including facing point locks, while Gasworks Siding will have a two lever ground frame. Wide to gauge trap points on the WHR protect Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing), while the crossing keeper will communicate with the Machynlleth signaller to block Network Rail. An appeal for £20,000 to build a crossing keeper's box at Cambrian Crossing was recently launched by the WHHG. The box must be completed by December 2008. Harbour Station is to have motor operated points and motorised semaphore signals with a new signal box.

 

Winter PW programme

Various minor works are proposed to raise speeds, some to 25mph, including a section from Wernlasddu to Tryfan Junction and Betws Garmon to Bryn Gloch. There is also a programme of rock removal at Clogwyn-y-gwyn cliff that will eventually allow the railway to be realigned to a smoother curve.

 

Bits and pieces 2/12/07

It is hoped there may be as many as 50 Garratts at the Garratt 50 Festival next year (including models!) to celebrate 50 years since the construction of the last Garratt at Manchester. The Gala is on 5-7/9/08. As many as seven trains may reach Rhyd Ddu now the new shunt token is available there.

There will be a Farmer's Market on the Sunday of the Beer Festival on 11/5/08.

The WHRS purchased a Geismar track reader to fine tune the railways' alignment.

Plans for coaches next year include a Pullman observation car and two service vehicles with toilets. The WHRS may fund one underframe as currently, only one service car and the Pullman are fully funded.

Conway Castle hauled the diesel workings on 23-4/9/07, a rare event. This was due to problems with Caernarfon Castle's continuing gearbox oil leak, which will only be cured when the newly delivered gearboxes are fitted.

K1's trip to Beddgelert on 21/9/07 will not be repeated until the water tank is available. It ran short of water on its first trip and the fire had to be dropped in Beddgelert station. The loco was hauled back by Conway Castle.

The current speed limit on Phase 4 is 10mph.

The use of steel sleepers between the Aberglaslyn tunnels and Nantmor l/c rather than the intended wooden sleepers was due to late delivery of the new baseplates.

The gradient through Nantmor Halt has been increased to reduce the fill needed in the reinforced earth embankment south of there. Fortunately, the cutting just south of the halt had a rubble floor, which reduced the need for rock pecking.

At Porthmadog New (1923), excavations along the west side for gabions left only the 1923 concrete water tower from the original construction. The gabions are tilted inwards slightly to take the strain. Some of the original weak walling collapsed when construction vehicles passed over it, proving a rebuild was necessary.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon at Beddgelert Station with a clearance test train including two modern coaches in tow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction News 30/11/07

James Cyf. is on target to deliver a ballasted formation as far as UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, by Friday 7/12/07 and then transfer their resources to the Ynysfor site to add the finishing touches to the section from UB196 to Ynysfor. The current Head of Ballast is at LC103 (Ch.27100), the site of the proposed Hafod-y-llyn Halt. There is over 700m of ballasted trackbed available ahead of this weekends' Rest of the World Gang working party, enough to last to Xmas. At LC103, the railway is on a new alignment with the original railway trackbed to the east, now being used for mitigation vehicle access to Hafod-y-llyn farm. There has been a minor revision of the centreline to the west just north of UB196 to bring the track away from an outcrop of rock.

A new metre wide rolled slate waste footpath has been created between LC103 and the Afon Nanmor bridge UB196 to move the footpath off the trackbed. It is anticipated that this will formally be brought into use when the bridge is opened for pedestrian traffic sometime early in the New Year.

 

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This northerly view (30/11/07) shows the trackbed ballasted as far as LC103 at Ch.27100, the site of a possible Hafod-y-llyn Halt. At this location the trackbed was diverted to the west (left) so the mitigation farm track can continue to use the old formation for access to Hafod-y-llyn farm. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 30/11/07) show work underway at Ch.27300, just south of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. The public footpath has been diverted into the field to the west of the trackbed and formed with rolled slate waste. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 30/11/07) show UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. In the first view, rock pecking is underway to create the sidelong drain at LC104. The newly diverted public footpath is visible in the field to the right. The second view shows the cantilevered public footpath bridge on the southwest side of UB196 that will be opened some time in the New Year, when the linkspans are complete. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ballasting at UB182

Upnor Castle handled all three ballast wagons through the Aberglaslyn Pass on the morning of 30/11/07 with ballasting crossing UB182 and extending down the Nantmor Incline. The train will be one of the last ballast carrying trips from Rhyd Ddu because the WHRCL plan to start taking ballast deliveries at the Hafod-y-llyn work compound very soon. This is because it is much cheaper delivered there from Minffordd Quarry as the journey is shorter. The WHRCL has an agreement not to take construction traffic through Beddgelert, so lorries have to go the long way around at the moment from Minffordd to Rhyd Ddu.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 30/11/07) show Upnor Castle on a ballasting run just north of UB182. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/11/07) shows the trackbed finally with side ballast immediately north of UB182. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Final stack!

Two thirds of the Polish S30 rails have now been laid or moved to the Head of Steel. The gantry crane was repositioned by a Bob Francis crane on 28/11/07 to access the third and final rail stack at the north end of the laydown area at Dinas.

 

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This northerly view (28/11/07) shows the final move of the Dinas rail stack gantry crane. It has now been positioned over the third and final stack of rails. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor plans

Brunswick Ironworks will install Pont Croesor Bridge at the beginning of January with the existing abutment tops having been prepared during December.

 

CTRL progress 28-29/11/07

Carillion was working north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) again between the recently excavated trackbed by the WHR(P) caravans as far as the gabion work completed last week by the Gelert's Farm RED shed.

 

More Phase 4 test trains

Castell Caernarfon took a second test train to the Aberglaslyn Pass on 26/11/07, this time taking two of the larger carriages 2007 Boston Lodge built saloons and No.1001 as far as T3. No clearance problems have been reported. The loco also piloted K1 on a service train on 24/11/07 as far as Waunfawr. took a second test train to the Aberglaslyn Pass on 26/11/07, this time taking two of the larger carriages 2007 Boston Lodge built saloons and No.1001 as far as T3. No clearance problems have been reported. The loco also piloted K1 on a service train on 24/11/07 as far as Waunfawr.

 

No.87 steam sanders

No.87 is to be the first WHR NGG16 to be fully equipped with steam sanders. When No. 143 was tested to Beddgelert recently, the requirement for effective sanding systems was demonstrated both when running uphill and downhill due to the long 1 in 40 gradients. As it was intended to renew No.87's sanding system, Boston Lodge has taken the opportunity to fit steam sanders on both power bogies rather than repeating the original system which was gravity feed to the rear power bogie with a steam cylinder on the front power bogie. With second hand systems available from scrapped BR Class 08 and 31 diesel locos, No.87 will be treated similarly to K1, which had a steam sanding system installed recently. It is possible that more may well be sourced to retrofit the other NGG16s as they come up for their 10 year overhauls. Steam sanding provides better control of the sanding procedure, provided the driver/fireman remembers to turn them off!

 

Team Wylfa report 27/11/07

Team Wylfa was reduced to just two volunteers on the evening of 27/11/07. As a change from carriage inspections/oiling up (where they are up to date), the volunteers were asked to do some work on Garratts No.140 and No.87 last night. No.140's boiler superheater elements have been carefully stored since removal but No.87's boiler is coming on apace at Boston Lodge and the new superheater elements recently bought need to be fitted so that they can progress with the smokebox spark arrester. In order to fit the superheater elements, they required the special, high temperature resistant, alloy steel 'T' bolts which clamp the elements into the smokebox superheater header. These are long lead time items so in order to progress, we were asked to carefully remove No.140's, which are being 'borrowed'.

After a bit of a struggle, all were safely removed and thanks to some recently donated tools, Team Wylfa found that they had the correct sized taps and dies - 1" BSW, to chase up the threads on the bolts and their nuts. At the end of the evening, a box full of cleaned up 'T' bolts was ready for collection. It made a pleasant change to get on with some loco work again. Hopefully, next week, No.140's boiler cradle will be back in the Dinas Goods Shed and Team Wylfa's Winter task will be to progress with the final clean-up and get it painted. Any offers of extra help gladly accepted.

 

CTRL progress 26-27/11/07

Excavation of the area immediately north of Cambrian Crossing was completed on the morning of 26/11/07. On 27/11/07, a crushed slate waste base was laid before rebuild this narrow section.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 27/11/07) show start of reconstruction of the trackbed immediately north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). The first view shows a firm foundation being laid, which was completed as far the north end of the excavation by the dumper at the end of the day. The second view shows the excavator by the level crossing itself with the WHR(P) volunteer caravans to the right. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are by kind permission of Andy Goodwin WHR(P) and were taken on a web camera, courtesy of Keith Bradbury. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying at Xmas anyone?

Paul Bradshaw writes: 'Blow the Christmas cobwebs away - update. We will be running a track laying working party for four days between Christmas and the New Year from Thursday 27/12/07 to Sunday 30/12/07. If you are interested in joining us for all or any of those days please contact me as soon as possible, preferably by email, and let me know your availability.

Paul Bradshaw

Phone: 01766 770034 Email: paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk

 

Tracklaying progress 25/11/07

North Wales Track Laying Gang (aka Black Hand Gang) laid a total of 11 panels of rail over the weekend, reaching UB189 at TWA Ch.26340 by the end of the day. A load of 21 bundles of rail was dropped in the two foot, some 51 rails, ready for further track laying on the long straight next weekend. The Head of Steel will probably advance over 200m next weekend with no bends to lay.

 

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This southerly view (25/11/07) shows the NWTG unloading rail at Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jim Commerford and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station

Fencing has been completed at Beddgelert Station. The former works access at UB165 has been fenced off as has the footpath across the station at UB167 and the ramp up to the siding from UB167.

 

WHR(P) Harbour Branch cameras back on line 24-25/11/07

Progress on the CTRL can be followed on the WHR(P)'s webcams overlooking the area of Cambrian Crossing both north and south. These were back on line on 24/11/07. Work alongside just north of the level crossing has seen the excavation of the trackbed by 2m ready for the large sized gabions with fencepost holes either side that will form the base of the diverted footpath.

 

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This northerly view (24/11/07) shows the excavation of the trackbed just north of Cambrian Crossing before the placement of gabions and backfilling. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (25/11/07) shows the excavation of the trackbed just north of Cambrian Crossing before the placement of gabions and backfilling. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHR(P) and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The links to the webcams are given below. The second camera that overlooks Cambrian/Cae Pawb Crossing become live by Sunday.

http://www.webcam. whr.co.uk/ HarbourBranch/ index.htm

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/CaePawb/

 

EAG report 24/11/07

East Anglian Group volunteers met in freezing conditions in the Cambridge "Alps" on the 24/11/07 and successfully removed the roller mountings added by the Royal Navy to wagon No.5004, the Robert Hudson-built vehicle. A start was also made on the de-rusting of this particular chassis, in preparation for re-painting when the weather gets a little warmer. Work also continued on wagon No. 5002 and the brake hanger lugs were re-welded in their revised positions to suit the re-gauged chassis. Meanwhile, the wheels from Nos.5003/4 await transport to the Tal-y-llyn Railway's Pendre Works for regauging. This is expected to happen on 15/12/07.

Further progress has been made with certain of the station running in boards. The frames for Beddgelert and Meillionen Forest Campsite Halt have been erected and treated with wood preservative; the latter sign is to be modified to accept a sub-frame for the "Forest Campsite" legend. The order for a sign at Hafod-y-llyn has been cancelled as a decision on a halt at this location will be made in the future.

 

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This view (24/11/07) shows wagon No.5004 with the superstructure removed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright R Watson and was taken on Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 24/11/07

Tracklaying proceeded across LC96 and reached the south end of the loop at LC97 on 24/11/07. The North Wales Track Gang completed a temporary level crossing at LC96 which is much used for field access. Five lengths were laid by the end of the day. LC97 will be the future southern end of the loop, should it be completed.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 24/11/07) show the Head of Steel at the Hafod-y-llyn loop point at the end of the day. The first view shows the completion of the temporary level crossing at LC96, yesterday's Head of Steel. The second view shows the Head of Steel at the end of the day at LC97. The space to the right is where the loop track may be laid if required in the future. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (24/11/07) shows the Head of Steel at LC97 opposite the Hafod-y-llyn farm buildings at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/11/07) shows the Head of Steel some 10m north of LC97 as shown by the yellow alignment pegs. The formation here is narrowing from the left as this will be the position of the future south end loop point if the loop is ever completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/11/07) shows the ballasting has reached Ch.26420, just north of LC98. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/11/07) shows the trackbed rolling has reached Ch.27000, just south of LC102. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 in action this weekend

After a successful run last weekend, K1 was rostered to pull both trains on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 24/11/07) show K1 in action on service trains. The first view shows the loco approaching Plas-y-nant Halt. The second view shows the train approaching Ty'n-y-weirglodd Cutting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 24/11/07) show K1 in action on service trains. The first view shows the train approaching Ffridd Isaf Curve. The second view shows the train approaching Rhyd Ddu. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas News/Xmas Party

No.138 was shunted outside the Goods Shed on 20/11/07 for the next 2 weeks so that Staff and Volunteers/friends can have an Christmas Party on Friday 30/11/07. Tickets, £10 a head - which pays for an excellent feast from the FR's Spooner's, are still available until Friday 24th Nov from Heidi Evans in the Construction Office - 01286 830200 or Dafydd Thomas - Black Hand Gang (see Contacts page). The Black Hand Gang and others were busy cleaning and preparing the Goods Shed on 20/11/07.

 

Tracklaying progress 23/11/07

Ballast currently extends about 350m in front of today's Head of Steel, which lies at LC96, Ch.26160. The siding at Hafod-y-llyn was laid today and Upnor Castle was finally able to work south of the points. Upnor Castle also moved rail down to the HOS for the North Wales Track Gang to extend southwards on the long straight this weekend.

 

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These northerly views (both 23/11/07) show the complete Nantmor Incline and the area between LC94 and LC95 where a river bank repair was required. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 23/11/07) show Upnor Castle between LC94 and LC95, just north of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Cyf. was at work laying ballast south from Hafod-y-llyn and nearly 1km will be available by end of next week as far as Ch.27000. They will tackle the remaining 300m of trackbed from Ch.27000 to the Afon Nanmor River bridge (UB196) next week. Starting next week James will be progressively moving their resources to the Ynysfor compound. They will be working southward from the Afon Nanmor Bridge to LC112 (Ch.30130), undertaking the remaining detailed works and ballasting, to be completed before the Ospreys return around the end of March.

 

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This southerly view (23/11/07) shows Upnor Castle immediately north of the siding point at Hafod-y-llyn. The siding was laid on this day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (23/11/07) shows the 60m siding at Hafod-y-llyn that was laid on this day. Upnor Castle can also be seen south of the siding point in this view. A short 2m length is being added to the siding to reach the end of the ballast bed. Dolgarrog's shed will be moved from Rhyd Ddu to this location shortly, cutting down unproductive running. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (23/11/07) shows the Head of Steel and Andrew Savage's working week volunteers at LC96 with the siding in view in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 22/11/07

Andrew Savage's Working Week made good progress on 22/11/07, advancing the Head of Steel a further six lengths. It is now at Ch.26150 approx, about one length north of LC96. Ballast extends almost to the end of the future loop site at Ch.26200 approx. and James Cyf. are trying to keep ahead of the tracklayers and provide sufficient ballasted formation for the North Wales Track Gang this coming weekend and were ballasting on 22/11/07. Upnor Castle has not yet passed the Hafod-y-llyn siding points as they need fettling.

 

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This southerly view (22/11/07) shows Upnor Castle and the Phase 4 Mess train just south of LC95 at the end of the day. The loop point is just south of the loco. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (22/11/07) shows the Head of Steel just north of LC96 with the unballasted Hafod-y-llyn loop formation to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/11/07) shows the Head of Steel just north of LC96 (Hafod-y-llyn) at the end of the day. The ballast extends almost to the south end of the loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rhyd Ddu shunt token

The WHRCL, in conjunction with local contractor Highrail Systems Ltd (HSL), completed the installation of Rhyd Ddu shunt token system on 21/11/07, with all the necessary fixed signals put up, including those south of the station on Phase 4. This may allow more interesting workings when 'Son of SuperPower' comes around again next September! Work has also been completed on the south end point indicator. The system is now waiting for the operating company to complete its inspection and acceptance tests planned for 14/12/07, with all signals temporarily covered up until then.

 

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This northerly view (21/11/07) shows the recently installed point indicator at the south end of Rhyd Ddu station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/11/07) shows the recently installed distant signal and illuminated shunt indicator at the south end of Rhyd Ddu station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 21/11/07

Track was laid to join with the Hafod-y-llyn siding point today and two lengths south of it. The Head of Steel is now at Ch.26050 approx. It now seems possible that next year's Supporters' Special might run as far as Hafod-y-llyn if the ballasting and tamping can keep up with the furious pace of the tracklayers! Sleepers have also been laid out in the siding.

 

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This northerly view (21/11/07) shows Upnor Castle just south of LC95 at the end of the day. The HOS is two lengths south of the siding point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 20/11/07

On 20/11/07, Team Wylfa started with 3 volunteers but ended up with 4! One of their irregular members joined them for the evening after a day's tracklaying! As predicted, they completed checking and oiling the E Set, then moved on to work in conjunction with creating a store in the former K1 Shed. As it happened, they found that day volunteers had cleaned the area out, erected some shelving and a bench so there was little to do but sheet up some equipment that had been taken outside to protect them from the elements. This was just in time as it happened as the heavy rain started as the last knots were tied.

Next week and for 2 weeks following, Team Wylfa should be devoting all of their time back onto NGG16 No.140 since carriage checks are complete for the next few weeks, with only weekend running from now until Christmas.

 

Station signs update

The East Anglian Group has received details of additional running-in boards required by WHR for stations on Phase 4. There have been second thoughts about the name of the halt at the Beddgelert Forest Campsite, which was to have been known as 'Meillionen'. It will now be known as Meillionen Forest Campsite, and the legend "Forest Campsite" will be in smaller lettering under the word "Meillionen". Details of amended dimensions are awaited by the EAG. The revised frame will of course need to be deeper than standard (468 mm). A timber frame had already been made for this location to the original specification and the easiest option will be to shorten this for use at an alternative location. A new, deeper one will be constructed for Meillionen Forest Campsite.

Further signs (one each for each location) will be needed for the new halt at Nantmor (2438 x 468), Hafod-y-llyn (3328 x 468) and Pont Croesor (3442 x 468). This completes the railway's requirement for the foreseeable future. As far as we are aware, no signs are required for Pen-y-Mount or Llyn Bach; evidently Hafod Y Llyn has supplanted Hafod Garregog as a location for a halt, so no name board will be required for the latter.

The four new signs for Rhyd Ddu have been moved to Norfolk for completion and work will begin again shortly (at Cambridge) on the signs for Beddgelert (4) and Meillionen Forest Campsite (1); black Foamalux sheeting is about to be ordered for facing these signs.

If anyone would like to join the volunteer working group at the EAG's Mill Green site, near Cambridge, volunteers will be there this coming Saturday (24th November) and again on December 15th. Details from Richard Watson on the Contacts page.

 

Ynysfor to Traeth Mawr progress 20/11/07

The trackbed all the way to Traeth Mawr is now fenced in and preparations are being made to let the Ynysfor (LC112) to Traeth Mawr contracts for early in the New Year. Some gates and stiles remain to be dealt with. While a loop will be constructed at Pont Croesor, discussions are still ongoing about the location of a halt as the RSPB may be moving their Glaslyn Osprey Centre a short distance (still adjacent to the railway) in about 12 months time after the 2008 Osprey Breeding Season and the railway would want to serve this new location. The current access on the level crossing at the south end of the Pont Croesor bridge will become very awkward when the WHR opens around Easter 2009.

The galvanised steel beams for Pont Croesor are expected to be installed in early January 2008 during a temporary road closure. Gwynedd Council may take the opportunity to carry out roadworks at LC114, the Osprey Centre access, during the closure.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows the fenced trackbed north of LC117. There is no public footpath on the trackbed between LC118 and Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows the fenced trackbed north of LC118. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/11/07) shows the fenced trackbed at LC118. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (20/11/07) shows the Portreuddyn Farm and trackside stock-proof fencing at Ch.32400. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/11/07) shows the fenced trackbed south of LC118. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/11/07) shows the fenced trackbed at OB217, with the formation of the removed Traeth Mawr loop in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ian Harthill (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 20/11/07

Good progress is being made on the CTRL north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). Work is proceeding northwards from the crossing so as to avoid blocking access from Pen-y-Mount. The trackbed is being strengthened alongside the WHR(P)'s Gelert Farm works and volunteer caravans using gabions, which will support the diverted footpath.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 20/11/07) show the area around the WHR(P)'s Gelert's Farm works. The first view shows excavation of the sand embankment alongside the RED shed so that gabions can be placed. Gabions will ensure the correct width of formation at this narrow location and room for a footpath on the west side. The second view shows the reverse angle. The wider than normal boxes include sections of vertical pipe that will support the fence posts either side of the footpath that will run on the top of them. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (20/11/07) shows work taking place with care alongside the WHR(P) volunteer caravans. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Further south, work is underway at Snowdon Street level crossing and the south end of the Porthmadog Central Car Park.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows work taking place near Snowdon Street level crossing. A slot is being cut in the tarmac for the new wall for the council depot to the right. The area cleared to the left of the tarmac is the new area for the footpath that parallels the WHR to ensure it is clear of the level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/11/07) shows the former flood wall removed at the south end of Porthmadog Central Car Park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Carriage Shed completed

The construction of the Dinas Carriage Shed extension was finished last Thursday evening 15/11/07, having been delayed for a week while waiting for the last cladding sheets to be delivered. Final clearance and setting out work was carried out on Friday 16/11/07. Volunteers from the Rest of the World gang were kind enough to do most of the relaying work over the weekend including unloading ballast from a B-wagon which had stood loaded for two years! Final aligning and packing was finished by Pete Hugman on 19-20/11/07 so that at the end of the day on 20/11/07 the WHR was able to stable ALL the current carriage stock in the newly extended shed.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows the track laid inside Dinas Carriage Shed. The building is narrower to the north and the tracks converge a little. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Pete Hugman and was taken on a Vivitar Vivicam 5388 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station water tank

Contractors were present on 20/11/07 fitting the roof on the tank. They should be finished by the weekend. The roof can then be painted and the scaffolding removed, finally clearing the loop track for tamping and running round trains.

 

Tuesday Gang report 20/11/07

The Tuesday Gang spent 20/11/07 working as part of Andy Savage's Working Week. It is the only way they can get to do track laying these days! They were just 6 of at least 20 people in the track gang. Some laid track while others screwed down the Hafod-y-llyn points. It is believed that these are the points that sat on a wagon at Dinas in the headshunt, as they are covered with green algae from under the trees there. Some volunteers went back and forth bringing down rail from the Aberglaslyn Pass using Upnor Castle.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows the Head of Steel at the end of the day at 1630 just south of LC95, visible just behind the track gang. Upnor Castle was used to move rail to the HOS all day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 20/11/07

The WHRCL moved the point (ex-Plas-y-Nant) to Hafod-y-llyn early on 20/11/07, finishing by 0845. This is one of the last points available from the initial ex-SAR stock. Two LH points remain for Pont Croesor loop but Porthmadog Harbour Station will have the four new points delivered recently from South Wales. James Cyf. was true to its word and completed the ballast gap to Hafod-y-llyn in advance of the Head of Steel. They also extended the ballast bed towards LC96 and laid ballast for the 60m Hafod-y-llyn siding on the alignment of the future eastern loop track.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 20/11/07) show work in progress to lay the Hafod-y-llyn siding point. The first view shows ballast bed being completed at the crack of dawn in advance of the tracklaying. The second view shows the reverse angle with ballast now laid for the turnout and extending towards LC96. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Andrew Savage's Working Week tracklayers reached this location by the end of the day and will position the point correctly and connect up the two segments tomorrow. The Head of Steel at the end of the day was at Ch.25920 at LC95.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 20/11/07) show the Head of Steel just north of the Hafod-y-llyn loop point at the end of the day. The second view shows ballast laid in the siding track to the left. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 20/11/07) show the Head of Steel just north of LC95 at the end of the day. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/11/07) shows Upnor Castle just south of LC94 at the end of the day. The loco was used to move rail to the HOS all day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 19/11/07

On 19/11/07 James Cyf. was finishing off the area immediately south of the Head of Steel just north of Ch.26000 with a view to completing the gap in the ballast so that tracklaying could reach the area of Hafod-y-llyn loop and lay the siding in the next few days, during Andrew Savage's Working Week. The trackbed is being rolled with slate fines north from Ch.26000.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 19/11/07) show work in progress to complete the trackbed in advance of the Head of Steel. The first view shows the area south of LC94, with tracklayers working just north of the level crossing in the distance. The second view shows the reverse angle with James Cyf. laying the slate fines layer. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work on the 1km long straight south of the Hafod-y-llyn loop site is nearing completion, though work on the short 300m section south of Hafod-y-llyn Halt itself at Ch.27000 to the Afon Nanmor bridge is less advanced.

 

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This southerly view (17/11/07) shows the trackbed with rolled slate fines working north along the long straight from Hafod-y-llyn Halt at Ch.27000 to the loop site at Ch.26000. A rapid advance has been possible now that the parallel mitigation farmer's road on the left is complete. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (18/11/07) shows work on the trackbed recently started at Ch.27100, just south of the site of Hafod-y-llyn Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 18/11/07) show the area south of Hafod-llyn Halt at Ch.27300. These views shows the first stages of trackbed preparation though work should be finished here by the end of the year hopefully. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/11/07) shows the sidelong ditches constructed just north of UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Fencing has finally got underway south of Pont Croesor loop as far as Traeth Mawr.

 

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This southerly view (12/11/07) shows the trackbed finally fenced in at LC116, about 600m south of Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Working Week tracklaying report 19/11/07

Andrew Savage has organised a working week that has continued on from the Rest of the World Gang tracklaying last weekend. On 19/11/07 they advanced the Head of Steel another several lengths down to the end of the current ballast run at Ch.25840 approx. The Nantmor Incline is now complete.

 

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This northerly view (19/11/07) shows the Nantmor Incline complete from LC93. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (19/11/07) shows the Upnor Castle at the Head of Steel and the limit of ballast at Ch.25840 approx., south of LC94. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a Sony DSC-P9 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress to 18/11/07

The Rest of the World Gang was well attended last weekend and some who had not booked had to be turned away. The large party was split in two and some worked on the Dinas Carriage Shed extension tracks. The Imperial College Railway Society Alumni slewed one of the sidings and adding a panel and a bit at the end of one of the sidings on wooden sleepers.

Meanwhile, down on the Nantmor Incline on Saturday, the track on UB182 was jacked up and a permanent waterproof layer of 'black jack' bituminous paint was applied before the bridge was re-ballasted by Sunday. On Sunday, after a delayed start due to Dolgarrog failing, Upnor Castle stepped in and took over the delivery of rails to the Head of Steel. Good progress was made down the Nantmor Incline. Between 1100 and 1600, including lunch break, the team lead by Andy Savage added to the four panels laid the previous day. Another group set out the sleepers which speeded up the whole operation. In total 13 lengths were laid (234m) taking the Head of Steel to Ch.25714 approx. near to LC93.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (17/11/07) show the track jacked up on UB182, the Llanfrothen road bridge, to allow the waterproof membrane to be fitted. The shorter sleepers on the bridge deck can also be seen in this view. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alun Evans and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (17/11/07) shows the Head of Steel towards the end of Saturday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 18/11/07

As of Friday evening 16/11/07, the ballast had reached about TWA Ch.25830, just north of where the riverbank had been strengthened midway between LC94 and LC95. There was another stretch of ballast being laid from just north of the position of the siding points at about TWA Ch.25950 southwards for about 100m. The section in between, being immediately adjacent to the Hafod-y-llyn lane, had been used for ballast/sub-base deliveries until Friday morning, but from the afternoon of 16/11/07 deliveries went further south to near the contractor's compound at LC96. At the end of Friday, the unballasted section between was being rolled with base fines, but this had not been completed. However, the contractors were also due to put in some effort on Saturday, so this may have been completed by the weekend. UB182 has not yet been re-waterproofed so track across there still needs re-laying.

 

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This northerly view (16/11/07) shows the Nantmor Incline now fully ballasted with sleepers laid out ready for the Rest of the World Gang tracklaying weekend. The bridge in the distance is not a summit as it appears to be. The gradient eases at that point and temporarily the rails are higher than they should be due to the need to relay after a final waterproof coat is applied. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/11/07) shows the Head of Ballast at about Ch.25830 with piles of sleepers laid out. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (17/11/07) shows an isolated section of ballast from Ch.25950 approx for about 100m to the south, just north of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (18/11/07) shows the isolated section of ballast at about Ch.26000, at the start of the Hafod-y-llyn loop. Only the running laid had been ballasted in this view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 progress

Last weekend was the last K1 working party of 2007, so with K1 in service on Sunday trains, an opportunity was taken on the Saturday 17/11/07 to tidy up some remaining jobs. An interesting task that delighted all that saw it, was to mount an almost complete reproduction brass acetylene headlamp on K1's front tank. It was wired up with battery and lamp, and although it still requires the front door assembly with lens, it looked most impressive. The K1 Group is delighted with craftsman Stuart Fletcher's work on these lamps. The second lamp was left in his workshop and is at a similar stage of construction. Volunteers were able to ascertain the ways and means of mounting the lamps and supporting them beneath, although with the amount of coal carried in the rear tank/bunker, thoughts will be directed as to how that lamp can be protected from the coal.

The turbo generator will be mounted on the cradle that can be seen in the view below. A protective collar has been fitted on the receiver pipe that will keep the sliding joint clean. A safety chain and bar has been fitted that acts as a cradle should the receiver pipe come adrift from its ball joint assembly. A safety bar has also fitted at the ashpan end of the pipe for the same purpose. On the Sunday, the K1 team was able, at long last, to take turns riding on K1's footplate and enjoy the locomotive's performance after 12 years of rebuilding.

 

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These views (both 17/11/07) show the brass replica headlamp fitted and placed on a temporary cradle on the front water tank. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Rutter and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (both 17/11/07) show work proceeding on the protective sleeve being fitted to the receiver pipe and the cradle for the turbogenerator. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Rutter and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL News 17/11/07

Work on the section between UB220, Y Cyt, and Cambrian Crossing is nearing completion with attention focussed on the section immediately north of UB220. The gabions (galvanised mesh rock boxes) are reaching their full height of about 4m. A geotextile is then placed against them and the space between them backfilled. The geotextile prevents infiltration by the trackbed material.

 

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This northerly view (16/11/07) shows the embankment north of UB220, Y Cyt, reaching full height. The white geotextile material prevents infiltration by the sand into the gabions. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 17/11/07) show the gabion walls for the embankment north of Y Cyt almost complete. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 15/11/07

Telecoms ducts are being laid between Harbour Station and the Cambrian Crossing control box in the Crossing Cabin and north to Pen-y-Mount Junction. Excavation has also started north of Cambrian Crossing to place gabions and secure the correct width of formation at this narrow location and allow for a footpath on the west side.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 15/11/07) show the area around Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). The first view shows excavation of the sand embankment immediately north of the crossing so that gabions can be placed alongside the WHR(P)'s volunteers' caravans. Gabions will ensure the correct width of formation at this narrow location. The second view shows the Porthmadog New (1923) site with the fitting of ducts for the telecoms cable required to control the crossing electronics as well as communicate with the crossing keeper when the box is manned. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction News 15/11/07

The area of Hafod-y-llyn loop is almost finished and was ready for ballasting by 15/11/07. Slate fines have been rolled to give the usual sideways drainage slope. The ballast centrelines and 60m siding on the eastern side have been marked out and ballast was being delivered to the area of LC95 to complete the Nantmor Incline. The Hafod-y-llyn loop area is likely to be ballasted soon as tracklaying is likely to reach the bottom of the Nantmor Incline this weekend with the Rest of the World Gang. The 1 km long mitigation road south of the loop from LC96 to LC103 (Ch.27100) is almost ready and the trackbed only needs its slate fines layer rolled and ballast laid to complete this section.

Work is accelerating on the remaining 300m south from the site of the proposed halt at Hafod-y-llyn at Ch.27100 to UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. When this section is complete in December, James Cyf. will switch to the minor works required from the Afon Nanmor bridge to Ynysfor level crossing (LC112) section, working from the Ynysfor compound. Much of this section is already complete apart from rolling slate fines and ballasting.

 

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These northerly views (all 15/11/07) show the area of the Hafod-llyn loop with the formation rolled with slate fines and marked out ready for ballasting. The first view shows the area of the north point with the ballast dump for the Nantmor Incline in the distance at LC95. The second view shows the end of the 60m siding, where Dolgarrog will be stabled in the New Year. The third view shows the double width formation for a possible future loop north from LC96, with the siding extending as far as the tree of the left. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/11/07) shows the trackbed south of LC96, just south of the future loop at Hafod-y-llyn. With the parallel mitigation farm track/public bridleway complete to the right, the trackbed will shortly be available for slate fines and ballasting for the 1 km from the loop site to proposed Hafod-y-llyn Halt site at Ch27100 to the south. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell nameplate draw

Tickets for the Russell Nameplate Prize Draw are still on sale at 2 pounds each. The money will go to completing Russell's rebuild ready for the Grand Opening of the WHR throughout at Easter 2009. The prize on offer is a full size replica of the nameplate carried by the original WHR locomotive Russell from 1906-1942. The plate is one of a limited number of replicas, and is hand finished by one of the team restoring the locomotive. The draw will be made on 1/12/2007, so time is running short to enter. Find out more by visiting http://www.russell2009.fr/prizedraw

 

CTRL progress

There has been activity north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb crossing) on the section to Pen-y-Mount this week. Further clearance has taken place near the WHR(P)'s volunteers' caravans. Activity can be followed on the WHR(P)'s webcam. Click on http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/harbourbranch/

 

Dinas news 13/11/07

It was noted that the new Carriage Shed extension only requires the end wall cladding now. The interior has been cleared and levelled ready for ballasting and track extension. The two road extension will allow a total of four extra coaches to be stored out of the weather. Castell Caernarfon's returned gearboxes and new drive gearing still awaited moving into the Loco Shed.

 

Team Wylfa report 13/11/07

A limited team of 2 turned up on Tuesday 13/11/07. Half of the E Set was checked and oiled up, the remainder will get done next Tuesday. Volunteers have been tasked with clearing part of the WHRCL (ex K1) Shed next door to their Clip Shed workshop. Part of the shed has now been partitioned off as a storage area for other purposes. Volunteers managed to empty and relocate a large steel tool storage cupboard and next week, with a bigger team promised, they should be able to clear the remainder and start to erect shelving. After Christmas, the Team is going to be even more short handed for 3 months as a regular volunteer has work elsewhere so new faces would be welcome!

 

Modern stock tests on Phase 4

Having removed a knob of rock at Goat Cutting on 9/11/07, permission was given for a test run by Castell Caernarfon and two modern 'Winson' coaches to the Aberglaslyn Pass on 12/11/07 to test clearances. End throw can be an issue and these were the longest coaches on the railway. The engineers clung to the bonnet rail on leading buffer beam in tight locations, observing and photographing clearances to identify if further clearance works are required. Castell Caernarfon is one of the largest vehicles at the eaves of the cab and is similar to the ex-SAR brakevan in this part of the profile. It is believed to be the first time this loco or the modern stock has ventured onto Phase 4. It passed without touching any rock but some further minor trimming has been identified as being desirable.

The two coaches were dropped off in the Aberglaslyn Pass near T2 so their brake gear would not foul the rails laid in the 2 foot for the weekend tracklaying gangs, but the loco went on to the Nantmor LC stopblock. The train started from Rhyd Ddu about lunchtime and took its time passing Cutting Mawr at 1312, Goat Tunnel at 1436, T3 at 1520, Nantmor LC at 1531 and on the return passing T1 at 1542 and the former layby at the main road bridge at 1602 before darkness fell on the way back to Dinas.

 

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These northerly views (both 12/11/07) show Castell Caernarfon on the test train. The first view shows the loco leading the two coach special at Pitt's Head. The second view shows the train just south of Pont Cae'r Gors. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon passing Hafod Ruffydd with Snowdon in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon creeping through Cutting Mawr, checking clearances. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon creeping through Cutting Mawr, checking clearances. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Stewart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly views (1934 and 12/11/07) show the lower S bend after emerging from Cutting Mawr. The first view shows Castell Caernarfon hauling the test train while the second view shows Russell heading towards Beddgelert. Click on the images to enlarge. The first image is copyright WHHG, courtesy David Allan and was taken on a film camera. The second image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon creeping through Beddgelert Station, checking clearances of the cowcatcher against the platform edge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon creeping through Goat Cutting, checking clearances. The remains of the recently removed knob of rock can be seen in the gutter to the left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon creeping through T3, with the engineers clutching onto the bonnet rail whilst standing on the front buffer beam checking clearances. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Stewart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon approaching the limit of the test run at Nantmor LC stopblock. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/11/07) shows Castell Caernarfon between T4 and T3 on the way back with the Afon Glaslyn to the left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Stewart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Fortmadog branch

The WHR(P) has been using the trackbed for years from Pen-y-Mount for its occasional coal deliveries to its secure coal dump, known as Fortmadog. This has now ceased with the start of works on the CTRL. As a consequence, they have had to build a new steeply inclined siding to the compound and coal will need to be transhipped at Pen-y-Mount.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/11/07) show the area of Fortmadog compound. The first view shows the basic clearance of the CTRL alongside the compound. The second view shows the new inclined siding built from the WHR(P) to make coal deliveries. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Goodwin and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying Progress 11/11/07

The North Wales Track Gang made good progress across UB182, the Llanfrothen road bridge on 10/11/07, despite the rain showers. Track advanced across the bridge, changing to wooden sleepers just before the bridge itself and then back to steel on the Nantmor Incline. By the end of Saturday, Dolgarrog ventured onto the bridge.

A total of 5 panels were laid and the Head of Steel is at TWA Ch.25480 approx. Progress was slow on Saturday because volunteers had to build a temporary bed of longitudinal wooden sleepers on the bridge (UB182) as the ballast was not in place on the bridge. The ballast was absent because the waterproofing that was put on the concrete last Thursday morning (8/11/07) was almost totally washed away before it had set by an extremely heavy downpour in the afternoon. The shorter wooden sleepers needed for this bridge were laid on top of the longitudinal ones. All this will have to be removed or at least the rails will have to be jacked clear, for the waterproofing to be reapplied and ballast put in. There are also guide rails to go on this bridge.

 

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This southerly view (11/11/07) shows the track gang adjusting levels using a chain under the wooden sleepers in order to get the ballast low enough for the transition to steel sleepers beyond. Piles of steel sleepers are visible beyond the Head of Steel on the ballasted trackbed. The ballast bed can be seen extending to the foot of the Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Basil Seymour and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/11/07) shows the Head of Steel south of UB182. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a Canon IXUS 55 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/11/07) shows the Dolgarrog on UB182 at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a Canon IXUS 55 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On both days progress was also impeded by the diesel loco Castell Conwy's brakes acting up. They kept coming on when they should not have. No doubt volunteers are looking forward to having Upnor Castle back from repair of its chain drive at Dinas. The head of ballast is near the bottom of the Nantmor Incline just 10m north of LC93 at TWA Ch.25630.

 

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This northerly view (10/11/07) shows Conway Castle at Ch.25300, just north of the road bridge, with the Phase 4 Mess Train in tow. At least this proved the large profile van can make it through all the Aberglaslyn tunnels now! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cambrian Coast Express 2008 plans announced

West Coast Rail's Cambrian Coast Express, to be named 'The Cambrian' in 2008, will run from 28/7/08 to 29/8/08 on weekdays. The loco and stock will be based at Machynlleth as usual and run to Porthmadog. On Wednesday's and Friday's the train will be extended through to Pwllheli, Network Rail having completed trackwork on this section by then to allow loco hauled stock.

 

New Civil Engineer feature

The latest edition of New Civil Engineer features a story on the WHR, following previous stories in 1994 and 2000. The current story is nine months old and contains several inaccuracies. The style is less than technical.

 

K1 test runs 9/11/07

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This northerly view (9/11/07) shows K1 approaching Rhyd Ddu on a test run. This was the second of two that day and the bearings appeared to run well. The loco is diagrammed for a passenger turn on Sunday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction News 9/11/07

James Cyf. has been true to its word and the Nantmor Incline was ballasted by the end of Friday 9/11/07, in preparation for tracklaying this weekend. Sleepers have also been placed along the incline. On the same day WHRCL staff trimmed rock from Goat Cutting to improve clearance at the north portal of Goat Tunnel.

 

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These southerly views (both 9/11/07) show rock being trimmed in Goat Cutting with the north Portal of Goat Tunnel in the distance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 9/11/07) show progress on the Nantmor Incline. Ballast is being laid and steel sleepers placed for the weekend tracklaying. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (9/11/07) shows the Nantmor Incline ballasted and sleepers being laid out. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Maintaining the railway

With the permanent staff often engaged in Phase 4 work, some wet areas such as Castell Cidwm are greening over and other areas need ballasting to maintain the alignment and a smooth ride. On 8/11/07, a ballasting operation was underway at Cyrnant Curves just north of Waunfawr to rectify one such problem.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 8/11/07) show ballasting underway at Cyrnant Curves, just north of Waunfawr. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction News 7/11/07

James Cyf. was preparing to ballast the Nantmor Incline by Friday to allow the North Wales Track Gang to advance the Head of Steel over UB182 towards Hafod-y-llyn siding this weekend. Preparations are being made to move Dolgarrog's shed from Rhyd Ddu to Hafod-y-llyn, possibly by the end of the year.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/11/07) show progress around UB182. The first view shows the completed embankment just south of the bridge with the Head of Steel just beyond. The second view shows the Nantmor Incline from the bridge itself, ready for ballasting by 9/11/07. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (7/11/07) shows the Nantmor Incline from the mitigation bank that has been constructed using spare hard core as a place for livestock to escape the Traeth floods. The change is gradient, easing from 1 in 40, can clearly be seen about halfway down the length of the embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Cyf. has cleared the site at LC95, where the Afon Glaslyn had undermined the trackbed. The trackbed here at Ch.25900 will be graded and ballasted in the next few weeks.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/11/07) show progress around Ch.25900. The first view shows the clearance of the former compound and grading of the trackbed. The second view shows the repair to the river bank where it had been eroded. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/11/07) show progress around Ch.27100, the site of the proposed Hafod-y-llyn Halt. The first view shows the completed formation and the newly constructed mitigation farm track to the right. The second view shows the work just beginning on the 300m south of there to the Afon Nantmor bridge UB196. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction Programme news 7/11/07

James Cyf. is now ballasting the first part of the section Nantmor Road Bridge (UB182) to the Afon Nanmor river bridge (UB196), starting from the road bridge and working down the recently reconstructed embankment toward the site provided for a possible passing loop at Hafod-y-Llyn. It has now been confirmed that a siding will be installed at Hafod-y-llyn as soon as the rail head reaches that point to assist the operation of WHRCL works trains and locate Dolgarrog's shed. This will cut down unproductive running from Rhyd Ddu during weekend volunteer tracklaying activities. It is planned to complete this entire section in early December, ensuring the contractor keeps ahead of the volunteer track layers.

The Afon Nanmor river bridge will not be fully decked out for road plant. Once the above works are finished James Cyf. will therefore move their work base forward (probably to the former base at Ynysfor Corner next to LC112) and progress ballasting and finishing work onward from the Afon Nanmor river bridge working toward Ynysfor, over the section they largely completed last Winter. They aim to complete this work before the return of the Ospreys in March and leave it ready for ballasting as the tracklayers cross the Afon Nanmor bridge.

After that, north of Porthmadog, there will just be the Ynysfor to Traeth Mawr section to complete. On that section the eight span Pont Croesor river bridge UB212 is programmed for installation early January 2008 with about half the new steel bridge spans already made and dispatched for galvanising. Competitive tenders for the civil engineering work on this last section have now been received and are being analysed by WHRCL and its consultants. While these details are settled the section right through to Traeth Mawr will be fenced and other miscellaneous works completed so that the successful civils contractor will have a free run at the works after Christmas.

Down in Porthmadog, Carillion has been concentrating its efforts on the Pen-y-Mount to Snowdon Mill part of CTRL. The contractor plans to have that finished and ballasted by Christmas and thoughts are turning toward volunteer track laying on that part of the line. With a requirement for track circuiting on several parts of CTRL it has been decided that all of WHR south of Pen-y-Mount will be laid with timber sleepers. There are plenty spare as the plan to use them in the four tunnels was abandoned when the kinematic envelope was found to be too tight.

 

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This northerly view (5/11/07) shows the reconstruction of the wall immediately north of Y Cyt (UB220). It has been found necessary to take the foundation right down to sea level. The trackbed will be backfilled with sand between the two gabion walls. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Hart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The route of the line through Porthmadog Central Car Park crosses the buried main Porthmadog sewer outfall pipe in a number of places. Works to cap the pipe with reinforced concrete at those crossing points will start once the basic route has been cleared. Clearance works have already begun at the back of the former Co-op supermarket.

The first test pile for the training wall/linkspan at Britannia Bridge will be driven in about 10 days time to confirm the detailed installation procedure for the works. That piled face will form an integral part of the triangular section of widened bridge required to accommodate the curve in the track as it comes off the bridge onto the Llyn Bach path. With that piling and associated construction out of the way the installation of the rails in the tarmac across the bridge can be tackled early in the New Year.

 

Construction Progress 6/11/07

With the lifting of the Traeth Mawr loop during the WHR(P)'s Civil's Week, the way is now clear for the contractor, when appointed, to complete the section north of there to Pont Croesor. That section is currently being fenced.

 

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This northerly view (6/11/07) shows the removal of Traeth Mawr loop. All that is left is a line of rust and sleeper indentations. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy WHR(P) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (29/10/07) shows the removal of signage at Traeth Mawr loop. This was never a place that passengers could detrain! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Nigel Doughty and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Phase 4 webcam

The WHR(P) has kindly installed a webcam that shows work in progress on Phase 4 just north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb crossing). At the moment nothing much is happening but that could change at any time!

http://www.webcam.whr.co.uk/harbourbranch/

 

Tamper action

The KMX tamper is now regularly seen south of Bryn-y-felin. On 29/10/07 it crossed the bridge to tamp the track south of there.

 

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These westerly views (both 29/10/07) show the KMX tamper near Bryn-y-felin. The first view shows the tamper crossing the Afon Glaslyn. The second view shows it in the area of the former layby, just north of the road bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Chris Price and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Castell Caernarfon bogies return

One of the gearboxes from Castell Caernarfon's bogies failed over a year ago. It has just been returned after specialist work. The Funkey has been running using Vale of Ffestiniog's bogies. When Upnor Castle is out of Dinas works, attention is likely to turn to taking in Castell Caernarfon and re-fitting its own bogies. Vale of Ffestiniog's bogies can then go back to Boston Lodge as this is a very useful loco for rescue and out of season trains on the FR and has been missed. At some time in the future, Vale of Ffestiniog's bogies will receive similar treatment.

 

Construction news 4/11/07

The Nantmor Incline embankment is now fully clad at the north end and the WHRCL site office at the road bridge has been removed. The embankment is likely to be ballasted this week for next weekend's North Wales Track Gang to advance track down onto the Glaslyn floodplain. The mitigation farm track south of Hafod-y-llyn now appears complete so it is hoped James Cyf. will rapidly finish the trackbed south from LC94. Gates have been placed in the wall giving access to the viewing area overlooking Beddgelert Station.

 

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This westerly view (4/11/07) shows the completed gate giving access to the viewing area overlooking Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (4/11/07) shows the completed Nantmor Incline. Ballasting of a 200m stretch south from the bridge is likely this week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work on the Carriage Shed extension at Dinas is nearing completion with the walls clad and work underway on the roof.

 

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This southerly view (4/11/07) shows the Dinas Carriage Shed extension nearing completion. When the roof is complete and the end wall constructed, the existing end wall will be broken out. The bend where the original shed joins to the extension can be seen to the extreme right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Photo Charter 4/11/07

Today's photo charter was focussed on the section between LC82 and LC86. Guests were treated to a ride behind K1 then London buses from Rhyd Ddu arriving 11am. Prince had led the rake down to the Lower S curve about 10.30am and detached at LC86. A stopblock protected Dolgarrog, Conway Castle and the B wagon in Beddgelert station. The beautiful sunshine that covered North Wales faded at 11am and sadly the photographers were left with little more than the odd glint before fading light ended the procedure at 1330. The farmer has kindly allowed access to the field inside the upper part of the Lower S bend. Palmerston led the rake back to Rhyd Ddu at 1400 before the guests retired for a pub meal at Waunfawr. The afternoon service train was hauled by Castell Caernarfon and No.143.

 

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These southerly views (both 4/11/07) show the photo charter at the start of the day. The first view shows Prince stabled at LC86 at 1130 with the photo charter rake in the background. The second view shows Palmerston starting off up the 1 in 40 leading the rake through the middle of the Lower S Bend with a photographic line up just visible beyond. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 4/11/07) show the photo charter approaching LC82 with Palmerston throwing out the clag! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/11/07) shows Palmerston stabled just north of LC82 at 1340 at the end of the photo charter, awaiting the arrival of Prince to couple to the rear for the journey back to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 4/11/07) show the photo charter at the end of the day. The first view shows Prince coupling to the rear of the rake at LC82 at 1350. The second view shows Palmerston leading the rake through Pont Cae'r Gors Cutting at 1415. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World tracklaying report 3-4/11/07

The Beddgelert Station siding was completed on 4/11/07 but the track on the Inspection Pit was not screwed down. It was only possible to screw down one of the two buffer stop units as the bases had different sleeper spacing patterns! Volunteers recovered wooden sleepers using a B-wagon and stored them in piles near Beddgelert Station water tank.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 4/11/07) show the completed Beddgelert Station siding. Rails need baseplates and screws on the Inspection Pit baulks. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/11/07) shows the ROTWG unloading wooden sleepers from the B wagon at Beddgelert that they had collected from along the line. Conway Castle is the loco. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt

The EAG has been tasked with a sign for 'Meillionen' (aka Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt). While the EAG may be relieved that a short title has been chosen for this halt, this title does not meet with universal acclaim, Meillionen being the name of a little known farm and stream at UB150! This halt is likely to be one of the busiest on the railway being in the middle of the campsite. Let us hope that those who use it know where to get off when they return from a day out in Caernarfon or Porthmadog!

 

New Phase 4 points arrive

Having exhausted the supply of ex-SAR points, four new S30 points for Harbour Station and trap points for either side of Cambrian Crossing were ordered from Holdtrade of Pont-y-clun, Mid-Glamorgan. These points were delivered on 2/11/07.

 

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This southerly view (2/11/07) shows the points delivered to the Carillion compound alongside the car park. The bottom pair is the 'wide to gauge' catch point for one side of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Williams and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 in traffic again

K1 had limited success in service this past week due to further hot box issues. K1 and K2 were designed with top lubrication gravity fed axle boxes and the oil flowed down around the journals to the pad that spread the oil evenly at the bottom of the journals that was kept in place by a sprung former and a 'keep'. As far as the support team is aware this worked reasonably in Tasmania, although the small oil reservoirs above each axle would have required regular topping-up and can suffer from water ingress if the brass lids are not secure and if water leaks down from the tanks as happened at 'Superpower' 2006. A decision was made to convert to underfeed lubrication using reservoirs feeding oil through flexible pipes into the bottom of the journals with the pads acting as wicks drawing the oil in capillary action. The top reservoir feeds were sealed and they remain out of use.

There a number of variables on how good or bad this system maintains oil around the journal, and all are being considered. The flexible pipes could be too small in diameter not allowing free flow of oil quickly enough from reservoir to keep. The pads may be too thick and compressed losing their capillary action. The oil may not be of the correct viscosity. When the oil is topped-up the night before service the loco will run 100 miles or more without problems, so oiling just before daily service seems to not allow enough time for the oil to permeate the pads. Axle No.3 is nearest the ashpan and firebox bottom and may suffer from more heat radiation, possibly drying-up more rapidly, although this seems unlikely.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 1/11/07) show K1 reversing onto No.143 at Dinas to pilot the 1355 ex-Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu. The driver was happy with the axleboxes on this day but the loco was dropped off at Dinas on the return. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (1/11/07) shows the same pairing with K1 again piloting the train from Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A hot box seems to happen quite randomly. There was a shim in one axle box that was dislocated and wound slivers of metal around the axle adjacent to the journal, since dealt with. On Thursday 1/11/07 K1 double headed No.143 with absolutely no problems and by all accounts did a lot of the work. Apart from this annoying problem a lot has been achieved improving performance, traction being excellent and steam sanding a boon. Steaming is better with coal as the vacuum produced in the smokebox is better and compounding improved, giving better economy with the adjustment of the valve timing, though there is still work to do on this. Coal consumption seems very acceptable with possibly a daily saving of £150 - £200 over the equivalent in oil costs. Obviously K1's water tanks are small but there does not seem to be an issue of lack of water as long as they are topped up regularly. The railway has plenty of water tanks. By creating a vent in the water discharge pipe from the injectors they are far less temperamental. There is still work to do on the driver's side with the cones, etc.

 

Army Link

The Army web news service has published a page and video about the recent tracklaying visit in the Aberglaslyn Pass by troops from TA 79 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, who were working on the WHR/FR in September.

http://www.army.mod.uk:80/news/army_news_current_stories/making_tracks/index.htm

 

Construction Progress 1/11/07

The work to widen the Nantmor Incline has been completed and cladding was in progress on 1/11/07 using soil removed from the footprint. This should be ballasted and available for tracklaying when the North Wales Track Gang returns on 10-11/11/07. Tracklaying work this weekend will probably focus on finishing the Beddgelert Station siding. Work on the parallel mitigation farm track is also reaching a conclusion from Hafod-y-llyn south and this is allowing rapid completion of the trackbed in this area too. Some iron pipes were discovered in the alignment but is not clear if they are related to the WHR.

 

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This northerly view (1/11/07) shows the Nantmor Incline complete and clad with local soil. Some support has been required at the top adjacent to UB182. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 1/11/07) show the Nantmor Incline being clad with local soil. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (1/11/07) shows the grading of the sides of the lower section of Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (1/11/07) shows the parallel mitigation farm track nearing completion at Hafod-y-llyn. The formation for the future siding/loop is to the right and will soon be released for completion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (1/11/07) shows some iron pipes excavated from the alignment at Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 1/11/07

Carillion's Porthmadog car park compound has now been extended to almost the full length of the car park section of the CTRL alignment. There is still access at the south end onto Llyn Bach path by the old Co-op car park, which remains open for now. Inside the newly-fenced off area, a section of the old concrete retaining wall has been broken up and dug out. This is presumably the location where the future rails will cross over from the old car-park area onto the grassed public space alongside Llyn Bach.

 

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This northerly view (1/11/07) shows the concrete wall removed at the south end of the Carillion compound alongside the car park where the railway will cross onto the Llyn Bach public open space. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (1/11/07) shows the hewn slate wall being removed at the Corner of the former Co-op shop. It is being stacked for the future owners to make use of. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (1/11/07) shows the diversion of the footpath around Co-op corner with orange safety fencing just for that day. The railway alignment is between the hedge and the building and performs a short curve and reverse curve here to miss the building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More from the Photo Charters

The WHR's Civil Engineer Alastair Stewart managed to catch some views of the photo charter train in some unusual locations on the first rather dismal weekend. Again, Palmerston was on the rear of the 3 coach rake led by Prince.

 

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This northerly view (27/10/07) shows Prince approaching Pont Cae'r Gors. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Stewart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (27/10/07 and 28/10/07) show Prince on the photo charter. The first view shows the loco leading the special at Pont Cae'r Gors waiting for cyclists to cross the level crossing. The second view shows the loco just south of LC86, on the straight in the middle of the lower S bend. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 27/10/07) show Palmerston heading towards Beddgelert at Weirglodd Isaf on the straight in the middle of the Upper S bend. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/10/07) shows Palmerston heading towards Beddgelert at Weirglodd Isaf on the straight in the middle of the Upper S bend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Railway Herald, the free internet railway news magazine, also features a story and two pages of views on p18-19 of the latest edition. The Hi-Res download takes a while even on broadband! Click this link.

 

Team Wylfa report 30/10/07

There were just two volunteers from Team Wylfa on 30/10/07. However, the WHRCL had asked the team to urgently check over 2 RRMs that had come down from the 'Head of Steel' as they are required by WHR(P) to lift the Traeth Mawr Loop this coming weekend. Both required minor works and thorough checking and by 10pm, they were in a fit state to head south. No carriage checks were done. Team Wylfa will be away next week but normal service should recommence on Tuesday evening 13/11/07.

 

Loco Shed news 30/10/07

There was an interesting selection of locos in the Loco Shed at Dinas on Tuesday evening. Four locos were inside and one outside. K1 was gently simmering after having been out and about during the day. Upnor Castle was behind it for repairs to its drive chain, Prince and Palmerston were on the other road for the coming weekend's Photo Charters. Outside was No.143, again gentling simmering after running during the day.

 

K1 in action?

The WHR(C) website shows K1 rostered for the second train this week but it did not turn up on 30/10/07. The loco was noted out on the line in the late afternoon on a proving run after attention to a hot box issue.

 

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This northerly view (29/10/07) shows K1 rounding Ffridd Isaf Curve on a service train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Price and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 30/10/07

Track in Beddgelert Station siding was extended again on 30/10/07 after the Tuesday Gang returned to tracklaying after a gap of some months. The point has been fully assembled and screwed down and a panel of straight track laid and screwed down. The pre-curved rail that leads onto the Inspection Pit was fish-plated using the SA/Polish hybrids.

 

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These southerly views (both 30/10/07) show the Tuesday Gang extending Beddgelert Station siding. The first photo shows the trap point being screwed down. The second view shows the sharply curved length being connected to it. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a Canon ISUX 55 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Last Train to Traeth Mawr

Sunday 28/10/07 saw the WHR(P) operate the last train to Traeth Mawr loop. It has been agreed with the FR that future services until the WHRCL works are complete will terminate approximately 650m along the 900m extension at a point just south of LC119, Farmyard Farm Crossing. Trains will operate in push-pull mode due to the loss of the temporary run round loop. Around 30 or so volunteers spontaneously left Gelert's Farm to travel on the last train. The driver gave the loop a mournful send off on Gelert's whistle. This link gives has a short YouTube clip of the action:

http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=HfBGzRmFQ3w

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 28/10/07) show Gelert running round at Traeth Mawr loop for the last time. The loop will be pulled up as part of the Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount contract. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Goodwin and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Photo charter

The organisers of the two weekend Photo Charters have kindly sent images of last weekend's activities. The weekend was advertised on this website some time ago and 70 have booked for the coming weekend. Activities included Palmerston at the north end on run-pasts and Prince at the south and individual loco run pasts. Participants were moved around by London bus carrying the label in its destination panel 'Rail replacement service'! The weather was cloudy and damp but with good condensation. Although Palmerston had previously ventured as far as UB130 during September 2006, this was the first time the two England locos had been down the line as far as Beddgelert. Palmerston was used as a construction loco during the original 1920s building of the WHR.

 

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This southerly view (27/10/07) shows Palmerston leading the train into Pont Cae'r Gors cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (27/10/07) shows Palmerston leading the train across UB127 past the Forestry Commission car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/10/07) shows Prince light engine at LC76, just north of Beddgelert Forest Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (27/10/07) shows the 'Rail Replacement Service' at Pont Cae'r Gors. This was used to ferry participants around. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG Group news 27/10/07

The EAGle volunteers spent a very constructive day on Saturday 27/10/07. Some might say it was exactly the opposite, however, as a lot of work was put into the reduction of wagons 5003 and 5004 to bare frames. Four pairs of wheels were removed on their axles, in preparation for their journey to North Wales in a few weeks' time. They are going to the Tal-y-llyn Railway, where they will be regauged and the wheels profiled to FR/WHR specifications at Pendre Works. Interestingly, the wheels from No. 5004, the Robert Hudson-built vehicle, are subtly different from those on the other EAG vehicles, as the other three are from different builders. The Hudson wheel spokes are slightly thicker, and volunteers have also noticed that the wagon's coupling spring pockets are different. The latter, however, will not be re-used as FR/WHR pattern chopper couplings are lower than the MoD variety and will be slung beneath the frames.

 

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This view (27/10/07) shows the wheels from wagons No.4003-4 ready for regauging and re-profiling at the EAGLE Works, Mill Green, Cambridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The frames are now sitting on their horn guides, on balks of timber. The chassis known as No. 5004 awaits attention from the angle grinder, as volunteers need to remove the steel rollers fitted as a modification by its previous owners. No. 5003 is, as it stands, beyond economical repair and modification. It will be stripped of useful parts and the remainder will probably be scrapped. We plan to renew the frame to yield a longer wheelbase chassis for the forthcoming Mess Van. Meanwhile, Roger Hornsby has contacted potential end users on the combined FR/WHR system, so that the EAG can reflect their needs in the final design.

 

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This view (27/10/07) shows the frame from No. 5004 with Simplex diesel in the background at the EAGLE Works, Mill Green, Cambridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Four signs intended for Rhyd Ddu have received their outer hardwood casings, together with steel Unistruts at the rear. This now means they can be transported to Richard Watson's home for finishing off, including application of the letters made by Cedric Lodge. The four signs for Beddgelert also took a step forward with erection of the framework from the previously constructed, car-transportable halves. It has now been agreed that the EAG can use black gloss or semi-gloss Foamalux for the skins of future signs, including these. Foamalux is a foam PVC sheet, is self-coloured and will eliminate the time consuming and pernickety application of sticky backed vinyl. The latter previously acted as a weatherproof facing, and is easy to 'snag'.

 

Tracklaying report 27-28/10/07

Good progress was made over the weekend of 27-28/10/07 laying the siding at Beddgelert Station. The catch point was laid in position, a little further down the siding than some expected. Sharply curved rails were laid out for the approach to the Inspection Pit and the buffer stops were moved near to position at the south end.

On Saturday the plan was to work on the siding, which at first glance seemed simple enough. The WHRCL surveyors came down to help with the setting out. The buffer stops were on the flat wagons so first job was to move them up the west loop to a position almost opposite the pit, place sleepers across the dip and whilst supporting the wagons with sleepers, roll the buffers off. They are quite heavy so it took some time to move them up close to where they are needed. Despite appalling weather conditions, volunteers got down a panel and a half but found there were no track screws. They could only screw down the first panel and despite a search south of Goat Tunnel and Rhyd Ddu they could not find any more! One other problem was the photo charters as volunteers were locked in at Beddgelert with a stop block for safety reasons. They could not go south either due to the Mess train being in the way.

On Sunday volunteers brought screws up from Dinas. It seems everyone thought there were plenty of screws around and, with the pressure the paid staff were under actually moving the SA rail plus the catch point on Thursday, they were overlooked. Sunday was a better day but again slow as rail had to be moved down below the south point and then up to the RH point and down again into the siding. There are two sharply pre-curved rails to make the turn to the pit and volunteers moved these across from the loop rather than up and down so they could position them and measure the closure rail more accurately. Late on Sunday, some heritage sleepers were delivered which will be used close to the pit/buffer stops. These were the sleepers excavated from Pont Cae'r Gors Cutting. They were creosoted and will be used to give a prototypical atmosphere to this heritage corner of the station. The siding may be finished next weekend by the Rest of the World Gang.

 

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These southerly views (both 28/10/07) show the siding point at Beddgelert and the trap point fitted. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Paul Wood and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (28/10/07) shows the trap point placed in position. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

With the build up of land alongside the western platform track just south of UB167, the footpath underpass, room now exists to either move the siding point north in the future or have a headshunt off the trap point as at Rhyd Ddu Yard.

 

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This southerly view (28/10/07) shows the curved rail leading to the Inspection Pit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

 S9_PW27-10-07BS buffer stops N1.jpg (67267 bytes)

This northerly view (28/10/07) shows the buffer stops laid near the inspection pit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Photo Charter in the Forest 27-8/10/07

Prince and Palmerston arrived last week to run a Photo charter in Beddgelert Forest on 27/10/07. Prince came in leading the train from Dinas and took water. Palmerston was waiting under the south water tower and the train was reversed to couple up. Prince then led the train out towards Beddgelert. Strangely a London Bus was also at Rhyd Ddu!

Sadly for the photographers, weather was not good with low cloud and poor visibility plus the Snowdonia Marathon was passing through. The charter had the use of the line for run pasts as far as Beddgelert where work was underway by the North Wales Track Gang laying the siding. A water bowser and oil bowser (for Prince) were kept at Rhyd Ddu.

 

Prince at Rhyd Ddu_SM27-10-07.jpg (58586 bytes) Palmerston at Rhyd Ddu_SM27-10-07.jpg (61938 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (27/10/07) show Prince and Palmerston at Rhyd Ddu. The first view shows Prince in Rhyd Ddu yard with Palmerston attached to the rear. The second view shows Palmerston standing under the water tower with bowsers. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Contract news

James Cyf.'s work on the Nantmor Incline to Afon Nanmor bridge section has accelerated recently, though they were doing a few small finishing off jobs at Nantmor level crossing on 22/10/07. The northern 200m of the Nantmor Incline is rising up nicely and, when finished, the stockpiled earth either side at the foot of the embankment will be spread on the slopes. The south end of the site near UB196 has finally been scraped down to ballast and sidelong ditching and culverts are being excavated, some through rock. The parallel mitigation farm track is almost complete leaving the railway alignment free to be finished between Ch.26000 and Ch.27000 approx.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07HOS and bridge.jpg (92516 bytes) S11_BWH22-10-07Nantmor Incline reconstruction.jpg (77009 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 22/10/07) show the Head of Steel north of UB182 and work advancing on the Nantmor Incline with the height raised to about 2m below the final level required. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07Nantmor Incline slope.jpg (95638 bytes) S11_BWH22-10-07Nantmor Incline lower slope.jpg (103827 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 22/10/07) show the western side of the Nantmor Incline from UB184. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07UB184.jpg (115376 bytes)

This easterly view (22/10/07) shows UB184 which is being lengthened to allow for the greater footprint required by the Nantmor Incline widening. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07Nantmor Incline base.jpg (91423 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows the lower section of the Nantmor Incline. The gradient is very gentle on this section to reduce the length of fill required on the high section of the embankment. Consequently, the 1 in 40 starts at LC93, some 250m south of the road bridge, in order to give clearance over the road. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07LC95N.jpg (121403 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows the area just north of LC95, where the riverbank needed strengthening. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07Ch26000 S.jpg (96827 bytes)

This southerly view (22/10/07) shows the start of the Hafod-y-llyn loop widening at Ch.26000 approx. It is intended to lay a 60m siding from this point south on the east side to accommodate Dolgarrog's shed and construction stock. The steel rods mark the centreline of the formation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07HYL loop N.jpg (102616 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows the start of the double width formation at Hafod-y-llyn loop from LC96. Geotextile and slate waste is being used to create the formation. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07UB194 N.jpg (105699 bytes) S11_BWH22-10-07 excavating UB194.jpg (111613 bytes)

These northerly and easterly views (both 22/10/07) show UB194 at the site of the proposed Hafod-y-llyn Halt. Although the sidelong ditch is in estuarine silt, UB194 itself is excavated through rock and required use a rock pecker. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07UB195 N.jpg (103943 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows UB195 and the basic clearance south of LC103, that has just commenced. On this section to UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, the footpath runs in the field to the west. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07Ch27250 N.jpg (98232 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows the basic clearance at Ch.27250. On this section to UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, the footpath runs in the field to the west. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07north of UB196.jpg (98307 bytes) S11_BWH22-10-07UB196 S.jpg (105790 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 22/10/07) show the area around UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge. Basic clearance has now reached the bridge though the footpath linkspan will not be finished until the end of the year, when this section is handed over. In the first view, a section of the old bridge, left when the original was cut up and removed about 10 years ago, is still visible on the right. In the second view, the far end of the bridge reveals the pile of fill from the clearance of the laydown area used for constructing the bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Cyf. will switch to completing the section from UB196 to LC112 Ynysfor Crossing when they finish this job. It is essential this is completed by March 2008 when the Ospreys return. Most of the work was done last Winter but the section needs a few small finishing off jobs before ballasting. Wooden sleepers originally meant for the Aberglaslyn Pass and tunnels have been stockpiled at the Ynysfor site office, presumably for the roadside section to Pont Croesor, which has not yet been let.

 

Team Wylfa report 23/10/07

Team Wylfa has really been struggling for numbers these last three weeks. Again only 2 volunteers turned up this week. Never-the-less, somehow, they managed to get the F Set checked over and oiled up. This was essential since it has been used for the two train service this Half Term. They also got one or two other small jobs on the way in our workshop.

Team Wylfa will be take a break on Tuesday 6/11/07 as Clive Briscoe is away.

 

Dinas Carriage Shed extension

The Carriage Shed extension is progressing steadily, which is just as well. With Winter weather rapidly approaching, the carriages need to be indoors overnight! The pre-cast concrete drainage channels around the outside had been capped and had backfilling level with the tops on Tuesday evening. Also, the low foundation wall was almost complete and cladding rails had begun to be bolted to the frame.

 

Tuesday Gang report 23/10/07

On 23/10/07, the Tuesday Gang helped the Black Hand Gang with the assembly of the trap point for Beddgelert Station siding, which is being laid this weekend. They then erected the temporary railway stop signs for the LC92 at Nantmor. This will allow trains to cross the crossing at last.

Finally they tackled some extreme gardening on the short piece of Croesor Tramway embankment between UB212 (Pont Croesor) and LC114, immediately to the south. The purpose of this was to allow the engineers a closer view of the embankment retaining wall to determine what strengthening, if any, will be required to carry the new railway. The wall is the same type of dry stone wall encasing a sand embankment as those currently being replaced with gabions in Porthmadog. At Pont Croesor, however, the wall is so low that it is unlikely to need any treatment at all. The abutment and wing wall by the river bank is mortared and in very good condition. The bridge should be installed within the next few months.

 

Busman's Holiday ends!

Your webmaster has now returned from his Busman's Holiday! Train movements observed were as follows.

Sunday 21/10/07: Two ballast runs with Conway Castle and three loaded ballast wagons passing southbound at 0915 and 1110 at Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt (BFCH) presumably to T4 and Cwm Bychan.

Monday 22/10/07: KMX Tamper run passing BFCH in the morning to tamp Cwm Bychan to Nantmor l/c.

Tuesday 23/10/07: Conway Castle and rail train to Aberglaslyn Pass delivering rail from Ch.23600. Returned brakevan pm to Rhyd Ddu after shunting Beddgelert.

Wednesday 24/10/07: Conway Castle light engine collects rail train from Beddgelert to Aberglaslyn Pass delivering rail as far as Ch.24000, followed by a quick visit to T2.

Thursday 25/10/07: Conway Castle not present in Rhyd Ddu Yard, presumed taken bolster wagon to Dinas for rail loading.

Friday 26/10/07: Conway Castle passes BFCH at 1100 with brakevan and rail bolster, delivering rail, trap point and buffers to Beddgelert for North Wales Track Gang siding construction.

During the week No.143 and Caernarfon Castle were observed on service trains, surprisingly with no sight of K1.

 

S8_BWH21-10-07Conway on ballast at BFH.jpg (82807 bytes)

This northerly view (21/10/07) shows Conway Castle hauling all three ballast wagons over UB150 at Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt, one of two runs that Sunday! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_SS22-10-07KMX Cwm Bychan.jpg (115882 bytes)

This northerly view (22/10/07) shows the KMX tamper emerging from the south portal of T4 at Cwm Bychan at 1330. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Starr and was taken on a Fujifilm S5700 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_BWH23-10-07Conway Castle dropping rails in Aberglaslyn Pass.jpg (97185 bytes)

This northerly view (23/10/07) shows Conway Castle hauling the bolster wagon south of Sheepfold Cutting (Ch.23600), the first sunny day of two such operations. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH24-10-07Conway Castle approaches BYF on rails.jpg (126326 bytes)

This easterly view (24/10/07) shows Conway Castle hauling the bolster wagon over the Bryn-y-felin bridge, the second sunny day of such operations. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_BWH24-10-07Conway dropping rails in AP.jpg (108995 bytes)

This northerly view (24/10/07) shows Conway Castle hauling the bolster wagon, dropping rails at Ch23900, as seen from the west bank of the Afon Glaslyn from near the layby. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S8_BWH26-10-07Buffer delivery.jpg (99014 bytes)

This northerly view (26/10/07) shows Conway Castle hauling the brakevan and rail bolster wagon with components for the Beddgelert Station siding over UB150 at Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt at 1100am just before your webmaster left the campsite for home! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying Progress

There was no ROTWG tracklaying progress last weekend (20-21/10/07) due to the unavailability of a supervisor. This weekend sees the completion of Beddgelert Station siding following the delivery of a catchpoint, rails and buffer stops on 26/10/07. It is believed that the catchpoint is a single blade point and this is a pity as there is space for a headshunt of at least one length of rail north alongside the running line where the Hughes access track ran as far as UB167. This could have been used for Dolgarrog's shed, currently at Rhyd Ddu. The long runs from Rhyd Ddu for construction trains reduce productivity.

However, it is now being considered that a siding will be laid at Hafod-y-llyn in the easterly loop alignment now being prepared at Ch.26100 approx. A 60m siding could accommodate the construction stock and Dolgarrog's shed. Stone deliveries will also be possible at this location as it is outside the Beddgelert exclusion zone agreed by TWO restrictions.

Ballasting and tamping has reached Nantmor l/c and the erection of signage there by the Tuesday Gang this week finally allows train to cross. It is hoped that the completion of Nantmor Embankment in early November will allow rails to quickly advance down to the site of Hafod-y-llyn loop some 800m ahead. This location is the aim for the Sponsor's Special next year now that the KMX tamper is operating reliably.

 

Bryn-y-felin road bridge

Gwynedd Council has not yet started work on Bryn-y-felin road bridge (due 29/10/07) and there is no sign of them doing so for a few weeks. This work will require several months and was due to start in the Autumn. It seems likely to overrun into the 2008 tourist season unless it starts promptly.

 

Construction news 26/10/07

Volunteers have been working on LC69 near Pont Cae'r Gors. Contractor William Hughes' has been working on Cemetery Crossing LC88 and LC89. They were hoping to pull out of Beddgelert on 26/10/07 having finished the job after just over a year! The final task was to provide a stone wall to support the field footpath alongside UB167. Water supply and sewer access have still to be agreed by Welsh Water and these jobs will be finished later along with the station building that might not be finished by opening day. The water tank still needs a roof fitting but the painting of all accessible parts was finished on 20/10/07 by West Midlands Group volunteers.

 

Beddgelert tank painted_JB20-10-07.jpg (93633 bytes)

This view (20/10/07) shows the completion of painting of the accessible parts of Beddgelert Water Tower by members of the West Midlands Group. A few small areas remain to be painted after removal of the scaffolding. The scaffolding is foul of the loop line and will be removed soon to permit run round operations, however the roof is not yet fitted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Janine Bird and was taken on a Pentax Optio S50 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH22-10-07BS wall.jpg (114808 bytes)

This view (22/10/07) shows the contractor completing the wall that supports the field footpath at UB167. They were due to clear the site on 26/10/07. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH22-10-07BS siding.jpg (83637 bytes)

This view (22/10/07) shows the last view of the ballasted siding before track laying the following weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH24-10-07Cemetery Crossing finished.jpg (112641 bytes) S9_BWH24-10-07LC89 finished.jpg (102540 bytes)

These northerly views (24/10/07) show Cemetery Crossing (LC88) and LC89 now finished with fencing and gates. There is no facility for the Hearse Van to call here for unloading! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The widening of the Nantmor Incline saw a major change in late October. The top 3m of the narrow topped embankment were removed and spread sideways to widen the base. A rapid programme of bringing in slate waste, spreading and vibro-rolling then took place. On 22/10/07 the embankment looked about 2.5m below bridge level but work accelerated as the embankment narrowed towards the top and by the end of the week it appeared there was just over 1m to go to reach the correct level.

 

S11_BWH22-10-07Nantmor Incline.jpg (80516 bytes) S11_BWH24-10-07Nantmor Incline.jpg (108184 bytes)

These northerly views (21/10/07 and 24/10/07) show work advancing on the Nantmor Incline with the height raised to about 1m below the final level required by the end of the week. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL news

The Cross Town Rail Link is progressing well but the contractor has not yet started on the Snowdon Street l/c, Llyn Bach path or Britannia Bridge works. Work is focussed on the section at Porthmadog New (1923) and the section north of Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb Crossing) to Pen-y-Mount. Initially, Pen-y-Mount Junction is to have a 60m platform (3 coach lengths) south from the existing WHR(P) waiting room. The platform will be on the west side of the line and will extend under the future Porthmadog Bypass viaduct (due 2009). Access will be from the WHR(P) platform from Penmount Lane.

 

S14_DH22-10-07PYM N.jpg (63766 bytes) S14_DH22-10-07PYM N2.jpg (60369 bytes)

These northerly views (both 22/10/07) show work advancing close to Pen-y-Mount Halt. The first view shows the wide formation for the long platform south of existing WHR(P) halt. The second view shows the WHR(P) service passing with Gelert, as an excavator is delivered to the site. Click on the image to enlarge. These images are courtesy/ copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Outstanding work at Porthmadog New involves installing telecoms ducts (for Cae Pawb Crossing etc.), trimming to level, installing geotextile sheet and ballasting. As with the subterranean bridges over the Porthmadog sewer under Llyn Bach path, a similar structure maybe required across the high pressure gas main just south of Pen-y-Mount. A slight deviation to the west is required here as inspection pits were built by the Gas Board on the original alignment ultra vires and without any thought of future re-opening!

 

S14_DH22-10-07PN n.jpg (69258 bytes) S14_DH22-10-07PN N2.jpg (77415 bytes)

These northerly views (both 22/10/07) show work advancing at the site of Porthmadog New (1923). The first view shows gabions complete and the sand foundation being vibro-rolled back between them. The second view nearer to Y Cwt bridge shows the trackbed excavated and more gabions being filled for the retaining walls. Click on the image to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_DH22-10-07Porthmadog new.jpg (85454 bytes)

This southerly view (22/10/07) shows work advancing at the site of Porthmadog New (1923). Gabion boxes are under construction at the south end of the site. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/ copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_BWH21-10-07Porthmadog car park.jpg (80890 bytes)

This view (21/10/07) shows the Carillion compound extended to the south along the alignment of the CTRL to accommodate stone and sand excavated from Porthmadog New (1923) site before it is returned. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Four new S30 points for Harbour Station and trap points for either side of Cambrian Crossing are being constructed by Holdtrade of Pont-y-clun, Mid-Glamorgan. The points have been inspected by FR PW supremo Fred Howes and are due for delivery in late October. The trap points are double leaved 'wide to gauge' type. It remains to be seen if Network Rail will require similar points on their own line!

 

Points_DH12-10-07Catchpoints.jpg (61853 bytes)

This view (12/10/07) shows work advancing on one of the catchpoints at Holdtrade's Pont-y-clun factory. These are due to be installed either side of Cae Pawb Network Rail crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/ copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Points_DH12-10-07New points.jpg (71080 bytes)

This view (12/10/07) shows Fred Howes (FRC) quizzing Peter George of Holdtrade, checking the gauge of one of the four new points for Harbour Station at Holdtrade's Pont-y-clun factory. These include the new king point for The Cob and points for the run round loop in Harbour Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/ copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 on passenger turns

K1 was released for passenger duty on 19/10/07 and ran turns to Rhyd Ddu with six coaches and the bike wagon. Driver Tony William's smile confirms the loco performed well and kept time even with the heavier E-set. It is hoped K1 will be able to take its share of duties over the Winter timetable and draw visitors to the railway over this traditionally light period.

 

K1_NW19-10-07Snowdon Ranger.jpg (83614 bytes)

This northerly view (19/10/07) shows the K1 southbound at Snowdon Ranger in beautiful Autumn weather. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Noel Walley and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1_CG19-10-07Dinas sb.jpg (99221 bytes) K1_CG19-10-07Dinas nb.jpg (96685 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (all 19/10/07) show K1 in regular passenger duty. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Cliff Garnett and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1_CG19-10-07Ffridd Isaf curve.jpg (86546 bytes)

This easterly view (19/10/07) shows the K1 southbound at Ffridd Isaf curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Cliff Garnett and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1_CG19-10-07Dinas with happy driver.jpg (70861 bytes)

This westerly view (19/10/07) shows the K1 at Dinas with a happy driver, Boston Lodge Manager Tony Williams. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Cliff Garnett and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Busman's Holiday!

Your webmaster is off on holiday to Beddgelert for the week from 20/10/07 with his wife and 3 dogs. There will be no more updates until Friday 26/10/07 so please don't overwhelm the web host (who has kindly donated this web space) with multiple hits looking for updates!

 

Tamper reaches Bryn-y-felin curve

The KMX tamper has passed through Goat Tunnel and reached Bryn-y-felin Cutting, just behind the Bryn-y-felin house. The WHRS is investigating the cost of an aligning trolley that will help the KMX set the horizontal alignment as well as the vertical alignment.

 

S9_AS18-10-07Tamper at Cemetery Crossing.jpg (70747 bytes)

This southerly view (18/10/07) shows the KMX tamper operating just south of Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KMX_JB11-5-07Tamper aligning trolley.jpg (74559 bytes)

This view (11/5/07) shows a KMX-12T tamper with its aligning trolley at Cucania on the 2 foot gauge Babinda Sugar Mill railway in North Queensland. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Browning and was taken on a Kodak Z730 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 18/10/07

Work continues on widening the Nantmor Incline and readying the trackbed as far as the Afon Nanmor bridge. Geotextile is in use to prevent the estuarine sands pumping up into the rolled slate fines. The large stockpile of rock at Hafod-y-llyn from the rebuilt Nantmor Embankment has been used up and the formation widened for the future loop.

 

S11_AS18-10-07Ch26000N1.jpg (92421 bytes) S11_AS18-10-07Ch26000N2.jpg (85178 bytes)

S11_AS18-10-07Ch26000N3.jpg (73875 bytes) S11_AS18-10-07Ch26000N4.jpg (101623 bytes)

These northerly views (all 18/10/07) show the view between LC95 at TWA Ch25900 and Ch.26000. The first view shows the scraping of the trackbed at LC95 and the laying of geotextile. The second view shows slate fines being rolled on top of the geotextile. The third view shows the 100m nearing completion. The fourth view shows the southern end near the start of the new site for the future Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AS18-10-07HYL loop formation completed.jpg (73612 bytes) S11_AS18-10-07HYLN2.jpg (64565 bytes)

These northerly views (both 18/10/07) show the view around LC96. The formation has been widened for the newly repositioned Hafod-y-llyn loop (TWA Ch.26200 approx.). The first view shows the widened formation where rock was stored from the Nantmor embankment replacement until recently. The second view shows the area around LC96 where the new mitigation farm track/public footpath starts. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AS18-10-07LC102N.jpg (87995 bytes)

This northerly view (18/10/07) shows the formation complete at LC102 (TWA Ch.27000 approx.). This was originally the intended site of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Historic WHR Buffet Car takes shape at WHR(P)

Restoration of the original Welsh Highland Buffet Car has taken a major step forward with the assembly of the wooden body framework. The historic carriage dates from 1893, and is now in the care of the Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog). Regarded by many as one of the most important carriages in narrow gauge history, it was the first ever refreshment carriage on a narrow gauge railway in Britain. But when the railway closed, it was sold off, cut in half and ended its days as a summer house.

 

Buffet Car_WHRP13-10-07.jpg (70143 bytes)

This westerly view (13/10/07) shows young and old volunteers building the framework of the restored Buffet Car at the WHR(P). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy WHR(P) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Buffet Car was converted from an Ashbury 1st/3rd composite carriage in 1927, and its celebrity status began during its working life. Tom Rolt, who went on to become one of the pioneers of railway restoration, rode in it and commented on how hard it was to keep his coffee in the cup! He later wrote: "to control a full cup successfully would have taxed the skills of an equilibrist. Most of the coffee soon found its way into the saucer, if not further afield, but I am glad to say I patronised this courageous attempt to provide main-line luxuries on the two foot gauge."

The carriage was donated to the WHR(P) in the late 1980s, and restoration work began in 2005, with the help of a grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council PRISM Fund. Work on the underframe was completed in 2006, and restoration has now moved to the bodywork. Over the weekend of 13th – 14th October, the main framework of the carriage was assembled. It follows several months of careful restoration, using specialist joints to integrate new sections of timber into the original sections of bodywork.

Andy Jones, WHR(P) Carriage & Wagon Manager said: "For the first time in years, the Buffet Car has now started to look and feel like a coach again. You can certainly get an impression of how low the roof is, but you can also start to appreciate what it would have been like in the late 1920s. Specialist restoration work has been carried out by Magnay & Yates, a joinery firm from Haltwhistle in Northumberland. Peter Magnay, one of the team working on the carriage, said: "Restoring the original bodywork has been a time consuming, and highly frustrating task. Not only have we had to cope with rot and damage but things have been made even more complicated because sections which were supposedly the same had been finished with hand tools, and so were in fact different thicknesses. Joining it all together has been a complicated job, but the results are impressive, even at this early stage."

The Buffet Car restoration will continue over the coming months. The carriage is scheduled to be complete by February 2009. The coach will take its place in the authentic WHR(P) Heritage rake to be used at the Grand Opening of the WHR throughout.

Pictures of the framework being assembled are here - http://www.jazlong.ndo.co.uk/stickfest07/

 

Winter timetable

The WHR Winter timetable was published recently. The daily service continues until 4/11/07 and the Half Term Holiday week from 20/10/07 to 26/10/07 sees a two train 'Green' service with steam and diesel workings. Weekend only operation then ensues until 2/12/07 with a two trains a day steam service rather than a diesel service this year, followed by three weekends of Santa operation leading up to Xmas.

The Xmas holidays see the same steam service continue from 26/12/07 to 1/1/08 and it is hoped K1 will do the honours! The February Half Term service is extended over 2 weeks, as last year, starting from 9/2/08 to allow for different school holidays in different counties. However, the second week sees a sparse service with Monday 18/2/08 missing and the service finishing on Thursday 21/2/08 until Easter. It gives more opportunities to travel on/photo trains in the snow or at least with a snowy background! Given the vicissitudes of global warming, this is becoming a rare event with only one day of lying snow last year at Rhyd Ddu and that on a non-operational day!

Spring services commence on 15/3/08 when snow may still be on the ground. Services operate every day until 31/3/08 (the end of the Winter timetable) with a two train steam service for much of the time. As No.138 will be in the works from February (if not before) for its 10 year overhaul, this implies K1 will share duties with No.143. The Bank Holiday weekend sees an intensive red timetable operated on the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 23-4/3/08.

 

WHR Winter Timetable 2007-8

 

CTRL progress 15/10/07

The area around the WHR works at Pen-y-Mount has now been fully fenced off and this means the closure of the footpath to Cambrian Crossing. As well as recreating the trackbed, Carillion will be providing the exchange platform on the main line (aka Harbour Branch!). Work on the gabions has been completed at the site of Porthmadog New (1923) to replace the original decaying stone embankment walls and the area is being backfilled with rolled sand. Geotextile is being used to prevent sand penetration of the gabions.

 

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This southerly view (15/10/07) shows fenced off work underway south of the site of Pen-y-Mount Junction. The lines of blue and orange plastic fencing may indicate an access path to the existing platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/10/07) shows clearance work underway north of Cambrian Crossing. The narrow formation here will require the repositioning of some of the WHR(P) caravans and fence line to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi, courtesy Ben Fisher, and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/10/07) shows work underway south of Cae Pawb l/c (aka Cambrian Crossing) at the site of Porthmadog New (1923). The gabions have been completed and sand is being rolled between them. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/10/07) shows clearance storage of sand excavated from the Porthmadog New (1923) station site on the Central Car park, just south of the Carillion compound. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi, courtesy Ben Fisher, and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress

The trackbed around the originally proposed site of Hafod-y-llyn loop has been completed on its diverted alignment and the mitigation farm track prepared to the east to divert farm vehicles off the original trackbed.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 13/10/07) show the view around LC103 at Hafod-y-llyn (TWA Ch.27100 approx.). The first view shows the parallel mitigation road nearing completion and the trackbed rolled with slate fines. The trackbed originally occupied the farm track on the extreme right. The second view shows the newly diverted trackbed on the right with a new deep ditch excavated to better drain the area. The trackbed originally occupied the alignment of the farm track on the extreme left. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert water tower painted

West Midlands Group volunteers finished painting the tank itself on 14/10/07 but ran out of black paint needed for the supporting structure.

 

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This northerly view (13/10/07) shows the Beddgelert water tower painted (excluding some of the legs). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Johnson and was taken on a Canon A95 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

While the scaffolding was up the following images were taken of the station area.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 13/10/07) show the view from Beddgelert Station water tower. The first view shows Dolgarrog in action and the second view shows the completed station platforms. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 14/10/07

The North Wales Track Gang laid rail to within 6m of UB182 at approx. TWA Ch. 25400. Five panels were laid on 13/10/07 and the remaining two on 14/10/07. The Saturday saw a spectacular turn out for the Black Hand Gang (aka NWTG!), with 30 volunteers. These were split into three gangs; one working at Dinas preparing the rail plus fish plates (South African) and catch points for the siding at Beddgelert, one laying track at the Head of Steel and one relaying at the Forest Campsite Halt. There was a section of track there with a severe kink in it. On Sunday there were slightly less with 24 volunteers. This time two gangs were set to work; one at Dinas continuing the preparation for the siding at Beddgelert and one laying track up to UB 182. This gang then went up to the area of the Forest Campsite Halt and did a bit of track aligning that needed a good number of bodies heaving on bars!

 

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This northerly view (14/10/07) shows immediately north of UB182. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (12/10/07) shows work underway to widen both sides of the Nantmor Incline south from UB182. This work will hold up tracklaying for a while. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (10/10/07) shows clearance of top soil from the west side of the Nantmor Incline, prior to the widening works. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi, courtesy Ben Fisher, and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 progress

K1 has been out and about on test again. The loco had a short test on 2/10/07 and then ran to Rhyd Ddu on 4/10/07. The valve gear has been adjusted with greater accuracy for compound working and was probably never set up correctly initially. The results were dramatic and against predictions the loco runs with the F set, four notches up. K1 stopped at Hendy Crossing to open the dampers. Steaming is better on coal and exhausting from the low pressure engine is also better.

 

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This southerly view (2/10/07) shows K1 on test at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi (courtesy Ben Fisher) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The driver reported that water and coal consumption were acceptable. Performance with the five car 'F set' was very pleasing and so Dinas staff will not have to change the set when K1 is rostered. A bearing still ran hot but it is thought this is now at the level where running in and additional lubrication will suffice and it was dismantled the next day to be attended to. The flexible oil feed pipes are a bit small and it should be remembered that K1's axleboxes are equivalent to those of a Merchant Navy Class. Tasks remaining include fitting the damper controls in the cab and improving the operation of the injectors. After further attention to the axlebox on 9/10/07, a further satisfactory run took place on 12/10/07 with a view to having the loco in service this Autumn/Winter.

Volunteers have also been working on the replica acetylene headlights. They consist primarily of brass sheet and steel mountings. The lamps will be fitted with batteries and 24V spot lamps. The batteries allow for a continuous electricity supply if the turbo generator is not generating.

 

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K1 headlamp_AR8-10-07C.jpg (83695 bytes)

These views (all 8/10/07) show K1's brass headlamps under construction in Worcestershire. Stuart Fletcher is seen working on the in the reproduction lamp casings in his workshop . Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Rutter and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Carriage Shed progress 9/10/07

With Winter weather approaching, work finally started on the Dinas Carriage Shed extension project in late September. By 25/9/07 the northerly extension to the Dinas Carriage Shed was well under way with the trench for the foundations on the west side looking ready for concrete and the east side partly dug. By 2/10/07 the concrete for the foundations had been poured and most of the steel frame erected. The framework was completed by 7/10/07. Vehicles are accessing the work through the shed while stock is used out on the line during the day.

The low foundation wall around the periphery progressing steadily by 9/10/07. The back wall is finished and the east side well on the way. Sheeting for cladding the extension is on site so it should not be long before it is fitted. Materials have been brought in on flat trucks parked alongside the shed. The shed is two coaches long and will house four coaches in total on the two roads. Any further extension of the shed to the north will require land purchase.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/10/07) show the extension of the Dinas Carriage Shed under construction. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Paul Wood and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Surveying underway at Pont Croesor

With the bridge at Pont Croesor to be placed this Winter, a survey has recently been carried out.

 

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This northerly view (4/10/07) shows a survey underway at Pont Croesor with Cnicht in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Robert Darlaston and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/10/07) shows a survey underway at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Robert Darlaston and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Loco news

The FR's General Manager Paul Lewin, has provided the following update on loco progress:-

New L&BR replica loco Lyd is in Boston Lodge Works to be re-greased and tidied up as it has been under cover for a while and the FR wanted to make sure there was no risk of corrosion causing problems. The loco is scheduled in the Erecting Shop after No.87 and it is intended that it will be completed then. The FR expects to appeal in the press for a bit more help. The loco is intended to be used on the WHR Driver Experience courses from 2009 and will haul the lion's share of WHR special turns. Given the number of them needed it could well be that the FR may not able to start them until late in 2009 and they will run on for more than a year. One request has been made to use the Darjeeling engine for a train if the owner can be persuaded to let it run on the WHR!

No.138 needs to come out of traffic by February 2008 at the latest. Its last trip was in early October. The next step is to strip and assess the state of the boiler. Tony Williams and his team have been looking at how to best store the components of the loco safely whilst the boiler strip takes place. When more is known about the extent of work needed on the boiler the FR will decide on how best to move forward. Volunteers can help the Dinas team with this work.

Work on No.87 continues at quite a pace. Lots has been done on the leading power unit. The new bunker is under construction at D.J. Williams Peblig Mill Works in Caernarfon, using the old bunker as a pattern. The boiler is now retubed and the next job is preparing the backhead for fitting. It in intended to do a hydraulic test on the boiler at Christmas and steam test on 27/3/08.

Meanwhile No.140's boiler might be used on No.138, but only as a last resort. The FR might equally well use it on No.143 in two years time, when it comes up for its 10 year certification. It all depends on what is found wrong with No.138 and how long the work takes to complete. Every time volunteer work on No.140's boiler moves forward it helps build the FR's fall back position and they are grateful to those who have helped on this in recent years.

As regards coal conversion, the first few locos converted to coal give the biggest saving when coal prices are low compared to oil. Conversions are not cheap so the FR must consider the issue carefully before making a decision to convert each loco. The current thinking is that No.138 will stay on oil, (assuming a rapid turn around on the boiler) alongside No.87 and K1 on coal. This gives a steadier, more manageable training scenario. The FR will review No.143 when it comes in for the ten year overhaul in two years time.

The Romanian carriage No.2060 will be tried out on the WHR first and the FR needs to see how it goes before ordering more. The bogies look good and, as the fitting out progresses, the interior is becoming quite an interesting space. The large windows could well prove to be quite a winner. A number of interesting opportunities have arisen with respect to a powerful rescue loco but there is no money yet to buy one.

Future carriage plans, after the next two 'Winson' style coaches and the Romanian coach, include a service coach for the WHR. The FR is keen to ensure that standards of carriages right across the FR/WHR family are kept high. Quality rolling stock is key for the future. This will provide more loos and disabled facilities in coming builds. However the FR needs around £100k per carriage so the success of the Rolling Stock Fund will determine builds.

As regards the NG15s, the FR nearly got serious funding for one two years ago for a rebuild. It fell through as the sponsor had some business life issues that came out of the blue. Luckily, within a week the No.87 deal got going. Garratts first and foremost are the preferred option for the early years. But all it takes is a serious offer of funding and Boston Lodge could make a start on No.133 or No.134 next Autumn. The General Manager would like to see them on the line and believes the variety of locos adds to the experience.

The gear boxes for Castell Caernarfon are promised any day. These will release the ones borrowed from Vale of Ffestiniog. This loco will be repainted in green from its long standing National Power blue livery and resumes its duty as standby loco on the FR. After this the FR would like to do a similar job on Vale of Ffestiniog's bogies and paint the WHR Funkey.

 

Contract news

Mike Hart has provided the following update on constructions plans and progress:-

The contract for Beddgelert Station building has not yet been let. The WHRCL will be looking to place that contract in 2008 when the engineering team is freer from the demands of keeping the trackbed works moving southwards.

A kind donor is funding the construction of an NWNGR style building at Waunfawr with a start promised next Spring on the concrete foundation slab already in place (see story in News Archive 2007). It should be completed in time for the 2009 Grand Opening. As regards Nantmor Halt, the planning application is still with the SNPA but pleasingly, a number of provisional offers of contributions from supporters have been made to help towards the funding. Waiting shelters are needed for all the halts and the WHRS is hopefully funding one at Snowdon Ranger soon. There is still the possibility of a Betws Garmon/Bryn Gloch Halt but no progress has been made.

Carillion is still building up its resources in Porthmadog and is currently concentrating on the Pen-y-Mount to Snowdon Mill section. They are about to start excavating the route across the Porthmadog Central Car Park as they need to put a re-inforced concrete cover over the sewer where it runs under the alignment along Llyn Bach. Britannia Bridge works will start in November and it is anticipated that the Carillion contract will be completed by February 2008. Gwynedd Council has ordered a temporary footpath closure of the Llyn Bach path from 13/10/07 to allow works to proceed in this area and the same restriction applies to the footpath from Cambrian Crossing (aka Cae Pawb) to Pen-y-Mount on the trackbed. Carillion will lay the tramway track at Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge and the extension lengths immediately north and south of Cae Pawb but it is hoped that WHR(P) volunteers will lay track from Pen-y-Mount to Cae Pawb Crossing. The rest of the CTRL tracklaying will follow the hand over of the site in the Spring and is a volunteer task.

Work on removing the front of Cob Records store (opposite Cob Records) is subject to some discussions with contractors at present. Cae Pawb Crossing will be fully commissioned in the second half of 2008. All trains fitted to WHR main line standards will be allowed across the crossing. With rail delivery taking place at Pen-y-Mount it is also possible that rails may be laid north towards Pont Croesor from Pen-y-Mount as the Civils contractor works back to Pont Croesor.

 

Team Wylfa reports to 9/10/07

Team Wylfa were back in action on Tuesday evenings from 18/9/07 after their 2 week break. They had a blitz on the E Set, which was all oiled and checked over and attended to the F set the following week. It was not the usual crew as three volunteers were joined by their German friend, Ulrich (over on his Autumn tracklaying visit) and David Power from Australia, who is more often than not a corresponding member on the FR & WHR e-groups giving his technical expertise input on water resources and drainage. He promises to join Team Wylfa again next year when he pays another visit to the UK.

On the evening of 25/9/07, Team Wylfa was almost back to a normal crew and, with the addition of their German visitor for his second and final week of his visit, progress was swift. The first half of the evening was spent on checking/oiling up the 'F' Set and then volunteers were able to progress No.140 at last. The final sandbox was cleaned down to bare metal ready for priming. This one will require a minor plate repair as there are two holes corroded through one side. The other three sandboxes had a second coat of undercoat as did one of the lube oil tanks.

Only two volunteers turned up on 2/10/07 after the larger parties of recent weeks. However, they quickly turned around the two bike wagons with inspection and oiling up, then proceeded to catch up on several small jobs in our clip shed workshop.

A team of three did their usual carriage inspections on 9/10/07, now much reduced due to the running season being almost over with reduced trains in service. This only took half the evening and thereafter they did some clear up work in the workshop, which included putting a kit of parts for a spare RRM together that was overhauled last winter. They should complete this and clear significant floor space next week.

 

Head of Steel 13/10/07

The North Wales Track Gang took over the baton on 13/10/07 and laid five lengths of track to the former Llanfrothen road l/c just north of UB182. This is the section where the WHR(P) laid temporary track in the 1960s that remained on site until last year! The Head of Steel is at TWA Ch.25350 with just two lengths to go north of the A4085 road bridge to be laid on Sunday morning.

 

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This northerly view (13/10/07) shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel at the old Llanfrothen Road level crossing that was replaced by UB182. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Head of Steel 12/10/07

The ROTWG has rounded the corner on Nantmor Curve and finished their working week on the long straight that leads down onto the Traeth. They used ex-SAR sleepers to gauge widen the sharp curve on UB181, where the track leads off the rebuilt embankment. The Head of Steel now lies at TWA Ch.25280 with 5.5 lengths laid on 12/10/07.

There are about 6 straight lengths to lay ahead on the ballast bed ahead before the Nantmor Road Bridge. If the North Wales Track Gang runs out of things to do at the Head of Steel this weekend, they can lay the Beddgelert Station siding as it has now been ballasted. The wooden beams on the inspection pit have also been concreted in place.

 

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This northerly view (12/10/07) shows the sharp Nantmor curve laid in ex-SAR sleepers. Supplies of Indian sleepers are stockpiled to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jane Ewing, courtesy John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/10/07) shows Dolgarrog on Nantmor Curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Fuji Finepix digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 12/10/07) show the Head of Steel near UB181. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Jane Ewing, courtesy John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/10/07) shows the trackbed with sleepers laid out for the NWTG this weekend right up to Nantmor road bridge (UB182). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jane Ewing courtesy John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station siding ready

The contractor William Hughes is tidying up the station site before they complete their contract this month and one of the last jobs was to clear the siding area and lay the ballast as well as fix down the timber baulks on the inspection pit. This was completed by 9/10/07 and is available for tracklaying this weekend. The water tower is just about finished and scaffolding will be removed that is currently blocking the western loop track. Painting may take place later when the galvanised surface has oxidised a little as with the Rhyd Ddu tanks.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 5/10/07) show the timber baulks fixed in place on either side of the inspection pit at Beddgelert Station siding. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Paul Wood and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 9/10/07) show ballast laid in the Beddgelert Station siding. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (9/10/07) shows the completion of the Beddgelert water tower. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Xmas tracklaying

Blow the Christmas cobwebs away

Paul Bradshaw is considering running some days of track laying in the period between Christmas 2007 and the New Year holiday 2008. This depends of volunteers' interest. The projected dates are Thursday 27/12/07 to Sunday 30/12/07. It will help planning and, indeed the decision whether any track is laid in this period at all and, if so, on which days the working parties will take place, if people who are interested in taking a bit of post Christmas exercise in this way could get in touch ASAP and let Paul Bradshaw know on which days you would like to volunteer. As it gets dark early at this time of the year the track gangs will work fairly short hours. Come for one day or come for more. However if we get some crisp sunny days this can be one of the best times of the year to be in North Wales. Nothing promised but Paul will try to make these working parties a bit special.

Spring 2008 working 'week'

The week will start on Saturday 8th March, a ROWG weekend, and continue through to the following Black Hand Gang weekend on Sunday 16th. Get in touch if you are interested in joining us for all or any part of that period.

Weekends

Weekend track laying will continue into 2008 in the usual fortnightly pattern with weekends alternating between the North Wales Black Hand Gang and the Rest of the World Gang. The dates for weekend track laying for the next few months are:

 

October   13-14/10/07 20-21/10/08 cancelled 27-8/10/07  
November 3-4/11/07 10-11/11/07 17-18/11/07 24-5/11/07  
December 1-2/12/07 8-9/12/07 15-16/12/07 22-23/12/07 cancelled  27-30/12/07
January 5-6/1/08 12-12/1/08 19-20/1/08 26-27/1/08  
February 2-3/2/08 9-10/2/08 16-17/3/08 23-24/2/08  
March 1-2/3/08 8-9/3/08 15-16/3/08 22-23/3/08  

North Wales Track Gang RED.

Rest of the World Track Gang BLACK

Other events

Paul Bradshaw will be planning other track laying events for the first half of 2008. Keep an eye on the web sites where further information will be posted as dates are finalised.

Paul Bradshaw, Tracklaying Volunteers Coordinator (WHRCL)

Reply to:

Email: paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk

Post: Dinas, Llanwnda, Caernarfon Gwynedd LL54 5UP

Phone: 01766 770034

 

Head of Steel 11/10/07

The Rest of the World Gang advanced the Head of Steel to UB181 at TWA Ch.25190 by the end of 11/10/07. Ahead lies the long straight to the Nantmor Road Bridge. The ROTWG has announced it will miss the weekend of 20-1/10/07. It is possible that the widening and ballasting of the Nantmor Incline will not be ready in time.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 11/10/07) show the Head of Steel near UB181. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Jane Ewing courtesy John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cross Town Rail Link news

Recent weeks have seen good progress made with the CTRL. The land from Cambrian Crossing (Cae Pawb) to Pen-y-Mount Junction has been cleared. There is also good progress on the Portmadoc New (1923) site. The decayed sand embankment has been excavated north from UB220 (Y Cwt) as far as Cae Pawb Crossing and gabions have been placed either side to form new edges. These are being filled with rock and then the sand is being backfilled between them. The sand is stored at the Carillion base on the Porthmadog Central Car Park.

 

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This southerly view (2/10/07) shows the clearance of the trackbed south from Pen-y-Mount Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/10/07) shows the clearance of the trackbed immediately north of Cae Pawb Crossing (Network Rail). Some caravans need to be moved a little on the WHR(P) site to obtain the necessary clearance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/10/07) shows the excavation of the trackbed through the site of Porthmadoc New (1923). The water tower is the only recognisable feature. Gabions placed either side are being filled with rock before the sand is back-filled between them. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

First train across Nantmor Level Crossing

Good progress has been made during the Rest of the World Gang 'Working Week'. Track reached TWA Ch.25060, the curve onto the recently rebuilt Nantmor Embankment. Ballast has extended to UB182 at TWA Ch.25400, a point that may be reached by the weekend when the North Wales Track Gang takes over. The widening of the embankment beyond here is underway on the Nantmor Incline.

 

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This northerly view (10/10/07) shows Dolgarrog pulling the first train across Nantmor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/10/07) show the Head of Steel around Nantmor Curve. The first view shows the track as it was at the end of the day with rails just laid on the rebuilt embankment. The second view shows the straight that will be laid Thursday along the new embankment. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Jane Ewing courtesy John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/10/07) shows ballast has now reached UB182, the Nantmor Road bridge from the north. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Keene and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor level crossing completed 9/10/07

The level crossing was fitted in place on Tuesday by permanent staff and then track was laid to connect up from the north. Volunteers have been working north from Beddgelert Station over the last few months replacing the old sprung rail clips, which have been prone to breakage. A concerted effort over the 8-9/10/07 saw volunteers reach Beddgelert Forest Halt before helping install the rail connection to the Nantmor Level Crossing.

 

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This southerly view (9/10/07) shows the placement of the assembled track panel and crossing unit in a slot cut in the road tarmac at Nantmor level crossing. There is a temporary track panel to the left that was replaced by a permanent connection later that day. Two excavators carry the assembled unit into position. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (9/10/07) shows volunteers linking the crossing unit to the weekend's Head of Steel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (9/10/07) shows volunteers linking the crossing unit to the weekend's Head of Steel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (9/10/07) shows the site of Nantmor Halt with the Head of Steel now south of the level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 8/10/07

The Nantmor level crossing unit was delivered on Monday, manufactured by the Peblig Mill works (Caernarfon) that has done most of the railway's steelwork. The same contractor was busy erecting the Beddgelert Water Tower on 8-9/10/07. Work on the Nantmor Incline has continued with the clearance of the base of the east side prior to widening.

 

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This northerly view (8/10/07) shows the erection of the Braithwaite panels on the new Beddgelert Station water tower. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/10/07) shows the delivery of the crossing steelwork unit to Nantmor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 8/10/07) show the area around Nantmor Curve. The first view shows the rebuilt embankment with ballast at UB181. The second view shows ballast and sleepers extending south towards the Nantmor road bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/10/07) shows the ballast and sleepers south of Nantmor Curve and the reinforced earth embankment complete with temporary safety fencing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/10/07) shows the southern end of the ballast bed at TWA Ch.25350, the old Llanfrothen Road l/c. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/10/07) shows the clearance of the east side of the Nantmor Incline ready for widening. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 7/10/07

With ballast laid as far as UB179, just north of Nantmor Level Crossing, tracklaying crossed Cwm Bychan on Saturday and entered Nantmor Cutting. Track reached UB179 at TWA Ch.24880 by the end of Sunday, approximately 1 length north of LC92. Some 13 lengths were laid and the gang packed up early having laid sleepers on all the available ballast ahead to TWA Ch.24350 (the old level crossing just north of the A4085 road bridge). The level crossing is going in on Tuesday and that will allow the North Wales Track Gang to advance the track southwards through the site of Nantmor Halt next weekend, with nearly 500m of ballast ahead of them to Nantmor road bridge. This should be sufficient for a few weekends work.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/10/07) show the area around Nantmor Level Crossing. The first view shows the Head of Steel in Nantmor Cutting with the end of the ballast at UB179. The second view shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel at the end of the day with LC92 in view, 20m or so to the north. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 7/10/07) show the area around Nantmor Cutting. The first view shows the track in Nantmor Cutting. The second view shows Dolgarrog in Nantmor Cutting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 6/10/07) show the area around Cwm Bychan. The first view shows the Head of Steel in Nantmor Cutting at the end of the day. The second view shows track crossing Cwm Bychan. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE6-10-07sleepers in Nantmor Cutting.jpg (95769 bytes) S10_JE6-10-07head of ballast in Nantmor Cutting.jpg (99783 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 6/10/07) show the area around Nantmor Cutting. The first view shows sleepers laid in Nantmor Cutting. The second view shows the end of ballast at UB179 and Nantmor Level Crossing just beyond. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 5/10/07

Progress has been made with ballasting towards Nantmor Halt to give the Rest of the World Gang some trackbed to lay on this weekend. It is hoped that they will have at least 20 lengths clear ahead of them. Down at Nantmor Incline James Cyf. has cleared the foundation on the west side for the widening that is necessary. By late afternoon on 5/10/07 ballast was laid from the old Llanfrothen road level crossing just north of UB182 and had reached TWA Ch.25100 on the reconstructed Nantmor Embankment. This should give the Rest of the World Gang the opportunity to lay track all the way to UB182 during their Working Week next week!

 

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This southerly view (3/10/07) from the Cwm Bychan embankment shows ballast laid, probably as far as the excavator in Nantmor Cutting beyond. Packs of steel sleepers have been laid out for this weekend's tracklaying. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/9/07) shows ballast being laid on the recently reconstructed embankment at TWA Ch.25100 approx. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_JE3-10-07Nantmor incline.jpg (74125 bytes)

This southerly view (3/10/07) from the Nantmor road bridge shows preparations for embankment widening on the right (west) side. Supplies of fill excavated from Nantmor Embankment are stockpiled on the formation at Hafod-y-llyn ready for this work. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/10/07) at Dinas shows the Upnor Castle waiting for a replacement chain drive. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Narrow gauge in London!

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This view (3/10/07) shows Phase 4 track in London being used to attract new members to the Imperial College Railway Society during a Freshers' Fair. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Kim Winter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A short length of Phase IV track was on display on 2/10/07, being used to attract 1st year (fresher) students to join the Imperial College Rail and Transport Society (ICTRS) (the renamed Imperial College Railway Society) at this year's Freshers' Fair, held on the Queen’s Lawn in the middle of the College, just behind the Science Museum in Exhibition Road, South Kensington. There were lots who donned high viz vests and pulled clips. The society hope to get enough new members to organise two weekends this Autumn Term laying track with the Rest of the World Gang. The ICTRS committee would like to thank Paul Bradshaw who made all the arrangements for the collection of the components and to Ron Walker, a Committee member of the London Area Group of the Festiniog Railway Society, who transported them south for them.

 

Trustee visit to Beddgelert

On 3/10/07, a second test train was run to Beddgelert with No.143 and Conway Castle in charge. This time it was raining heavily. The timber baulks for the Inspection Pit have now been placed on the concrete sidewalls. The train was run for FR Trustees, FR Board, WHRC Board and Indian Railway guests. The consist was made up at Dinas and double headed to Caernarfon. The locos ran round one at a time and double headed to Rhyd Ddu. No.143 took the Phase 4 train to Beddgelert where the Indians left. Conway Castle took the train onto T2. The party then walked to Llanfrothen road bridge and back to train inspecting the works. No.143 took the Phase 4 train back to Dinas.

 

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This northerly view (3/10/07) from the viewpoint overlooking Beddgelert Station shows No.143 and Conway Castle having arrived at the completed tarmac platform at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/10/07) shows the siding point at Beddgelert Station. The siding cannot be finished until the contractor no longer requires use of the access road to the left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (3/10/07) shows the siding point with No.143 and Conway Castle in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/10/07) shows the Inspection Pit, now with timber baulks in place next to the old water tower. There is a sharp curve that is only suitable for small locos immediately north of the Inspection Pit, as the siding turns to run parallel to the western platform track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (3/10/07) shows the Inspection Pit and baulks in relation to the westerly platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (3/10/07) shows No.143 detaching from Conway Castle at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station platform tarmaced

The whole platform at Beddgelert Station was tarmaced on 2/10/07. The usual two layer approach was adopted with a fine top 'wearing' layer. There are a number of small finishing off jobs to be done but it looks like the contractor will be off site in a few weeks. Another contractor will construct the station building on the foundation slab prepared by Hughes.

 

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This southerly view (2/10/07) shows the north end of Beddgelert Station platform with contractors placing tarmac. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/10/07) from the viewpoint overlooking Beddgelert Station shows the centre of the platform with contractors placing the top layer of tarmac. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/10/07) from the viewpoint overlooking Beddgelert Station shows the completed tarmac at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (2/10/07) shows the centre of Beddgelert Station platform with contractors rolling the top layer of tarmac. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/10/07) shows the completed tarmac from the centre of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE2-10-07BS tarmac S.jpg (72687 bytes)

This southerly view (2/10/07) shows the completed tarmac from the centre of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE2-10-07BS tarmac S from viewpoint.jpg (82903 bytes)

This southerly view (2/10/07) from the viewpoint overlooking Beddgelert Station shows the completed tarmac and the station building foundation slab beyond. The westerly face of the platform stops just before the Phase 4 train and the southerly extension of the eastern face leads to the pedestrian access point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steam at Goat Cutting

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 erupting from Goat Cutting in clouds of steam, following its restart on the 1 in 35. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Embankment rebuild complete

This week sees the completion of the Nantmor Embankment which has been rebuilt using the reinforced earth technique. Earth cladding has been added to the lower sides on 29/9/07 and Hydrogel plant seeding will be applied to the steeper slopes this week. The trackbed has also been excavated a metre deeper on the south side of LC92 in preparation for the sub base rolling. James Cyf. has already cleared the Nantmor site offices and will focus its manpower south to the Hafod-y-llyn area once the sub base and ballast has been laid to the Nantmor road bridge in the next few weeks. I am grateful to Stuart McNair for conducting a site visit.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the excavation of the additional depth in Nantmor Cutting needed to match Nantmor level crossing LC92. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (30/9/07) shows the excavation of the trackbed south of Nantmor halt to re-grade it for LC92. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (30/9/07) shows the recently completed north end of the Nantmor Embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (30/9/07) shows the completed Nantmor Embankment with earth cladding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the earth cladding of the southern end of the Nantmor Embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (30/9/07) shows grading work approaching the Nantmor road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows work has almost reached then Nantmor road bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Track reaches Cwm Bychan

The North Wales Track Gang reached the south portal of T4 on 30/9/07. The contractors had extended the ballast some 10m south of the portal. The volunteers got to within 10m of the south portal at TWA Ch.24630 with a little over a length of ballast in front of them. The tunnel lights generator will be removed by lorry before next weekend and then ballast will be extended towards Nantmor Halt. The track gang departed the HOS at about 1500 as they could do no more and ran a couple of clearance trains from the north end of T4 to Bryn-y-felin, so condition of that very public area did not give rise for complaints. They took the unused track materials back to Beddgelert and the rubbish went up to Rhyd Ddu for disposal. Upnor Castle has broken its drive chain so the Phase 4 PW train remained at Beddgelert and Dolgarrog performed all the duties. Construction south of T4 has seen sub-base already laid halfway towards LC92 at Nantmor Halt.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 30/9/07) show the Head of Steel and RRMs 10m inside the Cwm Bychan portal of T4. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Barrie Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 30/9/07) show the Cwm Bychan portal of T4 with the end of the ballast bed and sub-base laid south of that. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Barrie Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

 S10_BWH30-9-07Cwm Bychan embankment.jpg (100193 bytes)

This southerly view (30/9/07) shows the sub base laid across the Cwm Bychan embankment. Work is still underway on the headwalls of UB178 beneath. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station nears completion

Beddgelert Station platform is nearing completion with tarmac due to be applied this week to the completed and rolled platform. A water supply has being provided by the heritage water tower. Predrilled timber baulks have been delivered for the inspection pit and the former Goat Hotel aqueduct has been placed against the wall near the viewing area on top of the bank. There has been no advance on the north tower construction yet.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the platform completed at the north end of Beddgelert Station. There is a 10m extension of the westerly platform face right up to UB167. Tarmac is due to be added this week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH30-9-07BS timber baulks for inspection pit.jpg (94840 bytes)

This southerly view (30/9/07) shows the timber baulks ready for fitting to the Inspection Pit, adjacent to the old water tower. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH30-9-07BS central area from viewpoint.jpg (70232 bytes)

This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the completed planters and lamp standards at Beddgelert Station. It is hoped to plant the former soon so that the station appears in bloom when it opens at Easter 2009. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the southerly extension of the eastern face of the platform at Beddgelert Station. The pedestrian access point can be seen. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL news

Carillion is making progress with the CTRL though its work is currently confined to placing gabions to support the embankment at the site of the Portmadoc New (1923) station. They have also extended their base south across the car park. Further north at Pen-y-Mount, WHR(P) volunteers have removed most of the temporary Harbour Branch tracks so that the badgers that live under there can be removed before Carillion starts its construction work in the area.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 22/9/07) show the removal of 'Harbour Branch' siding at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Andrew Goodwin and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/9/07) shows the Carillion base extending to the south across the car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 28/9/07

The trackbed between T4 and Nantmor level crossing (LC92) has been levelled with rolled sub-base and prepared for ballasting. Hopefully, at least the Cwm Bychan portal area will be ready for the North Wales Track gang this weekend as they may complete T4 and emerge into daylight on Sunday. Last week's gang left the tunnel Head of Steel past the mid-point and the straight section ahead should be relatively easy to progress. However, the need to remove of the tunnel lights generator by lorry means that ballast cannot currently be extended south of the south portal cutting, limiting progress across Cwm Bychan embankment. There is also a culvert to be completed just north of LC92.

 

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This northerly view (28/9/07) shows Nantmor Cutting ready for ballasting, just north of LC92. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi

 

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This southerly view (4/9/07) shows Nantmor Cutting excavated down to the level for the LC92. The trackbed needed to be reduced by about 1m. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/9/07) shows Nantmor Cutting excavated down to the level for the LC92, visible in the distance. The trackbed has been reduced by about 1m. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The rebuilding of the re-inforced earth embankment through Nantmor Curve is reaching a conclusion. The south end is now complete and work is focussed on the north end that is partially on a rock ledge.

 

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This southerly view (28/9/07) shows the north end of the re-inforced earth Nantmor Embankment. It has now reached the section where it needs to be extended off a rock ledge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_JE4-9-07Nantmor Curve S.jpg (117216 bytes)

This southerly view (4/9/07) shows the north end of the Nantmor Embankment being rebuilt. There are still a few metres to raise in this view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_JE4-9-07Nantmor Curve N.jpg (107964 bytes)

This northerly view (4/9/07) shows the north end of Nantmor Embankment being built up with reinforced earth. The embankment needs to be raised another 2m or so at the north end in this view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AS28-9-07Nantmor embankment widening N.jpg (102793 bytes)

This northerly view (28/9/07) shows the south end of the re-inforced earth Nantmor Embankment. It has now reached full height in this area and has been rolled with slate fines ready for ballasting. The left hand edge shows the steeper batter on the upper part of the embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Down on the Traeth, James Cyf. has cleared the Nantmor Incline of trees right up to the main road bridge as it needs a little widening in this area. The gradient at the moment is not uniform and it is hoped to remedy this. Work is also underway in the Hafod-y-llyn area where the deviation at Ch.27000 is now marked out and fence lines made. The diversion of the farm track (required as a mitigation measure) is nearing completion and work has started on raising the trackbed where the farm track is available for use.

 

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This southerly view (28/9/07) shows the Nantmor Incline as viewed from the Nantmor road bridge. All trees have been chopped down and the incline has been scraped prior to a little widening. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AS28-9-07Nantmor Incline.jpg (63496 bytes)

This northerly view (28/9/07) shows the north end of the Nantmor Incline. With tree clearance now completed, work has now started on widening and levelling this embankment. The road bridge can be seen on the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (4/9/07) shows the area just south of the new location of the proposed Hafod-y-llyn loop. The trackbed is on the left, awaiting the completion of the mitigation farm track to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AS4-9-07HYL deviation.jpg (81586 bytes)

This northerly view (4/9/07) shows the Hafod-y-llyn deviation to the right and the mitigation farm track to the left. The further car is parked at LC103 at TWA Ch.27100 approx. This was to have been the original site of the proposed loop. Once the farm track is complete, the trackbed can be worked on. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (4/9/07) shows Croesor Junction Deviation curve. The curve is set out for 25mph. Work will resume here shortly now the Ospreys have flown. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_JE4-9-07Croesor Junction curve S.jpg (48479 bytes)

This southerly view (4/9/07) shows Croesor Junction Deviation curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.143 reaches Beddgelert!

Track has been judged safe enough to allow No.143 to run to Beddgelert on a test train on 26/9/07. Conway Castle again participated in the test run with the same light coaching stock as last week's test train. The train was at Beddgelert around 1330. The rake returned to Rhyd Ddu and was attached to the rear of the 1525 ex Rhyd Ddu. It is possible the Sponsor's Special train may run to Beddgelert Garratt hauled next April, before passengers travel to/through the Aberglaslyn Pass in lighter stock. The trip was also a technical success as well as a reassurance that the large engines actually fit past headwalls, platforms, tree branches, crossing timbers etc. While speed was limited to 10mph, No.143's crew encountered no problems with the gradient or rail but then the train was quite light. More test trips are expected in the next few weeks.

 

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 leading the way across the Weirglodd Isaf pastures. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 emerging from Cutting Mawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Yvonne Ainsworth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 arriving in Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Patrick Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 testing clearances in the western loop track after arriving at Goat Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 and Conway Castle in Goat Cutting with the loco simmering before starting back north. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 departing Goat Cutting on the 1 in 35. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 leading the rake up the hill leaving Beddgelert. Conway Castle was on the rear of the rake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 on the test rake with No.138 on the service train before the formations were reformed to return from Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S7_RC26-9-07Fridd Isaf curve 143 on the back of service train.jpg (62582 bytes)

This westerly view (26/9/07) shows No.143 attached to the rear of the service train as it rounds Ffridd Isaf curve on its return to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station progress 26/9/07

Good progress has been made with Beddgelert Station with traditional lamp standards erected and cables pulled through the ducting. The stairs have acquired hand rails. On 26/9/07, scaffolding was being erected around the new water tower presumably to build the tank. On the same day the platform was receiving its final rolling ready for tarmac.

 

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These westerly and easterly views (both 26/9/07) show Beddgelert Station steps. The first view shows the lower steps near the car park have acquired hand rails. The kerbs in view indicate some of the disabled access path may be tarmaced. The second view shows the top steps have also received hand rails. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/9/07) shows scaffolding being erected around the new north tank, presumably to construct the tank from the Braithwaite panels . Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/9/07) shows three activities underway at Beddgelert Station as the project enters its last few weeks. Cable runs are being pulled through the ducting for the traditional lighting columns that have been erected. The platform is receiving its final rolling before tarmac is laid. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Panoramic views

Doctor Richard Kirk has kindly provided the following views from high points overlooking Beddgelert Station and the Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

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These westerly and easterly panoramic views (10/9/07 and 12/9/07) show the area around Beddgelert. The first view shows Beddgelert Station nearing completion with three ballast wagons in the western loop. The three levels of the railway can be seen on the hillside above the station. The second view shows the Aberglaslyn Pass with track laid on much of the new formation. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Richard Kirk and were taken on a Nikon D80 digital camera digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bridges on The Traeth

The WHRCL has planned two accommodation overbridges on The Traeth between Pont Croesor and Traeth Mawr, the WHR(P)'s temporary loop. The bridges have public footpath access and are unusual in being formed from circular hoops with sloping faces. These will be much cheaper to build and avoid the massive and expensive foundations necessary for a traditional all concrete bridge design (e.g. Bryn Gloch) on the sandy subsoil of The Traeth (the former Glaslyn estuary). John Sreeves, the WHRCL's bridge engineers, has kindly provided the following information.

The original drawing indicated a reinforced concrete box for bridge OB216, provided to enable farmer Mr Williams to get his cattle and machinery across the line. A similar bridge designated OB217 is also being provided directly at the end of WHR(P)’s current limit of operation for the benefit of Farmer Pugh instead of the cattle creep originally envisaged. Footpaths in the area will be able to use one or both these two accommodation bridges, thereby eliminating foot crossings.

The construction team asked John Sreeves to design the two bridges, and to investigate possible alternatives. Whilst an exact cost comparison has yet to be undertaken, the WHRCL perceives that a corrugated metal structure will be cheaper and probably quicker to install than a traditional cast in-situ reinforced concrete box. Pre-cast concrete units were ruled out as being too heavy and difficult to place for the size needed, as well as requiring demanding foundation preparation, considering the sandy sub soil of the Traeth. The corrugated structures are manufactured by Asset International, based in Newport, South Wales http://www.assetint.co.uk, colloquially referred to by the trade name ‘Armco’. Then WHRCL will be using plates from their Multiplate MP200 range that has corrugations of pitch 200mm and amplitude 55mm. A variety of plate thicknesses are available from 2.75mm to 7.75mm.

 

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These views (both 8/9/07) show plans for OB216/7 respectively, still subject to planning permission. The green area shows the approach ramps and bridge. The horseshoe shaped bridge faces can be seen in both plans where the bridge hoops emerge through the embankment. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A common criticism is that they look cheap and nasty or temporary, and inevitably the question gets asked as to how long they will last. Surprisingly, corrugated steel culverts date back to the late 1800s, where they were first used in America. They have been in common use in this country since the 1950s. Corrosion is perceived as the main concern, and to comply with UK standards for a 120 year life, the WHRCL do have to be quite rigorous in protecting the thin metal from the ravages of corrosion, especially in the sea air of this environment. To this end, all plates are fully hot-dip galvanised to a thickness of 64 microns, and then painted with a tough epoxy coating both inside and out. With steam engines subjecting the exposed surface to a steamy and sulphurous atmosphere, the WHRCL recognise that any coating will not last for ever, so additional sacrificial thickness has to be added in accordance with the design code. It is calculated that 6mm plate thickness will be sufficient to ensure a 120 year life; actually about 4.5mm thickness would be enough for structural purposes.

The two bridges will be circular pipes, nominally 4.58m diameter, and of length 22.1m, 24.1m at OB 216 and OB217 respectively. This diameter equates to 62 bolt holes at 235mm pitch around each perimeter seam. Longitudinal seams require 10 bolts per metre. As the pipes are quite flexible, special measures are needed to avoid distortion during backfilling. Firstly the pipes are bedded on to loose sand, which has to be hand tamped into the corrugations under the base. Then the fill is brought up in equal layers either side and compacted enough to squash the sides in slightly. Subsequently the weight of fill placed over the top will push down and restore the pipe to a circular profile. In our case the depth of fill over the crown will be the minimum allowed, so a concrete slab is needed to disperse local wheel loads from farm tractors. Robust concrete parapets are needed for vehicle containment and these will be supported off the concrete slab. The ends of the corrugated structure will be bevelled at a gradient of 1 in 1.5 to match the slope of the embankment fill. To stiffen the cut ends and provided a satisfactory portal a concrete ring beam is cast around the cut edge.

The WHRCL is confident that the end result will give a satisfactory and cost effective solution.

 

Conway Castle on the Glaslyn bridge

John Sreeves, WHR bridge engineer, has observed the deflection on his design of bridge at UB174 and found them well within tolerances. It is traditional for engineers to stand under bridges when a heavy test train rolls over them.

 

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This northerly view (21/9/07) shows Conway Castle crossing the Afon Glaslyn bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Sreeves and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying reaches midpoint of T4

Sunday was spent completing the curve near the northern entrance of T4 and then laying track towards the midpoint of the tunnel. Altogether 10.5 lengths were laid totalling 189m. Approximately 7 of these were in the tunnel and the Head of Steel is around TWA Ch.24520. The last 20m or so at the south end remains unballasted and this is expected to be completed this week for next weekend's North Wales Track Gang, who might then have the pleasure of emerging into daylight at Cwm Bychan if all goes well!

 

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This northerly view (23/9/07) shows track laid round the curve at the north end of T4 with the north portal in view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 23/9/07) show tracklaying inside T4, near the mid-point. The first view shows Dolgarrog with volunteers packing up at the end of a long weekend. The second view shows the Head of Steel at the end of Sunday at roughly the mid-point of the long straight. The end of the bore is visible in the distance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Jane Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (23/9/07) shows the south portal of T4. The last 20m have not yet been ballasted and it is hoped this might be done before next weekend's track gang to allow them to exit into Cwm Bychan. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station progress

The station is rapidly nearing completion. The three flower beds have acquired their earth fill and the platform has been rolled level throughout, ready to receive tarmac, possibly this week. One interesting development is the creation of two gateways in the wall of the public footpath overlooking the station near the old water tower. It is planned to fence off the flat grassed area on the western side of the station site between the stone wall and the top edge of the cutting. The gates will provide access for a public viewing or picnic area on the bank overlooking what will be a photogenic siding location.

 

Track reaches into T4

The Rest of the World Gang completed track along the shelf between T3 and T4 on 22/9/07 and reached the bend inside T4. The morning was spent aligning the track through T3 laid by the Army and work extending the track did not really get underway until Saturday afternoon. Volunteers may have appreciated the relatively dry conditions inside the tunnel compared to the heavy showers outside and this may have spurred them on! The contractors have left the tunnel lights in place to facilitate and make safe tracklaying in the long tunnel. Once volunteers have completed the bend on Sunday morning, track may advance quickly on the long straight inside the tunnel and might even reach the midpoint around TWA Ch.24500 by the end of Sunday. This would leave the North Wales Track Gang the challenge of reaching the south portal in Cwm Bychan, some 150m further on, next weekend!

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 22/9/07) show the area around the north portal of T4. The first view shows the completed track on the shelf between T3 and T4. The second view shows track disappearing into T4. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 22/9/07) show tracklaying inside the north portal of T4. The first view shows the completed track and the north portal. The second view shows the Head of Steel at the end of Saturday at the bend where the tunnel becomes straight. The end of the bore is visible in the distance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (22/9/07) shows Dolgarrog's train inside the north portal of T4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/9/07) shows the completed shelf between T3 and T4 with the north portal of T4 visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/9/07) shows the north portal of T4 with lights inside the tunnel. Just inside the portal, the lights reveal the bend to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cross Town Rail Link news

Work on the CTRL commenced on 3/9/07. The Arup Rail is providing the engineering expertise while the main contractor is Carillion, who are sub-letting some contracts to local companies. Carillion won the contract on the basis of their experience with installing tramway systems elsewhere in the UK. The contract award covers the section from Pen-y-Mount to Harbour Station (effectively outside the entrance to Spooners' bar). The scope of the works is similar to other WHR contracts, i.e. including bottom ballast laying, with the laying of the plain track to be carried out by volunteers. However, the sections of embedded tramway-style track at Snowdon Mill/Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge will be laid by Carillion.

 

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This northerly view (4/9/07) shows the Cambrian Crossing with spare track panels stacked on top of the narrow gauge tracks. Work is currently concentrated just south of here. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 5/9/07) show clearance at the site of Portmadoc New (1923) station with the original concrete water tower similar to that surviving at Beddgelert. An Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 DMU crosses the WHR on the Cambrian Coast Line. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (5/9/07) shows the excavation of the Portmadoc New (1923) site. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (5/9/07) shows the area to the right where gabions will replace the failed eastern embankment wall. It is believed the embankment wall will also be replaced with gabions on the west side of the line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright David High (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The works will also include replacing the failed training wall on the north-east corner of Britannia Bridge. The first task to be carried out will be to replace the embankment through the Porthmadoc New (1923) station site with new gabion wall construction. The old concrete water tank support will be retained as a historic link to the original railway. Another area of work to be tackled shortly is the repair of the bridge over Maddock's canal, Y Cyt. The bridge is a listed structure. The work includes the construction of new parapet walls in a similar style to the long-missing originals. During the excavation, a set of points was found here, presumably the old Flour Mill siding.

 

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This northerly view (9/9/07) shows the trackbed cleared north of Snowdon Mill. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 makes it to Beddgelert!!

A special working took K1 with Conway Castle and passenger rolling stock ecs to Beddgelert on 21/9/07. The occasion was a test run for a Trustees' Special working. This was the first Garratt working to Beddgelert, although a small quarry Hunslet, Velinheli, had made it as a steam PR exercise on 26/4/07. On the way down, K1 was gauged against the platform edge at Beddgelert Forest Halt. K1 detached at Beddgelert and stabled in the loop while Conway Castle proceeded to the Head of Steel at T3...see second story below!

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 and Conway Castle ready to depart in the pouring rain on the Trustees' Special test train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 and Conway Castle rounding the curve through Pitt's Head Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 and Conway Castle rounding the curve at UB145 in the upper S curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 and Conway Castle crossing the Weirglodd Isaf pastures at UB147. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 gauging the platform edge at Beddgelert Forest Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 and Conway Castle arriving at Beddgelert in pouring rain. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

When the train arrived at Beddgelert it ran through the platform slowly to gauge the eastern platform edge against K1's large low pressure cylinders. Although it was a tight fit, the track will of course be raised several centimetres during final ballasting and tamping. K1 was then detached and stabled, awaiting the return of the stock from T3. K1 also ran into the western loop to gauge the drainage channel that runs along the western cutting edge at the south end. The platform itself is now nearing completion with flowerbeds in place and the water crane base blanked off. Some of the platform has been filled and rolled ready to accept its tarmac top layer. The contractor hopes to be off site around the end of September.

 

S9_RC21-9-07K1 gauging platform BS.jpg (84024 bytes) S9_RC21-9-07K1 at south end of BS.jpg (46804 bytes)

These northerly views (both 21/9/07) show K1 being carefully gauged against the platform edge. These views also reveal the platform reaching a conclusion with flower beds in place and the water crane blanked off. Some parts of the platform have not yet been rolled ready to receive tarmac. The wooden boards show where the contractors vehicles are still gaining access to the site of the station building. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE21-9-07K1 and Conway arrive BS south.jpg (55336 bytes) S9_JE21-9-07K1 and Conway at BS south.jpg (66443 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 21/9/07) show K1 being carefully gauged against the platform edge. These views also reveal the platform reaching a conclusion with flower beds in place and the fill rolled in preparation for tarmac in some areas. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

After the train arrived in Beddgelert Station, it proceeded slowly down the east face of the platform and halted near the south end. K1 detached and ran forward past the south loop points, before reversing into the westerly loop track. Apart from gauging, the intention was to give clearance for Conway Castle and the carriages to run past it on towards the Aberglaslyn Pass. However, there was insufficient room and the RRMs were in the way of the rest of the construction train in the westerly platform road. The brakes on the latter could not safely be got off without vacuum.

 

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This northerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 at the south end of Beddgelert Station with the platform access immediately in front of the loco. The Phase 4 train is seen stabled in the siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AS21-9-07BS gauging K1.jpg (93240 bytes)

This northerly view (21/9/07) shows the large diameter piston being gauged against the platform edge. Clearances were about 10cm. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_RC21-9-07K1 gauging platform edge.jpg (89171 bytes)

This easterly view (21/9/07) shows the large diameter piston being gauged against the platform edge. There is a step change in the platform at this location for the platform access at the south end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_RC21-9-07K1 shunts into BS south.jpg (91532 bytes)

This view (21/9/07) shows K1 at the south points shunting back to gauge the drainage channel along the western platform face. Many bedraggled onlookers are photographing the event from the footbridge! Dolgarrog's Phase 4 wagons are seen stabled in the siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Plan B was to take K1 forwards again past south points and reverse into eastern platform face. By this time Conway Castle and the coaches had reversed back up the line beyond the north loop point to allow K1 to reverse at the north loop points and be stabled by water tank tower. Conway Castle and its rake were finally able to pass K1 and run to the Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

S9_AS21-9-07K1 shunts off BS.jpg (93478 bytes)

This northerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 detached and stabling by the water tower about 1300, while Conway Castle prepares to run to T3. The platform edging is complete in this area. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_RC21-9-07K1 shunts off at BS.jpg (88375 bytes)

This northerly view (21/9/07) shows Conway Castle finally passing K1 before the rake ran to the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AS21-9-07K1 at BS water tower S.jpg (86054 bytes)

This southerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 stabled by the water tower about 1300. The coal bars now allow a substantial coal supply on this loco and the greedy boards have been dispensed with. The northerly end of the western loop still requires ballasting and tamping. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (21/9/07) shows K1 on the return journey leading the rake into Cutting Mawr with steam effects prominent as a result of the damp weather! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Conway Castle on passenger stock at T3!!

The special working mentioned in the previous story continued behind Conway Castle with light wooden bodied carriages to the HOS at T3. It is believed this was a gauging train. Coach No.1001 was also used as the train propelled back to Beddgelert.

 

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This easterly view (21/9/07) shows the Trustees' Special test train being gauged over the Afon Glaslyn bridge at Bryn-y-felin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (21/9/07) shows the Afon Glaslyn bridge in spate just south of Bryn-y-felin. The footpath below the wall is flooded. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE21-9-07Conway between T2 and T3.jpg (79951 bytes) S10_JE21-9-07Coach1001 at T2.jpg (103756 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 21/9/07) show Conway Castle with the Trustees' Special test train between T2 and T3 around 1400. Coach No.1001 was used to allow propel movements on the return journey. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE21-9-07Conway Castle and T3.jpg (111007 bytes)

This northerly view (21/9/07) shows Conway Castle near T3. This tunnel has given gauging concerns and a sharp bend, visible in the foreground, has proved the solution to the problem. The profile gauge frame is visible to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_AS21-9-07Conway Castle and train at T3.jpg (62816 bytes) S10_AS21-9-07HOS.jpg (118696 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 21/9/07) show the area around T3. In the first view Conway Castle has made it as far as the shelf between T2 and T3, having successfully gauged T2. In the second view, the HOS is seen midway between T3 and T4 as left by the Army as they finished their visit on 21/9/07. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (21/9/07) shows sleepers laid out in T4 ready for the weekend's Rest of the World Gang tracklaying. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Sony Cybershot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Sponsor's Day 2008

Sponsors' Day next year will be on 5th April. Sponsors will have to sign up to be on the first passenger trains down towards the Aberglaslyn Pass. It is hoped that track may be good enough to take a Garratt further towards Beddgelert Station and that lighter stock with diesel haulage could pass over Bryn-y-felin bridge and enter the Aberglaslyn Pass as far as track is fit to take them. All depends on progress with ballasting and tamping. Another restricting factor is whether Gwynedd Council has completed the Bryn-y-felin road bridge works which are due to start this Autumn.

 

Army's final days of tracklaying

The final few days of Army tracklaying saw them completing track through T3 on 19/9/07 and laying south towards T4 on 20/9/07. By the morning of 20/9/07 they were through T3, where a sharp curve has been designed to avoid a protrusion of rock within the bore.

This weekend's Rest of the World Gang should be laying in T4 where steel sleepers have already been delivered. In Cwm Bychan, levels have been reduced southwards towards the Nantmor level crossing (LC92) in order to reach the correct road height. It is hoped this section will be ballasted soon as the track might emerge from T4 in early October.

 

S10_AS20-9-07HOS in T3.jpg (93465 bytes)

This northerly view (20/9/07) shows the track laid by the Army on 19/9/07 through T3. There is a curve in the tunnel to avoid a rock protrusion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (19/9/07) shows the steel sleepers laid out for the Army between T3 and T4. Wooden sleepers originally intended for this area have been moved to the side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_AS19-9-07Cwm Bychan embankment S.jpg (95851 bytes)

This southerly view (19/9/07) shows the reduction of levels south from Cwm Bychan. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (19/9/07) shows a culvert being placed just north of LC92. The level of the trackbed has been reduced by up to 30cm in this area to match the level of the road at LC92. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Embankment nears completion

The rebuilding of the substandard Nantmor embankment at TWA Ch.25100, south of Nantmor Halt, is nearing a conclusion. The white blocks on the northern side are in place and the embankment has almost reached its full height and width at the south end. The reinforced earth technique used gives a standard width with steeper sides.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 19/9/07) show the embankment reaching full height at Ch.25200. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 7/9/07) show the embankment has a sloping block wall on its northern side to reduce land take. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 18/9/07

Work on improving the drainage at Pitt's Head originally installed by Phasey has been completed. Work started on Monday (17/9/07) on the felling of trees on the Nantmor Incline, allowing trackbed construction clearance to proceed up the incline towards the road bridge. The restoration of the river bank at TWA Ch.25900 was also finished on Monday. Willow stems have been lashed to the stones forming the terraces below the formation and buried with topsoil. The idea is that the willows will quickly root to disguise the harsh appearance of the stones and provide an invaluable invertebrate wildlife habitat.

 

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This northerly view (18/9/07) shows the completion of the drainage ditch at Pitt's Head. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/9/07) shows tree cutting on the Nantmor Incline. Some spoil is being stored off the alignment to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Down on the Traeth, the provision of culverts and side ditches is underway at Hafod-y-llyn. The line is being raised slightly with stockpiled fill to ensure it remains above the floodwater when the Afon Glaslyn is in spate. Work on Beddgelert Station is due to be finished at the end of September and the site cleared. Agreement has still to be reached on the station sewer across the National Park car park towards Beddgelert Junior School. The entrance from the car park will be created nearer the planned opening date of Easter 2009, even though it gives access to public footpaths.

 

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This southerly view (15/9/07) shows the installation of a culvert at Hafod-y-llyn. The pre-cast concrete pipe is covered with poured concrete to help spread the load. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress report 16/9/07

The North Wales Track Gang laid 8 lengths over the weekend in the Aberglaslyn Pass, some 144m, taking the Head of Steel to TWA Ch.24250 approx. They passed through T2 and were about 5m short of the north end of T3 when they packed up. Progress was hampered by the need to remove the piles of wooden sleepers from the trackbed, bring supplies of steel sleepers in using Dolgarrog, and carry them forwards. The contractor has been removing the piles of wooden sleepers in the long tunnel T4 in preparation for next weekend's tracklaying.

 

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These southerly views (both 17/9/07) show the track laid at TWA Ch.23900 and Ch.24050 respectively. Track changes from wooden sleepers to steel on the straight at the later point to gain extra clearance at T2. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 17/9/07) show track laid at T2. The first image shows track emerging from T2 with the WWII Blacker Bombard mortar mount in the foreground. The second shows track laid through T2 and approaching T3. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Upnor crosses Aberglaslyn Bridge

Upnor Castle crossed the Afon Glaslyn bridge last weekend (8/9/07). A ballast train had crossed the bridge a few days previously, following the fitting of special sleepers either side of the bridge on the ballast retaining walls. This was probably the third working for a loco over the bridge other than Dolgarrog.

 

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This northerly view (8/9/07) shows Upnor Castle on the Afon Glaslyn bridge. The guard rails will be extended off the bridge but cranked outwards to guide any derailed wheels back to the running rail. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH9-9-07UB174 link sleepers.jpg (79993 bytes)

This southerly view (9/9/07) shows the special concrete casting to support the chairs on the linkspan ballast retaining wall at the west side of the Afon Glaslyn bridge. A similar casting was required at the other end of the bridge. Pot jacks support the rail at the correct height prior to ballasting and tamping. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Army advance down the Pass!

Tracklaying by the Army this week has seen the Head of Steel advance south down the Aberglaslyn Pass. The position at the end of Friday 14/9/07 was that track was just north of T2 at TWA Ch.24100. A change has been made from wooden to steel sleepers on the straight north of the tunnel at TWA Ch.24000 approx, despite piles of wooden sleepers being laid out as far south as the south end of T4, the limit of ballast. This is to improve clearances in the three tunnels in the Pass. The North Wales Track gang this weekend might pass through T2.

 

S10_JE15-9-07HOSs.jpg (101316 bytes)

This southerly view (15/9/07) shows the Head of Steel as laid by the North Wales Track Gang at the end of that day. They are likely to pass through T2 on Sunday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE15-9-07T2N HOS.jpg (46170 bytes) S10_JE15-9-07T2Sn tracklaying.jpg (85770 bytes)

These northerly views (both 15/9/07) show the tracklaying around T2 at the end of Saturday's tracklaying. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE14-9-07HOSs.jpg (81108 bytes)

This southerly view (14/9/07) shows the Head of Steel as laid by the Army at the end of that day. The North Wales Track Gang have the tunnels to look forwards to. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE14-9-07HOSn.jpg (85745 bytes)

This northerly view (14/9/07) shows the Head of Steel as laid by the Army at the end of that day. The North Wales Track Gang have the tunnels to look forwards to. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pitt's Head Cutting

Remedial works have been necessary at Pitt's Head Cutting to channel water from this site. Phasey's original work appears to have been inadequate.

 

S7_JE11-9-07PH pipe.jpg (62287 bytes)

This northerly view (11/9/07) shows the replacement of the open ditch with a large diameter slotted plastic French drain. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing (WHRCL) and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd News

The castings for the curved links for the Joy valve gear went from the foundry to the machining company by 14/9/07. The loco is planned to be moved to Boston Lodge once No.87 is completed in 2008 (more boiler work has been necessary on this loco than initially thought). The FR hopes that they will be able to complete Lyd this time and plan an extra push for final fund raising shortly. Lyd is destined to operate lighter services on the WHR and should make the Grand opening at Easter 2009.

 

WHRS AGM report

The WHRS is helping towards funding the £20,000 Cambrian Crossing box and the steel underframe for a new coach for the WHR, the financing of which is currently being investigated by the FR.

 

Join In event 8-9/9/07

Numbers attending the join in event were much lower than SuperPower 2006 and the FR's aim of avoiding nuisance to neighbours seems to have been achieved. Britomart ran the Caernarfon shuttle with coach No.1001 on Saturday morning but was withdrawn because of worries about lineside fires. K1 steamed on coal and took over on the 1400 from Dinas to Caernarfon. The trip was extended to Waunfawr and then it propelled back to Dinas. Castell Caernarfon was substituted after concern about K1's axle bearings, which are still running in. However, heavy oiling seemed to do the trick and the loco was back in action on Sunday on the shuttles. Larger oil pots seem to be the solution! Britomart ran cab rides in Dinas North Yard for the remainder of the weekend. Conway Castle was in action on Phase 4 and reached Bryn-y-felin bridge on 8/9/07 (but not across!).

 

Britomart_BWH9-9-07Dinas.jpg (68776 bytes) Britomart_BWH9-9-07Little and Large at Dinas.jpg (70931 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 9/9/07) show Britomart, which was operating cab rides at Dinas. The second view illustrates the size difference between the rolling stock when compared to Castell Caernarfon. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1_BWH8-9-07coalfired at Dinas.jpg (78254 bytes)

This southerly view (8/9/07) shows K1 operating on coal at Dinas. 'Greedy boards' have been erected to allow more coal to be carried. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR(P) news

Isibutu ran its last service on the WHR(P) on 9/9/07 before returning to the G&WR at Toddington.

 

Isisbutu_BWH9-9-07Tremadog Road terminus.jpg (69584 bytes)

This easterly view (9/9/07) shows Isibutu on one of its last workings on the WHR(P), running round at the Tremadog road terminus. It operated with diesel Glaslyn, which provided the air brake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Views in the Aberglaslyn Pass

S10_BWH26-8-07Dolgarrog in Aberglaslyn Pass.jpg (104248 bytes)

This southerly view (26/8/07) shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel. The track gang was so enthused by their progress that they decided to work Bank Holiday Monday too! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG report 1/9/07

Roger Hornsby recently submitted proposals and brake force calculations for fitting vacuum brakes to vehicle No. 5002, and Jon Whalley at Boston Lodge has since responded very favourably. On 1/9/07 the existing hand brake cross shaft brackets and shaft were temporarily repositioned, and the 12" diameter cylinder trial fitted. There was just enough room to accommodate this item between the frame members with the required lever arm dimension away from the weigh shaft. As EAG volunteers propose to retain hand brakes via the existing comma cam 'splitter' system, it will be necessary to modify certain parts to accommodate the proposed new position of the cross shaft. One example of this is that the hand brake actuating levers will need a deeper set or crank put in, as one of them will foul an axle box when repositioned. Both are likely to be altered as the wagon will probably exceed its current width of 1400 mm.

The vacuum cylinders in stock have been stripped for examination and refurbishment. The 15" and 12" diameter cylinders lack release/operating valves. These valves have two functions, they operate the brakes either by train crew control, or automatically should the train line be severed. They also have a 'dump' feature that can be opened by hand (typically via a release cord) to equalise the top-side and bottom-sides of the cylinder to atmospheric pressure, thus allowing the piston to fall and releasing the brake to allow shunting movements to take place without a vacuum connection. It is hoped that these items can be sourced from Boston Lodge.

The two signs recently completed for Waunfawr station have been installed on the northbound platform by Cedric Lodge and colleagues. The four signs for Rhyd Ddu made further progress on 01/09/07 with casings (the outer "picture frame") now applied to two out of the four signs and mitred corners made for the other two. The mitres have been glued and screwed firmly, using Araldite and countersunk brass screws. This combination will resist 'gaping' of the joints due to timber expansion and shrinkage caused by weathering. The ogee shaped cornices or 'inner frames' will be applied when the casings are complete.

 

EAG_RW1-9-07valve.jpg (47465 bytes)

This view (1/9/07) shows an existing brake cylinder release or operating valve without its actuating lever. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG_RW1-9-07Wagon.jpg (72959 bytes)

This view (1/9/07) shows Wagon No. 5002 with the brake cross shaft bracket trial fitted in an off centre position, with the casing of the 12" vacuum cylinder about to be trial fitted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG_RW3-9-07wood.jpg (27522 bytes)

This view (3/9/07) shows the difference between ogee cornicing (left) and casing material (right), as applied to WHR station signs. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying report 2/9/07

The North Wales Track Gang finished the west loop in Beddgelert Station and laid an additional panel in the Aberglaslyn Pass on 2/9/07. The Head of Steel has advanced to TWA Ch.23610, progress being slow in wet conditions. The completion of the loop means that locos can now run around construction trains. Work on the 'Ashpit' siding awaits the contractor handing over that area.

 

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This southerly view (2/9/07) shows the North Wales Track Gang advancing the Head of Steel one length in the Aberglaslyn Pass in wet conditions. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (2/9/07) shows the North Wales Track Gang completing the loop in Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Help needed for Join In event

Pete Hugman is looking for help with setting up the Join In event on Friday 7/9/07, running the weekend and taking it down on the Monday. Any help would be much appreciated even for a couple of hours. Phone Peter Hugman on 07919 414889 or email him Pete Hugman.

 

Team Wylfa report 22 & 29/8/07

Team Wylfa had slightly better numbers on 22/8/07 - there were 3 volunteers! However, there were only sufficient for carriage inspections & oiling up, with no progress on No.140 again, sadly. They met again on 29/9/07 with a different 3 volunteers. As usual, carriage checks/oiling up were completed. Clive Briscoe took some photos that illustrate a little of what they do in the C&W inspection regime and describes the process below. Team Wylfa is having a break for 2 weeks and will be back at Dinas on the evening of Tuesday 18th September.

 

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This view (22/8/07) shows a carriage bogie with the axlebox cover removed for inspection inside Dinas Carriage Shed. There is little room underneath and 'grovelling' in the ballast is the norm! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (22/8/07) shows the components of an axlebox with the spring clip. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

What is inside an axlebox? There are still some with the 'patent' oilers - absorbent wool is mounted in a block held within a light spring steel holder with the strands perpendicular to the axle's journal. The block sits in the lower half of the axlebox within the oil bath. The oil soaks into the wool and the strand ends then wipe the journal with oil as it rotates. Most of the 'patent' oilers are about at the end of their working lives so are being replaced with worsted (wool) trimmings. Approximately 130 strands of unbleached wool, about 250mm long, are tied at their mid point into bundles. These are then left in soak in axlebox oil for a minimum of one week before using.

After an axlebox has been cleaned out, the norm is to repack with 3 or 4 bundles of pre-soaked bundles. After approximately a week of running, Team Wylfa find that the original trimmings have settled and another 1 or 2 bundles are required. That is usually it for a few years. All this is required is just to keep the oil topped up and check that the whitemetal on the shells is intact and not flaking off or overheating (due to a fault - like lack of oil) and melting out!

 

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This view (22/8/07) shows all the components of a wool filled axlebox that has been in service for about 3 months. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

In the wool filled axlebox, the axle is undercut to form a parallel journal on which the bearing shell sits, it has a 'button' end which prevents the shell from sliding off the end of the axle. The wool surrounds the lower half of the journal and keeps it wiped with oil. The oil carries upward in the direction of motion and forms a high pressure 'oil wedge' between the journal and the whitemetal lined bronze shell above. This keeps journal and whitemetal apart with a film of oil and prevents wear. It also keeps the bearing cool as the oil from the wedge spills out on the free, low pressure  side and drops back into the axlebox. The shell has a certain amount of free movement axially, floating on a hardened steel backing plate at the very top of the axlebox.

Other points to note on these modified, rebuilt ex SAR freight wagon bogies are the brake blocks (one just visible on the inner side of the wheel) - check for wear. The brake linkages are also inspected to check all are present and correct and for freedom of movement, with all pins secured by split pins. The bolster (cross beam on top of the springs onto which the carriage body rests and articulates) and dampers are checked to ensure all nuts and bolts are present, bearer pads are in one piece, springs not broken and vertical movement is not restricted.

Away from the bogies, volunteers put a few drops of oil on the corridor connection drop plate hinges and on the coupler eccentrics and choppers - again checking that securing split pins are present and a smear of grease on the rubbing plate on which the drawbar rests. A quick check is made that the fold back corridor wings are intact and hinges free and secured and that completes a carriage check. Internals, doors etc are checked by Operations Staff and Guards.

 

Army to visit in September?

Following their successful visit earlier this year (see the link below) the Army's Railway Squadron may visit again in September and be involved, amongst other activities, in tracklaying in the Aberglaslyn Pass.

Earlier Army Visit

 

Tracklaying volunteers needed for 'Join In Weekend 8-9/9/07'

A message from Paul Bradshaw:

'No need to buy a Weekend Rover ticket. The only donation you will need to make will be your labour if you come to join the Rest of the World Track Gang over the weekend of 8th and 9th September. The head of steel may have crossed Afon Glaslyn but there is still plenty of track to be laid. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels. We need to keep the head of steel moving towards Porthmadog as speedily as possible.

So why not join the track layers this weekend? You will be making a valuable contribution if you do. We will stop work on Saturday in plenty of time for you to get to the Galeri for the meal and the AGM, if you are headed that way. If you cannot make it on Saturday you will be welcome on Sunday.

And not to worry if you have not worked with us before. We will run a Phase 4 induction on Saturday morning and show you how things are done.

Contact Paul Bradshaw on 01766 770034 or by email at paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk if you want the real joining in experience.'

 

Brakevan news 30/8/07

While the track gangs make use of the South African brakevan as it is finished so far, Marcus Ingram continues with homework projects to complete the vehicle to its original state. Below are some pictures of the duckets that were originally on the brake van. It was never the intention to fit the fragile duckets at first but to restore and fit them once the Tunnels and the Forest had been passed. These could be fitted before the brakevan has its new roof fitted some time after 2009 when it is no longer required in the Phase 4 train.

 

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These views (all 30/8/07) show homework progress with the brakevan duckets. The first and second views show the interior of the duckets with their reflectors, before and after attention. The third view shows the completed exterior of the duckets. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Marcus Ingram and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 31/8/07

The embankment slope has been partially reconstructed under the water tower and the full length north of the siding point has been ballasted for tracklaying this weekend. Completion of the embankment may have to await the end of use of the access road by lorries. The three original features in the Ashpit Siding (tower, ashpit and Lamp Room base) have been joined by a fourth! A square concrete slab was found during clearance this week with a metal ring. When removed it revealed a chamber thought to be associated with drainage of the 'ashpit'.

 

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This northerly view (31/8/07) shows the batter of the embankment remade under the water tower and the area ballasted. The cladding on the legs of the water tower nearest the track seems to be in the process of being extended upwards to protect the legs from corrosion. A lorry delivers more ballast for the Ashpit Siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a Canon A70 PowerShot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/8/07) shows the area of the westerly loop track ballasted past the water tower. The cladding on the legs of the water tower nearest the track seems to be in the process of being extended upwards. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a Canon A70 PowerShot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/8/07) shows the batter of the embankment remade under the water tower. The cladding on the legs of the water tower nearest the track seems to be in the process of being extended upwards. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a Canon A70 PowerShot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/8/07) shows the formation along the old Ashpit Siding made up with slate fines and ready for ballasting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a Canon A70 PowerShot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/8/07) shows the formation along the old Ashpit Siding made up with slate fines and ready for ballasting. The concrete slab with the ring discovered during this process covers what is thought to be a drainage hole for the ashpit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a Canon A70 PowerShot digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

'Join In' weekend news

Activities are selling well for Saturday 8/9/07, quieter for the Sunday, but there are plenty of spaces left on both days at present. For more details of what you can ‘join in’, a detailed list is available on the website below. So if you fancy taking part, don’t risk leaving it until the weekend as you may be disappointed. Ring the FR Booking Office on 01766 516024 to book your place. The office is open daily between 0900 and 1700. NB. The Saturday walk is going ahead as planned but the Sunday walk has been cancelled due to lack of bookings to date.

Click here for full details and timetable

 

Construction news 29/8/07

Hughes were working on the water tower base on the 29/8/07. The legs of the water tower are being clad in concrete with those nearer the western loop having higher cladding. This suggests that the embankment will be restored across the foundation slab, thereby supporting the westerly loop track where it passes the water tower. The vertical pipe that feeds from the water tank has also been fitted.

 

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This easterly view (28/8/07) shows the cladding on the legs of the water tower. The legs near the track have higher cladding which has already been cast. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (28/8/07) shows the vertical water pipe that is the intake from the tank for the water crane. It seems that the embankment will be remade through the legs of the tower, given the different concrete cladding heights. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hughes were also laying kerbs on the west face of the platform on 29/8/07. The formation at the far end of the Ashpit Siding has now been dressed with slate fines.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (both 26/8/07) show the old water tower area. The first view shows the ashpit and water tower and the area cleared to the south for the siding extension. The second view shows the western loop track next to the water tower with the platform foundation in place. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On 28/8/07, with the area at the south end of the station finished and cleared, the contractor was completing the gap in the eastern side of the platform kerbing which had been used for vehicle access. As soon as the kerbing is complete, the platform will be made up full width with fill and the tarmac laid from south to north. Tracklaying this weekend will be in Beddgelert Station area and might see the loop completed.

 

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This northerly view (26/8/07) shows Upnor Castle and the Phase 4 train stabled in the western loop track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (28/8/07) shows the completion of the eastern platform edging where the construction access to the station building used to be. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Cyf. was using concrete blocks from 29/8/07 to form the edge of the reinforced earth embankment where it is steeply battered.

 

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This southerly view (27/8/07) shows the site of Nantmor Halt. The concrete blocks on the left will clad the steeper parts of the re-inforced earth embankment to the south of the halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/8/07

The Tuesday Gang laid guard rails on Bryn-y-felin bridge on 28/8/07. These constrain wheels in the unlikely event that any derail.

 

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This northerly view (28/8/07) shows the Tuesday Gang laying guard rails across Bryn-y-felin bridge outside the running rails. The guard rails are screwed down on adjacent cross beams to the running rails to stiffen up the bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Baldwin in action 27/8/07

No.778 was in action again at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway on Bank Holiday Monday 27/8/07 in bright sunshine. The loco showed its paces on the country section towards Stonehenge Works terminus, approaching 25 mph on varying gradients! It will make a fine exhibit if it is invited to the WHR opening at Easter 2009. No.778 will also be a star turn at LBNGR Steam Up weekend on 8-9/9/07, and the Steam Glow evening photography event on 6/10/07.

 

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These westerly and easterly views (both 27/8/07) show No.778 at the LBNGR's Pages Park terminus. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Upnor Castle at Bryn-y-felin

Upnor Castle ventured just over Bryn-y-felin bridge so that the curve north of the bridge could be ballasted on 28/8/07. All three ballast wagons were in action. This was a one-off and the bridge is still banned for locomotives other than Dolgarrog. It will not happen again until the base plates on the Beddgelert end concrete and the special sleeper being produced at Dinas are fixed in position.

 

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This easterly view (28/8/07) shows Upnor Castle leading all the wagons of the ballast train onto Bryn-y-felin bridge, whilst ballasting the northern approaches to the Afon Glaslyn bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (28/8/07) shows the Afon Glaslyn bridge with guard rails in place. Once the chairs had been placed on the concrete ballast retaining wall in the foreground, it was possible for the heavier loco Upnor Castle to venture onto the bridge without bending the rails over this 1.5m gap in support. The chairs do not appear to have been secured to the concrete yet. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL news

By 24/8/07 the Carillion base had received galvanised steel mesh gabion boxes. These will be used for supporting the embankment through the site of Portmadoc New (1923) site, just south of Cambrian Crossing. By 28/8/07, more site offices had arrived in the old north exit to Porthmadog Central Car Park as Carillion's main contract is due to start in September. There was no further evidence of a start on CTRL works on 26/8/07.

 

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This northerly view (24/8/07) shows the 'flat-pack' gabion boxes delivered to Carillion's Porthmadog car park base. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (28/8/07) shows the build up of the Carillion site in preparation for the launch of work in early September. This exit to the car park is now closed off. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Coach news

Romanian coach No.2060 had moved to Boston Lodge by 26/8/07 and was outside the Erecting Shop, being too large to go through the doors! Four more refurbished coach bogies had arrived from Romania by 25/7/08.

 

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This westerly view (24/8/07) taken from the CCE shows the four refurbished roller bearing bogies delivered a month earlier. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Double Bagnalls again

Guest Bagnall loco Isibutu will be paired again with Gelert at the WHR(P) on 8-9/9/07 while the WHR(C) 'Join In' event is on at the north end of the line.

 

Pont Croesor

A traffic survey on the site of the Pont Croesor level crossing has indicated that the traffic level is too high for an open crossing so a detected arrangement will be necessary. Proposals for this new crossing are under discussion. The existing RSPB car park for osprey-spotters may move to a nearby location that would not involve a junction at the level crossing.

 

Volunteering photos

New recruit, Alun Evans (who hails from the Cambrian Railway Society) specialises in images of volunteers at work and his Fotopic site features many similar shots to the one below. Alun's image with his own caption below shows another young recruit 'learning the ropes'.

http://alunsphotos.fotopic.net/c1356581.html

 

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On the left we see (25/8/07) Tim Evans (Our Tracklaying Supervisor) drilling into the end of the rail ready for a fishplate to connect pairs of rails together. To the right, Mathew is watching closely. Maybe Matthew might do this job next time. Mathew himself comes with his father Steve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (28/8/07) shows the same pair using power tools to screw down track bolts at the Head of Steel while the track is held to gauge by a gauge bar. New shiny track bolts have been in use since crossing the bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 27/8/07

Some of the Rest of the World Gang stayed for Bank Holiday Monday and made good progress onto the straight south of Bryn-y-felin. They started by screwing down the rail laid loosely the previous evening and then cut the ends level as this was the start of the first long straight in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Progress with straight rail is much faster and by the end of the day they had advanced the Head of Steel to Ch.23590.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 27/8/07) show the track around Ch.23550, the end of the retaining wall south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. The first view shows the rails being cut parallel, a welcome sight after the continuous curves since Bryn-y-felin. The second view shows the long straight ahead as it was at the end of the day. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 27/8/07) show the Head of Steel around Ch.23590, one length south of Sheepfold Cutting. The first view shows Dolgarrog collecting volunteers and tools at the end of the day. The second view shows the long straight ahead as it was at the end of the day. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 26/8/07

The Rest of the World Gang tracklaying proceeded slowly across LC90 on Saturday but picked up speed in the cooler conditions on Sunday. By the end of Sunday track was at TWA Ch.23560 with sleepers laid out through the cutting immediately south of there. Volunteers manned the busy level crossing LC90 and pinned up photos of progress and a Guide Book. Many questions were asked and answered, generating much interest in the railway project. Volunteers were so enthused by progress in the attractive area south of the bridge that they decided to work Bank Holiday Monday too!

 

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These northerly views (both 26/8/07) show Dolgarrog returning volunteers to Beddgelert at the end of the day, crossing LC90 and the Afon Glaslyn Bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/8/07) shows the track laid south of LC90. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/8/07) shows Dolgarrog picking up the tools at the Head of Steel at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 26/8/07) show sleepers laid out at TWA Ch.23560, south of the Head of Steel, visible where the track gang are standing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert station progress 26/8/07

The contractor has been making progress with the foundation for the platform edging on the west side of the loop and this now reaches almost as far as the siding point laid last weekend. The platform kerbing is likely to follow in the coming week. The southern end of the platform is an access and so the kerbing does not match the track curve for the first 10m or so. This section of the platform will be fenced. The zigzag path is nearing completion but breakthrough to the National Trust car park has been delayed following an exchange of letters. This need not be done until nearer the opening. News about the erection of the water tower is given in a separate story below.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 26/8/07) show the platform edge foundation near the old water tower. The first view shows the siding point and preparations to make the platform edge foundation, with the new water tower in the distance. The second view shows the old water tower and ashpit with platform edge foundation complete. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/8/07) shows Upnor Castle stabled all day in the west loop track at Beddgelert. The western platform edging foundation in this area delimits the access path to the platform and does not follow the line of the track initially. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly and east views (26/8/07) show the zigzag path leading to the National Trust car park. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 26/8/07

Ballasting has taken place up to Bryn-y-felin bridge but Upnor Castle cannot go over the bridge yet. The KMX tamper suffered a loss of hydraulic oil near Beddgelert Station last week when a pipe burst, despite the work mentioned below! This made it difficult for Upnor Castle to climb the 1 in 40 afterwards and a run had to be taken after slipping to a stand!

Work continues with the re-inforced earth embankment at UB181 south of Nantmor. At the south end, the embankment is about 3m above the road level with about 2m to go. However, at the higher north end there is still a lot to do! Down at Hafod-y-llyn, work continues to make the parallel mitigation farmer's access/bridleway smooth. No more progress has been made up the Nantmor Incline with the top half untouched.

 

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This northerly view (26/8/07) shows the re-inforced earth embankment at UB181 now over half way to it planned height. At this stage the embankment is being built level. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tamper News

One or the other tamper has made at least one pass as far as Beddgelert Station. The track to here is now therefore generally stable but it still needs much work before the longer/heavier carriages can be allowed through the Beddgelert Forest. During June the WHRCL had outside consultants come in to look at the tampers and their operating crew, and their recommendations are being worked through. A bearing has been replaced on the KMX and one of the rams was found to need re-surfacing and re-chroming. Access to the bearing required the dismantling of much of the tamping bank so the opportunity was taken to do some other work at the same time.

 

Beddgelert Water Tower

The steelwork for Beddgelert north water tower was erected on 22-3/8/07, shortly after the foundation slab was pronounced cured. The tower is set on a foundation below track level and the columns appear higher than normal. As well as cross bracing, additional horizontal members brake the legs about 1m above the base. By 26/8/07, the large diameter plastic delivery pipe was under construction to the water crane. It appear it will pass under the path that comes through UB167 rather than over the bridge.

 

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This northerly view (22/8/07) shows the erection of the north water tower. Ballasting is almost complete to the north loop point. The proximity of the excavation to the western loop track begs the question of how the track will be supported at this location. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 26/8/07) show the platform edge foundation near the old water tower. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (26/8/07) shows the new large diameter plastic water pipe that will feed the water crane. Cross-members can also be seen about a metre above the foundation slab strengthening the legs of the tower. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Aberglaslyn closed

Following the bridge bash on 9/8/07, Gwynedd Council has closed the Pont Aberglaslyn-Nantmor road starting with the Bank Holiday Weekend(!) to repair the parapet walls. The road may be closed until September. Diversions are signposted via the B4410 Prenteg-Garreg road. Pedestrian access is still possible over the bridge.

 

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This southerly view (22/8/07) shows the closed Pont Aberglaslyn bridge with the parapet removed where the slate finger sign was. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wagon report 14/8/07

Marcus Ingram was working on both wagons and clearance at Tryfan Junction during his recent holiday in North Wales, while staying for a second year at Tryfan Junction with his children. Last year they cleared a strip over 2m wide the full length of the Tryfan Junction site. This year they cleared about 20m right back to the drainage ditch by the wall. The Wagon Gang also did a bogie swap on DZ wagon No.1424.

 

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These views in Dinas Carriage Shed (all 14/8/07) show progress with replacing the bogie on wagon No.1424. Firstly the wagon is jacked up, then packed, and finally the bogie can be pulled out. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Marcus Ingram and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 20/8/07

In Beddgelert Station, the base for the north water tower was cast on 20/8/07. Progress in the Aberglaslyn Pass saw ballasting reach Ch.24600 approx, about 50m inside the Cwm Bychan portal of T4. Piles of sleepers have also been spaced out inside the tunnel. This area is ready for handing over to tracklayers but progress with wooden sleepered track is slow as the predrilled holes are not quite in the right places and new holes have to be drilled. Hopefully, a return Army visit in September will speed things along down the Aberglaslyn Pass as a gang of young fit troops working several hours a day should make substantial progress! There is 1.2 km of ballast available from LC90, TWA Ch.23400 to Ch.24600 approx. The Rest of the World Gang may be asked to complete the Beddgelert Station siding or loop this coming weekend and/or extend track from LC90. However, as of 19/8/07, the track support on the north concrete abutment was still not fitted and so Upnor Castle was still banned from the UB174, the Afon Glaslyn bridge.

 

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This southerly view (20/8/07) shows the ballasting almost complete in T4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South of Nantmor Halt, good progress is being made with the re-inforced earth embankment which is now about 2m up, not quite halfway to restoring the full height of the embankment.

 

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This easterly view (20/8/07) shows the northern edge of the re-inforced earth embankment just north of UB181. The embankment now crosses UB181, the new deck of which was completed 10 days previously. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 20/8/07) show progress with the trackbed at Ch.25150 approx, just north of UB181. Progress with the re-inforced earth embankment is going well. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/8/07) shows the southern end of the re-inforced earth embankment just north of UB181. The embankment has now risen a couple of metres above the road again. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At Hafod-y-llyn, the trackbed has been made up with sub base from LC97 south towards the Afon Nanmor bridge. However the trackbed is still being used as a road as the parallel mitigation farmer's track/public footpath has not yet been surfaced.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 20/8/07) show progress with the trackbed at Ch.26500 approx, just south of the new position of provision for Hafod-y-llyn loop. This will be ballasted once the parallel farmers track is finished with a smooth top surface. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa news 14/8/07

Team Wylfa will be working Wednesday 22/8/07 from 1900 at Dinas, then taking a holiday for a few weeks. They restart on Tuesdays from 18/9/07. Only two volunteers have been turning up recently and work has been confined to carriage inspections and oiling up. If more volunteers come in the Autumn, they would like to get back to work on No.140's boiler!

 

Baldwin at Leighton Buzzard

Baldwin No.778 steamed at Leighton Buzzard on 19/8/07 hauling public passenger trains for the first time. Many hope it may come to the WHR opening event at Easter 2009 with numbering to represent the original WHR Baldwin No.590.

 

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These southerly and westerly views (both 19/8/07) show Baldwin No.778 at Pages Park, the terminus of the Leighton Buzzard railway. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Jones and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 progress 19/8/07

Four of the K1 team assembled on Saturday to continue with the coal conversion of K1. The first job was to fit the four butterfly catches on the ashpan doors. These were duly fitted fairly readily given that half were affixed into stainless steel. The ashpan is now mostly complete and can be fitted to the bottom of the firebox when all internal work is completed within. The team then had a look at the fitting work required on the drop grate arrangement. The drop bars were offered up to be marked for the required expansion gaps within the firebox. This required a band saw cutting one set to give a clearance of 6mm, although it took some time. The second set were even harder, requiring other mechanically aided methods to be used. Both sets are installed in the firebox awaiting approval.

 

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This view (18/8/07) shows the unusual design of K1's ashpan. Ash pan viewed from slightly below the front right (driver's) side, with all flaps open, but before fitting the butterfly locking bolts. The larger openings without mesh on the inside are used to rake out the ash and the dull red interior simulates the bottom of the firebox. The receiver (intermediate steam pressure) pipe connecting the two engine units will be between the two halves of the ashpan, hence the raised centre section. The design is in two halves that allow it to be fitted without removing this pipe. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Rutter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (18/8/07) shows the K1's firehole door. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Rutter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

To further the project to give K1 headlamps, the lighting on the NGG/16 engines was looked at for the detail of the preferred lamp and reflector. K1's lamps within the replica lamp casings will be designed to use one, not two of these with a provision to carry a spare bulb.

 

New tracklaying working week 19-23/11/07

In order to help in keeping progress up on the tracklaying Andrew Savage has agreed to run an extra working week from Monday 19 to Friday 23 November. If anyone is interested in joining for all or some of this week then please contact Andrew Savage at this address, andy.savage@festrail.co.uk.

 

New Waunfawr signs up/dustbins out

The new running in boards produced by the East Anglian Group have been erected at Waunfawr station. The new red dustbins were also noted at Rhyd Ddu and Waunfawr. They include a stubber for cigarette smokers.

 

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This southerly view (19/8/07) shows one of the new bins in place on the platform at Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 19/8/07

The North Wales Track Gang worked in pouring rain (as a fortnight previously!) to lay track northwards in Beddgelert Station loop. Their aim was to reach the siding point and by the end of the day the Head of Steel was a length short of the point. On Sunday morning the gang finally completed the link to the point and assembled the point. With work finished at 3pm and the rain easing off, the gang was given the choice of extending track over Bryn-y-felin bridge or finishing early and they jumped at the chance of getting the first rails in the Aberglaslyn Pass!

Arriving at the bridge just after 3pm, the group worked late laying the rail off the bridge and into the Aberglaslyn Pass itself. The rails over the bridge are laid with no expansion gaps as the bridge itself expands. A full rail was laid on the outside of the curve up to LC90 and a half rail on the inside of the curve to form a staggered curve. One problem the gang faced was that the ballast was slightly too high on the south side and this delayed progress a little. The gang worked until 1850, when Dolgarrog finally rolled onto the bridge and off the south side into the Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

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This northerly view (19/8/07) shows the Upnor Castle arriving under Bryn-y-felin road bridge for the first time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (19/8/07) shows rails being pulled out east of the bridge with LC90 in the background (orange plastic fencing). In the event, these rails were not used as they were curved. They were stored on the sleepers pulled out to either side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 19/8/07) show Dolgarrog crossing onto the south side of the Bryn-y-felin bridge for the first time. The group photo shows the North Wales Track gang who laid the track south of the bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/8/07) shows the Ashpit siding point and the sleepers laid out. The ballast and sleepers extend a length to the north. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (18/8/07) shows Dolgarrog propelling rail north through Goat Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/8/07) shows Dolgarrog propelling rail into the western loop track at Beddgelert station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 18/8/07

The siding point was positioned towards the north end of Beddgelert loop on 17/8/07. It is hoped the North Wales Track Gang can lay the loop northwards from the old water tower up to this point this weekend and possibly extend the track over Bryn-y-felin bridge. The ballast bed has been laid to with a length of the north loop point. The water tank base is ready for casting at the north end of Beddgelert Station. The contractor has moved its site offices to the extreme north end of the station site.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 18/8/07) show the excavation for the new Beddgelert water tank base and the formwork ready for casting. The slab is about 2m below track level so the tank will have a lower profile in this environmentally sensitive area. The six column positions are visible with the holding down bolt anchors. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Cyf. were busy widening the embankment at the south end of the Nantmor Incline on Saturday afternoon 18/8/07.

 

Nantmor new embankment

Work on the new re-inforced earth embankment at Nantmor, TWA Ch.25050-25200, should be finished in early Autumn at the current rate of progress. With UB181 now complete, the embankment can be extended to the south end. Although it had initially been thought that the existing fill would be sorted and reused, a quote for pulverised quarry waste came in cheaper. The old fill will be used in strengthening embankments near Hafod-y-llyn and mitigation measures such as the new parallel farmers' access track/public footpath and raised approaches to accommodation crossings to give animals refuges when The Traeth floods.

 

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This northerly view (10/8/07) shows the completed Nantmor Cutting, just north of LC92. There was significant rock work to stabilise the cliff to the right, possibly the highest on the railway. The trackbed must be reduced by about 30cm to obtain the correct levels for LC92, a public road crossing in Nantmor village. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/8/07) show the excavation to ground level of the former narrow topped embankment at Ch.25050. The bottom of the excavation is several metres below the final trackbed level. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (10/8/07) shows the Nantmor embankment was taken down to bedrock before rebuilding in re-inforced earth. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/8/07) shows the reconstruction of the embankment with the final level of the embankment being above the excavator in the distance! The steel poles indicate the centreline. Markers every metre up the poles indicate where a new layer of mesh will be laid once the fill is compacted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/8/07) show the rebuilding of the former narrow topped embankment at Ch.25100. The fill can be seen on the mesh. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (10/8/07) shows the construction of a new slab over UB181. In the distance the trackbed can be seen about 4m above the current level. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/8/07) show the rebuilding of the former narrow topped embankment at Ch.25200. No work has been done south of the embankment except basic clearance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New bins

These WHR has acquired a set of 12 platform waste bins. These are currently being painted WHR red in the Goods Shed at Dinas.

 

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This view (10/8/07) shows the new bins in Dinas Goods Shed with No.140's boiler behind. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Weekend volunteer parking arrangements

Note from the Company about parking at Rhyd Ddu for track laying working parties, 10.08.07:

'The WHRCL has been reminded that the Snowdonia National Park car park at Rhyd Ddu operates a Pay and Display system which applies to all vehicles in the car park including those of WHRCL volunteers. There is no free parking for us anywhere in that car park (which for avoidance of doubt includes the area on the north side of the fence next to the WHRCL site compound/coach and bus turning area). Parking space in the WHR site compound/coach and bus turning area is very restricted as we must not obstruct the space at Rhyd Ddu needed to enable coaches waiting for train passengers being able to pull off the road and park while they are waiting to load their passengers. We must avoid giving rise to friction with the SNPA by parking in the SNPA car park and not paying and displaying. We must also avoid upsetting the coach operators by making things difficult at Rhyd Ddu for coaches as they bring valuable business to the WHR. Thanks in anticipation.

'There is free parking in the Council car park in Beddgelert which is a short walk to the Beddgelert Station site. The free car park in Beddgelert is on the right hand side of the road leading out of the centre of the village towards Rhyd Ddu just beyond the Telephone Exchange as you proceed up the hill from the centre of the village and before you get to Y Warws (the outdoor and camping shop on the left hand side of the road). It is therefore recommended that unless volunteers are prepared to pay the £3 per day charge for using the Pay and Display car park near the Goat Hotel (which is close to the station), as many volunteers as possible use the free car park in Beddgelert and join the train in the station site. Access to this from the free car park is most easily obtained by walking up the road towards Rhyd Ddu past Y Warws and turning up the Nant Cwm Cloch track at Pont Alyn to go under the railway bridge and turn up the contractor's access track.

Some further points about parking by way of reminder:- The WHRCL does not have parking for volunteers on the Beddgelert Station site or the Nant Cwm Cloch track including the contractor's access road to the site (this is a no go area for volunteers). Please do not park in the Cemetery car park. This is private to the Cemetery. There is no space for parking at Bryn-y-felin and no parking on the private road by the Goat Hotel or in Oberon Wood.

The WHRCL hopes to be able to leave the works train in Beddgelert on Friday nights from 10/8/07 so that the normal rendevous should be Beddgelert rather than Rhyd Ddu, thus saving up to an hour of travelling time. For the moment Dolgarrog will have to remain in Rhyd Ddu, so two people will need to take the loco and wagon down to the Head of Steel, with any tools or materials required that are not in the tool van. In this way the maximum number of vehicles that should be left in Rhyd Ddu would be two.'

Until further notice on the Phase 4 signing on point will be Beddgelert Station, unless of course volunteers will be working elsewhere, in which case volunteers will be informed. Those that choose to meet up at Dinas may continue to do so and travel in the works van. Only Dolgarrog's designated driver and assistant will need to be at Rhyd Ddu. Later Dolgarrog and its container may move to the end of the Ashpit Siding in Beddgelert station.

 

East Anglian Group report 16/8/07

Two complete station running-in boards for Waunfawr were transported to North Wales on 28/7/07, thanks to EAG member Roger Thacker, who provided transport. The signs exceed 2.8 metres in length (more than nine feet) so were not the easiest of things to carry, as will be appreciated. It should be noted that the EAG's 'order book' includes a sign for Bontnewydd, over 3.7 metres in length (12¼ feet). EAG has not been asked about it yet, but volunteers are wondering how long the sign for Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt will be!

 

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This view (4/8/07) shows one of the Rhyd Ddu station signs nearing completion at the EAG's base. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Meanwhile, four signs for Rhyd Ddu station make slow progress. Wagon No. 5002 is also making slow progress, but the overall project took another step forward on 4/8/07 with the delivery of two vacuum cylinders from Boston Lodge. This was again by courtesy of Roger, who has now mastered the concept of the "return load"! Volunteers have called the wagon No.5003 and it is to be used as a basis for the brake van but needs a lot of replacement steelwork; so much so, that a completely new frame will now be fabricated. It is likely that only the running and brake gear will be re-used.

 

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This view (4/8/07) shows one of the ex-Boston Lodge vacuum cylinders stripped by the EAG for evaluation and overhaul. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Group rescued three ex-Padarn Railway coach doors from Boston Lodge, presumably from 4' gauge quarrymen's vehicles. One still retains a warning notice from 1924. It had been hoped that the doors could be re-used on brake van, but their condition is not as good as had been thought. Nevertheless, it is still hoped that some of the parts can be re-used in some way. The Group is still on the look-out for a suitable guard's brake column, perhaps from a scrapped standard gauge loco or brake van, so if you know of a suitable component, please let the EAG know.

 

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This view (4/8/07) shows an interesting notice still extant on one of the Padarn Railway doors, dating from 1924. The condition of these doors is such that the EAG now doubts if they can be re-used. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The next EAG working party is scheduled for Saturday 1/9/07 at the usual venue, Mill Green, near Cambridge. Please contact Richard Watson for further details (see Contacts page).

 

Aberglaslyn Tunnels

Work on the tunnels is now complete with the ballasting of T4 probably achieved by now. The levels in T4 were reduced by excavating the floor to achieve clearance. As a result there will now be a section of 1 in 40 down into the north portal. It was discovered there had always been a short section at 1 in 36 near T3. Track will be laid through the tunnels this Autumn. The gauge frame has been erected in the tunnels mounted on sleepers to simulate the rail height. Clearance has been obtained, though track alignment has tested the WHRCL engineers!

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/8/07) show ballast and wooden sleepers laid out at T3. The first view shows T2 in the distance and the gauge frame in T3. The Blacker Bombard WWII gun mount can be seen to the right. The second view shows the retaining wall between T3 and T4. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/8/07) shows the profile gauge being used in T3. The yellow marks indicate the nominal centre lines on both the frame and trackbed. The frame was lifted up on wooden sleepers to obtain the necessary height above the rails. The WHRCL's Owen Duncan is holding the frame vertical. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 10/8/07) show entrances to T4. The first view shows the curve into the tunnel illustrated by lighting. A slate sign on the right from the former permissive footpath days warns drivers 'To the river'! The second view shows the south portal in Cwm Bychan. The curved haunches of the tunnel floor as seen here. Ballasting will fill the full width of the tunnel. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report

On Tuesday 14/8/07 volunteers spent their time jacking and packing the west side loop at Beddgelert to bring it to the same elevation as the east side. As they share an island platform they must be on the same level. A long timber was laid across about half a length north of the south points and a level sat atop it. The west loop was jacked up about 10cm or so to get the same elevation. Ballast was then packed under the sleepers. Six volunteers attended in a fine drizzle.

 

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This southerly view (14/8/07) shows track in the westerly loop at Beddgelert Station being jacked up with Duff Norton jacks and ballast packed underneath. Dolgarrog had used this track the previous weekend for the first time, though RRMs had previously been stored here. The completion of the loop in the next few weeks will be welcomed by staff so that construction trains can be run around and pass each other. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/7/07) shows Upnor Castle at Beddgelert Station from the footpath at UB167. The reinforced embankment is already greening over. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Jenkins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Garden Squad news

Dave Waldren and the garden squad were busy gardening at Dinas and Rhyd Ddu last weekend. They have also been asked to plant the three beds at Beddgelert as soon as they become available this Autumn so that they have 18 months to mature before the station opens.

 

August Bank Holiday tracklaying 25-6/8/07

With the Head of Steel across the Afon Glaslyn bridge, the WHR cannot afford to slacken the pace of track laying. The number of volunteers for the Rest Of The World Gang weekend of August 25 and 26 needs to be strengthened. So why not give them a helping hand by joining them for a day or better still two days over the Bank Holiday weekend? Contact Paul Bradshaw on 01766 770034 or by email at paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk if you are interested in pushing the rails ever closer to Porthmadog down the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

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This southerly view (11/8/07) shows a stitched view of the trackbed immediately south of Bryn-y-felin bridge at LC90, awaiting track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Cooper and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert water tower and crane

Work progresses on Beddgelert water tower base and the water crane. To disguise the tower in this sensitive area, it is being set low down at the north end of the station, whilst still providing a good head for fast replenishment of northbound locos via large diameter pipes to the water crane. Excavation for the base was underway on 10/8/07 immediately north of UB167, impinging onto the double width trackbed at this point. The concrete base will be about 2m below the track level so the tank itself will sit only about 2m above track level with a background of mature trees behind it. The tank will be the same size as the Rhyd Ddu tanks and the re-galvanised steel Braithwaite panels are already in store at Dinas. The water crane base and ground valves are now complete and a temporary upstand pipe has been placed on the base to prevent any construction material going into the pipe.

 

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This northerly view (10/8/07) shows excavation for the base for the new Beddgelert water tower under way at the north end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly and westerly views (both 10/8/07) show the water crane base and its valves. A temporary pipe has been placed onto of the base to prevent material dropping in. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR(P) services 2008-9

In 2008, in principle, WHR(P) train operations towards Traeth Mawr will be much as now, but when the Traeth Mawr site itself is required to prepare for the track coming from the north, slightly truncated and as a push-pull operation. At some stage in late 2008/early 2009 through PW trains will need to run from Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount to ballast and tamp the section south to Harbour Station, unless this can be done from Minffordd using FR resources. The new service will be launched at Easter 2009 alongside the WHR(C)'s service.

FR Board Member Rev. Richard Buxton is in discussion with the WHR(P) as to their train services post Easter 2009, when the through line is planned to open. These meetings will also consider the ticketing arrangements and payments to the WHR(P) for their operational costs. Earlier agreements have given the WHR(P) permission to use the whole route to Caernarfon and sidings at both Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu have been put in place for rolling stock to be shunted out of the way if WHR(P) 'Heritage Trains' need to be passed by WHR(C) service trains. However, the tight curve near the ashpit end of Beddgelert siding may not allow Russell at that end of the siding.

 

Bits and Pieces

Traffic was 12.7% up on the WHR at the end of May. A catering facility may be established at Dinas with all the special trains and morning coffee/afternoon tea party bookings in mind, rather than providing this service with vans from the FR. Let us hope this develops into the 'Bangers and Mash' etc. FR-style offerings for the long August evenings on the WHR! Those services are very popular on the FR!!

The Beddgelert Forest Campsite leaflet map is still wrong (despite the best efforts of your webmaster-a frequent user of this facility) but does at least acknowledge the railway at last! It also suggests the planned footpath to Beddgelert will be open in 2007 but work has not started yet other than the WHR providing a bridleway crossing for it at LC81. No progress has been made with the Llyn Cwellyn circular path or the 'Slate Trail' from Rhostryfan to Tryfan Junction either! Footpath changes seem to be a problem in this area!!

With the three new carriages in action, one lock up coach (No.23) and one Open (No.2022) have frequently been left off the service trains unless required by traffic. These are stored out in the open as work has not yet started on the Dinas Carriage Shed extension (as of 9/8/07).

 

CTRL news

The CTRL plans have proved acceptable to both the Highways Agency and the Railway Inspectorate. Advance works have already started and Carillion has a site office near to the tramway rails in the old north exit to the Porthmadog Central car park. Main works start in September, after the tourist season.

From north to south, the drystone walls supporting the embankment either side of Cae Pawb Crossing LC122 (aka Cambrian Crossing) need replacing with gabions from the WHR(P)'s RED shed south. The parapet walls of Y Cwt also need replacing.

 

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This northerly view (8/8/07) shows advance works crossing Y Cwt (UB220). Safety fencing has been erected as there are no walls to the former Madocks' built canal to Tremadog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Llyn Bach path also presents a problem with Porthmadog's main sewer running under it. While the trees along the west side the path were removed last year, the sewer still needs attention. Welsh Water has agreed that it will remain in place (though a parallel pipe will be laid in case of failure of the original). To prevent load being transferred to the sewer, concrete ground beams will be laid either side and a concrete slab cast over it. This was also required when the FR's Deviation crossed over the penstock pipes at First Hydro's Ffestiniog power station near Tan-y-grisiau.

The retaining wall (aka 'training wall') just north of the bridge that collapsed on 6/2/07 is to be rebuilt as part of the CTRL works with funds provided by the Wales Assembly Government whose responsibility it was. The area is tidal and this creates its own problems. The plan is to place cored piling down into the bedrock. The piles will support a cast in-situ concrete slab, just above the low waterline. A concrete wall will extend upwards to the level of the bridge (to be clad in local stone), that will itself support the linkspan that cuts the corner off the bridge onto the Llyn Bach path. The temporary sheet piling placed just after the collapse will eventually be removed.

The low profile grooved tramway rails recently delivered have been chosen so that the cut in the tarmac on Britannia Bridge will not impinge on the waterproof layer or the concrete deck. The rails will be laid in a 50m curved concrete slab (the tightest on the running line). The continuously welded tramway rails will be laid in slots in the slab with a rubber/elastomer boot bonded to the rails before placement to fill the gaps. The Snowdon Street crossing will be treated similarly and both may require very short road closures.

 

Track crosses Bryn-y-felin bridge UB174

The Rest of the World Gang had the support of the Deeside & Mersey FR group so on Sunday two gangs were in action, one laying a length on the bridge and the second working on the westerly loop track in Beddgelert Station (see below). The Bryn-y-felin gang first laid a length symmetrically in the middle of the 23m bridge, which is longer than a complete length of rail (18m). They were joined in the afternoon by the Beddgelert gang and WHRCL Director John Ewing, who as 'agent provocateur' was hoping to see a loco on the bridge!

 

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This southerly view (12/8/07) shows the track as it was at 1430 with half length closure rails required in both inner and outer rails. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 12/8/07) show the track laid on Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (12/8/07) shows Dolgarrog preparing to run onto the Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Although occasional showers appeared, the 30 strong gang set to with gusto. Rails had to be cut and carefully aligned, first the inside of the curve, then the outside. The bridge rails needed slackening off to set the expansion closure gaps on the north side of the bridge and all agreed to keep working after 1630, normal packing up time, knowing that Upnor Castle's train did not have to be returned to Rhyd Ddu (see below). Work concentrated on the closure rails between the bridge and last week's Head of Steel. Spare volunteers laid sleepers south of the bridge.

 

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This northerly view (12/8/07) shows Dolgarrog standing on the Afon Glaslyn bridge with members of the Rest of the World Gang at the end of a long weekend. While they won the prize of the first loco on the bridge, next week's North Wales Track Gang may be able to claim first loco over the bridge! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 12/8/07) show sleepers laid south of Bryn-y-felin bridge from LC90. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cuts on curves are always hard and this was no exception. The rail end needed some attention from the angle grinder. Some interested passers-by waited on the footbridge for nearly 2 hours to see the first train on the bridge! Finally work drew to a close at 1730 and the wagons were loaded up with all the equipment. Some volunteers held a piece of orange plastic site fencing across the bridge entrance but wisely let go (it's tough stuff!) as the train chugged across at 1750. Once all the celebrations and photo-opportunities had been exhausted a tired by happy gang left for home at 1800.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 12/8/07) show Dolgarrog on Bryn-y-felin bridge with volunteers and onlookers on the public bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Next week, the North Wales Track Gang will have the pleasure of running the first loco over the bridge (as opposed to onto the bridge) and into the Aberglaslyn Pass proper (as well as completing more of the western loop in Beddgelert station. A 1.5 m section of rail at the north end of the bridge needs support where it crosses the concrete ballast-retaining edge of the abutment. A chair may be screwed into the concrete with a flexible support.

 

Tracklaying in Beddgelert

Less glamorous, but no less essential, track gangs worked until midday Sunday lengthening the western loop track at Beddgelert Station. First they relaid the line coming off the point in staggered rather than parallel rail. The HOS was then extended to the north on the ballast bed laid the previous day. A halt was called when track reached the end of ballast one length north of the old water tower. The gang then transferred to help complete track onto the Bryn-y-felin bridge as above on Sunday afternoon. The contractor William Hughes, hopes to complete the station by early September, given good weather.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 12/8/07) show the track laid that day extending just north of the old water tower. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tim Evans and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/8/07) shows the ROTW track gang laying track in the western loop at Beddgelert Station. The foundation for the waiting shelter on the right has been covered with slate fines as the contractor is now using the platform as a haul road. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/8/07) shows the former ashpit, empty for the first time since 1936 probably! There will be a tight bend (not accessible to Garratt locos) in order to run the siding north parallel to the western loop track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

'Join In' event details 8-9/9/07

This is to be an 'Interactive' style event, replacing the previous Super Power event. The big news is Britomart's visit to the line on Caernarfon-Dinas shuttles. After a few problems with lineside trespass last year, the format has been changed to avoid that. There will be photo charters with shed passes for the early morning steam up and run pasts from railway land at Tryfan Junction Glan-yr-afon etc.

Click here for full details and timetable

 

Construction progress 10/8/07

Ballasting was taking place in Beddgelert Station on 10/8/07 in advance of tracklaying this weekend. The ballast reached the water tower area and the ashpit area was cleared for the siding. It was hoped that if the gang is large enough track laying would proceed up to and possibly over Bryn-y-felin bridge. However, although Dolgarrog will be allowed over the bridge, Upnor Castle is currently banned until the rail is properly supported on the transition from sleepers to the bridge deck.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 10/8/07) show the newly ballasted formation in the westerly loop extending as far as the water tower. The ashpit area by the water tower has been cleared. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly and southerly views (both 10/8/07) show progress with the station access at Beddgelert. The first view shows the zigzag path appearing. The second view shows the steps at the top. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Access is still required to the south end of the Beddgelert Station although the contractor is making use of the platform itself (having rolled sub base over the concrete base of the waiting shelter!) and the bridleway. Progress with the zigzag path is now rapid and steps have been cast at the top.

 

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This southerly view (10/8/07) shows the platform crossing in front of Beddgelert Station awning adjacent to the middle of the coach. This area will be tarmaced and fenced off from the running line as at Tan-y-bwlch. The rolling stock was left there while the PW staff dropped rails in the 2 foot between Beddgelert Station and the Head of Steel for the coming weekend's tracklaying. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ballasting was due to take place in T4, the long tunnel in the Aberglaslyn Pass during Saturday 11/8/07. The ballast will be laid directly on the rock bed the full width of the tunnel with no rolled sub-base. This will improve clearances for rolling stock. Although it was initially thought that the rock base was lose rock fill, it was found to be mostly solid and required more work as a result with the rock pecker. At least it was less hard than the Pont Cae'r Gors rock!

 

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These northerly views (both 10/8/07) show T4. The first view shows the ballast bed at the north portal. The second view shows the tunnel now excavated to bare rock. Ballast will be laid directly on the rock with no rolled sub- base. The regular pattern of puddles is suggestive of the length of the rock drills and blasting stages. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

At Cwm Bychan, track level has been dropped a little which widens the narrow embankment across UB177/8. Excavation is required north of Nantmor Halt as the level needs to be dropped 30cm below the level crossing to allow for sub-base and ballast.

Further south, work has started on rebuilding the narrow embankment at Ch.25200, adjacent to the A4085. UB181 had a new reinforced concrete deck cast on 10/8/07 and work was in progress rolling fill built up on layers of Tensar geotextile, applying the reinforced earth technique. The side of the embankment is supported by biodegradable sandbags and a woven brown mesh that rapidly promotes growth and stability. Divers have been through UB181 and UB178 in order to check the culverts are clear.

 

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These northerly views (both 10/8/07) show work on the replacement embankment and UB181 at Ch.25200. The first view shows the Tensar mesh ready to fold over the compacted fill when another metre depth has been added. The brown side of the embankment is also visible. The second view shows concrete being delivered for the pour at UB181. An excavator was used to transfer buckets full of concrete to an inaccessible section on the left. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South of the road bridge, clearance is progressing up the Nantmor Incline, with a little widening of this embankment. The access to accommodation crossings is being built up to allow livestock to have a refuge from floodwater as a mitigation measure.

 

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This southerly view (10/8/07) at TWA Ch.25600 approx. shows the excavator has been working up the Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A specialist contractor has been employed to taken on to develop designs for public road crossings at Ynysfor and Pont Croesor, including the Osprey site access. The Environment Agency has accepted the culvert flood flow modelling for the Traeth and a culvert has been excavated on the farmland parallel with railway from LC96 south. The piers and abutments for the Pont Croesor bridge will receive attention as soon as an extended dry spell is forecast (August has been disappointing in this respect so far (as of 14/8/07)! Two accommodation overbridges are planned between Pont Croesor and Traeth Mawr as mitigation measures and also to provide livestock a refuge from floodwater.

 

Hafod-y-llyn loop site moves north

It has been decided to move the Hafod-y-llyn loop site to a point 1km north of the original plan on the straight north of LC96 at Ch.26180 rather than LC103 at Ch.27100. Provision for a potential future loop, as at Plas-y-nant, will consist only of widening the formation at this stage. Spoil is currently stockpiled on the route at the new location from the Nantmor embankment excavation, the finer material being used for the new mitigation road to Hafod-y-llyn. Access for PW gangs will be easier at this point as it is the end of the tarmac road from Nantmor. The loop will only be constructed if it is found to be required by traffic patterns.

 

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This northerly view (10/8/07) shows the spoil stored on the site of the future Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 7/8/07

James Cyf. was on site in early August establishing a compound at the bottom on the Nantmor incline. By 7/8/07, they had made progress clearing about one quarter of the incline towards the main road bridge.

 

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This northerly view (7/8/07) shows the excavator working up the Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pirtek was on site at Rhyd Ddu fitting and testing the repaired main ram to the KMX tamper on 7/8/07 and late into the evening the following day. This tamper has been out of action for a few weeks awaiting the repair. CTS had visited again earlier in the year to provide further guidance on the use of this machine which has now done at least one pass the full length from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert.

New trailable point mechanisms have been delivered to Dinas. The four mechanisms, Nos.9-12, will probably be used at Beddgelert and Pont Croesor loops.

 

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This view (7/8/07) shows four new trailable point mechanisms recently delivered to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Hardwood markers have been placed alongside the track at several locations near Beddgelert. These are marked RE (presumably Rheilffordd Eryri) and have bevelled edges. Their purpose is unknown.

 

Loo news!

The FR has provided a new toilet block at Dinas hired from Green Loos. The unit is similar but smaller than the one at Caernarfon. There is a ramp for disabled access. This replaces the previous life expired toilet block. Agreement has also been reached to position the portable loos at Rhyd Ddu behind a screen on the location of the future station building. The temporary toilets first appeared in early July but were then removed awaiting planning permission. It is hoped the new Rhyd Ddu toilets will 'ease pressure' on the existing car park toilets!

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 7/8/07) show the new toilet facilities at Dinas and Rhyd Ddu. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cambrian Coast Steam

Disappointing loadings were initially seen for the first week of running with numbers of typically 50 or 60 passengers in the six coach trains using West Coast Rail stock. The loco No.76079 is tender first sound-bound this year. As the sun came out later in August better loadings were seen, e.g. on 8/8/07 the train was about half full. The two hour trip provides a pleasant ride with beautiful coastal scenery crossing the Barmouth bridge and climbing the cliffs at Friog, just south of Barmouth. It also passes 4 narrow gauge railways.

The train will run Monday to Friday until 31/8/07. Times are 1000 from Machynlleth arriving at Porthmadog at 1148, returning at 1650 and arriving back at Machynlleth at 1900. The train calls at Dovey Junction for Aberystwyth connections as the 0927 from Aberystwyth arrives at Machynlleth at 0959! Trains also call at Tywyn, Barmouth, Harlech and Minffordd. There are special deals for both the FR and WHR(P). Both single and return journeys can be booked this year. A buffet will be available on the train for hot and cold snacks. Prices range between £21 and £28 with reductions for child fares and single journeys.

The WCR management have promised to be back next year but the loco will require a mobile ERTMS unit for 2009.

To pre-book tickets phone 01524 737751/737753 though tickets may be purchased on the train. See story below for full details and links.

 

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This northerly view (8/8/07) shows No.76079 with West Coast Rail's Cambrian Coast Express climbing the bank past Minffordd Quarry on the return journey to Machynlleth. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Trains on Phase 4 from 29/7/07 to 11/8/07

This is a list of all observed or reported workings on Phase 4 while your webmaster was on holiday in Beddgelert Forest campsite.

29/7    Dolgarrog at HOS Upnor Castle at Beddgelert Station with ROTWG

30/7    No trains

31/7    Dolgarrog with Tuesday Gang near Beddgelert erecting crossing sign poles

1/8      Upnor Castle with inspection train for WHR(P) volunteers to Beddgelert Station

2/8      Upnor Castle on evening trip (reportedly)

3/8      Upnor Castle on Goat Tunnel gauging train 1630 at HOS

4/8      Dolgarrog and Upnor Castle at HOS with NWTG

5/8      as 4/8

6/8      No trains

7/8      Dolgarrog with Tuesday Gang with pot jacks near Beddgelert Station

8/8      Upnor Castle light engine to Beddgelert Station area (driver training?) 1000-1500

9/8      No trains

10/8    Upnor Castle delivering rail to HOS 1000-1700 and stabled overnight at Beddgelert

11/8    Dolgarrog at HOS and Upnor Castle at Beddgelert with ROTWG

12/8    Dolgarrog at HOS and Upnor Castle at Beddgelert with ROTWG

 

Road problems

Access to the Porthmadog area is not recommended via the A470(T) Crimea Pass route from Betws-y-coed. Extensive roadworks are underway for 2.5 miles between Cancoed (the end of the former improvement from Dolwyddelan) to Blaenau Ffestiniog. These involve several sets of traffic lights. The project will be finished late 2007 or early 2008.

 

Tracklaying progress 5/8/07

The North Wales Track Gang started work on 4/8/07 on the second of two days of pouring rain so the area was very wet and the streams full. Upnor Castle and the Phase 4 train had been gauged for Goat Tunnel at 1630, the previous day so the volunteers were glad of the Mess Van to retreat to! The SAR brakevan came through Goat Tunnel with inches to spare! Rails were unloaded on the straights by LC89. By the end of the day the track had advanced a couple of lengths towards Bryn-y-felin bridge using staggered rail on wooden sleepers.

 

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These northerly views (both 4/8/07) show the Head of Steel has passed Bryn-y-felin lay-by. Dolgarrog and Upnor Castle are visible on the Phase 4 construction trains. This was a shock to many drivers on the road who saw trains in their former lay-by for the first time! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (5/8/07) shows Upnor Castle with the SAR van and the Mess Coach at LC89, midway between Beddgelert and Bryn-y-felin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Fortunately, the weather cleared up for Sunday and the volunteers got into their stride with the wooden sleepers. By the end of the day track had emerged from Bryn-y-felin road bridge with the Head of Steel at TWA Ch.23340, just two lengths short of the Afon Glaslyn bridge. Next weekend might see the track advance over the bridge or extend the westerly loop track north in Beddgelert Station. The crucial curve onto the Afon Glaslyn bridge has been pegged out with offset markers every 2m to ensure it is smooth! Volunteers have already laid out sleepers right up to the bridge in anticipation!

 

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This northerly view (5/8/07) shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel under OB173, the Bryn-y-felin road bridge at the end of the day, just as rain returned! Gwynedd Council's Autumn WHR bridge upgrade works will see the whole right hand side of the abutment cleared as well as the props. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH5-8-07Upnor at HOS.jpg (132776 bytes)

This northerly view (5/8/07) shows Upnor Castle at the Head of Steel, just north of OB173. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (6/8/07) shows sleepers and chairs laid out ahead of the Head of Steel (just visible bottom right) right up to UB174, the Afon Glaslyn bridge at Bryn-y-felin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction News 6/8/07

Steady progress has been made in Beddgelert Station. A section of the water column now rises from its base and the valve has been delivered to the site. At the south end the zigzag path down to the car park is slowly appearing though not yet broken through the walling to the car park. The disabled access will now be via the public footpath north towards UB167 and then a new return leg to the car park. This will make the disabled access an easier, if longer, slope. Welsh Water has agreed the water supply for the station will be at the north end near the main water tower. The sewage outlet must go across the National Trust car park.

The station building now has a kerbed area between the building foundation and the track and around the toilet access at the north end of the building. All this work at the south end of the site means that the site access level crossing at that end is still in use and the eastern face of the platform kerb edging necessarily incomplete as a result. It also means little further extension of the westerly track to the north can occur as the contractor continues to use it for access to the sound end works. The short siding is in use for storing a pair of RRMs.

 

Cambrian Crossing agreement

Cambrian Crossing is to acquire the operational name Cae Pawb Crossing, to be used by both the WHR and Network Rail (NR). This is the name given to that area of Porthmadog. With NR currently planning the pilot installation of the new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on the Cambrian Coast Line from December 2007, the crossing's signalling will need to interface with the new electronics.

As a result of the ERTMS works, loco hauled travel will return to the North Wales Coast line as Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) will have to release Class 158s for fitting of the ERTMS transponder. One ATW diagram a day will be hauled by a Class 57 and Virgin coaches based at Crewe from September 2007.

 

OB173 Bryn-y-felin bridge works

Confirmation of details is still awaited from Gwynedd Council but the WHR has been assured that the railway will not be affected by the works scheduled for this Autumn. Apparently, the whole of the northern abutments and wing walls are to be replaced as well as the weak deck. Stone parapets are likely and it is hoped these are low like the Castell Cidwm and Betws Garmon bridge reconstructions rather than the Dinas bridge, which spoiled the views from that location. The road will probably be widened to provide a footway, hopefully on the eastern side overlooking the Afon Glaslyn bridge.

While the reconstruction is underway a temporary level crossing at the former lay-by will be formed to maintain road traffic to Beddgelert. Traffic lights will be required for single file operation. The removal of the north west wingwall improves clearances in this confined location.

 

Work starts on CTRL

Work on the CTRL started in the first week of August. The contractor, Carillion, has set up its site office adjacent to the pile of tramway rail stored at the north end of the car park. This exit has now been closed. The new car park exit is now fully open after having been closed in early July after its Easter hand over.

 

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This northerly view (7/8/07) shows the Carillion compound on the old northern exit to the Porthmadog car park. Barriers will be erected across the coned area. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The first works have been advance works with trenches from north to south across Snowdon Street moving ducts. It seems a small deviation will be needed around a high pressure gas pipeline valve that was placed on the trackbed halfway between Cambrian Crossing and Pen-y-Mount ultra vires! The CTRL will have to deviate slightly to the west, possibly onto WHR(P) land.

 

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This southerly view (7/8/07) shows advance works crossing Snowdon Street on the site of the future level crossing. The old northern entrance to the Porthmadog car park will be closed off for Carillion's use only shortly. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Halt

The design of Nantmor Halt revealed in Gwynedd planning application shows a three coach platform similar to that at Beddgelert Forest Halt, one Garratt loco length south of the village level crossing (with some overlap!). The Cwm Bychan site (favoured by the National Trust next to their £2 car park!) was also examined and would have had a three coach platform on the bridge extending towards the tunnel. However this was rejected as the rear of long trains would still be in the long tunnel.

The new halt might may eventually have a waiting shelter, although a concrete base is not in the request for planning permission. The platform will be on the west side of the line roughly in the historical position of the siding. The rear of a maximum 12 coach train will be around the curve to the south. Similarly, the loco of southbound trains will be around the curve from the guard on the platform. A right-away indicator may be necessary for these trains, controlled by the guard from the platform.

 

Summit board?

There are signs that the WHRS might be willing to pay for a 'Summit Board' on both sides of the line in Summit Cutting as suggested many years ago in this website! This would indicate the position of the WHR's summit in bilingual cut out steel with both height and position determined exactly by GPS or from survey documents.

 

Construction progress to 1/8/07

James Cyf. were busy on 30/7/07 laying ballast towards Nantmor and at the end of the day had reached T3. By the end of 31/7/07 ballasting had reached a point just south of T3 and at the end of 1/8/07 ballast was laid to within 10m north of T4. The former concrete coated Nantmor water main had been removed between T3 and T4 when it was found it would not damage the foundations of the retaining walls. T4 is now ready for ballasting as the excavation of the base to improve clearance has been completed.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 1/8/07) show the ballast and sleepers laid out between T3 and T4. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The former lay-by just north of Bryn-y-felin has received permanent fencing since the weekend. A site visit was organised for WHR(P) tracklayers on 1/8/07 using Upnor Castle and it is hoped this will result in help with the weekend track gangs. The Army may also visit again in September and help advance the track down the Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

S9_BWH1-8-07Upnor on WHRP train.jpg (104295 bytes)

This northerly view (1/8/07) shows Upnor Castle with the WHR(P) inspection train at the north end of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 29/7/07

The Rest of the World gang laid staggered rail in both Beddgelert Station and Bryn-y-felin. Initially, they used steel sleepers, advancing the Head of Steel through the curved Bryn-y-felin Cutting, and passed the former lay-by at the 'close of play' on 29/7/07. Sleepers changed to wood in the lay-by itself. The HOS was at Ch.23270, some 60m (just over three lengths) north of the road bridge, leaving next week's North Wales Track Gang with 100m to reach the Bryn-y-felin river bridge. Track also advanced by 1 length in the westerly loop track in Beddgelert Station working from the south end. Other work included spring clip replacement working north.

 

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This southerly view (28/7/07) shows the ROTW track gang having a rest after laying two staggered rails at Beddgelert Station in the western loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 29/7/07) show the Head of Steel in the lay-by close to Bryn-y-felin road bridge. The trackbed is marked out with 20m markers from now on. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH29-7-07BYF roadbridge cutting.jpg (135404 bytes)

This northerly view (29/7/07) shows the trackbed north from Bryn-y-felin road bridge. The Head of Steel in just in view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_BWH29-7-07BYF gabions.jpg (118602 bytes)

This easterly view (29/7/07) shows the gabions used to support the embankment close to eastern abutment of the Bryn-y-felin river bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 29/7/07

In Beddgelert Station, the foundation for the station building is still not cleared and so little progress can be made with the westerly loop track from the south end. The fencing erected by Welsh Water between Beddgelert Cemetery and Bryn-y-felin has been removed indicating the A495 road improvement for Bryn-y-felin bridge, due to start this Autumn, will be less significant than anticipated.

Ballast is now being delivered to the site of Nantmor Halt. Planning permission for the halt was applied for on 27/7/07 according to local notices. The ballast is being laid south for a point just north of T2 and by 29/7/07 had reached into the tunnel after James Cyf.'s gang worked on Saturday afternoon. Wooden sleeper packs have been laid out alongside the trackbed between T2 and T3. Further south, the WHR site office is in a field alongside the A4085 Nantmor road bridge.

 

Construction progress 26/7/07

This week has seen much progress on Beddgelert Station finishing work. The foundation for the platform waiting shelter at the south end has been cast and the shuttering for the northern shelter foundation has been made up with its reinforcement steel mesh. The southern shelter has conduits for water supply, electricity, telephones and drainage. The northern shelter has ducts for electricity, signals and telephones. The base for the latter is likely to be cast on 27/7/07. Further ballast deliveries have been made to allow the track to progress northwards in the western loop to define the western platform face. This awaits the contractor completing the work on the site of the station building and releasing the trackbed at the south end of the station which is currently the access road for those works. It is hoped tracklaying this weekend will progress the Head of Steel to OB173, the Bryn-y-felin road bridge.

At the north end of the platform, excavation has allowed the shuttering and reinforcing mesh for the massive base of the water crane to be placed. This includes the wide diameter tube that will allow rapid delivery of water to northbound engines. Progress has also been made with the access path from the car park and local stone walling is underway.

 

S9_AS26-7-07BS south shelter base.jpg (88382 bytes) S9_AS26-7-07BS north shelter base.jpg (87127 bytes)

These southerly views (both 26/7/07) show progress with the platform waiting shelters at Beddgelert Station. The first view shows the foundation for the southern base complete with conduits for water, electricity and waste water. Ballast is being delivered to complete the western trackbed on the right hand side. In the second view, the shuttering for the northern shelter can be seen with the original water tower to the right. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_OD26-7-07Water crane.jpg (90848 bytes)

This southerly view (26/7/07) shows the foundation of the water crane under construction at the north end of Beddgelert Station platform. Four large holding down bolts protrude from the steel mesh cage. The large diameter pipe will ensure fast delivery of water to northbound engines. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Owen Duncan (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AS26-7-07Water tank feed.jpg (103452 bytes)

This northerly view (26/7/07) shows the feed pipe for the new water tower has been encased in insulating concrete to prevent freezing. The pipe can be seen to be diving to the north to pass under the westerly track to access the water tower that will be constructed on the west side of the railway at the north end of the station. Welsh Water has yet to agree where the water feed will be. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/7/07) shows walling work underway on the station access path at the bottom of the hill near to the car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Owen Duncan (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa 24/7/07

With just three volunteers on Team Wylfa this Tuesday it was only possible to do the carriage inspections/oiling up again. This also included the 'E' Set's bike wagon axleboxes, which needed cleaning out and repacking with fresh skeins of wool. Team Wylfa could really do with some extra hands as they are just about keeping on schedule for the carriage inspections and oiling up but have no time, with the small numbers at the moment, to do any other work, such as No.140.

No. 140's boiler cradle is mainly cleaned off and just needs the final touches before painting. Volunteers have not been able to touch it since just before Rail Ale because of lack of numbers. Team Wylfa really would like to get this done during the longer warmer, summer evenings. If anyone is free to come along on Tuesday evenings to join Team Wylfa, they would be very welcome and will be shown what needs doing. Alternatively, they can arrange some daytime supervision during the week or weekends.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/7/07

The Tuesday Gang are steadily working down the line putting in chainage markers and the metal posts for warning signs at level crossings. Most weeks four people repair stone walls.

 

Contract news 25/7/07

Section 9 (Bryn-y-felin to Nantmor Level Crossing LC92):

James Cyf. released the ballasted trackbed from Bryn-y-felin as far as a point just north of T2 to the WHRCL on 25/7/07 and surveyors can now lay out the curves from Bryn-y-felin Cutting to the Afon Glaslyn bridge (UB174) so that volunteers can push the Head of Steel southwards starting this coming weekend. However, over next few weeks track laying gangs will also be going back to Beddgelert Station as necessary to lay the western platform line from the south end northwards to help the contractor William Hughes to correctly align the second platform face. This must be done before the platform is completed.

Section 10 (part) Nantmor Level Crossing LC92 to near the bottom of Nantmor Incline):

Part from LC92 to the A4085 road bridge (UB182):

James Cyf. will be starting the reinforced earth reconstruction of the embankment just south of the old Nantmor Halt site next week. The original embankment was too narrow and in a state of collapse. They are also building the stretch between the embankment and UB182 as part same contract.

Part from UB182 to near the bottom of Nantmor Incline:

Details are being finalised and the WHRCL hopes to place the contract for this remaining part during next week.

Section 11 (near the bottom of Nantmor Incline to Afon Nanmor River Bridge UB196):

James Cyf. have now been awarded the contract for all this section and will be commencing work starting on Monday 30/7/07.

Section 12 & 13 (Afon Nanmor River Bridge UB196 to Ynysfor Crossing LC112):

This section is already largely complete but awaiting ballasting this Autumn when the Ospreys have flown.

The items mentioned above mean the WHRCL now has Civils contracts either finished, underway, or placed all way from Rhyd Ddu to LC112. You can see Porthmadog in the distance from there!!

Section 14 & 15 (LC112 to Traeth Mawr Loop (and the golden fishplate join!)):

WHRCL engineers with consultant engineers Arup Rail are on course to have these last sections out to tender by September. The Afon Glaslyn river bridge contract at Pont Croesor is already placed and fabrication is underway in Williams' Peblig Mill works Caernarfon.

Cross Town Rail Link:

Contractor Carillion will be moving on site early in August, starting with the out of town section from Pen-y-Mount down to UB220, the bridge across Y Cyt, just behind Snowdon Mill. They will then expand onto the whole the rest the CTRL at the beginning of September, when the tourist season has finished. It has been agreed that they will deal with the training wall collapse adjacent to Britannia Bridge and the Welsh Assembly has agreed to pay for this component.

 

Coach news 25/7/07

Four rebuilt and re-gauged bogies (two pairs) arrived at Boston Lodge last week from CFI Romania to be used by the Carriage Works in the construction of the next two new WHR carriages (1st Obs & Service Car) during Winter 2007/8. They are modern roller bearing bogies that are felt to be of much better quality than the plain bearing SAR bogies. The Romanian built carriage No.2060 is now having mechanical work done at Boston Lodge but is awaiting the completion of the W&LLR carriage in mid-August so as to free up woodworking resources to fit the interior as it is just a shell at the moment.

 

Phase 4 Track and Rolling Stock funds

A couple of recent donations have taken both funds over the next milestone. The Phase 4 Track fund now stands at just over £1.1M and the Rolling Stock Fund at just over £300k, making a total of just past £1.4M. Donations are still welcome. Click here to make a donation to the Rolling Stock Fund.

 

Construction report 23/7/07

Ballasting was nearing completion at Bryn-y-felin lay-by on 23/7/07 and James Cyf. were believed to be off site the following day and concentrating on the T4/Cwm Bychan/Nantmor section, including rebuilding the embankment they removed for widening south of Nantmor Halt. There was still a little work to do clearing the ballast pile and tidying up the formation in Bryn-y-felin Cutting north of the lay-by but this was probably completed on 24/7/07.

Temporary barriers prevent cars parking on the ballast at the former Bryn-y-felin lay-by. During the Autumn a temporary level crossing may be set up here to allow the reconstruction by Gwynedd Council of the road bridge and approaches out of the tourist season whilst maintaining passage by construction trains. The WHRCL surveyors will probably set out the track pegs through Bryn-y-felin Cutting before the weekend, thus allowing the Head of Steel to advance the 170m towards the Afon Glaslyn bridge (UB174). Curved rails are stored in the two foot at Beddgelert Station ready for use on these tight curves.

 

S9_AS23-7-07BYF Ballast bed completed.jpg (114489 bytes) S9_AS23-7-07BYF lay-by S.jpg (91123 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 23/7/07) show the ballasting having being completed across the former lay-by at Bryn-y-felin. In the first view, the freshly laid ballast can be seen through the site of the lay-by with temporary fencing of the lay-by. The excavator can been seen in Bryn-y-felin Cutting, behind the dumper, tidying up the ballast dump. In the second view, the fresh ballast can be seen leading into the bridge approaches with wooden sleepers piled alongside the formation. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/7/07) shows Upnor Castle and all the PW wagons back at Dinas. They had returned the previous evening to have their brakes checked over the Dinas inspection pit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 report 22/7/07

Andy Rutter reports that a 'light and fluffy sojourn' was enjoyed by a working party of 3 making soufflés! Not quite a chefs' weekend cooking, but preparing K1's 'oven' for a coal fire by making six fire arch bricks models from expanded polystyrene and expanding foam using the existing moulds. Once the correct methodology was established these worked very well rising from the mould like soufflés. These can be cut about as needed and the existing moulds can be used though one will need changes to reflect the method of support.

The methodology was to use blocks of polystyrene with expanding foam filling the gaps around them set into the existing firebrick moulds. The foam expands and sets as it cures at room temperature, and the resultant 'brick' can then be extracted. These poly bricks are light to handle and so can be assembled as an arch in the firebox, trimmed to size as required, numbered/lettered in some way, and then each one used to adjust the moulds themselves. These adjusted moulds are then used to cast the real firebricks. These will be done very soon. Hey presto! A set of real firebricks ready for assembly. Tony Williams, Boston Lodge Manager, was impressed!

The original design of the arch appears to be spot on. Now the bricks are done differently but the functionality is the same. The new boiler is a faithful remake of the original, only departing in some detail, such as the tubes being swaged down the throat plate reducing the entry by a few inches. Consideration has been given to the bucket/cone arrangement for the injector drains that have a long run, not conventionally below the cab, but in front of the firebox. If the drain is viewable within the cab it will make this 'backhead' type of injector less frustrating to operate and safer to view. There are new cones for the right hand (driver's) injector to be fitted and that should make it more reliable. Also fitted were the six remaining oil pads for the axle bearings using new redesigned pressure pads.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 22/7/07

As planned, the North Wales Track Gang laid track with wooden sleepers from Beddgelert Station south point northwards into the western face of the platform. In all, two panels were laid in staggered rail because of the sharp curvature. This does not sound a lot but sleepers in the running line had also to be moved as the sleepers immediately coming off the point interweave. There are also the problems caused by reusing wooden sleepers involving gauging the line at each sleeper and drilling new holes. Laying the loop line was the priority rather than progressing over Bryn-y-felin bridge because the contractors want to get finished in Beddgelert and they need the track in position in order to put the platform edge in.

Recent deliveries of wooden sleepers have been drilled to the correct dimensions for 597mm gauge. In the Beddgelert Station completion works, existing stocks of wooden sleepers are being used up first, starting with those recovered from the Goat Tunnel clearance works, which will go into the western loop of Beddgelert Station. There will be gauge widening on the curved part of the western side of the Beddgelert Station loop at the south end and the curve in the Ash Pit siding.

 

S9_PW22-7-07Track laid in loop.jpg (98761 bytes)

This southerly view (22/7/07) shows the track and ballast started on the westerly loop track in Beddgelert Station at the end of the weekend's tracklaying. Staggered rails are being used as the track is sharply curved here. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Down at Bryn-y-felin, ballast was extended on 20/7/07 through the bridge to the lay-by at Ch.23285 approximately, leaving about 100m to lay through Bryn-y-felin Cutting to the north to link with the previously laid ballast. This should be finished early this week, allowing the surveyors to set out the pegs for next weekend's hoped for advance up to the bridge itself and over the bridge and into the Aberglaslyn Pass in August, given sufficient volunteers to complete the station loop and advance the Head of Steel simultaneously!

 

S9_PW22-7-07Ballast dump in BYF Cutting N.jpg (113552 bytes) S9_PW22-7-07Ballast BYF layby.jpg (98621 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (22/7/07) show the ballast at Bryn-y-felin. The first view shows the ballast dump still blocking Bryn-y-felin Cutting. The second view, south from the lay-by, shows ballast completed and wooden sleepers laid out as far as the lay-by between Bryn-y-felin road bridge and Bryn-y-felin Cutting. About 100m of ballasting were required to finish the job. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New has been cast at the north end of Beddgelert Station on UB167 to protect the water pipe that will feed the water tower from frost. Another section has been cast at the south end on the station building side, where the level crossing platform access will be.

 

S9_PW22-7-07BS north end N.jpg (86238 bytes)

This northerly view (22/7/07) shows an isolated section of concrete on UB167, the public footpath underbridge. This is frost protection for the water tower supply pipe. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_PW22-7-07BS north end S.jpg (81323 bytes)

This southerly view (22/7/07) shows service ducts in the new concrete covered water pipe. There is a gap between this section and the earlier section of foundation laid further south, now with kerbs added. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/7/07) shows the foul water drain near the station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Progress is also being made with the station access path from Beddgelert village car park. Land for this was cleared in late July.

 

S9_PW22-7-07Station access path.jpg (68587 bytes)

This easterly view (22/7/07) shows the construction of the zigzag path down to the village car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 17/7/07

Again, there was a very small team on the evening of 17/7/07 so all volunteers got to do was the usual carriage inspections/oiling up to keep up with the schedule. Hopefully there will be a bigger team next week so Team Wylfa might get some more of No.140's components refurbished.

 

WHR tracklaying programme

S9_RC7-7-07Lower S curve.jpg (163196 bytes)

This northerly view (7/7/07) shows a stitched set of images of the upper half of the lower S curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ray Cooper and was taken on Canon A70 PowerShot. Five images merged together with Canon PhotoStitch 3.1,. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (14/7/07) shows volunteers enjoying themselves on the Rest of the World Gang weekend laying the first rail of the day on Cemetery Curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Mike Grant and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

With the tracklaying about to progress into the Aberglaslyn Pass in August, full details are provided below about the tracklaying volunteering opportunities for persons aged 16 and over. Work should be exciting with three tunnels and scenic views too, with the tumbling rapids of the Afon Glaslyn. Progress could be quite rapid with many long straight sections. The first kilometre south of Bryn-y-felin involves laying out wooden sleepers, screwing down rails and aligning to pegs surveyed along the lineside. It is expected that James Cyf. will release the next ballasted section through T2/3 before track gets to the southern limit of ballast, just north of T2.

Weekend track laying on Phase 4 continues with weekends alternating between the North Wales Black Hand Gang and the Rest of the World Gang. The dates for the next few months are:

July       28/29  
August 4/5  11/12 18/19 25/26  
September 1/2 8/9 15/16 22/23 29/30
October 6/7 13/14 20/21 27/28  
November 3/4 10/11  17/18 24/25  

The North Wales Track Gang (Black Hand Gang) is shown in red and the Rest of the World Gang is shown in blue. The fortnightly pattern is planned to continue through 2007 until further notice but all dates are subject to alteration if circumstances require.

Anyone coming to lay track at any time who has not yet contacted the WHRCL with a completed Track Laying Volunteer information form should now do so. Download it from

http://whr.bangor.ac.uk/WHRCL_track_quest_0306.pdf

or contact Paul Bradshaw and he will post one. If volunteers have sent in their form there is no need to wait for a contact. Just get in touch with Paul Bradshaw by email, phone or letter and let him know when you can come to help.

 

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This southerly view (14/7/07) shows the ROTWG volunteers at the north end of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Alun Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

October 2007 'Working Week'

The third 'Working Week' will start on the ROWG weekend of October 6/7 and continue through into the following Black Hand Gang weekend of October 13/14. Volunteers will be welcome to join the gangs for the whole or any part of that period. However the first weekend is now well supported so please avoid that if possible.

Contact Paul Bradshaw if you want to book yourself in or need further information.

Each track laying gang needs about ten people. Usually we can usefully employ more. It is important to let us know in advance when to expect you. So please let us know as far in advance as possible when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up on the off chance as we may have to tell you that the working party is fully subscribed. And if you have to cancel please let us know with as much warning as possible by contacting the organiser for the day you have booked for.

Other mid week activity

The Tuesday Gang are regularly involved in carrying out essential tasks on Phase 4. See the Tuesday Gang section or contact Tony Baker. Phone: 01492 874579. Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com

The contacts for booking your visit dates are:

North Wales (Black Hand) Gang: Dafydd Thomas

Phone: 01248 681019 Email: thomas@teulutycroes.fsnet.co.uk

Rest of The World Gang: Paul Bradshaw

Phone: 01766 770034 Email: paul.bradshaw@highrail.co.uk

If you want to join the Tuesday Gang contact Tony Baker

Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com

Any queries concerning volunteering on Phase 4 should be addressed to Paul Bradshaw.

 

Construction progress to 20/7/07

James Cyf. were as good as their word and cleared the Bryn-y-felin compound by 19/7/07. They also made the trackbed up and by 1600, ballast had reached the Bryn-y-felin road bridge. The 100m gap in the ballast between the road bridge and Bryn-y-felin Cutting should link up on 20/7/07 and the way should be open to lay track into the Aberglaslyn Pass in the next few weeks. However, the area west of the bridge needs fencing and this includes the former lay-by between Bryn-y-felin road bridge and Bryn-y-felin Cutting.

 

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This northerly view (20/7/07) shows the ballast complete up to the portal of OB173, the A498 road bridge. This area remained to be fenced on that date. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (19/7/07) shows ballasting underway between Bryn-y-felin river and road bridge. The compound at this location has been cleared. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 19/7/07) show the removal of the ballast store in Bryn-y-felin Cutting, just south of the Head of Steel. The first view, with the leading rail in the foreground, shows the excavator removing the metre deep pile of ballast. The second view shows the dumper being loaded. The dumper has a tipper fitting to allow the ballast to be discharged onto exactly the correct place on the trackbed. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Brunswick Ironworks has also revisited the bridge and removed the infill deck panels that carried the wheels of the construction vehicles. These are for reuse either at the Afon Dylif bridge (UB199) or the Afon Nanmor bridge (UB196). James Cyf. may have a second set made so that both bridges can be crossed by construction traffic. This would provide flexibility for completion of Sections 12 and 13 from Nantmor to Ynysfor.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 19/7/07) show the completion of ballast either side of Afon Glaslyn bridge at Bryn-y-felin. The infill deck plates used to support the wheels of construction traffic have been removed and will be replaced by the permanent walkway grids. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Before track is laid surveyors must peg out the alignment. It has not been possible to do this yet beyond the Head of Steel because of the ballast store that was in the way (some of which remained on 19/7/07 within a rail length of the existing rails). The pegging out is more likely to be achievable next week when the tidying up and fencing of the site has been completed.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 19/7/07) show the completion of the trackbed through the former lay-by at Bryn-y-felin. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

In Goat Tunnel the drainage channel down the west side has now been cut down by 10cm for the full length of the tunnel. The collector box for the aqueduct outflow has also been modified. Engineers have asked for some concrete to be removed from the haunches of the channel where it is near the sleeper ends. This is probably only a day's work. Upnor Castle is unlikely to be allowed south of Beddgelert Station north points until engineers are satisfied that gauging of Goat Cutting and Tunnel reveals no more problems.

The final section of the Beddgelert Station building foundation slab has been cast and it will now be possible to complete the eastern face kerbing of the south end of the platform. Further south, just after Cemetery Crossing, the footpath approaches to LC89 have been regraded.

 

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This southerly view (19/7/07) shows the final section of the Beddgelert station building foundation slab has been cast. The temporary crossing in the foreground will be removed and the platform edge kerbing completed to a point opposite the station building awning. The gauge frame has been attached to an RRM to set the platform kerbing to gauge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/7/07) shows the foundation slab of the Beddgelert Station building complete in heavy rain. William Hughes' site foreman reported that 19/7/07 was the first day without rain at Beddgelert during working hours for two months! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (19/7/07) shows the regrading of the footpath approach to LC89, just south of Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Following the recent trackbed walk by the engineers, a major ballasting and tamping campaign is underway. Attention has moved south to Pont Cae'r Gors cutting and all three ballast wagons were in use on 19/7/07. The track is already benefiting by looking a lot more even in its vertical alignment than before. When the KMX returns it will quickly be able to refine the alignment now the vertical alignment has been set.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 19/7/07) show the tamping of Pont Cae'r Gors Cutting. The first view shows Upnor Castle with all three ballast wagons just north of Pont Cae'r Gors. The second view shows the Matisa tamper in action. It is used when the KMX is receiving maintenance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 18/7/07

It has been decided to lay 3 panels of track at the south end of Beddgelert Station this weekend into the western loop track. This will allow William Hughes CE, the contractor, to start setting out the western platform face once concrete deliveries for the station building slab have been completed, presumably later this week.

Attention is now focussed on clearing Goat Tunnel and its approaches for Upnor Castle's lower protrusions. On Wednesday 18/7/07, the trackside edge of the concrete drainage channel had been reduced by about 10cm for half of the length of the 40m tunnel using a diamond cutting disc. What remains to be done is the receiver box for the Goat Reservoir outflow and design works are in hand for this. The reduction in track levels to overcome the Goat Tunnel clearance problem has made these structures foul of the loading gauge.

Surveyors have recently walked the route south from Rhyd Ddu and identified track problems. A track gang was in action on the Pitt's Head straight south of Rhyd Ddu on 18/7/07. The problem is the switchback nature of the track, which was laid on a rather uneven sub-base. Extensive re-ballasting and tamping is underway with the new Romanian ballast wagon in use. The KMX was receiving fitter's attention so the Matisa tamper was pressed into service.

 

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This northerly view (18/7/07) shows ballasting and tamping underway to level track on the Pitt's Head straight. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/7/07) shows engineers considering what to do about the Goat Reservoir overflow receiver box. Now that the track has been lowered to improve clearance in Goat Tunnel, the box is foul of the structure gauge. Upnor Castle cannot pass this location until it is altered. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE18-7-07Goat Tunnel.jpg (62644 bytes)

This southerly view (18/7/07) shows the cutting down of the trackside edge of the concrete drainage channel that runs down the western side of Goat Tunnel. Now that the track has been lowered to improve clearance in the tunnel, the edge was foul of the structure gauge. Upnor Castle cannot pass this location until it is altered. Work was about half complete on this date and the rig doing the work can be seen at the south end of the tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 17/7/07

Curved rails were being delivered to Beddgelert Station on 17/7/07 for use in the tracklaying programme this coming weekend. Down at Bryn-y-felin, James Cyf. was clearing the compound on the north side of the bridge with a view to laying ballast through there by the weekend. When linked up with the ballast in the cutting behind Bryn-y-felin house, it will provide about 900m of completed formation ahead of tracklayers for them to get their teeth into in August/September.

Samples of new baseplates and screws for wooden sleepers, purchased for the section of track in the Aberglaslyn Pass, are now in stock at Dinas. The track base plates are being supplied by Majorfax Ltd, of Walsall and the new galvanised track screws by Holdtrade (UK) Ltd, of Llantrisant. The items are marked F&WHR 2007 and have been ordered as existing ex-SAR stocks are running low, with even more wooden sleepered track to lay in the Aberglaslyn Pass and tunnels than originally anticipated. Some 5,000 baseplates have been ordered along with 10,000 screws. This is sufficient for about 2km of wooden sleepered track and along with current steel sleepers/fixings at Dinas, provides enough sleepers for the full length to Porthmadog.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 17/7/07) show the rail delivery at Beddgelert for Bryn-y-felin curves. In the first view the point for the siding can be seen and also the draw-pits along the platform. The rails were unloaded onto wood so as not to shock/loosen the baseplate screws. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (17/7/07) shows James Cyf. clearing their compound just north of Bryn-y-felin bridge in preparation for ballasting later this week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE17-7-07Finishing trackbed at UB174A.jpg (66197 bytes) S10_JE17-7-07Head of ballast at Ch.23660.jpg (71766 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (both 17/7/07) show the trackbed at TWA Ch.23460 approx. In the first view James Cyf. is finishing the trackbed over the new culvert UB174A, just south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. In the second view the head of ballast at Ch.23470 approx. can be seen. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/7/07) shows ballasting completed on the riverside section north from Ch.23550. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 17/7/07) show the head of ballast just north of T2 at TWA Ch.24075 approx. About 900m of ballast will be available for tracklayers during August/September in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (both 13/7/07) taken in the Dinas WHRCL offices show samples of the newly ordered baseplates and screws that will be available for tracklayers during August/September in the Aberglaslyn Pass when they run out of the ex-SAR ones. The items are embossed with the lettering F&WHR 2007. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ian Harthill and were taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 16/7/07

Ballasting is underway on the western (southbound) loop track in Beddgelert station, although any further extension to the north will probably have to await the final delivery of concrete for the station building slab as access is needed. A decision will be taken on Wednesday as to whether to lay track north from the south loop point this weekend to help the contractor start the western platform face. The foundation ring beam has been finished and the shuttering is in place for the fourth and final cast of the slab. Some excavation is ongoing between the station building and the track where a paved area will be placed between the awning and the level crossing access to the platform. A foul water sewer has been put in place.

 

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This southerly view (16/7/07) shows the preparations for the final pour of the Beddgelert Station building foundation slab. Ballast has been laid in the westerly trackbed, visible in the bottom right and a large pile of ballast delivered, visible in the bottom left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 16/7/07) show the track gap finally closed at Cemetery Curve and the transition between steel and wooden sleepered track. It appears that track has been realigned away from the inside edge of the curve where it previously impinged on the drainage ditch just south of the Goat Tunnel. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Excavation of the base of T4, the long Aberglaslyn tunnel, is still underway at the northern end of the tunnel to improve clearances. This job is nearing completion and then attention will switch to finishing the trackbed between T2 and Nantmor level crossing to allow tracklaying there in the Autumn.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 16/7/07) show the situation in Cwm Bychan, just south of T4. Excavation of the tunnel base to provide additional clearance is ongoing. The process is being videoed for the next Supporters' Day. The trackbed will need some work here to firm it up after all the heavy vehicle traffic has damaged the surface. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 14/7/07

The south-eastern wingwall of Bryn-y-felin bridge was under construction on 14/7/07 with James Cyf. working on Saturday to fill gabions (wire cages filled with rocks). Ballasting and sleepers were up to within 40m of LC90, immediately south of the bridge. James Cyf. was expected to clear the Bryn-y-felin site by mid-week and join up the ballast with that in Bryn-y-felin Cutting to the north. As track had joined up on Sunday, Dolgarrog made an appearance at the Head of Steel at Bryn-y-felin to return the volunteers who had pushed a pair of RRMs there from Cemetery Curve. It is anticipated that some of the 200m from the Head of Steel to Bryn-y-felin bridge may be laid by the North Wales Track Gang next weekend and track may finally cross the bridge by the end of July.

 

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This northerly view (15/7/07) shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel at Bryn-y-felin again, the first visit since track reached here on 3/6/07. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Jonathan Hall and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (14/7/07) shows ballasting has reached TWA Ch.23470 approx. south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. Pre-drilled wooden sleeper packs have been placed adjacent to the trackbed north of this point to allow ballasting to be completed by next weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Ben Fisher and was taken on a digital camera and does not appear on his website. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (14/7/07) shows work in progress on the wingwall on the south eastern corner of Bryn-y-felin bridge. This is being formed of gabions and will protect the embankment from scour. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Chris Price and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 14/7/07

The replacement steel sleepered track south of Goat Tunnel reached the wooden sleepered section around Cemetery Crossing on 14/7/07. The Rest of the World Gang hope to make the connection by Sunday lunchtime as, with slight realignments, one rail was about 0.5m too long. It is unlikely that they will push on at Bryn y Felin as there is a large mound of ballast in the way that almost fills the cutting. That pleasure can be left to the North Wales Track Gang next weekend as the formation should be clear and ballasted both sides of Bryn-y-felin bridge by 21/7/07. Track should then advance over the bridge on 28/7/07 and tracklaying should continue down the Aberglaslyn Pass in August.

Volunteers went to Dinas after work on Saturday evening to stock up with new elastic spring clips (a.k.a. pandrol clips) with a view to replacing some more on 15/7/07. Also planned is the replacing of a half curved rail with a half straight at the end of a staggered section near UB131, the Afon Cwm Du bridge, to improve the alignment on the curve transition. This is one of a number of minor track issues identified by surveyors after their recent track inspection.

 

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These northerly views respectively (both 14/7/07) show the track gap finally closed at Cemetery Curve. It seems that the short wooden sleepered section will be left for now. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (14/7/07) shows the closing of the gap in the rails at Cemetery Curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/7/07) shows the ballast dump blocking Bryn-y-felin Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 14/7/07

With the third of four concrete pours for the Beddgelert Station building foundation completed by last week, shuttering has been placed for the north end of the foundation ring beam now that cement lorries can reach the final section from outside the foundation. When all is complete the final section of the eastern platform kerbing can be placed. The backfill for most of the width of the platform has now been rolled for much of the length of the platform. The intention is for Hughes to withdraw to the north constructing the western platform face, the ashpit siding, and the new water tower base. The platform lights, waiting shelters and flower beds will be finished and finally the surface will be completed with tarmac.

 

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This easterly view (14/7/07) shows the station building foundation slab at Beddgelert 3/4 finished. Shuttering has been erected to close the foundation ring beam on the north side now that access is no longer required by vibro-rollers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Chris Price and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 Award

On Wednesday 11th July 2007, The Transport Trust hosted the 2006 Restoration Awards in the 'Bluebird' room of the old Brooklands Motor Racing Club at the Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey. An informal gathering of people were invited for 17 awards, ranging from the 'Preservationist of the Year' presented to Dr. Robert Fleming for leading the 'Vulcan to the Sky Trust', to the individual Restoration Award that included the WHR K1 Group for restoring the world's first Garratt locomotive built in 1909 by Beyer Peacock of Manchester for the Tasmanian Government Railways.

 

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This view (11/7/07) shows the certificate awarded to the K1 Group for their work on the loco. Click on this image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Andy Rutter and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The group had received the cheque part of that award last December specifically towards the replication of the acetylene headlamps that are in hand at this date. The presentations were given by HRH Prince Michael of Kent. Andy Rutter and Ian McKenzie, as Chairman and Treasurer respectively, represented the K1 group. On receipt of the presentation from HRH Prince Michael, Andy Rutter gave a short 'thank you' speech on behalf of all the team that made the restoration of K1 possible. HRH chatted to several of the K1 Team and was interested to know about the WHR and that Prince Charles had had his own 'Inspection Train' on the WHR.

One other steam locomotive of note in the 2006 awards is the Baldwin WW1 loco No.778 restored by the 'Greensands Railway Trust', a loco of the same type as Nos.590 and 794. It is hoped this loco will haul passenger services for the first time on Sunday 18/8/07 August at Leighton Buzzard. It may eventually visit the WHR(P) and its presence at the Grand Opening of the WHR throughout at Easter 2009 would be a huge draw, possibly running as No.590!

 

Team Wylfa report 10/7/07

Team Wylfa had a small team again on Tuesday with just 3 volunteers. They were fully occupied, as usual this time of year, on carriage inspections/oiling up. In addition to the 2 coaches on the schedule, volunteers needed to re-visit 2 other coaches that had recently had their axleboxes repacked. As previously reported, after a few weeks in service, the fresh woollen packing tends to settle and they need another one or two skeins of wool adding. That should now be all that is required for those axleboxes for at least 4 or 5 years as long as the oil is topped up periodically.

It is amazing how reliable 'old technology' is. It may take a little bit more effort, i.e.. oiling up every 3-4 weeks, but it just keeps on going. For instance, there were two axleboxes with 'patent oilers' in that Team Wylfa has been keeping a close eye on recently as they were coming towards the end of their lives. This week, it was definitely time to change them. They have been in service on the WHR since 1997 under one of the Winson built carriages. The bogies came to the railway from South Africa, so their service life could have been as much as 15 - 20 years!

 

Construction Progress to 13/7/07

Good progress has been made with ballasting north from T2 to Bryn-y-felin bridge. James Cyf. was expected to be near to the eastern side of Bryn-y-felin by the end of 12/7/07. They will need to undertake some work to the down stream wing wall of the Bryn-y-felin bridge before ballasting right up to the bridge itself. The plan is for them to have joined up to the ballast laid by Hughes north of the bridge by mid to late next week. This will allow track to reach the bridge by 28/7/07 given completion of the track to Cemetery Crossing during the coming weekend and possibly some extension of the Head of Steel in Bryn-y-felin Cutting.

The third of four concrete pours required for Beddgelert Station building floor slab took place on 11/7/07. The new Hafod-y-llyn bridleway route will be dressed with a finer grade of stone (MOT type 1 sub-base) before the diversion is made. This will release the trackbed south of LC96 (Ch.26160) to James Cyf. The bridleway has been on the railway alignment south of this point in modern times.

 

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These southerly views (both 12/7/07) show the ballasting having reached TWA Ch.23500. In the second view, the excavator can be seen advancing the ballast towards Bryn-y-felin bridge just 100m to the north. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (12/7/07) shows the second of four concrete pours completed for the Beddgelert Station building foundation slab. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (12/7/07) shows the new bridleway on the right at TWA Ch.26500 approx. The railway will be constructed on its original alignment to the left once the bridleway that was occupying the formation has been completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pole artefacts revealed

Further to the mystery of the metal poles that were installed by McAlpines between Croesor Junction and Rhyd Ddu, the base of one has now come to light. The base has a letter L stamped on it and four holes, presumably for holding down bolts.

 

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These views (both 12/7/07) show the cast iron base of the poles that were placed alongside the 1922 extension of the route. In the first view, a boot gives the impression of scale. The second view shows the 'L' cast into the base. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Mystery underbridge on Cemetery Curve

Prior to the construction of Cemetery Crossing in June1963, there was an underbridge on Cemetery Curve, just to the north of the crossing. The concrete abutments are about 1.5m apart and were infilled presumably at the time of the original construction of the Cemetery Crossing. It seems to have been a footpath or sheep-creep rather than a stream bridge. The recent construction works have almost buried the concrete abutments but a small diameter drainage pipe has been passed through the gap, presumably UB169A.

 

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These westerly views (both 2/7/07) show the two concrete abutments for the original 1922 underbridge on Cemetery Curve. In the second view, the new culvert headwall can be seen at the same location. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news

Excavation of the embankment south of Nantmor Halt has now almost reached the level of the adjacent road. It will be rebuilt using the reinforced earth technique. Spoil is stored immediately south of the works, north of UB182, the A4085 bridge. Excess spoil has been stored between LC95 and LC96 just south of the Nantmor Incline. James Cyf. has established a base at LC95. Work continues in T4, the long Aberglaslyn Tunnel. A hydraulic rock pick is at work breaking up the infill in the tunnel floor in order to increase clearance.

Although the Army had use of Upnor Castle in Beddgelert Station on 26/6/07, the loco is banned from Beddgelert Station until the track has been fully tamped to lock it in position against the platform edge. As a result the North Wales Track Gang left Upnor Castle and its Phase 4 train on UB165 during 7-8/7/07. The weekend saw steel Indian sleepers used in the 40m Goat Tunnel and ex-SAR gauge widened sleepers used on the curve south of the tunnel. The contractor William Hughes is making progress with the entrance to Beddgelert Station, including the zigzag path down to the car park and the exit to the Beddgelert car park itself.

 

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This northerly view (8/7/07) shows the Upnor Castle stabled just north of UB165 as it is currently banned from the station area. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (8/7/07) shows the Beddgelert Station entrance from the village car park. An excavator can be seen making the zigzag path down from the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/7/07) shows the finished trackbed immediately north of T2. This photogenic location is sure to become a favourite spot with photographers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rhyd Ddu improvements

The WHR has hired a set of four Green Loos for Rhyd Ddu, initially for the charity special mentioned below. These were situated in the area reserved for a possible future station building. They were removed shortly afterwards as they would have required planning permission. Another WHR station bench was added on Sunday at the south end of the station and three more are to come, plus one from the waiting shelter. The one in the shelter is to be replaced by a wooden bench. The excess seats at Rhyd Ddu will be moved to Beddgelert when that station opens at Easter 2009.

 

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This northerly view (8/7/07) shows the four Green Loos delivered to Rhyd Ddu on 5/7/07. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On Friday 6/7/07 a special charity train was run for the High Sherriff of Gwynedd, Dr Dewi W. Roberts. It featured a brass band in a marquee on the platform at Rhyd Ddu. No.138 carried a headboard for the event and headlights were in use as the train arrived back at Dinas after dark. The event raised money for Gwynedd Crimebeat and the Tall Ships Youth Sailing Trust. Nine coaches were assembled for the 150+ passengers who travelled to Rhyd Ddu, including all the saloon stock, open No.2020 and a bike wagon. Helen Williams-Ellis (who directed the S4C WHR DVDs) filmed the event.

 

Tracklaying and ballasting report 8/7/07

Track reached a point 36m (2 lengths) south of Goat Tunnel in staggered rail on ex-SAR clipped sleepers. There is still a gap to the wooden sleepers near Cemetery Crossing. The space between Bryn-y-felin and the Head of Steel at Bryn-y-felin curve is being used as a ballast store. Down in the Aberglaslyn Pass, ballasting is steadily making its way towards Bryn-y-felin from a point just north of T2 at TWA Ch.24075. By the weekend it had reached a point 100m south of LC91 at TWA Ch.23730 approx. with over 300m laid. Ballasting should reach Bryn-y-felin during this week and the James Cyf. compound should then be cleared, leaving the way open to lay track up to the bridge by the end of the month.

 

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This easterly view (29/4/07 and 8/7/07) shows Dolgarrog just south of Goat Tunnel. This is a case of déjà vu as this location is exactly where the North Wales Track Gang was 10 weeks ago as they laid this panel then! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a Panasonic DMC FZ7 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 8/7/07) show ballasting in the Aberglaslyn Pass. In the first view the southern limit of ballast can be seen at Ch.24075. In the second view, at TWA Ch.23730 approx. The excavator can be seen at the limit of ballast. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (8/7/07) shows the full extent of the Beddgelert Station building foundation. The platform edging has not been completed next to the station. The awning supports can be seen between the two wings. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/7/07) shows the Head of Steel in staggered rail on ex-SAR steel sleepers some 36m south of Goat Cutting. The wooden sleepered track is just visible around the corner by the fourth pile of redundant sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/7/07) shows the Head of Steel in staggered rail on ex-SAR steel sleepers in Bryn-y-felin Cutting. The ballast pile for the Aberglaslyn ballasting is visible. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction report 6/7/07

Ballast laying started in the Aberglaslyn Pass around TWA Ch.24070 late on Wednesday, roughly 100m north of T2 and by the end of Friday had passed TWA Ch.23900, working north towards Bryn-y-felin. James Cyf. should carry on next week from T2 towards Bryn-y-felin and may have completed to the bridge by next weekend. There was a pile of about 80 tonnes at Bryn-y-felin ready for this purpose on Thursday. If the North Wales Track Gang complete the missing track at Cemetery Curve this weekend and possibly an advance of the Head of Steel to the end of ballast at Bryn-y-felin, it is likely that track might advance over the Bryn-y-felin bridge by the end of July. Tracklaying could then start in earnest in the Aberglaslyn Pass south of the bridge in late July and August. However, although much is straight, it takes longer to lay track using wooden sleepers and the 1km of track north of T2 handed over by James Cyf. might take until September to complete.

 

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These northerly views (both 6/7/07) show the final preparations for tracklaying in the Aberglaslyn Pass. In the first view wooden sleepers are being delivered to the Bryn-y-felin compound for placing after the ballast is laid. In the second view, at TWA Ch.24000 approx. The sleepers can be seen placed on the ballast. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 6/7/07) show the ballast laid and wooden sleepers placed at TWA Ch.24000 in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass. In the first view the Head of Ballast can be seen advancing north around the corner at TWA Ch.23950. In the second view, the start of the ballast can be seen near the tree just north of T2 at TWA Ch.24070 approx. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The weather in North Wales, as with most of the UK, has seen heavy rainfall in the past few weeks. Work was rained off on Wednesday in the Aberglaslyn Pass and Hughes have had to finish early on a couple of occasions too. Despite the heavy and persistent rain, drainage on Phase 4 has been working without problems. A close inspection of the track laid and tamped to date on Phase 4 is currently underway with a view to producing a list of defects that will need to be corrected before any trial workings with the heavier passenger coaches can be organised.

 

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This southerly view (2/7/07) shows the reduced trackbed through Goat Tunnel being subject to a check by the engineers. One panel of wooden sleepered track remains south of the south point before the steel sleepered track commences. The wooden sleepers removed are visible on the sides of the cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

To obtain the necessary clearance, the track through the Goat Tunnel is of necessity very close to the 40cm high concrete drainage channel on the west side of the formation and the channel will be foul of Upnor Castle. This was anticipated but engineers did not want to have it cut back until they could see exactly where the difficulty occurred. Rectification work will take place in the next week or so. Another diamond saw job for Celtest (Bangor)?

 

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This northerly view (2/7/07) shows engineers conducting an inspection of the relaying. The track is quite close to the concrete channel and it will foul Upnor Castle so the near edge will be cut back one the track in tamped to the correct levels. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Progress has also been made with the Beddgelert station building. The foundation has now been prepared and a start has been made on the concrete slab, with about 1/3rd complete by Friday. The foundations have also been cast for the awning support posts facing the platform between the two wings.

 

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These southerly views (2/7/07 and 6/7/07) show progress with the foundation slab at Beddgelert Station with the southern wing complete. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (6/7/07) shows the foundation for one of two awning support posts. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cambrian Coast steam is back for 2007!

West Coast Rail (WCR) has taken over the total operation of the 'Cambrian Coast Express' steam summer season following Arriva Trains Wales deciding against further operations last year after Mr. Bunker's departure from the management team. Trains will run between 30/7/07 and 31/8/07. WCR was the operating partner supplying the coaches previously and operates the 'Jacobite' Fort William Mallaig steam service in Scotland. This year's operation will look similar except the Aberystwyth-Barmouth weekend run has been cut out in favour of Monday-Friday Machynlleth to Porthmadog operations. The same loco and rolling stock will be used, namely Ian Riley's Standard No.76079 with WCR's MkI TSO stock. The train will be serviced at Machynlleth overnight. Although Network Rail has recently upgraded part of the route between Porthmadog and Pwllheli, the route is not yet available for loco-hauled passenger trains.

The train times are 1000 from Machynlleth arriving at Porthmadog at 1148, returning at 1650 and arriving back at Machynlleth at 1900. The train calls at Dovey Junction for Aberystwyth connections as the 0927 from Aberystwyth arrives at Machynlleth at 0959! Trains also call at Tywyn, Barmouth, Harlech and Minffordd. There are special deals for both the FR and WHR(P). Both single and return journeys can be booked this year. A buffet will be available on the train for hot and cold snacks. Prices range between £21 and £28 with reductions for child fares and single journeys.

To pre-book tickets phone 01524 737751/737753. Click on this link for full details

Cambrian Coast Express

 

New Cob point on the way?

The new pandrol clipped king point for The Cob is believed to be on its way to Porthmadog from South Wales having departed Bedwas in South Wales on 5/7/07. It is likely the point will be stored awaiting the completion of The Cob widening this Winter.

 

Russell progress 6/7/07

Work continues to restore the only surviving WHR steam locomotive, Hunslet 2-6-2T Russell. Work on the frames is nearing completion, and the wheels and cylinders were taken to TMA Engineering Ltd. of Erdington, Birmingham in late June and are currently being overhauled. The aim is to have Russell available for service by 2009 for the full opening celebrations of the WHR. More information is available on the Russell Restoration Website.

 

WHR(P) news

The WHR(P) is operating 44 days of steam over the School Summer holiday period from 21/7/07. Guest loco Bagnall 4-4-0T Isibutu will be visiting the WHR(P) from the North Gloucestershire Railway, a new-build 2' gauge line based at Toddington station alongside the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Isibutu is one of ten locos built for a South African sugar cane plantation from 1920 onwards. It shares a South African pedigree with the WHR(P) resident Bagnall 0-4-2T Gelert, which worked in a platinum mine there. Isibutu arrives in Wales on 11th July and will be sharing duties through the summer with Gelert. Isibutu will make its debut on Saturday 28th July when the two Bagnalls will be double heading for the day!

 

Team Wylfa report 3/7/07

Team Wylfa undertook the usual jobs of carriage inspections and oiling up on 3/7/07 though volunteers did find and repair the first failure of the season. A brake fault was identified and repaired. Volunteers find it gratifying that they do find small things like this and are able to keep the coach fleet rolling along. It was a slightly unusual evening in that Team Wylfa had company. Several extra volunteers were present doing carriage washing on the E Set which was the set Team Wylfa was working on too so it was 'slightly' damp working underneath!

 

Tuesday Gang Report 3/7/07

The Tuesday Gang went to Snowdon Ranger on 3/7/07 to carry on with the never ending task of dry stone walling with a member of the pw team. For some weeks now members of the gang have been working at Tryfan Junction to complete walling there that the company had taken responsibility for under Phase Three and that section has now been completed.

Volunteers were also tasked with installing metal posts, in concrete, at LC66 and LC67 (south of Rhyd Ddu) ready to receive statutory warning notices. This will probably be ongoing work progressing further southwards into the Phase Four works. Volunteers also used a surveyor's trundle wheel to measure out and mark sleepers ready for the installation of chainage marker pegs at 100m intervals as far as the Pont Caer Gors Cutting. This again is likely to be ongoing work following the line southwards with the actual pegs to be installed also.

 

Cemetery Crossing Mystery solved!

Ron Fisher has provided photographic evidence of the building of Cemetery Crossing in the Summer of 1963, clearing up a mystery as to when this feature was built. The crossing was built more than 20 years after the track had been lifted but clearly the local authorities were aware of the various discussions to reopen the route with the '64 Co. (as it then was called) being set up shortly afterwards and so they protected the route.

 

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This southerly view (6/63) shows the construction of Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ron Fisher and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 1/7/07

Over the weekend of 31/6-1/7, a small Rest of the World Gang relaid some of the track lifted for the Goat Tunnel rectification works. The track changes to steel sleepers one length south of the Beddgelert loop south point. Indian sleepers were used on the straight Goat Cutting section and variable gauge ex-SAR sleepers were used on the curve into the tunnel to allow gauge widening. By the 'close of play' on Sunday, track reached into the tunnel.

Next weekend the North Wales Track Gang can relay with steel sleepers the remaining 100m lifted three weeks ago and then maybe run the ex-SAR van through the tunnel at last! It is uncertain if the 100m of wooden sleepered track left in place south of Goat Tunnel to Cemetery Crossing will be replaced with steel sleepers. If time allows, they could also advance the Head of Steel nearer to the current end of ballast just north of Bryn-y-felin bridge. It is hoped ballasting from T2 to Bryn-y-felin will be finished by then and the James Cyf. compound at the bridge cleared. The way will then be open to extend track across the bridge in late July and into the Aberglaslyn Pass in August.

 

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This easterly montage view (20/5/07) shows No.143 heading north approaching Cemetery Crossing with the PBSSR abutments in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Paul Holmes/B.W.Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Aberglaslyn works nearing completion

One of the final deliveries of sub base was made on 27/6/07 to the Bryn-y-felin compound. It was then the intention to switch to ballast deliveries. Given the completion of ballasting from T2 to Bryn-y-felin next week, it is hoped the James Cyf. compound at Bryn-y-felin would be cleared by mid July. This would allow the track gangs to make progress advancing the Head of Steel the 200m from Bryn-y-felin Cutting up to the bridge by the end of July and gain access to the Aberglaslyn Pass at last!

 

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This easterly view (27/6/07) shows one of the final deliveries of sub base at James Cyf's Bryn-y-felin compound. It is hoped this will be cleared soon to allow track to advance over the bridge into the Aberglaslyn Pass by the end of July. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Lez Watson and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 28/6/07

Rectification works in Goat Tunnel have been completed and the ballast bed restored ready for tracklaying to recommence with a vengeance this weekend. It appears the ballast bed has been reduced by as much as 30cm. Surveying was underway on 28/6/07 in order to finalise the new alignment through the tunnel and set out the pegs for the tracklayers' offsets.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (28/6/07 and 19/6/07) show the reduction in height of the ballast bed achieved by the rectification works. In the first view surveyors can be seen checking the final alignment and levels. In the second view, a small excavator and dumper are at work in Goat Tunnel, removing the ballast. The gauge frame is visible to the right. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the reduced trackbed through Goat Tunnel being subject to a final survey. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

In Beddgelert Station, the service ducts are now in place the length of the platform. The ducts will carry platform lighting cables, signal power supply cables (Beddgelert will have a shunt token and indicators), telephone cables and a general power supply to the shelters. The exact position of the spur from the water main and the meter box have yet to be agreed with Welsh Water, but the options are obviously limited. A 1 inch water supply has been provided along the duct presumably for the station building.

 

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This easterly view (28/6/07) shows the draw-pit on Beddgelert station platform for the various cables that run down the platform. A 1 inch water main can also be seen, presumably the supply for the station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

In consultation with the Environment Agency and in consideration of recent experience of high river levels, it was decided to introduce a new culvert UB174A immediately south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. The embankment across the valley here acts as a dam to the flow of the Afon Glaslyn and there have been occasions when river levels have risen to heights close to the girders of the bridge. The new culvert will help alleviate such extreme conditions by draining the area to the east of the PBSSR embankment north of the bridge. The construction of this double culvert has delayed the laying of ballast between T2 and Bryn-y-felin although the sub base has been rolled for much of the length up to the culvert. Ballasting towards Bryn-y-felin is now expected to start on 29/6 or 2/7/07.

 

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This easterly view (28/6/07) shows the finishing of UB174A immediately east of Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the finished trackbed south from Ch.23500. Sub base has been rolled as far as this point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the finished trackbed south from Ch.23600. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the finishing and rolling of sub base at Ch.24100. T2 frames T3 in this view and the change in gradient can be seen. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the finished formation just north of T2. A small retaining wall has been built below the formation in local stone. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

South of Nantmor Halt work continues on excavating the narrow topped embankment from Ch.25050 to Ch.25200. The level has been reduced by a few metres now and the base widened with some of the material. Other large angular boulder type material has been stored on the trackbed between Ch.25200 and the Nantmor road bridge UB182 for reduction and bagging into 'reinforced earth'.

James Cyf. has proceeded with advance works on the section south of the Nantmor Road Bridge. The bridleway that parallels the trackbed actually goes onto the trackbed between LC96 and Hafod-y-llyn, where the formation will be widened for 200m to accommodate the possibility of a loop/halt in future. A parallel farm track has been built along the east side between the railway and the old sea cliff from Ch.26160 to Ch.27100. This must be complete before work starts on the formation itself. When the bridleway/farm track is complete, the trackbed can be fenced off.

 

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This southerly view (28/6/07) shows the newly constructed parallel bridleway on the left hand side of the railway formation south of LC96. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 26/6/07

The Tuesday Gang finished off the walling work at Tryfan Junction on 26/6/07.

 

Tramway Rail delivered

Tramway rail was delivered to Porthmadog 26/6/07 and is stored in the new alignment next to the recently opened Porthmadog Central Car Park Extension. The rails have been supplied by an Austrian manufacturer (a country where tramways are still under construction with this rail section) and are cut to various lengths and pre-curved to various radii e.g. 50m and 80m. Rails are individually numbered for ease of assembly. The tramway rail section has a grooved top called a flangeway. The slot cut in the tarmac for the track will probably have a flexible compound filler to allow for expansion. The two tramway sections are across Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 27/6/07) show the stockpile of tramway rail adjacent to the recently opened Central Car Park Extension in Porthmadog. The rails are stored in the alignment of the new formation. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a Canon Powershot A70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (both 27/6/07) show the cross section of the newly delivered Austrian tramway rail and the individual rail numbering and curvature. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ray Cooper and were taken on a Canon Powershot A70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 26/6/07

Tuesday evening 26/6/07 saw Team Wylfa carrying out carriage inspections and oiling up much the same as usual. They were joined by one of their 'irregular' members, David Jack, so they had a team of four and are on the 'up' again. As a result, by 2045, volunteers finished the carriages and were able to get some more work done in the Clip Shed workshop. It had been getting quite untidy in there with various other groups using it recently so they continued last Thursday's work and had a good clear out and tidy up. The shed is now much cleaner and safer. Meanwhile, David carried on where Ulrich started and completed priming one of No.140's sandboxes and lube oil tanks. More work was done on commissioning the pillar drill with only about 10mins work left to do final connections and testing.

 

Loco news

Merddin Emrys returned to traffic earlier this year as a coal burner with new inward opening fire doors. It is hoped these will slam shut if there is a steam leak into the firebox, thus protecting the crew. It is planned that this loco will feature in the opening ceremony of the WHR in 2009, reprising its role from the 1924 opening of the route.

Progress has been made down at Boston Lodge on No.87. The rear power bogie is now ready for fitting the lubrication system and the front unit has also moved into the workshops for assessment. As expected the boiler needs considerable work done, including a new backhead and a small section of the barrel. The new backhead has been ordered from Israel Newton & Sons of Bradford.

The final drive gearbox of Castell Caernarfon is still awaited so the loco continues to run on Vale of Ffestiniog's power bogies.

 

Flooding 25/6/07

Heavy rain affected North Wales on 25/6/07. Castell Cidwm bridge flooded over the red markers that indicate where axle boxes would be contaminated. The down train had to stop and propel back to Rhyd Ddu. About 20 passengers were carried by coaches back to where they had commenced their journeys. No.143 and the train were marooned overnight at Rhyd Ddu and returned to base early the next morning. This is believed to be the first time a passenger train has stabled at Rhyd Ddu.

 

Army visit 21-29/6/07

Over the period 21-29/6/07 a squad of 30 soldiers (79 Railway Squadron Royal Logistic Corps) have been working on the Welsh Highland Railway. The troops have gained valuable experience with rail operations, including tracklaying. Major Simon Watkins, Officer Commanding the Squadron said: "The exercise will provide our soldiers with the opportunity to practice driving and shunting locomotives together with the chance to operate communications systems and assist with the day to day running of the railway. These skills will enable them to put into practice the very same skills needed if they were required to run a rail line of communication, as was the case when the squadron was deployed on operations in Kosovo in 1999."

Prior to their travelling to North Wales the squadron deployed to Caerwent Army Training Area near Chepstow to practice re-railing, where they were required to place a derailed locomotive back on to the tracks. Although originally shown as 'blank white areas', the OS Get-a-map service has for the past few years shown full details of the rail network in military bases such as Caerwent as they are available to the public on satellite imagery programmes such as Google Earth.

 

Harbour Station pointwork

The alterations to the track layout at Harbour Station have moved a step nearer with the placing of the contract for new pointwork with KJG Price of Bedwas (Caerphilly). The same company constructed the recently fitted new point at Pen Cob that allows the WHR stabling siding to be added on the seaward side of the Carriage Shed. The new king point, further out along The Cob, will allow full length WHR trains to shunt into Harbour Station and run round there.

 

Llyn Bach collapse repair

The repair of the Llyn Bach training wall adjacent to Britannia Bridge will now proceed as part of the Carillion CTRL contract. The Welsh Assembly Government has agreed to make a contribution to the cost of the contract to cover this work. It makes sense to do it all at the same time. The design of this work, which will now include the linkspan support, has contributed to the delay in the CTRL works. These will now start in September, after the main tourist season, to prevent disruption to the main trunk road through Porthmadog.

 

Tracklaying report 24/6/07

The North Wales Track Gang (aka The Black Hand Gang!) made some progress over the weekend but the Head of Steel was not advanced due to the blockade at Goat Tunnel. Volunteers concreted the pipe in the culvert close to the track at Canal Curve. They also cut back vegetation between Cwm Cloch and the Meillionen river bridge UB150, with the help of the Army. More pandrol type clips were exchanged for the new versions between Cwm Cloch lower crossing and 11 panels beyond the top crossing. Another task completed was the tightening of ex-SAR clips on the sharp curves between Cwm Cloch lower crossing and Cutting Mawr, again with help from the Army. These are mainly between LC 85 and the straight in Cutting Mawr. If the Goat Tunnel work is finished this week as planned, tracklaying next weekend will hopefully relay the lifted section and the North Wales Track Gang can advance across the Bryn-y-felin bridge in July!

 

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This southerly view (23/6/07) shows Dolgarrog as Rhyd Ddu station pilot. The loco is shunting under the water tower to move the loaded DZ wagon with concrete mixer etc. from in front of Upnor Castle to the rear of the works train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Water crane and service duct preparations at Beddgelert

Preparations are being made for the service duct along the platform at Beddgelert Station. A trench has been excavated alongside almost the full length of eastern platform face and marked Water Crane in one location. The water crane will be fed by a large diameter pipe from a new standard Braithwaite style water tank at the north end of the station on the west side. The trench will also accommodate other services such as the electric supply for the lamp standards and the water pipe for the station building.

 

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This southerly view (17/6/07) shows the trench dug for the water supply and other services down the length of Beddgelert Station platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (17/6/07) shows the trench dug for the services down the length of Beddgelert Station platform, marked where the water crane will be near the north end of the easterly platform face. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/6/07) shows the trench dug for the services down the length of Beddgelert Station platform from the south end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wagon report

Marcus Ingram reports that progress has been slow and steady on DZ 1424, one of several DZs that are receiving their first refurbishment on the WHR. The correct lettering has been stencilled onto the wagon. Two jobs remain to be done before it could be passed for use on the main line by the PW teams. One bogie has to be removed to replace a broken pin and a couple of angles need to be welded to secure the access hatch for the brake cylinder.

 

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This southerly view (10/6/07) shows progress on DZ1424 in the sidings at the north end of the Carriage Shed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Marcus Ingram and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 21/6/07

Team Wylfa only had three turn up again on 19/6/07 due to illness etc. One of these was the WHR's German friend, Ulrich, who joins volunteers on his twice a year Phase 4 working weeks. Team Wylfa has actually done two evenings this week for the first time in many months. Tuesday was carriage inspection night when volunteers checked all three new carriages after their first few days of running in. All the axleboxes required an extra bundle of wool trimmings as the first amount put in at Boston Lodge had settled as predicted. That should be it now for the next year or two, as the coaches should only require the regular topping up of the oil about once a month.

Thursday night was 'catching up night' in the Clip Shed workshop. Several small jobs were attended to including routine maintenance and a tidy up. The 2 vacuum brake reservoirs from No.140 that were cleaned and painted some months ago were finally moved up to the container in the South Yard to join many other of the loco's stored components. Ulrich painted another of No.140's sandboxes and oil tanks so Team Wylfa has actually progressed the loco a small step further. Clive Briscoe attended to long outstanding wiring up job for the pillar drill. One of the lockable isolators that were recently donated by Wylfa Power Station's electrical sub-contractors, AMCO, was finally fitted and wired in, which effectively means that the only task left is the final link up in the distribution board, testing and commissioning. Meanwhile, John Peduzzi progressed another batch of axlebox wool trimmings.

 

Tuesday Gang report 19/6/07

On 19/6/07, the Tuesday Gang rebuilt the stone wall at Tryfan Junction and moved the ex-Cowlyd pipe carrying bolster bogies to Tryfan Junction where it is stored on private property. These are to receive some cosmetic restoration but in the meantime have been mounted on a rail plinth for easier access.

 

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This view (19/6/07) shows the Tuesday Gang have placed the ex-Cowlyd pipe carrying bolster bogies on private land adjacent to Tryfan Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (19/6/07) shows No.143 at Tryfan Junction from an unusual angle in the field to the north with the former station building behind. The Tuesday Gang was rebuilding the stone wall in the foreground. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wagon 96

The FR Co.'s wagon No.96, lent to the WHRCL, has been fitted out with a wooden tool rack by the West Midlands Group.

 

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This southerly view (19/6/07) shows wagon No.96 in Goat Cutting during the track lifting with Dolgarrog to the south. The white dots on the rails show the sleeper positions to ease reconstruction in a few weeks time. Above the wagon is the concrete cladding of the former Goat Hotel Reservoir outflow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Progress south of Nantmor Halt 19/6/07

James Cyf. have started the advance works on the narrow topped embankment south of Nantmor Halt at Ch.25050. This has been reduced in height by about 2m and will be rebuilt using a reinforced earth technique to provide the standard formation width. The WHRCL has applied for planning permission for Nantmor Halt now that residents have agreed they want the halt. The halt was originally located just south of LC92.

 

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These northerly and two southerly views (all 19/6/07) show reduction in height of the narrow topped embankment at Ch.25050, south of Nantmor. It will be rebuilt with a standard formation width using 'reinforced earth' techniques. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL). Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 19/6/07

The surveyors have found 4 fouling points along Goat Tunnel. The WHRCL has been advised that the fractured nature of the rock towards the northern end, where it is shotcreted and rock bolted precludes removal of material from the roof so the decision was taken to reduce levels through the tunnel instead. This is because there is a risk that some large rocks could become dislodged in the operation if the roof had been altered.

Goat Tunnel was surveyed in the latter half of last week and a 3D model was produced on 18/6/07 that confirmed that the WHRCL's intended remedy will work. Hughes were tasked with getting on with job of altering the vertical alignment of the formation. From a cost and a programme point of view the WHRCL wanted to ensure that the contractor was asked to carry out only what is absolutely essential. Work started on 19/6/07 with a small excavator and dumper in the tunnel.

 

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This southerly view (19/6/07) shows the small excavator and dumper at work in Goat Tunnel, removing the ballast. The gauge frame is visible to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The track will be lifted to the Cemetery Crossing so that the wooden sleepers can be replaced throughout by steel ones. The transition between steel and timber has caused a disproportionate call on maintenance time and effort between Rhyd Ddu and Caernarfon and is something the WHRCL wants to avoid wherever possible on Phase 4. In fact some wooden sleepered sections through bridges (for guide rails) have been removed e.g. Pont Cerrig-y-rhyd.

Work on Goat Tunnel will take about one week using the small excavator and dumper. Access will be from the western loop track over the south point, which has not been removed. One method of protecting the point that has been discussed is to use Terram geotextile and MOT type 1 graded slate waste. This method was used before to protect Pen-y-Mount point when a pile of construction material was stored on top of it.

James Cyf. may be ballasting from T2 to Bryn-y-felin during the course of this week. The same company has been awarded a contract to carry out enabling works ahead of the main scheme for the Nantmor section. They started excavating the narrow topped embankment south of Nantmor Halt at Ch. 25100 last week. Design work for the reinforced earth solution is due for completion imminently.

Work in the Aberglaslyn Pass continues to make reasonable progress. Investigation is ongoing as to how best solve the problem of the retaining wall between the footbridge and railway bridge at Bryn-y-felin but it is thought that it will not delay progress. Excavation of the formation between T4 & T3 has shown that the original railway exceeded 1 in 40 for a short distance. Extreme care has been taken in this area not disturb the foundations of the high stone retaining wall on the east side of the line so the Nantmor water main concrete has been left in place.

At the north end of Beddgelert Station there has been some advance with the formation of the western loop track and the siding. The infill for the platform has been built up to the tarmac level and level posts are in place for the trackbed. Further progress awaits the clearance of the Hughes compound near the old water tower. This is likely over the next month or so, after the Goat Cutting/Tunnel works are completed. As Hughes withdraws to the north, they can complete the western loop formation and platform where access is no longer required by their construction vehicles. Further progress is also being made with the foundation of Beddgelert Station building.

 

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This southerly view (19/6/07) shows progress being made with Beddgelert Station building foundation, the rear of which now appears complete. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Army Visit

The WHRCL drew up a list of potential tasks a few weeks ago for the upcoming Army visit, including ballasting, clip replacement, bits of the western loop (unlikely now as the trackbed is required for the Goat Tunnel rectification works!), relaying track to introduce staggered joints where the WHRCL now believe they are needed additionally and replacing the odd rail the engineers are not happy with.

 

Track Progress report 17/6/07

Having lifted all the track through Goat Tunnel/Cutting to one length short of Beddgelert South point, the Rest of the World Gang focussed on elastic clip replacement on 17/6/07. They had completed the steel sleepered track south of Cemetery Crossing (LC88) on Saturday and switched to north of Beddgelert north point on Sunday. By the end of the day they had reached the middle of the Lower S bend.

 

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These southerly views (both 17/6/07) show clip replacement north of Beddgelert Station with Dolgarrog in attendance carrying bags of clips. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Jane Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More on telephone pole stumps

The general opinion now seems to be that the shattered cast iron stumps alongside the railway are the boots for steel poles used for railway telephone or bell signalling system. They were only to be found between Rhyd Ddu and Croesor Junction. Period photos show them as being surprisingly tall. It is likely they were a job lot redundant from another contract that the WHR purchased rather than a left over from the Bruce Peebles PBSSR contract.

 

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This view (17/6/07) shows the stump diameter being about 12cm. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jane Ewing and was taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Preparations for Goat Tunnel works

Preparations for the improved clearance works in Goat Tunnel saw track taken up from south of the Goat Tunnel on 17/6/07. Two RRMs were left on isolated track south of Goat Tunnel to give some flexibility. Track was removed from the break on Cemetery Curve and RRM's were used to move the rails to the north for temporary storage in eastern loop in Beddgelert Station. All rails were numbered to facilitate rebuilding in their correct positions after the trackbed is reduced in height. The order of the rails is important as there are short lengths to introduce staggered rails on curves and the various left and right hand curved rails, all cut to fit the alignment. At close of play, track had been removed to within a couple of lengths of southern loop point just north of Goat Cutting footbridge. On Sunday, the remainder will be removed to the points.

Imperial College provided most of ROTW gang this weekend. One team of 6 was also on Elastic spring clip replacement which has started north from the Head of Steel at Bryn-y-felin. This is the first time volunteers have worked on a track gang that resulted in less track at the end than the beginning and they hope it will be the last! Contractors should be able to access Goat Cutting from 18/6/07 over the southern loop point, which will no doubt be protected under sheeting and temporary fill to allow excavators to cross. It appears excavation will start around 100m south of the tunnel at Ch.25650 and work back to a point immediately south of the south loop point at Ch.25450.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 16/6/07) show the removal of sleepered track from a point 100m south of Goat Cutting. Sleepers have been stacked by the trackside ready for removal when steel sleepered track is laid through here. Tracklayers laid this track on 29/4/07 and will relay it in a few weeks time when the trackbed through the tunnel has been regraded to give improved clearance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress to 15/6/07

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This northerly view (15/6/07) shows the completion of fencing of the level crossing at LC82, the uppermost of the Nant Cwmcloch bridleway crossings. Places of refuge have been created for the bridleway. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Goat Cutting/Tunnel final plans

Work starts on 16/6/07 with volunteers removing the recently laid wooden sleepered track from Beddgelert South point to Cemetery Crossing. This is part of the plan to deal with the clearance problem at the north end of Goat Tunnel that prevented the SAR brakevan going through the tunnel in May. All rails will be numbered and sleepers will have to be identified too, as some are drilled to wider or widening gauges.

Once the track is out, excavators will move in and remove the ballast, followed by the sub base. Then some rock rubble will be removed from the base of the tunnel. Fortunately, this is not a hard task as the WHR 1920s works infilled the base of the PBSSR 1906 works to ease the levels and gradients into Beddgelert Station. The clearance will then be rechecked. A thinner layer of sub base and ballast will be placed and steel sleepers will be used, tamped into the ballast. As much as 30cm additional clearance might be gained. The drop will be worked out over the 100m (approx.) to Goat Cutting footbridge and will increase the gradient slightly beyond the 1 in 40 ruling grade.

The jury is still out on whether the track side of the pre-cast drainage channels on the west of the track through the tunnel need to be reduced in height. Engineers think not at this stage. Once the track is out, they will re-check clearances with the structure gauge and again when the track is back. Then will follow a series of controlled tests with rolling stock until the engineers are happy that the clearances are satisfactory. The work will require access down the west side of the station for a little longer than planned but when finished, the trackbed of the western loop, sub base and ballast can be completed, the track laid and the platform edging added. This will allow the island platform to be completed.

Obviously, no progress can be made with the Head of Steel over the weeks while the Goat Cutting/Tunnel works continue. However, when the relaying works are finished, James Cyf. will have ballasted back from T2 to Bryn-y-felin and track gangs will be raring to go, advancing track down the Aberglaslyn Pass over the Summer.

 

Beddgelert Station building foundations started

Work has continued for casting the foundation ring beam of the new station building. William Hughes are doing that part of the job as they have the plant on site. The main contract for the station building will be let later. By 13/6/07, shuttering was in place for the concrete base. The building is rectangular in shape with its long side facing the railway and parallel with the tracks at the south end of the station. There are two small extensions either side of the building on the side facing the platform. The toilet block will be on the north side. Access can be gained by the bridleway and UB167, freeing up the trackbed for construction of the western loop when that is no longer required by construction plant.

 

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This northerly view (13/6/07) shows work taking place on the new station building at Beddgelert. The foundation shuttering marks out the shape of the building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 12/6/07

Team Wylfa had just 3 of volunteers on Tuesday night with one off sick for at least another week. They have caught up to date with the carriage inspections and had a relatively easy night with only two carriages to check and oil up. A cursory look at the new carriages showed Boston Lodge has made a very nice job of them. From an underside inspection perspective, being slightly longer means that there is plenty of space to wriggle in the ballast between the battery boxes and the rear of the bogies. Without the benefit of the Boston Lodge Carriage Shed inspection pit, it is almost impossible to check the inner ends of the bogies (brake links / pins) on some of the Winson and Keefe built saloons on a regular basis without shunting them specially over the short pit in the Dinas Carriage Shed. Team Wylfa could really benefit from a full length inspection pit in Dinas if supporters could raise the money!

The last hour was spent back in the Clip Shed workshop unwinding skeins of worsted (wool), cutting to length, making up into bundles of some 128 - 130 lengths and placing to soak in clean axlebox oil. Volunteers have had to clean out and repack quite a few axleboxes in the last few months and had all but run out of pre-soaked bundles. They need a week, preferably two in soak before using as they swell up as they absorb oil. There will be topping up to do soon as, after being in service for a few weeks, the worsted bundles tend to settle. Three bundles form the initial repack, one beneath and one each side of the journal, and then another one or possibly two bundles over the next month or two and that is that for another 5 or 6 years trouble free running as long as the oil is topped up on a regular basis.

When newly repacked and for at least a year after, Team Wylfa has found by experience that about 150-200cm3 of oil per axlebox per month does the trick. The older the wool gets, the less it holds within the fibres and the more free oil forms a pool in the bottom of the axlebox, which then tends to slop out of the back of the axlebox and get wasted over the ballast. There are original SAR 'patent' spring loaded oil pads in some of the axleboxes but after 10 years running on the WHR (and however many in SAR service before that!) they are now almost life expired and will need changing before the end of this year's main operating season. Team Wylfa has a nickname for the old wool packings - 'dead sheep' - that's what they look and SMELL like when we drag them out!

 

Coach news

The final two new coaches were delivered to Dinas on 10/6/07. The backload saw coach No.2041 taken to Boston lodge for refurbishment. This is the last of the Winson coaches to be refurbished and has never visited Boston Lodge before. The new coaches Nos.2044/5 may be in service this week with No.2043. Like No.2043, both have a disabled door at one end and an area for a wheelchair.

 

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These northerly and two southerly views (all 11/6/07) show the new coaches at Dinas. The first view (northerly) shows Castell Caernarfon shunting the coaches with the disabled doors at the south end of the coaches. The second (southerly) view also shows the earlier delivered No.2043 in the Dock Siding whilst the other two are stabled in the bay. More wooden sleepers are visible for the tunnels in the Aberglaslyn Pass. The third southerly view shows Nos.2044/5 stabled in the bay. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying report 10/6/07

The North Wales Track Gang made no progress from the point of view of laying track as James Cyf. still needs the Bryn-y-felin bridge for access to the other side of the river, possibly until July. The Army squad is due around June 20th and it hoped to have something useful for them to do if they cannot advance the Head of Steel. A start may be made soon on solving the clearance problem on Goat Tunnel, which will further impede tracklaying, especially if track has to be removed. The soldiers are due to spend part of their time on the FR.

Over the weekend of 9-10/6/07 the North Wales Track Gang spent the weekend bringing the track through Beddgelert platform up to the correct height and levelling it so that the various items of stock larger than Dolgarrog and its train can pass through without fouling the platform. They did about two thirds of the platform's length in scorching heat with frequent stops to re-hydrate! It is hoped the Tuesday Gang might advance this job on 12/6/07.

 

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This view (11/6/07) shows work taking place on the RRMs at Dinas. All RRMs are going through a refurbishment programme to maintain them good condition and add safety warnings. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress

The footings for Beddgelert station building have been constructed in concrete. The building is in the southeast corner of the site, where the coal siding used to be. Access to the platforms will be via the station building onto the south end of the island platform via a boarded crossing. The rest of the open area around the station building adjacent to the easterly loop track will probably be fenced off as at Tan-y-Bwlch.

 

Dinas news

Dinas has also taken delivery of some bolster wagons from the Dolgarrog Reservoir narrow gauge system. The wooden wagons have two types of wheelsets and also two types of bolster securing fixings. It is understood they were used for transporting pipe for the construction phase of the Dolgarrog hydroelectric scheme. Later they may have been used for removing rail when the system was pulled up. The WHR Heritage Group propose to put them on display at Tryfan Junction.

 

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This northerly view (8/6/07) shows the rail bolsters in Dinas North Yard with some pointwork under construction behind for Pont Croesor Loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 9/6/07

There is currently an embargo on Upnor Castle going south of Beddgelert north points so no progress can be made with the Head of Steel over the weekend of 9-10/6/07. Consequently, the North Wales Track Gang have been fettling the track in Beddgelert Station. Things will start to move forwards again when the easterly platform edging is complete and tamping has finally fixed the track in place in the ballast. If the track were to move, as it would be if Upnor Castle and the rail train or ballast wagons ran over it, the newly constructed platform edging will be in the wrong place relative to the track.

The 58m radius curved rails needed to complete the Bryn-y-felin curve to the end of the ballast are still on the stack at Dinas. The WHRCL is near a solution to the Goat Tunnel (T1) clearance issue and again this will cause a few weeks delay in progress with the Head of Steel. One plan already mentioned in this column is the reduction in levels through the tunnel that might see wooden sleepers replaced with steel from south of the Goat Cutting footbridge all the way to the Cemetery Crossing. Consequently, it will probably be early July before the tracklaying advances to Bryn-y-felin bridge.

Although the trackbed is nearing completion as far as T2 for ballasting, the contractor has to sort out the poorly constructed breeze block wall between the footbridge and the railway bridge. It is not strong enough for railway retaining wall loadings. When this is complete, almost 1km of trackbed at the north end of the Aberglaslyn Pass will be freed up for tracklaying. James Cyf. will then complete the remaining 1km of trackbed from T2 to Nantmor Level Crossing (LC92, Ch.24900) over the Summer. It is expected that the contract south of there will be awarded shortly so that work on the 2.5km south to the Afon Nanmor bridge (UB196 at Ch.27400) can proceed immediately afterwards during the Autumn. Work south of the Afon Nanmor bridge will resume on James Cyf's contract to Ynysfor level crossing (LC112 Ch.30100) in October after the Ospreys have flown. Here, there are a few relatively small jobs and then the ballasting to complete as most work was done over last Winter.

 

K1 news

It is still possible that K1 will operate trains this year when the coal conversion is complete. The unique "Phos Patent 500c.p." headlamp casings, that were a prominent feature on K1 for a few years in Tasmania, are about to be put into production in rural Worcestershire. The K1 Group has an excellent craftsman who will start making the two brass casings soon, within which volunteers will assemble the electric spot lamps, batteries and other equipment. The turbo generator is substantially complete and all that side of the lighting project will be common to the other Garratts, i.e. a 24v system. The acetylene lamp casings will be as near identical to the originals as practicable. The loco will still need its final glossy livery black, lined out in gamboge (mustard yellow) and crimson lake. The FfR has promised the repaint when all the metal bashing has been completed.

Andrew Rutter has advised that the intended June K1 Working Party scheduled for 16-17/6/07 has been cancelled as not enough preliminary work has been achieved on the coal conversion process. The conversion to coal firing is progressing slowly, K1 now sports a firebox door and coal rails, although these will need to be modified when the headlights are ready to fit. However, the new ash pan, grate and firebars need to be delivered before volunteers can proceed with their work. Until these are ready there is little the volunteers can do to progress matters as most of the annoying problems identified through running in have been attended to. No doubt once back in steam and after further running in, there will be further items to deal with.

 

Construction report 7/6/07

Work continues on the Aberglaslyn Pass section with reduction in levels of the formation through T4 continuing now through T3 and onto T2. This will improve the tight clearances. The formwork for the deck slab for culvert UB175 has been completed and it was cast on 7/6/07.

 

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This northerly view (7/6/07) shows preparations to cast the new deck of UB175 at Ch.23850. The deck was cast later that day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (7/6/07) shows the widened formation complete at UB176 from Ch.24100. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (7/6/07) shows the reduction in level of the formation and the removal of the former Nantmor water main through T2. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (7/6/07) shows the formation level being reduced between T2 and T3. The concrete cased former Nantmor water main has been left in place here on the left against the retaining wall. It appear reduction of about 30cm have been achieved which will improve clearances through the tunnels. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor go ahead

The WHRCL has announced that an order has been placed with Brunswick Ironworks of Caernarfon for the completion of the 8 spans for Pont Croesor, the longest WHR bridge, alongside the B4410 at Ch.31000. This is another example of work being placed with the local community wherever possible to benefit the local economy. Brunswick also manufactured the three 75 foot long truss bridges which take the WHR over the Afon Glaslyn at Bryn-y-felin, the Afon Nanmor and Afon Dylif river bridges and the bridge over the A4085 Llanfrothen road near Nantmor. Pont Croesor is the last major steel structure on the line to Porthmadog. The bridge spans, and all the other bridges listed above, were designed by volunteer bridge engineer John Sreeves. The I beams have been in stock at Brunswick's Peblig Mill Works for some months.

 

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This view (4/6/07) shows all 16 'I' section girders in store at Brunswick's Peblig Mill Works, Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Full details of the bridge are repeated below courtesy John Sreeves, the WHRCL bridge engineer, who has kindly provided this commentary and plan.

 

'Pont Croesor is located just over two miles north east of Porthmadog, or 1 miles beyond the WHR(P)’s current limit of operation at Traeth Mawr. It is an eight span viaduct carrying the railway and B4410 Prenteg to Llanfrothen road over the River Glaslyn. This major river crossing warrants its own place name on the Ordnance Survey map as it provides a convenient route for road users wishing to avoid Porthmadog. When reconstructed, Pont Croesor will become the longest bridge on either the FR or WHR with an overall length of 65.25m between abutments.

 

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This southerly view (2004?) shows the railway piers from the north side of the Afon Glaslyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The original bridge was built in 1864 to enable the Croesor Tramway to carry slate from quarries at Croesor to wharves in Porthmadog. Little is known of the form of construction other than that which can be gleaned from the description given in a report by Major G C Spring in 1921. This stated that there were eight 25’ wooden girder spans on slate rubble piers, which were ‘decidedly faulty, having been damaged by floodwater and require repointing’. An 1891 map shows footpaths linking to either end of the bridge, which had become roads by 1916; it is not known to what extent the bridge was widened to accommodate the road, or whether part of the width was in shared use. The 1921 report stated that the County Council had the reconstruction of the bridge under consideration, and it is probable that a major rebuild of the road deck and piers was carried out in 1922 at the same time as when the rail deck was replaced.

The abutments and piers are solidly built in masonry, with a hardened invert provided as scour protection. The river bed level is 0.2m below ordnance datum at the upstream side, and slopes down steeply under the road bridge. OS maps show the bridge as the highest point to which ordinary tides flow, but the actual water level downstream is influenced by the timing of the tide gates opening at the river mouth in Porthmadog. During heavy rainfall, water backs up and can be very deep in this area; in summer the depth over the apron reduces to just a few inches.

A drawing showing the proposed 1922 railway bridge deck has survived, but is not entirely accurate; eight equal spans of 24’ square are indicated (7.315m), whereas the actual spans vary between 7.210m and 7.565m and are set at a 10 degree skew. Each span consisted of a pair of 20” x 7½” x 89lbs/yard steel beams at 37” centres (0.940m), braced with three 3” x 3” x ⅜” angles arranged zigzag in plan. The beams ends were linked together by transverse 9” x 3” channels. Direct fastening to the pier-top concrete plinths was achieved by 1⅛” holding down bolts with holes elongated at one end to allow for expansion. Sleepers were 9” x 4½” x 4’6” long at 1’ 10¾” spacing; every third sleeper was held down by ⅞” hook bolts which also passed through 6” x 6” timber guard rails positioned above the sleeper ends. No handrails or walkway were shown, so any derailment would have led to a difficult recovery operation, although presumably the close proximity of the road bridge directly alongside would have allowed access.

While most of the Welsh Highland Railway was dismantled in 1941, the section between Porthmadog and Croesor was retained in order not to prejudice reopening after the war of the quarries that had no road access. However the quarries did not reopen and the lower section of track was lifted in 1948/49. The steel bridge deck was demolished at the same time, this being the only bridge to be removed on the whole railway. If the girders had survived, they would have been too light to carry our heavier locomotives, and in all likelihood too corroded for further use.

In 1994, Gwynedd County Council upgraded the road bridge by a scheme that retained much of the original concrete outline, but the edge beam on the railway side was widened outwards by 300mm to accommodate a new aluminium parapet. A distance of 1505mm remains between the face of the coping and the track centreline, which is sufficient for the track to be reinstated exactly on its original alignment without the need for ‘S’ bends at either end. The new deck will be deeper than that which existed previously while retaining the same soffit level. As a consequence the rails will be higher than before and thus unaffected by the slight encroachment of the new concrete coping. The highway parapet is set back and tapers away from the railway resulting in a clearance of 568mm at the tops of the 960mm high parapet posts, but in case it may not be possible to fully open some outward-opening carriage doors on the highway side, a walkway will be provided on the upstream side to allow for emergency detrainment.

Options involving a concrete deck to support ballasted track were investigated in pursuit of reduced long term maintenance. However such a deck, being wider, would have required extended piers or a temporarily supported cantilever edge. An increase in rail level arising from the use of ballasted track would have necessitated adjustment to the road levels at the adjacent level crossing, causing a longer road closure. Furthermore the much heavier deck would have cost more and taken longer to construct on site. An alternative composite ‘U’ form similar to that proposed at Nantmor Road Bridge would have addressed these issues and was designed in detail. Unfortunately this would have involved breaking out a lot of pier masonry and casting new concrete plinths to accommodate the beams at wider centres, and was thus deemed to be more costly and time consuming for negligible benefit.

The design finally chosen for the replacement bridge deck closely follows that of the 1922 version, but the twin steel beams will be 770mm deep instead of 508mm as a result of the much heavier loading to be carried. Transverse and diagonal bracing will be similar to before, but sleepers will be placed shoulder to shoulder to form a continuous mat following the practice established on Phase 3 bridges. Flanking walkways and a handrail on the upstream side only are required to comply with current standards. The piers will be repaired by repointing where necessary, and the existing concrete plinths reused with new holes drilled for holding down bolts. Irregularities in the pier spacing prevent us making all of the beams the same length. Nevertheless, in order to rationalise the fabrication work, the sixth span from the north will have beams 8.405m long and the remainder will be 8.230m long with the bearings offset very slightly from the pier centrelines. All steelwork will be galvanised to achieve long-term corrosion protection and pre-assembled deck panels will be light enough to be lifted by a crane positioned on the adjacent road bridge without damaging the highway.

Design checking work has been carried out by Halcrow Cardiff office; tenders will be invited later this year and it is anticipated that the bridge will be in place during 2007.

John Sreeves

Bridge Design Engineer WHRCL'

 

Click on the plan for the full pdf file.

 

Team Wylfa report 5/6/07

Team Wylfa managed to gain one more volunteer on the evening of 5/6/07. With three volunteers in action they managed to catch up on the backlog of carriage inspections and are now back on, if not slightly ahead of, the weekly coach maintenance target. They are now looking forward to having their German friend, Ulrich, with them in a couple of weeks time when he comes over for one of his working weeks on Phase 4. There are now one or two jobs other than carriage inspections that Team Wylfa needs to get done to enhance the Clip Shed workshop and how easily they can work generally.

 

Carriage news

Carriage No. 2041 is due to depart Dinas for overhaul at Boston Lodge on Sunday 10/6/07 as a back load when delivery of at least one of the two remaining new carriages is planned. No.2041 is the last of the original batch to be given a 10-year overhaul, and whilst, mechanically and internally, it is still in pretty good shape, the bodywork is really shabby now and does not reflect the normally high standards of the WHR carriages that are presented to the paying public. The new carriages are due to begin running in next week.

 

Tuesday Gang report 5/6/07

On 5/6/07 the Tuesday Gang was tasked with lifting and packing the track through Beddgelert Station to achieve a 115mm gap between the top of the rail and the top of the platform kerbstone. The kerbstones had been locked in position by concrete placed against their rear side by 3/6/07. This is the third week the Tuesday Gang have worked on Beddgelert station track. The gauge used in this process can be seen in the picture below as can two very hot and sweaty Kango operators. The close proximity to North Wales' best ice cream shop was certainly a blessing on this hot and sunny day! About 25% of the platform length was done on 5/6/07 but it is possible that the passage of a few heavy ballast trains might make a revisit necessary even to this section. Volunteers expect to be continuing with this task for a couple of weeks so any Kango bashers out there should ring Tony Baker to make a booking!

 

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This northerly view (5/6/07) shows the Tuesday Gang packing the track manually with Kangos at the north end of Beddgelert Station. Concrete has been placed against the rear of the kerbstones to hold them in place. Temporary barriers protect workers from the steep drop where the concrete extensions to UB167 have been constructed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 progress

The scrap condition rear bunker of No.87 has been taken to Brunswick Ironworks at Peblig Mill, Caernarfon. It will be used as a pattern for the new coal/water bunker. It is hoped the loco will be in steam in 2008 as a coal burner.

 

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This view (4/6/07) shows No.87's life expired coal bunker/tank at Williams' Peblig Mill works, Caernarfon. It is to be used as a pattern for a replacement. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Speed Limits

With all the sharp curves, the WHR will have a number of PSRs of various speeds as well as the 25mph maximum line speed resumption signs. These have now been welded up and are ready for painting.

 

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This view (4/6/07) shows the various speed limit signs (10/15/25 mph) to be used on Phase 4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction Progress report 3/6/07

James Cyf's workers are nearing the north end of the Aberglaslyn Pass, having worked north from T2 to avoid blocking access to themselves from Bryn-y-felin. UB174A is currently under construction at Ch.23550, just south of the Bryn-y-felin bridge. This may be one of the last tasks before ballasting can commence between T2 and Bryn-y-felin with just the short section of formation between Bryn-y-felin and UB174A to finish.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 2/6/07) show the area around Ch.23550. The first view shows the construction of UB174A, the final culvert and the second view shows the formation ready for ballasting south of this point. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Rob Bradley. Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG Group news 2/6/07

On Saturday 2/6/07 East Anglian Group were active again. Wagon No.5002 is to become one of the semi-open wagons for the Trackside Maintenance train, and a milestone was reached on Saturday when the wagon was reunited with its re-gauged wheel sets. There is still much work to be done before this wagon can be completed, however, including fitting a 12" vacuum cylinder- the latter is still at Boston Lodge.

Meanwhile, the two running-in boards for Waunfawr were carefully packaged in preparation for their trip to North Wales, and vinyl was applied to one of the 4 signs intended for Rhyd Ddu. It is likely that some of the signs will be transferred to Richard Watson's Norfolk "sub shed" at some time in the near future to enable work to be speeded up. EAG have received another signs 'order', this time for four signs intended for Beddgelert station, and frame timbers for this sign have been acquired and given an initial treatment with 'Cuprinol'.

 

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This view (2/6/07) shows one of the two sets of wheels being re-united with wagon No. 5002. The wagon was re-assembled and returned to the rails using a very large all terrain fork lift truck, by kind courtesy of the EAG's neighbour Patrick Haylock. The picture shows EAG members Tom Skinner (left) Micky Smith, and Roger Thacker (right). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright R Watson, using a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (2/6/07) shows No. 5002 back on the rails again on the "Mill Green Branch", with the replacement headstock prominent on the right of the wagon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright R Watson, using a Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi. Picture by R Watson, using Sony DSC-P73 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress to 3/6/07

Good progress was made around Bryn-y-felin curve by the Rest of the World Gang on 2-3/6/07. Track was laid in staggered rail on ex-SAR sleepers with the leading rail reaching TWA Ch.23206, just two lengths short of the end of the ballast bed. some rails had to be turned at Cemetery Crossing for the left hand curve at Bryn-y-felin as they had been delivered right handed from the rail stack.

The North Wales Track Gang should make short work of this next weekend and then possibly go back to lay a few panels off the south loop point at the Beddgelert Station in the western loop alignment to form a temporary PW siding. A section of the Aberglaslyn Pass trackbed, from Bryn-y-felin possibly as far a T2, should be ballasted and released for tracklaying later in June.

 

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This northerly view (2/6/07) shows Dolgarrog in Bryn-y-felin Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Rob Bradley and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/6/07) shows the Head of Steel in staggered rail appearing around the corner at Bryn-y-felin Cutting, just two lengths short of the end of ballast at the gate. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (3/6/07) shows the Head of Steel in staggered rail at Bryn-y-felin Cutting, with the 'For Sale' 1910-built Bryn-y-felin house to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (3/6/07) shows the sinuous nature of the track north of Bryn-y-felin Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Poles apart!

John Ewing has continued on his one-man campaign to identify the positions of the former WHR telephone wire poles before vegetation hides them again. It is believed these cast iron poles were purchased for use as trolley wire poles on the PBSSR's electrified section. When the railway was dismantled for the 1940s war effort it appears that the poles that could not be easily removed were simply smashed near the base with a blow from a sledgehammer. Many shattered stumps remain along the line of the railway between Rhyd Ddu and the Afon Nanmor bridge, zigzagging from side to side of the route. Details of the spacing remain obscure due to the random nature of their complete removal. Where found by contractors they have often been painted orange and used to help identify the WHR property boundary.

 

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This northerly view (3/6/07) shows another success for John Ewing's 'stump hunt'. This view from National Trust Open Access land at Bryn-y-felin Cutting shows, in the right foreground, the stump of a former PBSSR trolley pole reused for the WHR telephone wire system. There is some lettering cast into the pole and your webmaster has noted lettering on the two visible on the Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Phase 4/Carriage Appeal

The latest prediction on the WHR Phase 4 Appeal is £1,099k, and the Carriage Appeal is £289k - a total of £1,389k between them. A couple more Gold donations would make the total hit the £1.4 million mark!

 

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This northerly view (1/6/07) shows the refurbished Romanian coach No.2060 stabled outside the old Loco Shed at Boston Lodge as it is too tall to go through the doors! The carriage is awaiting fitting out work before it joins the WHR fleet for evaluation, prior to any decision to purchase a rake of the refurbished coaches. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bits and Pieces

The stumps of the cast iron trolley poles, removed when the line was recovered for wartime use, have been identified along the route with orange paint to help locate boundaries. It is believed they were used for the WHR's telephone wire. It appears the cast iron was simply smashed with a sledgehammer near the base and the pole removed leaving the stump. These pole stumps are visible all the way from Rhyd Ddu south, with the furthest south one so far seen at UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge.

 

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This southerly view (27/5/07) shows the trackbed improvement just north of T2. The iron stump of one of the original cast iron trolley wire poles later used as a telephone pole can be seen marked in red on the left. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows UB196, the Afon Nanmor bridge, from the north, with the as yet unopened public footpath cantilevered off the south side of the bridge. The stump of one of the original cast iron trolley wire poles (later used as a WHR telephone pole) can be seen in the left foreground. Unusually, this stump is set in a concreted stone base, presumably due to the rock being so near the surface at this location. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New 'pandrol style' rail clips have arrived and may be pushed into use as soon as they have been tested, instead of continuing to use the old clips.

 

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This view (20/5/07) shows the newly delivered clips. Hopefully, these will be more durable. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress report 31/5/07

William Hughes workers are making good progress with the platform edge kerbing at Beddgelert Station. Some backfilling and rolling has also taken place where the platform will be.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 31/5/07) show the eastern platform kerbing being placed. Backfilling has already raised the platform to the height of the foundations. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL). Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/5/07) shows the south end of Beddgelert Station showing the limit of the platform where the foundation terminates. The southbound track will be hard against the cast drain on the left (west) side of this view. The platform access will be a level crossing from here to the station building on the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ron Fisher has contributed some archive images for use of this website. To see more of his 1960/1 views of the line visit his Photopic site.

 

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This northerly archive view (27/6/61) shows the middle of Beddgelert Station with the water tower in view. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ron Fisher and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/5/07) shows the completion of the headwall cladding of UB171/2 and discussions underway about arrangements for UB89 where the surveyors are standing. A wingwall may be required to support the footpath as it descends to the main road on the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Meanwhile, down in the Aberglaslyn Pass, James Cyf.'s workers have been busy reducing levels inside T4, the long Aberglaslyn Tunnel by approximately 50cm to improve clearances. This work has now reached the north portal and may continue through T3 and T2 to improve clearances there as well.

 

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These northerly views (both 31/5/07) show the trackbed level reduced at the north portal of T4. The second view shows the remains of the Nantmor water main that was recently broken out of T4. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL). Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/5/07) shows the trackbed levels have been reduced to improve clearance at the north portal of T4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/5/07) shows that excavation of lose material in the base of T4 has now taken the base of the tunnel down about 50cm, improving clearance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Waunfawr Station building

A project is being developed to build a replica NWNGR style station building at Waunfawr. It is being designed by Graham Cartland Glover for construction in Spring 2008, by which time it is anticipated that the funds for its construction will be available from a benefactor. The building will sit on the reinforced concrete foundation slab that was constructed during Phase 2 at the foot of the footbridge steps. It will be 6m x 12m externally, which is marginally larger than the original (5m x 10m approx.) but will look in proportion to the wide island platform. The building will house two externally accessible unisex disabled toilets, a staff/communications room (possibly fitted with a booking office hatch as at Rhyd Ddu), a store room and a general waiting room.

 

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This northerly archive view (16/4/60) shows the south end of Waunfawr Station building showing its NWNGR ancestry. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ron Fisher and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view taken on 3/7/99 from the A4085 road bridge shows the exploratory works that were conducted at Waunfawr within weeks of the announcement of the TWO. The station building was still standing at this time and the ballast bed of the two tracks through the station can be seen. The new station will feature a wide island platform with the northbound track on the left sweeping to the east of the site of the station building. A new longer station building will be constructed slightly to the right in a central position in the new platform. By the end of September 1999, the station building was demolished and useable small stones stored for cladding. Large stones were incorporated in the retaining wall for the children's play area to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Slide scan technology utilised is Olympus ES10 & iPhoto Plus4. Slide scanned at 200dpi.

 

Because of the need to insulate the building to meet today's building regulations, the local stone exterior will of necessity be just a cladding. Since much of the stone from the original building was of considerable thickness it could not be reused. Some smaller original stones that should prove suitable are stored on a pallet under the footbridge. The intention is, however, to produce a building that externally in style looks as close a match to the original as possible, with a slate roof, yellow brick corners and window surrounds as at Dinas.

 

Team Wylfa report 29/5/07

Team Wylfa suffered from a poor turnout again on Tuesday with only two volunteers present. They got all the carriage inspection tools and oil out ready and waited for the late train to arrive, on which the priority carriages formed part of the consist. However, when No.138 hauled it in, the driver asked if the volunteers could assist with a running repair on the loco so they ended up assisting the driver instead! This left too little time left to start the carriage maintenance. There is always a new challenge for Team Wylfa so if you fancy some varied work, come and give them a hand on Tuesday evenings from 7 - 10pm. Your Railway Needs YOU!

 

UB165 railings fitted

UB 165, the bridge over the Pont Alun bridleway, has received its permanent railings. UB167, over the newly diverted public footpath, has been similarly fitted.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 20/5/07) show the Head of Steel at that end of that weekend's tracklaying at UB171, just south of LC89. Temporary fencing is still attached to the sides of the bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows the north loop point at Beddgelert Station. The new water tank will be to the right, just south of UB167, near the tree. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) from the south end of Beddgelert Station shows the construction of a cast concrete drain against the western cutting side. This will also cope with any thrust from the bank. The track was fettled a few days later to form a smooth curve at the south end of the station and then ballasted to hold it in place, as its position was being used to set the alignment for edge of the platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows Upnor Castle at the Head of Steel with the Phase 4 PW coach. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress

Good progress has been made with the kerbing of the eastern platform face of Beddgelert Station. Work is also believed to have started on setting out the station building. Down in the Aberglaslyn Pass, James Cyf. has been completing the drainage on the uphill side in the cuttings just south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. These required breaking out of a trench in the rock. Much of the trackbed from Bryn-y-felin to T2 appears ready for ballasting in June.

 

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These southerly views (all 29/5/07) show the laying of the kerbstones on cement on the east face of Beddgelert Station platform foundations. The first two views show progress being made from north to south. The first view also shows backfilling behind the kerbstones which have not yet received concrete to lock them in place. The third view shows the foundation being cast at the southern end of the platform. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Carriage Shed and coach news

On Tuesday 29/5/07 the Tuesday Gang were tasked with removing approximately four panels of wooden sleepered track at the north end of Dinas Carriage Shed. This work was required to prepare for an extension to be added at the north end to accommodate the three new Boston Lodge build coaches (Nos.2043-5) plus the coach sourced from Romania (No.2060). Track has to be removed to allow contractors sufficient space to construct the large concrete foundations for the pillars due to the clay subsoil prevalent in this area.

The site will probably be surveyed later this week with a view to drawing up plans. It may even be necessary, due to the nature of the site, to construct the extension out of line with the existing building. Coach No. 2043 was delivered to Dinas on 20/5/07 and No.2044 was outshopped at Boston Lodge on 25/7/05 ready for delivery. No.2043 had not entered service after 10 days because or a minor suspension issue. It is believed that the next batch to be built will include brake/service coach No.2091 to the same pattern as the Winson built brake No.2090.

 

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These southerly views (both 29/5/07) show the Tuesday Gang in action removing the track from the north end siding extensions outside the Carriage Shed. The second view shows the job finished at the end of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Peter Roughley and was taken on a Olympus D-380 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (29/5/07) shows the track removed prior to building the Carriage Shed extension. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Peter Roughley and was taken on a Olympus D-380 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rhyd Ddu water tanks

The south tank was in use from 21/3/07 as part of the special trains onto Phase 4 and was fitted with a flexible delivery tube shortly afterwards as strong winds can make the water jet drift! There has been further progress with the north tank. After reconsidering where the loco will normally stand after arriving from Beddgelert, the long tube extending south onto scaffolding has been reduced to a short cranked delivery tube supported from the south end of the tank.

 

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This northerly view (29/5/07) shows the final arrangements for the delivery tube on Rhyd Ddu north water tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 27/5/07

The North Wales Track Gang made good progress over the weekend of 26-7/5/07. Eight panels were laid bringing the Head of Steel to approx. TWA Ch.23044. The railway is not as straight as it looks. There was a curve of 105 metre radius at UB172, which required straight rail staggered. The North Wales Track Gang had to cut back 1/2 a length that had been laid the previous weekend to achieve this. When they went back to level ends, it meant that they had laid 8 lengths in total, including relaying the half rail further on. Just to show how curved this section in fact is, they also laid a curve with pre-curved rail of 80 metre radius first thing on Sunday morning, right in the middle of the 8 panels.

There are about 196m of ballast ahead of the tracklayers (about 11 panels) through the sharply curved cutting behind Bryn-y-felin house. Next weekend's Rest of the World Gang should approach the end of this gauge widened section using ex-SAR sleepers but progress will be a little slower with bolted track.

 

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This northerly view (26/5/07) shows the North Wales Track Gang with LC89 visible in the distance. The track gangs occasionally get some younger volunteers and Paul Wood from St. Helens, just 16, is the lad on the right of this view in the yellow safety vest. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Paul Wood and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (27/5/07) shows the Head of Steel with Bryn-y-felin visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 27/5/07) show the Head of Steel at the end of the day, just north of Bryn-y-felin Cutting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Car Park complete

The way is now clear for Carillion to start work on the car park section after the Summer tourist season now that Gelli has handed over the car park and is off-site. The car park was open for public use for the Bank Holiday weekend and the recycling bins have been moved to a location near the new northern entrance.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 26/5/07) show the Porthmadog Central Car Park complete and open for use. The first view shows the car park clear of fencing with new parking bays marked out and the stone alignment of the railway to the right of the wooden fencing. The second view shows the new northern entrance off Snowdon Street with the repositioned recycling bins. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Paul Wood and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beddgelert Station platform

Good progress has been made with the foundation for the edge of Beddgelert Station. The foundation has reached the curved section just north of the site of the station building. The kerbs will be cemented onto the foundation and the platform can be backfilled against that. The completion of the second side will have to wait for the access track to be removed after the station building is completed.

 

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This southerly view (26/5/07) shows the foundation for the platform edge kerbing complete at the north end of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/5/07) shows the foundation for the platform edging nearing completion at the south end of Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Aberglaslyn Painting by Frederick Lea

Frederick Lea has painted a new watercolour of the WHR. The image below is a digital camera photo of the original. The painting is called “Garratts along the Glaslyn” and offers a glimpse into the future with two Garratts double heading a northbound train in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Fred made this particular painting for his son, Colin, who owns the original. If, however, there is sufficient interest, he would be pleased to produce some prints and would give this serious consideration, if requested. Fred has had the original professionally scanned and it is available in various computer formats on a disk.

 

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This image (22/5/07) shows the new painting by Fred Lea with Nos.138/143 storming up the Aberglaslyn Pass just north of T2. One of the newly delivered coaches is featured just behind the locos. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Fred and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (20/5/07) shows the same view as the painting above. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Progress

Nantmor Level Crossing and the site of the halt just to the south are a hive of activity at the moment. James Cyf's centre of operations will shift to this location as they release the north end of the Aberglaslyn Pass for ballasting.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) from Nantmor Level Crossing shows James Cyf's plant on site. Scaling and bolting of the cliff in view to the left is complete. Work can now proceed north from this point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) from the Nantmor Level Crossing shows the site of Nantmor Halt. The area south of the level crossing is being used to store the remains of the concrete and plastic water main, excavated from T4, that supplied Nantmor village. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ballast complete to Bryn-y-felin

Ballasting has been completed to the gate at the south end of Bryn-y-felin curve cutting and progress will be made with tracklaying during the weekend of 26-7/5/07. It cannot be long before the section from T2 back to Bryn-y-felin is ballasted and released for tracklayers.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows the ballasted railway just south of LC172 as seen from the public footpath that climbs the hillside. It was expected that track would be laid here 26-7/5/07. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows the ballasted railway just south of LC172 as seen from the public footpath that climbs the hillside. It was expected that track would be laid here 26-7/5/07. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows the ballasted railway at the south end of Bryn-y-felin Cutting. It was expected that track would be laid here in early June, reaching the end of ballast. A recent storm has caused a tree to fall across the line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) from the gate at the south end of Bryn-y-felin cutting shows the ballasted railway emerging from the cutting behind Bryn-y-felin house. It was expected that track would be laid here in early June. A recent storm has caused a tree to fall across the line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (20/5/07) shows James Cyf's compound, with the Bryn-y-felin bridge in the background. The public footpath can be seen to be diverted to the left of the compound and under the bridge before rising to join the main road to the right. A large piles of slate fines has been delivered for levelling and rolling the formation before ballasting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Modifications to Goat Tunnel

Work continues to plan the gauge clearance for Goat Tunnel. An area just south of the tunnel, Cemetery Curve also needs attention as the track has encroached on the drainage and this will probably now be piped to secure a firm foundation for the track as at Canal Cutting. The original railway was built with composite curves but the new railway is being constructed with smooth curves for a more comfortable ride.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) from the north portal of Goat Tunnel shows surveyors have marked the tunnel walls ready to improve clearance to the required gauge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows the track encroaching on the drainage ditch to the left halfway round Cemetery Curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress

Work is nearing completion on the Porthmadog Central Car Park contract (a mitigation measure) with the laying of tarmac on the site by 20/5/07. The fencing includes a footpath crossing of the railway alignment at the north end and a gated access, presumably for road rail transfer onto Gasworks Siding. No work has been done on the existing north exit of the car park. This may be part of the CTRL contract rather than the Car Park contract.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows the Porthmadog Central Car Park works nearing completion. The area to the left of the wooden fence has had tarmac laid in the new car parking bays. The railway will be laid in the white stone area where enough room is available for a siding and loop. On the left, the new car park entrance is marked by the yellow height barriers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows the railway alignment across the former Gas Works site. A footpath crossing has been made where there is a bend in the fencing. The area to the right of the stone pile is a new gated access to the railway, presumably for road/rail interchange to the proposed Gasworks Siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Cutting south

Rockwork continues on the remaining deep cutting south of Nantmor. This is to make it safe before the trackbed contractor enters the site later this year.

 

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This northerly view (24/5/07) shows the scaling and rockbolting contract underway using a cherry-picker in the 10m deep cutting at Ch.25300, just north of the Nantmor road bridge. Work must be completed before contractors go on site later this year to construct the trackbed between Nantmor Halt and the Afon Nanmor bridge, UB196. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd progress

More progress has been made recently on Lyd, the L&B replica loco. Following work on the piston rings and motion last year, April saw work commence on the valve gear. A wooden pattern was made for the slide shaft and sent to the Cerdic Foundry in Chard, Somerset, who will cast the new components. Lyd is fitted with Joy's valve gear and the setting of this component controls reverser position and cut-off. It is hoped the loco might be complete for the Grand Opening in 2009 and participate in those celebrations.

 

Beddgelert Station progress

Oberon Wood estate fencing is now complete and residents are making their own additions. The drainage down the east side of the station from the old water tower to Goat Cutting is being put in place. The platform edge kerbing has been delivered and work has started on the eastern platform face starting at the north end immediately south of UB167 and working south. By 24/5/07 visible progress had been made on the foundation using a profile to get the correct spacing from the track, now that has been locked in position with lots of ballast.

 

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This southerly view (20/5/07) shows Goat Cutting footbridge and the completed fencing along the edge of Goat Cutting. Residents of the Oberon Wood estate have been making their own additions including wooden panels and planting bushes. The southern loop point is in view. Track will soon be laid north from here for a short distance to form a temporary PW siding on the line of the western loop track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows drainage under construction along the west side of the station at the south end. This section is being cast to prevent any thrust from the earth bank cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (22/5/07) shows the drainage being completed along the west side of the station, alongside the old water tank, which is to be retained and fitted, courtesy the WHR Heritage Group. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (23/5/07) shows the completion of the catch-pits with grids at LC87 as livestock will cross the railway here from Cwmcloch farm. In the background is the former PBSSR formation and bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (23/5/07) shows delivery of kerbing to Beddgelert Station and work underway on the platform edge foundation at the north end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (24/5/07) shows the foundation being laid for the kerbing on the east side of Beddgelert Station platform. A wooden gauge has been cut to ensure the foundation is the correct distance from the track, which can be seen to be heavily ballasted to lock it in place after the attentions of the Tuesday Gang earlier in the week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Footpath diversions

With working starting on both Beddgelert Station platforms and station buildings, the footpath across the station has been diverted under the underbridge UB167. Two other diversions have also occurred recently. The footpath crossing the line on the west side of the Bryn-y-felin bridge has been diverted under the bridge and the footpath crossing the line at the southern portal of T4 in Cwm Bychan has also been diverted under UB177.

 

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These northerly and westerly views (both 22/5/07) show the work to drain T4 and the footpath diversion to UB177, the Cwm Bychan footpath underbridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL). Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (22/5/07) shows the cut up sections of pipe from the Nantmor water main, now completely removed from T4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 22/5/07

For the second week on the run the Tuesday Gang spent the day fettling the track through Beddgelert Station. As the position of the track is being used to set the position of the platform edge, rather than the other way round (as has been done previously) it has had to be positioned exactly, horizontally and vertically. This meant lifting and packing to eliminate all dips and then checking the curvature of the rail through the platform area.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/07) shows the Tuesday Gang hand-tamping the eastern track of the loop at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Since laying the track, a certain amount of movement has taken place due to heat, so it had to be slewed back to the correct position, then ballasted to stop further movement. The curve was checked using the versine method, involving a piece of string with its centre marked, attached to 2 fixed handles which were held against the track. The distance at the centre of the string to the outside of the rail is measured and noted. This is done right round the curve and deviations from the true curvature can be seen.

 

Team Wylfa report 22/5/07

The last two Tuesday evenings have been something of a disaster for Team Wylfa as volunteer numbers were down to 3 last week and, last night, only 2! There are genuine reasons and Team Wylfa hopes to have their numbers back up in about two weeks time. Only carriage inspection work has been possible and with these numbers and it has been hard work to keep on schedule.

No.140's boiler has now been shunted back into the Loco Shed, following the clearance of the Beer Festival items. Work is ongoing by permanent and volunteer staff to finally clear out the remaining limescale within the barrel and firebox water space. To assist in this, the remaining wash-out plugs have been removed.

The sheeted over boiler cradle has been shunted up to the buffer stops in the bay platform release road so it is accessible for power tools and temporary lighting fed from the Goods Shed when Team Wylfa get their numbers up again. Once again, a call to arms. If there are any local folk out there who fancy giving Team Wylfa a hand on Tuesday evenings, they have a myriad of jobs at all skill levels available - carriage mechanical inspections and oiling up through to clean up and painting of No.140's components.

 

Construction News 21/5/07

Discussions are underway concerning how to deal with the narrow topped embankments south of Nantmor. One way of proceeding is to reduce the angular fragments to a standard size and use them in bags as 're-inforced earth'. This is being looked at for the sharply curved embankment at Ch.25100, on the curve south of Nantmor Halt.

 

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This northerly view (21/5/07) shows the stonemason has been cladding the combined headwall for UB171/2, with the Head of Steel just visible to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New coach arrives

The first product from the Boston Lodge Carriage Works production line appeared at Dinas on Sunday 20/5/07. Coach No.2043 is the first of three identical saloon coaches being built for the WHR in preparation for 2009, with additional rakes and anticipated increases in traffic in mind. The coach is longer than the original Winson built saloons and matches the Pullman coach Bodysgallen in size. It has doors suitable for wheelchair access, which accounts for its extra length.

 

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This easterly view (21/5/07) shows the new coach No.2043 at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Autumn Tracklaying week

A message from Paul Bradshaw:-

'There will be another extended week of tracklaying in October starting with the regular ROWG weekend of 6th / 7th October and continuing on to the North Wales Black Hand Gang weekend of 13th./14th.

This could be your last opportunity to join a working week to lay new track on the 1 in 40 formation as we hope by the end of 2007 that the head of steel will be well on the way to reaching the bottom of the Nantmor Incline.

We shall be happy to see you for the whole or any part of that period. We not do not expect people to commit themselves to lay track for the whole period. You may prefer to combine one of the weekends with days after or before or you could do just odd days in the period. It's up to you.

Bear in mind in making any arrangements to join us that the track laying programme is dependant on many factors which are outside the control of the tracklayers, in particular the availability of ballasted formation.

Please let us know, preferably by email or letter, as soon as possible if you want to join us in the period between 6th. and 14th. October. When you contact us let us know which days you intend to join us to lay track so that we can plan appropriately. If you are planning to come only for one of the weekends and not on any of the weekdays contact the usual organiser for the weekend (Paul Bradshaw for 6th/7th. , Dafydd Thomas for 13th/14th.). If you intend to come on any of the weekdays (whether with or without one of the weekends) or if you have any queries, contact Paul Bradshaw. Our contact details can be found on Ben's and Barrie's web sites and in Snowdon Ranger.

If you have not already sent in a completed Phase 4 Track Laying Volunteer Information form please do so if you intend to join us. It can be downloaded from Ben's web site,

http://www.bangor.ac.uk/ml/whr/WHRCL_track_quest_0306.pdf

or get in touch and I can send you one.

Paul Bradshaw

Tracklaying Volunteers Co-ordinator'

 

Head of Steel 20/5/07

Sunday 20/5/07 finally saw the track cross LC88, Cemetery Crossing. The Head of Steel advanced to TWA Ch.22900 by the end of the day, reaching UB171, just one length north of LC89, one of the entrances to the public footpath that parallels the railway just uphill of the line along this section. Ballast had been completed to TWA Ch.23240, the gate at the end of Bryn-y-felin curve. The line is fairly straight along this section as far as the curve and good progress should be made on the steel sleepers next weekend, possibly reaching the start of the curve. Ex-SAR sleepers have been placed next to the curve ready for gauge widening as this is a fairly sharp curve.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows Upnor Castle crossing LC88, Cemetery Crossing, for the first time. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/5/07) shows Upnor Castle working the Phase 4 tracklaying train (minus SAR brakevan!), just south of LC88, Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 20/5/07) show the Head of Steel at that end of that weekend's tracklaying at UB171, just south of LC89. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Head of Steel advanced to Cemetery Crossing at the end of 19/5/07 on wooden sleepers through Cemetery Curve. The crossing itself was completed in wood as the transition to steel must be made on the straight. Steel sleepers have been laid out south of the crossing and, as the track is almost straight, good progress was expected on Sunday 20/5/07, possibly reaching as far as UB171, 100m to the south.

 

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This southerly view (19/5/07) shows the track completed through Oberon Wood curve just north of LC88, Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 19/5/07) show the Head of Steel at the end of the day, just north of Cemetery Crossing. The cemetery access road has been re-tarmaced up to the concrete catch pit. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (19/5/07) shows the track completed just north of LC88, Cemetery Crossing. Steel sleepers can be seen laid out to UB171/2 on the straight the other side of the crossing. There is a public footpath just above the line for the whole length to Bryn-y-felin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHRCL plans

With tracklaying now approaching Bryn-y-felin bridge and the Aberglaslyn Pass, south of Cemetery Crossing, the WHRCL anticipates the completion of the formation through to Nantmor Halt by the Summer and the easy flat section across the Traeth to the Afon Nanmor bridge (UB196 at Ch.27400) by the Autumn. Track will be hard on the heels of the contractors with many straight sections allowing faster progress. Once the Ospreys have left in late September/early October, James Cyf. will complete the already prepared section south of the Afon Nanmor bridge to LC112, the Ynysfor Crossing, by ballasting the trackbed. Attention will then shift to points further south.

Starting in September 2007, contracts will be let for the section Ynysfor LC to Traeth Mawr and the major bridge at Pont Croesor over the Afon Glaslyn will be completed, along with the loop just south of there and the possible halt. The same contract may cover the section south of Pont Croesor Loop to the WHR(P)'s Traeth Mawr terminus, which requires regrading. It is also now anticipated that work on the CTRL will commence in September, after the tourist season has finished. This will include work on the Llyn Bach embankment repair, now a part of Carillion's contract, and an option to construct the short section north of the Cambrian Crossing to Pen-y-Mount. The Harbour Station contract and the widening of The Cob will also take place during the Winter of 2007/8.

 

This easterly view (18/5/07) shows the completed Goat Reservoir overflow intake, with Goat Cutting behind. This image is courtesy Huw Davies and was taken on a digital phone camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Carriage shed extension

Plans are in hand to extend the Dinas Carriage shed. With the three new coaches likely to arrive shortly, in time for the Summer peak season, additional covered accommodation is essential. An order has been placed to extend the Carriage Shed which will be extended to the north (Caernarfon end), where open siding space has been constructed in recent years. The extension will be about 26m long to accommodate four additional Bodysgallen length carriages (two on each extended road).

 

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This southerly view (21/3/04) shows the north end of the Dinas Carriage Shed. Work was underway at this time to extend the tracks and form a point with the headshunt so that stock could be extracted via the headshunt, a project that was cancelled later in the year. Now a two road two carriage extension is to be constructed instead. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B W Hughes and was taken on a Samsung Digimax 200 camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell progress

More progress has been made with paid staff now working on Russell in an effort to speed up its completion for the Grand Opening in 2009. A seven day riveting session has seen Russell's new rear buffer beam attached to the frames, recreating a look not seen since around 1909. The new rear buffer beam is shaped the same as the originals were in 1906. Sections were hacked out of both front and rear buffer beams at an early stage of Russell's history as jacking points to help re-rail it after derailments on rough quarry tracks.

The buffer beam also features single link chains, something that has been absent from the loco since around 1925. The WHR Ltd Loco Department has also riveted a number of other components on the frames, including drag boxes (bits connected with the couplings), firebox stretcher (which goes across between the frame sides) and guard irons (which help knock debris off the track). Some smart riveting ensured that the whole job was completed a day earlier than anticipated. Some special tools had to be made for the more inaccessible riveting.

 

WHR(P) works

A further extension to the platform at Gelert's Farm Halt, alongside the WHR(P)'s depot/works complex has now been completed, though it still needs signing off before it can come into use. The platform now runs the length of the Big Shed, and includes a ramp down into the main yard as an alternative access to the works.

On an even smaller scale(!), the Civil Engineering gang have also been working in the South Yard (the area behind the Big Shed), moving some of the wagon displays and reducing the area of jungle and thicket. Work has also continued on developing the 7.25 inch gauge miniature railway in that area. A new bridge is being built over the stream that runs past the works, with plans for a trestle viaduct in preparation.

 

Beddgelert Forest-Beddgelert footpath

After a petition by local residents and users of the Beddgelert Forest campsite, the local authority is believed to be progressing the project of a replacement footpath between Beddgelert Forest campsite and Ty'n-y-coed. The trackbed had been in use as a permissive path for decades and negotiations had taken place between the WHRCL and local authorities under the Three Valleys Initiative for a parallel footpath or bridleway as the road is narrow and dangerous. It would have been best if the footpath had been built alongside the railway at that time and the FR was willing to donate spare land and facilitate construction, however funding was not forthcoming from local authorities due to budget constraints.

The issue has come to a head as the only footpath available is a high level footpath which is not suitable for the elderly or infirm. During the construction of the Ty'n-y-coed access track provision was made for its extension to Beddgelert. A local farmer has agreed to donate land and the WHRCL has designated LC81, just south of Ty'n-y-coed as the crossing point. One suggestion was to have the path run in the old PBSSR cutting but this is very wet and it is has SSSI status so this is unlikely.

The final route being negotiated may run in the line of pine trees between the railway and the PBSSR for the 500m south from LC81 or in the field on the east side of the PBSSR, rejoining the Pont Alun track to access the roadside footpath to Beddgelert. In either case it may provide new photographic viewpoints of the trains from LC81 southwards when operations commence.

 

Aberglaslyn Pass progress 15/5/07

James Cyf. continues to make good progress in the Aberglaslyn Pass and now has access from both ends, the rockwork north of Nantmor having been completed. North of T2, ditching and cladding of culverts with local stone is underway. When the tracklayers approach Bryn-y-felin in June, this section will be ballasted, probably from T2 back to Bryn-y-felin, and work will be focussed on the Nantmor end. The water main through the long tunnel (T4) has been broken out through the whole length of the tunnel to provide additional clearance.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/07) shows the contractor providing a substantial ditch along the east side of the trackbed. The ditch chicane is to avoid a rock outcrop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/07) shows the masonry contractor providing a local stone cladding to the culvert headwalls, as the WHRCL has promised the SNPA/NT not to use sawn slate in this area. This is believed to be UB175. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/07) shows the contractor breaking out the former Nantmor water main in T4, the long tunnel. The pipe was set in concrete and had polystyrene insulation material to protect it from freezing as it could get quite cold in the draughty tunnel in Winter! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/5/07) shows the rockwork contractor scaling and rockbolting the deep cuttings south of Nantmor Halt, just north of UB182 across the A4085. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 15/5/07

The KMX tamper/liner worked at Beddgelert Station on 15/5/07 in conjunction with the Tuesday Gang. The Tuesday Gang did a good job of hand-tamping both the north and south loop points with Kangos while the KMX carefully positioned the track against the surveyed line of the eastern face of the island platform so that the contractor could start on constructing it. Discussions took place with Welsh Water on site about moving a water main that crosses the site at right angles away from the station foundations.

Although much of the line from Rhyd Ddu has had the initial pass from the tamper, more remains to be done. Further passes will be required over some sections. It is considered that two more passes are needed to bring some of the track up to a standard which will enable tests to be made with service rolling stock, including Garratts.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/07) shows the Tuesday Gang hand-tamping the north loop point at Beddgelert with the KMX tamper/liner on UB165. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (both 15/5/07) show the KMX, with its running truck, carefully positioning the track against the future line of the east face of the island platform now the station has been ballasted. The second view shows the western loop trackbed past the original water tower is still in use an haul road for the completion of the station building and platforms. Click on the images to enlarge. The first image is are courtesy/copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and the second John Ewing (WHRCL). Both were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 15/5/07) show the KMX at work at the south end of Beddgelert Station. In the first view the siding point is visible. In the second view, the footpath can still be seen down the middle of the future island platform. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/5/07) shows the Tuesday Gang hand-tamping the south loop point at Beddgelert. Fencing of the east side of the cutting along the rear of the Oberon wood residences has now reached the footbridge from Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 8/5/07

Carriage inspections continued while a member recovered a trailer load of tools from Anglesey which have been donated to the railway, thanks to Jim Comerford.

 

Bits & Pieces 13/5/07

UB171/2, the culvert alongside the A498, was being clad in local stone by 12/5/07. This very visible culvert is at the entrance to the Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 29/4/07) show progress at UB171, alongside the A498, near LC89. The first view shows the cladding of the culvert headwall with local stone. The second view shows ballast laid south towards Bryn-y-felin. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ben Fisher and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Reports from the Beer Festival suggest it went very well despite the occasionally damp weekend. No.143 was out and about on the Caernarfon-Waunfawr shuttles following overhaul.

 

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This view (10/5/07) shows the WHRS' Elwyn Jones introducing the Mayor of Caernarfon, Ioan Thomas, to open the Beer Festival against the backdrop of No.143, which was running shuttle services between Caernarfon and Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Heidi Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The new pandrol style clips have arrived and have a black coating. A few were being used as paperweights whilst selling tickets for the Beer Festival! It seems likely these will be used on the steel sleepered section south of Cemetery Crossing (LC88) rather than continue to use the old ones and replace them later. A programme of extraction and replacement is being worked up for the approx. 40,000 already placed over the 7km from Rhyd Ddu to the north end of Beddgelert Station.

The recent warm Easter weather has led to some10 mph temporary speed restrictions being put in place on the operating railway due to track distortions caused by heat. These are at the old St. Helens Rd. underbridge and at Bryn Gloch. This may result in the KMX tamper going north to attend to the problem.

 

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This easterly view (8/5/07) shows the KMX tamper liner and its running truck just south of Rhyd Ddu station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 11/5/07

With tracklaying next weekend (19-20/5/07) likely to cross Cemetery Crossing (LC88) and start towards Bryn-y-felin, the contractor has been laying ballast south of the level crossing. Work had passed Ch.23000 by 11/5/07 and was approaching Bryn-y-felin cutting by the weekend. Bundles of steel sleepers have already been laid out along the trackbed before ballasting began. The 400m of ballast to Ch.23200 ahead of the tracklayers should keep them going until early June.

 

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This northerly view (11/5/07) shows ballasting of the 400m section between LC88 and Bryn-y-felin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The 700m section between Bryn-y-felin and T2 that James Cyf. are currently constructing may not be ready until the end of June for ballasting so tracklayers may instead return to Beddgelert Station to lay the south end of the loop for temporary use as a PW siding. This may be necessary anyway as the preferred solution for the Goat Tunnel clearance issue seems to be to lower the track, which may require Goat Cutting to be lifted as well. When James Cyf. do release the north end of the Aberglaslyn Pass, they will shift to working from the Nantmor end, completing the formation through the three tunnels as far as Nantmor Halt (LC92).

 

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This easterly view (11/5/07) shows sub base being rolled along the Aberglaslyn Pass around Ch.24000. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (8/5/07) shows construction of the intake for the former Goat Reservoir outflow. The former concrete channel abutment can be seen within the formwork. This job was completed by the following weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/5/07) shows the new diversion of the public footpath that used to crossed the area of the platforms. It will pass under UB167 at the north end of the station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG station signs

The East Anglian Group has completed two running-in boards for Waunfawr. There are only two existing there at the moment and they both face the original terminal platform so passengers arriving on a northbound train cannot tell where they are! Volunteers are aiming to get the signs up to Waunfawr within a few weeks and erected on the existing posts at the north and south of the station. The posts already have the requisite brackets attached.

 

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This view (28/4/07) shows the completed signs with volunteers, left to right, Roger Hornsby, Tom Skinner, Mark Neilson and Richard Watson. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Micky Smith and was taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Aberglaslyn Tunnel details

With work about to start in the three Aberglaslyn Pass tunnels, the details of the tunnels are given below. T1 is the 38m long Goat Tunnel just south of Beddgelert Station where the railway enters the Pass. The remaining tunnels are numbered T2-4 from north to south.

Lights have already been strung up along the walls of long tunnel (T4) powered from a generator at the south end. The other two tunnels are so short that they may not need artificial lighting. T2/3 are short tunnels through minor spurs of the east side of the Aberglaslyn Pass but T4 avoids the narrowest and most sharply curved part of the Pass to emerge in Cwm Bychan. The first two tunnels are almost straight but T4 has a short right hand curve before running straight to the south portal. Clearances above rail level in all three tunnels are between 4m and 4.5m.

 

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These views (both 10/5/07) show lighting in T4, the long Aberglaslyn Tunnel, lit by a generator just outside the south portal. The first photo shows the view down the tunnel with a vehicle at the end and the second shows a refuge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

All three tunnels were scaled and shotcreted in 2000/1 as a part of the TWO requirements . Tracklaying in T4 will be a challenge as the tunnel is so steeply graded. Indeed, it falls about 7m through the length of the tunnel. It is intended to have the tunnel well drained so that the rail is dry for use when steam hauled services begin. Wooden sleepers will be used as the steel sleepers might deteriorate in the wet environment.

 

Beer Festival

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The views (both 11/5/07) show preparations for the Beer Festival. A large range of speciality beers is available. Entry is via purchase of a commemorative beer glass. Click on the images to enlarge. These image are courtesy John Peduzzi and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The FR has released a leaflet giving the timetable for this weekend's Beer Festival taking place between 11-13/5/07. There are different trains services on all three days. Train services start at 1020 and continue until 2315 (FSO)! Click on this link.

 

Construction progress to 10/5/07

A stop sign has been erected at LC71 instructing drivers of Phase 4 trains to 'Stop and Proceed' when the crossing is clear. Fencing is underway along the eastern rim of Goat Cutting, protecting the rear gardens of the properties in the Oberon Wood Estate. Metal poles and netting has been installed to make this safe. In the Aberglaslyn Pass, UB176 (just north of T2) has been completed with a cast concrete deck on top of the concrete 'hydrant' slabs. Lighting has been erected in T4, the long Aberglaslyn Tunnel. Down at Nantmor, UB177 (next to the NT Nantmor Car Park) has been fenced off ready for embankment widening over the bridge.

 

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This southerly view (10/5/07) shows the track north of LC71, the site of Hafod Ruffydd Halt now tamped and aligned. Although the track looks much better after the recent KMX tamping and lining, a definite kink can be seen at the joint just north of the level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/5/07) shows the installation of new fencing from the Goat Tunnel northwards along the east side of Goat Cutting. The fencing protects the rear gardens of Oberon Wood housing estate residents. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views respectively (4/5/07 and 7/5/07) show stages in the reconstruction of UB176, just north of T2 in the Aberglaslyn Pass. The abutments have been repaired and 'hydrant' slabs placed to support the in-situ cast concrete deck that followed a few days later. Finally the trackbed was backfilled and vibrated to pack it ready for load bearing. While work was in progress, a pump was used to bypass the culvert. The former Nantmor water main has been removed at this location. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (10/5/07) shows UB177, the large underbridge at Nantmor, fenced off prior to the start of trackbed widening at this location. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Aberglaslyn Tunnels

Following concerns about a minor clearance problem in Goat Tunnel, the Aberglaslyn Tunnels have been gauged by carrying the gauge frame through on a dumper truck as was done for Cutting Mawr. The gauge was surprisingly close in view of the folklore about the anticipated clearances in the Aberglaslyn tunnels. The gauge frame passed through all three tunnels without problems. As a result of some very impressive dumper driving, it has now been established exactly how much fill must be removed from the tunnel floor. The fill will then be replaced with a thin layer of sub base to give the floor the standard 1 in 20 cross-fall to shed water into a drain planned for the western side (the old concrete clad Nantmor water main occupies the east side) and then the ballast bed will be added.

 

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These northerly views (both 10/5/07) show gauging of T2 and T3 respectively. The former WW2 Blacker Bombard gun mount is seen between the two tunnels, now moved clear of the trackbed. It will be moved right up to the fence to allow clearance. The gauge passed through without fouling the rock. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 10/5/07) show gauging of T3 and T4 respectively. The gauge passed through without fouling the rock. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Engineers are still working on a solution for the inadequate clearance at the north portal of Goat tunnel, and hoping to achieve a fix without having to do anything too drastic. A further walk through was done on 10/5/07. The reality is that only a very small amount of extra clearance is needed. If this were to be done by increasing the grade e.g. to 1 in 35 on the 100m between the tunnel and the station south loop point, an extra 36cm clearance at the portal would be provided (well over a foot!).

 

Goat Tunnel details

Now that track has been laid through Goat Tunnel, the kinematic envelope gauge needs to be taken through as the tunnel is known to have tight clearances due to changes in levels between the original 1906 PBSSR construction and the WHR regrading in the 1920s. The plan was to construct the track secure in the knowledge that the smaller items of construction rolling stock would fit. Once the track is in place, it is customary to check clearances with the structure gauge (a wooden profile) attached to a wagon. Currently, the ex-SAR Brakevan (and therefore probably Castell Caernarfon too) cannot fit through the tunnel at the eaves, though Upnor Castle and Phase 4 mess coach No. 1000 have passed.

 

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This southerly view (5/5/07) shows the track laid inside Goat Tunnel and shotcrete added to the roof during the recent rock engineers contract. Insulators are visible that supported the original WHR telephone wire. The new drainage channel is on the west side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AT5-5-07Upnor at Ch.22000.jpg (99860 bytes)

This westerly view (5/5/07) shows Upnor Castle at Ch.22000 with Cwmcloch Farm in the background and the steeper PBSSR formation to the right. The difference in profile between coach No.1000 and the ex-SAR van can be clearly seen. At this point the railway is reversing direction again in the second half of the Lower S curve from north to south to enter Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A number of options are under consideration for sorting out the clearances in the tunnel where they foul the gauge. The removal of the shotcreting and the underlying rock is one option but that is the most expensive and least attractive to the WHRCL consultants. Their seal of approval will be required by HMRI before passenger services can start. The most likely option is to lower the track a little in the area of the north portal to achieve the necessary clearances. However, the gradient between the south loop point in Beddgelert Station and the south portal of Goat Tunnel is already 1 in 40.

 

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This northerly view (6/5/07) shows the south portal of Goat Tunnel with rock bolting, netting and concrete supports added during the recent rock engineers contract. Track was laid through the tunnel the weekend previously. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Melhuish and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 7/5/07

A Directors' visit on 7/5/07 took Upnor Castle and coach No.1000 to the Head of Steel south of Goat Tunnel. The directors then walked the route, inspecting progress in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Down in Porthmadog, the car park is taking shape with parking bays and access roads marked out by kerbing and a strong fence separating the area from the railway alignment.

 

S14_BF5-5-07Porthmadog car park.jpg (42815 bytes)

This northerly view (5/5/07) shows construction of the Porthmadog Central car park extension nearing completion. A strong fence separates the car park on the left from the railway alignment to the right. Land has been purchased for a Gasworks Siding and possible future loop (and maybe an island platform if required) at this location. Kerbing marks out the car park bays and access roads, unlike the current car park. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ben Fisher and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 7/5/07) show Cemetery Crossing with its new catch-pit. There is no ballast south of the crossing yet. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE7-5-07HOS and Upnor from LC88.jpg (136612 bytes)

This northerly view (7/5/07) shows the Directors' Special on the curve just north of LC88, Cemetery Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jane Ewing and was taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE7-5-07Inspection coach 1000 alterations.jpg (93588 bytes)

This southerly view (7/5/07) shows the Directors' Special on the curve just north of LC88, Cemetery Crossing. Coach No.1000 has had various alterations including a brake setter for when it is propelled, a flashing amber light, a horn, lighting for working in tunnels and at night and wasp stripes. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE7-5-07Upnor at HOS.jpg (122975 bytes)

This northerly view (7/5/07) shows Upnor Castle with coach No.1000 the Directors' Special having come through Goat Tunnel. Close inspection of the track shows that only every other sleeper has a chair due to shortage of track materials. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Jane Ewing and was taken on a Nikon D70 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE7-5-07Sleepers at Ch23000.jpg (137893 bytes)

This southerly view (7/5/07) shows sleepers laid out at Ch.23000 approximately on the approach to Bryn-y-felin Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JE7-5-07UB176.jpg (77738 bytes)

This southerly view (7/5/07) shows the Directors' Inspection at UB176, just north of T2, the first of the Aberglaslyn Tunnels. The contractors appear to be using redundant concrete fire hydrant slabs to reconstruct the culvert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a Fuji Finepix 1400 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHRS changes

John Ewing, the longest serving director of the Society, retired from WHRS from 7/5/07 to concentrate his efforts as a Director with the Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd. John is the last link with the group who, from the old ’64 Co, formed Trackbed Consolidation Limited which in turn spawned the Welsh Highland Railway Society. The Board and members wish him every success. It just shows how volunteering can almost become obsessive!

 

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This northerly view (6/5/07) shows the Ewings (John and Jane!) in action pushing the RRM to the Head of Steel just north of Cemetery Crossing. It is true, the WHR IS addictive! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Chris Noel and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The Society Directors are also pleased to announce that Mr. Peter Randall has agreed to serve on the Board for the remainder of the year to the AGM in September and has been co-opted for this period. Peter may be known to a good number of members as the ex-CEO of the Festiniog Railway Co. and formerly Traction Manager at Eurotunnel's Coquelles depot. He currently holds a senior position within the Railway Industry and is frequently to be seen driving Garratts on the WHR.

 

Tracklaying progress to 6/5/07

The Rest of the World Gang were back in action tracklaying over the Bank Holiday Weekend and completed the right hand curve out of Goat Tunnel. The Head of Steel, using staggered rail, is now on the left hand curve that leads to Cemetery Crossing, the target for the weekend. Wooden sleepers are being used as far as the level crossing. At the end of Sunday, the Head of Steel was approx. TWA Ch.22720, with Bryn-y-felin bridge in sight for the first time from a loco since the line was dismantled in 1941!

 

S9_JM6-5-07HOS.jpg (96339 bytes)

This northerly view (6/5/07) shows the Head of Steel north of LC88, Cemetery Crossing, at the end of the weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy John McNeil and was taken on a Kyocera S3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 5/5/07) show tracklaying progress on the curve leading to Cemetery Crossing, visible in the distance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Jane Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction news 4/5/07

The KMX tamper/liner has been out of action off and on due to component failures, but was back on duty on 3-4/5/07 working towards Hafod Ruffydd Halt. A new record was set on 4/4/07 when it successfully tamped 36 panels! Track is now tamped all the way to Canal Curve. The old Matisa tamper has been pressed into service when the KMX was unavailable and was working south of Ch.17000 on 2/5/07. A new crossing (LC70A?), not marked on TWA plans, has been put in close to the Forestry Commission car park at Ch.17250 but it has no footpath access at the moment.

 

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These northerly views (both 4/5/07) show KMX tamper/liner working immediately north of the site of Hafod Ruffydd Halt in perfect weather. Snowdon is in the background in the second view at LC71. It is just possible to see the horizontal alignment measuring trolley (one mounted each end of the machine) behind the buffer beam. A rubber wheel is mounted out of sight on the other side of the KMX and runs along the rail head to tell the machine measuring system how far it has moved. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These views (both 4/5/07) show the 'business end' of the KMX. The vibrating tines are forced into ballast by a ram and then pack the ballast under the sleeper. Disc brakes hold the unit in place on the 1 in 40. The tine operator has an armoured glass window to check the operation of the tamping head. From left to right, the tamping head with its tines (tools) can be seen in the ballast, the vertical alignment measuring trolley (the tiny wheeled trolley) and on the right the rail head lifting/slewing rollers that grip under the underside of the rail head. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The lining gear on the WHR's KMX Tamper/Liner is much as on the mainline railway 08 type machine. It has a combined track lifting and lining unit located directly in front of the tamping head. This unit uses a pair of vertical and flanged rollers to pick up both rails on the underside of the rail head with hydraulic cylinders, lifting and slewing the track to the desired horizontal and vertical position. The KMX then locks the track in the desired place as it moves forward by squeezing the tamping tools in the ballast under the adjacent sleeper.

Determination of the lifting and lining of the track is achieved with the Plasser rail centre line & level steel chord levelling system connected to precision rail mounted measuring trolleys. With the operator having set the predetermined criteria required for the particular section of track the machine then works its way forward semi-automatically lifting, lining and tamping each sleeper to the required alignment using the co-ordinates from these three longitudinal measuring wires, two measuring cant and one horizontal alignment. The extent of the lift and slew required at a particular location will determine how many 'passes' of the track are required by the machine to achieve the final alignment. Normal practice is the bigger the 'lift' the greater the number of passes - with the last being the smallest, sometimes called the 'fine line' pass.

 

KMX_AS4-5-07HRn1.jpg (56619 bytes)

This northerly view (4/5/07) shows the track north of LC71, the site of Hafod Ruffydd Halt now tamped and aligned. The KMX set a record on this date with 650m of track tamped (0.4 miles). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S8_AS2-5-07Matisa.jpg (104900 bytes) S8_AS2-5-07pot jacks.jpg (107352 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 2/5/07) show the Matisa tamper back in action south of Ch.17000. The second view shows the pot jacks used to level the track before tamping. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Extra supplies of rail have been delivered to Beddgelert Station in preparation for the coming weekend's tracklaying gang to push ahead across Cemetery Crossing. It is possible more ballast will be laid south of Cemetery Crossing this week as there is only some 130m of ballast (7 lengths of rail) ahead of the Head of Steel at the moment. The contractor is currently preparing the trackbed for the southbound (westerly) loop track in the station and, when track is laid, the platform faces will be placed in position. Access must be maintained for construction of the station building in the meantime. Initially, track will only be laid on a short length at the south end, providing a siding for pw stock. No work has yet been done on the zigzag access path from the existing Beddgelert central car park.

 

S9_AS2-5-07BSnn.jpg (92721 bytes)

This northerly view (2/5/07) shows the track at the north end of Beddgelert Station with supplies of rail laid in the 2 foot. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Autumn tracklaying week planned

Paul Bradshaw is planning an Autumn tracklaying week from 6-14/10/07. If James Cyf. releases the Aberglaslyn section on schedule this Summer, track may well have passed Nantmor at that time.

 

Beer Festival 11-13/5/07

Events start at 1100 each day until at least 2300 and an intensive shuttle service will operate between Caernarfon and Dinas where the Beer Festival takes place in the Goods Shed. Associated pubs include, the 'Black Boy' in Caernarfon, the 'Newborough Arms' in Bontnewydd, 'The Goat' in Llanwnda and the Snowdonia Parc' in Waunfawr but surprisingly not the 'Cwellyn Arms' at Rhyd Ddu!

 

Bits & Pieces

The WHR fare this year has risen to £16.95 and the concession discount has dropped to 10%. Observation carriage No.101 on the F-set no longer requires a First Class supplement but, following its planned make-over, it will return to the first class accommodation fleet.

Rhyd Ddu is to be provided with a shunt token as at Dinas. This will allow shunting up to a shunt limit, provided no train is approaching the station. The splitting token for Dinas-Waunfawr has also been changed to a staff and paper ticket system and Waunfawr-Rhyd Ddu has been included in this new system. These changes will allow easier running and shunting of works trains for Phase 4 and other out of course workings.

The WHRS is sponsoring Snowdon Ranger Halt shelter which should be erected this year. They are also looking into a structure similar to Rhyd Ddu shelter to be placed on the platform at Waunfawr, possibly including a toilet at one end.

October 2006 saw good loadings with trains frequently strengthened to 7 coaches. Coach 2041, the remaining un-refurbished Winson coach, did not go to Boston Lodge in January as originally planned as they are busy with the three new coaches.

Offenders who are eligible for the Community Payback scheme have been working on lineside clearance during the first three months of 2007 on the operational railway. The area north of Dinas was very overgrown.

 

Loco news

Work over the Winter on No.138 saw steam leaks reduced. Electrical work has seen the headlamps, speedometer and other indicators lit, powered off a battery. Future work will see the steam turbo-generator refurbished. The rear power bogie will require extensive work this Winter and the loco may received the boiler off No.140 as its own boiler is up for its 10 year exam. It is hoped K1 will be available over the Summer with its new spark arrestor fitted for coal fired operation. It is hoped that the new gearbox will finally be returned soon for Castell Caernarfon and that the borrowed Vale of Ffestiniog bogies will be sent back to Boston Lodge for immediate refitting as the FR has need of that loco!

 

Team Wylfa report 2/5/07

Team Wylfa had a busy evening on 2/5/07. The DZ wagons carrying No.140's boiler and boiler cradle had been shunted out of the Dinas Goods Shed ready for the Rail Ale Festival. The sheeted over boiler cradle is outside the Goods Shed on the fuel road and the boiler is in the bay platform road at the Caernarfon end. As it was a very pleasant, warm evening and some of the volunteers started giving the boiler a second coat of heat resisting aluminium paint, whilst others went to the Carriage Shed to do the programmed carriage inspections. Several axleboxes needed cleaning out and repacking with worsted skeins that Team Wylfa had arranged to be soaking in oil for several weeks previously. Later, all returned to the boiler and by the 'end of play', the lower 2/3rds had been painted, ending up painting by the light provided by the platform lights! If the weather holds, Team Wylfa will complete the top 1/3rd next Tuesday.

Apparently, the Boiler Inspector is quite pleased with what he has seen of No.140's boiler and, as predicted, it looks like the only work required so far (apart from a re-tube) is to replace several of steam dome foundation ring rivets. There is still some internal limescale to be chipped out but that will have to wait until the DZ carrying the boiler can be shunted nearer to a power source for lighting and the air compressor.

 

Loco Shed news 2/5/07

No.143 is on the final lap to completion and has acquired its blue numberplate. The front tank and fuel bunker are back on and final plumbing is being done outside the Loco Shed. The loco was steam tested on the 2/5/07 and may have had a running in turn on 3/5/07. No.138 has at long last covered accommodation again, now No.143 is out of the Loco Shed. Velinheli was still in the Loco Shed after a brief appearance outside earlier in the day. New carriage No.2043's delivery from Boston Lodge Carriage Works is imminent and Velinheli is due to be the backload in time for 'drive an engine' at Harbour Station this coming weekend, FR's Interactive Weekend'. There do not appear to be any events of the WHR for this year's Interactive event.

 

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These views (both 2/5/07) show No.143 and its newly painted blue numberplate. A crane was used to place the loco's water tank on its front power bogie. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli at Dinas_AS2-5-07.jpg (104827 bytes)

This westerly view (2/5/07) shows Velinheli at Dinas with the bowser ready to return to the FR. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/5/07) shows the freshly re-galvanised Braithwaite panels returned to Dinas for the main Beddgelert water tank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge WHR alterations

Work on 17/4/07 saw major alterations to Boston Lodge in preparation for the arrival of the WHR. The main turnout off The Cob and the headshunt had been moved further west at the end of March. A new point was installed that will lead to a future new carriage siding to stable WHR stock. The new carriage siding is on the seaward side of the existing carriage sheds. At a later stage there is the possibility of a new loco Running Shed in the sandpit area that can accommodate Garratt sized locos that the current sheds cannot fit.

 

Boston Lodge_CL3-5-07WHR siding.jpg (67074 bytes)

This northerly view (3/5/07) shows the Carriage Shed at Boston Lodge and the new WHR siding being built down the seaward side of the shed Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge point_AS28-4-07.jpg (91688 bytes)

This easterly view (28/4/07) shows the completed Pen Cob point and the new headshunt. The point was moved towards Porthmadog to allow a new turn out in the Boston Lodge yard for the WHR stock stabling siding. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly and westerly views respectively (both 17/4/07) show the construction of a new Carriage Siding at Boston Lodge. Harlech Castle is in charge of the pw train. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright B.W.Hughes and were taken on a Kodak DX690 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Alice in action

Quarry Hunslet Alice was in action on 28/4/07 at the WHR(P)'s Gelert Farm depot. It was used for shunting pw works trains.

 

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This northerly view (7/5/07) shows Alice on a service train at the WHR(P)'s Tremadoc Road terminus during their Industrial Gala. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Colin Lea and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Alice_AG28-4-07shunting Gelert Fam yard.jpg (58451 bytes)

This northerly view (28/4/07) shows Quarry Hunslet Alice at work in sidings at the north end of Gelert Farm sidings shunting pw stock. The mountains visible in the background include Cnicht behind the chimney. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andy Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress to 29/4/07

The North Wales Track Gang got through Goat Tunnel on Sunday with four panels down and the head of steel at approximately TWA Ch.22650. Having to drill the wooden sleepers to suit gauge-widened track takes more time so progress was slower than previous experience. There will be no North Wales Track Gang tracklaying on 12/13 May as they are having the weekend off to organise and enjoy the Rheilffordd Eryri Real Ale Festival that weekend! Although Dolgarrog passed through the tunnel, the passage of Upnor Castle with the larger SAR van had to await a check with the structure gauge which took place on 30/4/07.

 

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This westerly view (28/4/07) shows a different angle on Beddgelert with the station site and Upnor Castle on the rail train as seen from a hill on the east side of the valley. The new alignment of the public footpath can be seen at the foot of the embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Hopley and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.Fuji 9600) from half way up the mountain on the opposite side of the valley.

 

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This southerly view (28/4/07) shows the completed track at the south end of Beddgelert Station as it curves into Goat Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Laurence Armstrong and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (29/4/07) shows the completed track at the south loop point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (28/4/07) shows Upnor Castle on the rail train in Goat Cutting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Laurence Armstrong and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 28/4/07) show the ballasted trackbed at the south end of Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Laurence Armstrong and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 29/4/07) show progress south of Goat Tunnel. The first view shows Dolgarrog with the PW train emerging from the tunnel with Upnor Castle inside the tunnel. The second view shows Dolgarrog at the Head of Steel. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright Ben Fisher and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress to 28/4/07

The North Wales Track Gang made progress in the difficult confines of Goat Tunnel on 28/4/07 and laid two lengths by the end of the day with the Head of Steel at about TWA Ch.22580, approximately halfway through the tunnel. The tunnel itself is straight and is just over two lengths long at 38m but has a sharp left hand curve entry and a sharp right hand curve exit. Progress on 29/4/07 will depend of the supply of track fittings and the length of surveyed alignment set out ahead of the tracklayers, as the sharp curve at the tunnel exit must be positioned very carefully to give a smooth transition and laid in staggered rail.

 

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This southerly view (28/4/07) shows the North Wales Track Gang with Dolgarrog propelling rails around the curve into Goat Tunnel for tracklaying in the tunnel itself. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Tim Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/4/07) shows tracklaying in the 38m long Goat Tunnel with electric lighting helping volunteers see what they are doing! Sleepers have been laid out to the south portal. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Tim Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor Halt

The TWA plans show that outline planning approval has been granted for a halt at Pont Croesor. Pont Croesor Loop and Halt site is all part of the design section from the end of James work over the last winter up to LC112 (Ynyslas turn) right up to Traeth Mawr. As part of that in specific regard to the Halt, the WHRCL is in ongoing consultation with RSPB and Local Authority as to how they see the adjacent Osprey viewing area might develop. As the birds pleasingly appear to be here to stay and the colony likely to grow, there is an aspiration to provide better viewing and information facilities for the public.

The WHRCL is making progress with the outline specification and the vertical and horizontal alignment of the track for the whole of this section. Undergrowth was cleared from this section in October 2006 so that further survey work could be completed to show the exact extent and levels of what exists at the moment throughout the site. Restricted access caused by undergrowth did not allow as much detail as the WHRCL would have liked in the original Phase 4 survey in places. Arup Rail, the WHRCL's consultant engineer for all works south of Bryn-y-felin, can then start the detailed design and offer the whole section out to tender this Summer.

 

Tracklaying progress 27/4/07

Tracklaying reached TWA Ch.22545 approx. by the end of 27/4/07, some 17m north of the north portal of Goat Tunnel. Work started in the morning with the placing of the missing half rail north of the south loop point and then progressed onto the straight south of the Goat Cutting footbridge using parallel rails and joints. This was followed by the use of curved rail in the tight curve approaching the tunnel using staggered joints. The curve required special care with the alignment as clearance is restricted at this location where the track lines up to enter Goat Tunnel in a vertical sided rock cutting. There was also the need to pass the outflow interceptor for the former Goat Reservoir with adequate clearance.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 27/4/07) show tracklaying progress on the straight beyond the south loop point in Goat Cutting. The toe of the point is about 5m north of the footbridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (27/4/07) shows the Head of Steel at the end of that day, on the curve into Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 27/4/07) show tracklaying progress on the curve into Goat Tunnel. The Head of Steel is about 1 length short of the tunnel portal. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (27/4/07) shows the Rest of The World Gang on completion of their Working Week with the Head of Steel at the north portal of Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Tim Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The North Wales Track Gang (NWTG) are in action over the weekend of 28-9/4/07, together with any of the Rest of the World 'week-long' track gang (ROTWG), who just could not tear themselves away! There is enough ballast ahead of them to lay 13 lengths of rail to LC88, Cemetery Crossing. However, this is unlikely to be achieved as there is a sharp curve to be completed into Goat Tunnel, the difficulty of working in the 38m long tunnel and finally the sharp right hand curve beyond that must be laid with staggered rails. The ROTWG managed four or five lengths each day but the NWTG will have a harder job working in Goat Tunnel, so progress will be slower.

 

Construction progress 27/4/07

There has been no advance in the ballast south of Cemetery Crossing but a cast in-situ concrete mud trap is being built in the roadway on the uphill side of the level crossing. Down in the Aberglaslyn Pass, James Cyf.'s workers are making good progress with this relatively easy section. Work on widening the embankment and improving the top surface continues. As the top has been walked for the last 70 years (including many times by your webmaster since the 1950s!), it has become impervious. The top layer is being removed and then the formation built back up to the correct level with slate waste. The former Nantmor water main is being left in place for the most part, under the trackbed. Only the manholes and inspection covers are being removed where they are in the way of the works and sections where drains cross the line.

 

S9_JE27-4-07Ballast at LC88.jpg (86754 bytes)

This southerly view (27/4/07) shows the ballast has reached a point immediately north of LC88 (TWA Ch.22780). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views at TWA Ch.23600 and Ch.23650 respectively (both 26/4/07) show stages in improving the formation in the meadows at the north end of the Aberglaslyn Pass. Side ditches have been constructed and a level slate waste top has been made. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_AS26-4-07Ch24000N.jpg (116734 bytes)

This northerly view (26/4/07) shows progress at Ch.24000 in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The embankment is being widened slightly and the boards at the foot of the embankment prevent rock spilling onto the Fisherman's Path. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/4/07) shows progress at Ch.24000 with the rocky defile of the southern end of the Aberglaslyn Pass visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/4/07) shows progress at Ch.24000 as seen from the Fisherman's Path in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The boarding and netting are preventing spillage onto the path as the embankment strengthening work continues. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 26/4/07

Tracklaying was limited on 26/4/07 by the arrival of Velinheli and associated festivities. Nevertheless, the good weather allowed track to join up with the south loop point under the Goat Cutting footbridge, so the Head of Steel stands at Ch.22465 approx. Good tracklaying weather again on Friday might see the track enter the short Goat Tunnel, which is about 5 lengths ahead.

Tracklayers who are staying for the weekend will be re-inforced by the North Wales Track gang. After laying 2-3 lengths in the tunnel, there is a sharp curve onto the approaches to Cemetery Crossing (LC88 at TWA Ch.22800). Cemetery Crossing, some 180m (10 lengths) south of the tunnel, remains the target but achieving this is very dependent on whether any progress is made into the tunnel today and on the sharp curve beyond, which will have staggered rail, on Saturday.

 

S9_JE26-4-07BSnn Upnor.jpg (59231 bytes) S9_JE26-4-07Upnor in BS and Velinheli.jpg (68392 bytes)

These northerly views (both 26/4/07) show Upnor Castle with the PW train in Beddgelert Station and Velinheli following. The first view is at the north end of the station and the second view is at the south end, where the temporary public footpath crossing is located. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (both 26/4/07) show tracklaying at the south end of the station with the curve into Goat Cutting. The new station building will be to the right. The right hand point for the water tower siding is visible in the first view. Also visible are Dolgarrog and Upnor Castle with PW trains with Velinheli following. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE26-4-07HOSn.jpg (100253 bytes)

This northerly view (26/4/07) shows the Head of Steel at the end of that day, with the track finally joined to the southern loop point under Goat Cutting footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE26-4-07Goat Cutting.jpg (58482 bytes)

This northerly view (26/4/07) shows sleepers laid out in Goat Cutting (as seen from above the portal of Goat Tunnel) ready for Friday's tracklaying. It is possible track may reach the 5 lengths to Goat Tunnel on Friday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Discount offers

The FR/WHR is offering a 20% discount to holders of the Forest Holidays Card (available free when booking holidays in the Beddgelert Forest Campsite). In another promotional venture, the Cambrian Railways Partnership has teamed up with some of the Great Little Trains of Wales along its route to offer a 20% discount on standard day returns on production of a valid ATOC Cambrian Rail ticket. To publicise the offer, the partnership has produced a leaflet which will be distributed across the mid Wales area, Shropshire and the West Midlands. For more information, click on www.thecambrianline.co.uk

The Great Little trains of Wales organisation has also been relaunched with a new website and leaflet for discount rail travel. For more information, click on www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

 

Team Wylfa report 24/4/07

The smaller than usual Team were up to their necks in weatherproofing No.140's boiler cradle ready to be moved outside the Goods Shed (hopefully just for Rail Ale) and clearing Team Wylfa's tool cupboards, air compressor etc. back to the Clip Shed. Volunteers had to fetch and sort tarpaulins, timber to then stretch it over and then cover the cradle and rope it all down. It took a surprising amount of basically unproductive time and they will have to repeat the exercise in due course. Volunteers have tried to make it so they can uncover portions of the cradle at a time if they are forced to work on it outside from now on. Another team has been at work on the outside of the boiler since last week and it is now completely painted with aluminium heat resisting paint.

 

Loco Shed news 24/4/07

On the loco front, slow but steady progress was seen with the plumbing-up of No.143's front bogie. It appears all the lubrication system is now connected up in addition to the steam lines. Velinheli arrived back from Beddgelert about 2130 after a very wet training run as far as Cutting Mawr.

 

Velinheli news

The WHRCL Safety Director and Construction Manager walked the track from Cutting Mawr to the Beddgelert Station during the morning of 26/4/07 and gave clearance for Velinheli to work into Beddgelert Station during the afternoon, to be met by Beddgelert junior school children, who asked lots of questions. It was the first steam since the final WHR service in September 1937, almost 70 years! The loco worked to Cutting Mawr again during the evening of 25/4/07.

 

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Velinheli_JE26-4-07BS.jpg (74053 bytes)

These northerly and two southerly views respectively (all 26/4/07) show Velinheli arriving in Beddgelert Station to an audience of junior school children. This was the first steam in Beddgelert since 1937, almost 70 years! The pw trains are visible beyond. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli_JE24-4-07Waunfawr.jpg (65835 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows Velinheli sheltering from the rain under the footbridge at Waunfawr carrying the FR175 headboard. Hopefully better weather will be available from Wednesday onwards! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli_JP24-4-07Pitt's Head.jpg (54293 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows Velinheli approaching Pitts Head Cutting with No.1001 in tow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ben Fisher and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli_JP24-4-07Canal Curve.jpg (100562 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows Velinheli rounding Canal Curve on another of its trial runs to Cutting Mawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ben Fisher and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli_JE25-4-07UB150.jpg (100368 bytes)

This northerly view (25/4/07) shows Velinheli crossing LC76 close to Beddgelert Forest Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tracklaying progress 25/4/07

The toe of the southern loop point is currently almost under the foot bridge in Goat Cutting but it may be repositioned slightly to the north on 26/4/07 before being connected to the rest of the railway during the morning. There was good progress with tracklaying on 25/4/07, partly due to the first dry weather of the week! By the 'end of play', the Head of Steel, starting just south of UB167, had crossed over the temporary public footpath crossing at the south end of the station and reached approximately Ch.22380 just short of the site of the new station building. After the point is passed, track will advance towards Goat Tunnel, but the arrival of Velinheli in the afternoon may reduce progress today!

 

S9_JE25-4-07BS north loop point.jpg (79445 bytes)

This southerly view (25/4/07) shows the completed north loop point at Beddgelert Station. The straight track and platform will start on UB167. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE25-4-07HOSn.jpg (74395 bytes) S9_JE25-4-07HOSs.jpg (88538 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 25/4/07) show the Head of Steel at the end of the day. Track is being laid is staggered rail because of the curve and had reached Ch.22380 approx, just south of the temporary footpath crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (25/4/07) shows the southern loop point with the toe placed just under the Goat Cutting footbridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction progress 25/4/07

James Cyf. is well into the Aberglaslyn Pass work now and is widening the embankment south of Bryn-y-felin. Ballasting has proceeded south from Goat Tunnel and is approaching Cemetery Crossing. Work is still proceeding on stabilising the rock faces in Nantmor Cutting.

 

S10_JE25-4-07BYF dumper on bridge.jpg (75052 bytes)

This southerly view (25/4/07) shows the temporary plating on Bryn-y-felin bridge allowing dumpers to pass over the bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_AS24-4-07LC90.jpg (89360 bytes)

This southerly view (24/4/07) shows signage at LC90, just south of Bryn-y-felin bridge. Even at Easter people were walking on the trackbed rather than the Fisherman's Path! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_AS24-4-07LC90n.jpg (68589 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows the widening work at LC90 with Bryn-y-felin bridge in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/4/07) shows the widening work south of LC90 with level markers placed every 10m. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_JP24-4-07UB175.jpg (48627 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows James Cyf's site office at UB175. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S10_RJ19-4-07rockwork at Nantmor Cutting.jpg (80788 bytes)

This northerly view (19/4/07) shows the rockbolting going on in Nantmor Cutting just north of LC92, high up the side of the cutting from the cherry-picker. The shattered nature of the rock is evident here. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ray Jarvis, courtesy Alasdair Stewart, and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction/tracklaying progress 24/4/07

Good progress was made despite the continuing downpour in North Wales that has seen Pont Croesor looking like an inland sea! The weather was set to improve on Wednesday and should continue so until the weekend. On the construction side, the ballast was laid from the south portal of Goat Tunnel right through Goat Cutting to join up with the ballast in the station, giving tracklayers an unimpeded run. Wooden sleepers were offloaded in Goat Cutting and Tunnel and surveyors set out the alignment for the tight curve into Goat Tunnel. All the formwork has now been removed from UB165. The pipe leading down from the former Goat Reservoir has been installed and covered with stone pitching to blend into the goat cutting wall but is not yet connected at the top end. The drainage through Goat Cutting and Tunnel coped well with the heavy rain over the last few days.

 

S11_AS24-4-07Pont Croesor inland sea.jpg (35173 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows Pont Croesor at 0830 resembling an inland sea after the three days of heavy rain! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (24/4/07) shows Dolgarrog bringing the track workers to the job approaching LC86 with four wagons and RRMs. Volunteers are fully kitted out for the wet conditions! In the background, LC85 is now gated. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AS24-4-07delivering the south point.jpg (66870 bytes)

This southerly view (24/4/07) shows the completion of the ballast at the south end of the station and into Goat Cutting and the delivery of the south loop point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On 24/4/07 tracklaying commenced with the completion and link up of the north end loop point followed by rapid progress down the station and over UB167. This has been helped by the pre-drilling of the sleepers with a jig that sets the chairs to the correct gauge. By the end of the day track had reached the middle of the station near the old water tower. Wooden sleepers were set out as far as the south end of Beddgelert Station, where the footpath crosses the eastern trackbed. The south loop point will be placed on Wednesday morning and, given good progress by tracklayers, it is possible it may be connected to the advancing Head of Steel by the end of Wednesday too!

 

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This southerly view (24/4/07) shows the completed north loop point and track advancing to the south on wooden sleepers into the easterly (northbound) loop track. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE24-4-07track crosses UB167.jpg (94098 bytes) S9_JE24-4-07Tracklaying crosses UB167S.jpg (82005 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views respectively (both 24/4/07) show the Head of Steel crossing UB167 at around 1430. More progress was made towards the middle of the station before the end of the day. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy/copyright John Ewing and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_AS24-4-07BSsn sleepered.jpg (70931 bytes) S9_AS24-4-07BSms sleepers laid.jpg (67715 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views respectively (24/4/07) show pre-drilled sleepers laid out in Beddgelert Station. The first view shows a northerly view from the south end of the station. The second view is from the middle of the station looking south. Track should be constructed through here in the next few days and enter Goat Cutting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE24-4-07Goat reservoir outflow.jpg (68856 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows the completed ballasting in Goat Cutting with the former Goat Reservoir outfall in spate. Surveying is underway to set out the alignment through the cutting and tight bend that curves into Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE24-4-07sleepers in Goat Tunnel.jpg (50500 bytes)

This northerly view (24/4/07) shows the completed ballasting in Goat Tunnel with the piles of wooden sleepers set out ready for tracklaying later this week. Surveying is underway to set out the alignment through the cutting and tight bend that curves into Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S9_JE24-4-07ballast at Goat Tunnel south.jpg (85121 bytes)

This southerly view (24/4/07) shows the completed ballasting to the south end of Goat Tunnel. Ballasting will resume from the Bryn-y-felin end to allow the tracklayers to progress through the tunnel as far as Cemetery Crossing later this week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Progress down south

Volunteers completed Cynfal Crossing (LC120) on 14/4/07. It required an additional horse crossing gate and signage. Currently, the crossing is used on a Stop and Proceed basis by WHR(P) trains but when the installation is inspected and approved, trains will be allowed to cross without stopping.

 

S12_AG14-4-07Cynfal crossing.jpg (45512 bytes)

This easterly view (14/4/07) shows the completed Cynfal level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Andrew Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Velinheli arrives

Quarry Hunslet Velinheli has arrived on the railway on 20/4/07 for its week long trials and was in action on Monday 23/4/07. The last of the FR opens went back when Velinheli arrived. When the loco and the fuel bowser go back to FR next week, it is hoped that the first of the new coaches will arrive as a back load. It is shedded at Dinas and travels up the line to Rhyd Ddu for the runs on the Phase 4 extension. The first trial on 23/4/07 was delayed for an hour to allow the Rest Of The World Gang to do as much tracklaying as possible at Beddgelert. The loco carries a collection of plastic water containers on its frame in case water ran low south of Rhyd Ddu with all the hard work on the 1 in 40.

 

Velinheli at RD_JE23-4-07.jpg (56198 bytes)

This northerly view (23/4/07) shows Velinheli shunting coach No.1001 at Rhyd Ddu in wet conditions. It later operated a test run to Cutting Mawr. The plastic water containers on the buffer beam were provided in case the loco needed topping up in the Beddgelert Forest. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (23/4/07) shows Velinheli approaching Cutting Mawr in heavy rain! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Peduzzi and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The loco has not ventured as far as Beddgelert Station yet as there are concerns that upturned rails stored in the two foot might foul the loco's eccentrics. However, these will hopefully be moved forwards during Wednesday as the tracklayers make progress towards the south end of Beddgelert Station, clearing the way for the loco to visit the station and be greeted by the Beddgelert Junior school children on Thursday hopefully.

It must have been an interesting few days for the Beddgelert Forest Campsite residents as, at the end of Sunday, Conway Castle + Coach No.1001 came down to Cwm Cloch where Upnor Castle was waiting with the ex-SAR brake van and Coach No.1000 containing a lot of wet and weary tracklayers. Both trains were coupled up for the return to Rhyd Ddu and were followed by Dolgarrog and its train. Finally, on Monday, Velinheli did its run to Cutting Mawr and back!

 

Construction news 23/4/07

It has now been decided to install both points in the station loop. An intermediate plan had envisaged a section of temporary track to enable vehicle access to the north of the station site to continue. The WHRCL engineers have arranged a solution based on gabions that allows lorry access to continue with the north loop point installed. The points at both ends of the station loop are to be left handed. The point for the water tower siding off the western loop is right handed and is currently stored at the south end of the site. Transport from Dinas to Beddgelert for the second set of left hand points has been arranged for 24/4/07. All three points will then be on site at Beddgelert.

 

S9_JE23-4-07BS north point.jpg (87025 bytes)

This northerly view (23/4/07) shows the soaked tracklayers having reached their objective with the Head of Steel on UB166 at the 'close of play' at 1730. Progress was delayed a little while the surveyors checked the point was in exactly the right position and alignment, so the point was not connected up by the end of the day. Track south of UB165 is on wooden sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright John Ewing and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Most of the work on the new down-pipe for the old Goat Hotel reservoir outfall, which fed the former aqueduct, has been done. Completion, at the top of the cutting, does not require access over a ballast free formation. On 23/4/07, Goat Tunnel was ballasted from a point just south of the tunnel and this run of ballast is due to be connected to that in the station on 24-25/4/07, giving tracklayers a free run into Goat Tunnel.

Once the station ballasting is complete, the ballasting operation will immediately recommence south from the Goat Tunnel to Bryn-y-felin. Th