WHR

News Archive Page

2010

V4.24 updated 16/1/11

with news to 31/12/10

 

Newly archived sections are placed at the start of this page. This page contains archived news from 2010.

 

Titbits Winter 2010-11

WHR traffic figures were 10% down on 2009, possibly because people are waiting for the whole line to open in 2011. However receipts are 2% up as fares have risen with the longer ride to Pont Croesor.

No.138 may see less use in 2011 as it is clanking a bit, having travelled 15,000 miles. No.87 and No.143, the two coal burners, may be the main locos for the 2011 season. K1 is having its valves reset to improve performance. Upnor Castle and Vale of Ffestiniog have received attention with new radiator cores to cure overheating.

Brake/service/toilet coach No.2090 will be retained as a spare coach when No.2020 returns in its new guise as a Service Car.

The Britannia Bridge crossing signals are powered by redundant feeds from the truncated Spooners Beer Store. The same source will also supply the Porthmadog ground frame. Pont Croesor platform shelter has been wired up and the power extends to the south end signalling.

 

Lyd lined out 30/12/10

Lyd was renumbered to a BR style number 30190 by 12/12/10 and later acquired BR style lining. This livery will be short lived as it will appear in SR green in 2011. The loco is likely to stay black until March at the earliest, with a photo-charter scheduled for early in the year. No.(30)190 is the first available number after Lew’s No.188 and the 72E shed code is Barnstaple outlying sheds.

 

Lyd_AT30-12-10black at BL.jpg (69264 bytes)

This Boston Lodge view (30/12/10) shows Lyd with BR emblems and number lined out in BR style, the work of Glenn Williams. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright FR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Full Xmas service 30/12/10

A full Xmas service to Pont Croesor was run on 30/12/10 and is likely to run every day over Xmas until 2/1/11 as no more snow is forecast. The FR website contains two reports and more icicle images. No.138 is diagrammed for the service though it is clanking a little and drivers report less than impressive steaming.

 

Rest of World Gang report 29/12/10

The Rest of the World Gang extended Platform 3 in Dinas station. This platform is generally used for stock stabling but it may change its function when the yard is reorganised when the new Loco Shed is built.

 

S1_SM29-12-10Dinas P3 extension.jpg (102714 bytes)

This southerly view (29/12/10) shows an excavator dragging the platform 3 buffer stop southwards to match the position of the recently extended headshunt buffer stop. Closure rails were fitted after being cut to length. All the snow had disappeared from Dinas by this time. 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.

 

Plas-y-nant work 28/12/10

A miniature excavator was in place at Plas-y-nant on 28/12/10, possibly in connection with the plan to lift, ballast and tamp this section.

 

Titbits Autumn 2010

The WHRS is helping fund the conversion of coach No.2020 to a new service car similar to No.2010 to be numbered No.2011? It is hoped the rebuilt coach will be available from April and enable a consistent standard of catering on WHR trains. They will also help fund concreting the area outside the Loco Shed and additional Pan jacks. Bontnewydd Halt will be repaired and upgraded over the Winter. Lineside clearance will be a big project too.

Commercially, Pont Croesor has been a success, with the free car park easily accessible from the Porthmadog area caravan sites much easier for coach parties. The shop has also been a success.

PW work planned for Winter includes replacing wooden sleepers with steel at Cae'r Afon (near Waunfawr) and work on Rhyd Ddu and Caernarfon ground frames. The Beddgelert ground frame is not connected but no mention has been made of this. The tamper and Romanian ballast wagon will help with the Minffordd station work when they replace track through the platform with bullhead rails. This should provide some interesting images crossing Britannia Bridge.

No.143 should be available for the 2011 season and will be coal fired, which currently costs about 1/3 of oil per mile. K1 requires valves resetting so was not available for the Xmas trains. The No.134 Group is still hoping to raise £500 a day to complete the loco by January 2012. Pete Waterman's project No.109 had its tyres checked at Boston Lodge last Spring and they were found to be thick enough for turning. The fitting of roller bearings to coaches continues to reduce rolling resistance.

The Wilkinson's Crossing received attention from contractors to make it wheelchair friendly. The Wilkinson's Fire Exit crossing just south of the chicane has been removed as the store has changed its fire exits and longer requires that one.

A shunt token system was due to be set up at Pont Croesor in December to allow trains from either direction to run around.

 

Phase 4 final Jobs

It is possible that new platforms will be required at Hafod-y-llyn further towards the south end of the loop if the halt is to be reopened, so that trains may call in both directions. Another job to be finished is the Gas Works siding at Porthmadog, which will allow transfer of rolling stock onto lorries and also turn over locos on Gala Days.

 

WHR snow scenes 28/12/10

FR diesel Harlech Castle broke through the icicles in the tunnels whilst making a line inspection trip form Porthmadog to Beddgelert on 28/12/10, the first visit by the loco to the WHR. While the service train did not progress beyond Beddgelert again, Harlech Castle departed south just before No.138 returned north from Beddgelert.

 

Harlech Castle_BWH28-12-10BS snow N.jpg (75299 bytes) Harlech Castle_BWH28-12-10BS snow S.jpg (85519 bytes)

These northerly and southerly views (28/12/10) show Harlech Castle stabled in the northbound track at Beddgelert with snow rapidly thawing. 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.

 

138_BWH28-12-10BS snow thawing.jpg (103034 bytes)

This southerly view (28/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at the other end of the train, ready to depart Beddgelert with snow still lying on the ground, though thawing fast. 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.

 

On the return journey, a points problem at Waunfawr saw the train stopped by the TOTP cabinet and then run through Waunfawr wrong line, possibly to water.

 

WHHG Tryfan Junction progress 28/12/10

The Welsh Highland Heritage Group has made more progress with the rebuilding of Tryfan Junction Halt. On 9/10/10, construction of the yellow brick surround was started around one of the door frames using lime mortar. Colder weather has precluded any more progress as lime mortaring is very much weather dependent.

 

Tryfan Junction_BWH28-12-10yellow bricks.jpg (110749 bytes)

This westerly view (28/12/10) shows progress with Tryfan Junction station building. The door frames are in place and some yellow bricks have been built around them. There was snow still lying on the ground, though thawing fast. 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.

 

Other WHHG projects have also made progress. The Beddgelert water tank will be Brunswick Iron Works to sit on two lengths of rail once the top of the concrete tower has been made safe. Hopefully this will be installed before the start of the 2011 season. The Beddgelert depot Lamp Hut is to be made by the same company that produced the replica waiting shelter for Pont Croesor in corrugated 'tin sheeting'. The group has invested in a portable generator and has been given a new 110V drill so progress should be quicker on site in future.

 

Xmas Service 27/12/10

The Xmas service started on 27/12/10 with snow still on the ground at Caernarfon and No.138 paired with Castell Caernarfon. With the line blocked at Goat Tunnel and the loop out of action at Beddgelert, No.138, ran around to the rear of the train at Rhyd Ddu and the Funkey led the rake downhill. An attempt to water at Beddgelert was unsuccessful as the valve was jammed, despite the locos chimney being placed under it for 10 minutes! Passenger numbers were relatively light (despite the alpine snowclad scenery), although the roads to Caernarfon were clear.

 

138_BWH27-12-10with Funkey Caernarfon dep in snow-steam.jpg (76384 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1100, departing Caernarfon with snow still lying on the ground though thawing fast. No.138 was substituting for the booked K1. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

138_BWH27-12-10Cae Moel in snow.jpg (124268 bytes)

This westerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1119, passing Cae Moel with snow still lying on the ground though thawing fast. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10with Funkey at Salem in snow.jpg (116264 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1145, passing Salem with snow still lying on the ground. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10Castell Cidwm in snow with Funkey.jpg (137198 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1151, passing Castell Cidwm with snow still lying on the ground. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10in snow approaching RD with Funkey.jpg (110934 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1206, approaching Rhyd Ddu with snow still lying on the ground. 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.

 

Castell Caernarfon_BWH27-12-10BS snow.jpg (72597 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon at 1255, arriving at Beddgelert with snow still lying on the ground. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10BS snow.jpg (91471 bytes)

This southerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 at 1301, having arrived at Beddgelert on the rear end of the train as the loop was out of use due to icing of the point mechanism. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10struggle with water crane valve.jpg (108338 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 at 1304, with the driver trying to open the valve on the water crane at Beddgelert. 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.

 

138_BWH27-12-10warming pipe BS snow.jpg (116745 bytes)

This northerly view (27/12/10) shows No.138 at 1308 at Beddgelert, with the chimney placed under the valve on the water crane to try and warm and free the valve (unsuccessfully). The loco had to water at Rhyd Ddu. 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.

 

Test train 26/12/10

Castell Caernarfon made a line inspection run from Caernarfon to Beddgelert on 26/12/10 to see if services could go as far as Pont Croesor as timetabled on 27/12/190. Snow over 30cm deep was encountered in places but the Funkey's cowcatcher swept this aside with ease. However, large icicles were encountered on the cutting sides in Cutting Mawr and the approaches to Goat Cutting. Goat Tunnel proved impassable as large stalactites hung from the ceiling and stalagmites had grown up from the floor and even the rails. It was decided to turn the trains around at Beddgelert on 27-28/12/10 as a result until the thaw that started on the Friday had eased the situation.

 

Castell Caernarfon_PB26-12-10Clogwyn.jpg (90734 bytes)

This northerly view (26/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon at 1323, just south of Clogwyn-y-gwin, on the line inspection special. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Icicles_PB26-12-10Cutting Mawr with Funkey.jpg (86200 bytes)

This northerly view (26/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon at 1439, in Cutting Mawr, with metre long icicles hanging from the cutting side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Icicles_PB26-12-10Goat Tunnel N.jpg (72978 bytes)

This southerly view (26/12/10) shows the state of Goat Cutting, with metre long icicles hanging from the cutting side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Icicles_PB26-12-10on rail Goat Tunnel.jpg (50404 bytes)

This view (26/12/10) shows the state of Goat Tunnel, with 30cm high ice stalagmites growing on the rail. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Castell Caernarfon_PB26-12-10icicles in Goat Tunnel.jpg (41891 bytes)

This view (26/12/10) shows the state of Goat Tunnel, with metre long ice stalactites hanging from the tunnel roof, illuminated by the Funkey's headlamp. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Winter Service 27/12/10-2/1/11

A further significant snowfall is forecast for the mountains of North Wales on Sunday overnight as the weather begins to warm up (by up to 9 degrees forecast at Porthmadog on Wednesday!), but may be sleet/rain in Porthmadog. Monday will probably see lying snow around the WHR, especially at higher altitudes, with some drizzle and the weather may be cloudy until Thursday. The FR website advises that after a line inspection on Sunday, the advertised 1100 Caernarfon-Pont Croesor and 1330 return is likely to run on Monday, though with delays due to the weather. See FR website. So keep checking on the FR's facebook or twitter pages for updates. Alternatively please call the booking office on 01766 516024.

 

Xmas Crossword 2010 solution

The winners of the 2010 Xmas Crossword were :

John Sreeves

Simon Hill

Colin & Fred Lea

The competition is now closed.

Would the winners like to get in touch and state whether they would like BluRay or standard DVD versions of 'Snow on the WHR 2010'?

Click here for the solution.

 

Xmas Crossword

Try the Xmas Crossword with WHR themed clues. This is the fifth version of this annual competition. Three prizes of BluRay or DVD copies of the Santa Snow Scenes are available for the first correct entries (please specify your preference). Click here for the competition or here for a spreadsheet. Entries may be sent back as email attachments of the filled in crossword grid or a list of answers. The competition will be closed at midnight on Xmas Day.

 

New Service vehicle 24/11/10

F&WHR Company announcement:

Following detailed discussions between departments, it has been decided to convert the original (Winson-Ed) semi-open carriage No.2020 into a second service vehicle for the WHR, rather than to carry out further alterations to No.2090 (the brake/toilet catering vehicle-Ed). There are several advantages to this – No.2020 is due for a major refurbishment anyway and it is easier to start with a fairly blank canvas and we get to keep No.2090 as a spare brake with toilet and disabled space. Yes, we lose a few seats but open carriages are not at all popular on a wet day and retaining the 21 warm seats in No.2090 is a lot better. The costs are very similar and both sets will still contain a semi-open carriage. Norman Bond (FR Carriage supremo-Ed) has already started work on No.2020 and we hope to have it complete for the start of daily services in 2011.

 

2020_AT14-12-10.jpg (73192 bytes)

This Boston Lodge view (14/12/10) shows the work has started rebuilding the gutted coach No.2020 to make a new Service Car. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More snow HD YouTube scenes 23/12/10

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 minute 15 seconds of video of No.138 accelerating away from Plas Bodaden on 23/12/10 in the snow, working the first Santa Special of the final day of operation. The YouTube clip is best watched at 1080p HD standard. This video was taken by Barrie Hughes on a Panasonic SD700 HD camcorder.

 

Santa Specials 23/12/10

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

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1042, just south of Hendy Crossing, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. No.138 was substituting for the booked K1. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

138_BWH23-12-10Plas Bodaden.jpg (84205 bytes)

This westerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 with Castell Caernarfon at 1105, at Plas Bodaden, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10Waunfawr rr A.jpg (128231 bytes)

This southerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1127, running around at Waunfawr, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. Exiting the car park in the snow can be tricky as it gets very icy! 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10Waunfawr rr B.jpg (99732 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1128, pausing for refreshments whilst running around at Waunfawr, on the first train of the final day of Santa Specials. 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.

 

Castell Caernarfon_BWH23-12-10Dinas nb on rear.jpg (120324 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon at 1156, on the rear of a Santa Specials. 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10Dinas sb.jpg (101182 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1255, running a little late after a stop near the Carriage Shed, on the second train of the final day of Santa Specials. 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10arriving Waunfawr.jpg (75052 bytes)

This westerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1329, arriving at Waunfawr, on the second train of the final day of Santa Specials. 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10Cae Moel wb.jpg (132332 bytes)

This easterly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1403, running a little late, on the second train of the final day of Santa Specials. This area has become overgrown reducing photographic opportunities. 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.

 

138_BWH23-12-10south of Caernarfon.jpg (115882 bytes)

This northerly view (23/12/10) shows No.138 at 1444, departing Caernarfon a little late, on the last Santa Specials of 2010. 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.

 

YouTube HD 23/12/10

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 minute 7 seconds of video of No.138 accelerating away from Hendy crossing on 23/12/10 in the snow, working the first Santa Special of the final day of operation. The YouTube clip is best watched at 1080p HD standard. This video was taken by Barrie Hughes on a Panasonic SD700 HD camcorder.

 

Team Wylfa report 21/12/10

Clive Briscoe reports: As predicted, Team Wylfa had to cancel last night. Lack of people but more for the fact that we are all snowed up here in NW Wales. All non-essential staff were sent home from the power station at 3pm and your scribe only just got home, some 9 miles along the main A5025 road on Anglesey, slithering and slipping the last 4 miles. Currently (Wednesday morning) I can't even get my car off the drive. Even if I did, the A5025, just a few yards from my house is impassable and I've had to ring into work saying 'no can do' at the moment.

This is a first for me, and for many on Anglesey. Sunny Anglesey, the normally sub-tropical island in the Irish Sea! For the record, from the traffic cams, the A55 N Wales Expressway is running free from Queensferry through to Holyhead. What the road from Bangor to Caernarfon is currently like is another matter and from there to Porthmadog likewise. Road reports indicate that getting to Porthmadog from the east via Bala-Trawsfynydd and the A5 Betws y Coed-Blaenau Ffestiniog is all but impossible at the moment.

So, this is Team Wylfa signing off for 2010 and wishing everyone out there a very Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy 2011. What a year it's been. We now have a 40 mile railway with the prospect of an amazing 2011, starting on 20/4/11. Although we'll be working on No.134 and under the carriages again well before that!).

 

More snow but Santa Specials will run 22/12/10

The F&WHR website reports: 'Despite heavy snowfall here this evening (21/12/10), we're still planning to run Santa Trains tomorrow (22/12/10), albeit there's a possibility that the first trains on both railways will be cancelled. There'll be a track inspection first thing in the morning, so keep checking here or on our facebook or twitter pages for updates. Alternatively please call the booking office on 01766 516024.'

The locos involved on 22-23/12/10 Santa Specials will probably be K1 and Castell Caernarfon. The latest news at 0930 on 22/12/10 is that the first WHR train will run following a track inspection.

 

Tuesday Gang cancelled 21/12/10

Tony Baker reports: There was no working party on 21/12/10 as there was too much snow and frozen ground. Normal service will be resumed on 4/1/11 hopefully.

 

Lying snow for Xmas trains?

There is the possibility that there will be snow on the WHR when it operates its through trains to Pont Croesor from 27/12/10. Temperatures are likely to rise to 3 degrees by 26/12/10, after being below zero to 23/12/10, and sunny weather is likely for the period 24-26/12/10, implying a slow thaw. There is just one daily train, the 1100 from Caernarfon and the 1330 return. The train passes Rhyd Ddu, the location most likely to retain snow at 1205/1425. At the very least, the mountains will provide an alpine snow covered backdrop. Check the Meteorological Office website forecast for full details.

The locos involved on the Xmas service will probably be No.138 and Castell Caernarfon but K1 and Castell Caernarfon were used on 11-12/12/10 Santa Specials.

 

YouTube HD 19/12/10

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 57 seconds of video of No.138 approaching Cae Moel on 19/12/10 in the snow, working the first Santa Special of the day. The YouTube clip is best watched at 1080p HD standard. This video was taken by Barrie Hughes on a Panasonic SD700 HD camcorder.

 

Your webmaster is accumulating some hours of HD video that will be edited into DVD/BD formats over Xmas. The Panasonic SD700 is generating excellent 1080p quality video and Dolby stereo sound even in challenging light conditions. Battery life is very good and 16GB SDHC Class 4 cards are expensive but can be used thousands of times. They provide 90 mins record time in 1080p quality mode. Monies raised from the sale of these DVD/BDs will go to the WHRS to support their contribution to the Phase 5 appeal.

 

Santa Specials 19/12/10

All day brilliant sunshine and six inches of snow were present on the WHR on 19/12/10 and all three Santa Specials ran. The mode of operation is as follows. Castell Caernarfon draws the rake out of the Carriage Shed and shunts it into the southbound platform. No.138 arrives from the Loco Shed runs past the train and shunts onto the front of the rake. The assemblage then departs for Caernarfon at about 1000. At Caernarfon, No.138 runs around and waters so the rake is double headed uphill to Waunfawr. At Waunfawr, No.138 runs around and leads the rake back to Caernarfon with the Funkey on the rear. For the ECS at the end of the day, the rake stops adjacent to the Carriage Shed and No.138 shunts off to refuel. The Funkey drags the rake into the headshunt and propels it back to the Carriage Shed. Finally No.138 shunts to the Loco Shed.

There are two more days of operation on 22-23/12/10 and the Caernarfon Station shop is open for business all day. Snow is likely to lie on the ground on those days as some 15cm was present on 19/12/10 with little sign of melting and forecast temperatures not rising until 22-23/12/10. The main roads are clear and your editor had no problem driving 200 miles along the A14/M6/M56/A55 route.

 

Castell Caernarfon_BWH19-12-10Dinas ecs.jpg (101672 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows the snowbound Dinas with Castell Caernarfon at 0954 having drawn the ECS out of the sidings. The Funkey's cowcatcher is an effective snow plough! 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.

 

138_BWH19-12-10Dinas arrive.jpg (104114 bytes)

This southerly view (19/12/10) shows the snowbound Dinas with No.138 running into the station from the Loco Shed. The Garratt's cowcatcher ploughs a strip almost 6 feet wide! 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.

 

138_BWH19-12-10Dinas shunt.jpg (115385 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows No.138 reversing onto its train at Dinas. 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.

 

138_BWH19-12-10Dinas depart.jpg (86498 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows the No.138 departing ECS for Caernarfon at 1005 from the southbound platform. 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.

 

Shotton loco_BWH19-12-10-Dinas.jpg (61661 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows the snowbound Dinas with the second Shotton loco ready to depart for LOROL. 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.

 

138_BWH19-12-10snow with VOF Caernarfon.jpg (129507 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows the snowbound Caernarfon with No.138 taking water at 1022. The Garratt ran around the first train of the day to lead Castell Caernarfon to Waunfawr. The Funkey's cowcatcher is an effective snow plough! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

138_BWH19-12-10shunts in snow A.jpg (101244 bytes)

This northerly view (19/12/10) shows No.138 running around the Santa Special. 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 backlit southerly view (19/12/10) shows No.138 shunting onto the Santa Special. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 coupled up to the Santa Special at 1037, a few minutes late from the booked 1030 departure time. 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 westerly view (19/12/10) shows No.138 double heading Castell Caernarfon passing Cae Moel on the Santa Special at 1059. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 running around after taking water at Waunfawr at 1126. There was about 20cm of snow here and the points needed to be unblocked to close properly to complete the run round at the north end. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 coupled up to the Santa Special, ready to depart Waunfawr. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 departing Waunfawr at 1141. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 having arrived at Caernarfon with time to run round before the 1230 departure despite the earlier late running. 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 (19/12/10) shows No.138 running around the Santa Special at 1215, ready for the 1230 departure time. 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 (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at Hendy Crossing at 1237 with the second train of the day. 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 easterly view (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at Rhostryfan Road at 1345 with the second train of the day. 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 (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at St. Helen's Road at 1404 with the second train of the day. 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 (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at St. Helen's Road at 1435 with the final train of the day, which left on time. Local lads with their sledges offer a friendly wave. 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 westerly view (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at The Mount cutting at 1453 with the final train of the day. Conway Castle sits in the depot headshunt. 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 easterly view (19/12/10) shows the No.138 at The Mount cutting at 1545 with the final train of the day. 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.

 

Caernarfon in the snow 18/12/10!

A heavy snowfall on 17/12/10 saw some 6 inches of snow around the WHR, even in Caernarfon. The Santa Trains from Caernarfon to Waunfawr on 18-19/12/10 are set to run in a winter wonderland as a cold sunny weather is forecast for the weekend! Trains depart Caernarfon at 1030/1230/1430. Any photos would be welcome.

However a message on the FR website stated that the 1030 train is cancelled and facebook/twitter links confirm the cancellation. The 1230 train will however run!

'Regrettably the 10.30 train today from Caernarfon has had to be cancelled. A combination of track conditions and staff shortages due to weather conditions has caused this. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the morning and post updates here, therefore please keep checking. You can also monitor the situation on our facebook or twitter pages if required. Contact the booking office on 01766 516070 for further information.'

 

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These northerly views (18/12/10) show No.138 running south alongside Rhostryfan Road with several inches of snow, presumably on the 1430. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Daniel Kirkman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/12/10) shows the snowbound Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Daniel Kirkman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass News 15/12/10

Andrew Thomas (FR) reports: The rail bridge which will carry the FR over the Porthmadog Bypass was delivered to site on Tuesday 14/12/10. The bridge sections are mounted on temporary supports and when the trackbed is handed over to the contractors in early January, the existing embankment will be removed, concrete abutments constructed and the bridge will be rolled into place. The FR loop at Minffordd station will be extended over both the new bridge and the Bron Turnor access road crossing when the tracks are reinstated. While the FR main line is broken, Minffordd station is to be relaid in bullhead rail to give a heritage appearance.

 

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This westerly view (15/12/10) shows the bypass bridge on its temporary supports just east of the FR. The road cutting up to the FR appears largely complete from the east side. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Christmas Holiday volunteering

Paul Bradshaw reports: For those interested in a bit of limbering up after Christmas I can confirm that the post Christmas working party is definitely happening. We will working on Wednesday 29/12/10 and Thursday 30/12/10. If you have already been in touch to let me know you will be joining us on one or both days, thank you. If you are interested but have not yet emailed me to say so please get in touch without delay as we do need to know how large the workforce will be each day. Our work site will be in Dinas North Yard.

 

Team Wylfa report 14/12/10

Clive Briscoe reports: As predicted, I had no volunteers to help me on Tuesday evening (14/12/10) so the working party was cancelled. Pretty well the same applies to next Tuesday (21/12/10) I think (due to sickness) so I have had to give advance warning to Management that they, unfortunately, will have to make their own arrangements to check/oil the winter carriage set for the Santa and post Christmas running. It has not been a good year for the team with lots of resourcing issues, mainly due to sickness caused by the aging profile of the team.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/12/10

Tony Baker reports: We continued with work on the last level crossing LC 58.36, the currently closed footpath south of Pen-y-Mount on Tuesday 14/12/10. The crossing timbers were completed and one side of the CCT grid was completed. All being well this will be finished off next week, which will wind up our Phase 4 work. The weather and various illnesses have taken their toll and the last couple of weeks have seen our numbers fall to 6. It was however, a glorious sunny day and the last rays of the setting sun striking the Moelwyns was something to be treasured.

 

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This northerly view (14/12/10) shows the public footpath crossing at the south end of Pen-y-Mount Halt nearing completion. The Moelwyns have lost their snow. 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.

 

Britannia Bridge road safety test 13/12/10

Andrew Thomas (FR) reports: Night time crossing tests were held on Britannia Bridge during the week for an independent crossing inspection led by Arup, with representatives of North Wales Trunk Road Agency, Gwynedd Police and Porthmadog Town Council, during the evening rush hour on 13/12/10. The audit is standard practice when there is a change of a road's status, as there will be when Porthmadog High Street is de-trunked following the opening of the Porthmadog Bypass in 2011-12. The audit involved both daytime and night test runs across Britannia Bridge, with a number of the trains top and tailed by Merddin Emrys and Vale of Ffestiniog, continuing to Pont Croesor for driver route familiarisation training. The tests highlighted a couple of minor modifications to improve the crossing, including illumination of a sign and the installation of protective kerbing by the wig-wag heads to prevent them getting hit by large vehicles. Several more test trains will be run across the Cross Town Rail Link before passenger services commence in January.

 

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This easterly view (13/12/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog with ready to depart with the bridge test special at 1637. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (13/12/10) shows Merddin Emrys working across Britannia Bridge with headlights. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (13/12/10) shows Merddin Emrys passing Cob Records store with some speed blur. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (13/12/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog after the test standing alongside Cob Records store at 1643. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd renumbered!

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This Boston Lodge view (12/12/10) shows Lyd with BR emblems and number before it is repainted in prototypical SR corporate green, the work of Glen Williams. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 11-12/12/10

Paul Bradshaw reports: Variety was the name of the game for the small band of ROWG volunteers who met at Dinas on the morning of Saturday 11/12/10. After gathering up materials and equipment from Dinas and watching the ECS for the Santa Special train depart to Caernarfon the three of us went to Hafod-y-llyn where we set about installing a sprung lever for the point at the north end of the loop. This takes the place of the TOTP mechanism previously there, which was removed when Hafod-y-llyn ceased to be a terminus. The job was not straight forward as the dimensions of the lever require a different arrangement of the long sleepers of the point. However it was finished and the point is now ready for the service due to run to Hafod-y-llyn from Harbour Station between January and March 2011. On Sunday the gang sprayed lubricant on the T-bolts and fish bolts of stretches of rail at Plas-y-nant and Ffridd Isaf in preparation for operations planned for early next year.

 

LOROL to start on Shotton diesels

London Overground Rail Operations Limited had a team building event on the FR last month. An agreement was made that they would do some of the remedial work required on the two Shotton diesel locos. Both locos were due to go to LOROL and No.1 has already gone to their depot in Willesden.

 

Phase 5 Appeal

Steam Railway issued on 10/12/12 saw the second part of an article by Gordon Rushton and the inclusion of a Phase 5 Appeal leaflet. A website has also been launched. While individual contributions are welcome, the Appeal looks for a 5 year Standing Order for between £25 (Bronze), £50 (Silver) and £100 (Gold) per month. The initial list of projects includes

Benefits are from a list starting with medallions, and including annual inspection walks, a Phase 5 DVD, poster map, 'Story of the WHR Restoration' booklet, signed copy of 'WHR Renaissance', footplate ride, Share for Life, according to level of contribution.

Porthmadog's WHR platform must accommodate a 160m WHR train so The Cob must be widened on the seaward side for some distance towards Boston Lodge. The scheme might cost £700,000 with an additional £300,000 for signalling works to accommodate up to 12 departures and arrivals between 0845 and 2100. Due to the current restrictions, the planned April 2011 service sees just one through train on the WHR with the rest turning back north at Pont Croesor.

At Dinas, a new point to the north could allow stock to run directly into the Carriage Shed and the loco to be disposed to a new running shed that could accommodate up to 12 locos in the former rail stack area. This would simplify operations. The cost would be £700,000.

At Boston Lodge provision for overnight stabling would see the existing loco shed rebuilt to accommodate Garratt sized locos rather than a new running shed in the sandpit area. This might cost £600,000.

The new 10 coach FR width through train would cost £1.2m. Carriage Sheds for these at Dinas/Boston Lodge will cost £700,000.

Work on permanent station facilities, including Caernarfon/Beddgelert and improvements at Waunfawr/Tan-y-bwlch/Minffordd could cost over £2.5m.

Two new 700HP diesels for rescue/off season work will cost about £750,000.

Some £100,000 is earmarked for a new internet based miniature electric train staff system. This will make it easier to complete additional passing loops to improve flexibility when deals/out of course running occurs (e.g. Play-y-nant-Ed.).

The new centralised maintenance yard at Minffordd will cost £350,000.

The total of all these schemes is £8.5m and it is hoped the Appeal will draw in grants, legacies etc. to generate £5 million towards this sum over the 10 year project.

Paul Lewin (F&WHR General Manager) adds :The FR Co board would like to clarify the position with regard to the Phase 5 Appeal. Reflecting the Board's overall responsibilities, this Appeal seeks to raise funds that benefit both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. We were offered an opportunity to present the Appeal in this edition of Steam Railway Magazine. Space in this edition is highly coveted as it is read over the all important Christmas and New Year holiday period. We had to respond very quickly to this opportunity.

This Appeal, which is equally relevant and open to supporters of both railways, includes the 'Share for Life' offer for larger donors. It gives the opportunity for donors to opt for membership of either Society as part of the package. The project lists published to date are preliminary and will be developed and prioritised in consultation with the Ffestiniog Railway Society and the Welsh Highland Railway Society.

Paul Lewin
Festiniog Railway Company

 

Through train in April?

As part of the launch of the Phase 5 Appeal to be featured in the next edition of Steam Railway magazine, a through train is to be run from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon in April 2011.

 

Two Funkeys at Porthmadog 9/12/10

Andrew Thomas reports: Castell Caernarfon popped down to Porthmadog on 9/12/10 to take a seven car set back from Boston Lodge to Dinas (having received heavy maintenance-Ed), giving a rare opportunity to see both Funkeys together on FR metals. The WHR set was split earlier in the day for gauging trials in the station area. The Harbour Station ground frame now has its permanent labelling attached.

 

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These easterly and westerly views (9/12/10) show gauging trials with WHR stock shunted by Vale of Ffestiniog at Porthmadog Harbour station. The second image shows the Harbour Station ground frame now labelled. Lever 5 is the WHR Junction lever and lever 6 the FPL. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus D10 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly views (9/12/10) show Castell Caernarfon arriving at Porthmadog at 1405 to collect the second coach rake and take it back to Dinas for Santa Specials which were due to start the following weekend. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/12/10) shows both Funkeys at Porthmadog while shunting occurred at 1400. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon waiting for Vale of Ffestiniog to draw the Santa rake out onto The Cob. The Rhinogs are still dusted with snow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon about to couple up to the Santa rake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/12/10) shows Castell Caernarfon crossing Britannia Bridge with Santa rake, heading back to Dinas at 1420. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Christmas Holiday working party appeal

Paul Bradshaw reports: We hope to be working on two days between Christmas and the New Year. All being well we will be at Dinas on Wednesday 29/12/10 and Thursday 30/12/10 but before we can confirm this we need to know how much support there will be from you all. The working party on those two days is open to all volunteers regardless of which track gang or department you normally work with. But we do need to know soon if you are going to join us and if so on which days. Without that information we may have to cancel. So please email or phone me in the next day or two to let me know if you are coming to work with us.

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/12/10

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang, depleted by the weather and various illnesses, was reduced to 6 and spent the day at Pont Croesor on 7/12/10 lifting and packing the north bound track in the vicinity of the new barrow crossing. This was necessary prior to tarmacing by the contractor to lift the north bound track to the same level as the south bound track.

 

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This northerly view (7/12/10) shows the levelling of the barrow crossing at the north end of Pont Croesor Halt that gives access to the northbound platform. The Moelwyns are still dusted with snow. 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.

 

Russell to steam 2011?

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This Tywyn view (1950s) shows the Russell after its arrival on 22/8/54. After some work, it left in 1965 for the nascent '64 Co.'s Kinnerley base in Shropshire. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Grant and was taken on a Baldina 35mm camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The WHHR intends to steam Russell in 2011. Delays have ensued after discovery of problems with the axleboxes. The rolling chassis has been completed for several months, with restored frames, wheelsets, brakes, springs and pony trucks. The engineer has been working on two connecting rods and four coupling rods that make up the motion. These forged sections have been straightened and machined and some special heat treatment to deal with hardening. White metal grooves have been machined into the bearings. More work will have to be done off site and prices are being obtained from contractors to refurbish the tanks, air pump and sanding gear.

Russell has a new website. Donations are being sought and every donation of £5 or more will earn an entry into the prize draw for a rare replica Russell nameplate. A donation form is available on the website.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 4-5/12/10

Dafydd Thomas reports : The North Wales Track Gang were working at Dinas on 4-5/12/12. Saturday was a general tidy up and sort out, something that has to be done from time to time to keep things moving along smoothly. Sunday saw further work done on the right hand point that will go into the fuel road as a start to the two sidings that will go where the former Phase 4 rail stack was. What snow we had was nothing to compare with what Scotland has had, the freezing temperatures were more of a problem; we are now back to the more usual North Wales rain and damp.

 

Former Star Picture

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This easterly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys returning to Rhyd Ddu at 1352, the end of the Aberglaslyn run pasts for Bob Branch's Photo Charter. Unusually, only one engine was in steam. Previous run pasts have used a second loco e.g. Prince, stabled out of scene to avoid propelling movements. This loco plus sister loco James Spooner was used at this location in 1920s for testing bridge deflection to provide a maximum weight. 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.

 

Tuesday Gang report 30/11/10

Tony Baker reports: On 30/11/10 we started our last level crossing. LC 58:36. This is on the currently closed footpath from Pen-y-Mount to Porthmadog, cut by the bypass work (just south of Pen-y-Mount Halt-Ed). The first job was to install the crossing timbers. These are cut to size on site and have to fit round the sleepers and rail fixings. We completed the inner timbers and started the outer timbers. About 2 hours work remains to finish this stage. The CCT grids are to be installed and finally the signage. Our understanding is that the construction company will hand this final length over on the 1/12/10.

 

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This southerly view (30/11/10) shows the construction of the platform at Pont Croesor nearing completion. The platform is a little shorter at the north end where the loco will stand off the platform. The barrow crossing is visible under construction in the foreground from the north end of the southbound platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/11/10) shows the construction of the final level crossing just south of Pen-y-Mount Halt. 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 (30/11/10) shows how the level crossing looked at the end of the 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.

 

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This northerly view (30/11/10) shows Cnicht and the Moelwyns from the level crossing just south of Pen-y-Mount Halt. 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.

 

Panoramic Bypass views 29/11/10

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This northerly view (29/11/10) shows the embankments approaching the WHR and WHHR as seen from Moel-y-Gest. In the foreground are the signals for the WHHR's Tremadog Road terminus. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (29/11/10) shows the much enlarged Minffordd Quarry, source of the stone for the Porthmadog Bypass, as seen from Moel-y-Gest. The bypass embankments approaching the Afon Glaslyn can be seen, the Bailey bridge for the haul road traffic and the Cambrian Coast Line's wooden viaduct. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR Junction improvement 29/11/10

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This westerly view (29/11/10) shows the completion of signalling arrangements for the WHR Junction in Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on an Olympus D10 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (29/11/10) shows the various controls fitted to the new panel for the WHR Junction in Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/11/10) shows the signalman's shelter in relation to the controls. There will be a considerable amount of outside work here due to the addition of WHR shunt release moves and some thought has been given to having a permanent signal box or shelter. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/11/10) shows the point rodding for the WHR Junction in Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/11/10) shows the fencing off of The Cob footpath near the WHR Junction in Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 29/11/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Due to the very cold weather and 'iffy' heating in the Clip Shed, and uncertainty about snowfall, the 29/11/10 working party was cancelled. Likewise, next week as I'm escaping to the sun. The next possible Team Wylfa working party before Christmas is Tuesday 15/12/10 but there are doubts about some of the team members' availability. More news on this nearer the time. The Santa Specials carriages will be the target for a check and oil-up if it goes ahead.

 

Bypass progress 29/11/10

Work has started on the foundation for the viaduct on the east side of WHR, just south of Pen-y-Mount Halt. The situation is unlikely to have changed since 29/11/10 as it has been too cold to concrete! The contractor is however piling and excavating on the WHHR side.

 

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These northerly views (21/11/10 and 29/11/10) show work in progress to construct the foundation for the eastern pier of the bypass viaduct over the WHR. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR set to test Fairlies, Garratts and Mallets in head to head contest 29/11/10

FR Press Release

The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways will have an outstanding - and eclectic - selection of locomotives in action during 2011. Not only is Manning Wardle replica 2-6-2 Lyd due to appear in authentic Southern livery for the first time, but NG/G16 number No.143 will return from major overhaul in its new green livery, popular Hunslet 2-4-0 Linda will steam again and visiting locos already confirmed include Adrian Shooter's Darjeeling Himalayan 19B, Chaloner, a vertical-boilered DeWinton and, for the first time, a two-foot gauge Mallet.

"2011 looks set to be a golden year for the Welsh Highland Railway," says F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin. "Not only will the full 25 mile line be officially opened on 20/4/10, but we are eager to bring a wide variety of locos to be put through their paces on the UK's most demanding railway. For the first time, visitors will be able to see three different types of articulated locomotives working together - The FR's Double Fairlies; K1, the world's first Garratt; NG/G16 No.143, the last Garratt to be built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester; and Statfold Barn's Jung Mallet, No. 9. For the first time, these different loco designs can be seen competing in against each other to see who really is King of the Hill."

Statfold Barn's Mallet 0-4-4-0T, Jung works No.4878, was delivered to H. E. Oving of Rotterdam, Netherlands in April 1930 for use on the Jatibarang Brebes Sugar Mill Railway in Indonesia , where it carried No.9. The Sugar Mill was built in 1842 by the government of the Dutch East Indies colony. The loco is now approaching completion and is scheduled to undergo test runs before Christmas. The first time the public will be able to see her in action will be 19/3/11, after which the loco will move to Porthmadog.

Says Statfold Barn spokesperson Henry Noon: "Graham Lee and the team at Statfold Barn Railway are all very excited at the prospect of our latest rebuild project visiting North Wales. It will be an ideal opportunity to see just how the loco will perform on what is undoubtedly a challenging line. We believe this is the first time a Mallet has run in Britain on a public passenger carrying railway and it is apt that it should be on the F&WHR where articulated power is the norm!"

The loco weighs 17 tonnes and is expected to offer performance approaching that of a Double Fairlie, although the loco will undergo exhaustive testing during its stay in North Wales to see exactly what it can do. In Indonesia, the loco burnt sugar cane for fuel, but will be coal fired in the UK. "The Mallet has been overhauled to Statfold's usual high standard in close cooperation with Ffestiniog engineers," adds Lewin. "Wheelsets have been gauged and profiled to meet FR specifications and the loco has been fitted with vacuum brakes and chopper couplers to make it suitable for passenger use."

The Mallet design has a rigid main frame that supports the rear end of the boiler. At the front of the main frames are the high-pressure cylinders. A sub-frame, carrying a second set of driving wheels powered by low-pressure cylinders, is positioned ahead of and pivoted to the main frames. Exhaust steam from the high-pressure cylinders is carried to the low-pressure cylinders through flexible steam pipes, as is the exhaust steam from the low-pressure cylinders to the blast pipe in the smoke box. The overall result is a compact but powerful locomotive able to negotiate tight curves.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 27-28/11/10

Steve Broomfield reports: In the snow at Rhyd Ddu on 27/11/10, the Rest of the World Gang, assisted by Imperial College students, extended the 'headshunt' by one rail length. Later, a start was made on reducing the length of the short siding, so that a new footpath can be made next to the water tower base to allow coach parties to access the platform via a new level crossing across the southbound platform road. Work continued on Sunday morning and then the party inspected the Ffridd Isaf curves.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (27/11/10) show work in progress to extend the Rhyd Ddu yard headshunt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (28/11/10) shows the shortening of the shorter siding at Rhyd Ddu with the buffer stop adjacent to the water tower. 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 northerly view (28/11/10) shows the extension of the headshunt at Rhyd Ddu with a temporary buffer stop. 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.

 

Snow Scenes 27/11/10

Porthmadog and the WHR received a snowfall on 25/11/10 and more is expected. Snow was visible on Porthmadog webcams. Any images would be welcome. The annual Snow Scenes feature of this website will be launched this weekend.

 

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This easterly view (27/11/10) shows the Snowdon from Rhyd Ddu. There has been snow on and on the summit since early November. 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.

 

Russell nameplate return to Porthmadog 26/11/10

WHHR Press Release

A piece of narrow gauge history has returned home to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog, a decade after it was thought to be lost. An original nameplate from the line’s flagship steam engine, Russell (Hunslet 901 of 1906), has been presented to the WHHR on loan by the Industrial Railway Society. The nameplate is made of solid brass, and was one of a pair made by the steelworks in Brymbo near Wrexham when the locomotive was refurbished there in 1942. The nameplate was carried by Russell for the next ten years until the locomotive was withdrawn in 1953.

 

Soon afterwards, Russell was rescued from the scrap man by enthusiasts from the then Birmingham Locomotive Club. But one of the nameplates disappeared, and was presumed to have been lost forever. An article even appeared in the WHHR company magazine, asking if anyone knew where it was. It turned out that the nameplate was being carefully looked after by a Russell fan, and when he died, it was presented to the Industrial Railway Society by his family. Now, a deal has been done for the IRS to loan the plate to the WHHR, which owns the other plate, as well as the locomotive itself!

Martyn Owen, Chairman of the WHHR, said: “We’re really pleased that both of the original nameplates are now back in Wales, and in the same place as the locomotive.” Russell is currently being restored to working order, and the WHHR hopes it can return to service during 2011. The locomotive is being restored to its as-built 1906 condition. Since the nameplates it carried at that time looked different, the newly reunited pair of 1942 nameplates will go in the WHHR museum in Porthmadog for display. Bob Darvill of the Industrial Railway Society said: “Russell is one of the world's most famous narrow gauge locomotives because of the number of lucky escapes its had during its life to become the only locomotive left from the original Welsh Highland Railway. We’re delighted to have helped a piece of its history to come home in this way.”

 

Another mystery still surrounds the other two nameplates carried by Russell from 1906 to 1942. One of those is now in the National Railway Museum in York, but the other is also lost. Martyn Owen added: “I wonder if it is sitting in someone’s garage somewhere. We’d love to hear from you if you know where it is!”

 

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This NEC view (20/11/10) shows the Russell nameplate. Bob Darvill from the Industrial Railway Society (left) presents the nameplate to Martyn Owen (centre) and Christopher Boulter (right) of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday gang report 24/11/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Over the last two days (23-24/11/10), members of the Tuesday Gang have been installing a new foot crossing for passengers to reach the second platform (northbound) at Pont Croesor.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (24/11/10) show work in progress to complete the footpath crossing to the northbound platform at Pont Croesor Halt. The areas at either side and in the centre will later be filled with tarmac. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 23/11/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Again only two of us last night (different partner to last week..!) but good progress with No.134. Around the firebox area of the frames, Brunswick Ironworks' men have completed 'buttering' and grinding back the wastage to give almost 'as new' frames but several rivets heads are still wasted so these rivets need to be knocked out for replacement. We ground off the wasted heads flush with the frames then started drilling roughly in their middles to weaken them. With a bit of brute force, the first one 'popped' just before knocking off time and has temporarily been replaced with a nut and bolt until we get new rivets to hot rivet the frame components together again. Outlook for next week - more big hammer and punch work!

Over the working weekend, amongst other jobs done, the frame angles we sanded down last week have been primed and the temporary brackets to hold lining up bars have been fitted across the horn guides. No.134 is DEFINITELY in the (re) build phase now even though there is still some minor destruction work to do! See the No.134 website (updated 26/10/10) for the full working party report including images.

 

Tuesday Gang report 23/11/10

Tony Baker reports: While one half of the Tuesday Gang was working on the new barrow crossing to the northbound platform at Pont Croesor, the other half of the gang was finishing off LC 59.22 behind Wilkinsons, an unusual crossing because the gates are not directly opposite one another. When this was finished we departed to Cynfal (just north of Pen-y-Mount-Ed) to dismantle the redundant cabinet at the level crossing there. This was not as easy as was expected as all the nut and bolts had rusted up and it was also bolted down to a concrete pad. It eventually succumbed and was returned to its owners at Gelert's Farm. It had been used in conjunction with the service to Traeth Mawr run by WHHR.

 

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This northerly view (23/11/10) shows the revised level crossing arrangements at Wilkinsons' Crossing in Porthmadog. 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 (23/11/10) shows the widened formation for the new northbound platform at Pont Croesor. Kerbstones have been laid out for the platform edge. 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.

 

Bids in for Welsh Water shed

A bid has been made to purchase the Welsh Water shed at Dinas to extend the existing Loco Shed to the north. If successful, it will be possible to more than double the length of the existing shed to about 50m long in total and accommodate 4 Garratt sized locos in the shed. In the long term, the shed will become a volunteer restoration project facility with a new running shed planned for the North Yard (see below).

 

'Finishing the Job'-Phase 5 Appeal latest

The Phase 5 Appeal leaflets were not included in TSR magazine due to the need to wait for clarity about the Coalition Government's 'Comprehensive Spending Review'. The new list features £8.5m of projects, including associated works on the FR and supercedes that published in TSR (see below).

The full story will appear in the next edition of Steam Railway with an Appeal Leaflet.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 20-21/11/10

One of Sunday's tasks was to commence construction of a right hand point in Dinas yard, for future use in the vicinity.

 

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This northerly view (21/11/10) shows the construction of a new point at Dinas ready for the new running shed to be constructed in this area. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Warley Show 20/11/10

The Warley Model Railway show at the NEC over the weekend of 20-21/11/10 saw a WHR presence. There were stands for the F&WHR and WHHR. Pete Waterman was present showing progress with the bogie of his NGG16 No.109, which is being rebuilt at his LNWR Works in Crewe. The loco is due to operate on the WHR when complete in a few years time.

 

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These NEC views (20/11/10) show No.109's bogie. Pete Waterman stands proudly next to his LNWR Works project, which is intended to run on the WHR when complete. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Michael Chapman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR Renaissance Book

Adlestrop Press has been set up to publish WHR Renaissance, a high quality A4 format book costing about £59, covering the WHR Project and including technical and legal detail. Phase 4 Appeal subscribers and tracklayers can get a discount of £15. £5 from the sale of each book will go towards the Phase 5 Appeal (see below). The publishers have mentioned Ben Fisher's website but have not mentioned/contacted your web editor about use of this website's ongoing huge resource, which is available for such WHR promotional use free of charge. There is a web address for registering interest in the book but Adlestrop Press itself does not appear to have a web address. However, they do have a postal address:

Adlestrop Press

15 Ryecroft

Furzton

Milton Keynes

MK4 1AH

 

Phase 5 Appeal

A £6.5m Phase 5 Appeal is to be launched to complete the remaining jobs on the WHR. As well as seeking covenants for Phase 5 and the help of wealthy supporters, the Appeal seeks to capitalise on the benefit to the local economy and apply for further WAG grants drawn down form EU structural funds.

 

However, two items costing £100,000 are important to progress as soon as possible.

The Phase 5 Appeal project includes the following construction from north to south:

Rolling stock

Signalling system

Those who would like to contribute to the Phase 5 Appeal should send donations to:

Phase 5 Appeal

Lime Tree Lodge

Thorpe Road,

Mattersey

DONCASTER

DN10 5ED

 

Mike Hart OBE 19/11/10

At a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Mike Hart received his well deserved OBE for services to the Railway Industry, particularly steering the WHR project through to completion over a period of almost 20 years.

 

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This official view (19/11/10) shows Mike Hart and family following the award of the OBE. Click on the image to enlarge. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon Bypass doubts

The are doubts about the phasing of the Caernarfon Bypass after austerity cuts by the WAG were announced that saw a 40% cut in the new construction budget. The Caernarfon Bypass will run from the west end the A487 Y Felinheli Bypass approaching Caernarfon from the east to the new Llanwnda roundabout at the north end of the Pen-y-groes Bypass. The route crosses the WHR just north of Bontnewydd Halt.

However, WAG is also looking at an increase in the frequency of the North Wales-South Wales train service and more Class 67s have become available following the FGW's conversion of its Cardiff-Taunton/ Newton Abbott loco hauled services to cascaded Class150 dmus in November (Wonder what the passengers think of that! Ed.).

 

Construction progress 19/11/10

Things have been pretty hectic ahead of ORR inspection of the AOCLs in Porthmadog and the Cae Pawb crossing on 19/11/10. Apart from a few very minor snags to be addressed, the day went very well indeed. Platform 2 at Pont Croesor is progressing well and kerbs should be laid on Tuesday of next week. The target is substantial completion by the beginning of December but it will certainly be available for use (whether anyone chooses to get on or off there from an ex-Porthmadog train remains to be seen!) for the February Half Term trains.

 

Spooner's beer store works completion 17/11/10

The platform in the vicinity of the demolished beer store has been brought up to the standard height and tarmac has been applied.

 

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These southerly and easterly views (17/11/10) show work completed on building up the WHR platform and tarmac level with the rest of the platform. An HMRI inspection is due soon. 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.

 

Team Wylfa report 16/11/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Unfortunately it was back to two of us on the evening of 16/11/10. However, a productive evening was spent on No.134. Whilst your scribe attacked some 'butchery' done on the tender's rear drag box in South Africa with an angle grinder, Pete started to rub down the new running plate angle iron on the loco chassis ready for painting. The tender 'butchery' was where a large cut out had been made in the drag box rear plate to allow a more modern rubber laminated spring to be fitted to the drawbar. This had been done with a gas axe and the edges were extremely ragged and sharp. This has now been trued up and raw edges ground smooth.

Winter work on the in-service locos has commenced in the Loco Shed with No.87's front tank noted removed and one of No.143's power bogies now stripped and lifted off its wheels, which, by the look of the now hollow wheel profiles, need a visit to the wheel turning lathe in Boston Lodge for re-profiling.

 

Tuesday Gang report 16/11/10

Tony Baker reports: There was much activity on the railway on 16/11/10 preparing for the Inspector's visit. Our part was as follows. The main thrust was to finish LC125, the footpath crossing beside Wilkinson's. A start was made here last week but unfortunately nobody knew about the manhole covered in ballast which was discovered when the gang pulling in cables at the weekend needed to find it. Yes, you guessed right- Sod's Law again dictated that it was right under the CCT grid completed last Tuesday. So back to the drawing board and the whole ensemble had to be moved nearer to the crossing timbers themselves. These crossing timbers, also installed by Tuesday Gang had just been finished and fortunately did not need to be moved. So the building of the grids started again from scratch. Another couple of hours next week should see the crossing completed.

Meanwhile, other gang members were behind Spooner's finishing off some groundwork around the cabinets and others were fencing at Pen-y-Mount. Yet more of the gang were putting up YET MORE signs. Has anyone done a count recently? Still to come, another footpath crossing at Pen-y-Mount, currently closed due to bypass work, and a barrow crossing at Pont Croesor to link the two platforms.

 

Volunteer plans

†Weekday Working

A working “week” is planned for October continuing the ROWG weekend of 16/17-10-10 October and continuing through until the following BHG weekend i.e. to 24/10/10. Contact Paul Bradshaw, if you are interested.

The ROWG weekend marked * will be run as a long weekend starting on Friday 12/11/10 November and continuing to Monday 15/11/10.

Please get in touch if you may be interested in joining us whether for the working week or the long weekend or any days in those periods. The earlier you let us know you are interested the better we can plan ahead. The Tuesday Gang will be busy most Tuesdays for the rest of 2010 and beyond. Contact Tony Baker if you plan to join them.

 

Pont Croesor second platform 14/11/10

Work started on the northbound edge platform at Pont Croesor halt in early November and considerable progress with widening the formation within the boundary by 14/11/10. It is hoped the platform might be complete by December.

 

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These northerly views (14/11/10) show at the north and south ends of the new northbound platform on the east side of the loop at Pont Croesor Halt. 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.

 

Rest of the World gang report 14/11/10

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This southerly view (14/11/10) shows Castell Caernarfon collecting the works train from Cemetery Crossing. ROTWG work continued into Monday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The ROTWG worked from Friday 12/11/10 until Sunday 14/11/10 building a ballast-retaining wall for the curve north of Beddgelert Cemetery crossing.

 

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This northerly view (14/11/10) shows the ROTWG constructing a ballast wall that allows better drainage on the uphill side of the line. This one has the refinement of a dry stone capping. 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.

 

Afon Nanmor footpath open

A sign dated October 2010 at the former Hafod Garregog halt level crossing indicates that Gwynedd Council has approved the diversion of the footpath between there and Hafod-y-llyn via the walkway cantilevered off the side of the Afon Nanmor railway bridge. The footpath is now officially open for use and will provide some new viewpoints for photographers.

 

Photo charter 9/11/10

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This northerly view (9/11/10) shows Taliesin approaching T4 at midday. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (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 (9/11/10) shows Taliesin approaching T4 at 1326. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (9/11/10) shows Taliesin standing outside T4 as seen from inside the tunnel at 1444. Don't try this at home folks-its a staff photo with the train stabled outside T4! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (9/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys leaving Beddgelert station at 1542. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 9/11/10

Peter Roughley reports: A quick précis of our activities this week.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (10/11/10) show work in progress on the revamping of the footpath crossing near Wilkinson's car park in Porthmadog. The purpose is to make this crossing wheelchair/pushchair/bicycle friendly, but the task is made quite difficult by the fact that the two gates are not directly opposite. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Stock movement 9/11/10

The photo charter stock was returned to Boston Lodge on 9/11/10 arriving in the late afternoon. It was attached to the tail of a major stock move with several WHR coaches going for maintenance led by Vale of Ffestiniog. The coaching stock remaining at Dinas is not sufficient for the Santa Specials and the Winter Service in the Xmas holidays so a further movement will be necessary before the Santa trains start on 11/12/10. This is the second time the WHR has been used for such an ECS maintenance movement. Eight WHR and 3 FR coaches were moved with a further 4 in the photo charter rake, plus a flat truck carrying two Garratt tanks making it the possibly the longest rake the WHR has seen in modern times.

 

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This southerly view (9/11/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the assemblage at Bryn-y-felin. The leading vehicle, a flat truck, seems to be carrying No.143's new tanks. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Mitchell and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (9/11/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the assemblage around the curve at Croesor Junction at 1621. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (9/11/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the assemblage around the curve at Croesor Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) courtesy Iain Jack and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/11/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog about to lead the assemblage out of Harbour Station with Taliesin in the middle. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Mitchell and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (9/11/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the 19 vehicle train out of Harbour Station with Taliesin in the middle of the rake leading the photo charter stock and Merddin Emrys on the rear at 1713. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 9/11/10

Clive Briscoe reports: 'Help, who's stolen the carriages?' was our cry when we entered the Carriage Shed on the evening of 9/11/10. Most of the stock has been transferred to Boston Lodge for heavy servicing in a 19 car train hauled by Vale of Ffestiniog. The remaining SAR bogied coaches were our target. For some time we have been planning to change any axlebox cover fixings to stud and nut as opposed to many which have been fitted with bolts. Also, many of the nuts had seized to the studs so were coming out as a complete unit. This has been causing wear to the threads in the castings and has necessitated a modification whereby very worn threads have to be drilled out to clearance size and have a modified bolt put through from the back of the axlebox casting. Not the best idea.

We have been manufacturing a few ½" BSW studs recently so that we can put things right with the studs firmly fixed in the casting with just the nut to undo. Four carriages were attended to last night and as and, when carriages return, they will be attended to as well. With the carriages not out and about for the next few months, this is an ideal winter job when there is no particular pressure to get a set checked and oiled up in an evening of frantic activity.

There was no Team Wylfa last week. During the next couple of months, most of our efforts are likely to be directed towards No.134.

 

Photo charter 8/11/10

Thanks to Steve Sedgwick for this series of images from some challenging weather on 8/11/10. Any contributions from 6-7/11/10 would be welcome and will be credited. Taliesin was drafted in on 8-9/11/10 as there were concerns about one of Merddin Emrys' injectors. In the event the double Fairlie performed well but trains did not operate north of Beddgelert.

 

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This southerly view (8/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys approaching the Afon Dylif bridge with the remains of recent rain twinkling in the sunlight at 1138. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/11/10) shows Taliesin drifting south from Afon Dylif bridge at 1234. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/11/10) shows Taliesin passing disinterested cows near the Afon Dylif bridge at 1301. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys approaching Nantmor at 1403. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (8/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys approaching the T2 in the Aberglaslyn Pass at 1516. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/11/10) shows Taliesin catching the evening light approaching Ynysfor Level Crossing at 1639. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Sedgwick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Black and white 7/11/10

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This southerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys emerging from T3 at 1344. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Phil Brown (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Harbour progress 7/11/10

With work nearing completion of the Spooner's beer store alterations, some thought is being given to finishing the level platform tarmac at this location. It is believed that cable ducts will need to be placed first. Work is also nearing completion on the provision of permanent junction arrangements for the WHR Junction. This will remove the need for the current clamping procedures and provide levers for the junction and FPL, controlled from the Harbour Station ground frame.

 

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These easterly views (7/11/10) show work nearing completion on the Spooners' beer store alterations, with the roof now finished. Volunteers were also at work on the point rodding for the WHR Junction with Moel Hebog standing by with the pw train. 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.

 

Merddin Emrys return to Porthmadog 7/11/10

Bob Branch's 4-day photo-charter ran from 6-9/11/10 and was blessed with good weather for the Saturday and Sunday. It was the last one to be organised by Bob, who has been running them for several years, starting with K1 on Phase 3. Thousands of pounds have been raised in fees for F&WHR coffers. It is hoped that the photo-shoots will continue next year with a new organiser.

Merddin Emrys had been shedded at Dinas overnight Saturday night as the Cambrian Coast line was blocked and the Cae Pawb crossing could not be released. The loco returned to Boston Lodge on Sunday afternoon. Any images from the four days would be gratefully received and credited.

 

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This southerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys returning to Rhyd Ddu passing through Pitts Head Cutting at 1443. 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 (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys taking water at Rhyd Ddu ready for its return to Porthmadog at 1451. 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 (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys running round at Rhyd Ddu at 1456. 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.

 

The train passed Beddgelert Cemetery at 1533 and Pont Croesor at 1553 but unfortunately the failing light led to blurred images.

 

ME_BWH7-11-10BB.jpg (71303 bytes)

This westerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys crossing Britannia Bridge at 1621. The adjustment to the stop lines for Snowdon Wharf can be seen for the road junction. There are additional stop lines several metres to the left adjacent to the wigwags. The yellow dots reflect the swept area of the train. 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.

 

Merddin Emrys run pasts 7/11/10

In the afternoon, Merddin Emrys returned to the Aberglaslyn Pass to complete a series of run pasts between T4 and T3 with the loco on the north end of the train and then worked to the summit of the line for some final photo-shoots.

 

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This southerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys making a run past in the Aberglaslyn Pass between T4 and T3 at 1330. 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 easterly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys making a run past between T4 and T3. 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 (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys making a run past between T4 and T3 at 1344. With light fading, it was decided to try for some shots at the summit of the line. 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.

 

The train passed Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1416 and Pont Cae'r Gors at 1424 but unfortunately the failing light led to blurred images.

 

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This westerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys preparing for a run past between Pont Cae'r Gors and Summit Cutting at 1427. 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.

 

Former Star Picture

87_SB22-5-10first train arrives PC.jpg (49838 bytes)

This northerly view (22/5/10) shows No.87 hauling the first passenger train to Pont Croesor crossing the Afon Glaslyn bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Photo charter 7/11/10

Merddin Emrys worked a Bob Branch photo charter over the weekend of 6-7/11/10. This loco worked on the original WHR in the 1920s and so images are highly prized. The loco travelled up with a short rake of heritage coaches on Saturday and returned to Boston Lodge on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday it worked between Rhyd Ddu and the Aberglaslyn Pass but did spend some time south of Nantmor around midday around the Ynysferlas bridge. Any images from Saturday would be gratefully received and credited (max size 1 MB!).

 

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This westerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys collecting the photographers at Bryn-y-felin level crossing at 1042. 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 (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys running round southbound at Beddgelert station at 1302 so as to be on the north end of the train, having watered. The rake is visible in the background. 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.

 

ME_BWH7-11-10BS rr nb.jpg (108892 bytes)

This southerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys running round northbound at Beddgelert station at 1304 so as to be on the north end of the train, having watered. 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.

 

ME_BWH7-11-10BS propelling.jpg (89523 bytes)

This westerly view (7/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys propelling its rake out of Beddgelert station at 1313 so as to be on the north end of the train for views in the Aberglaslyn Pass. 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.

 

North Wales Gang report 6/11/10

On Saturday, 6/11/10, The North Wales/Black Hand Gang were digging two trenches, to bury the cables to the three treadles by Llyn Bach, having waited for Merddin Emrys to pass on the photo charter stock transfer. A report on the full weekend's activities from Dave Firth/Peter Roughley.

 

ME_SB6-11-10LB nb.jpg (51003 bytes)

This southerly view (6/11/10) shows Merddin Emrys passing Llyn Bach car park at 0920 for Bob Branch photo charter work between Porthmadog and Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S14_SB6-11-10gasworks siding.jpg (72423 bytes)

This northerly view (6/11/10) shows North Wales Gang volunteers cutting cable trenches in the tarmac at Llyn Bach. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Harbour station alterations 5/11/10

Work on the Spooners' bar beer store alterations to accommodate the WHR is nearing completion.

 

Spooners beer store_SM5-11-10close up.jpg (57214 bytes)

This westerly view (5/11/10) shows the Spooners' beer store cut back and the completion of roof alterations. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Platelayers' Train postscript 31/10/10

Lyd_MC31-10-10BB with Taliesin.jpg (100297 bytes)

This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin crossing Britannia Bridge with the Platelayers' Special. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd_MC31-10-10PC loop.jpg (76522 bytes)

This southerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin using the northbound track through Pont Croesor loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin crossing Pont Croesor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin crossing Pont Croesor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin storming up the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin storming up the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin emerging from T4 into the Aberglaslyn Pass. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin approaching T3 on the Aberglaslyn Pass shelf. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd_MC31-10-10BYF with Taliesin.jpg (99093 bytes)

This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin crossing Bryn-y-felin bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin emerging from Summit Cutting on the return journey. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd_MC31-10-10approaching PC.jpg (70415 bytes)

This northerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin approaching Pont Croesor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd_MC31-10-10PC sb with Taliesin.jpg (72909 bytes)

This northerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin crossing Pont Croesor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Harbour station alterations 31/10/10

Spooners beer store_BWH25-10-10 platform trim.jpg (75621 bytes)

This westerly view (25/10/10) shows the Spooners' beer store cut back and the concrete platform edge trimmed. The alterations allow a standard minimum width of platform as far as the tramway and reduce the length of Cob widening required for the platform between the WHR and FR. 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.

 

WHR Junction_BWH25-10-10PH.jpg (97326 bytes)

This westerly view (25/10/10) shows the WHR junction still controlled by clamps and padlocks. 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.

 

Mike Hart reports that the two new levers for the WHR Junction were the original WHR Junction levers, last used when the Goods Shed turnout was removed in the 1970s.

 

WHR Junction_BWH31-10-10 levers.jpg (88252 bytes)

This westerly view (31/10/10) shows the new signalling arrangements at Porthmadog. The two white levers will control the WHR Junction and its FPL The recycled sign will have information about the signalling and plunger type switch to signal the junction. 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.

 

Wagon stencils 31/10/10

Marcus Ingram reports: Although it was not a Wagons Roll working party, a few volunteers met at Boston Lodge on 31/10/10, at Tony Williams request, including Marcus Ingram and Keith Holland (aided briefly by one Peter Johnson). We applied stencilled numbers and labels to B wagons at Boston Lodge and Harbour (including it is believed Welsh versions of Tare and Load-Ed). These wagons are being used by the FR for conveying loco coal between Minffordd, the Lodge and Port.

 

This Boston Lodge view (31/10/10) shows Marcus Ingram adding the white stencilled lettering to the wagons. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Platelayer Special views 31/10/10

Lyd_CB31-10-10with Cedric Lodge and GM.jpg (109859 bytes)

This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd at Rhyd Ddu with driver Paul Lewin and fireman Cedric Lodge. 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.

 

Taliesin_CB31-10-10RD watering.jpg (74026 bytes)

This northerly view (31/10/10) shows Taliesin watering at Rhyd Ddu with Lyd standing off the platform waiting to run round. 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.

 

Upnor Castle nameplate

While being repainted in the Autumn, it was discovered that Upnor Castle had lost a nameplate. The loco was outshopped without nameplates for use on the special workings on 31/10/10. Glass windows were installed instead of the milky Perspex ones fitted previously.

 

Platelayers' Special 31/10/10

Upnor_BWH31-10-10Upnor adds carriages PH.jpg (77303 bytes)

This westerly view (31/10/10) shows the recently repainted and refurbished Upnor Castle collecting 3 coaches from the Porthmadog Harbour sidings to add the 1315 Platelayers' Special with much more interest shown than anticipated and the need to carrying invited contractors. The green is much darker than the previous two tone livery. 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.

 

Upnor_BWH31-10-10 couples to rear.jpg (74563 bytes)

This westerly view (31/10/10) shows Upnor Castle adding 3 coaches to the Platelayers' Special. The loco was to drag the rake out onto The Cob to allow the train to proceed onto the WHR, the first passenger duty on the FR for a long time. 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.

 

Taliesin_BWH31-10-10BS.jpg (51594 bytes)

This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Taliesin waiting to water at Beddgelert Station. Both locos required a maximum water load to avoid slipping on the long curvaceous 1 in 40 section to Rhyd Ddu. 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 easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd being enthusiastically watered by the GM at Beddgelert Station. 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.

 

Lyd_BWH31-10-10BS.jpg (46666 bytes)

This easterly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd waiting to draw up to allow Taliesin to water at Beddgelert Station. Fireman Cedric Lodge leans out of the cab, whilst the driver (GM-Paul Lewin) completes the watering. 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.

 

Lyd_PT31-10-10BFC.jpg (74407 bytes)

This southerly view (31/10/10) shows Lyd with Taliesin passing between the two level crossings at Beddgelert Forest campsite. Lyd also led the return working. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Paul Townsend and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass news 31/10/10

The embankments approaching the WHR are steadily being built up. Construction of foundations for the piers supporting the bridge will be started soon. Tarmac's Minffordd Quarry is now rapidly consuming Y Garth, the granite hill to the east of the quarry. The long embankment across the former Glaslyn estuary paralleling the Cambrian coast line will consume much of the hill. There is a Bailey bridge across the Afon Glaslyn to import quarry fill along the haul road on the line of the bypass.

 

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This easterly view (31/10/10) shows the bypass embankment being built up as seen from the Platelayers' Special. 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.

 

Halloween specials 30/10/10

The WHR ran its Halloween specials on 30-31/10/10 from Caernarfon to Waunfawr with a 'gruesome' finger buffet at the Snowdonia Parc brewpub.

 

Witches_TB30-10-10Dinas.jpg (59421 bytes)

This northerly view (30/10/10) shows the witches brewing up at Dinas 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.

 

First through train 30/10/10

A BBC clip of the first train crossing Britannia Bridge can be viewed here.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 9 mins 27s of video of No.138 hauling the Gold & Silver Supporters' Special on 30/10/10, as seen from the train. This video was taken by John Wooden on a camcorder.

 

138_TB30-10-10Dinas on Gold.jpg (67777 bytes)

This northerly view (30/10/10) shows No.138 working through Dinas, complete with headboard, on the Gold & Silver Supporters' Special. 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.

 

138_BWH30-10-10BB headboard.jpg (55492 bytes)

This northerly view (30/10/10) shows the Gold Supporters' Special train crossing Britannia Bridge at 1215, rather later than planned (1125), due to an incident at Pont Croesor and losing the path across Cae Pawb with the need to wait for the ATW 1202 from Porthmadog to clear. The headboard was later sold to a silent auction on the train for £12,750 with over £20,000 raised in total. 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.

 

Read the BBC news report here.

The reasons for the delay are explained in a Liverpool Daily Post story and the LDP's view on Saturday's special trains (though there were a few more than 100 people on the train!).

 

Lyd_BWH30-10-10PH ready to shunt release.jpg (69237 bytes)

This westerly view (30/10/10) shows Lyd in the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour station, ready to drag the train into the station from The Cob. 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.

 

138_BWH30-10-10PH with headboard.jpg (70242 bytes)

This westerly view (30/10/10) shows No.138 having been dragged into the station. 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.

 

138_BWH30-10-10headboard.jpg (49405 bytes)

This westerly view (30/10/10) shows No.138's  headboard, which was auctioned on the train for £12,750 to support the next phase of the WHR. 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.

 

138_BWH30-10-10PH shunts into siding.jpg (58531 bytes)

This easterly view (30/10/10) shows No.138 shunting off into Porthmadog Harbour sidings. 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.

 

Lyd_BWH30-10-10shunt release.jpg (50836 bytes)

This westerly view (30/10/10) shows Lyd dragging the rake out onto The Cob for No.138 to couple to for the return journey. 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.

 

138_BWH30-10-10PH departs .jpg (55460 bytes)

This easterly view (30/10/10) shows No.138 leaving Porthmadog Harbour station passing through the chicane onto the tramway section across Britannia 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.

 

87_BWH30-10-10SS.jpg (59137 bytes)

This northerly view (30/10/10) shows No.87 crossing Snowdon Street on time at 1330 with the Bronze train. This was hoped to be hauled by K1 as it was a shorter rake but K1 was indisposed. 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.

 

87_BWH30-10-10LB curve.jpg (62217 bytes)

This northerly view (30/10/10) shows No.87 emerging from the Llyn Bach corridor onto Britannia Bridge. Actuation of the wigwags was by a key on the staff. The train had waited at the white light for 10 minutes while the FR train cleared the section to Minffordd, delayed by the previous train. Concerns about the interaction of the WHR and FR services has led to speculation that 2011 may see very few WHR trains running to Porthmadog. 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.

 

87_BWH30-10-10BB.jpg (46009 bytes)

This easterly view (30/10/10) shows No.87 crossing Britannia Bridge on time at 1500. The yellow dots that define the train clearance have been renewed recently after wearing out. 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 (30/10/10) shows No.87 crossing Britannia Bridge with the return working as seen from the quayside. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Garratt preparations 29/10/10

With the failure of K1, both NG16s were 'bulled up' for the weekend specials on 30/10/10.

 

138_BWH29-10-10Dinas shed.jpg (62174 bytes)

This southerly view (29/10/10) shows No.138 and No.87 being prepared for the special workings the next day. 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.

 

Loco news 29/10/10

It is planned that No.143, carrying No.140's boiler, will return to service in 2011. The new water tank is in store at Dinas in undercoat.

 

143_BWH29-10-10Dinas.jpg (81459 bytes)

This Dinas view (29/10/10) shows the new water tank for No.143 in undercoat at Dinas. 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 29/10/10

Work will start in mid November of the northbound platform at Pont Croesor and should be finished by December. The edge platform will run down the east side of the line and will have the same length as the southbound platform. Gabions may be required to provide a wide enough strip of land. Access will be by a boarded crossing at the north end.

 

The Cae Pawb crossing box is in store in Dinas Shed awaiting completion of discussions with the WHHR and BR Property Board.

 

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This Dinas view (29/10/10) shows the kit of parts for the Cae Pawb signal box with heritage style of windows. 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.

 

ERTMS live 28/10/10

ERTMS is live between Harlech and Pwllheli and was switched on 28/10/10. The rest of the system will be switched on in the spring of 2011. At the moment, the Machynlleth signaller is allowing a 15 minute gap for the WHR to initiate, cross and release the Cae Pawb crossing. See Rail Staff story.

 

Bypass news 28/10/10

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This westerly view (28/10/10) shows the embankment and haul road from the temporary level crossing with all four tracks visible. The WHHR sidings are now connected up. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (28/10/10) shows the embankment and haul road from the temporary level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (28/10/10) shows the new drainage channel. Varying water levels and spring sapping are visible. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

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This westerly view (28/10/10) shows the culvert entrance under the WHR. It still requires some work to complete the lintel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 26/10/10

Clive Briscoe reports: I've gone all reflective. Last Tuesday (26/10/10) was the last carriage check and oil-up of the season! Where did the time go?

On Sunday 31st October, your scribe was on the Tracklayers Special from Porthmadog. It was a very special day indeed and gave me time to reflect with some pride, Team Wylfa's small part in the grand scheme of rebuilding the railway. Not as much as our gallant ROTWG and North Wales/BHG but nevertheless, since I started the Team in April 2003, we have had a significant input. For those more recent readers, a potted history reads as follows: I am basically a 'Gog'* with now 46 years service to the parent FRCo and had done some tracklaying on Phase 2 notably laying track at Tryfan Junction and getting soaked to the skin despite waterproofs!

In the early days of Phase 3, I had been working at Wylfa Power Station for some time when a call for volunteers to paint the new river bridge at Betws Garmon went out. Myself and then BHG member Martin Baker worked in the same office and decided to offer our services. A couple of nights later we went back to carry on where we had left off then back the following week on two nights after work. Other contract engineers in our group at the power station heard of our exploits and joined us week after week. After the bridge painting was finished, we said, 'What next' and were rewarded by sorting and overhauling track clips!! 10 bags of each of the 4 sizes plus fishplates and fish bolts per week for the weekend tracklayers 'no small order' and our team, usually 10 -12 strong on Tuesday and Thursday evenings were fully occupied.

On the (very wet) evening of 17th July 2003, it was principally Team Wylfa who laid the last rails to join the North and South sections of Phase 3 close to Castell Cidwm. From then on, we still had a few more track clips to sort and overhaul but spent more evenings up the line laying the sleepers out at Rhyd Ddu, setting all the statutory signage between Rhyd Ddu and Castell Cidwm and finally, Geismarring (engine driven torque wrench) all the track clips from Castell Cidwm to just south of Snowdon Ranger. What fantastic evenings they were with superb warm weather and the simply stunning views and sunsets from the line over Quellyn.

Since Phase 3 was completed, the Team ended up in more of an engineering support role (loco overhaul work) notably No.134 and No.140 but principally, we have kept the wheels rolling during the operating season by undertaking the weekly safety check and oiling up of the sets. Has it been worth it? Sunday's trip behind Lyd and Taliesin with the first full train of regular FR stock since the 1930s to Rhyd Ddu said 'YES' in a big way. The simply stunning scenery of the autumn colours through the mountains and those two locos working hard in unison up the 1 in 40 from Beddgelert to Y Copa was music to the ears. We have ALL, whether individually or in one of the many support groups, given our future customers something unique to see and hear and should be very proud of our achievements.

* 'Gog' - one from down south who works on the Tramway betwixt Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Often used in a derogatory way by members of the 'Dark Side' - those working on the Ffestiniog Railway's northern extension as referred to by Gogs.

 

Tuesday Gang 26/10/10

Tony Baker reports: On 26/10/10 the main activity was bushwhacking between Pen-y-Mount and Pont Croesor. Blackberry briers are the main culprit because they root down into the ballast and clearing them is quite time consuming. The long term solution is of course a run past with a weed killer train. Other activity was sorting out a gate near Rhyd Ddu which was wedged open by washed down ballast allowing sheep onto the line and the ongoing provision of a land line to Pont Croesor station.

 

Autumn views 25/10/10

Despite the Autumn Half Term holiday being very wet and windy, there were a few fine days on the WHR, notably 24-25/10/10. The colours of the trees were starting to change but lasting snow did not appear on Snowdon until the first week of November.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (25/10/10) show No.87 passing Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1114 and later at Ynysfor level crossing returning north at 1224. 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.

 

Busman's Holiday

Your webmaster is away at the WHR until 31/10/10 and the website will not be updated until then. Please do not hit the website repeatedly looking for updates as this will cause problems for the server kindly provided by Peter Bowyer of Narrow Gauge Heaven and Maple Design.

 

Baldwin Update

The £250,000 project to get the WHHR's Baldwin 4-6-0PT No.590 project completed has reached a landmark with the frames completed. The Imperial War Museum's loco No.794 is on long term loan to recreate heritage scenes on the WHHR and WHR in due course. No.590 was purchased by Colonel Stephens for the WHR in 1923 from war surplus and ran until 1936. No.794 operated in India before being acquired by the IWM. Keef's have completed the frames, correcting original casting problems, building up the sliding surfaces with weld and re-machining to the correct dimensions. Frame stretchers have been refurbished and the front buffer beam straightened. New bushes have also been provided for the coupling pivot points. In fact £3,000 more work has been done that budgeted for.

 

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This easterly heritage view (1930s) shows No.590 coming off Britannia Bridge in Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy WHHR. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The next step is to tackle the main driving wheels and axleboxes, but only if the money can be raised. The WHHR Baldwin Appeal is still looking for almost £160,000 to complete the project. The next phase is to refurbish the main driving wheels and axleboxes. New axles, crank-pins and wheel tyres are required but work will not start until the £30,000 required is available (over half has been raised already).

The Appeal does not currently have a website but donations/standing orders can be taken by contacting 

Baldwin Appeal Manager,

The station,

Tremadog Road,

Porthmadog

Gwynedd

LL49 9DY

 

Working Week update 22/10/10

The 216m cable to link with the pedestrian crossing in Porthmadog High Street was finally pulled in, by members of the Rest of the World Gang during the morning of 22/10/10. Its connection to the rest of the Britannia Bridge signalling will follow in due course. The cable will allow the operation of the Britannia Bridge tramway signals and the pedestrian crossing to be coordinated to reduce congestion in Porthmadog High Street.

 

Working Week update 19-20/10/10

Steve Broomfield reports: This Tuesday 19/10/10 the following activities were undertaken in conjunction with the Tuesday Gang.

On Wednesday, the following took place.

 

Team Wylfa update 19/10/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Team Wylfa serviced the E Set on the evening of 19/10/10 and in some spare time at the end of the evening, successfully removed the old vacuum pipe from No.134's tender chassis. In its original position, it was hung from the underside of the RHS frame. With the design of the new tender tank/bunker, which will not have the 'saddle tank' coming right over the frames, the opportunity to re-route it inside the frames is being taken which will give the tender a much cleaner line.

 

Scrape at Ynysfor Crossing 19/10/10

A BBC news story reveals that a van scraped a loco at Ynysfor level crossing on 19/10/10.

 

Supporters' Special/Platelayers' Special update

There will be a lot more passengers on the first Supporters' Special train on 30/10/10 than the second, so the first (Gold/Silver) train is being strengthened to ten cars, which might mean that K1 gets a trip out on the lighter Bronze train to give some variety. The Platelayers' Special to Rhyd Ddu on 31/10/10 is being retimed to depart Porthmadog at 1315, arriving back at 1615 as Network Rail has no one at Machynlleth signal box before lunchtime on Sunday to release Cae Pawb crossing.

 

ROTWG report 17/10/10

The Rest of the World Gang met up at Dinas and first headed to the line behind the old water works at Bryn Gloch. There they cleared vegetation - mostly gorse. The next site was Meillionen in Beddgelert Forest, towards Ty'n-y-coed, trimming trees. Finally volunteers relocated to Waunfawr, to look at fencing and to do some more tree trimming.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (2/10/10) show the Rest of the World Gang working near Ty'n-y-coed level crossing and No.87 working hard approaching from Beddgelert. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Supporters' Specials 30/10/10

There will be two trains for the Phase 4 Appeal Supporters on 30/10/10, one carrying Gold and Silver supporters and second Bronze supporters (the 0900 and 1100 departing Caernarfon). These will be the last such Supporters' Inspection trains as the Phase 4 Appeal is now closed and the project complete in as far as the line is open to Harbour Station, the aim of the Appeal. Trains will run through to Porthmadog Harbour, subject to final approval by the ORR, reversing into the FR platform with a pilot loco. The first train will feature both Pullman cars. Both trains will be NG16 hauled. After an hour break at Porthmadog, the Gold/Silver train will pass the Bronze train at Pont Croesor on the return journey at about 1300, the first time the loop has been used to pass trains.

 

ROTWG report 16/10/10

The Rest of the World Gang have commenced a working week. On 16/10/10 lineside clearance and drainage work was underway between Dinas and Cae Moel.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (16/10/10) show lineside clearance near Cae Moel and drainage work near Plas Bodaden. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

ORR Inspection 15/10/10

FR Press release:

Office of Rail Regulation inspection means WHR completion imminent

Her Majesty's Railway Inspector visited Porthmadog on Friday 15/10/10 to check the installations at Cae Pawb, Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge. The two road crossings have now had the tarmac removed from the rails for the last time. Moelwyn ran light engine over the crossings several times to check operation and traffic disruption was seen to be minimal.

A few items remain to be completed, including electronic interlocking with a pedestrian crossing on the High Street and a final snagging list will need to be attended to before final approval is granted to run trains over the complete Welsh Highland. The first of these will be the Sponsors' Train which runs on Saturday 30/10/10.

Be one of the first to travel on the completed WHR

Saturday 19/2/11 has been chosen as the date for the first public train service between Porthmadog and Caernarfon - the first time that members of the public will be able to buy a ticket to do the complete journey.

As you would expect, demand will be high and premium fares will apply. Half the proceeds from these trains will go towards the rebuild of coach No.2090 to enable both WHR sets to have a proper guards van and catering facilities. The WHRS has also offered money for this project which should begin to show results in early 2011.

Staff and society members are reminded that there will be a further eight days when the full route service will run and that paying customers should be given preference on the inaugural day. Both Caernarfon and Porthmadog booking offices have a long list of people who are waiting for this opportunity and they will be offered tickets first.

Third class return tickets are priced at £50.00 and First Class at £100.00 - including morning coffee & biscuits on the outward journey and a cream tea on the return. All travellers will receive a special commemorative ticket to celebrate the occasion. Trains depart from Caernarfon at 1100 and 1430 and from Porthmadog at 1045 and 1415.

Platelayers' Special

As a thank you to the track gangs who worked on the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland, a special train will run on Sunday 31/10/10. The train departs Porthmadog at 1000 running to Rhyd Ddu, returning at 1145 and arriving back at Port at 1300. Motive power is expected to be Lyd and refreshments will be available on board. Members of the Black Hand, Rest of the World and Tuesday Gangs should contact Samantha.hughes@festrail.co.uk or phone the booking office on 01766 516024 to confirm attendance and whether a partner will be accompanying them.

Spooner's will be open for breakfast before departure and anyone requiring Sunday Lunch on their return is asked to pre-book with the café by Monday 25/10/10.

 

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These two westerly and southerly views (15/10/10) show Moelwyn testing the Britannia Bridge signalling and the new Right Away Britannia Bridge starter that initiates the level crossing sequence. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beer Store demolished 13/10/10

Porthmadog Harbour station saw some of the final alterations before Friday's inspection. Spooner's Bar Beer Store was demolished on 13/10/10 to make way for an extended and widened WHR platform at that spot and cables were pulled for the white lights that confirm to drivers the crossing is clear.

 

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These southerly and easterly views (13/10/10) show the contractors demolishing the Spooner's Bar Beer Store that was in the way of the WHR platform. A new wall for a reduced size store may be built parallel to the platform edge between the corners of the two buildings. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (13/10/10) shows the final cables being pulled for the Britannia Bridge white lights. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New GC depot open crossing 13/10/10

Work was underway on 13/10/10 on a new open crossing for Gwynedd Council's depot at Llyn Bach. This is the one at the north end of the Llyn Bach car park and provides lorry access to the Council Depot. Initially it had four metal gates which were difficult to open and close. The railway inspector rightly assessed that with several vehicles an hour going into and out of the depot it would be very difficult to ensure that the gates were closed. At his suggestion the railway are converting this into an open crossing, hence the work to replicate the kerbing and to improve the drainage on the Council Depot side. A hard surface is also required for the road markings.

 

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These easterly, northerly and southerly views (13/10/10) show completion of the new open crossing that gives access to the GC depot at Llyn Bach. 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.

 

Waunfawr Station 12/10/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Some further progress on 12/10/10, under the auspices of the Tuesday Gang. The ramp to the disabled toilet (building No.1) has been installed, although some additional handrails still need to be fitted. On building No.2, the roof has been boarded and three quarters of the necessary felting nailed on.

 

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This easterly view (12/10/10) shows the felting of the roof of No.2 platform building at Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Nikon D80 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 12/10/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We were at Dinas as usual on the evening of 12/10/10 and F Set was the target for checking and oiling. Since this set has two coaches with roller bearing axlebox bogies, it is the quicker of the sets to do, so that left us with some spare time. This was usefully spent creating spare ½" BSW studs to replace axlebox cover studs that have become worn. This is actually becoming a problem - whilst the standard sizes of BSW nuts and bolts are still relatively easy to obtain, engineering studs (not threaded stud iron) have suddenly become less easy to obtain at reasonable prices. Our suppliers are now quoting them as 'special order items' at exorbitant prices in the small quantities we need.

Some weeks ago, whilst going through some donated tools, a bag of somewhat rusty mixed nuts and bolts were seen. So, digging through these last night, about a dozen ½" BSW nuts and bolts were found. Suitably wire brushed and a die nut run down the threads, the heads were then cut off and a short thread created on the remaining parallel shanks to provide some perfect replacement studs to start an 'as required' replacement programme.

If anyone out there has a source of reasonably priced standard steel, ½" BSW x 2" long engineering studs then please let me or Tony Williams at Boston Lodge know.

 

Tuesday Gang report 12/10/10

Tony Baker reports: There was much racing around de-snagging and generally tidying up for Friday's inspection. We started by dropping off stepladders and half ladders to the team at Waunfawr roof felting. By the end of day all roofing felt had been used but the roof was not quite finished. The next stop was Pont Croesor where temporary signs 'New level crossing' were removed as the 6 months is up. Also the 'Stop when lights flashing' sign was removed from Glaslyn Osprey Centre's field to be used at Britannia Bridge. A replacement will be needed for next season. The next stop was Snowdon Street where signs were raised in case anyone bumped their head. Next it was Britannia Bridge where speed limit and 'Whistle' signs were fitted at back of Shell garage. Also an S&T box was fitted to same post. Next we returned to Snowdon Street to collect the remains of LC123B dismantled by contractor working on LC124. Finally we went to Pen-y-Mount to retrieve a strange box and ducting at LC121.

 

North Wales Gang report 10/10/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: The long weekend started on the Wednesday, 610/10 when a small gang of volunteers completed lining out the interior of the toilet section and completed the disabled access platform of the shelter that is on the down side of the platform at Waunfawr. On Thursday, 7/10/10 the sections of the second shelter were delivered to the yard at Waunfawr. Friday, 8/10/10 saw a few more volunteers putting down the floor for the second shelter on the base that had been prepared previously. We also had the use of a Works Train to move the shelter sections from the yard to their platform location; that's using the railway to our advantage as it should be.
Saturday and Sunday, 9-10/10/10 saw a further increase in the number of volunteers to erect the building, which was more or less complete by the end of Sunday. The windows, door, bench seat and fitting out remain to be done. The Tuesday Gang obliged by putting on 75% of the roof felt on the Tuesday, 1210/10. A ramp to the toilet in the other shelter had also been completed as well as part of the handrail. We also installed paving slabs outside the entrance to what will be the Ops/Booking office section of the second shelter.

Whilst we were there, the Joint Landscape Group were busy giving the flowerbeds a tidy up ready for the Winter. We were grateful for their assistance in moving the 'temporary' water tank on to a DZ wagon for removal to Dinas. The tank has stood at the Caernarfon end on the down side since& the station opened in 2000 but has not been used for many years.

The WHR Society has provided a new bench seat, one of its standard WHR ones, at the Caernarfon end of Waunfawr platform; this will give intending passengers somewhere comfortable to sit and take in the view whilst waiting for a train. This is also a favourite spot for photographers getting a shot of a Garratt hauling its train coming under Waunfawr station bridge. Hopefully the new facilities will be ready for the Santa trains.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (10/10/10) show the completion of platform building No.2 at Waunfawr. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL progress 8/10/10

A second platform will be provided at Pont Croesor. Preliminary drawings have been produced and the WHRCL are working with a contractor to agree a program. Winter weather, photo charters and stock movements combine to make planning slightly tricky. The WHRCL hope to have it built during November so that it can be brought into use in early December. The shunt token at Pont Croesor will also be brought into use at the same time. In Porthmadog a contractor painting the white lines and lettering onto the road at Britannia Bridge and Snowdon street on 8/10/10 and another contractor will be busy clearing vegetation growth that has reduced sight lines and visibility at a couple of the private level crossings between Pont Croesor and Pen-y-Mount.

 

Phase 4 Appeal closed

The Phase 4 Appeal is now closed to new subscribers.

 

Traws Train?

There is more news of the Traws Train project that aims to reopen the BR line from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd Lake and provide tourist facilities there. See Cambrian News report and the Traws Train website which reports that the Trawsfynydd Lake tourist centre could be open as early as next Easter, complete with reinstated lake cruises. A new halt would be built on the site of the former nuclear flask loading siding near to the Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station, currently being decommissioned. It is unclear if the route would be extended to Trawsfynydd itself where a large yard is available or where the depot and servicing facilities would be otherwise. The proposal envisages the use of heritage diesel and steam rolling stock.

 

Team Wylfa report 5/10/10

Clive Briscoe reports: The Team were back in action again on the evening of 5/10/10. E Set checking and oiling was the target and with the newly invigorated, crack team of 4, we had the job done by 2115 and decided to have an early night for a change.

 

Tuesday gang report 5/10/10

Tony Baker reports: We split gang into 3 teams today. The first team worked at Pen-y-Mount and completely rebuilt LC120 to the new specifications of removable sections. Another team also worked between Pen-y-Mount and Portreuddyn and using an advanced gardening technique, perfected over many years, cleared the adjacent public footpath of much detritus. The third team worked at Gatws Bach. Their job was to excavate down to find a duct which runs under the track to a BT pole. Once found a draw cord was inserted so that a telephone cable can be installed from the pole to Pont Croesor Station at some point in the near future. This is to provide Pont Croesor station with a land line. Ducts were also installed at LC111 to take the cable under the crossing at this point.

 

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This northerly view (5/10/10) shows the duct at LC111. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Mallet news

Henry Noon of the Statfold Barn Railway reports: Being our largest loco we thought it would be great to visit the WHR to put it through paces and Paul Lewin, Mike Hart and John Whalley agreed! It is, and will be always be, based at the SBR and is by no means too large for our purposes. The loco is coming for a short visit to the WHR in 2011. It is currently in pieces but can be seen on the next Statfold Enthusiasts Day (by invitation only) on 26/4/10.

 

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This view (30/8/96) shows Jatibarang No.9 in action in Indonesia. The two pistons are clearly visible as it works its sugar cane traffic to the mills. Note the two sets of cylinders and the Bagasse fuel in the tender. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Rob Dickinson courtesy Trevor Heath and was taken on a Olympus 1 SLR with Kodachrome 64 film. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang news 2/10/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: Five members of ROTWG accessed the railway by way of Tryfan Junction and walked to the Aspinall's/land-slip area (Tan-yr-allt level crossing). There we dug out an accumulation of run-off from a lane down the hill and improved drainage. We then transferred to Waunfawr, by the down point indicator, for more (rather smelly) drainage work. We also did a fair bit of tree lopping. Finally we tackled a pedestrian gate at St. Helen's Road bridge in Caernarfon.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (2/10/10) show the Rest of the World Gang working at Tan-yr-allt level crossing and No.87 working hard approaching from Tryfan Junction. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Britannia Bridge lights test 30/9/10

Palmerston hauled a Victorian rake across Britannia Bridge early on 30/9/10 to test the lights. The train conveyed several VIPs. See FR website story for full details/pics for full details.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 min 31seconds of video of Palmerston crossing Britannia Bridge on 30/9/10 working a test train. This video was taken by John wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

Trustees' CTRL special 29/9/10

Mike Hart reports: The inspection train hauled by Palmerston ran Wednesday morning 29/9/10 departing Pont Croesor at soon after 0900 for FR Trustees and FR/WHRCL Directors. The stock formation used re-created the first train on WHR in the 1920s hauled by same engine. The weather chucked it down with rain until the train departed Pont Croesor but then thankfully stopped - which pleased me as I was footplating the loco. The train continued on to Boston Lodge for the party to look around the works.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 4 min 48 secs of video of Palmerston working the Trustees' CTRL inspection special from Porthmadog to Pont Croesor on 29/9/10. This video was taken by Colin Lea on a iPhone.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/9/10

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 28/9/10 our main effort was erecting signage in Porthmadog in the vicinity of the Britannia Bridge. There are seven of the so called "wigwags" here, Two either end of the bridge, Two at the exit of the road into Snowdon Wharf and one facing the Cob Records car park. Additional signs have to be attached to each pole. Signs such as "Keep Crossing Clear" and phone numbers to ring if there is a problem on the crossing. Also where public footpaths (pavements in this case) cross the line signs with silhouette of a loco have to be installed.

As well as this work another small gang were carrying on with level crossing work at Pen-y-Mount and Cynfal. These two crossings have had to be rebuilt as the spec has changed since they were built for the service to Traeth Mawr.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (16/9/10) show the new signage on Britannia Bridge. The second photo shows the loco silhouette signs on the footpath. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd at L&BR 24-6/9/10

Several YouTube videos are available at the L&BR's website showing Lyd in action during their September Gala.

 

North Wales Gang report 22-26/9/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over a somewhat longer session than the usual weekend, from Wednesday to Sunday, 22-26/9/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang continued with the installation of the first of two shelters on the platform at Waunfawr. The roof has now been completed, the bench seat installed, the toilet section is almost complete as well as its access ramp. Also the area surrounding the shelter has been tidied up following disturbance to install ducts for services. It is hoped to complete the remaining tasks on the first shelter and erect the second shelter over the long 'Station Blitz' weekend, 8-11/10/10.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (26/9/10) show the completion of platform building No.1 at Waunfawr. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Winter timetable offers CTRL taster

WHR services Autumn terminate on Friday 29/10/10 allowing the special trains for Appeal Supporters over the weekend. There are also Halloween Trains to Waunfawr on the evening of 28-9/10/10 leaving Caernarfon at 1815. Santa trains operate 3 times a day between Caernarfon and Waunfawr on 11/12, 18/19 and 22/23 December. A one train a day service (1100 from Caernarfon) operates over Xmas from 27/12/10 to 2/1/11.

From 8/1/11 a special CTRL taster service is offered SuWThO from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn. The service does not call anywhere but offers sherry/hot drink and a mince pie/cake. Trains operate at 1130 and 1345 and return about 90 mins later. In February, the service expands to SSuWThO until 17/2/10.

The Half Term week 20-27/2/10 sees a welcome return of trains throughout the WHR and a chance to see trains in the snow. There is a through Caernarfon- Porthmadog train in each direction, 1045 from Porthmadog and 1100 from Caernarfon. The trains cross at Rhyd Ddu at 1215 and 1545 and offer almost an hour break at the far terminus in a round trip journey of about 6 hours (or 3 hours if turning back at Rhyd Ddu).

In March, the Brown CTRL taster service returns for 5/6, 12/13 and 20/3/11. From 27/3/10, a two train Caernarfon-Pont Croesor service runs to the end of the month, when the new season starts.

 

Mallet to visit WHR

Paul Lewin, GM of the F&WHR, announced at the AGM that an 0-4-4-0T Jung Mallet is likely to visit the WHR next year. The loco is of similar power to K1 so could haul shorter off-season trains on its own or heavier trains in conjunction with K1 or a Funkey. The loco is currently based at the Statfold Barn Railway. The wheels have been finished to WHR/FR profiles and so the loco does not require further adjustment. The loco is believed to be Jatibarang No.9, (4878 of 1930). Click here for another view. Jatibarang is a sugar cane railway on the island of Java, Indonesia. Addition views can be found on David Longman’s old blog entry from his 2004 visit to Java included an additional picture of No.9 laid up in the yard (located about halfway down, No.7 to the rear).

 

Bypass news 22/9/10

The Bypass haul road started to take traffic from 19/9/10.

 

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This northerly view (22/9/10) shows a truck crossing the WHHR part of the haul road crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd at the L&B this weekend

Replica Lynton and Barnstaple loco Lyd will be at the Woody Bay this weekend 25-6/9/10. The loco is visiting with FR coaches Nos.14/102 to enable Lyd to haul passenger trains. Lyd with the FR train will probably alternate with the L&B's own train. FR coach No.14 was L&B No.15 so an original L&B carriage will operate on the L&B! The FR Soc. Bristol Group will be in attendance along with the FR Co. publicity stand at Woody Bay on both days. See L&B website for full details of their Autumn Gala.

 

NG15 No.134 progress 21/9/10

The wheels were re-profiled at Boston Lodge by 21/9/10. They also had their journals skimmed at the same time. The first working party following the WHR's peak summer season saw a good regular group working on the loco and good progress was made. Additional volunteers are always welcome. The group split into two this weekend with one group working on the loco's running boards and the other machining new grease points for the lubrication system. Brunswick Ironworks delivered some fabricated edging to the running boards as those on the engine were in such a poor condition that it was not worth trying to re use them. The problem encountered however, was that most of the attachment points on the engine were also badly distorted from years of use in South Africa such that quite a bit of straightening work had to be done to get it all to fit!

The second group was attending to the manufacture of some new grease blocks. Normally most of the motion would have either oil or grease lubrication, and whilst the oil lubrication is normally serviced from a central mechanical lubricator, the grease points are not and are individually greased as part of the loco's preparation each morning. This, on a wet Welsh morning, is not the most pleasant of jobs! In order ease this task and to speed up loco prep all the grease points are being brought to a central block so only one point needs to be greased.

For full details see the NG15 website.

 

Team Wylfa report 21/9/10

Team Wylfa attended Dinas again last night 21/9/10 and F Set was the target. All checked and oiled up... We were joined by our Australian part time member, David Power, who has joined us as part of his holiday for the last few years. Great to see you again and thanks for your help.

We also had a visit from a former employee of Tony Hills (Brecon Mountain Railway) from when Tony was based at Llanberis in the old Fire Queen shed and later he worked at Dinorwig Power Station. He has recently retired and was getting itchy fingers so is looking for something like No.134 to set his skills to. He was shown around and liked what he saw. Hopefully he will be a new, and highly skilled member of the No.134 Group and Team Wylfa (when the main running season is over and we can devote all our time to No.134.

Team Wylfa will not be at Dinas next week (28/9/10) due to the leader having a late break. The next working party is in two weeks time - Tuesday 5/10/10.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/9/10

Tony Baker reports: On 21/9/10 half the gang worked at LC120 which is the crossing at Pen-y-Mount where the WHHR comes in. When the WHHR ran to Traeth Mawr they built the grids here but since then the designs have been changed to allow the between rail section and the inner part of the two wing sections to be removable for tamping. So we carefully dismantled the existing grids and laid the new base before replacing the triangles. The rest of the gang were installing the crossing timbers at LC117/118. The weather was hot and sunny.

 

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This northerly view (21/9/10) shows the completed crossing at LC117. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

'Y Fforiwr Glaslyn 2' 17/9/10

Clive Briscoe reports: The Team Wylfa special, 'The Glaslyn Explorer 2' taking colleagues and friends from Wylfa & Trawsfynydd Power Stations from Caernarfon to Pont Croesor and back ran last Friday evening 17/9/10. It was not as full as last year's train nor was the weather quite as good so we didn't get the sunset across Llyn Cwellyn on the way back. At least it did stay dry though. No.87 ran beautifully, really roaring up the Nantmor Bank and then through the forest back to Rhyd Ddu -it really impressed all onboard.

Those who came had a jolly time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves - especially those lucky few who won the raffle prizes of a cab ride between the various sections. Thanks to all of my colleagues from the two power stations and friends the No.134 Fund is now better off by £123 raised by the on board raffle and there could be a very small surplus to add to it once all the ticket money is counted.

Our loco crew were volunteers - Mike Middleton & Aaron Boyce as was our Guard, Chris Boulter, and I had, in addition to myself, two of Team Wylfa assisting the paid staff buffet crew who ended up having a very long day. They came across from the Down train onto our train at Dinas having already done Caernarfon to Pont Croesor and back. Many thanks to them, also to the staff in Control, the on-call reserve loco crew and of course Clare and Sam who all made it possible. (They are the ones behind the scenes you often forget about.)

It's a lot of hard work but when it all comes good, chartering a train like this can be fun and makes money and friends for our railways who then spread the good word for our future survival.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 17/9/10

With construction work coming to a close, the toilet is being removed from the Guard's van. The Guard's van will be refurbished complete with the delicate duckets, removed some years ago.

 

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This Dinas view (17/9/10) shows the toilet removed from the Guard's van while Bob Zeepfat and Steve Broomfield revel in the fresher air. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Banbury and was taken on a Fuji FinePix S5000 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd visits Launceston 16-19/9/10

The Launceston Steam Railway has published a page with photos and YouTube links covering Lyd's visit.

 

CTRL progress 16/9/10

Andrew Thomas reports: The last wigwag heads were put in place by the contractor, Henry Williams, on Britannia Bridge this afternoon (16/9/10).

 

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These northerly and easterly views (16/9/10) show the contractors erecting wigwag heads on Britannia Bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (16/9/10) shows the completed wigwags at the Snowdon Wharf junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly and northerly views (16/9/10) show the contractors erecting wigwag heads on Britannia Bridge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass news 15/9/10

The watercourse leading to the new culvert has been completed.

 

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This westerly view (15/9/10) shows the new water course leading to the new culvert south of Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/9/10) shows the new haul road level crossing. The gates have acquired large yellow warning roundels. The WHHR siding tracks and wall to the right remain to be completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 14/9/10

Clive Briscoe reports: It was back to a team of 4 on the evening of 14/9/10 so the E Set had a thorough going over in good time allowing us to spend a little time afterwards on sorting out and cleaning more of the donated tools and cleaning up and priming a couple of small areas on No.134's frames where the 'gas axe' had been used to remove some stubborn components.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/9/10

Tony Baker reports: On 14/9/10 we completed the signage at Snowdon Street adding more signs to the wigwag posts and also putting up advance warning of new crossing notices. Next we moved to Britannia Bridge where we assisted with the foundations for the control cabinets and also pulled in 5 cables to feed 5 of the 6 wigwags at this location.

 

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This northerly view (14/9/10) shows Tony Baker with the cables near Spooners. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) 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 (14/9/10) show the completion of signage at Snowdon Street. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and westerly views (14/9/10) show construction of a base for a location cabinet and pulling cable up the wigwag pole at Snowdon Wharf entrance. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL news 13/9/10

On Monday 13/9/10 contractors started work at Britannia Bridge. They commenced breaking out concrete adjacent to the track where it heads northwards off the crossing (western side of the track), presumably the location for one of the traffic light (wigwag) posts.

 

AGM report 11/9/10

Speaking at the AGM, Mike Hart revealed the WHR project to date has cost £28 million. The ROTS to ROGS change for projects had made necessary a deadline of 30/9/10 for completion of the primary works.

Plans for a second platform at Pont Croesor and a look again at the arrangements at Porthmadog Harbour station. The second Pont Croesor platform will be needed when northbound trains stop there following opening of the CTRL. The train operated points system currently installed does not normally allow left hand running so northbound trains cannot call in the existing platform without special measures. The timing of the construction of the platform is unknown but it may be required for the taster service planned for the week commencing 20/2/11 when trains are due to call in the northbound direction.

The high cost of The Cob widening works has led to a rethink about the scope of the scheme. Paul Lewin confirmed the initial plans are to run trains out of the FR platform and use a pilot loco to drag the train out onto The Cob before they depart north. This will make the terminus operations more interesting with a station pilot available for both WHR arrivals and departures, along with the necessity of the train engine running around. One interesting fact is the fitting of the WHR junction lever to the Harbour Station ground frame. There are 2 spare levers on the frame, one for the junction and one for the FPL.

The new station plan will require funding but will cost a lot less (maybe £700,000) as the amount of Cob widening will be reduced. If fundraising is successful work could be progressed in 2012. At this stage the WHRCL is completing the platform edging so as to delineate the railway from public area - though it wont be used as a platform as it is too short.

The HMRI visit on 9/9/10 gave permission to run on the CTRL subject to a snagging list being completed. Crossing orders and signage were completed by mid September. ERTMS on NR's Cambrian Coast Line is still not active but NR has confirmed that any cost will be borne by them if an interim system is necessary for Cae Pawb Crossing. The Half Term closure may see the NR work completed. Work on the electronics for the Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge crossing electronics is being completed by Henry Williams Ltd. of Darlington. A considerable saving was made by employing volunteers to draw cables in preparation for the electronics fitters rather than have contractor's staff staying at B&Bs and doing the work.

There is lots of work still be done before the project can be considered anywhere near complete. A new rake may eventually be required costing £1million for 10 coaches if traffic grows. A new service car is needed for the WHR's second rake before any new rake is contemplated. Beddgelert Station could be lit by solar powered lighting to save electricity costs and needs some seats. The upkeep of Bontnewydd halt could be adopted locally. In the long term a new World class Caernarfon station is required and discussions continue with Gwynedd Council. It is still the intention to complete Cambrian Crossing signal box and discussions with the WHHR are planned in October on a number of issues. Waiting shelters may be required at Caernarfon and Dinas.

As regards locos, No.109 is making slow progress as is the NG15 project. No.143 should join the fleet again eventually carrying No.140's boiler making three NG16 Garratts available at some stage. K1 should be available as well for lighter trains or double headed with a Funkey. 

As regards traffic, the WHR was down slightly at the end of August while the FR was up. Caernarfon station bookings were down but Pont Croesor was up so people are beginning to start their journeys at the south end of the route. Holyhead cruise traffic is up with American tourists visiting the attractions of North Wales. An effort is to be made to attract coach parties from this source. No changes in members' travel privileges are envisaged.

 

Lyd images 11/9/10

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This northerly view (11/9/10) shows Lyd emerging from Goat Tunnel. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd naming 11/9/10

Lyd was officially named at a ceremony at Beddgelert at 1040 on the morning of 11/9/10. The naming was carried out by the families of the two project leaders, James Evans and Paul Lewin. The loco was completed at the Boston Lodge Works - the oldest operational railway workshop in the world - in Porthmadog last month after a 15 year project costing £350,000. Lyd is based on a 1925 design of the Lynton & Barnstaple loco Lew, but makes extensive use of 21st century materials and design enhancements to make it considerably more powerful than the original. Lew was the only survivor of the original L&B locomotives, being exported to Brazil after the railway closed in 1935, but its current whereabouts remain shrouded in mystery.

Lyd is now set for a mini UK tour as it visits the Launceston Steam Railway in Cornwall and the L&B in Devon before returning to the F&WHR to receive the authentic Southern Railway green livery carried by the original L&B locos. The loco will enter regular service on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways in 2011, early tests indicating that the loco should be capable of hauling ten carriage trains on the FR and five on the steeper WHR.

Along with FR single Fairlie loco Taliesin and a train of vintage carriages, Lyd travelled to the WHR the day before the naming across the CTRL from Harbour Station. Final preparations to ready the CTRL for the reopening of the complete WHR from Caernarfon to Porthmadog in early 2011 will be completed in the next few weeks as the road crossings at Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge receive their signalling equipment and traffic lights.

Taliesin returned to the Ffestiniog early on Monday morning in one of the last CTRL crossings to be made before the railway becomes fully operational.

 

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These southerly views (11/9/10) show the footplate crew removing a fencepost and wires from the track near Plas-y-nant, presumably knocked down by cows. The loco had to be reversed and the cowcatcher came in useful! The second view shows Paul Lewin happy and all is well with the Dinas-Beddgelert Sponsors Special. The loco has a covered nameplate prior to the naming ceremony. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Michael Chapman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (11/9/10) shows Lyd arriving at Beddgelert leaving the coaches clear of the station, one of several similar moves during the weekend. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Price (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 (11/9/10) shows Lyd having curtains fitted prior to naming at Beddgelert Station. 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.

 

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This easterly view (11/9/10) shows the loco being named. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (11/9/10) shows Lyd being named at Beddgelert Station with James Evans, project founder, accepting the present of a loco brush with Val and Millie Lewin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (11/9/10) shows Lyd being named at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is 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 (11/9/10) shows Lyd at Pont Croesor following its naming. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (11/9/10) shows Lyd at Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More images from 11/9/10

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This westerly view (11/9/10) shows No.138 at Waunfawr just after it was declared a failure. The train was rescued by Vale of Ffestiniog and repaired overnight. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (11/9/10) shows K1 at Pont Cae'r Gors on the Heritage rake. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matthew Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (11/9/10) shows Lyd at Beddgelert shortly after naming. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matthew Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

SuperPower 11/9/10

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These southerly and northerly views (11/9/10) show events at SuperPower 2010. The first shot shows Lyd, uncoupling in Goat Cutting for Vale of Ffestiniog to draw the mixed rake into the station. The second view shows Taliesin at Rhyd Ddu, double heading Lyd, waiting for the line to be cleared after No.138 failed at Waunfawr. 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.

 

Dining Special 10/9/10

The Aberglaslyn Pullman ran on 10/9/10, a wet evening, with Taliesin and K1. Thirty people booked the £75 tickets, which was good considering the train was not advertised in railway magazines. Forty places had been available. Some people travelled on the train in the non-dining portion. The event will be repeated in the future.

 

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This northerly view (10/9/10) shows Pont Croesor station lit up and Taliesin and K1 ready to depart on the northbound leg. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Oliver Bennett and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd transfer 10/9/10

Andrew Thomas reports: On a very wet morning, Lyd only required a small amount of help from Taliesin in T4 when it encountered wheel slip, otherwise the loco pulled Taliesin and four FR carriages up to Beddgelert at a very brisk pace. The load was roughly equivalent to six cars and the noise it makes climbing the 1 in 40 is worth the ticket price on its own.

 

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These westerly and two northerly views (10/9/10) show Lyd crossing Britannia Bridge, leading Taliesin, followed by Cae Pawb crossing and Beddgelert Station. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (10/9/10) shows Lyd arriving at Beddgelert with the stock transfer. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Price (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These Beddgelert views (10/9/10) show Lyd's nameplate that will be attached at Beddgelert Station on Saturday and the works plate which contains a hidden message! The works number chosen is the FR fleet number. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction report 9/9/10

The tramway crossing lights at Snowdon Street were erected on 9/9/10. The Heras panels (temporary fencing) alongside Snowdon Mill that were blocking the tramway have been picked up but they now seem to have fallen the other way. In the next week or so, a wooden post and rail fence will go up.

 

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These two southerly and northerly views (9/9/10) show the unloading and fitting of the control cabinet at Snowdon Street. 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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These northerly and southerly views (9/9/10) show the unloading and fitting of the wigwags at Snowdon Street. 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 (9/9/10) shows the traffic lights erected at Snowdon Street tramway crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang week

Paul Bradshaw reports: Over a week which eventually stretched out over eight days starting on the August Bank Holiday Monday a large variety of tasks was tackled. A total of 22 volunteers joined us, some for the full duration, others for a day or more. In total in those eight days they worked for almost 90 volunteer days. Our work sites ranged from Pont Croesor to Britannia Bridge. The main activity took place on the section between Britannia Bridge and Pen-y-Mount. Muscle and brain power were applied to getting the alignment, horizontal and vertical, improved over the curves behind Wilkinson’s between the end of the Britannia Bridge tramway slab and the Llyn Bach public path crossing. The track on the Harbour Station sides of the Council Depot vehicle crossing and the Snowdon Street tramway rail received similar attention. Holes were dug for trespass notices. Posts were erected for level crossing warning signs. Overhanging branches were cut back on the Llyn Bach boundary. Inspection chambers on the Caernarfon side of Snowdon Street were concreted and cables of the Cae Pawb installation clipped and tied.

On the Caernarfon side of Cae Pawb on Thursday, which happened to be a very hot day, two rail hopper loads of ballast were dropped clear of the track-circuited section so as not to upset tests which it was understood were being carried out for the ERTMS installation. Large quantities of ballast had to be moved by barrow to fill the cribs and sleeper ends nearer the Network Rail gate and the trap point. The remainder had to be distributed by shovel. We also set up the STOP boards for the bypass haul road temporary level crossing.

Along the section between Pen-y-Mount and Pont Croesor ragwort was pulled for the benefit of the Portreuddyn farmer and posts were planted for PSR signs.

At Pont Croesor we pulled in over 1125 metres of cable required for signalling when through running commences there and pulled out 155 metres of redundant cable no longer required.

The final job was constructing the cabinet bases, inspection chamber and ducting within the railway boundary for the two location cabinets serving the Snowdon Street wig-wags.

The next ROWG week will run from Saturday 16/10/10 and continue to the following Friday, 22/10/10. Please do not forget that the usual weekend arrangements continue.

 

North Wales Gang report 8/9/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Today (8/9/10) a select group from the Black Hand Gang completed the installation of ducting (for electricity/telephones) and water supplies for the two station buildings at Waunfawr.

 

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This northerly view (8/9/10) shows the interim layout, before the water pipe connections were finally 'made off' and the subsequent layer of slate waste 'covering' was applied. The northbound side shelter seems complete. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 7/9/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A brief report in more ways than one. After having a team of 7 for the last two weeks, it came as a shock to end up with just 2 of us again on the evening of 7/9/10!

However, there was work to be done and for the first time in many weeks, we were able to get our hands on the F Set for checking and oiling up. It was hard graft to get it all done by 10pm but we just managed. A minimum of 4 promised for next week when we have the E Set to check and oil up - very carefully, as it's our Wylfa & Trawsfynydd power stations special train on the Friday evening of that week and we don't want anything going wrong do we? (Not that we want ANYTHING going wrong with the carriages at any other time of course!)

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/9/10

Tony Baker reports: At Snowdon St. work concentrated on Crossing 123A, the pedestrian access to the Council Yard. Corral rails were fitted to the western side and then the triangle grids were fitted. Because the 2 gates are not exactly opposite one another a lozenge shape has emerged. Unfortunately, despite scouring Dinas for every available triangle, we did not have enough to finish the job and will have to revisit when fresh stocks are obtained. We also assisted the permanent staff pulling in cables from the control cabinets to the treadle.

 

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This northerly view (7/8/10) shows the pulling of cables. In the background, the fencing protecting the abandoned flat conversion of Snowdon Mill has collapsed over the tramway section. 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.

 

At Pont Croesor a second team continued to put up signage to facilitate through running.

 

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This northerly view (7/9/10) shows the erection of the new signage (for bi-directional running) being installed at the South end of Pont Croesor. The sign reads 'End of section. Proceed if Platform Line clear'. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A small team were erecting signs at LC123A and LC124. Type 3 signs were installed at LC123A for the footpath and the large type 1 signs at the road access to the Council Yard.

 

Lyd report 7/9/10

It seems Lyd was tested on the WHR headshunt on 7/9/10, the webcam showed the loco going towards Britannia Bridge at 0836 and returning at 0844.

 

ROTWG report 4/9/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The Rest of the World Gang resumed cable-pulling at Pont Croesor on 4/9/10. Then we re-located to Porthmadog to dig out bases for two equipment cabinets at Snowdon Street crossing. We poured a concrete base for one, and finished by installing two sign posts for a pedestrian crossing.

 

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This northerly view (4/9/10) shows the digging the bases for equipment cabinets at Snowdon Street crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (4/9/10) shows the digging the bases for equipment cabinets at Snowdon Street crossing. 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.

 

SuperPower details

The FR has revealed a few details of SuperPower next weekend on its website. Lyd will be named at Beddgelert at 1025 on Saturday 11/9/10 and the public will be allowed to take a ride later in the day. A 3 Day Rover costs £50 with privilege tickets available from £16. Timetables are available on the website. There are 7 through services, though half the trains are only available to 3 Day Rover ticket holders while the normal service is available to ordinary ticket holders. The rake used for the 3 Day Rover only trains will have no buffet service or toilet. The SuperPower timetables only show trains with passenger accommodation - they do not show light engine, ECS or freight train timings. In line with normal practice, a `Spotters Guide' - priced at £3 - is being produced for those who want detailed working timetables, train graphs, loco roster and stock formations.

 

Worm-eye view 3/9/10

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 min 46 secs of video of No.87 departing Pont Croesor on 3/9/10 from a worm's eye perspective. This video was taken by Dr. Simon Melhuish on a key fob video camera.

 

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The camera (a tiny key fob "spy" camera) was set between the crossing timbers just north of the Pont Croesor station, on some ballast. As the train passes the vibration causes the camera to shift slightly. Please note: This was done by a member of the track gang after speaking with the loco driver. Members of the public are advised not to try this. As the video shows, there's not a lot of space under that train! These beasts take a long time to stop.

 

ROTWG report 3/9/10

Volunteers from the Rest of the World Gang have been working at Pont Croesor pulling power cables for the new Ladybird signals that will allow through working.

 

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This northerly view (3/9/10) shows the gang pulling power cables through ducts at LC114B. 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.

 

ROTWG report 2/9/10

The Rest of the World Gang completed ballasting north of Cae Pawb crossing on 2/9/10.

 

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This northerly view (2/9/10) shows the ballasting of the catch point north of Cae Pawb crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Elevated views of Beddgelert area 1/9/10

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These northerly elevated views (1/9/10) show K1 and Vale of Ffestiniog leaving Beddgelert southbound, just south of Cemetery Crossing and later at Bryn-y-felin. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Rawlings and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Traeth views 1/9/10

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This easterly view (23/8/10) shows No.87 under a rainbow as the sun came out briefly at Ynysfor level crossing due to arrive at Pont Croesor at 1640. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Asquith and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (31/8/10) shows K1 and Vale of Ffestiniog arriving at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (1/9/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog on the last train of the day at Pont Croesor. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Bob Rainbow and were taken on a Canon Powershot A610 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 31/8/10

Tony Baker reports: Work continued at Pont Croesor installing signage for through running. This includes fixed distant and home signals at both ends of station and point indicator at south end. At Porthmadog another team continued at crossing LC 123A erecting corral fencing on the east side and 4 posts on the west side. At this crossing the gates were changed from being latched to being self closing. It was a glorious sunny day. Twelve volunteers were present at the 2 sites.

 

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This easterly view (31/8/10) shows the erection of fencing for the footpath crossing at the Council Depot. 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 31/8/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Another good turnout on the evening of 31/8/10- our now usual team of 4 was joined by another former Wylfa colleague - Gordon, a good friend of Bob, to see if he would like to join us. Not to be outdone, two of Rest of the World Gang - Steve Walker and Bob le Marchant also offered their services so there were 7 of us in total!

Despite the main peak service being over, the order of running the sets has NOT changed as previously thought so the F Set is still out until very late. (There were no remaining passengers for Caernarfon last night so the service terminated at Dinas at 2100 and came straight in after Vale of Ffestiniog had run around the train). That was to have been our priority so instead, No.134 benefited from the large team. Paul and Pete removed the final, stubborn nut from the last of the tender bogie spring hangers and then, with the assistance of Bob le Marchant, proceeded with cleaning them all up ready for NDT inspection. Meanwhile Bob W and Steve carried on cleaning out accumulated carbonised cylinder oil from the valve / cylinder steam ports. Just when you think the last has been cleaned out, you find another big lump partly blocking the ports...

With such a large working party, another outstanding housekeeping job was done. Gordon and myself emptied one of the tool cupboards and finally sorted and classified the mass of tools that have been donated to us over the last two years. It is now possible to SEE and SELECT the tool/s you need without having to empty half the cupboard out first in order to find them.

So, another very productive evening.

 

Construction news 31/8/10

Piling work south of the bypass haul road crossing will retain the railway while the viaduct pier next to the railway is being constructed. The pile driver left the site during the evening of 31/8/10. It is expected the piles will have been driven home to rail level or cut off at that height. Lyd, Taliesin and some heritage coaches are due to pass on Friday 10/9/10 hauling heritage coaches for SuperPower. They are due to leave Porthmadog around 8am and will stand at Beddgelert from 1000 until 1130 and are due at Dinas at 1300. The area is due to be ballasted on 2/9/10.

 

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This southerly view (31/8/10) shows piling underway adjacent to the CTRL immediately south of the haul road crossing south of Pen-y-Mount. The piling seems to intrude on the WHR kinematic envelope and may be of a temporary nature while the abutments of the bypass flyover are constructed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

LyD2 No.60 hauls passenger train 31/8/10

After a gap of several years, the WHHR's No.60 is back in passenger service.

 

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This northerly view (26/8/10) shows the WHHR's LyD2 No.60 being painted ready for passenger service. 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 easterly view (31/8/10) shows the WHHR's LyD2 No.60 arriving at Porthmadog with a passenger train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 30/8/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: A slightly longer weekend - Friday to Sunday, 27 - 29 August, saw the North Wales /Black Hand Gang in action at Waunfawr station continuing with the installation of the shelter on the platform. Over the weekend the base and floor for the first shelter was completed, the sides, internal partition and the gable ends erected as well as the roof spars installed. A trench and pipe for a water supply for this shelter, which will incorporate a disabled person's toilet, was installed. A pit was dug in the Up platform to access an electricity supply duct and to provide a route for a communications duct. The pit will become a draw pit manhole when completed. The second shelter will contain an Operating Dept office which will double up as a booking office when required (as at Rhyd Ddu).

 

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These northerly, easterly and southerly views (28/8/10) show the waste pipes being installed and the erection of Waunfawr waiting shelters. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd on test 27/8/10

On 27/8/10 Lyd was noted coupled to stock at midday at Harbour Station. It was load tested to Tan-y-Bwlch with eight coaches in the morning and nine in the afternoon. The train achieved section times and the burner is now working better but the loco still needs a few tweaks. It is hoped the loco will be passed fit to haul passenger trains in time for SuperPower on 11-12/9/10.

 

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These FR views (27/8/10) show Lyd shunting at Porthmadog station at midday in readiness for a test train. 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 back in action 24/8/10

Castell Caernarfon was noted in pw use at Hafod-y-llyn loop on 24/8/10 having been repaired following its wiring fire in early August. The ballast pile appears to have moved south to Hafod-y-llyn Isaf farm, giving shorter ballast runs for the staff completing the Pont Croesor to Porthmadog Harbour Station section.

 

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This southerly view (24/8/10) shows Castell Caernarfon in the pw loop at Hafod-y-llyn. 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 (24/8/10) shows the new ballast pile at Hafod-y-llyn Isaf farm. 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.

 

Bypass works 24/8/10

The level crossing is still not in use but the embankment is now being built up on the west side of the WHR and the Minffordd Quarry is rapidly eating its way through Y Garth hill! The final week of August leading up the Bank Holiday weekend saw Porthmadog jammed with traffic for much of the day again, possibly because traditional local holidays rather than flights seem to be increasing in popularity again. The completion of the bypass might ease these problems and make it easier for the WHR trains to cross Britannia Bridge.

 

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These easterly and westerly views (24/8/10) show progress with the bypass embankment. The second view shows sheets piling being constructed over a field culvert before the embankment to the west is started. The bypass viaduct will cross the line to the south of the haul road level crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 21-22/8/10

The ROTWG tamped the section of the CTRL adjacent to Wilkinson's through the chicane alongside Llyn Bach in readiness for the proposed through passenger working at the end of October, the Supporter's Special, (subject to HMRI approval). The volunteers used Kango hand tamping tools.

 

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These northerly views (22/8/10) show tamping of the CTRL alongside Wilkinson's store. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Normal service resumed

Your webmaster has completed his summer holidays and normal service will now be resumed with daily updates likely. Anyone who wishes to send images should be able to send larger images in groups rather than individually as the new ISP seems to be much more able to cope.

 

Dragons on the WHHR Railway 28/8/10

WHHR Press release

An unusual dragon theatre group will be performing at a WHHR railway museum in Porthmadog over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Alchemy will be bringing their exquisite, hand crafted, dragon puppets to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway as part of a fun weekend with a dragon theme. But unlike many theatre performances, these dragons will be mingling up close with passengers, showing off their graceful movements, causing plenty of laughs and even the odd spot of mischief. The event, 'Fun Whatever The Weather' runs throughout the Bank Holiday weekend. Managers at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway hope it will bring extra visitors to the attraction, and to the town of Porthmadog for the end of the summer.

 

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This view shows a Dragon puppet that will be seen at the WHHR's Bank Holiday weekend event. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy WHHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Martyn Owen, Chairman of the WHHR, said, 'The high summer season this year has been one of the most bizarre in the recent history of our charity. We started the summer with visitor numbers which were steady, but down on the same period in previous years. Then, all of a sudden, we found ourselves rushed off our feet. It really has been a summer of two halves. It’s almost as if many people put off taking their holidays until the very last minute in the hope that the weather might improve towards the end of the summer. We’re just hoping that the tourist industry of Porthmadog can keep up the busy pace for the all important Bank Holiday weekend.

Alchemy claim that their baby dragons have all been carefully hatched from eggs at a small dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Marches, and are recognisable by their enthusiastic love of sausages. Martyn Owen added, 'It might seem strange to have a dragon theme to a weekend at a steam railway, but you never know what is lurking inside the firebox of some of those engines. Other attractions over the weekend at the WHHR include a children's book signing by the popular author Alan Cliff from Rhyl, known for his series of books on Jack the Station Cat, a dragon hunt around the Engine Sheds and a family hog roast on the Saturday (27/8/10) from 1500.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/8/10

Tony Baker reports: We continued with the installation of trespass grids on the CTRL section. LC123/124 are complete and the foot crossing at the council yard LC123A has been started. Picture attached of LC124 finishing off. Meantime other teams from the Tuesday Gang were fitting out the ops room at PC station building, planting yet more posts at PC to facilitate through running, installing crossing timbers at LC117 and at the request of a local farmer pulling up ragwort from the trackside between Pont Croesor and Pen-y-Mount. A busy day indeed.

 

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This northerly view (24/8/10) shows the completion of the anti-trespass grids at Council Yard Crossing. 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 24/8/10

Clive Briscoe reports: An amazing seven people turned up for Team Wylfa's working party on Tuesday evening 24/8/10 - probably the most we've had for well over 4 years. With Bob back and my 2 new recruits, Paul and Pete, we were joined by 'Team Clark' - Pip and his 2 sons. Paul and Pete carried on removing No.134's tender bogie spring hanger brackets so they can be Non Destructive Tested and the rest of us blitzed the E Set and F Set spares (which are taken off the set for the late train). In a record 1½ hours, the carriage checks and oiling was complete so we were all able to join Paul and Pete in the Clip Shed workshop to continue work on No.134. Thanks 'Team Clark' - you appeared to have had a good evening with us and we look forward to you coming again in the not too distant future. Many hands made light work of lots of jobs and it was a very productive evening.

 

Lyd action 23/8/10

Lyd made it up to Blaenau Ffestiniog for the first time on the evening of 23/8/10 after gauging trials in Garnedd Tunnel. No major obstacles were encountered.

 

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These FR views (23/8/10) show Lyd being gauge tested in Garnedd Tunnel. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These FR views (23/8/10) show Lyd being gauge tested at Dduallt and Tan-y-grisiau. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These FR views (23/8/10) show Lyd being gauge tested at Blaenau Ffestiniog, watering and gauge testing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Prince at the Engine House 23/8/10

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This Engine House view (23/8/10) shows out of ticket Prince (the boiler is life expired), a frequent visitor WHR, at the SVR's new exhibition facility at Highley. The loco arrived on 21/7/10 and is likely to be on display for a year before the FR take it back to Boston Lodge for its 10 year overhaul. 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.

 

Webmaster's Summer holidays

There will be a break in this website's service from 23/8/10 until 28/8/10 due to your webmaster's 'busman's holiday' on the WHR etc. Please do not repeatedly hit the website looking for updates during this period as this web space and bandwidth are donated by Peter Bowyer of Maple Design who has a business to run on the same server.

 

SuperPower latest

It is hoped Lyd will haul an inaugural train for supporters and also for the general public later in the weekend. There will be mixed trains and double headers.

 

Stamp of approval 19/8/10

The UK’s newest steam loco, Lyd, posed for the cameras on 19/8/10 to help launch the Royal Mail’s latest set of special stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of the rollout of Evening Star, British Rail’s last steam locomotive. Staff from the F&WHR’s Boston Lodge Works posed with copies of the stamps in front of Lyd, now wearing its nameplates, on Thursday morning after the loco had returned from another successful load test on the FR.

 

Team Wylfa report 17/8/10

Clive Briscoe reports: With the F Set out until late, it was a No.134 night. However, as well as working on No.134, another outstanding job was tackled - the outside lighting to the Clip Shed was disconnected a long while back so that door panels could be removed to get No.134's tender chassis inside. Somehow, they had been left disconnected. With the night's drawing in rapidly, with sufficient manpower for a change, the lighting was recommissioned. This week, I have a mega party promised with 3 extra hands plus Bob back, so there is every likelihood of the E Set being checked and oiled AND some more work done on No.134.

 

Tuesday Gang report 17/8/10

Tony Baker reports: The work on the section from Pont Croesor to the former Traeth Mawr loop is finished and we are now doing the CTRL section. Last week we did the prepping at Snowdon Street and the northern side of the crossing into the Council Yard. Strangely this crossing does not have a name or number. Today (17/8/10) we installed the grids themselves. Pictures attached show work in progress at the southern side of Snowdon Street and the northern side of the Council Yard crossing.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (17/8/10) show the completion of anti-trespass grids at Snowdon Street and the Council Depot crossings. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/8/10) shows the anti-trespass grids nearing completion at the Council Depot crossing. 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.

 

Lyd latest 16/8/10

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These westerly views (16/8/10) show Lyd on test at Penrhyn and The Cob. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Matt Waldren (aged 11) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales track gang report 13-15/8/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend, including Friday 13th, the North Wales/Black Hand Gang were engaged in preparatory work for the new on platform waiting shelters at Waunfawr. The first task on Friday was to clear a way into the yard at Waunfawr. It is surprising how much vegetation can grow in less than 12 months. We then had to locate the end of a foul drain pipe under the platform. The tarmac covering was particularly tough and would have done the M1 proud.

 

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This northerly view (13/8/10) shows preparatory work for the Waunfawr waiting shelters by members of the North Wales Track Gang. 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 96dp.

 

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These northerly views (14/8/10) show work on the Waunfawr waiting shelters. The first shows concrete being broken out and the second, the support straps being concreted in. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Keene and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Saturday saw a continuation of digging out the trench for the foul drain as well as digging out holes and concreting in support straps for the shelter bases. The bases here will be similar to the temporary ticket office at Beddgelert and not on brick as at the permanently located shelters at Snowdon Ranger, Meillionen and Nantmor. Sunday, at long last saw completion of the foul drain necessary for the toilet, which will be part of the down side shelter. A start was also made on the wooden base framework for the shelters as well as a start on digging out trenches for service ducts for electricity, water and communications.

 

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These northerly views (15/8/10) show the pipes being installed and finished for the Waunfawr waiting shelters. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/8/10) shows work in progress with the base for the Waunfawr waiting shelter. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matt Waldren (aged 11) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

West Midlands Gang 7/8/10 and 14/8/10

The concrete for the Lamp Room base at Beddgelert and access path seat was poured on 7/8/10 following a special working by Castell Caernarfon to Beddgelert with a wagon of concreting materials that was stored in the siding. The shuttering was removed a week later by Dave Waldren. Meanwhile members of the WHHG painted Pont Croesor waiting shelter green.

 

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This southerly view (9/8/10) shows the casting complete on the original Lamp Room base. The sharply curved siding over the inspection pit could only be accessed by an England engine (if that!) and it might be better if a new point accessed the depot area from the point of view. The northern half of the existing siding could then be slewed near to the wall to the right to give more useable length. 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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These Beddgelert views (14/8/10) show the cast concrete bases for the Beddgelert depot Lamp Room and the seat base on the access path. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (14/8/10) shows work in progress by members of the WHHG painting the Pont Croesor waiting shelter green. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL Culvert relaid 13/8/10

The flood relief culvert between Pen-y-Mount and the WHHR's Fortmadoc coaling depot was completed in early August and the track relaid over the weekend of 7-8/8/10.

 

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This southerly view (1/8/10) shows track removed but the new culvert complete with backfilling underway. The WHHR is to the right. 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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These northerly and southerly views (13/8/10) show the trackbed reinstated and the track relaid with geotextile to prevent the ballast mixing with the sub-base. 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 easterly and westerly views (13/8/10) show the haul road complete but not yet in use. The embankments for the viaduct are under construction just south of this point. The WHHR's two sidings have been reinstated. 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.

 

Construction report 2- 13/8/10

Tamping had been completed to Pen-y-Mount by late July and the tampers were parked up just south of Pont Croesor for most of the time through to mid-August.

 

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This southerly view (2/8/10) shows the Matisa tamper at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

With no pw loco available, the ballast wagons remained in the loop at Hafod-y-llyn. Upnor Castle is still under repair at Boston Lodge while Conway Castle is Dinas pilot and only suitable for light work. Only one Funkey has been available and that is required for passenger traffic.

 

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These Dinas views (2/8/10) show Conway Castle acting as Dinas pilot with K1 being prepared for a steam test. 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.

 

The WHRCL is planning to complete the signage and lights for the Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge tramway sections in early September and these are now in store at Dinas. The ERTMS system at Cae Pawb crossing needs a little further work and there is still no resolution of the Crossing Box issue. The WHHR plan to increase the length of their Porthmadog terminus to accept full length WHR trains and also build the platform on the CTRL side of Pen-y-Mount station.

Once all the signage and control signals are installed and tested and the track top ballasted and fully tamped, the Pont Croesor to Porthmadog section will be subject to HMRI inspection and a Supporters' Special may then traverse the whole route to Harbour Station at the end of October.

 

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This northerly view (13/8/10) shows the white stop block at Pen-y-Mount Junction with padlocks from both WHR and WHHR. 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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These northerly and southerly views (1/8/10) show the area south of Pen-y-Mount Halt. The WHHR has marked a white line where they intend to put the platform after the line is tamped and ballasted. The platform is planned to be 60m long and will run from the halt building in the first view to the start of the access path on the right in the second view. 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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This northerly view (1/8/10) shows the Gasworks Siding point which may be the last section of CTRL to be laid. The detector for the tramway section can be seen just north of the point. 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 (1/8/10) shows the Llyn Bach path collapse has received some attention from Gwynedd Council. 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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These easterly and westerly views (1/8/10) show the road alterations at Cob Records access. 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 easterly and westerly views (1/8/10) show the Spooner's beer cellar which will be altered soon to allow the completion of the WHR platform/path, though trains will initially shunt out of the FR platform in 2011 until widening of The Cob and major alterations to the track plan of Harbour Station and can be afforded. 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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This easterly view (1/8/10) shows the WHR junction at Harbour Station which will be completed with proper levers and FPL. The new FR signal cabin is also in visible. 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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These Dinas views (13/8/10) show the signage for the tramway sections in Porthmadog. It is not yet certain that cyclists will be required to dismount when crossing the Britannia Bridge. 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.

 

K1 views 10/8/10

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This southerly view (10/8/10) shows K1 double heading with Vale of Ffestiniog rounding Ffridd Isaf curve on a running in turn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (10/8/10) shows K1 leaving Beddgelert, disturbing the leaves with its drain cocks. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Bernard Cruickshank and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 7-8/8/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The ROTWG reconnected the track that was broken to allow the bypass flood culvert to be built. This was done with short rails, which will later (after bypass construction has finished) be replaced with the original rails. The rails also pass through the temporary level crossing made for bypass construction traffic. The contractors will fix this section using some sort of grout around the track screws.

 

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This northerly view (7/8/10) shows the ROTWG working on Pen-y-Mount Junction, with the WHHR's Gelert running round. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (7/8/10) shows the ROTWG relaying track across the new bypass haul road level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/8/10) shows the complete flood relief culvert with the WHR embankment remade over it. 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.

 

Lyd in action 5-8/8/10

After many year's in gestation, replica L&BR loco Lyd moved under its own steam on 5/8/10. Preparations continued over a rainy morning and by midday, Dawn, a young lady Boston Lodge fitter had the honour of fitting the regulator and popping the whistle. The loco is fitted with two whistles, a high pitched replica and a lower pitched GWR type. Later, Jon Whalley, FRCo. CME, posed with the fitter responsible for much of the work, Bob Yates and the General Manager, Paul Lewin. James Evans who led the project for many years after funding the frames himself was unable to be present. The loco then shunted 4 slate wagons and later in the day hauled an ECS across The Cob, now with dome fitted.

 

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This westerly view (5/8/10) shows Lyd with the FR General Manager, engineer and fitter. The loco was being prepared for HMRI inspection on 6/8/10 and was moving around Boston Lodge under its own steam. 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 Boston Lodge view (5/8/10) shows Lyd with Boston Lodge fitter Dawn, fitting the final component, the regulator. 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 Boston Lodge view (5/8/10) shows Lyd with two whistles, the smaller replica pattern on the left has a higher (some might say irritating) pitch and the larger is a GWR standard whistle. 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.

 

Initially the loco is in black livery and lacked front cowcatcher and nameplates on the water tanks. The loco is set to appear at the WHR SuperPower event over the weekend of 11-12/9/10 before visiting the Launceston Steam Railway on 19/9/10 and also the Lynton and Barnstaple on 25-6/9/10. The loco will eventually appear in an authentic SR replica livery over the Winter after all the snagging is complete.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (21/7/10) show Lyd's front without cowcatcher, the side view of the assembled Joy's valve gear as it makes it's first move under its own power and the loco shunting 4 slate wagons at 2pm. 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.

 

Check out video of the day on the FR website.

On Sunday 8/8/10, the loco hauled a test train of 6 bogies to a point beyond Rhiw Goch with no problems. Click on the FR's YouTube link. The video with one train closely following another was made with a camera was on wagon No.63 pulled along ahead of Lyd's train by Moelwyn under an engineering possession.

 

Catering report 4/8/10

With the WHR catering department pushing out the boat for the Aberglaslyn Pullman on Friday evening 10/9/10, it is time to look at Catering department which has seen significant investment recently.

 

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These northerly views (2/8/10) show the cookhouse with catering manager Daron Lodge and the food store. 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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This easterly view (4/8/10) shows the WHR catering platform, cookhouse (left) and food store (right). 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.

 

Nantmor train length sign 3/8/10

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This southerly view (3/8/10) shows one of the several train length signs south of Nantmor Halt. These assist the driver in stopping his/her train clear of the level crossing which is not visible due to the sharp corner south of the halt. 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.

 

WHHR 30th anniversary 2/8/10

The WHHR celebrated its 30th Anniversary on 2/8/10.

 

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This easterly view (2/8/10) shows the Gelert and Gertrude carrying headboards commemorating the 30th anniversary of the first WHHR passenger train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/8/10) shows the Porthmadog bypass haul road crossing just south of Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

SuperPower 2010 volunteer appeal

Dafydd Thomas reports: This year's Superpower will be centred around the newer part of the railway, namely Beddgelert to Pont Croesor from 10-12/9/10. We need volunteers to not only put up marquees, signage, barriers, etc beforehand on 9th & 10th September but also to man the various stands, give out information and assist with running the trains. If you can help on any of these days, 9-12/9/10 and we will also need assistance to put it all away on Monday, 13/9/10 please let me know, thank you.

 

Glaslyn Pullman

The evening before SuperPower will see a one off 'Glaslyn Pullman' being run with fine dining. The price is £75 for the four course meal plus train ticket. Both Pullman cars will be used together with service car. See the WHR website.

 

Bank Holiday bus link

The open top bus will run between Pont Croesor and Porthmadog on August Bank Holiday Monday 30/8/10 but tickets will only be available from the railway's booking offices. See WHR website.

 

Team Wylfa report July-August

Clive Briscoe reports: We have been steadily plodding on, alternating between checking and oiling the E Set on one week and working on No.134 the other these last few weeks. The F Set, being on the late train, has been unavailable to us with it not returning to Dinas until 2145 or so on Tuesdays. There are two new team members, Peter and Paul (they need Mary for the set!-Ed). Peter has been with the Gardening Gang for some time but due to changing work patterns, has come across to us and Paul is a very useful fabricator/fitter. Both have taken to our jobs like ducks to water.

 

Next Wagons Roll

The next Wagons Roll workday is Sunday 29/8/10 at Dinas fixing the WHR wagon fleet.

 

Lost & Found

Your webmaster found a 1GB blue Scandisk SD Card, presumably from a digital camera, on the ground at Pont Croesor on 9/8/10 by the station building. It was handed to the Station Master.

 

Traffic report 1-13/8/10

Early August saw rainy cool weather almost every day in North Wales and, with the effects of the recession, passenger numbers appeared lighter. TWThX, the first train of the day north from Beddgelert is at 1245 and the WHR may be missing the morning day trip market here. On TWThO the Red peak timetable applies and an early/late diesel hauled train ran to pick up the holidaymakers in the Beddgelert area and return them in the late evening. It ran with a reduced length rake because of timing load issues and was almost empty until running around at Beddgelert. During the first week of August the early/late train was hauled by Castell Caernarfon whilst Vale of Ffestiniog was having radiator work completed (at one stage a tea urn was seen on top of the loco at Dinas!).

 

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This southerly view (1/8/10) shows No.87 at Pont Croesor, ready to depart north. 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 (2/8/10) shows Castell Caernarfon at Dinas in the newly extended siding. This allows a full length rake to pull clear of the points more easily. 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.

 

Vale of Ffestiniog became available in the second week of August, just in time as Castell Caernarfon suffered another wiring fire! The FR Funkey hauled the early and late trains in the second week and no diesel was available for PW work south of Pont Croesor. The mode of operation of this train in the red timetable sees the loco shunt back to Dinas light engine, leaving its rake at Caernarfon. It then reappears an hour later hauling an FR coach, NWNGR coach and bike wagon with a steam loco on the rear. The Funkey goes into the loop and the steam loco shunts the new coaches onto the rake to depart at 1200. The Funkey then runs light to Dinas after the service has departed.

K1 had a steam test on 2/8/10 following fitting of its new blast pipe but suffered a white metal problem when shunted. Rapid work by a dedicated team saw the loco enter service on 9/8/10 on the second train of the day paired with No.138, which remained inside, resulting in an interesting shunt at Pont Croesor. Lots of enthusiasts turned up to photograph the first run of K1 since the Xmas services. K1 was paired with Vale of Ffestiniog for the rest of the week, seeing a complicated shunt at Caernarfon.

 

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This southerly view (9/8/10) shows K1 with No.138 at Pont Croesor. This was the first outing for K1 since Xmas. It was the only occasion that the loco was paired with No.138 all 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.

 

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This southerly view (12/8/10) shows K1 leading the ECS additional coaches from Dinas to strengthen the 1210 departure from Caernarfon with Vale of Ffestiniog on the rear. The loco will run round to lead the rake at Caernarfon. 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.

 

The normal pattern saw No.87 on the first and last steam trains with No.138 on the middle service. No.138 was retired for the rest of the week after K1 became available on 9/8/10. Castell Caernarfon was noted light engine northbound passing Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1855 on 6/8/10 having delivered a wagon with cement materials for the West Midlands Group work at Beddgelert depot replica lamp room. No.87 ran non stop through Meillionen/Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt with about 20 passengers waiting in the pouring rain (including your webmaster!) as none of the people at the front indicated to the driver. The disgruntled passengers were not there when the train returned an hour later. Perhaps a large sign could be pinned up in the shelter reminding people to indicate to the driver they want the train to stop.

An FR website YouTube link shows WHR August services.

 

Webmaster's Summer holidays

There will be various breaks in this website's service from 23/8/10 until the end of August due to your webmaster's 'busman's holiday' on the WHR etc. This will be coupled with a change in email address from mid-August (see above). Please do not repeatedly hit the website looking for updates during this period as this web space and bandwidth are donated by Peter Bowyer of Maple Design who has a business to run on the same server.

 

WHHR News

Press release

30 YEARS OF SERVICE: SPECIAL OFFER - The WHHR celebrates 30 years of service on Monday 2nd August. Our first train ran in 1980, and consisted of a diesel locomotive and a single carriage. Thirty years later, we have three working steam locomotives on site, a superb rake of heritage carriages and an impressive new museum. We'll be celebrating the anniversary with an intensive train service and two locomotives in steam for the day. Bagnall 0-4-2T Gelert will be joined by Barclay 0-6-0T Gertrude, giving opportunities for unusual combinations of double heading and top-tail running. A commemorative first day cover has been produced, and will be carried on the train during the day before going on sale.

We're also inviting members of the Ffestiniog Railway Society and the Welsh Highland Railway Society to join us to celebrate the WHR in all its forms. Members of either society can get 50% off the price of a day rover ticket between Saturday 31/7/10 and Monday 2/8/10.

SUMMER 2010: HERITAGE WEEKENDS - The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway invites you to travel back to the 1920s on weekends in July and August. The full WHR heritage train will be in service on Saturdays and Sundays until the Bank Holiday weekend. It includes the original WHR Buffet Car, which normally resides in the museum, and which has been lovingly restored after over 40 years cut in half as a summer house. Visitors to the WHHR will have chance to take tea in this historic vehicle, as well as riding first class for no extra charge.

If you can't get to Porthmadog at weekends, then there's plenty of reason to come midweek instead. Steam trains will be operating along the highly scenic Cambrian Coast Line Monday-Friday throughout August. Holders of tickets from 'The Cambrian' can get a discount off a ride on the WHHR as well.

NARROW GAUGE ELECTRIC LOCO GOES ON DISPLAY - A rare example of a narrow gauge electric locomotive has gone on display in the WHHR museum. The Coalition is one of a pair of 220v DC overhead wire locomotives used at Llechwedd Slate Mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog from the 1930s to the 1960s. Originally converted from a steam locomotive, it was put on outdoor display at Llechwedd when it was withdrawn from service. Along with sister loco The Eclipse it has now been moved to the WHHR in Porthmadog for undercover storage while the means are found to restore both locos.

CHANGE AT THE TOP - The Welsh Highland Railway Ltd (the charity which operates the WHHR) held its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 24/7/10. At a Board meeting the next day, Martyn Owen was elected as Chairman and Christopher Boulter as Deputy Chairman.

 

Thursday Boston Lodge shots 29/7/10

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This westerly view (29/7/10) shows Lyd nearing completion at Boston Lodge with plastic covering the recently fitted tanks. The loco will have its HMRI inspection soon and will be seen moving around under its own steam. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/7/10) shows WHRCL construction loco Upnor Castle nearing completion at Boston Lodge with pink undercoat. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/7/10) shows the W&LR Brake/Composite coach replica No.6338 nearing completion at Boston Lodge, soon to join the previous two replica coaches built at Boston Lodge, Brake composite No.6466 and saloon No.4154, to complete the trio of original Pickering coaches that ran on the W&LR. The coach was loaded on a lorry on 30/7/10. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Construction update

Britannia Bridge saw attention during June. Kerb lines were altered around Tan-y-Graig, wig-wag poles were planted and cable ducts finished. The cycleway layout and carriageway surface were to be improved before the school Summer Holidays. The Spooner's lean to Beer Cellar is to be altered in September to make way for the WHR platform now that a proper beer cellar has been constructed. Controls for the AOCL equipment for Britannia Bridge (similar to that at Pont Croesor) will be fitted at the same time. If ERTMS is not commissioned in time (currently planned for September), the current arrangements with NR will continue for special trains crossing Cae Pawb planned for the Autumn to run to Harbour Station.

A continuing dispute over boundaries has stymied attempts to build the Cae Pawb crossing cabin in the northwest corner of the crossing, where it was located during the WHR period. The box is awaiting delivery in the manufacturer's yard. The north east corner of the crossing, where the control equipment is based, is being looked at but it would obviously not be a replica location.

A new crossing of the WHR just south of Pen-y-Mount has been made in concrete to take the weight of the 70 tonne dump trucks using the haul road for the Bypass works. It is similar to that crossing the FR at Bron Turnor (see below). Work on the sheet piling for the new culvert near the Bypass viaduct was delayed as the piling rig had to access over the bailey bridge across the Afon Glaslyn via the haul road from Minffordd Quarry rather than the humpback over the Cambrian Crossing.

During the tamping to Pont Croesor, the KMX failed again on 26/4/10 after working well following Plasser's visit. The slower Matisa was used with some hand tamping to complete the work before the opening. The problem is that the KMX is in metre gauge mode. Pan jacks are needed on curves to get a good alignment. Attention has now moved to the section southwards to Porthmadog. The Matisa failed near the first tubular bridge and the KMX ram failed later, providing more trouble for the PW gang. Despite this, the PW gang hopes to finish to Porthmadog by the Autumn.

 

WHHR 30 years celebration

Press release:

The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway opened on Monday 2/8/80 and has been carrying passengers ever since on its short line to Pen-y-Mount. Almost half a million people have travelled on the railway in the last three decades, while steam locomotives and vintage carriages have been carefully restored. A new museum telling the story of Porthmadog and its narrow gauge railways is also being developed on the site. Since the day it opened, the WHHR has been operated almost entirely by volunteers. Stuart Weatherby from Bethel near Caernarfon, one of the longest serving volunteers, said: 'The first train was very basic – just one diesel locomotive and a single carriage. The ticket office was an old wooden shed and the car park was just about surfaced with rough gravel. It’s amazing how much things have changed'.

The first train in 1980 was staffed entirely by women, from the driver and guard to the ticket inspector and signallers. The tradition continues with volunteers like Jane Partridge, who will be in charge of the museum on the anniversary day. She said: 'The WHHR has always been a very friendly place to work. It’s always good fun making sure that the families who visit have a good time in the engine sheds and on the miniature railway. The anniversary day also happens to be my birthday!'

Martyn Owen, Chairman (newly elected-Ed) of the WHHR, said: 'The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway is proud to be part of the community here in Porthmadog. Over the last three decades, we’ve developed a successful tourist attraction which we hope has helped bring additional visitor spending to the area. Our new museum also helps tell people the story of Porthmadog and how the town achieved world-wide recognition as a slate port and a centre for narrow gauge railways.'

The WHHR will be celebrating the day with a special intensive train service using two steam locomotives, a contrast to the very basic first train thirty years previously. A commemorative first day cover has been produced, and will be carried on the train during the day before going on sale.

 

'The Cambrian' 23/7/10

West Coast Rail's 'The Cambrian' is underway again hauling mainline steam across the WHR's Cae Pawb crossing. On 23/7/10 Class 33 No.33207 led WCR's 7 coach rake from Carnforth to Crewe. 'Black Five' No. 44871, new to the Cambrian Coast, joined at Crewe with its support coach and led chimney first for the journey to Machynlleth with the Class 33 on the rear. Trains operate M-F until 30/8/10. See WCR website for full details. Advanced booking is advised but tickets may be bought on the day if there is space. The train leaves North Wales on 31/8/10.

 

Bits and Pieces July 2010

Nantmor Halt has proved popular with both locals and walkers.

Waunfawr is to get two platform shelters, hopefully by the end of July, one to include ticket sales/operating office and the other a disabled toilet. A permanent stone built structure is a longer term project.

WHR Society subscriptions will remain constant for 2011 despite the increased mileage to Porthmadog of 25 miles that might be available from next Easter. The AGM is in Y Galeri on 11/9/10 during the SuperPower weekend.

SuperPower 2010 will be focussed on the Aberglaslyn Pass and a surprise loco is anticipated.

Ticket sales from Pont Croesor and Shearings bookings have been good, helped by being the best car park on the railway.

A new WHR guide book is available.

Traffic for the first 6 months of the year is holding its own despite the recession. Income is up 14% due to the higher fares for the longer journeys at £28. There is some evidence that visitors are waiting for the opening to Porthmadog hoped for next year rather than travelling this year on the relatively short extension to Pont Croesor.

The dry Spring weather saw No.87 limited to 8 coaches to prevent hard working starting fires. This reduced seating by 42 per train, with the lock up stock left at Dinas.

No.138's power bogies will receive attention during the coming Winter as they will need a lot of work. No.143's new boiler (off No.140) is at Boston Lodge (from Crewe) and improvements may be made. One power bogie is also receiving attention with the good one ready at Dinas. The loco may be released in FR plum livery similar to David Lloyd George.

K1's new stainless steel blast pipe may be fitted for the loco to resume duties in August. Lots of minor problems have been dealt with by the K1 Group during its 6 month absence from traffic.

Sales of hot food have been very encouraging on both the 1000 (red timetable) and the 1100 (purple timetable). Food must be ordered by Rhyd Ddu on the return journey. The full service will be extended to both sets when the second Service Car is built.

With the FR due to severed by the Bypass works this Winter, it is hoped that pre-booked coach parties can be accommodated on a outing on the WHR instead (possibly to Beddgelert? Ed).

 

WHR Society online shop

The society's shop is now online at 

www.whrsoc.org.uk/shop

 

Friday shots 23/7/10

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This easterly view (23/7/10) shows the completed haul road crossing for the Porthmadog Bypass at Bron Turnor on the FR. The temporary level crossing is built to take 70 tonne trucks on haul road to keep construction traffic off the public roads. Some 10,000 cubic metres of excavated material will go over the crossing. Excavation will take place alongside for eventual bypass underbridge beneath FR. The crossing went live on 23/7/10, controlled by bypass construction staff from adjacent cabin linked into FR signalling. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (23/7/10) shows Lyd's cab controls nearing completion. Work was also underway assembling the motion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (23/7/10) shows Upnor Castle receiving attention and painted in pink undercoat. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Webmaster's Summer holiday

There will be various breaks in this website's service from 23/7/10 until the end of August due to your webmaster's Summer holidays. The next update will be on 29/7/10. Please do not repeatedly hit the website looking for updates during this period as this web space and bandwidth are donated by Peter Bowyer of Maple Design who has a business to run on the same server.

 

Change of email address

Please note that your webmaster will be changing ISP and email address from early August following problems with the existing provider, Tesco. I hope to advise the new address on 30/7/10.

 

Race the Train 21/7/10

The evening of 21/7/10 saw the annual 'Race the Train' event getting ready to start at Dinas. This is believed to be the 13th such event. The first attracted about 60 people but this year there were getting on for 300. The mayor of Caernarfon started them off after a minute's silence in memory of Bob Anderson who had worked incredibly hard to promote Caernarfon and local businesses (including support for the WHR in the early days - before it was fashionable).

 

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These Dinas views (21/7/10) show the runners ready for the start, with the Mayor of Caernarfon officiating and No.87 pacing the runners, carrying runner's friends and family, as they run the 3 miles downhill to Caernarfon. 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.

 

Llechwedd Electric locos for WHHR 20/7/10

Press release

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This Llechwedd view (1960s) shows The Coalition working on slate duties powered by the Llechwedd trolley wire electric system. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Messenger. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Two of the most historic railway engines in Wales are to be moved to a museum in Porthmadog as a first stage to their restoration. The Eclipse and The Coalition are two of the oldest electric locomotives in Britain, and are based at Llechwedd Slate Mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog. They were converted to run on electricity in 1927 and 1930 at a time when most of Britain’s railways used steam locomotives and mains power was still a new thing in most people’s homes. The locomotives worked at the Llechwedd Slate Mines until the 1960s pulling trucks of slate around the site. When they were withdrawn from service, they were preserved on static display. But more recently, time and the weather have taken their toll. A new agreement means that the pair will now be transported to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog where they can be kept under cover until the means can be found to restore them.

Their history is even more interesting because they actually started life as steam engines, built in the 1890s, but were rebuilt as electric engines at the Mines themselves. Transport for the two locomotives from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog took place on 21/7/10, and is being paid for with a grant from the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn, Gwynedd. The two locomotives are owned by Slate Heritage International, a Registered Charity based at Llechwedd Slate Mines. The company has retained the services of Dr David Gwyn, an industrial archaeologist based in Gwynedd.

 

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These Llechwedd views (20/7/10) show The Coalition being moved from its plinth and brought down from the quarry. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright WHHR and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

David Hicken, Director of Slate Heritage International said: 'We are pleased that these two important pieces of slate mining history can now take a step towards being restored. Once the locomotives have been restored, we intend that one of them will return to Llechwedd to be put on display, with the other being on show at the WHHR in Porthmadog.'

Don Newing, Secretary of the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust said: 'These locomotives are historic in their own right because they show how the Welsh slate quarries were at the cutting edge of technology in making the switch to electric power. They also show the creative innovation which was the lifeblood of the slate industry because the Mines owners took two old steam locomotives and converted them into the new electric engines.'

James Hewett, Chairman of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway said: 'We are pleased to help play a part in preserving these locomotives for the future. The WHHR is developing a new museum in Porthmadog to show how the narrow gauge railways of the area influenced the world. The unusual history of these locomotives means The Eclipse and The Coalition have a special place in the hearts of many railway enthusiasts, and are just two examples of how Wales led the way in industrial technology.'

Restoration of the locomotives is likely to take several years, and will not begin until enough money is in place to complete the task. Bids for grant money will probably be necessary to finance the work.

 

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These Gelert Farm views 20/7/10) show The Coalition and The Eclipse having arrived at Porthmadog. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright WHHR and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 20/7/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A scratch team turned up at Dinas last night in quite heavy rain. Unfortunately, F Set - the one that was due, was still out and it was only possible to service the spare cars which were stabled outside the carriage shed - in the rain. So, after quickly servicing these, we beat a hasty retreat into the dry of the Clip Shed and continued work on 134. One of the team worked on the loco frames cleaning up/re-tapping holes, another on working out a way of clearing some heavy, carbonised oil out of the cylinder steam passages. The more we look, the more we seem to find. How it functioned when last in service is a marvel, as the 'lump' we've now found is blocking half of one of the passages, in a most inconvenient, awkward to get at place. The third member started to remove the spring hangers from one of the tender bogies ready for Non Destructive Testing and re-bushing.

I will need some help again for carriage checks / oiling next Tuesday as 2 of the regulars are still on leave. Any offers? Please let me know as soon as possible and by noon next Monday latest as I'll have to let Boston Lodge / Dinas Works know if we can't do it so they can make alternative arrangements. As usual, my details are on the Volunteer Contacts page.

 

Tuesday Gang report 20/7/10

Tony Baker reports: Despite the floods in the Pont Croesor area preventing us from access to the crossings we were working at, we did manage to get some work done. We achieved this by accessing from Pen-y-Mount and using the tamper to take our materials down the line to crossings LC116/117. We are grateful to the PW lads for helping out in this way. We were able to complete LC116 and LC117 and deliver materials to LC118 in preparation for next week.

 

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This northerly view (20/7/10) shows the Tuesday Gang working at LC116 near Portreuddyn, south of Pont Croesor, with extensive floods to the right. The tamper is visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Open Top bus service 19/7/10

The 197 bus service - using an open-top bus in good weather - between Harbour Station in Porthmadog and the RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Centre and Pont Croesor Halt resumed from 19/7/10. It will run on Mondays to Saturdays only until 31/8/10, excepting August Bank Holiday Monday. The full timetable, including S97 (Prenteg for Pont Croesor services), can be downloaded here. Times from Porthmadog are 1200, 1400 and 1630, and from Pont Croesor at 1230, 1430 and 1645. The 1430 and 1645 will, within reason, wait for late-running trains. The journey time (traffic permitting!) is ten minutes. The fares this year will be - Adult: Single £1.60-Return £2.40, Child: Single £0.80-Return £1.20.

Because of the shorter journey and lower fare this year, there is no further discount for passengers buying a bus ticket in conjunction with a rail ticket. There are no discounts for concessions - however, Concessionary Travel Passes issued to senior citizens and registered disabled (BY WELSH COUNCILS ONLY) are valid on this service. Snowdon Sherpa Day Tickets are accepted for travel on the 197 service, but Red Rovers, Tocyn Taith and the various Wales Flexi passes are NOT valid. Anyone wishing to travel with one of these should use the S97 service and alight by the old Glaslyn Arms pub just outside Prenteg (about 400 yards from Pont Croesor station).

 

North Wales deluge 19/7/10

According to some reports, it has rained in the Beddgelert area for several days and the Afon Glaslyn rose in response, flooding the car park at Pont Croesor on 19/7/10.

 

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This westerly view (19/7/10) shows the floods from the level crossing. It is surprising there is no railway sign or at least a brown steam loco sign advertising the attraction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (19/7/10) shows the floods from the station access with the farmland looking like an inland sea. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (19/7/10) shows the floods passing under Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (19/7/10) shows the danger of parking at Pont Croesor when heavy persistent rain occurs over the area. You have been warned! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Sarah Van Lottum (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

NG15 report 17-18/7/10

With the peak Summer season now upon the railway the No.134 working party on the 17-18/7/10 was the last one until September. The July weekend saw much done however, even if none too obvious. The main job concentrated on drilling and tapping the frames ready for fitting the jig that will be used to align the horn faces. All the spring and brake gear is now prepared for non destructive testing and work was started on machining the grease blocks for mounting the grease nipples.

With the wheels now at Boston Lodge for re-profiling, there is now a definite feeling that the 'constructive' phase is in full swing. That full swing however, will still be slow work as there are lots of jobs to be done and help is always needed for this. Whilst we welcomed a new face at this working party, more pairs of hands are always welcome. See the Contact page for how get in touch to find out how you can help.

Money as always is also going to be a limiting factor to progress and if you have been hovering and perhaps not quite yet got around to helping fund the Loco then please make that final effort to help us financially. It could not be easier now as it can all one done through the WHR Shop. Go to the Online Donations section and everything will only a couple of clicks away. Please help as best you can.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 17-18/7/10

Steve Broomfield reports: The North Wales Track Gang were today engaged in clearing the grass, reeds, silt, etc, which had accumulated since this section of the WHR was built, from the drainage ditches north of Pitt's Head road bridge.

 

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This southerly view (17/7/10) shows the Black Hand Gang clearing drains at Pitt's Head Cutting whilst No.138 passes with a northbound train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/7/10) shows the North Wales Gang working at Pitt's Head Cutting clearing the drainage. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/7/10) shows the North Wales Gang working at Dinas pushing a B wagon over the barrow crossing they had just constructed from the new coach service platform to the down platform for the transport of supplies from the new kitchen to trains. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/7/10) shows the North Wales Gang  making a start on extending the Carriage Shed release road and bay platform lines at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

West Midlands Gang report 17/7/10

Dave Waldren reports: On Saturday 17/7/10 the WHRS West Midland gang began the reconstruction of the Beddgelert Lamp Hut. We have purchased a replica of the hut from Buildings Bespoke of Hereford. However, before it is erected, we needed to stabilise the base, which had settled and broken up (Phase 4 construction vehicles ran over it-Ed). Mike Hodges made a superb job of the shuttering which was fabricated in his garage in Stourbridge and fitted like a glove. We will return soon for a concreting session, and the building will be erected hopefully in the Autumn; it will look excellent with the restored water tank on the old pillars - especially with an England, Russell or the Baldwin parked on the pit road! Regarding the channel and sump in the original base, we now think that this was a later addition by the farmer and may have been used for slaughtering sheep. We also dug out a base for a bench on the zigzag path - another concreting job.

 

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This Birmingham view (9/7/10) shows Mike Hodges checking the shuttering, his homework project, before delivery to Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mike Hadley and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/7/10) shows No.138 passing through Beddgelert on the first train of the day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/7/10) shows the West Midlands Gang having completed the shuttering for the lamp room base at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (17/7/10) shows the shuttering for the seat on the zigzag access path at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Briwet rebuild plans

The BBC news website has revealed plans by Gwynedd Council, Network Rail, the Snowdonia National Park Authority and the Countryside Commission for Wales to rebuild Pont Briwet, the single track traffic light controlled road/rail bridge that links Penrhyndeudraeth with Llandecwyn. The £20 million scheme will probably include an upgrade of the road links either side to full width roads and remove the 40p day ticket toll. Only part of the approach improvement from Penrhyndeudraeth was completed following the closure of Cook's Explosives and none of the approach from Llandecwyn, leaving two narrow/single track approaches to the bridge.

There is some confusion between the sources about the plans, which have yet to receive planning permission, but it seems the Grade 2 listed 1860-built wooden trestle bridge will be demolished for the on line improvement. The road plans will improve access to Porthmadog and the WHR from the Harlech area, a region with a high summer tourist population. The scheme is set to go ahead in 2012 and may involve a 12-18 month closure of the road and shorter closure of the rail route. This will involve an 8 mile round trip via Maentwrog via the narrow curvaceous A496. A possible link to the Porthmadog Bypass that terminates at Minffordd might be possible later.

NR closed the bridge for site surveys overnight in July 2009, see Gwynedd Council website. When the new bridge is open it will cater for all traffic and pedestrians, avoiding the need for heavy traffic to travel via Maentwrog. Rail services will be replaced by buses between Harlech and Porthmadog for a while during the construction period. This might also limit the Cambrian Coast Express to a shorter run and consideration might be given to adding the Aberystwyth leg again if it occurs during the July/August period. See also Daily Post version of story and the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald version.

 

Team Wylfa report 13/7/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Yet again there were just the two old codgers to keep the wheels rolling on the evening of 13/7/10 and the E Set checked and oiled up.

I've a VERY urgent need for help for the next 4 weeks as Bob, my trusty No.2, is unlikely to be able to come through problems at home. SO, I do need some commitment from a person or persons to give me a hand for the next 4 Tuesday evenings - especially Tuesday 20/7/10 (next week) and Tuesday 3/8/10. The Tuesdays in between, 27/07/10 and 10/08/10 will have to be done by the works staff as with the peak service starting, the E Set will not be back in the shed until approx 2145. To ease the load on the works staff - they are already under pressure keeping No.87 and No.138 going whilst working at bringing K1 back into service, it would be really appreciated if we can continue looking after the F Set during the peak weeks. Those evenings when the E Set is still out on the line, we can do some work on No.134 instead - that's the carrot being dangled.

Over to you, the readers. It's not a particularly difficult job - just a bit mucky working at ballast level and the ability to wield a spanner to take the axlebox covers off and to be able to pump the oil in to my command. I do the actual inspections and sign off the sheets so you've no need to worry on that score. Anyone interested please meet at 7pm at Dinas in the mess cabin by the Construction Offices BUT, please let me know if you're going to come as I need to know by next Monday morning LATEST as I will need to let Boston Lodge and Dinas Works know whether or not they will have to do the job. See the Volunteer Contacts page for my details.

 

Tuesday Gang report 13/7/10

Tony Baker reports: On 13/7/10 we continued with level crossing work south of Pont Croesor. Half of LC116 was done. Unfortunately because the Matisa tamper was sitting on the northern end of the crossing that could not be done. Also LC118 was prepped with 4 x 4 pegs ready for next week. Another team concreted in 4 posts at Beddgelert Station for use of signage to the public and another team put horse handles on the gates at LC 103/105, which are bridleways. The weather turned wet around 2 o clock.

 

Lyd latest 12/7/10

Lynton and Barnstaple replica loco Lyd was largely complete in early July (see story dated 8/7/10 and pics below). The valve gear, the last major part to go together, has been successfully assembled and the locomotive moved with it in place. Having established this, the pins that hold the motion together have been dispatched to a specialist for hardening. This will take about a week or so during which time the engine will be residing in the paint shop for painting throughout in a base black livery. The engine will run in plain black livery during trial running and commissioning. Visitors to the railway may well catch a glimpse of the engine during the initial steaming and tests ahead, hauling her first passenger train (possibly in August but the loco will remain in black for the launch and the Autumn events listed below-ed).

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/7/10) shows Lyd with the General Manager inspecting progress on the assembly of the Joy's valve gear. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The provisional launch schedule for the locomotive is that it will haul a special for the project contributors as part of the Welsh Highland Railway Super Power event on the 11-12/9/10. The following weekend the engine will be seen in the West Country for the first time at the Launceston Steam Railway. This visit reflects the support for the project from conception to completion by the Launceston Steam Railway team. Then for the 25-26/9/10 the moment that everyone has waited for when an L&B locomotive is heard climbing the 1 in 50 gradient to Woody Bay station on Exmoor at the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Gala. For full details-see FR/WHR news page.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 10-11/7/10

Phil Nock reports: Over the weekend of 10-11/7/10, 6 volunteers relaid a couple of panels of track on what should have been a gentle right-hand curve just south of UB217 (Tellytubby tunnel south), that had become somewhat distorted. We also dug out holes for pan-jacks over several panels south of here, to make Emlyn and Dafydd's' lives easier, tamping with the Matisa.

 

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This northerly view (11/7/10) shows ROTWG volunteers relaying track just south of OB217 with Cnicht on the skyline in the distance. 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.

 

Cambrian Coast Express latest

Locos Nos. 44871 or 45407 are booked to haul this summer's WCR Cambrian Coast Expresses 'The Cambrian'. The trains will run M-F from 26/7/10 to 30/8/10. Trains depart Machynlleth at 1005 and cross the WHR at 1145 and 1455. The trains are extended from Porthmadog to Pwllheli on MWFO and still do not call at Criccieth. See WCR website for full details. With ERTMS delayed until the Autumn, the provision of special signalling arrangements for the locos will be delayed until next year.

 

Welsh Pony latest 10/7/10

Paul Lewin (FR General Manager) has received a overwhelming positive message about the restoration of Welsh Pony (see story below). He will now start consulting with key stakeholders. An important element in all this is assessing the current state of Welsh Pony and working out just how much of what is left is conservable. A lot of research is needed before a start is made and lots of photographs of the engine right through its life are needed to work out which parts of the engine are actually original material i.e. anything that was part of the engine at the time of withdrawal. Some patches were put in place when it was plinthed and these are clearly NOT original material.

So Paul is calling for any photos of Welsh Pony and would be pleased to receive good quality electronic scans or hard copies. An indication of copyright release would also be useful so that images could be re-used in articles and on web sites. You can email Paul at the paul.lewin@festrail.co.uk address and photos can be posted to Harbour Station for his attention. Photos from ten years ago are as important as those of 100 years ago. Pictures from unusual angles also help considerably. Pictures of the loco on the WHR are also of great interest. (Your webmaster has released copyright for his small collection).

 

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This easterly view (20/5/01) shows Welsh Pony on its plinth at Porthmadog Harbour. The plinth and loco were removed by Easter 2002 as they were in the way of the WHR CTRL. The Porthmadog Deviation rejoins the original FR route (as used by the WHR) at this point, crossing from the roadway to the footpath in a shallow reverse curve. The railway heads for the gap between the Harbour Station buildings right and the lamp post. LC127 includes the Harbour Station access road as well as the main road and will be a signal-controlled level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright B.W.Hughes. Slide scanned at 200 dpi using Olympus ES10 and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology.

 

Upnor Castle progress 8/7/10

Upnor Castle's gearbox has been overhauled at Boston Lodge who have grappled with a very tough problem. The loco could return to service in gloss black and it could be putting in an appearance on the FR hauling passenger stock like it used to before it returns to the WHR.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (8/7/10) shows Upnor Castle without cab. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (8/7/10) show Upnor Castle's gearbox complete with a collection of other planet gearboxes. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Catering on the 1000

A kitchen menu is available on the 1000 from Caernarfon and 1220 return from Pont Croesor including a wide range of sandwiches, paninis, soups, burgers and salads. There is also a Welsh Afternoon tea with jam, scone and cream. Click here for details. No details have been received about catering on the evening trains previously provided by the Snowdonia Park on the 1705 diesel hauled, which this year runs through to Pont Croesor, getting back to Caernarfon at 2115.

 

Tryfan Junction Halt to open 2011

Tryfan Junction Halt has entered the timetables with the note 'Currently under restoration - opening in 2011'.

 

Lyd report 8/7/10

Lyd is close to completion and has appeared with black cladding sheets over the boiler insulation at Boston Lodge where the final assembly of Joy's valve gear will make this a working loco. It is hoped the loco will be ready for various events this Autumn if it passes final HMRI inspection this Summer. The original plan was to have the loco provide driver turns for the WHR Appeal donors so it is hoped it will be seen on the WHR as well as the FR.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (8/7/10) shows the water gauge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (8/7/10) show Lyd nearing completion without its side tanks. Attention is being given to the final assembly of Joy's valve gear while Paul Lewin, the General Manager, inspects progress. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (8/7/10) shows the Joy's valve linkage. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (8/7/10) show Lyd nearing completion without its connecting rods. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 6/7/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Yet again it was just the two old codgers who turned up to check and oil the F Set on the evening of 6/7/10. There were some minor remedial jobs to do as fresh supplies of axlebox cover nuts and bolts had arrived. Several axleboxes have the stud threads badly worn in the castings and the studs or bolts were in immediate danger of pulling straight out as we tightened the covers back up. The solution here is to take a standard ½" x 1½" BSW bolt, cut one flat back on the head so it forms a large flat in line with the bolt's shank. Next, the threaded hole (or remains of the thread) in the axlebox casting is bored out to clearance size with a drill or filed out with a rat tailed file - in our case last night. The bolt is then fitted through from behind and the cover can be bolted back on (almost) as normal. We did two such repairs / modifications last night. Also, with some spare nuts available, we have almost completed standardising the axlebox cover nuts. Several had full sized Whitworth nuts and others had wingnuts holding the covers on. These have now been changed to the more modern, slimmer standard ½" BSW nuts so now it only means taking a 21mm AF spanner down the sets - with the exception of one side of one bogie - we ran out of new nuts. We know where you are, so next time!

Glaslyn Explorer 2 special train

I'm also pleased to report that the evening special we've organised on 17/9/10 - Y Fforiwr Glaslyn 2 - for Wylfa and Trawsfynydd Power Stations staff, families and friends has now passed the break even point and there are only a very limited number of seats left in the saloons - unless anyone wants to risk the extra 36 seats in the semi open through the tunnels with No.87 up front.

 

Tuesday Gang report 6/7/10

Tony Baker reports: On 6/7/10 we worked as two teams as is becoming the norm these days. Team A went straight to Pont Croesor and started the first stage of CCT grid building at LC 116 (56.26) and LC 117 (56.70). This involved the concreting in of the 4 x 4 wooden pegs on which the two parts of the grid rest, the removable part to facilitate tamping and the outer wings which are permanently fixed. Next week with the concrete set the wings will be constructed but the inner removable parts will be left until tamping is complete.

 

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This northerly view (6/7/10) shows the Tuesday Gang working at LC117 near Portreuddyn, south of Pont Croesor. Cnicht and the Moelwyns are in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team B first went to Rhyd Ddu to recover the solar panel from the roof of the tamper container. This proved easier said than done as the bolts securing the panel to its frame could not be undone. The final solution was to take a hacksaw to the frame and cut it into pieces. The panels could then be recovered. The team then moved on to LC 118 (57.28) and fitted the coral rails to the posts that were planted last week.

Meanwhile one other of our volunteers was at Beddgelert station strimming the grass on the picnic area and alongside the paths.

 

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This northerly view (6/7/10) shows the Tuesday Gang working at LC118 near Portreuddyn, south of Pont Croesor. Cnicht and the Moelwyns are in the background. 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.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 3-4/7/10

David Firth reports: This weekend the BHG were back at Pont Croesor and continuing the work of lifting and hand tamping the platform line to give the correct distance from the platform edge. In addition, we also had to re-do the approach from the north point to the start of the platform as during the last two weeks we had lost the cant and alignment. Hopefully this time the adjustments we have made will last a little longer! The start of the weekend was delayed by the lack of Kangos but with the help of Chris Mace we were able to borrow three from Minffordd Yard. The weather on Sunday was too wet & windy. We had 9 volunteers on Saturday and 8 on Sunday.

 

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This southerly view (4/7/10) shows the Black Hand Gang using Duff jacks to get the right separation from the platform edge before tamping with Kango hammers to tamp the ballast under the sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Pony question

Welsh Pony often hauled trains on the WHR between 1923 and the 1930s closure. For many years the FR used it as a red painted attraction on a plinth on the alignment of the new WHR in Harbour Station car park. The loco was removed to safe storage under cover at Glan-y-pwll several years ago as it was rusting in the sea air and in the way of the extension. It recently appeared at the FR's Quirks and Curiosities Event, repainted in bright blue livery.

 

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This northerly view (1/5/10) shows Welsh Pony. The blue painted loco was plinthed for many years at Harbour Station on the alignment of the WHR, until work started on the route. It is now stored in the sheds in Minffordd Yard out of the reach of salt air corrosion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The General Manager, Paul Lewin, had originally thought that the 1867 built loco should be preserved unaltered as the surviving member of the second batch of two larger England engines on the basis that restoration would involve removing a significant amount of original material. However, he has now come around to the view that Welsh Pony might be a candidate for restoration to working order for the 150th Anniversary of FR Steam in 2013. The loco could be the star attraction. Paul Lewin invites responses to his proposal.

 

Bits & Pieces July 2010

Traffic on the WHR rose by 118% in 2009 with bookings up by 65% compared to 2008 due to the higher fares for longer journeys. If this continues through 2010, WHR income may exceed FR income! Buffet car sales were up 68% on a 65% increase in bookings showing Darron's team has been even more successful and the longer journeys are offering more opportunities to sell.

FR Super Saloon No.103 may become the prototype for a through running 'Snowdonian' rake that does not compromise on the more comfortable passenger experience afforded by the larger WHR coaches possible with the wider/taller loading gauge.

Linda is to appear in No.87's dark blue livery. The loco is currently in Boston Lodge paint shop and may be ready in time for SuperPower in September. It has only appeared once briefly on the WHR.

Lyd is also nearing completion and is being completed as an oil fired loco initially.

The wheelsets from one of No.109's bogies are being turned at Boston Lodge as assessment has revealed there is sufficient tyre thickness. The axles and crankpins are also being checked ultrasonically.

Work on No.87 has seen improvements to the ashpan and spark arrestor. A night time trip up the bank from Caernarfon to Dinas showed hardly any sparks under heavy load at line speed. This loco has also seen checking/resetting of the valve events with better performance and reduced fuel consumption resulting.

 

Tryfan Junction progress 3/7/10

A group of Welsh Highland Heritage Group volunteers were at Tryfan Junction on 3/7/10 getting sunburnt, helping, in a minor way, to spread shale at the end of the platform.

 

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This northerly view (1/5/10) shows the celebration of the opening of Tryfan Junction platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Denys Owen and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

YouTube latest

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 9 mins 31s of video of the WHR in May, including a view across Llyn Cwellyn. The quality of the YouTube clip does not represent the quality of the DVD. This video was taken by Ken Baker (Penny Steam) on a camcorder.

 

Welsh Highland Heritage Group

The WHHG has ordered a water tank for the original concrete water tower at Beddgelert. The replica tank has been constructed with rivets in the original style. The tank has been delivered and is due to be galvanised before erection. A water supply was made available for the tank during the reconstruction of the site.

The sharp curvature of the siding over the inspection pit precludes all but an England engine from using the facility. A better solution may be to place a new point closer to the tank to reduce the curvature of the siding, enabling it to be used by a wider range of locos. The existing siding could be moved slightly further north and the siding slewed closer to the wall along the west side of the site, allowing more space for stock stabling than the existing sharply curved siding affords.

The WHHG hopes to work on its Tryfan Junction restoration project with working parties on 7/8/10 and 4/9/10. Click on the WHHG website link for more news

 

Pont Croesor shelter in use 30/6/10

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These Dinas views (30/6/10) show the Pont Croesor Halt shelter complete and in use with a bench arranged against the back wall. It is intended to paint the protective corner woodwork – this latter is not original. The building is a mirror image of the shelter that used to exist at Ynysfor (now known as Gatws Bach). The arrangement was worked up from the one photo known to exist. 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.

 

Tuesday Gang report 29/6/10

Tony Baker reports: On 29/6/10 the Tuesday gang was busy at Pont Croesor and at LC118. At Pont Croesor we installed posts at each end of the loop lines to carry the stop boards necessary to enable through running. Also at the Porthmadog end a cable duct was installed under LC115 to supply current to the point indicator light and home signal. On the river bridge all cables were tidied into cable ties and secured to bridge sides. Further toward Porthmadog a second team installed eight wooden posts for the corral fencing at LC118. Access was gained from LC116 from where the rail skate ferried material to site. Because Minffordd Yard is considerably nearer than Dinas some materials were sourced from there.

 

Team Wylfa report 29/6/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Team Wylfa attended at Dinas again on the evening of 29/6/10 - only 2 of us again unfortunately. The E Set got checked and oiled. We've been spoiled these last 3 weeks as we've had our good friend Ulrich from Germany with us. He went home last weekend, many thanks for your help yet again Ulrich and Gabi- and on behalf of the other groups you've been working with on the PW too.

The first of the two SAR bogies that have been modified to have roller bearing axleboxes is now in service on the bottom end of coach No.2042. If trials are successful, over the next few years, more conversions will be done as time and money allow.

 

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These Dinas views (29/6/10) show the ex-SAR bogies now fitted with roller bearings. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Clive Briscoe and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas Loco report

K1 is noted as having been moved from the Goods Shed to the Loco Shed where tools now surround it so hopefully, it will not be long before we see it out on the line again.

 

Pont Croesor waiting shelter 29/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Contractors (from Hereford) were in action on 29/6/10, erecting the 'station shelter' at Pont Croesor Halt.

 

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This northerly view (29/6/10) shows contractors erecting the waiting shelter at Pont Croesor. This is being completed in the 'tin hut' style of the original WHR similar to the WHHR's replica at Pen-y-Mount Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (29/6/10) shows the Pont Croesor 'tin hut' waiting shelter nearing completion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Parry (FR) and was taken on a iPhone 3GS digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Three Peaks charity walk

Andy Savage reports: We did the 3 Peaks on Friday and Saturday in a train sponsored by Wrexham & Shropshire Railways. It must be the first time one of their locos has appeared at Fort William! The view from the top of Snowdon was, at 02.00 Friday, absolutely superb, with the lights from Llandudno to at least Harlech visible. Rhyd Ddu seemed a long way below us!

The Ratty (Ravenglass & Eskdale) was great, with clear skies, and the views from Scafell Pike were also brilliant. After the usual night's sleep we climbed Ben Nevis - good views most of the way, but the mist caught us near the top, although there were gaps. Our total climbing time was just over 15 hours.

The team I was in raised £11,000, the best of any team by a long way. The whole event raised £137k. My thanks to all who sponsored us - all the sponsorship goes to the Railway Children charity. If anyone still wants to chip in www.justgiving.com/rhtandco remains open.

 

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This southerly view (24/6/10) shows 87002 and a Class 67 provided by W&SR hauling the Three Peaks Express on its first leg to Bangor for Snowdon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Savage and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (24/6/10) shows the group at Ravenglass on its second leg to Dalegarth for Scafell Pike. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Andy Savage and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This view (24/6/10) shows the group at the summit of Ben Nevis. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Andy Savage and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Installing at TOTP 26/6/10

Andrew Thomas gives step by step instructions on how to install a Train Operated Trailing Point mechanism :

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows the long sleepers being installed at Pont Croesor south loop points. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers carry the heavy steel base plate into position. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers positioning the base plate. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers drilling the base plate. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows a pigeon inspecting the works in a quiet moment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows the flange on the tiebar to which the rods and connected. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (26/6/10) shows the base plate ready for the TOTP mechanism to be fitted. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows the concrete walling to support the weight of the heavy TOTP unit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers filling the void with old loco ash. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers carrying in the heavy TOTP unit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows volunteers fitting the TOTP unit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/6/10) shows the TOTP unit being screwed down to the long sleepers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/6/10) shows the TOTP unit in place before fitting the location cabinet to protect it. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tyseley Open Day 26/6/10

Britomart and Lilla ran at Tyseley Open Day over the weekend of 26-7/6/10 with FR General Manager Paul Lewin driving. Both locos have previously appeared at WHR Super Power events, though normally based on the FR.

 

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This northerly view (26/6/10) shows Lilla and Britomart running along the specially laid 2' gauge track at Tyseley. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (26/6/10) show temporary 2' gauge track laid at Tyseley with Britomart and Lilla. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang Report 26/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Today's Rest of the World Gang activity (26/6/10) was to replace the long sleepers at the South end of Pont Croesor loop, then install the mounting plate, TOTP mechanism and cabinet. A concrete block wall was constructed, to support the assembly, and the enclosure was filled. Some ballasting and tamping, using Kango hammers, then completed the task.

 

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These northerly views (26/6/10) show the fitting of the trailable point mechanism at Pont Croesor south points. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Wednesday Gang report 23/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: The TOTP (trailable points) mechanism/cabinet from the north end of Hafod-y-llyn loop was today transported to the south end of Pont Croesor loop. Installation is a planned Rest of the World Gang activity this coming weekend.

 

Tuesday Gang 22/5/10

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang spent the day on 22/5/10 disconnecting the TOTP mechanism at the north end of Hafod-y-llyn ready for it to be transported on Wednesday to the south end of Pont Croesor. All cables were disconnected and returned on a drum to Dinas and all screws holding the assembly down to the long sleepers were loosened off ready. Meanwhile another gang were ferrying materials up from Dinas to LC 115 ready for the weekend. Three trips were made, one with the very heavy point timbers and two with the even heavier concrete blocks.

 

Team Wylfa report 22/6/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A crack team of 3 hit the F Set on the evening of 22/6/10 and finished checking/oiling up in record time. With Bob back from holiday and our good friend from Germany, Ulrich with us, we quickly mobilised and split up to do the main tasks. Ulrich took on opening up the axleboxes of the spare carriages and bike wagon down the carriage shed siding outside whilst Bob and myself took on a side each of the main set inside. Then Ulrich and myself went around with the oil bowser, checking the axleboxes internally and topping up the oil whilst Bob replaced the flange lubricator grease sticks. After that, Bob and Ulrich closed up the axleboxes whilst I went around all the couplings with the oil can and had a look underneath the carriages to check that no bits were dropping off. Simple when you have a good crew who know what they are doing!

It is hard to realise that we are now half way through the running season and only another 5 Tuesdays when we can do this job - after that the peak service kicks in and the sets return to Dinas too late for us to do until September. There is much other work for us to do so we won't be idle - there are some essential maintenance jobs to attend to in the Clip Shed workshop and of course, in there, No.134 beckons... A change is as good as a rest, as they say, so we're all looking forward to some other tasks. Why not come along and see what we get up to?

 

Loco news

With No.143's and one of No.140's part overhauled power bogies now in Boston Lodge, for the first time in a long while, both working NGG16s can be safely put to bed in the loco shed again. K1 is still in the Goods Shed awaiting the return of the repaired blast pipe.

With No.143 expected back in service later in the year, No.109 following from Pete Waterman's LNWR at Crewe before long then No.134 in a couple of year's time, a question to ponder is where are we going to keep all these locos? Answers, cheques and cash in plain brown envelopes addressed to Dinas Loco Works please.

 

NG15 Group report 20/6/10

The June NG15 working party was held over the weekend of the 19-20/6/10. The working parties are now being well attended by volunteers not associated with running the trains, therefore good progress is being made with No.134 during the summer months. See report here.

The reverser cross shaft was finally removed from the frames, an aborted task from the previous month. This will allow a more permanent repair to be done to one end where there had been an 'on shed' running repair in South Africa. Another item that was troublesome to work on and that again finally submitted this weekend was the stripping down of the front bogie pivot.

 

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This Dinas view (20/6/10) shows the front brake hanger was refitted after a repair to make it fit correctly! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Another completed job is that all the bushes for the spring pillar guides have now been removed. As well as the team's activities, Brunswick Iron Works have been attending to the wastage where the rear frame stretcher fits and have been repairing the running plate supports. In all it was a good weekend's progress.

 

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These northerly views (20/6/10) show repairs to wastage and the running plate support. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andie Shaw and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tyseley tracklaying 20/6/10

Dave Waldren reports: Further to the appeal on your website for help laying track at Tyseley Loco Works for next weekend's Open Day, three of us from the WHRS West Midland Group turned up on Sunday 20/6/10 to help Paul Lewin and three guys from the West Lancs. Railway (whose track panels we were borrowing) and Dr. Peter Jarvis. We had a great time working in perfect weather and the Tyseley guys were pleasant and helpful. In fact the whole thing was a triumph of friendly cooperation between different railways - FR Co., Tyseley Loco Works, West Lancs. Light Railway and WHRS. This is how it should be! Lilla and Britomart will be arriving during the week and will be running next Saturday and Sunday, flying the flag for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Princess Elizabeth (the loco, of course...) was in light steam on an adjacent track, alongside Pitchford Hall. The Open Day should be a great event; for more information visit http://www.shakespeareexpress.com/tlw_ods/next_od.htm.

This time it was Paul Lewin who had the long drive home, not us, which made a rare and pleasant change!

 

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These northerly views (20/6/10) show temporary 2' gauge track being unloaded and laid at Tyseley in preparation for the FR's visiting locos this coming weekend. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 19-20/6/10

David Firth reports: The Black Hand Gang was involved in adjusting the levels of track in the approaches to the Pont Croesor platform and the track level in relation to the platform. This work was undertaken with the protection of P4.4 hazard and stop boards. This was necessary as the gang were using jacks to lift the track and generators and kango hammers to compact the ballast under the sleepers.

The gang started by providing a positive cant on the curve from the crossings to the Caernarfon loop point. This was followed by moving the track away from the platform edge at the Caernarfon end of the platform and lifting it to give a good clearance above platform level. The dip between the point and the platform was then reduced and a positive cant provided. As the level of the railhead had dropped in relation to the platform since opening to Pont Croesor. The gang started lifting the track further down the platform to provide a good clearance between rolling stock and the platform. This was all carried out in very warm, hot weather and the 12 volunteers were very grateful for the breaks provided by the arrival of the train services. (Ed. I well remember the welcome arrival of the FR train at Dduallt bringing supplies of free drinks when working as a Deviationist on the cutting at Site 1 in the blazing sunshine!)

 

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This northerly view (20/6/10) shows the Black Hand Gang with the track setting gauge and Duff Jacks at Pont Croesor using Kango tampers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steve Broomfield adds: The North Wales Black Hand Gang spent the weekend jacking and packing half of the platform road at Pont Croesor between trains. The reason was that the battery boxes on some carriages were catching the edge. It was very hot, gruelling, dusty and thirsty work, particularly on the Sunday. (Ed-the KMX tamper could not enter the section in traffic.)

 

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This westerly view (20/6/10) shows the 'Black Hand Gang 4 tine manpowered tamper' at Pont Croesor using Kango tampers. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Neil McMaster and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/6/10) shows the excess ballast being repositioned. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (20/6/10) shows the track straightened and tamped level through half of the platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

CTRL final works to start soon

A report in the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald advises that the CTRL will be completed by September or October. The report indicates that a few special workings will operate into Harbour Station this Autumn, including the Supporters' Special, with full passenger services commencing early (possibly Easter) in 2011. It suggests that '6 trains a day will terminate at Harbour Station with the remainder terminating at Pont Croesor'. This is probably meant to read as three trains will start from and terminate at Harbour Station.

 

Brownies visit 19/6/10

On Saturday 19/6/10 some 211 Brownies from across Anglesey and their leaders rode the Welsh Highland Railway on a special train from Waunfawr to Caernarfon before visiting the castle. This was part of the Centenary celebrations for the Girl Guides organisation, Brownies across the UK were given the task of riding on a steam train.

 

Dinas snippets 19/6/10

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These northerly views (19/6/10) show progress No.138 shunting at Dinas from the team repairing a DZ. 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.

 

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These northerly views (19/6/10) show progress No.143's bogie at Dinas off to Minffordd on a transporter and a new roller bearing fitted bogie. 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.

 

Baldwin progress

The WHHR's £160,000 appeal for funds to complete a Baldwin loco has raised some £90,000 so far. The Imperial War museum's No.794 is currently at Alan Keef's and when complete will run as No.590, the loco that ran on the WHR from 1923. The US style bar frames have been completed and work has started on a new boiler at Israel Newton's Bradford works. the next stage will be driving wheels, axles and axleboxes, along with crankpins and new tyres but work will not start until more of the estimated £250,000 needed has been raised.

 

PW stock move 18/6/10

The DZ wagons were collected from Pen-y-Mount on 18/6/10. In the afternoon they were moved back to Dinas with a train consisting of 3 Ballast Wagons, 2 DZ Wagons the SAR Brakevan and the rail bolster wagon for their annual service by the permanent staff.

 

Pont Croesor panorama 17/6/10

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This southerly view (17/6/10) shows No.87 crossing the bridge at Pont Croesor. In the background are Boston Lodge works, the NT Glaslyn viaduct and bypass works for the Porthmadog Glaslyn Viaduct. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR Co. statement 16/6/10

Relations with the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.

The management of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways is concerned that sections of correspondence between it and the WHHR have been misquoted or taken out of context in statements made by the WHHR which appear in the current issue of Steam Railway magazine.

In order to clarify the situation and to ensure that the full facts are available to our staff and volunteers, we publish in full the most recent letter to the WHHR below. We strongly believe that the two organisations have complementary offerings and our preferred course of action remains collaboration.

16th June 2010
James Hewett,
Chairman
Welsh Highland Railway Ltd
Tremadog Road
Porthmadog
Gwynedd LL49 9DY

Dear James,
I was somewhat puzzled to receive your letter of 31st May, since you had already replied to my last letter of 29th April on May 10th. In the first letter you stated that you would be consulting with your Board and with your Members about the offers made to you, initially some 20 months ago.

Between sending your first and second replies, I note that you issued a press release, and gave interviews. This was not ‘consultation’, which is gathering opinion. It initiated a campaign against the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways intent on damaging us. Moreover it was misleading in suggesting that we had denied you any access to our railway, whereas that is exactly what our offers would have given you.

So, while I continue to hope that you remain intent on consultation, I worry that the press campaign and this second letter reflects a change of policy on your part.

We have not responded publicly to date. This could be misinterpreted, and so I do want to be sure that you properly understand our position, and hope that you will explain it to your supporters.

We think that there are three broad ways in which WHHR could relate to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.

The first is cooperation. This is our preferred option, and would be a relationship in which you adopted a role that was complementary to and compatible with what we are doing. We have worked to that end, both in helping you with your museum and in co-operating in various ways of marketing narrow gauge railways. We have also offered you the opportunity to bring your heritage rolling stock to work with ours on the Welsh Highland Railway, and for you to run the occasional special train for your members. We consider that such a relationship could evolve naturally over time, and have been surprised by the lack of response from you since the proposals were outlined 20 months ago.

However, we appreciate that there will be some people to whom a greater degree of separation, even complete independence, is important. The agricultural proverb that good boundaries make good neighbours illustrates a natural aspiration in people to be able to do what they want within their own patch. If that summarises the consensus view within your supporters, then we are quite prepared to live with that, and adapt accordingly.

There is a third position. There has been evidence of it in the past, and I fear that this is what we are facing now. That position could be summarised as outright hostility from your organisation towards ours, and not just from a few people privately, but more generally and publicly.

We note that you have an AGM in July.

You state that the matter is of great importance to you – important in the context of the fifty year history of your organisation. However important it may be, it is a matter between your organisation and ours, and will only be resolved between the two organisations. Others may have a view, but they are not stakeholders. We hope that you ensure that the issue is put to your members, that you will ask your supporters to support cooperation, and that they will agree.

If however the hostility continues, either because your members are not asked to take a view, or because you decide collectively that hostility is what is wanted, then we will have to respond. It would then be impossible for us to continue cooperating as we have done to date. In such circumstances, the exhibits loaned to your museum would need to be returned forthwith, and we would reconsider all other arrangements and contractual obligations between us and you.

I do hope that you will ensure that the matters set out in this letter are widely communicated within your supporters, and that your supporters as a whole believe that cooperation is best for all of us.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you will be able to reassure me that your members will indeed be able to consider the matters set out in this letter.

Yours sincerely,
John Prideaux
Chairman,
Ffestiniog Railway
Harbour Station
Porthmadog

 

Team Wylfa report 15/6/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Another diminished Team met at Dinas on the evening of 15/6/10. Those that didn't come missed a fantastic evening - warm and very sunny. As we got out of our cars, No.87 could be heard pounding up the bank ECS from Caernarfon, sounding fantastic, and delivered the E Set into the Carriage Shed exactly on time as we walked down to the shed with our tools. After some hard graft, we managed to check and oil the set in time to stand at the Carriage Shed door and look out across Caernarfon Bay, listening to the birds singing as the sun went down and gave us another simply stunning Dinas sunset. It's on nights like this that all the hard work gives you an unexpected reward and makes it all seem worth it.

 

Pete Waterman's blog 15/6/10

There is further progress to view on Pete Waterman's blog as the wheels for his Garratt are now back at Crewe from Boston Lodge.

 

Tyseley Open Day 26-7/6/10

Paul Lewin reports: Tyseley Open Day is coming up the weekend 26-7/6/10 and Lilla & Britomart will be there to fly the flag for the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. We have a kind offer of 450' of portable track from the chaps at the West Lancs, which means we will be able to run up and down alongside the like of 'Princess Elizabeth' and some of those very nice GWR engines that Bob Meanley and his team turn out so splendidly. Now the challenge. We need a couple of strong track laying type chaps to help us out next Sunday, that is the 20/6/10, to bolt together all the track panels and help pack them so they are nice and flat. This task would best suit enthusiastic folk from the midlands who can get away with doing something like this on fathers day! Or you might see it as your Fathers' Day treat. Offers to paul.lewin@btinternet.com with contact details would be warmly welcomed.

 

Tuesday Gang report 15/6/10

Tony Baker reports: Today (15/6/10) we began work on the stretch from Pont Croesor to Porthmadog. The first job was to fight our way through the undergrowth to LC 118 (57.28). On the way we encountered the badger sett and had a fair bit of sand to clear before we could get the rail skate through. Once there we concreted in 2 posts for signage and then proceeded to LC 117 ( 56.70) and LC 116 (56.25) to concrete in 2 more posts at each. Meanwhile 3 volunteers were left down the line to clear the growth out of the trackbed ballast. More ballast is to be laid here so weeds must be removed. Obviously the annual weed killer train missed this section. At the end of the day it was beginning to look like a railway again. When we reached LC 116, we met the KMX tamper working its way south. The Matisa tamper was parked under the first of the circular bridges, meaning we had to unload the skate, carry everything past and reload it. Still we achieved our objectives by end of play.

 

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This northerly view (15/6/10) shows volunteers pushing the rail skate through the overgrown trackbed north of Pen-y-Mount. 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 (15/6/10) shows volunteers shovelling sand displaced from the badger sett alongside trackbed north of Pen-y-Mount. 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.

 

Bypass culvert progress 15/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Balfour Beatty were in action today (15/6/10), digging out the section of the WHR where the culvert is to be placed under the trackbed, near Pen-y-Mount.

 

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This southerly view (15/6/10) shows the track removed for the flood relief culvert works. An excavator has cut through the sand embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/6/10) shows the track removed for the flood relief culvert works. An excavator has cut through the sand embankment. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

PW volunteers appeal 14/6/10

Paul Bradshaw reports: There is no shortage of opportunities to join in the big heave to get the WHR open to Harbour Station by the end of September. Weekend working parties happen every weekend. The next one (19-20/6/10) is a Black Hand Gang one. Contact Dave Firth (Email: defirth@btconnect.com Phone: 01766 890367). The Tuesday Gang are out every Tuesday.

The next ROWG weekends are on 26-27/6/10 and 10-11/7/10. If you are intending to join ROWG on either of these weekends please note that the contacts for the weekends will be:

for 26-27/6/10 Tim Evans. Email address: timothy.evans2@virginmedia.com Phone: 07775 520938

for 10-11/7/10 Phil Nock. Email address: lowerbeaumontpark@yahoo.co.uk Phone: 07947 341817

For subsequent ROWG weekends, working weeks etc. contact Paul Bradshaw as usual. And don’t forget, we have a working week starting on Monday 30/8/10.

 

PW wagon maintenance 14/6/10

Vale of Ffestiniog was used on 14/6/10 as PW diesel and will perform that duty for the week. It will be based at Pont Croesor (south of service trains) and will run ballast trains in the morning on the next section towards Porthmadog as far as the lifted rails where the culvert works are underway near Pen-y-Mount. On Friday 18/6/10 it will return to Dinas with most of the PW wagons for their annual service on 20/6/10.

 

A volunteer's perspective 12/6/10

Rob Bradley reports: Wow… What a day, these are Saturday's proceedings on the track gang. It was my first visit this year and the day dawned bright and beautiful with sunshine and a light cooling breeze. I arrived at Pen-y-Mount at 9am ready for a day’s action on the mainline. I also learnt that today was an exercise in railway de-construction as we were to remove the track and ballast to allow commencement of the construction of the culvert for the bypass construction. There were 9 of us today including our leader Paul Bradshaw.

The first task was to move the DZ wagons further towards Pont Croesor to allow us to lift the two lengths of rail. Releasing the brakes and starting them, moving required some effort due to a bent brake wheel and the lack of, motive power but once moving we quickly got them out of the way. Adjacent to us, the WHHR main line was being prepared ready for action as we heard Gelert getting a team up for the day’s activities. Does anyone know where else, two steam railways are adjacent to each other in the UK?

Firing up the generator, we removed the track bolts attaching the rails to the, wooden sleepers and dragged the two lengths of track out of the way and stored, them safely further towards Cae Pawb using the tongs and rollers. By this time the first WHHR train of the day steamed past heading for Pen-y-Mount with hardly a chuff, carrying a handful of passengers.

The next task was to move the sleepers to the DZ wagon and thus the track was clear and all that was left for us to do was to remove the ballast. Creating a chain of wheel barrows and with lots of physical effort we managed to shift half of the ballast, depositing it further down the line on the adjacent track which had not been fully ballasted. We then stopped for a well-earned lunch break just after the second visit of Gelert steaming past, this time with 20-30 people on board, all looking curiously at a bunch of men shovelling like demons!

After lunch we set back to digging out the ballast and were visited by some of the WHHR gangs on the other side of the fence commenting on what a great job we were doing. I wasn’t sure whether they were being serious or they could have just been glad that they were not doing it (of course they had done the same job as the culvert had already been position under their track). Again Gelert steamed past with another handful of passengers. It does make you wonder how they survive with such low numbers. I guess that Saturday is quiet as it is a changeover day for people holidaying in the area.

By now we had removed all the ballast and all that remained was for the newly ballasted area further down the line to be tidied up and the day was done by 1500 so we all went our separate ways until next time. Before leaving we eyed the view of overgrown track leading towards Pont Croesor looking every bit liked a disused line from the early days of the narrow gauge revival with nature taking a hold on the trackbed. We’ll soon be sorting that out!

Noticing that the last service of the day from Beddgelert to Pont Croesor was at 1610, the lure of the England game was soon replaced by the thoughts of a trip to Pont Croesor and back. Having been on the Volunteers' Special back in September I was eager to see what the line was like in service. So off I went up to Beddgelert with enough time for one of those legendary ice creams before the climb up to the station ready for the train. When I got there I found it delayed by 15 minutes during which time one of the other track gang members arrived to meet his wife who was on the train and he had been lured to try it as well. The reason for the delay was, I believe sticking brakes, so I was not expecting too much when boarding the open carriage but boy was I wrong. Compared to what I had seen on the WHHR, the train was pretty full with only a couple of spare seats.

After the usual slow jaunt through the pass in beautiful sunshine we soon dropped down to Hafod-y-llyn and onto the straights of the Traeth. The turn of speed was fantastic as the driver had the chance the open up the regulator. We quickly crossed the Nanmor and Dylif bridges as the vista of Snowdon and Cnicht opened before our eyes. We took the curve at Croesor Junction in exhilarating fashion at full line speed and headed off past Gatws Bach and alongside the B4410 into the terminus with the wigwags wailing, drawing to a halt as the majority of passengers left to return to their transport. I used to think that Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert was my favourite section, but not anymore and couldn’t wait for the engine to run round and head of back to Beddgelert in the manner it has arrived. How proud I felt that I had been involved in such a fantastic project and what a great job all those who had worked on it, not least the tamper, which has produced such a smooth ride.

I was hoping to take a video of the run round Croesor Junction curve, unfortunately the batteries on my smartphone had succumbed to the lack of signal and died just as we entered the curve. Oh well, save that for another time. I enjoyed every minute of the return journey. Needless to say I missed most of the football match and what a great decision that turned out to be. If you haven’t been on the new extension yet, then don’t waste any time. Again there is only one word for it… WOW!

Thanks again everyone for making today such a success and I hope to be back again in a few weeks for another instalment. I’ve added a couple of videos to YouTube to give you an idea of today. Apologies as they are not very good!

Gelert at Pen-y-Mount

No.87 at Gatws Bach

 

Rest of the World Gang report 12/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: On Saturday 12/6/10 the Rest of the World Gang hand shunted the two DZ wagons north of the area where Porthmadog By-Pass work is required, then removed two panels of track (for the culvert works) and loaded the sleepers and baseplates onto one of the DZs. Finally, the ballast from this area was removed & utilised on the nearby track, south of the gap.

 

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This northerly view (12/6/10) shows the track removed for the flood relief culvert works. Care will need to be taken with cable for the Cae Pawb crossing strike-in treadle. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (12/6/10) shows the track removed just south of Pen-y-Mount. The public footpath to the right has been recently strimmed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (12/6/10) shows Gelert passing on a WHHR service. In the foreground, sleepers removed from the trackbed for the culvert works can be seen piled in the DZ wagon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHR will build the Pen-y-Mount platform

The WHHR has reconfirmed that it intends to build the Pen-y-Mount platform on the WHR as it owns the land. Construction awaits the completion of ballasting and tamping of that section. The platform will run south from the waiting shelter at Pen-y-Mount Junction. There is still no agreement with the WHR for trains to stop at the platform.

 

Pen-y-Mount flood relief culvert 12/6/10

Track was due to be lifted over the weekend of 12-13/6/10 to allow the Porthmadog Bypass contractors access to build the haul road level crossing and complete the piling.

 

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This northerly view (31/5/10) shows the high view from the cab of LyD2 on the WHHR as the loco approaches the recently concreted haul road crossing for the Porthmadog Bypass. Two DZ wagons are visible on the right, ready to lift the track on the WHR main line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 11/6/10

Steve Broomfield reports: Having transported wagon No.96, by road, from Minffordd Yard to Snowdon Street, the Rest of the World Gang transferred ballast from the remaining pile at Llyn Bach 'straight' to the area of the south catch point at Cae Pawb.

 

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This westerly view (11/6/10) shows the ballasted catch point south of Cae Pawb crossing. The old Porthmadog New (1923) water tower has seen reuse as a support for an electronics box. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 8/6/10

After the Half Term flurry, it was back to a low season timetable on 7/6/10 so the train sets were back at Dinas. The E Set was just being put to bed on our arrival, so we were able to make an early start on checking and oiling up. Our good friend from Germany, Ulrich, finally made it over - this time courtesy of North Sea Ferries to Hull and the M62 rather than trying to fly through a volcanic ash cloud which stopped him last month. As usual, he kept us on our toes and we completed F Set and attended to E Set's flange lubricators, finishing exactly on time at 10pm.

 

Dinas report 8/6/10

K1 is in the Goods Shed with 'Do Not Move' signs on it.

 

Wagons Roll Group plans

The next working party date for Wagons Roll is Sunday 20/6/10, at Dinas.

 

No.87 problems 9/6/10

No.87 was hauling a very fully loaded train from Pont Croesor at 1220 on 9/6/10. It stopped at Nantmor when the driver heard a knocking after crossing the level crossing. After a delay of some 10-15 mins the train proceeded to Beddgelert where engineers came from Dinas to inspect the loco. It appears that a cotter pin sheared. No. 87 should have hauled the 1440 ex-Caernarfon but was taken off at Dinas and replaced with Castell Caernarfon, which ran about 2 hours late arriving back at Caernarfon about 2030, having made up a bit of time. The loco was back in action on 10/6/10 having been repaired overnight.

 

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This southerly view (31/5/10) shows No.87 crossing the Afon Glaslyn at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Upnor Castle progress 9/6/10

Boston Lodge is working on the repair of Upnor Castle and has removed the cab to disassemble the transmission. The loco is generally credited as having built the railway, having been used since 1997 on the project.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (9/6/10) show progress with the repair of Upnor Castle. The loco is seen with its cab removed for access to the transmission. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Humphrey Davies and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 view 8/6/10

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This westerly view (8/6/10) shows No.138 approaching the former Hafod Garregog Halt on the 1210 ex-Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 8/6/10

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This northerly view (8/6/10) shows work being completed on the vehicle crossing at the former Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (8/6/10) shows work being completed on the footpath crossing at the former Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tamping to Pen-y-Mount 6/6/10

The permanent staff has started tamping from Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount and both tampers have been in action.

 

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This westerly view (6/6/10) shows both tampers working south of Pont Croesor towards Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 5-6/6/10

David Firth reports: There were 7 volunteers and the weather was fine, dry and very warm. After installation of yellow flag boards, gang worked in shifts at Ynysfor level crossing down-line to create ballast shoulders from LC45.67 to 54.40. On Sunday the same number of volunteers worked at Ynysfor again. The weather was warm and sunny to start but became overcast with a cold wind at times. Volunteers created ballast shoulders and reduced excess ballast in two foot. Some vegetation was cleared from side of line. Two volunteers went to Rhyd Ddu and tightened the south loop point switchblades. They attempted to tighten the siding point switchblades too but these nuts were solid and will require treatment of WD40 or diesel oil before they can be tightened.

 

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This northerly view (5/6/10) shows volunteers making the ballast shoulders just north of Ynysfor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Go ahead for Pont Croesor-Porthmadog Works 4/6/10

Paul Bradshaw: In the past few days the decision has been made by the FR and WHRCL to complete the works needed to obtain HMRI approval of the remaining section of the new WHR. By mid-September we need to have the section from Pont Croesor to Harbour Station brought up to the standard required for a passenger service. It is expected that with HMRI approval granted it will be possible to run occasional trains from Harbour Station over the WHR later this year and, it is hoped, a timetabled service over the winter.

For our track volunteers this means we need a lot of your help over the next 15 weeks. There is much to do. Tom's team have already started on the hugely important job of tamping this section. They need maximum support from the volunteer track gangs. The volunteer work programme has been adjusted so that we can make this all happen. The details are below.

Track fettling, improving alignments, ballasting, signage and installation of crossing timbers are just a few of the works to be completed. So no resting on our laurels. We have a busy summer ahead.

If you have not been to work with us recently, now is the time to join us. If so far you have not experienced volunteering on the WHR track, this is an excellent opportunity to find out what it is all about.

Briefly the plan is to continue the regular weekend and Tuesday operations, supplementing them with extended weekends (Friday to Monday) and an additional working week. And if you cannot make one of our normal volunteer dates Tom is always glad to have additional help for the Permanent-Way team.

Weekend dates for the next few months are:

September 18-19/9/10* 25-26/9/10  

Thereafter the same fortnightly pattern will continue. Red is North Wales Track gang and black is the Rest of the World Gang.

# Working week

Following on from the BHG weekend, 28-29/8/10 we will continue with a working week through to the following ROWG weekend , 4-5/9/10.

*Long weekends

The weekends marked * will be run as long weekend starting on the Friday previous and running through to the Monday following, i.e. from Friday 11/6/10 to Monday 14/6/10 and Friday 17/9/10 to Monday 20/9/10.

Tuesday Gang work parties continue to operate pretty well every Tuesday. In December they will be working on Tuesdays 7/12/10, 14/12/10 and 21/12/10 but not 28/12/10. Normal operations start again on 4/1/11. Contact Tony Baker for details.

The P-Way Track Gang can often do with help on week days. If you would like to join them contact Tom (Alun Tomlinson).

See Contacts page for all organisers.

After September

The usual fortnightly pattern of weekend working parties will continue through the Autumn until the ROWG weekend , 11-12/12/10. Tuesday Gang work parties will continue to operate pretty well every Tuesday.

We also expect to run a working week starting with the ROWG weekend of 16-17/10/10 running through to Friday 22/10/10 and a long weekend from 12-15/11/10. These dates are subject to confirmation shortly.

Remember that without your help we will not achieve the target date.

 

First Porthmadog train October?

Mike Hart reports: Paul Bradshaw is looking to organise volunteers to get the track between Pont Croesor & Harbour Station Junction up to scratch this Autumn (see below). On top of that we are preparing for the installation of the equipment for the two level crossings in Porthmadog (Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge) this Autumn. There is much more of course to do at Harbour Station before that is ready for regular WHR services but, if all goes to plan, we hope the October Donors' train will be the first Caernarfon-Harbour Station working.

Trevor Heath adds: There is a particular reason for getting new works completed by the end of September, which applies not only to the Welsh Highland, but to all heritage railways in Britain. From October 1 the new ROGS regulations (or The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006, to give its official long winded government title), come in to full effect. For the last four years we have been in a transition period, when the old regulations could still be used. It was in part due to intensive lobbying by the Heritage Railways Association that the transition period was extended to four years. However, the deadline is now approaching and anyone not finishing the approval process for major new works by the end of September will have to start all over again.

 

Volunteer appeal

David Firth reports: To all those intending to work with the North Wales Track Gang/Black Hand Gang this weekend - 5-6/6/10. Please go to Dinas for 8.00 a.m. on both days. We will be doing some work at Dinas, but also carrying out work on the running line so orange hi-viz essential. Hope to see you there. defirth@btconnect.com

 

Bits & Pieces

WHR passenger numbers (excluding rovers and special events) nearly doubled in 2009 to 72049 and traffic revenue topped £1million. The new kitchen at Dinas will help provide the trolley team with a wider menu. Trolley revenue contributed well over £100,000 thanks to Daron and his team.

New toilets are in place at Caernarfon with extended decking.

Following consultations with HMRI, Hendy Crossing has changed from 'Stop and Proceed' to an 'Open Approach Crossing'. This saves time on the longer journey to Pont Croesor and also helps the difficult restart for southbound trains with the carriages hanging on the steep Coed Helen Bank. Change to 'Staff and Metal ticket' operation this year has also saved time at section boundaries as paper tickets no longer need to be written.

Beddgelert and Pont Croesor stations will have Casio ticket issuing machines to help speed and record sales. A land line has been provided at Meillionen (Beddgelert Forest Campsite) Halt for operational use in case of difficulties as mobile signals are very poor in this area.

Caernarfon station now has a Staff and Ticket token so that a train can shunt there. Previously loco changes took place on the approaches to Dinas.

 

Bypass works

On 1/6/10 some SAR wagons were parked on the WHR main line between Pen-y-Mount to Cae Pawb section near the future flood relief culvert.

Mike Hart adds: We expect the Porthmadog Bypass contractor to start the next phase of the culvert which is under the WHR mainline with associated temporary crossing next week. We have put two wagons there to be loaded with the ballast to be recovered from under the two or three track panels that will be lifted to enable the works. It is too good to get bulldozed into a roadway!

 

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This northerly view (30/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon on an evening pw run at Waunfawr. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren (14) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (30/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon on an evening pw run at Castell Cidwm. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matt Waldren (almost 11!) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 1/6/10

Peter Roughley reports:

 

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This easterly view (1/6/10) shows the completion of LC105 at the former Hafod Garregog Halt, situated just beyond the level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 1/6/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A small team attended again on the evening of 1/6/10. Unfortunately for us, it was a red service day and the E Set was still out on the late service train until its return at 2145 so we were unable to check and oil it up. The permanent staff will have to cover this rake later this week. There were several carriages and the bike wagon on the F Set that had not been seen to last week so these were done. With spare time on our hands, we attended to some plastic kegs that we use to soak wool in prior to repacking axleboxes. These had been exhausted and required cleaning out and refilling with fresh oil. Wool bundles that we had made up some time ago were placed in soak ready to refill several axleboxes that require cleaning out and repacking shortly. The wool bundles usually require a minimum of one week in soak before they are ready to use in an axlebox.

 

LyD No.2 view 31/5/10

The WHHR has returned its massive Polish diesel LyD No.2 to service. The loco may not be allowed on the WHR main line as its long wheelbase is though likely to 'straighten' some of the sharper curves!

 

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This easterly 'worm's eye' view (31/5/10) shows LyD No.2 standing at the WHHR terminus at Tremadog Road. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 view 31/5/10

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This southerly view (31/5/10) shows No.138 on the return working threading the rock ledges between T2 and T4. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More ERTMS tests

ERTMS test Class 37s Nos. 97302-4 were stabled at Coleham Shrewsbury at 12.00 on 2/6/10 and are diagrammed to work along Cambrian next week from 7/6/10.

 

Pont Croesor 30/5/10

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This easterly view (30/5/10) shows No.138 crossing the Afon Glaslyn at Pont Croesor on the return working at 1445. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Image download issues

A significant drop in broadband speed at the local telephone exchange over the last few months has left the average speed below the advertised minimum acceptable service of 400 kilobytes per second and this is causing problems for image transfers. Until the ISP and BT sort these problems out please limit any images to 1 Megabyte. Images are reduced for website use and sizes as low as 100 kilobytes are often used. The email inbox can only handle 50Megabytes in total anyway. I have had delete some recent images of 8 Megabytes each that blocked the inbox at the ISP.

 

Three Peaks Charity walk 2010

Andy Savage is again raising money for The Railway Children charity by doing the Three Peaks event on 24-26/6/10. To donate, visit the charity website. W&SR is helping out by allowing its blue and grey first class rake to be used throughout with Class 67 haulage from Crewe to Holyhead, stabling overnight there after the group ascends Snowdon. Setting off at 0600 the next day, the train then runs to Ravenglass for Scafell Pike, departing again at 2000 for an overnight trip to Fort William to allow the fund raisers a climb of Ben Nevis. The train will be hauled by Class 86/87 from London to Crewe and return.

 

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This northerly view (3/5/08) shows 67012 on a W&SR service at Wrexham. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Bypass news 30/5/10

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This southerly view (22/5/10) shows the Porthmadog Bypass sign up and the construction base complete between Tremadog and Porthmadog. The WHR lies behind the sand bund in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (23/5/10) shows preparations for a haul road crossing across the WHHR's main line. Sleepers have been removed prior to a temporary concrete crossing being installed. The hut on the left is the crossing keeper's cabin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (30/5/10) shows preparations for a haul road crossing across the WHHR's main line. The temporary concrete crossing has been cast but the approaches have yet to be completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang Report 30/5/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The Rest of the World Gang with 5 volunteers spent the day shovelling ballast. The Matisa tamper is going to tamp this section, which means the rails will need to be jacked. So we were digging pockets every 5 sleepers to take the jacks. Hot work on a sunny day!

 

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This northerly view (30/5/10) shows volunteers placing pot jacks at OB217 at the site of the former Traeth Mawr Halt with OB216 in the background. 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.

 

Four engines available 30/5/10

Following overheating problems last week, Vale of Ffestiniog had two days of running without the problems but then required the side panels open again on 30/6/10. Meanwhile Castell Caernarfon continues to run reliably, so four locos are available over the Bank Holiday period.

 

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This northerly view (30/5/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog southbound passing No.87 at Rhyd Ddu. The loco is again operating with side panels open to allow additional cooling. 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.

 

'Prisoner' railtour 29/5/10

Spitfire Railtours are organising a Cambrian Coast Railtour on 29/5/10 from Preston to Pwllheli. DRS 37s, Nos.37069 and 37219, were attached at Crewe as the ERTMS Class 97s (97302 97303 97304 were stabled at Coleham on the day) were not available due to continued ERTMS testing. The tour crossed the WHR at 1345 and 1630.

 

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This southerly view (30/5/10) shows 37096 leading the double headed DRS Compass liveried special hauling the Spitfire railtour northbound at Minffordd (Low Level). Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Matt Waldren (almost 11!) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 runs alone 29/5/10

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These southerly and northerly views (29/5/10) show the first single headed outing for No.138 following its 10 year overhaul. The loco is seen at Bryn-y-felin and later at Rhyd Ddu, passing No.87. The two different styles of chimney can be compared. While No.87 has the lipped chimney, No.138`s is more `stove pipe` as its the utilitarian South African casting that is not like the Beyer Peacock product from Gorton, Manchester. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dan Kirkman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138's first run 28/5/10

No.138 was attached to the front of the 1000 from Caernarfon. The loco was also on the front of the return working from Pont Croesor, having run around its train. The loco will be out on its own on the 1210 every day from 29/5/10 for the week ahead.

 

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This northerly view (28/5/10) shows No.138 double heading at Ynysfor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Brian Meldon and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (28/5/10) show the first public outing for No.138. The loco is seen running around at Pont Croesor and on the front again ready to depart. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (28/5/10) show the No.138 leading No.87 across LC114 and the Afon Glaslyn bridge. The loco is seen running around at Pont Croesor and on the front again ready to depart. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas chef base 27/5/10

It is hoped to improve catering for the longer run by having a new Chef based at Dinas. Hot snacks may start from 30/5/10.

 

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This northerly view (27/5/10) shows K1 in the bay platform alongside the new catering facilities at Dinas. The loco is still awaiting its replacement blast pipe. 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.

 

No.87 at Ynysfor 27/5/10

This northerly view (27/5/10) shows No.87 at Ynysfor level crossing with Cnicht towering behind the train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Brian Meldon and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR manager responds to WHHR 27/5/10

The Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald has covered the dispute between the WHR and WHHR with Paul Lewin's response to the WHHR in a report dated 27/5/10.

 

Pont Croesor buildings 26-27/5/10

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This easterly view (26/5/10) shows the craning in of the ticket office at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Wooden and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/5/10) shows the toilet blocks and ticket office at Pont Croesor. The shunt limit south of the level crossing is also visible. 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.

 

Y Fforiwr Glaslyn 2 / Glaslyn Explorer 2

Clive Briscoe reports: Following on from last year's successful charter, your scribe has been asked by many of his workmates if he was planning another. So, bowing to the avalanche of requests, I'm pleased to announce that there is another train for Wylfa and Trawsfynydd Power Station staff, families and friends on Friday afternoon, 17/9/10. As usual, I'm hoping for an all volunteer train crew and have already recruited our regular driver. Some of Team Wylfa will act as on-train hosts and story tellers.

 

Team Wylfa report 26/5/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A small team of 2 was at Dinas on the evening of 26/5/10 and performed our usual running season duties - checking and oiling up the carriages. E Set last night. We should be able to do this for a few more weeks - until mid July, when the peak season timetable kicks in. The sets will then not get back to Dinas until late evening so the company will be putting on a paid nightshift to cover the peak through to the end of August. From September onwards, we will be able to pick up again.

It is not going to be easy to cover the next 2 weeks as some of the team are going to be unavailable again so I could do with some help. No experience - beyond knowledge of how to use a spanner and pump oil to my direction and be fit enough to bend up and down is all that's needed. Any offers will be GLADLY accepted by myself and the company. Please let me know beforehand, see Contacts page for details. IF we get more hands than are required for carriage work, there is plenty to do on NG15 No.134, which is an incentive to come along!

 

No.138 readied for service 26/5/10

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This southerly view (26/5/10) shows the newly assembled No.138 in steam at Dinas loco shed, possible prior to a test run. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.9 awaits wheels 26/5/10

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This easterly view (26/5/10) shows the new Baguley diesel No.9 in the Dock Siding at Dinas, awaiting the return of its wheels from re-gauging. In the background are the two former BSC Shotton stockyard locos. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor and Nantmor Opening 26/5/10

Vale of Ffestiniog ran an hour ahead of the Opening Special to ensure the line was clear.

 

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This westerly view (26/5/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog arriving at Pont Croesor light engine on a sweeper run. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 7 mins 58 secs of video of the Official Opening of Pont Croesor on 26/5/10. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

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This northerly view (26/5/10) shows No.87 arriving at Pont Croesor on the Opening Special. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (26/5/10) shows the naming of Pont Croesor Halt with RSPB representatives in attendance alongside Paul Lewin. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The train then proceeded to Nantmor Halt where a second opening ceremony was performed and a plaque to Dr. Ben Fisher unveiled whose sad death last year led to the closure of the Official WHR website. A letter was read out from relatives of Dr. Fisher.

 

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These easterly, northerly and westerly views (26/5/10) show the Opening Special at the Afon Nanmor bridge, alongside the B4410 and at the Afon Dylif bridge respectively. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/5/10) shows No.87 arriving at Nantmor Halt with a red ribbon across the entrance to the waiting shelter. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/5/10) shows the opening ceremony at Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (26/5/10) shows No.87 ready to depart Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (26/5/10) shows the plaque to Dr. Ben Fisher unveiled at the opening of Nantmor Halt during the opening ceremony. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (26/5/10) shows No.87 departing Nantmor Halt, heading north after the opening ceremony. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (26/5/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog stabled in Beddgelert siding as No.87 returns north with the opening special. The loco had been used as a light engine movement before the special in case of trouble and was then standby loco. The special travelled 'wrong line' through Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Andy Savage reports: As well as opening the Pont Croesor extension and Nantmor Halt, we also unveiled the National Railway Heritage Award plaques for Best Heritage Railway and best entry into the NRHA, both for 2009. I was there as both a director of FR Heritage Ltd, and a Trustee of the NRHA.

 

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This northerly view (26/5/10) shows Andy Savage, Robin Leleux, chairman of the judges for NRHA, with David Lane of Ian Allan, which sponsored both awards with the plaques at Beddgelert Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Deborah Trebinski and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 25/5/10

Tony Baker reports: At last all the CCT grids at Pont Croesor have been finished, five in all between the river and the station.

 

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This northerly view (25/5/10) shows No.87 crossing the Afon Glaslyn bridge on the 1440 ex-Caernarfon. 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.

 

WHHR Press Statement 24/5/10

James Hewett (Chairman of WHR Ltd.) reports: After negotiations between FR Co. and WHRL lasting more than twenty years, the FR has finally refused ever to allow WHRL timetabled passenger trains to run onto the new “WHR” between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. James Hewett said: "We are very unhappy that the FR, despite many previous promises, has now denied us the opportunity to run our passenger trains on a railway which we helped to build. In 1998, we withdrew our objection to their takeover of the railway only because we were promised that our trains would have access to their line. The 1998 Agreement (details are available on our website) gives us access to the whole of the new railway. The WHRL built (and mainly funded) a one-kilometre section between Pen-y-Mount and Traeth Mawr, and gave it to the FR Trust, but we have been excluded from this section since November 2008, despite the fact that the FR is not using it."

The WHRL asserts that it is not in breach of the terms of the 1998 Agreement, but it was prevented from completing the Pont Croesor Extension because of FR actions. The WHRL continues to believe that its Operations Proposal (which provides for WHRL trains running in between FR trains over the one-and-a-half miles to Pont Croesor, with the WHRL paying the FR for access) is the best way forward for both Companies. A tourist offer which combines a short but authentic heritage train journey and museum tour - ideal for families with young children - with the opportunity to change onto an FR train at Pont Croesor for a longer trip, is an ideal scenario. Very strong support for this concept has been expressed by the Town Council, by many people from the local community, by the RSPB at Prenteg, by many railway enthusiasts, by volunteers from the UK’s other heritage railways, and indeed by many of the FR’s own members and supporters.

The WHRL have also met with Visit Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government, and had a positive response to the Proposal. The FR, however, insists that the WHRL’s proposed short passenger run to Pont Croesor would constitute “unacceptable competition” to their own services. WHRL calls upon the management of the FR to reverse this iniquitous decision, and to co-operate on an equitable commercial partnership basis with WHRL, to make Porthmadog a true mecca for the narrow gauge railway enthusiast.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 23/5/10

David Firth reports: Activities on both days (22-23/5/10) were split between Pont Croesor and Nantmor preparing for the official opening the following Wednesday. At Pont Croesor we were burying cables, installing posts for signals and control boxes, improving ballast, lowering potential high spots of surrounding ground, and generally tidying the site. As the first passenger trains were operating to Pont Croesor all these activities had to be undertaken under the protection of yellow flag boards and between trains arriving/departing from the new platform.

At Nantmor we completed filling the void between the platform and rear fence and filling the gap between the access path and fence with slate waste. Much of it removed from the excess at Pont Croesor, and again generally tidying the station ready for its official opening. It only now requires a few finishing touches to the shelter and painting, and the installation of indicator lights for the departure of Up trains. (Webmaster notes: Due to the length of trains and the need not to block the level crossing, the loco of the southbound train is around a curve out of sight of the guard on the platform so a 'Train Ready to Depart' indicator is required as at many NR stations.)

 

North Wales Track Gang 22-3/5/10

David Firth reports: Would all those able to help this weekend please email me at defirth@btconnect.com as it will help considerably in the planning of the weekend's work if I have a good idea of the numbers available. I am expecting that we will be completing the work at Pont Croesor for the official opening next Wednesday. As trains will be operating to Pont Croesor this weekend and it is in a very public location, it is important that we present a professional appearance to passengers and the general public, so orange hi-viz is essential. In addition to the work at Pont Croesor we are planning, hopefully, to complete the work at Nantmor ready for its opening on Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing you all at Pont Croesor.

 

A circular tour 22/5/10

Francis Butler reports: Just for the record a group of 6 of us took the first public train from Meillionen to Pont Croesor on 22/5/10 and walked to Porthmadog Harbour Station (3 miles). From there we caught the 13:35 to Tan-y-grisiau and walked to Beddgelert across the mountains (9 Miles). We had fish & chips in Beddgelert (20:45) then walked back to the campsite (1 Mile). Can we claim to be the first to do this circular ride & walk journey?

 

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This southerly view (23/5/10) shows No.87 crossing the Afon Glaslyn bridge on the 1700 ex-Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Francis Butler and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.109 progress

Pete Waterman's latest blog update details progress on Garratt No.109 by his new team of apprentices to 12/5/10.

 

Pont Croesor operation 22/5/10

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This northerly view (22/5/10) shows No.87's crew activating the crossing sequence. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

First public train to Pont Croesor 22/5/10

Saturday 22/5/10 saw the 1000 from Caernarfon, hauled by No.87, extended to Pont Croesor, the first public train to run to this location since the WHR closed in the 1930s. The station was not open but passengers were allowed to dismount whilst the run-round around took place. Following a successful day's operation, albeit late occasion, all trains will be extended to Pont Croesor.

 

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This westerly view (22/5/10) shows No.87's driver receiving the Beddgelert-Pont Croesor token for the first passenger train to Pont Croesor Halt. 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.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 5 mins 21 secs of video of the first train to Pont Croesor on 22/5/10. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

The road markings have now been 'improved' with no-argument SLOW and STOP wording (the 'slow' markings for the westbound route are at the start of the road bridge). There are also 'get-back-on-your-own-side-of-the-road' arrows on the run-ups to the double white lines.

 

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This southerly and westerly views (22/5/10) show the final road markings. 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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These southerly views (22/5/10) show No.87 with the first public train at Pont Croesor, running around and departing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and two northerly views (22/5/10) show the first public train with No.87. The train is seen arriving at Pont Croesor and at speed at Croesor Junction deviation. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on an Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 progress 22/5/10

Work was in progress at Dinas on 22/5/10 fitting the front tank to No.138. It is hoped that the loco will enter service by June and support the high summer services when two steam locos are required in July/August.

 

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These Dinas views (22/5/10) show the almost completed No.138. After trial fitting, the tank was removed for alterations. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These Dinas views (22/5/10) show the almost completed No.138. The loco looks almost like a typical loco without the front tank. The tank then received alterations before refitting. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Vale of Ffestiniog cooling 22/5/10

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This westerly view (22/5/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog at Rhyd Ddu with side panels removed to assist cooling. The loco may require a better cooling fan system if it is to operate regularly on the steeper gradients of the WHR as the loco also had problems last year on the 1 in 40. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Preparations for opening 21/5/10

There should be a public service on the extended line to Pont Croesor on 22/5/10. On 21/5/10 the PW rolling stock was moved from Pont Croesor to the loop at Hafod-y-llyn where there stock will be stabled as the halt is being closed. Friday saw the PW gang tamping the main line at Hafod-y-llyn ready for opening. Work is underway on the snagging list and the new token has been delivered, possibly a Beddgelert-Pont Croesor token with key for the Hafod-y-llyn loop/siding.

 

Welsh Highland Railway to open another two stations 26/5/10

The Welsh Highland Railway is to open the penultimate section of its 25 mile route to passengers on Wednesday 26/5/10. An additional three miles of track from the present Hafod-y-llyn terminus at the end of the Aberglaslyn Pass – voted the UK’s most beautiful spot by members of the National Trust – will take passengers out across the wide flatlands reclaimed from the sea in 1811. A new station at Pont Croesor will form the new southern terminus of the line until the final stretch linking up with the Ffestiniog Railway opens in 2011.

The new station is alongside the RSPB's popular Glaslyn Osprey Project viewing centre. Local residents and schoolchildren have been invited to the opening ceremony at Pont Croesor at 1200 on Wednesday 26/5/10 and to travel on the inaugural trains. In addition to the new station at Pont Croesor, the village of Nantmor will also get its own halt on the 26/5/10. The halt will be dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Ben Fisher of Bangor University, who played a key role in the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland.

The new section of the UK’s most exciting heritage railway project – current holder of the Heritage Railway of the Year accolade - will offer passengers a magnificent panorama, the railway being surrounded on three sides by the mountains of Snowdonia and the ancient sea cliffs of the Glaslyn estuary. Added to the magnificent views of Snowdon and delightful villages such as Beddgelert, the WHR now runs from beneath the castle walls in historic Caernarfon, across the full width of the Snowdonia National Park, using the most comfortable narrow gauge carriages in the UK. In addition to this fleet of impressive carriages, trains also include both heritage and luxurious first class Pullman carriages - including the magnificent observation car built in the company’s own workshops in 2009, which was named Glaslyn by Her Majesty the Queen during a visit to the railway in April.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 3 mins 20 secs of video of progress at Pont Croesor to 20/5/10. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

Team Wylfa report 18/5/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Team Wylfa were finally back in business at Dinas last night and picked up on the carriage oiling/checking routines. It is possible for us to continue with this until mid July when the peak season timetable starts but after that, until September, the sets get back to Dinas too late for us to even start oiling up and it is believed that the permanent staff or temporary peak season staff will be undertaking a night shift to check and maintain the carriages.

 

Cae Pawb Crossing 18/5/10

Mike Hart reports: The Cambrian Line ERTMS system was turned on some weeks back for a few days operational testing and worked rather well, including the WHR crossing at Porthmadog. Nevertheless it threw up some niggles still to be sorted, mainly connected with the mainline trains. That included a need to fit tinted side windows in the Class 158 cabs as the sun was reflecting on the driver's display screen making it a bit difficult to see. It was our decision to design and have a system built to work with ERTMS, not a prerequisite, rather than have something that would work with the existing RETB signalling system and then need to be replaced at our cost. The WHR crossing is working as we speak every time a standard gauge train goes by - if you see our engineers about they might be persuaded to open the box so you can see the route map signal indicator lights changing and resetting.

Network Rail have advised us of a new ERTMS turn on date in September. That steers clear of high summer staff holiday leave, gives plenty of time for the signal system contractor to finish off remaining jobs they need to sort out, get the work done on the trains and very importantly ensure the mainline train operator isn't messed about with on off commissioning dates. Meanwhile if we need to cross Network Rail will make arrangements for that as they have done several times before.

 

Tuesday Gang report 18/5/10

Tony Baker reports: Grids and yet more grids, is there no end to the things? There were five to put in altogether at LC114A-C, the combined road, Osprey Entrance and farmer's crossing at Pont Croesor. We are well on the way with them. There is an unusual one between the Osprey entrance and the farmers crossing. It is only a mini grid but is lozenge shaped. Initially no grid was planned here until someone mentioned that if the farmer decided to take a herd of cows across the line here there was nothing to stop them entering the Osprey Centre. Hopefully next Tuesday should see them all finished. A second team from the gang were dropping slate waste at level crossing approaches from a works train starting at LC96 at Hafod-y-llyn through to LC112 at the pig farm.

 

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This easterly view (18/5/10) shows the unusual lozenge shaped grid at LC114B. 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 northerly and southerly views (18/5/10) show work on the LC114 grids just north of Pont Croesor Halt. The first view shows the detectors and grids at the entrance to the bridge. The second view shows the completed grids around LC114B/C with Castell Caernarfon on the ballast train in the platform. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor inspection 17/5/10

The WHR ran a steam hauled test train to Pont Croesor Halt for the HMRI on 17/5/10. The inspector approved opening to Pont Croesor subject to some small snagging issues. The WHR will extend selected services to the halt from Saturday 22/5/10, though passengers will not be allowed to alight or join the train until the facilities are complete on 27/5/10 as contractors are still on site.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (17/5/10) show No.87 running around the Inspection Special. 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 southerly and northerly views (17/5/10) show No.87 in the platform and then departing Pont Croesor on the Inspection Special. 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 (17/5/10) shows No.87 crossing the bridge after departing Pont Croesor Halt. 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 southerly view (17/5/10) shows the completion of foundations for the toilet block at Pont Croesor Halt. 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 southerly view (17/5/10) shows the completed road lining at LC114 complete with yellow hashed no stopping box on the crossing itself. 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.

 

Sun glare slows ERTMS implementation

A BBC news report reveals that the ERTMS system is being further delayed due to the difficulty of reading the computer screens in the cabs of the Class 158s and Class 37 locos because of sun glare. This means that the Cambrian Coast Express this year is likely to be secure without the need for a mobile ERTMS unit. As Cae Pawb crossing has been fitted with ERTMS equipment, it is hoped that a solution such as tinted windows can be found before the WHR needs to open to Porthmadog in 2011.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 16/5/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The Rest of the World Gang divided into two on Sunday. Three of us spent the day jacking and packing the curve onto the points at Pont Croesor Halt (south) to set the correct cant. The rest of the gang worked on crossing timbers and vegetation clearing in the Gatws Bach - Afon Dylif area. Castell Caernarfon finished off making repeated moves over the Pont Croesor crossings, to reach the number required for testing (40).

 

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This northerly view (16/5/10) shows the completion of LC111 with crossing timbers and anti-trespass grids. 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.

 

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This southerly view (16/5/10) shows the completion of anti-trespass grids and fencing on the south side of Pont Croesor bridge. 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.

 

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This northerly view (16/5/10) shows the platform at Pont Croesor Halt complete with yellow safety line. The station sign is about to be erected on the poles by the concrete base of the waiting shelter. 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.

 

Beddgelert seat dedication 15/5/10

Harry Gow reports: On Saturday 15/5/10 Maggie Jager, Keith Jager and I with cousins and friends were present for the dedication of the bench for Mike Jager on Beddgelert Station. The plaque reads "He had Wales in his heart and steam in his blood" along with Mike's full name and birth and death dates. The view from the bench is magnificent over Snowdonia. WHR engine crews have adopted it for their breaks. Mr. David Firth of Beddgelert represented the WHR, and I gave Maggie a money order from Transport Action to mail to the Treasurer of the WHRS. (Editor's note: There was also a small donation to the costs of running this website of which Canadian Mike Jager was an enthusiastic supporter over the years.)

 

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These northerly and westerly views (15/5/10) show the new seat on the platform at Beddgelert with Maggie Jager. The siding now has a proper lever and FPL. Vale of Ffestiniog passes with the service train. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Harry Gow and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 15/5/10

Steve Broomfield reports: The Rest Of The World Gang were in action at Pont Croesor on Saturday, firstly attaching the (8) so-called "St. Andrew's Crosses" above the wig-wag road crossing lights. The next task was to jack and pack the short stretch of track between LC113 and the North end of the bridge, after a ballast drop (there was a considerable 'dip'). This activity was rather hampered by Castell Caernarfon going to and fro, to prove the operation of the signalling system. We also noted the application of tarmac to the access route and to the platform. White lines were also being applied to the road surface on the approaches to the B4410 bridge and crossing.

 

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This southerly view (15/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon on the bridge at Pont Croesor making repeated crossings of the B4410 to test the electronics. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon on the crossing at Pont Croesor making repeated crossings of the B4410 to test the electronics. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (15/5/10) shows the lights working as Castell Caernarfon (in the distance) makes repeated crossings of the B4410 to test the electronics. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon on the bridge at Pont Croesor making repeated crossings of the B4410 to test the electronics. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (15/5/10) shows Castell Caernarfon running repeatedly across LC114 at Pont Croesor to test the detection and level crossing electronics. White lining has been completed on the road approaches. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (15/5/10) show work on the platform and approaches at Pont Croesor Halt. The first view shows the access path with the foundations for the toilet block and the ramp to the car park. The second view shows the completed tarmac surface of the platform. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor test train 14/5/10

The completed automatic level crossings at Pont Croesor were put to use for the first time on 14/5/10 as the first test train to the new station crossed the Afon Glaslyn, the main road, the access to the RSPB Osprey Centre and the farmer’s occupation crossing. Tarmacing of the platform was being finished off on the same day and the first elements of the station buildings have been delivered to site. The train was headed by No.87 and tailed by Castell Caernarfon. Although the station loop is complete, it was obstructed by a PW train for the test, necessitating top and tailing. Further test trains are likely for staff familiarisation prior to the opening date.

The WHR will operate an Opening Special for invited guests on the morning of 26/5/10 with public services later in the day. On returning from Pont Croesor, Nantmor Halt will also be opened and dedicated to the late Dr. Ben Fisher who ran the official WHR website until his untimely death last Summer.

 

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This westerly view (14/5/10) shows No.87 on the test train at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Parry (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 min 9s of video of Castell Caernarfon departing Pont Croesor on 14/5/10 on a test train. This video was taken by Andy Forsyth.

 

East Anglian Group Meeting 20/5/10

Richard Watson reports: Just a reminder about the next meeting of the WHRS East Anglian Group. Thursday 20/5/10 - Martin Shrubsole - Queensland Sugar Cane Railways. Formerly known as sugar tramways, Queensland's sugar railways have come a long way since they were first established as steam and horse hauled tramways in the 1880s. Today they represent probably the world's most advanced series of 610 mm gauge railways. Along a 1,750 km coastal strip stretching from just north of Brisbane to just north of Cairns there is over 4,000 km of track! The WHRS East Anglian Group meets at the Black Bull pub, 27 High Street, Balsham, near Cambridge CB21 4DJ. 6.30 p.m.-ish or a bit later for a pint and a "natter", and the meeting starts at 8.00 p.m.

 

Pont Croesor report 12-13/5/10

Castell Caernarfon was in action on the 13/5/10 ballasting the platform road at Pont Croesor Halt. The lights and detectors were fitted and the platform tamped.

 

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This easterly view (11/5/10) shows the LC114B complete with lights. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright 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 southerly views (12/5/10) show Castell Caernarfon ballasting the platform road at Pont Croesor, possibly the first time the Funkey has been used on ballast duties. The flange treadle detector is visible in the first photo. Its position allows run round moves without triggering the crossing lights sequence. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tony Baker reports: To update, our coalition partners, The Wednesday Gang, completed the remaining installation of the other 4 wig-wag or road lights on Wednesday 12/5/10.

 

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This southerly view (12/5/10) shows the LC114A complete with lights. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright 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 northerly view (12/5/10) shows the tamper carefully crossing the B4410. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright 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 (12/5/10) shows the 2m wide platform ballasted and ready to receive tarmac. Fence posts are ready to receive fencing along the rear of the platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright 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 northerly view (12/5/10) shows signage being added to the new road lights at LC114B. 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 (13/5/10) shows the tamper working through the platform at Pont Croesor. 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/Pont Croesor progress 11/5/10

Tony Baker reports: Today the whole Tuesday Gang was at Pont Croesor and what a hive of activity it was. Apart from us, there were contractors building the platform and fencing and specialist electrical contractors cabling up the various signals including the wig-wags. Our jobs were to pull in cables, install the TOTP mechanism and fit the cabinet over it, put signs on posts and put the wig-wag assemblies onto their posts. As fast as we put them up, the electrical contractors were wiring them in. We managed four out of the eight today and tomorrow hopefully, the Wednesday Gang, with whom we have formed a coalition will do the other four. We also made a start installing the CCT grids at LC 114 A.

 

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These northerly views (11/5/10) show progress at Pont Croesor level crossings. The first view shows the level crossing road lights being erected across LC114B. The second view shows the contractor wiring the electronics for the crossing in the location cabinet. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor progress 9/5/10

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These northerly and southerly views (9/5/10) show progress at Pont Croesor Halt. The first view shows a cable duct being constructed across LC114B. The second view shows fencing starting on the approach to the platform. 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.

 

Beddgelert flowerbeds 9/5/10

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This southerly view (9/5/10) shows changes at Beddgelert. The reason behind the removal of the flowerbeds is that they prevent disabled access to the train as you cannot deploy the on-train ramps when the coach door is adjacent to the flowerbed. The beds also proved to be a trip hazard but gardeners will try again with some sheep proof plants later. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

West Midlands Group venue

Dave Waldren reports: Due to a huge price-hike by our usual venue, please note that all WHRS West Midland Group meetings (including this Thursday's talk about WHR bridges by John Sreeves) will take place at the Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close B30 1UA (off Oak Tree Lane Selly Oak, Birmingham) and not at the Saracen's Head as published in TSR. Any enquiries, please contact Mike Hadley (contact details as in TSR). The accommodation is ground floor, spacious and there is ample car parking. If you have never been to a West Midland Group meeting, please come along; you can be sure of great company, superb speakers and a very warm welcome!

 

Beer Festival 8/5/10

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This Dinas view (8/5/10) shows the Rough Shunters playing to the audience and the beer beginning to flow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (8/5/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog entering Beddgelert Station at 1015 on a Beerfest shuttle. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor Halt progress 8/5/10

Work continues to open the halt at Pont Croesor on 27/5/10. Fencing has been completed along the back of the platform and the platform edging has been done. Tarmac is likely to be laid next week. Work continues at Minffordd Yard refurbishing a similar 'container' type building to the old Caernarfon ticket office (now at Blaenau Ffestiniog) for use at this location.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 2 mins 15 secs of video of progress to 8/5/10. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

NG15 No.134 update 8-9/5/10

The monthly NG15 working party ( normally the third weekend of the month) was unusually held on the second weekend of the month, which coincided with the Welsh Highland Railway's Rail Ale festival! A number of smaller tasks were tackled including straightening the front running board valance, cleaning and priming. This joins the now refurbished kit of parts. During inspection of the frames it was noticed that there were errors in the mounting of the front brake hanger bracket and so this had to be removed and correctly fitted. One job started on the Saturday that had to be abandoned was the removal on the reverser shaft. The brackets were removed from the frames, however the shaft would not release from one of the bearings, no matter how much heat was applied and how heavy the hammer was! Tired muscles meant this had to be left unfinished.

Work continued with the cleaning and undercoating of some more brake rigging components and the decarbonising of the cylinder valve chests. These are now all very clean looking and should not need doing again for quite some time. Finally a start was made on removing some of the spring guide bushes from the top of the horn guide castings and from the associated bracket above this. These brackets were also removed in some cases. This again was not completed as some were very firmly in place and some of the castings had been previously repaired around the guide hole so there were fears this was not a particularly strong area of the casting.

For full details and images see the NG15 website.

 

Real Ale 7-9/5/10

Click here for the Real Ale Sunday timetable and here for general information. Vale of Ffestiniog is being used on the shuttles. Images from the event would be welcome.

 

Election result 7/5/10

Plaid Cymru gained the Arfon seat that includes the WHR, so represent the whole of the WHR. The 'hung parliament' result of the election might put the 3PC MPs in a powerful position in a vote for PR.

 

Belarus visit 6/5/10

John Hine reports: WHRS West Midlands Group spent 4-7/5/10 acting as driver, guide and interpreter for a group of railway professionals from Belarus. Their visit to the UK was organised by NERHT (New Europe Railway Heritage Trust). Oleg Menshikov is Deputy Head of Minsk Area, Belarus Railways. The younger man, Yauzheni Tsyuba, is Chief Instructor at the Minsk Children's Railway College, where teenagers learn how to run a railway both by attending classroom sessions and by actually running a 750mm-gauge line through the city parks. Alla Safonova is Director of the "Dortour" railtours company. They were received very kindly by James Hewett and colleagues at the WHHR at Porthmadog, where they even did some driving. They then went first class (at the observation end of coach No.102) from the Porthmadog Harbour to Blaenau Ffestiniog, hauled by Double Fairlie David Lloyd George.

Their longest narrow-gauge journey was on the WHR, where they travelled the whole (present) length of the line from Caernarfon to Hafod-y-llyn and back in our splendid Pullman No.2100 Glaslyn, which, of course, was officially named by the Queen on 27/4/10. Their visit to the WHR concluded with a tour of the yards, workshop and engine shed at Dinas. On their last day in Wales they joined Llangollen Railway Chairman Jim Ritchie and William Shakespeare (no relation, apparently) for a ride on the LlR. Our guests were most impressed by the scenery of North Wales as well as by the engineering achievements that they saw. Their final trip on the standard gauge, the journey from Gobowen to London (Marylebone) on a Wrexham & Shropshire service, took them to this year's NERHT conference.

 

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This easterly view (6/5/10) shows the Belarus visitors with Elwyn Jones at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Hine and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR Election report 5/5/10!

BBC News covered the WHR in their election top story on the evening of 5/5/10 with a ride on the WHR and a vox-pop feature from passengers and some views from the train. There were also lineside views at Summit Cutting and elsewhere. The link to politics was David Lloyd George's statue in Caernarfon. He was the first PM to organise MPs remuneration/expenses and was the last Liberal PM almost 100 years ago in 1916. The final national opinion polls show an average of 7 polls as Con 36%/Lab 28%/Lib Dem 28%/Others 8% and indicate a hung parliament and it seems the Liberal Democrats may have a part to play in the new government.

 

No.138 returns to WHR 5/5/10

A transporter was used to move No.138 back to the WHR on 5/5/10. The loco will be reassembled and probably run-in double headed for a while with a Funkey or No.87.

 

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This westerly view (5/5/10) shows the red painted No.138 being delivered to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 4/5/10

On 4/5/10 the Tuesday Gang completed fencing at the south end of Pont Croesor bridge and assisted in the positioning of the trailable point mechanism at the north end of the Pont Croesor Halt loop.

 

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These northerly, westerly and southerly views (4/5/10) show work in progress at Pont Croesor. The first view shows fence posts being placed at the north end of LC114 on the approaches to the bridge. The second view shows the trailable point mechanism being unloaded. The third view shows the platform edge kerbing concreted in place at the soon to be opened halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.140's boiler arrives 4/5/10

With Locomotion's transporter in action over the weekend for the galas, the opportunity had been taken to bring No.143's boiler frame from Dinas. On 4/5/10 this was married with No.140's boiler from Crewe and unloaded alongside Spooners Bar onto the WHR for transit to Boston Lodge. The almost complete No.138 will soon be on its way back to Dinas, also probably by transporter.

 

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These westerly and easterly views (4/5/10) show No.140's boiler on No.143's boiler frame. The assemblage is seen on ambulance bogies about to be unloaded and taken into Boston Lodge. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Michael Chapman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor progress 3/5/10

Steve Broomfield reports: On Monday 3/5/10 the Rest of the World Gang worked southwards from Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount, tightening SA fastenings and fishplate bolts, and replacing missing / broken ER clips. A quantity of the 'usual' badger spoil was also removed from the trackbed.

 

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This westerly view (3/5/10) shows the loop realigned to get rid of the kink. Here the ROTWG has replaced relevant fishplates with the stronger (Darlington) type. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (3/5/10) shows Pont Croesor Halt platform with platform edge blocks ready to place. 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.

 

Pont Croesor Halt plan

Click here for the Pont Croesor plan.

 

Beer tanker 3/5/10!

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This easterly view (3/5/10) shows a 'beer tanker' in Purple Moose Brewery livery, appropriately parked on the WHR main line outside Spooners Bar. 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.

 

FR Gala 2/5/10

The FR Gala revealed Lyd in steam, though requiring its cab roof completed and also the difficult Joy's valve gear.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (2/5/10) show the almost completed Lyd. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a Olympus E-510 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (2/5/10) show the almost completed Lyd. 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.

 

BSC locos 2/5/10

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This easterly view (2/5/10) shows the two ex-BSC Shotton locos in Dinas North Yard. The wheelsets have been removed so that they can be regauged for use of the WHR/FR when the locos will join the PW fleet. 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.

 

Rest of the world Gang 2/5/10

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This easterly view (2/5/10) shows the LC104 under construction next to the Afon Nanmor bridge. 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 westerly view (27/4/10) shows LC104 being completed just north of the Afon Nanmor bridge. A section of the former bridge is still visible on the bank to the right. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Double Funkey 2/5/10

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This northerly view (2/5/10) shows the Vale of Ffestiniog leading Castell Caernarfon down the Nantmor bank into the temporary terminus at Hafod-y-llyn, due to be closed at the end of May. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHR Gala 1-3/5/10

James Hewett reports: The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway has been celebrating the way in which a small town in Wales influenced countries from Japan to South Africa and Australia to America. Porthmadog was one of the first places in the world to build railways where the tracks were closer together than normal. The success of narrow gauge railways here in this part of Wales inspired others around the globe. The WHHR gala event over the May Bank Holiday weekend (1- 3/5/10) had an international theme, with a four steam locomotives from round the world in service.

Narrow gauge railways work well in mountainous areas because they are cheaper to build. They can literally weave their way round the contours of the hillside more easily. In the 19th. century, they achieved major success by carrying thousands of tons of slate to the port of Porthmadog. This success inspired others to come and see how smaller railways could succeed in mountain areas where railways had previously been thought impossible. Engineers came from Norway, India and the United States to learn from the way things were done here in Wales. There was even a visit by representatives of the Tsar of Russia.

Over a hundred years later, railways as far away as South Africa, India, Japan and New Zealand can trace a connection back to the success of the narrow gauge in Porthmadog. The story is told in the new museum at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, and was also celebrated in the gala event. Steam locomotives in use over the weekend have worked in Spain, Indonesia and South Africa as well as having connections to places closer to home.

 

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These WHHR views (1/5/10?) show Krauss 0-4-2T Sragi No. 1 (Works No.4045) built in Germany in 1899. This locomotive worked in a sugar mill in Indonesia and is seen arriving at the WHHR's Porthmadog terminus at Tremadog Road and running around. WHR visitor Gertrude is also in view. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy James Hewett (WHHR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These WHHR views (1/5/10?) show Gala event. The first view shows Sragi No. 1 leading the cavalcade of Gelert and Gertrude into Porthmadog. The second view shows Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0WT Montalban (Works No.6641). This loco was built in Germany in 1913 and worked at the Minas de Utrillas Coal Mines in Spain. The loco is seen arriving at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy James Hewett (WHHR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass progress 1/5/10

Chris Dearden (WHHR) reports: Work has started on building the flood relief culvert underneath the formation of the two railways between Pen-y-Mount and Gelert's Farm. The WHHR main line was diverted onto a new temporary course earlier this year and work started at the very end of April to dig away the formation and put sheet piling in place so the first part of the culvert can be constructed. Once the section underneath the course of the WHHR main line has been done, the track will be reinstated so work can carry on underneath the rest of the embankment and then the WHR.

 

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This northerly view (30/4/10) shows progress with the flood relief culvert. The WHHR mainline chicane will be diverted back over the bridge in the summer when completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (1/5/10) shows progress with the flood relief culvert and the bypass towards Tremadog. Piling on the section under the WHHR main line has been completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Mark Holden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell progress 1/5/10

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This WHHR Museum view (1/5/10) shows the chassis of Russell. The loco seems a long way from completion having being out of ticket for five years now. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tryfan Junction Halt opening 1/5/10

Keith Bradbury reports: The Opening Special left by the 1000 departure ex-Caernarfon, almost the first scheduled train to Tryfan Junction for over 70 years. Hauled by "new" No.87, the 15 minute trip soon deposited the invited guests on the new platform. Although only the first stage has been completed, in the general clearance and restoration of a platform, it is a start for the Welsh Highland Heritage Group and its plan to restore the location. Arranged by the WHHG committee, introductions were made, the extent of the works done described and what is planned when funding available, the "official" part of tour was soon over. It was then a case of mingling between the attendees and partaking of a Barbeque.

 

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This westerly view (1/5/10) shows the party at Tryfan Junction Halt with the newly fitted period style running in board. The platform has been finished in gravel, rather than tarmac, in WHR heritage style. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Bradbury and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the world Gang 1/5/10

Steve Broomfield reports: On 1/5/10, six members of the Rest of the World Gang were doing a passable imitation of the Tuesday Gang, working on crossings from LC97 through to LC103 at Hafod-y-llyn. Crossing timbers and anti-trespass grids were replaced, post KMX tamping, with repairs being undertaken where necessary. At LC103, the anti-trespass grids were constructed from scratch and fitted accordingly.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (1/5/10) show the completion of LC103 at Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR Gala postscript 30/4-2/5/10

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This Boston Lodge view (1/5/10) shows the red painted No.138 being readied for transport. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (1/5/10) shows Welsh Pony. The blue painted loco was plinthed for many years at Harbour Station on the alignment of the WHR, until work started on the route. It is now stored in the sheds in Minffordd Yard out of the reach of salt air corrosion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These FR Gala views (30/4/10 and 2/5/10) show Brian Faulkner's Lister (used on construction trains around Croesor Junction when Dolgarrog was unavailable) with Blanche and Britomart, all of which have appeared on the WHR over the years. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Brian Faulkner and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Former star picture

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This southerly view (17/5/09) shows K1 between T2 and T3 with smoke still emerging from T4 in the background. The rear of the train is still threading T3. The photographer had climbed high on rocky ledges above T2 on the National Trust's open access land to get this amazing shot! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Gala Locos 30/4/10

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This Minffordd Yard view (30/4/10) shows Upnor Castle having returned to the FR for attention and Moelwyn shunting. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FX38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Gala view (30/4/10) shows Dolgarrog having returned to the FR for attention in the old loco shed at Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FX38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass report 30/4/10

The flood relief culvert work near the site of the viaduct over the WHR continues. The WHHR has been diverted and piling is taking place on the alignment. In Phase 2 of the bypass works the WHHR main line will be relaid on its original alignment. All the other lines, including the two sidings, and the WHR line, will then be taken up, and the remainder of the culvert will be built. When Phase 2 is complete, all the above lines will be relaid. Its also planned that a temporary level crossing will be put across all 4 lines, to be used during the construction phase.

 

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This westerly view (29/4/10) shows the haul road level crossing just south of Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly and westerly views (29/4/10) show the piling taking place just south of Pen-y-Mount Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Point Croesor progress 29/4/10

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These southerly views (29/4/10) show the widening of the formation to the west at Pont Croesor Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Halt 29/4/10

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These southerly views (29/4/10) show the almost complete waiting shelter at Nantmor Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bypass piling work starts 28/4/10

Work started on 28/4/10 on piling work for the flood relief culvert under the WHR at Porthmadog, following the completion of an access/haul road for the piling rig. Piling will also be required on the east side of the WHR.

 

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These southerly and westerly views (28/4/10) show the access/haul road to the site of the viaduct over the WHR. The WHHR has been slewed to the east to allow services to continue whilst works are underway. 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 (28/4/10) shows the piling rig on site at the end of the day at the north end of Gelert's Farm. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright WHHR, courtesy of Andrew Goodwin, and was taken on a webcam. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 27/4/10

Tony Baker reports: We carried on with the grid installation programme. Foundations for LC 103 and 104 and grid installation at LC 115. Steve and Lyndon installed crossing timbers at LC 114C (Pont Croesor farmers' crossing), which has been completed. Non of us met the Queen.

 

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This northerly view (27/4/10) shows LC114C being completed at Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa holiday 27/4/10

Clive Briscoe reports: I got called home to the old house in Treuddyn on Tuesday morning with a break in, so didn't make it to Dinas on the evening of 27/4/10. There would only have been 2 of us anyway, so no great deal. I'm out of the country for the next two weeks so we won't be at Dinas until Tuesday 18/5/10.

 

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These northerly views (27/4/10) show Castell Caernarfon shunting 2040 into the siding at Beddgelert Station. 2040 had to be detached from the 1210 at Beddgelert having run a hot box on one of the axles. Team Wylfa has been unable to maintain the axleboxes recently and it seems likely the FR will appoint a paid position to maintain the fleet. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Chris Jones-Bridger and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Queen names Pullman 27/4/10

Her Majesty The Queen visited the WHR on 27/4/10, travelling on the train from Caernarfon to Dinas and naming the Observation Car 'Glaslyn' at Dinas.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 3 mins 27 secs of video of the Royal event on 27/4/10. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

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This northerly view (27/4/10) shows HM The Queen joining the train in Caernarfon. 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 westerly views (27/4/10) show HM The Queen naming the Observation Car Glaslyn at Dinas. The coach carries the Pullman coat of arms. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (27/4/10) shows No.87 with drivers at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Thurlow and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No steam weekend 25/4/10

Last weekend saw no steam action on the WHR, presumably due to the RED operating conditions with the warm dry weather continuing.

 

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This northerly view (25/4/10) shows Castell Caernarfon passing volunteers erecting the waiting shelter at Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Forsyth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Volunteer appeal

David Firth reports: The Welsh Highland Railway Society has been offered a stand at the Welsh Highland Heritage’s Gala in Porthmadog. This should be a good opportunity for building bridges between the two of us. We need to man the stand between 10.30 and 16.30 on Saturday 1/5/10, Sunday 2/5/10 and Monday 3/5/10. Would any Society members who could help, please contact David Firth, 01766 890367, defirth@btconnect.com. A little additional help on Friday evening to set the stand up would also be appreciated.

 

Pont Croesor progress 23/4/10

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This southerly view (23/4/10) shows surveying underway at Pont Croesor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor progress 23-25/4/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the last 4 days, Thursday to Sunday, 22-25/4/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang have been busy assisting Roy Tasker to erect the station shelter building at Nantmor. Volunteers also put up a fence at the back of the platform, installed notice boards and a new entrance gate and fence. Although most of the work has been carried out there are still a number of tasks that need completion before 27/5/10.

 

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This southerly view (23/4/10) shows the fencing being completed along the rear of the platform at Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (25/4/10) shows the waiting shelter at Nantmor Halt nearing completion. The fencing is also complete along the rear of the platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beers Festival preparations appeal

Dafydd Thomas reports: This year we have a reduced time available to prepare for the Real Ale Festival, due to a certain event on Tuesday, 27/4/10. We have access to the Goods Shed from Wednesday, 28/4/10 and we hopefully intend to carry out the work according to the timetable below: Working in the evenings, Wednesday to Friday and daytime Saturday & Sunday, also Monday and Thursday. 

Real Ale Festival: 7-9/5/10. (volunteers still needed, contact Tym Crowther - andy@tymcrowther.eclipse.co.uk / 01286 880408

Of as much importance, Monday, 10/5/10, from 9:00am - put it all away. If you can help with any of this please contact, Elwyn Jones - elwynjos@hotmail.co.uk/01286 830856

 

Nantmor Halt progress 22/4/10

Volunteers are erecting the waiting shelter at Nantmor. It is identical to that at Meillionen-Beddgelert Forest Campsite.

 

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These westerly and northerly views (22/4/10) show the construction of the waiting shelter at Nantmor Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

DB buys Arriva 22/4/10

DB has succeeded in the purchase of Arriva (subject to shareholder approval) which runs Arriva Trains Wales. It already runs EWS, Chiltern Railways (who are introducing some loco hauled expresses with plug fitted MkIII upgrades) and W&SR. DB is known to prefer the flexibility of loco hauled local services in Germany and it is possible that the current Holyhead-Cardiff and W&SR loco hauled service could be integrated into a fleet and extended to the Cambrian Coast.

 

Observation Car naming

The Observation Car No.2100 is to be named Glaslyn during the Queen's visit on 27/4/10. The 1000 public service will not run on this day. Roads around Dinas will be closed for security reasons.

 

Pont Croesor Halt progress

Work on the green Portacabin booking office/shop is underway at Minffordd yard. The interior has yet to be started. Meanwhile good progress is being made widening the embankment for a 2m wide platform on the west side of the loop.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 2 min 6sec of video about the construction of Pont Croesor Halt on 21/4/10 working a photo-charter. The quality of the YouTube clip does not represent the quality of the DVD. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

Team Wylfa report 20/4/10

Clive Briscoe reports: With some of the team back from holidays etc, we appeared back at Dinas last night. However, not in the numbers predicted. Ulrich was still stuck in his homeland, Germany, because of the volcanic ash in the air and has cancelled his visit until later in the year, John Peduzzi was diverted onto a test train so that just left two of us. We were due to undertake some more work on No.134 but there was another more needy task - check and oil up the Royal Train! Duly done but with the exception of the Royal Carriage which is safely locked away for some touch up and polishing of the paintwork.

There was a flurry of activity on our arrival, No.87 had been steamed after some modifications and needed a test run. The F Set was removed from the Carriage Shed and up the fuel road by Vale of Ffestiniog then Caernarfon Castle came up behind to couple up at the bottom end. This was because the bay platform road and release roads are currently out due to cable ducting being tunnelled under them, the fuel road is having to be used as a head shunt. Vale of Ffestiniog uncoupled and Caernarfon Castle then hauled the set out onto the main line and No.87 ran down from the station to couple up.

The test train ran to Caernarfon and back, arriving back just as we were putting our tools away. Being a still night, the sound of No.87 pounding up the bank at full tilt from perhaps almost a mile away was shear magic. Over the winter, the valve timings have been vastly improved and it sounded 'sweet'.

We will be at Dinas next Tuesday 27/4/10 but not the following two as I am abroad (hopefully!) on holiday.

 

Tuesday Gang report 20/4/10

Tony Baker reports: We continued with installing CCT grids by completing LC 111 (54.31) and LC 113 (55.55). We also installed foundations for LC 115 (56.01). In addition a start was made installing the crossing timbers at LC 114C. It is probably not appreciated that each crossing timber is unique and will only fit the crossing it is made for. This is because the cut outs for the clips holding the track to the sleepers will always fall differently. Consequently it is a fairly lengthy process. The contractor arrived on site at Pont Croesor today and started levelling the area where the platform will be.

 

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This easterly view (20/4/10) shows the individual clip cut-outs for the crossing timbers on LC114C (the gated stock crossing). 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 (20/4/10) shows the crossing timbers on LC114C being placed in position. The complete sequence of LC114C/B/A can be seen in this view. LC114B, the Glaslyn Osprey Centre crossing is now tarmaced. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (20/4/10) shows James Cyf. working on the platform on the west side of Pont Croesor Halt. 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.

 

Nantmor Halt progress

Dafydd Thomas advises: For those of you that are coming to assist with putting the platform shelter and the fence up at Nantmor from Thursday 22/4/10 onwards, you can either come to Dinas for 0830 or meet up at Hafod-y-llyn at 0945. We will ferry you to Nantmor in the Company vehicle due to limited parking at Nantmor (unless you want to go in the car park and pay). For Friday, it will be a roughly similar time. Saturday and Sunday, 0800 at Dinas and 0900/0915 at Hafod-y-llyn. There might well be another job and/or trackwork at the weekend.

 

Nantlle Tramway tunnel to be blocked off

A BBC report refers to the proposed use of a tunnel alongside the WHR for bat roosts. This could be the Nantlle Tramway Tunnel on the west side at Coed Helen, close to Caernarfon.

 

Alan Pegler's 90th birthday 16-17/4/10

Alan Pegler, saviour of the FR back in the 1950s, visited the FR and WHR to celebrate his 90th birthday on 16-17/4/10. As well as a named Prince hauled special on the FR, the party travelled on the 1000 train from Caernarfon in the Observation Car, since named Glaslyn. Without the interest free loan from his father of £3,000, it is doubtful the FR could have been purchased in 1954.

 

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This westerly view (16/4/10) shows Alan Pegler with Prince carrying special birthday headboard at Tan-y-bwlch. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright John Hopkins and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Mild dry weather brings steam ban 16/4/10

No.87 was banned from the line after a problem with its grate and the declaration of RED days in the second week of the school Easter holidays following an almost unprecedented mild dry Easter. Trains were hauled by Castell Caernarfon (1000/1410) and Vale of Ffestiniog (1210). It was hoped that the steam service could resume on 20/4/10 with the 1000 from Caernarfon. Upnor Castle, operating PW trains south of Hafod-y-llyn during the week, followed the 1435 from Hafod-y-llyn north about an hour later, light engine on 16/4/10.

 

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This southerly view (16/4/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog hauling the final train of the day out of T3 in the Aberglaslyn Pass. The former WWII Blacker Bombard mortar mount is just in view to the left. 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.

 

LC114 complete 15/4/10

LC114 appears complete but requires traffic lights. The temporary lights have been removed.

 

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These northerly views (15/4/10) show the walling completed around the level crossing at Pont Croesor (LC114) taken from LC114B, the Glaslyn Osprey Centre level crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly views (15/4/10) show the walling completed around the level crossing at Pont Croesor (LC114). As at the new Bryn-y-felin bridge a footpath has not been provided. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (15/4/10) show the walling completed around the level crossing at Pont Croesor (LC114). At stop block protects the crossing until the lights are installed next month. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa report 13/4/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We didn't make it again last week as nobody was available. We be there on the evening of 20/4/10 as the wanderers are returning with one volunteer making it back from Australia just before the ash started rising. There should be 4 of us tomorrow night, all being well, then again next Tuesday but then a 2 week break.

 

Tuesday Gang report 13/4/10

Tony Baker reports: We continued with the fitting of CCT grids and planted another 6 posts for signage at Pont Croesor. The weather was warm and sunny.

 

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This northerly view (13/4/10) shows a buckle in the track at the south end of Pont Croesor loop. The track had not been ballasted or tamped and the weaker fishplates had been used. 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.

 

Royal Visit/naming of Observation coach

The Liverpool Daily Post has revealed details of the Royal visit on 27/4/10 to Caernarfon. The Royal Train is expected to visit Bangor and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will travel by WHR train from Caernarfon to Dinas, after visiting Caernarfon Castle for the first time since the 1969 Investiture. At that time the standard gauge still extended to Dinas in a disused state but was used for ECS stabling by the several visiting specials that attended the event. At Dinas, the Observation Car will be named (Osprey?) and a plaque unveiled to commemorate the naming. On 13/4/10, K1 and No.9 were being removed from the Goods Shed, the latter on wheel skates, so that the Observation car could have a good clean and touch up painting. The shed will then remain empty until the Beer Festival.

 

K1 news

The blastpipe weld did not work. Consequently a pattern has been taken so than a specialist company can make a new blastpipe. The loco remains in Dinas North Yard with some side rods removed.

 

Pont Croesor Halt sign

Richard Watson requests: The EAG is looking for help with transport for the running-in board (sign) for Pont Croesor, from the East Anglian Group site at Mill Green, near Cambridge, to the RhE. The completion date for the sign is imminent. It is more awkward than heavy, and measures just over 3500 x 500 x 150 mm (11 ft 3 ins x 19 ins x 6 ins).

 

Volunteer appeal

Dafydd Thomas requests: We need volunteers on the following additional days to the usual North Wales/Black Hand Gang days.

 

Busman's Holiday11-17/4/10

This website will not be updated until 17/4/10 as your webmaster will be on holiday at the WHR. please do not repeatedly hit the website looking for updates as it might cause bandwidth problems for the server, space on which is kindly donated by Peter Bowyer of Narrow Gauge Heaven and Maple Design.

 

New wagons maintenance group 11/4/10

Keith Holland reports: On Sunday 11/4/10, four of us met at Dinas for our initial work party. As the weather was fine, and we do not yet have a designated area in which to work it was decided to concentrate our efforts on two DZ wagons currently sitting on the bay platform road. We oiled the axleboxes on both DZ1423 and DZ1412 and noted some things to be actioned at our next working party. Then on DZ 1412 we took the main brake rigging apart and greased and replaced all items back as they were. We expect to have our next working party in June.

 

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This westerly view (11/4/10) shows the new wagon maintenance gang with a DZ wagon. 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.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 10-11/4/10

Over the weekend 10-11/4/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang continued with the process of repositioning the sleepers between Hafod Garregog crossing and Pont Ynys Ferlas (Afon Nanmor bridge). On Sunday afternoon we ballasted and levelled the track each side of the Caernarfon end point of Pont Croesor loop.

 

Loco report 9/4/10

Boston Lodge is working hard to get No.138 back in service by the end of April to rectify the shortage of steam haulage on the WHR (see below). Haulage plans for the week from 10/4/10 are available on the WHR website and show No.87 back in action along with the Funkeys. No.143's boiler (actually a swap from No.140) is due for hydraulic test at Pete Waterman's Crewe Works next week. Attempts are also being made to get the construction of Lyd back on track so that at least the working steam auxiliaries can be demonstrated at the Quirks and Curiosities event on the FR from 30/4/10 until 3/5/10. Those travelling by rail might like to take advantage of the newly introduced Conwy Valley Day Ranger available until 22/4/10 at a very cheap price.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (9/4/10) show No.138 nearing completion. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Boston Lodge view (9/4/10) shows No.138's dome in daylight, giving a better impression of the natural light colour of the loco. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These Boston Lodge views (9/4/10) show Lyd under construction. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steam in the pass 8/4/10

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These northerly and southerly views (8/4/10) show No.87 passing through the Aberglaslyn Pass, threading T2 and T3. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Thurlow (F/WHR S&T) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Phase 5 news 8/4/10

A local newspaper has reported moves to rebuild the NR link from Bangor to Caernarfon. This follows Welsh Assembly proposals for the Amlwch line on Anglesey and interest in the Aberystwyth-Caernarfon line. If constructed, a terminus on the lower car park near Morrison's with a short WHR tramway style rail link through the tunnel providing cross platform interchange. The North Wales Transport plan includes the 10 mile link in long term plans but Gwynedd Council is still trying to sell off land in Y Felinheli, half way along the route.

 

Rhyd Ddu 7-9/4/10

Castell Caernarfon and Vale of Ffestiniog double-headed as usual down to Beddgelert on 7/4/10. However, on 8/4/10 returning from Beddgelert there was news that No.87 had a problem. So Vale of Ffestiniog was detached at Beddgelert, along with the bicycle wagon. Castell Caernarfon took the coaches to Rhyd Ddu and waited for the late-running No.87. It seems the locos then swapped trains, as some time later No.87 passed by Glan-yr-afon again.

 

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These easterly and southerly views (7/4/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog, this time single heading, arriving at Rhyd Ddu at 1700 and No.87 departing northwards shortly afterwards. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Chris Price reports: On Thursday 8/4/10, I went to Beddgelert to photograph No.87 in blue. However, two problems ensued: The FR Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog sprang a leak on the midday train and was detached at Beddgelert and shunted into the refuge siding with coach and bike wagon (to reduce the load). The WHR Funkey Castell Caernarfon went on down to Caernarfon after delays. No 87, for reasons not known by the station staff, failed to come up on the afternoon train, although it had been up and back in the morning train, and the WHR Funkey took over at Rhyd Ddu or Waunfawr I guess, with Ben Rosen driving, well over an hour late. I never did get to see No.87, but it was a lovely afternoon to hang about in Beddgelert and nobody seemed to mind the delay. A batch of folk waiting to get back to Meillionen (Beddgelert Campsite) halt were given a free ride to Hafod-y-llyn to keep them happy!

 

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These northerly and southerly views (8/4/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog at Beddgelert station having been detached after failing and later stabled in the siding. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Chris Price and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (8/4/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog at Beddgelert station and later being passed by Castell Caernarfon. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Chris Price and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

It seems that the rocking grate had jammed partially open and there were concerns that the up-standing tips may have got burnt and the grate segments distorted, chromium steel castings notwithstanding. The loco was therefore withdrawn from service pending repairs before any serious damage arose and remained out of use also on 9/4/10. On 9/4/10 Castell Caernarfon was noted heading south over the summit with Vale of Ffestiniog heading north out of Rhyd Ddu on the two rakes. No.87 was back in traffic over the weekend of 10-11/4/10.

 

WHHR Gala 1-3/5/10

The WHHR has released details of its Gala over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend 1-3/5/10. Click on this link for the poster.

 

Tampers back in action 7/4/10!

The chances of finishing the tamping of the Pont Croesor extension on time for the 27/5/10 opening are now good with reports that both the KMX and Matisa tampers are back in action. The Matisa is a tight fit through the bridges and tunnels south of Beddgelert. However, it was noted in action at Pont Croesor on 17/3/10 and again on 7/4/10.

 

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This northerly view (17/3/10) shows the Matisa tamper reaching Pont Croesor presumably for the first time. 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.

 

Pont Croesor Halt contract awarded 7/4/10

The contract to construct the platform and car/coach park at Pont Croesor has been awarded to G. H. James who recently completed the level crossing work at Pont Croesor. Work should begin in earnest this week. It is hoped to open the halt on 27/5/10 when it is intended to extended the railway to Pont Croesor.

 

Double heading views 6/4/10

With No.87 still the only steam loco available, the two Funkeys Vale of Ffestiniog and Castell Caernarfon have hauled one of the two sets. One Funkey is insufficient for the timing load on the 1 in 40 sections south of Rhyd Ddu.

 

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These northerly, easterly and southerly views (5/4/10) show the Funkey pairing at Nantmor Curve, Ffridd Isaf curve and Waunfawr. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 6/4/10

Tony Baker reports: Today we continued with the construction of CCT grids (Cattle Cum Trespass-the triangular wooden grids) on the Hafod-y-llyn to Pont Croesor section. LC 109 (53.30) was completed after much extra effort to resolve a difference in levels between the track and the contractor installed corral rails. Basically the corral rails were much too high and even dropping to ground level was insufficient. The problem was eventually solved by attaching the CCT framework to the underside of a 4 x 4 peg which in turn was attached to the underside of the corral bar. Another team was planting posts at Pont Croesor. Oh, it rained all afternoon incidentally.

Peter Roughley adds: Six 76mm posts were concreted in at various positions in the Pont Croesor area together with two speed/whistle signposts Signage to be attached later are Advanced LC Warning Signs on both sides of the crossings, Standard Signs for LC114B (the crossing to the RSPB Viewing Centre), LC Warning Signs (road approach) and speed & whistle signs. Some more posts will be required for Point Indicator Lights and Shunt Limit Signs once James Cyf have completed the west platform work, which is still to be started.

 

Team Wylfa report 6/4/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Sorry to report, there was no Team Wylfa again this week for a variety of problems. Hopefully we will be at Dinas next TUESDAY evening, 13/4/10.

 

WHHR Easter success 5/4/10

WHHR Press release: The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog is breathing a sigh of relief after a successful Easter Weekend, despite fears over the weather. Managers at the attraction had feared that rain, wind and even snow in the run up to Easter would affect visitor numbers for the traditional start to the tourist season. James Hewett, Chairman of the WHHR said: 'The sun finally came out late on Good Friday afternoon, and by Saturday morning, we started to see large numbers of cars arriving in town with extra visitors. It was obvious that people had been leaving it until the last minute to decide whether to come away for the weekend, particularly because the forecast for Easter was mixed.'

Easter Sunday proved to be extremely busy at the WHHR, with hundreds of people visiting the Porthmadog-based museum to take part in the annual Easter Egg Hunt and be entertained by the Easter Bunny and Mr. Balwns, the balloon model man. Though Good Friday was relatively quiet, visitor numbers for Easter Sunday itself were comparable with a busy day in August. James Hewett, who is also a Director of Tourism Partnership North Wales, continued: 'A good Easter weekend is essential for the tourist industry at this time of year, as many businesses need extra cash. We know that 2010 could be a tough year for the tourist industry here in Wales, but the sector is well placed to hold its own with some hard work.'

 

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These northerly WHHR views (4/4/10) show Gertrude being prepared for services at Gelert's Farm, running around at Pen-y-Mount and passing Gelert's Farm double heading with Gelert. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Michael Chapman and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 in action 4/4/10

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This westerly view (4/4/10) shows blue liveried No.87 approaching Tryfan Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 3-4/4/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: The gang headed south from Hafod Garregog, towards the ex-Croesor Junction curve. This was recently re-gapped, so the weekend's task was to move sleepers where necessary to match the new joint locations (one of the most back-breaking jobs to face a ganger!).

 

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This view (3/4/10) shows volunteers re-gapping sleepers near Hafod Garregog. 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.

 

Paul Bradshaw reports: Our weekend was spent re-spacing sleepers in the section between Croesor Junction curve and Hafod Garregog level crossing(LC52.40). This is a follow-on from the joint re-gapping exercise carried out during our March week. There are a few more sleepers to be re-spaced in the section between Hafod Garregog and Pont Ynysfor. On Sunday we were working within sight of the Osprey nest. The Ospreys were seen several times leaving or alighting on the nest. 'Gwarchod gwalch y pysgod' were in residence in the RSPB caravan. Buzzards were more in evidence than the ospreys.

 

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This northerly view (4/4/10) shows sleeper adjustment between Croesor Junction and Hafod Garregog. Click on the image to enlarge. Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

West Midlands Group report 3/4/10

Dave Waldren reports: A variety of tasks were carried out on Saturday 3/4/10 at Beddgelert by the West Midland Group including some mulching of the flower beds at Rhyd Ddu. Volunteers excavated the former lamp room . There is a "guttering-sized" groove running transversely through the structure ending in a square sump complete with drain hole in the northern end. The base is in 2 levels - our theory is that at some stage the inside was raised and provided with this gully - possibly to drain away spilt petroleum which may have been stored there? It cannot be a urinal as this would be situated on one of the edges, not bisecting the floor.

 

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These northerly and vertical views (3/4/10) show work around the lamp room at Beddgelert station. This was also the kindling store of the 1922 loco stabling point alongside the inspection pit and water tower. The first shows John Hine and Mike Hadley of the West Midland Group excavating the perimeter of the lamp room base at Beddgelert for drainage. The second shows the sump. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dave Waldren and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Easter views 3/4/10

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This view (3/4/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading Castell Caernarfon into Beddgelert on the first train of the day. Snow still dusts the mountains around Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Dave Waldren and was taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly southerly views (3/4/10) show blue liveried No.87 at Beddgelert. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright John Hine and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Beer Festival preparations

John Wooden has released a short YouTube video about the upcoming Beer Festival planned for 7-9/5/10.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 4 min 25 seconds of video, mostly of last year's Beer Festival. The quality of the YouTube clip does not represent the quality of the DVD. This video was taken by John Wooden (FR) on a camcorder.

 

Loco report 3/4/10

Progress with Lyd has seen the fabrication of cowcatchers, fuel oil tanks and smokebox door subcontracted to Brunswick Ironworks in Caernarfon, who have produced the water tank supports for the WHR etc. Work at Boston Lodge is progressing with the complex task of adding all the steel and copper piping for all the steam auxiliary equipment.

Prior to the recent transfer working, Vale of Ffestiniog's main transmission was repaired at Mitchell Diesel. The same company also cured Castell Caernarfon's problems.

K1's poor steaming at the end of last year has been identified as caused by a cracked blast pipe. A specialist weld repair is being done at Boston Lodge.

No.138's 10 year boiler overhaul continues to advance at Boston Lodge. It is intended to have the boiler cradle and cab pipework fully reassembled before the unit is returned to Dinas. The new livery is bright red also used on the FR's Moelwyn.

No.143's damaged crank has gone to Baguley in Burton on Trent for rectification. The same company is re-gauging/repairing the new Dinas PW shunter currently numbered 'No.9'.

Boston Lodge also refurbished No.87's engine units over the Winter to ensure reliability over the 2010 season. It is hoped the new high chrome rocking/drop grate castings will not melt.

Pete Waterman's No.109, being restored by the Waterman Trust at Crewe, has had its driving wheels sent to Boston Lodge for turning.

NG15 No.134's axleboxes have been machined at Boston Lodge to true them up. The cast steel rear frame stretcher and pony truck pivot is away at Brunswick Ironworks being refurbished.

WHR locos covered the following mileages in 2009:

Loco 2009 Mileage
No.87 11,347
No.143 12,163
K1 2,119
Vale of Ffestiniog 7,335

 

Pont Croesor 1/4/10

Work at Pont Croesor on the walling of the level crossing area LC114A appears complete.

 

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This northerly view (1/4/10) shows the walling complete at Pont Croesor. Earth has been tipped alongside the wall in the hope that this area might become grassed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (1/4/10) show the walling completed around the level crossing at Pont Croesor (LC114). Local stone cladding of the completed concrete parapets looks good. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (1/4/10) show the walling completed around the level crossing at Pont Croesor (LC114). No footpath has been provided. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cae Pawb Crossing 1/4/10

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This northerly view (1/4/10) shows the completed arrangements at Cae Pawb crossing with electronics cabinet. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Gertrude at the WHHR 1/4/10

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This Gelert's Farm view (1/4/10) shows Gertrude stabled in the museum. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 in service 1/4/10

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This northerly view (1/4/10) shows No.87 climbing Nantmor Bank with snowy Moel Hebog behind. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 31/3/10

Tony Baker reports: On 31/3/10 we continued with the seemingly never ending job of constructing the CCT grids. LC 106,107, and 108 (52.67, 52.90, 53.07 were completed and additionally LC 109 (53.30) and LC 110 (54.01) Gatws Bach had the framework installed and the pegs concreted in ready for next week. The weather people had predicted horrendous conditions but in fact there was the odd shower and long dry but dull periods. At one point one of the Ospreys flew close by to see what we were up to.

 

Snowstorm 31/3/10

Snowdonia was hit by a blizzard on 31/3/10 and trains ran during the heavy snowfall. No.87 was noted struggling up to Rhyd Ddu at the height of the blizzard.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (31/3/10) show blue-liveried No.87 passing Castell Cidwm at the height of the blizzard. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Bob Gartside and were taken on a Canon SLR digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (31/3/10) shows No.87 approaching Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Bob Gartside and was taken on a Panasonic TZ-5 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Palmerston returns 31/3/10

Palmerston returned to the FR by lorry on 31/3/10. The rest of the rolling stock is presumably available for shuttles during the Beer Festival.

 

Palmerston filming contract 30/3/10

Palmerston was involved in a BBC filming contract for a follow-up to the Coal House series. This involves a Snowdonia Farmhouse with two families living like slate quarrymen from the 1890s. The FR laid on an authentic consist - Palmerston, Bug Box 1, Van 2 and original WHR bogie No.23 - for a simulated Sunday School outing from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu. The BBC was very pleased despite the rain and the finished show is to appear on screen in the Autumn. On occasion there were three trains at Rhyd Ddu with the shiny blue NG/G16 87 in service alongside the tiny bug box now that the 2010 service started on 27/3/10.

 

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These two northerly and one southerly views (30/3/10) show Palmerston at Dinas and finally at Rhyd Ddu during a filming contract for the BBC. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa news 30/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: There is no working party this week. Hopefully, a couple of us might be able to do something on the evening of Tuesday 6/4/10.

 

EAG news 28/3/10

Richard Watson reports: The station sign (running-in board) intended for Pont Croesor is almost complete at the East Anglian Group's Mill Green works, Cambridge. Assistance with transport to the railway is requested -if anyone is able to help, please contact Richard Watson, see Contacts page.

 

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This Mill Green view (27/3/10) shows the near complete running in board for Pont Croesor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FZ38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang news 27-8/3/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: We were in action at Pont Croesor again, re-positioning the long sleepers and fitting the base plate for the Caernarfon end points of the loop. We were also working at the Blaenau end points, repositioning the spring point lever, due to a slight misinterpretation a fortnight ago, to the other side. They have to be on the running line side of the points. The points at this end are left handed as opposed to the one at Hafod-y-llyn which is a right hander. The directional terms Caernarfon and Blaenau are now the official designations as per the Rule Book. It seems a bit strange for the WHR to refer to Blaenau as it must be on the FR to refer to Caernarfon.

 

Stock Transfer 25/3/10

A rolling stock transfer took place on 25/3/10 using the CTRL and the new Cae Pawb controls. FR Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog led the rake which consisted of in order No.23, Open No.2021, No.24, No.2115, Van 2, Bugbox No.1 and Palmerston (in steam) at the rear. The movement provides an additional main line loco to support Easter services and a shuttle rake for a filming contract.

 

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This easterly view (25/3/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the stock transfer past Spooners beer store, soon to be demolished to allow a decent width of platform at this location. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These two easterly and one westerly views (25/3/10) show Bodysgallen at Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly and westerly views (25/3/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog and Palmerston crossing Britannia Bridge. Each movement across the bridge currently uses a local road contractor to remove the tarmac infill of the flangeways, set up traffic control signs and then replace the tarmac infill. 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 easterly views (25/3/10) show Palmerston crossing Britannia Bridge as seen from the open coach. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (25/3/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the stock transfer across Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (25/3/10) shows Palmerston pausing having cleared Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (25/3/10) shows Palmerston on the rear of the stock transfer having just left Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is 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 (25/3/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the stock transfer across Snowdon Street tramway section. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is 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 views (25/3/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog crossing Network Rail. 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 two westerly and one easterly views (25/3/10) show Cae Pawb crossing from the open coach. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (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 (25/3/10) shows Vale of Ffestiniog leading the stock transfer just north of Cae Pawb crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly views (25/3/10) show the new control unit behind the crossing gate at Cae Pawb crossing Network Rail. 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 views (25/3/10) show Vale of Ffestiniog passing through Nantmor Halt. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (25/3/10) shows Palmerston on the rear of the stock transfer rounding Cemetery Curve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (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 (25/3/10) shows Bodysgallen at Beddgelert station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andrew Thomas (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (25/3/10) show Palmerston at Beddgelert station. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Annual Surveyor Conference 25/3/10

John Sreeves reports: Last Thursday(25/3/10) I had the pleasure of giving a presentation at the 18th Annual Surveyor Conference in Nottingham: Bridges 2010 Strength to Strength. My paper was entitled 'Case Study 1: Bridge Reconstruction on the Welsh Highland Railway'. This was a high level technical conference attended by 223 delegates, predominantly bridge engineers from around the country. It was the first time I had given a talk like this to such a large gathering. My presentation (running to a phenomenal 106 slides - 30.2Mb) is now available on-line at:

http://2010.bridges.surveyorevents.com/conference-presentations.aspx

So apologies in advance to anyone whose photos have been used without their knowing or acknowledgement; I hope you don’t mind too much! It was a great marketing opportunity as every delegate got a copy of the ‘Dragons of Snowdonia’ leaflet, and I answered many questions during the break.

 

West Midlands Group plans for 2010

The West Midlands Group intends to work on Beddgelert station in the near future.

 

Bodysgallen ready for return to WHR 25/3/10

A stock movement is planned at 0730 on 25/3/10 to move essential rolling stock to Dinas for the start of the season on 27/3/10. FR Funkey Vale of Festiniog will take the completed Bodysgallen and re-varnished coaches Nos.23/24 back across Britannia Bridge after refurbishment at Boston Lodge.

 

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This northerly view (23/3/10) shows the refurbished Pullman Bodysgallen. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Norman Bond (FR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Bypass 24/3/10

The WHHR has had to make a deviation over a short length of its main line north of 'Fortmadoc' coal depot to allow the construction of a culvert diversion. This is required so that the Porthmadog Bypass contractors can build a culvert under the main line. When this is finished, the line will revert to normal, and the rest of the culvert will be built under the sidings and the WHR line. The end of May is being pencilled in to rebuild the original alignment.

 

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These northerly views (24/3/10) show the diversion of a short section of the WHHR to allow the construction of a diverted culvert for the Porthmadog Bypass. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Goodwin (WHHR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 23/3/10

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang continued with the level crossing grids work. LC 52.41 (LC105 Ynys Ferlas), which is a vehicle and pedestrian crossing and so requires 3 sets of CCT grids, was completed and the next crossing LC 52.67 (LC106 Afon Dylif) was 50% done. Further toward Pont Croesor LC 52.00 (LC107) and LC 53.07 (LC108) had the bases constructed ready for the CCT grids to be fitted next week. Alas, our long run of sunny days came to an end after lunch when light drizzle started. However it was not that bad and we pressed on.

 

No.87 progress 23/3/10

No.87 is being rapidly reassembled ready for the new season's trains.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (23/3/10) show No.87 being reassembled in Dinas North Yard. The loco still requires the dome fitting. 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 (23/3/10) show No.87 being reassembled in Dinas North Yard. 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.

 

Observation car returns to Dinas 23/3/10

The Pullman Observation car was noted being returned on a low loader to the WHR on 23/3/10 from the BoBI Exhibition at Olympia.

 

WHRS website relaunched 23/3/10

WHRS Press Release: Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri is pleased to announce that today, Tuesday, 23/3/10 it is launching its new website. The address to access the website is:-

www.whrsoc.org.uk – for the English language version

www.crhe.org.uk – for the Welsh language version

The website will give Society members and the general public all the latest information about the Society, including membership; the benefits of joining the Society; volunteering; Society projects; the society’s area groups and the Society’s sales section. It will also give information about the Railway, which is scheduled to open through to Porthmadog by 2011; thus reinstating the line from Caernarfon, which closed in 1937. The website is entirely bilingual and those visiting the site can choose to access the information in Welsh or English.

The website has been put together as a volunteer project by two Society members Laurence Armstrong and David Tidy; translation into Welsh by Gareth Gruffydd. The site will also incorporate the former Welsh Highland Railway Project website run, maintained and updated by Dr Ben Fisher. Following the sudden death of Dr. Fisher last July, the much used website has not been updated.

Not only will Dr Fisher’s website be incorporated as an archive within the Society’s site but with the help of Bob Smith, it will also be brought up to date by filling in the gaps of information since last July, as well as restarting the regular updates about the latest developments on the Welsh Highland Railway.

 

Ospreys return 22/3/10

The WHR News website reports that the ospreys returned to the Glaslyn Estuary on 22-23/3/10. This may help WHR traffic as people visit the Glaslyn Osprey Centre next to Pont Croesor halt which is due to open on 27/5/10 and may also travel on the railway. As part of the halt construction, a car/coach park is being built on the west side of LC114 to accommodate people who may go for a trip on the railway and wish to leave their cars there.

 

Team Wylfa report 22/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: It's been a bit disastrous these last few weeks - the majority of the team are currently spread around the UK with paid work and indeed one is 'down under' until mid/end April. There was nobody available on Monday but I had hoped against hope to have had someone to give me a hand last night but not so, he ultimately, had a prior engagement which he couldn't get out of.

It's a bit of a personal disappointment as we've taken some pride in preparing then keeping the wheels rolling these last few years but that's how it is. There's simply been no takers to my requests for younger blood to join in and learn the trade so the railway is having to consider taking on some temporary, paid staff to cover the running season this year - which, to be honest would be very difficult for us to cover anyway since most times, the rolling stock will not be back at Dinas until mid - late evening depending upon the timetable with the extra mileage. Last year's peak season was very difficult for us with sometimes nearly midnight by we'd finished. With a set taking between 2 - 3 hours to check and oil up, this would have meant midnight plus finishes for the Team every week which, with day jobs to go to was somewhat unrealistic.

So I've unfortunately had to let Boston Lodge know that there are still carriages to check and oil up before Saturday's start of the running season (27/3/10). It looks like Team Wylfa will have be employed elsewhere this year - there are more than enough tasks for us to have a go at, including helping the new Wagons Roll Team and of course, NG15 No.134. We're going to be very thin on the ground until the middle of April and will probably revert back to Tuesdays. Please watch this space for further news.

 

ROTWG 20-21/3/10

Steve Broomfield reports: A full report on this last weekend's activities (20-21/3/10) is to come from Paul Bradshaw. Volunteer numbers were again disappointing - 3 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Upnor Castle was used to deliver concrete blocks for ballast wall building, near Llyn Cwellyn (Saturday,) and a large finished ballast wall at Tros-y-Gol (Sunday). We also did some ballast drops in the Llyn Cwellyn / Snowdon Ranger area, on Saturday, and at Cae Pawb (North side) on Sunday, finishing at 1905 !!!

 

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These southerly views (20/3/10 and 21/3/10 respectively) show the Rest of the World Gang completing the Tros-y-gol ballast wall and Upnor Castle delivering blocks near Caeau Gwynion level crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: We (four of us) spent Sunday morning at Salem, south of Tros-y-Gol bridge, constructing a long ballast-retaining wall. We then took Upnor Castle south to finish off a wall started on Saturday. We stopped next at Rhyd Ddu for a bit of shunting and lunch, then it was down to Hafod-y-llyn for more shunting of ballast hopper wagons. We took the Romanian hopper and one of the side-exit hoppers southwards, dropping the latter in the loop at Pont Croesor. We then proceeded to Cae Pawb, where we dropped ballast as close to Network Rail as we could. We are novices with the hoppers, so some shovelling was then required to get the ballast where we wanted it! After a return to Pont Croesor for the other hopper we started on the ballast shoulders, finishing in failing light.

 

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This northerly view (21/3/10) shows ballasting just north of Cae Pawb crossing. 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.

 

Free chocolate at WHHR Easter Bunny Event

WHHR press release: 'The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway is celebrating Easter Sunday with free chocolate but you’ve got to find it first! Hundreds of chocolate eggs are being hidden around the Engine Sheds in Porthmadog, and visitors will be able to find them in an egg hunt with instant rewards. The train takes passengers on a short ride from Porthmadog through the countryside, before stopping at the Engine Sheds on the way back.

James Hewett, Chairman of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, said: “it won’t necessarily be easy to find the eggs! We’ve spent the whole winter thinking up clever new places to hide them, so there could be chocolate in all sorts of places.” Mr Balloons will also be creating free balloon models for everyone – children and adults - and Rufus the Rabbit will be travelling on the train to help people find the chocolate. Train crews at the WHHR will also be joining in the fun, blowing bubbles as the train steams along. And watch out for extra mayhem: Rufus can be a mischievous rabbit sometimes, and is often known to steal the guard's green flag so the train can't go...... only to run off when the Controller discovers who the culprit is!

The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway also has a number of other special events for children during the year, including the Teddy Bears' Picnic (5-6/6/10), and a family fun weekend with a Welsh Dragons theme (Bank Holiday Weekend, 28-30/8/10).

Throughout the year, the WHHR makes special effort to accommodate families. At the Engine Sheds, children of all ages are encouraged to climb inside the cab of the steam and diesel locomotives, sit in the driver's seat and find out why certain locomotives are called "tank engines", and why you drive some of them sitting sideways.

New attractions for 2010 include the Locomotive With No Name, where you get to have a go at putting your own name on a diesel engine using magnetic letters, or you can do what one child has already done and name it after your mum. You can also learn how the different parts of a steam locomotive fit together by having a go at assembling one of the new wooden models.'

 

Nantmor Halt Plan

Click here for the Nantmor Halt plan (as built) with thanks to Stuart McNair (WHRCL).

 

BOBI show at Olympia 19/3/10

The Best of Britain and Ireland show has been running at Olympia over the last few days with the Pullman Observation car at the centre of the attraction. The coach was placed in an elevated position and was open to walk through and sit down. The event is a showcase for travel and tourism operators but was open to the public on the final days.

 

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These Olympia views (17/3/10) show the elevated Pullman coach as the centre piece of the Wales display and a side view of the displays. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These Olympia views (19/3/10) show Pete Waterman and FR volunteers with displays. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are courtesy Andrew Thomas (FR) and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor 18/3/10

Walling continues at Pont Croesor with a local stone cladding of the recently completed concrete parapet.

 

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These easterly and southerly views (18/3/10) show the level crossing and access at Pont Croesor. Local stone cladding of the completed concrete parapets continues. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (18/3/10) show the level crossing at Pont Croesor. The access to the Osprey Centre has been tarmaced and the south west roadside walling completed with local stone. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Ken Farrance and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (18/3/10) shows the completed cladding of the concrete parapet on the north west corner of Pont Croesor level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Halt 16/3/10

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This northerly view (16/3/10) shows the completed platform at Nantmor Halt. The fence along the rear of the platform remains to be completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (18/3/10) shows the level crossing and access at Nantmor Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 16/3/10

Tony Baker reports: Another day's work in glorious sunshine saw the Tuesday Gang complete the trespass signage at Nantmor Halt, complete the fitting of corral rails at LC 108 and continue the work of installing CCT grids with concreting in the wooden supporting pegs at LC 105, 106 and starting 107. In addition to fitting corral rails at LC 108 it had been identified that at this point sheep were getting onto the track by coming up the bank of a land drain. Two of the gang set to preventing this ingress of sheep. A surplus corral rail was mounted on fence posts and reinforced with barbed wire. See attached picture showing the give away sheep's wool on the fence whilst "Dougie" the sheep dog looks on approvingly.

 

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This westerly view (16/3/10) shows the coral fencing being completed at LC108. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This easterly view (16/3/10) shows the strengthening of sheep defences at LC108. 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 15/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We finally got to Dinas on the evening of 15/3/10, but only two of us turned up. We made a good start on oiling up the coaches, could really do with a few more bodies next Monday as we are getting short of time to finish off and get all the coaches checked and oiled ready for the start of the running season.

There is a big push to get No.87 back together. The now smartly painted boiler module is back in the Loco Shed with most of the plumbing re-installed.

Meanwhile, the North Yard looks as though it has been the subject of a bombing raid. The Mess Hut has been temporarily moved onto the car park and is without power, the former gents alongside has been demolished and large holes are appearing in the yard between the fuel road and release road as it is being cleared and levelled for more stock sidings.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 14/3/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend 13-14/3/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang completed the loop at Pont Croesor. The south end point is now aligned, levelled and packed into place, with a sprung point lever (as at Hafod-y-llyn) installed.

 

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These northerly and westerly views (14/3/10) show the North Wales Track Gang completing the point lever at the south end of Pont Croesor loop. WHRS Chairman Dafydd Thomas looks satisfied with the completed job! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor loop completed 13/3/10

The North Wales Track Gang completed Pont Croesor loop on 13/3/10.

 

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This southerly view (13/3/10) shows the north points at Pont Croesor with long sleepers for the trailable point mechanism. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Peter Roughley and was taken on an Olympus D-380 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (13/3/10) shows David Firth marking the fouling point at the south end of Pont Croesor loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Peter Roughley and was taken on an Olympus D-380 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (13/3/10) shows the completed Pont Croesor from LC115. Work is underway fettling the points which initially will be lever operated. A trailable mechanism is likely to be fitted when services are extended to Porthmadog late 2010/early2011. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Peter Roughley and was taken on an Olympus D-380 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Working Week report 12/3/10

Steve Broomfield reports: The Rest Of The World Gang completed their working week on 12/3/10. A 10-strong party met at Hafod-y-llyn and took Upnor Castle and the works train to the curve between Hafod-y-llyn Isaf and Pont Afon Nanmor. There we first removed a small rock, which was impinging on the safe clearance profile, and followed by jacking and packing the 'high' rail, in order to have a consistent 'cant' around the re-laid curve. We then progressed to a point immediately north of Pont Afon Dylif, disconnecting and jacking a half-length of rail and raking ballast from underneath, to remove a pronounced 'hump' in the track.

 

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These northerly views (12/3/10) show the Rest of the World Gang completing the trackwork just west of the Afon Dylif Bridge. The tops of the mountains still had snow on them. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

EAG News 10/3/10

The East Anglian Group has removed the final halt signboard from store. It is hoped to have it ready for the opening of Pont Croesor Halt in the Spring. The vacuum system on ex-RNAD wagons Nos.5002/3 has been completed at the EAG's Cambridgeshire base. When complete, these will form part of the Lineside Clearance Train. The EAG is still looking for volunteers. Contact Richard Watson for further details. See Contacts page.

 

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This Mill Green view (12/12/09) shows the Pont Croesor Halt sign removed from store for completion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FZ38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Mill Green view (10/3/10) shows future clearance train wagon No.5002 pushed out from under cover on the extension track. The widened frame and steps can be seen clearly and the vacuum cylinder is in situ between the frames. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FZ38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Mill Green view (10/3/10) shows an ex-FR vacuum cylinder in situ on wagon No. 5002. One of the trunnion bearings that was fabricated to support the cylinder is also prominent, as is the flexible hose between the train pipe and the actuating valve. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Richard Watson and was taken on a Panasonic FZ38 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHG news

The Welsh Highland Heritage Group intends to restore Betws Garmon station building and Glan-yr-afon weigh-house after the completion of the 40m platform and station building at Tryfan Junction. A replacement water tank has been fabricated for Beddgelert Station to fit the original concrete pillars. It also has a replica lamp room in hand to go alongside the pit. The group has also provided the fencing and crossing box at Cambrian Crossing, the last of which should be fitted in place soon.

 

Google street views of WHR

Google Maps ands Google Earth now feature street views covering some of the WHR.

See http://tinyurl.com/yhl7w9s at Porthmadog and No.87 near Snowdon Ranger http://tinyurl.com/yzaeqvf. Thanks to Keith Bradbury and Roger Dimmick (FR) for the links.

 

Tuesday gang report 9/3/10

Tony Baker reports: On the 9/3/10, we split into 3 gangs of 4. Gang 1 went off to Cae Pawb to install the distant signals, more commonly known as 'Yellow Ladybirds'. A signal was installed 150 metres either side of the crossing. This was finished by lunch time and we then went off to reinforce gang 2 who were planting posts at LC 108. By end of play 8 posts were concreted in. Some of us had expected to be digging holes in sand but rest assured, there is still a fair bit of "hard stuff" even that close to the Traeth. All materials and tools had to be taken down on the rail skate as there is no road access to that crossing. Meanwhile gang 3 were continuing with what seems to be a never ending job of installing CCT grids. A glorious sunny day with snow still on the tops.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (9/2/10) show the Tuesday Gang fitting signals either side of Cae Pawb crossing. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Tony Baker and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

John Martin reports: I was with the third gang doing crossing grids. It was a lovely day and we got stuck in straight away at 9 o'clock and worked straight through till about 4 in bright chilly sunshine. We completed three crossings: LC99/100/101. This takes us up to the section which is yet to be tamped after the recent relaying. We have been asked to defer work on LC103A/B and LC104 until the tamping has been completed, so we will start next week on LC105A/B and LC106. We hope to do the foundations next week and fit the triangles the week after.

 

Team Wylfa 8/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: The carriage oiling did not get off to a brilliant start. My car suffered a total electrical failure and had to be piggy backed home. Hopefully there will be more luck next MONDAY when there are a minimum of 3 experienced old hands promised.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 6-7/3/10

On 6/3/10 the Rest of the World gang worked on jacking/repacking rail joints northwards along the Gatws Bach straight and reached the site of Croesor Junction. On 7/3/10 the volunteers worked north from the end of the previous day's work towards the Afon Dylif bridge re-gapping the rails.

 

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This southerly view (6/3/10) shows the track joints being jacked and packed just north of Gatws Bach. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Simon Melhuish reports: We gathered and Hafod-y-llyn and rode behind Upnor Castle to Pont Afon Dylif. From there we unclipped as far as the start of the curve into the ex-Croesor Junction - as far as we had reached previously from the south. Next we pulled all the rails northwards, to make space, and started pulling them all south again, to the correct gaps, and re-clipping. We made it about 2/3 of the way back to the bridge by the end of the day. The weather was some of the best, starting at -4C, but with clear skies. Some snow remains on the peaks.

 

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These westerly and easterly views (7/2/10) show track fettling around the Afon Dylif bridge. The first view shows the bridge with Upnor Castle beyond. The second view shows the curve towards Croesor Junction, still looking a bit 'thrupenny bit'. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (7/3/10) shows the re-gapping exercise near Croesor Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BURA Award ceremony 5/3/10

John Sreeves reports: Alasdair Stewart, Mike Hart and I went to Glaziers Hall in London 5/3/10 to collect the BURA award. We were one of six winners selected from over 100 entrants. Click here for the page from the BURA Awards leaflet.

 

Bits & pieces

A scaffold wagon is due to visit cuttings between Cutting Mawr (Cwmcloch) and Nantmor to tidy up rock cuttings and slopes before public services recommence. Freeze/thaw action has prised some slabs loose. Some extra rock bolts and a catch fence are likely in Nantmor Cutting.

A review of options is underway to reduce flooding at Castell Cidwm as this can strand trains.

A settlement has been reached over the cost of the Britannia Bridge works.

The same contractor who cut the trees down between Dinas and Caernarfon also won a contract to cut down some trees on the section onward to Waunfawr and Beddgelert to Hafod-y-llyn before Xmas.

 

Best of British & Ireland travel show

FR Press release: A little bit of Wales visits London

'The Best of Britain & Ireland (BOBI) exhibition is open to the travel trade and the public and is the main event of the year showcasing the tourist attractions of the UK. The First Class Pullman observation car, built for the Welsh Highland in Porthmadog's world famous Ffestiniog Railway Boston Lodge Works, will travel to Olympia by road and will take pride of place on the railway's stand, shared with North Wales Tourism. During the course of the show, celebrity guests will visit the carriage and talk to the press and public. Record producer and railway enthusiast Pete Waterman will be explaining his innovative apprentice scheme aimed at teaching young people essential engineering skills. One of the scheme's first major projects is the rebuilding of a sixty ton Beyer Garratt locomotive for use on the Welsh Highland Railway.

Mayor of Caernarfon Hywel Roberts - who will also be attending the show as a guest of the railway - commented: "As someone who grew up in Ffestiniog I was delighted to see the development of the Ffestiniog Railway into the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. This was an enormous boost to the tourist industry for Blaenau. And as someone who lives in Caernarfon I was delighted with the reopening of the Welsh Highland Railway into the town. Again a big boost to the tourist industry in Caernarfon. In my early teens I lived in the village of Llanfrothen and on summer evenings we used to go on our bikes to Pont Croesor to swim in the Glaslyn river. I'm therefore particularly looking forward to seeing the opening of the railway to Pont Croesor in the Spring," he added.

For the show, the FR has produced a new video showcasing the attractions of Snowdonia which has been uploaded to YouTube to help in promoting the event. You can view the video here. Full details of the BOBI show, which runs from the 17th-20th of March, can be found here.'

The show is open to the public on the final two days and it is intended that the Observation Car will be back on the WHR for the launch of the 2010 service on 27/3/10.

 

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This easterly view (10/3/09) shows Pullman Observation Car No.2100 at Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Roger Dimmick and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor progress 4/3/10

Completion of road works at Pont Croesor level crossing in March and removal of the long term traffic lights will improve traffic flow on the B4410. It is likely that the route will form an unofficial bypass of Porthmadog whilst work on the Porthmadog Bypass, starting this Spring, causes disruption of the A487, especially during peak holiday times.

 

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This easterly view (4/3/10) shows the local stone cladding being added to the concrete parapet walling on the approach the Pont Croesor level crossing. The shuttering on the opposite side of the bridge was also being removed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Ken Farrance and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Team Wylfa rescheduled to Mondays from 8/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: For the record, it looks like Mondays are going to be the new night for Team Wylfa for now. I've got the promise of one volunteer to give me a hand this coming Monday but more would be better - got a lot of carriages to check and oil up ready for the new season. Any further offers of help would be gratefully received. 7:00 - 7:15pm in the mess hut opposite the WHRCL office.

 

Coach maintenance appeal 3/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Team Wylfa has undertaken the important task to keep the wheels rolling for the past 4 seasons. However, with this year's timings, it is going to be extremely hard to keep up. Tuesdays, our previous night, are out for most of the season since the rolling stock is out until 8 or 9 pm most weeks with the high season trains even later. It is proposed to move to a Monday for the off peak and possibly a Friday evening for the peak 6 weeks.

Here lies the problem: Team Wylfa numbers have dwindled and two key members are not available for the rest of March until mid April and then on Mondays due to long standing personal arrangements. The season is starting in 3 weeks time and it is time to start oiling up and ensuring everything is in order ready for the first trains. For this month and April, it is proposed to stay with Tuesday evenings but thereafter, Mondays until the peak in July.

I have had to cancel this week's regular working party and at the moment, the rest of March is looking doubtful... Is there anyone out there prepared to lend a hand on this vital, but not very glamorous task?

If you might be available, please contact me urgently on 01407 733595 (office); 01407 830541 (home) or e-mail clive(dot)briscoe(at)magnoxnorthsites(dot)com

 

Tuesday Gang report 2/3/10

Tony Baker reports: On 2/3/10 the Tuesday Gang continued with the same tasks as last week. Volunteers continued fitting CCT grids and LC107 between the Afon Dylif bridge and Croesor Junction was completed. We will be moving to LC108 next week. While not exciting the work is essential.

 

Pont Croesor progress 2/3/10

Stone cladding of the new concrete walls now underway at Pont Croesor level crossing. Work on the station site itself is due to start in the next few days. The layout seems to have been agreed with everybody.

 

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These easterly and westerly views (2/3/10) show James Cyf. completing the concrete walling at Pont Croesor level crossing. 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.

 

Station buildings

John Peduzzi is away in Southport for several weeks helping build the new wooden station buildings for Nantmor, Waunfawr and Pont Croesor.

 

Wagon maintenance appeal 2/3/10

Keith Holland reports: Recently, management has been concerned that a backlog of maintenance of the wagon fleet has built up, due to many other priorities on staff and volunteer time. In particular, Marcus Ingram, who is responsible for most of the wagon restoration that has been done, has had a change in his work/life situation which prevents him visiting the WHR as often as in the past. Consequently a plan has evolved to form a volunteer team to work specifically on basic TLC of our wagons. We intend to call this team WAGONS ROLL. Marcus has prepared a list of priority tasks and we are seeking volunteers to help. Naturally if you possess some engineering skills that is a bonus, but ANYBODY keen on getting dirty will be warmly received. The initial work party is planned for Sunday 11th April. If you would like to join us, or be notified of future Working Party dates please register your interest by contacting me.

Keith Holland

01462 816435

k1_steamhammer@hotmail.com

 

Team Wylfa cancelled 2/3/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We will NOT be at Dinas Tuesday evening, 2/3/10. Hopefully will be there next week, Tuesday 9/3/10, when we will have to make a start on carriage inspections ready for the new season.

 

Bontnewydd/Caernarfon bypass proposals 1/3/10

A BBC News report details proposals for A487 Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass. The route options are much as indicated previously on this website. From the north end of the existing Pen-y-groes route passes west of Dinas and Bontnewydd, crossing the railway by overbridge north of Bontnewydd Halt. The route then heads northeast to the western end of the Y Felinheli Bypass. The scheme has options up to 10.5km long and costs up to £86 million. Strangely, the Welsh Office document shows WHR stations locations incorrectly with an extra station near Cae Hen!

 

ATW Cambrian-London service blocked 1/3/10

A BBC report reveals the proposed Arriva Trains Wales London (Marylebone) service has been blocked by the Office of Rail Regulation. The service to be operated with 'spare' Class 158 dmus, threatened the W&SR/ Chiltern operations.

 

Pont Croesor south point installed 27-28/2/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend 27-28/2/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang installed the points at the Porthmadog end of Pont Croesor loop. We also installed the two remaining full lengths of rail in the loop; the closure rail remains to be installed.

 

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This northerly view (28/2/10) shows the track being laid in the westerly platform track at Pont Croesor loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (27/2/10) shows the south end point being unloaded at the south end of Pont Croesor loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Howard Stuckey and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These northerly views (27/2/10) show the North Wales Track Gang completing the point at the south end of Pont Croesor loop. Upnor Castle was used to drag the point into position. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Upnor Castle was used on 27/2/10 to drag the Pont Croesor loop south point into position just north of LC115. It was hoped to complete the missing panels north of the point in the westerly track that will become the initial platform road. It was a nice day in North Wales with Cnicht and the Moelwyns dusted in snow.

Andy Forsyth has provides two YouTube links showing the work on 27/2/10.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 1 minute 22 seconds of video of Upnor Castle pulling the south point into position at Pont Croesor loop on 27/2/10. This video was taken by Andy Forsyth on a camcorder.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 59 seconds of video of Upnor Castle pulling the south point into position at Pont Croesor loop on 27/2/10. This video was taken by Andy Forsyth on a camcorder.

 

Tuesday Gang report 23/2/10

Tony Baker reports: The gang once again split into two. The level crossing posts and rails team moved onto LC 107. Things were a bit awkward here as a concrete culvert running under the track just where we needed to plant posts meant that we had to extend the length to clear this culvert. It also means that an intermediate post will be required. This will only be sunk down to the top of the culvert. Meanwhile the Animal Grids gang carried on at Hafod-y-llyn at LC 96. The installation of these grids is left until we know that any tamping and realignment is finished in the location. The weather was cold but dry.

 

Team Wylfa report 23/2/10

Clive Briscoe reports: There were just two of us on the evening of 23/2/10! However, we were 'on a roll' (as Bob put it) with No.134. After further soakings in Plus Gas, hammering to break the rust seal and some cussing, the 4-off blast pipe flange studs eventually yielded to the two of us using the 'horizontally opposed' Stilsons technique. They actually unscrewed - but not without a fight almost to the last thread! As predicted, the final cylinder block stud had to be cut flush with the casting, then carefully drilled and the shell collapsed in on itself.

So that's it. All the cylinder block studs are now out with new ones about to be ordered, including several stepped studs where it has been found that during its working life, some studs have given trouble and the tapped holes have had to be re-bored and tapped to the next size up. e.g. 7/8" BSW to 1" BSW; 3/4" BSW to 7/8" BSW. On a happier note, the 4-off brake hanger brackets unbolted very easily revealing bolts in pristine, reusable condition. The next job is to press out the worn bushes and replace with new.

 

Nantmor Halt finished 22/2/10

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These southerly views (22/2/10) show Gelli completing Nantmor Halt. Fencing remains to be completed along the rear of the platform. 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.

 

No.134 report 21/2/10

Clive Briscoe reports: There was another No.134 working weekend on Saturday and Sunday 20-21/2/10. Again, a fair turnout and much got done. During the past week, No.143's boiler was lifted out of the cradle and the same crane used to move No.134's boiler alongside the Clip Shed workshop. As some of No.134's wheelsets were stored there previously, in order to make room for them inside the workshop (and indeed make more working space alongside the loco's frames), the frames were jacked up higher and packing stacks reordered. This gave both space to roll all the wheelsets back under the frames releasing valuable workspace alongside and gives better access under the frames for some of the ongoing work on brake and spring hangers - some of which were removed to the main workshop and worn bushes pressed out during the weekend, as were some of the compensated suspension balance beam bushes (which had been removed on earlier working parties).

Some of the footplating was temporarily replaced to allow measurements for new lubrication and other pipe runs. Work continued up front with most of the carbonised cylinder lube oil now having been chipped out of the valve chests and steam spaces. Some of the remaining drain fittings were removed for overhaul / replacement and all bar one of the seized studs finally removed from the cylinder blocks. This last one should be cut, drilled, collapsed, removed and the thread cleaned out on Tuesday evening.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 19-21/2/10

Simon Banbury reports: Work took place on the alignment in the snow near Snowdon Ranger and making a thorough job of cementing the inside of the cable box near the Cambrian Crossing. Though it looks very cold as long as you were not in the shade it was surprisingly warm. The temperature did fall rapidly as the sun went down. It also snowed on the hills every evening and then melted by midday.

On 19/2/10 Upnor Castle arrived and saved us a long walk pushing our tools in a wheelbarrow after our alignment tasks on day 1 of the long weekend. Not as spectacular as steam against the snow, but a welcome arrival. We put all the bars and other heavy tools onto the engine and then carried the rest on foot to the next location we were working at.

 

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These southerly and northerly views (19/2/10) show Upnor Castle arriving light engine at the worksite just south of Snowdon Ranger in snowy conditions at 1030. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Simon Banbury and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (19/2/10) shows the unloading of retaining wall blocks near Snowdon Ranger. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Banbury and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tim Evans reports: The ROTWG installed another 2 cable access chambers one south and one north of Cae Pawb in the morning. Each of these were adjacent to the catch points, the northern set also being now fishplated back again by us as it was disconnected to facilitate installation of longer timbers to accommodate the point motor and other equipment. The sleepers of the connecting panel were also shovel packed as the catch point is now on thicker timbers than previously. The whole area requires the use of ballast wagons prior to tamping as nothing has been tipped since laying, though of relatively low priority compared to jobs needed on the operational section for this coming season.

 

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This northerly view (20/2/10) shows the excavation of a manhole for cables on the north side of Cae Pawb Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Simon Banbury and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

In the afternoon we continued with ballast walling north of Rhyd Ddu.

 

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This northerly view (20/2/10) shows the retaining wall blocks near Rhyd Ddu. 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.

 

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This northerly view (21/2/10) shows Rhyd Ddu with a snow covering in the morning. 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.

 

Cambrian Coast steam 2010

Railway Magazine reports that a different Ian Riley loco, 'Black 5' 4-6-0 No.44871, is being fitted with ERTMS equipment for this summer's Cambrian Coast steam trains. The loco is considered overweight for the Barmouth Bridge, due too much weight being on the tender leading axle, so it is proposed to put a steel former in the coal space to reduce the coal load. The loco is thought to be able to get from Machynlleth to Pwllheli and back on the reduced coal load as the line is easily graded. Whilst not ideal for running tender-first due to the restricted view over the tender, the class has been used on other routes with no turning facility, e.g. Fort William-Mallaig. The Cambrian Line may go over to ERTMS operation before the Summer Holiday steam specials commence.

According to West Coast Rail's website, the timetable and route are still to be confirmed as of 21/2/10.

 

Gertrude for WHHR 20/2/10

The WHHR reports: Barclay 0-6-0T locomotive Gertrude (1578 of 1918) will be joining the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway fleet for the 2010 operating season. The locomotive was originally built for the Sydenham Ironstone Quarry near Banbury in Oxfordshire, and is a sister locomotive to The Doll, which is based at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway. Gertrude is on hire from Exmoor Transport, who recently completed an extensive restoration of the locomotive, which had been out of service since withdrawal in 1959. The agreement to bring it to Wales for 2010 will see it steaming for a minimum of 30 days, allowing it to share duties with the WHHR resident Bagnall, Gelert (3050 of 1953).

 

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This Launceston view (unknown date) shows Gertrude running around. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Charlie O'Mahoney, courtesy of Tony Brown, and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

James Hewett, Chairman of the WHHR, said: 'We’re delighted that Gertrude will be joining us for the coming season. We believe she will prove a popular, powerful and attractive locomotive, and add some extra variety to the service in 2010. It’s interesting to think that although Gertrude is 92 years old, she had never pulled a passenger train until August of last year. The restored locomotive could now find itself hauling thousands of people in the next few months.'

The agreement is subject to a final inspection by the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway Operating Department at the end of March. Gertrude is then due to arrive in Porthmadog over Easter, and will be steam tested before entering service at the WHHR’s gala weekend on 1–3/5/2010 May. It is not the first time that Gertrude has had an association with Welsh Highland Railway Limited, the charity that runs the WHHR. The locomotive was destined to come to Wales in the 1970s when the organisation was in its early days. It spent some time at Kinnerley in Shropshire, where the company was based at the time, but never made it to Porthmadog.

Mike Hart adds: The loco water tank installed at Caernarfon Station came from the Ironstone Quarry near Banbury in Oxfordshire and was used to fill The Doll and Gertrude.

Bob Rainbow adds: Scenes of her visiting on passenger work are included later in this 11-minute amateur You-tube of the Toddington NG gala last September: www.youtube.com/user/RogerBut

See the Gertrude website for further details and images of the loco.

 

Final Tracklaying Appeal 20/2/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: The train service starts on the WHR on 27/3/10, just 5 weeks away. There are still a number of tasks that need completing before that date and we need as many volunteers as we can muster to complete these. First up is next weekend, 27-28/2/10, when the Blaenau (south) end points go in at Pont Croesor and hopefully we can get the loop completed. This will be the very last bit of track on the reinstated WHR, now's your chance.

The next job comes the following week from Tuesday to Thursday, 2-4/3/10, when we have to lift the fuel road at Dinas, dismantle the yard toilets and clear a space for the green trailer. On the weekend 13-14/3/10 we reinstate the fuel road. Over the period of the next few weeks there will be a lot of other tasks being carried out at Dinas by the full time staff, especially Brian Coldwell and any assistance would be gratefully accepted.

If you can help with any or all of these, please contact me as soon as possible. See Contacts page.

 

Volunteer working party 19/2/10

Simon Melhuish reports: Today we worked at various locations between Ffridd Isaf and Castell Cidwm improving alignments and building a number of ballast retaining walls. It was pretty snowy first thing and we had about 2cm. It snowed on us off and on through the day.

 

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These northerly views (19/2/10) show volunteer work in a snowy landscape. The first view shows work underway near Snowdon Ranger. The second view shows the retaining wall under construction near Glan-yr-afon. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Dr. Simon Melhuish and were taken on a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More engines arrive at Dinas 18/2/10

Two 0-4-0 2' 6" gauge locomotives arrived at Dinas on 18/2/10, No.1 (4wDHF Hunslet 9248 of 1985) and No.2 (4wDHF Hunslet 9262 of 1985). They are believed to have originally come from Shotton Steel built 1985 by Hunslet. There are no makers plates or identifying features. The locos have buckeye couplings and graffiti reads 'Bill' & 'Ben' and 'Ivor', Lakeside Marine Railway, Drax Power Station all in black marker pen. They are intended for heavy shunting use on the WHR/FR network with one allocated to Dinas and the other to Boston Lodge.

Shotton Steelworks (Corus) had a 2' 6" network until quite recently. In March 2009 the Cold Strip Mill was under demolition. This building had retained the last narrow gauge line at Shotton since the stockyard railway had ceased working approximately 8 years ago. The internal system had been worked by 2 Hunslet locos, plus a larger battery loco working on a separate short length of track. All three of the locos left the site in 2009.

Webmaster's note: I worked as a student in Shotton Steelworks from 1970-74 and was unaware of the narrow gauge network- an opportunity missed!

 

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These Dinas views (18/2/10) show side and 3/4 views of the two new Hunslet diesels that arrived at Dinas on 18/2/10. 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 Dinas views (18/2/10) show front and coupler views of the two new Hunslet diesels that arrived at Dinas on 18/2/10. 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.

 

Garratt Progress 17/2/10

No.143 is now disassembled at Dinas with parts lying around the North Yard. The loco is being readied for its 10 yearly refurbishment.

 

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These Dinas views (17/2/10) show parts of the disassembled No.143 lying in the North Yard at Dinas. 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.

 

Pete Waterman's website shows some progress with his Garratt No.109, destined to run on the WHR.

 

Dinas progress 17/2/10

Dinas Yard has been cleared and the intention is to lay additional tracks in the rail stockyard under the crane gantry for stock storage. One of the toilet blocks is to be moved to Caernarfon station as it is of much better quality than the existing Caernarfon toilet block.

 

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These Dinas views (17/2/10) show the North Yard at Dinas. Conway Castle is seen in the cleared area. With the end of the rail stack, the area has been cleared to allow additional track laying for stock storage. The Portacabin style toilet blocks are to go to Caernarfon station to improve the facilities there. 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.

 

Pont Croesor progress 17/2/10

James Cyf. was on site at Pont Croesor working on the walling at the B4410 level crossing. They have a works compound on the site of the entrance to the Glaslyn Osprey Project. There are four lengths of track to lay to complete the loop as well as the south end points. The platform will be on the west side and will be a full train length. The waiting shelter and toilets will be near the level crossing.

FR management is hoping that coach tours will pick up or drop off at Pont Croesor and the car park is to be extended in anticipation. There has been resistance to Beddgelert from coach operator Shearings as it involves a long uphill walk from the coach park and many coach trip users are elderly and infirm. Coach trips may run from Caernarfon to Pont Croesor with the coaches running via the A487 between the two stations. This also avoids the difficulty of coaches passing each other in the restrictive Aberglaslyn Pass.

 

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These southerly and westerly views (17/2/10) show work at Pont Croesor. The first view shows walling being completed at the B4410 level crossing. The second view shows the car park which will be extended to the stone wall near the trees in the background. 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.

 

PW work 17/2/10

With the failure of the KMX tamper in December attention has focussed on getting the machine operating again. The track to Pont Croesor has been ballasted ready for tamping. The KMX has received several visits from experts recently, new parts fitted and it is hoped to have the machine in operation soon as the Matisa tamper cannot pass through the tunnels.

 

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This northerly view (17/2/10) shows the loading of all three ballast wagons sandwiching Upnor Castle at Hafod-y-llyn. Earlier in the day the train had ballasted to Pont Croesor and it was later to travel to Rhyd Ddu. The Hafod-y-llyn area is now fully fenced in. 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.

 

Snowy alpine scenery but no WHR trains 17/2/10

The WHR had no trains operating over the Half Term holiday but the FR did. For the second year running trains on the WHR were suspended for PW work. Most of this work was in fact completed before Xmas so that the Santa and Xmas-New Year Holiday Trains could run. Mountains around the WHR were clad in snow over the Half Term holiday period and while snow fell on some days, others saw blue sky, day-long sunshine and even people in shorts!

 

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These northerly views (17/2/10) show snowy mountains around the WHR at Pont Croesor. The first view shows Cnicht and the Moelwyns with the track ballasted that day in preparation for tamping. The second view shows Snowdon. 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.

 

Tryfan Junction works 17/2/10

Recent progress with Tryfan Junction has seen the platform made ready for tarmacing, posts for fencing along the rear of the platform and a start on a path from the gate at the east end of the site. There will be a special train for WHHG volunteers calling at the halt later in the year but the FR remains ambivalent about opening the halt to the public due to worries about extending the already long journey times.

 

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This easterly view (17/2/10) shows the footpath from the Tryfan Junction platform to the gate in the distance. 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 westerly view (17/2/10) shows the Tryfan Junction platform ready for tarmacing. 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 easterly view (17/2/10) shows the Tryfan Junction platform ready for tarmacing. 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.

 

Nantmor Halt works 17/2/10

Good progress has been made with the construction of Nantmor Halt and the contractor Gelli hopes to finish the job before the end of February. The 2/3 coach platform has been constructed south of the level crossing and is connected by a footpath. A concrete base has been constructed for a waiting shelter. The platform and path will be tarmaced. A standard length train will have the loco in the cutting around the corner stopping at a marker to clear the level crossing. A system for indicating the 'right away' may have to be operated as the loco will be out of sight of the platform.

 

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This southerly view (17/2/10) shows the footpath to the crossing and the platform in the distance. 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 (17/2/10) shows the concrete base just laid for the waiting shelter that the WHRS hopes to be able to fund for this location. 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 (17/2/10) shows the southern end of the platform. The south end of the platform had to be constructed on gabions as a disused access path rises alongside the rear of the platform for a local resident. This path emerges by the concrete base of the future waiting shelter. 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.

 

Porthmadog Bypass works start 17/2/10

The delayed start of the Porthmadog Bypass finally saw work on the ground around the WHR by 17/2/10 with fence lines and centre lines set out. The route will open in late 2011 and the viaduct across the WHR and WHHR between Pen-y-Mount at Gelert's farm may be finished in April 2011. It may well still be under construction when WHR services start to Porthmadog in Spring 2011.

 

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This westerly view (17/2/10) shows the centreline of the Porthmadog Bypass marked out with red pegs. The WHR crosses from right to left on the Creasy embankment. The Bypass crosses the WHR/WHHR just north of the WHHR's 'Fortmadoc' Loco Coal Depot. 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.

 

Tuesday Gang report 16/2/10

Tony Baker reports: On 16/2/10 the gang split into 3 teams. Team 1 finished burying a cable duct at Coed Mawr which will eventually provide a telephone service to Meillionen. Team 2 carried on fitting the anti trespass grids to the level crossings at Hafod-y-llyn and team 3 fitted the corral rails to the posts planted last week at LC 106. Snow showers and sunny periods were the order of the day.

 

Team Wylfa reports 16/2/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Three of us achieved a lot on No.134's cylinder blocks on the evening of 16/2/10. Six more of those pesky, seized cylinder block studs came out, mostly by drilling and very carefully collapsing the remains in on themselves. There's only one of the larger (3/4" BSW) and two 1/2" BSW studs left to remove on the cylinder blocks themselves and four 'easy' ones on the mid frames blast pipe flange now and these should be out at this weekend's monthly No.134 Group working party. Then the cylinder block steam passages, piston valve chests and cylinders themselves can be given a final thorough clean out, working surfaces oiled and temporary covers placed over them until we get replacement studs and start putting everything back together.

 

Bits & Pieces

The WHRS will fund the waiting shelter at Pont Croesor and is appealing for funds for one at Waunfawr as it will be some time before a permanent stone building can be afforded. This will be a double shelter with one containing the operating office and the other, the ticket office, when traffic justifies manning. The cost is about £12,000.

Pullman Observation car No.2100 is off to Olympia from 17-20/3/10 to the 'Best of Britain and Ireland Exhibition' promoting the railway to tourism.

A new Guide Book is due for 2010 covering the whole of the route.

Caernarfon station will get a new toilet block and be repainted for the new season. The old block will go to Dinas as a staff facility.

The last ECS train from Caernarfon frequently had to be divided in the Autumn due to slippery rails. Hopefully the Winter tree cutting campaign will reduce this problem in 2010.

It has been decided to fit out the Pont Croesor level crossing as an AOCL crossing. Work on the halt should be finished by the end of March when the Glaslyn Osprey Centre reopens. With the platform on the west side at Pont Croesor, the loop will initially be LH running for departures. Running around will not trigger the crossing lights unless an overrun occurs.

 

North Wales Gang report 14/2/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend of 13-14/2/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang were in action at two locations again. One team was at Cae Pawb assisting Roland Doyle with the installation of the catch point motors at that location. The other team were at Dinas continuing with tidying up and reconfiguring the facilities in the North Yard. Over the weekend this team also dismantled the bodywork from mess coach No.1000, which was showing the effects of the weather getting at its wooden body framework.

The K1 group were also in action at Dinas over the weekend, carrying out vital maintenance tasks.

I should also like to note that the Society does not necessarily have all the funding for the halt at Nantmor as we do not fully know the final cost. Available funds have allowed us to proceed, in association with the Ffestiniog Railway Co, with the necessary groundworks, platform and fencing as well as approach paths. The shelter, if funds allow, will be on the platform and not on the wide area by the level crossing.

 

Cae Pawb Catch Points 13/2/10

The North Wales Track Gang succeeded in completing fitting of the working catchpoint motor 13/2/10. These links show the first test of the working motor connected to the catchpoint blades on the Porthmadog side of the Network Rail crossing.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 19s of video of the first closing of the catchpoints on 15/2/10. This video was taken by Andy Forsyth.

 

ERTMS news 13/2/10

Trains across Cae Pawb are replaced by buses from 13-17/2/10 as NR tests ERTMS with empty stock Class 158 dmus during the school half term holiday. WCR's new loco for this Summer's Cambrian Coast Express is currently being fitted with ERTMS equipment in the cab/tender. In order to match the load limits of the Barmouth Viaduct it is understood a tender insert is being considered to reduce the coal capacity.

See Network Rail press release.

 

Porthmadog Harbour station alterations 11/2/10

The mitigation works at Porthmadog Harbour Station have seen the construction of a new Spooner's beer cellar. This is in advance of the demolition of the part of the previous modern built Beer Cellar that intrudes into the WHR platform. Demolition of the latter structure will follow the opening of the new building.

 

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This northerly view (11/2/10) shows the new beer cellar at Porthmadog Harbour station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Andrew Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Nantmor Halt works 11/2/10

The WHRCL has managed to get a good contractor at a good price for the Nantmor Halt works. Good progress had been made by 11/2/10 with gabions constructed at the south end to support the lengthened platform. Some £6,500 was raised by appeal in memory of Ben Fisher following his untimely death. Together with a bequest received previously, there is enough money to complete the halt this Spring. With Tryfan Junction and Pont Croesor halts under construction, three new stations/halts may be opened this year.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 10/2/10) show the supporting gabions (rock boxes) being constructed at the south end of Nantmor Halt. These will allow the platform to be extended to the south. The vertical pipes will house the wooden paling to support the rear fence of the platform. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair 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 11/2/10) show the supporting gabions (rock boxes) being constructed at the south end of Nantmor Halt. The land had to be made up and compacted with a vibro-roller to support the boxes. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Stuart McNair and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These southerly views (all 11/2/10) show the platform area being rolled. A wider area nearer the level crossing will allow room for a waiting shelter similar to that at Beddgelert Forest Halt. 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.

 

Team Wylfa report 9/2/10

Clive Briscoe reports: Four of us turned out on a bitingly cold evening (9/2/10) to work on No.134 again. Those pesky seized cylinder block studs were again the priority with another two removed and threads run through with the appropriate sized tap to clean out the final remnants. Also attacked was the LHS valve chest which had most of the carbonised cylinder lube oil chipped out.

It was noted that No.87's tanks have arrived back from the paint shop in Boston Lodge and look superb in their new blue colour scheme. No.143 continues to be stripped for its 10 year boiler overhaul (having been out of ticket since January). The tanks and cab have now been removed.

 

Red and Blue Garratts 9/2/10

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These views at Boston Lodge (both 9/2/10) show the repainted components for Nos.87/138. No.87's dark blue parts are being loaded onto a lorry for return to Dinas, whilst No.138's are readied for reassembly following the 10 year overhaul. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Norman Bond and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 9/2/10

Tony Baker reports: On 9/2/10, the Tuesday Gang worked as 3 teams. One team concreted in a post for a telephone at Coed Mawr at the campsite and then moved on to Hendy where new signs were fitted to the posts recently installed. They then moved to Caernarfon Station where yet more signs were attached to new posts. The second team worked at Hafod-y-llyn installing Trespass Grids at LC's 97 and 98. The third team concreted in 8 posts at LC 106 to which Corral bars will be attached next week. The weather was dry and sunny and not too cold.

 

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This westerly view (9/2/10) shows the Tuesday Gang completing posts for LC106 just east of the Afon Dylif bridge. A kink in the track just west of the bridge needs some attention. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 7/2/10

Paul Bradshaw reports: The small ROWG team (33% up on the previous day) which ventured out on Sunday (7/2/10) were rewarded with excellent weather. The sun shone and it was warm. Llyn Cwellyn was still and the peak of Snowdon sparkled in the bright light. We travelled north from Rhyd Ddu with Upnor Castle and its train (the SAR tool van and No.1001). After collecting concrete walling blocks from where they had been unloaded last Autumn at Glan-yr-afon and near UB36.91 we built three ballast walls at UB36.63 (Bron-y-fedw Uchaf) and one at a culvert near LC36.31 (Bron-y-fedw Isaf). This depleted our stock of blocks so we spent the rest of out time working on the alignment at two locations either side of Snowdon Ranger.

 

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This view (7/2/10) shows Upnor Castle shunting out of Rhyd Ddu yard. The headshunt still has no buffer stop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (7/2/10) shows Upnor Castle passing Glan-yr-afon. In future years this location is an obvious place for restoration by the WHHG with some sidings and wagons and rebuilding of the quarry office/halt in NWNGR style. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steve Broomfield reports: Today (7/2/10) we picked up the works train at Rhyd Ddu. From there we travelled north, picking up 'spare' concrete blocks, left over from earlier ballast wall construction. We then built three further ballast walls, in accordance with Fred Howes' listed requirements, and also sorted out a couple of minor track alignment problems. All this work was carried out between Glan-yr-afon and Castell Cidwm. The turnout of volunteers this weekend (3 on Saturday, 4 on Sunday) has been particularly disappointing, especially in view of the excellent weather conditions.

 

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These northerly views (both 7/2/10) show the placement of ballast retaining blocks at locations north from Bron-y-fedw Isaf. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bodysgallen progress 6/2/10

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These Boston Lodge views (28/1/10 and 6/2/10) show progress on the rebuild of Pullman coach Bodysgallen, No.2115. The first view shows protection of furniture while the ceiling was being painted. The second view shows the new exterior cladding. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Norman Bond and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor Halt works 6/2/10

G. H. James are starting work on the parapet walls on the corner of the road/level crossing and are establishing a work compound. They may also have tendered for the station platform.

 

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This westerly view (6/2/10) shows the James Cyf. work compound at the entrance to the Glaslyn Osprey Project. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Andy Forsyth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Rest of the World Gang report 6/2/10

Paul Bradshaw reports: On a bright sunny day, which makes you realise how splendid it can be to be working on the WHR at this time of the year, a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers from ROWG installed two cable access chambers for the Up and Down home stop boards at Cae Pawb crossing on Saturday 6/2/10.

 

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This easterly view (6/2/10) shows the cable access chamber for the Cae Pawb signals. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Steve Broomfield and was taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Steve Broomfield adds: As there were only three of us, activity was limited to installing access points to the cable ducts to the south and north of Cae Pawb crossing. After digging down to the ducting, we cut into the existing pipework and concreted in pre-formed plastic boxes for subsequent access. These are to feed electrical supply to the 'ladybird' signals, to be installed (later) at the two locations.

 

Team Wylfa report 2/2/10

Clive Briscoe reports: There was small team of 2 (again!) on the evening of 2/2/10. Still, it was very productive with some more of No.134's seized cylinder block studs successfully removed and the threads restored. There are very few left to do now.

 

Tuesday Gang report 2/2/10

Tony Baker reports: Today (2/2/10) we completed the fitting of corral rails to LC105, the site of Hafod Garregog Halt or Ynys Ferlas, whichever you prefer. Both names seem to be used for this location. Eighteen posts were concreted in last week. Another smaller party were fitting anti-trespass grids at Hafod-y-llyn. The weather was showery but nowhere like as bad as had been predicted.

 

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This easterly view (2/2/10) shows work underway at LC105, Hafod Garregog level crossing. The Tuesday Gang has finished the corral fencing. The site of the halt is visible behind the corral and the steel posts which held the name-board are still visible. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Sponsors Train rescheduled to 30/10/10

Andy Savage has written to Sponsors advising them of the necessity putting the Sponsors’ Special back from 27/3/10 to 30/10/10 this year (the public timetable finishes on 29/10/10). The main reason for this is that the Porthmadog Bypass works may be blocking the WHR just south of Pen-y-Mount, though the lack of availability of sufficient motive power would have been an issue as something special was hoped for. By October Network Rail should have the ERTMS system fully up and running on the Cambrian, so it is hoped to go across Cae Pawb Crossing all the way to Llyn Bach. There will be a good break for everyone in Beddgelert and it is intended to offer something really different on the return from Beddgelert to Caernarfon that should be worth the wait.

Some may have already booked accommodation for the 27/3/10 and will be welcome to tour the WHR fully during that day. Tours of Dinas and Boston Lodge can be arranged for sponsors and there is a public service. If there is enough demand Andy will arrange a session to meet Paul Lewin and himself, plus others, where they will talk over plans for the 2010 season and for future WHR projects.

 

Dinas in the snow 31/1/10

Snow fell over a large area of North Wales on the final weekend of January. Both Porthmadog and Dinas had a smattering but it soon disappeared.

 

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This southerly view (31/1/10) shows snow lying at Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Marcus Ingram and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 31/1/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend of 30-31/1/10 we had a good turn out of volunteers which enabled two jobs to be tackled, namely:-

We had a mixture of snow, frozen ground and sunshine to contend with.

 

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This view (30/1/10) shows work underway fitting the catch point motor on the north side of Cae Pawb Crossing. The North Wales Track Gang goes to considerable lengths to ensure a level finish. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Jim Comerford 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 31/1/10) show the fitting of the point motor to the north catch point at Cae Pawb Crossing in snowy conditions. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Jim Comerford and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd tour delay

Replica L&BR loco Lyd will be launched at the FR's Quirks and Curiosities Gala 30/4/10-3/5/10. Following running-in over the Summer, the loco will now visit the L&BR later than expected during the L&BR's September Gala. This may allow the loco to appear at the WHR's SuperPower Gala 11-12/9/10.

 

Porthmadog Bypass start 29/1/10

Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones marked the start of construction of the Porthmadog Bypass on 29/1/10 by planting a tree in one of the landscape areas in the development. Work on the viaduct over the WHR and WHHR, just south of Pen-y-Mount, is scheduled to be completed this year before the WHR opens to Porthmadog. Work on the bridge under the FR, just east of Minffordd will be undertaken next Winter and the road opened in 2011. See BBC website.

The final road improvement to affect the WHR will be a A487 Caernarfon Bypass from the north end of the existing Pen-y-Groes bypass south of Llanwnda to the west end of Y Felinheli Bypass east of Caernarfon. This is likely to cross the WHR just north of Bontnewydd Halt. Planning has started for this section of the A487.

 

Team Wylfa report 26/1/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We worked on No.134 again on Tuesday evening (26/1/10). The main task was to continue running taps through the various sized cylinder block stud holes to clean them out after previous stud removal. Doesn't sound much of a job, but the 7/8" BSW ones for the cylinder cover studs did need some 'grunt' and helped warm us up in the cold shed! There only remain about 8 various sized sheared studs to remove between the two cylinder blocks and clean the threads out - most have been pilot drilled ready for this final assault.

The valve chests and cylinders were given a quick clean out. There was quite a lot of carbonised cylinder oil deposited in the valve chests. Some was up to 3/4" thick and required a hammer and chisel to carefully break out. Most is now out and both cylinders and valve chests are looking good. We'll continue with a final clean out and oil the machined surfaces in the next week or two.

The last remaining steam cleaned driving wheelset in the shed (there's still one outside) got a final wire brush and a coat of red oxide primer.

The Sunday No.134 working party (24/1/10) had finally got the rear drawbar out - with the aid of a gas axe the burn the pin out. Also the front SAR style coupler was removed without resorting to the gas axe. The wasted frame in way of the firebox on the LHS has now been built up and ground back smooth, the RHS remains to be so treated.

 

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These Dinas shed views (both 26/1/10) show the left hand cylinder stud removal and the right hand cylinder with studs out. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Clive Briscoe and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 26/1/10

Tony Baker reports: Today (26/1/10) we worked at LC105, the crossing to the Osprey caravan, at the site of the former Hafod Garregog Halt. The job was to concrete in the posts for the corral rails. Some 12 corner posts and 6 intermediate posts were installed. Next week when the concrete has set we will fit the rails themselves. The bottom rail forms the base of the anti trespass grids.

 

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This view (26/1/10) shows work underway at LC105, Hafod Garregog level crossing. The Tuesday Gang goes to considerable lengths to ensure a level finish. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Tony Baker and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Working Week report 25/1/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: We worked on the other rail, north from the Hafod-y-llyn Isaf farm crossing (LC103), chasing the rail gaps until the start of the big curve round into the long straight. There we introduced a stagger. At the end of the day we were within a few lengths of the end of the curve. I bashed rocks near Pont Ynys Ferlas (the Afon Nanmor Bridge).

 

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These southerly and northerly views (both 25/1/10) show the results of rock bashing just north of the Afon Nanmor bridge after an hour's bashing with a 14lb hammer! 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.

 

Working Week report 24/1/10

Dr. Simon Melhuish reports: We worked north from Hafod-y-llyn Isaf, re-gapping the rail on the west side. We got to the end of our previous re-gapping exercise, south from Hafod-y-llyn, so it worked out just right again. We also slewed the alignment in places to make the curves just a little sweeter. Around the crossing by Mr. Parry's farm we moved a lot of ballast to improve the approach for vehicles.

 

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These northerly and southerly views (both 24/1/10) show LC100 and Upnor Castle with the works train, just north of the crossing. 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.

 

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This view (24/1/10) shows marks of the rock close to the Afon Nanmor bridge which requires trimming to ease the structure gauge to acceptable limits. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Dr. Simon Melhuish and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

NG15 report 23-4/1/10

It took some effort to remove the rear draw bar over the weekend of 23-4/1/10. It seems No.134 had sustained a very heavy collision to the rear at some point in its career and some plate-work is also bent. By the end of Sunday the rear draw-bar had yielded using the 'gas axe' on its pin. More work took place on horn guides, removal of cylinder studs and the painting of some of the wheelsets. It has been decided to replace the drain cock valves in stainless steel.

See NG15 Page for a full report.

 

Working Week report 23/1/10

Andrew Thomas reports: The Rest of the World Gang were back to Hafod-y-llyn Isaf for the never-ending challenge of making a 21st Century railway fit neatly onto the course of a 20th Century one built on the cheap. We now have an inviting looking straight stretching into the distance across the Nanmor bridge and a series of curves that look good for 20mph. Due to the realignment, we're still chasing gaps headed north towards the loop at Hafod-y-llyn to gain the extra rail we now need to join the railway up again. Due to weeks of surveying, levelling and relaying in this area, it's hard to find a foot of rail or a sleeper that doesn't have some strange and arcane chalk mark on it.

 

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These northerly and two southerly views (all 23/1/10) show the completion of work on Hafod-y-llyn Isaf curve. The first view shows Upnor Castle on the PW train. The second view shows the gang slewing the curve and the third view shows the finished 20mph curve. 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.

 

Summit Sign 22/1/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: On 22/1/10 the North Wales Track Gang (BHG) completed mixing and pouring concrete into the base of the Summit Sign. However the sign itself was not put up, its legs need to be installed and this will happen later. Paul Bradshaw and the ROTWG are starting a week long working party on Saturday. They aim to complete the work on the track at Hafod y Llyn Isaf.

 

Summit sign_PR22-1-10.jpg (60603 bytes)

This southerly view (22/1/10) shows the complete concrete base for the Summit Sign in Summit Cutting between Pitt's Head and Pont Cae'r Gors. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Peter Roughley and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

2010 timetable review

The 2010 timetable was published in January with services extended by 3 miles to a new loop at Pont Croesor in May. Services commence on Saturday 27/3/10 and continue until Friday 29/10/10 (Half Term Holiday but without the final weekend!). Trains operate almost every day except some Mondays and Fridays in April, May and October judged as days that holidaymakers travel to/from North Wales. Workings to/from Caernarfon at the start and end of the day are not shown for the second year in succession as they are deemed ECS workings, which do not carry passengers. The 1705 evening train (Red and Yellow timetables) will not stop at Bontnewydd Halt. This train may become a 'Food on the Move' service on certain days in the peak.

There are six different timetables with evidence of yield management heavily at work. The timetable looks like a rainbow in places e.g. there is a different timetable for every Monday in July. All trains are shown running to Pont Croesor with a footnote saying services should extend south from Hafod-y-llyn on Thursday 27/5/10. Until then, trains will return directly to Beddgelert after running round and wait time there. Surprisingly, Hafod-y-llyn Halt will be closed after the extension is opened. The Tuesday Gang has only recently built the platform there!

Train running times are either 2 hours or 2 hours 15 mins to Pont Croesor with sectional times improved after the major trackwork over the Winter closure. Round trips are between 4 hours 10 mins and 4 hours 40 mins and, despite the length of the route, can still be achieved with two train sets. Beddgelert is reached in 1 hour 30mins or 1 hour 50 mins and 20 mins (15 mins on some of the last trains) is allowed at Pont Croesor for running around and a toilet break. Some 25/30 mins are allowed for the Beddgelert-Pont Croesor running times. All trains pass at Rhyd Ddu except for the early train in the RED timetable that passes at Waunfawr.

The Purple timetable consists of one train a day, the 1100 from Caernarfon. This runs on off peak Mondays and Fridays, including some in July! The Lilac timetable shows two trains a day at 1000 and 1210. The second is planned to be diesel hauled, though may be steam hauled when locos/crews are available. This timetable runs at off peak weekends and some off peak midweek days. The Green and Blue timetables add a 1440 departure and run at 'shoulder' weekends and some off peak midweek days. The Yellow timetable adds a 1705 diesel hauled evening run. The train operates at Bank Holiday shoulders and 'travel to holiday' days in July and August. It gets back to Caernarfon at 2115, so in the early and late season part of the journey will be in the dark. The Red timetable adds an 0800 Dinas-Beddgelert (Only) diesel service that is designed to pick up campers etc. who are looking for a day out in Caernarfon. It departs Beddgelert at 0930.

Click here for the timetable.

 

Team Wylfa report 19/1/10

Clive Briscoe reports: We finally made it back to Dinas. Well, just 2 of us on the evening of 19/1/10. We worked on No.134 - removal of the remaining seized studs in the cylinders is still the No.1 priority. Several of the few remaining cylinder cover studs were pilot drilled ready for extraction and one of the small valve chest drain flange studs was successfully extracted. Also, most of the fore end footplating studs that were drilled before Christmas were successfully collapsed and removed.

Another working weekend on No.134 is planned by the No.134 Group this weekend. Prior notice of attendance to Andie Shaw is required - see the NG15 website for contact details.

 

Cae Pawb crossing equipment base complete 18/1/10

The signal cabin will go where the old one was (as close to the position as can be determined – it will look the same anyway) but the relays will be in the cabinets on the new base. This is because there is precious little room in the cabin itself and installation and maintenance will be easier if the kit is on WHR land. Once the cabin is built, the control panel for the signals and trap points will be moved into it from one of the location cabinets.

 

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This southerly view (18/1/10) shows the complete concrete base for the location cabinets in the north east corner of Cae Pawb crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Ray Jarvis and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

ERTMS commissioning

It is looking increasingly likely that the Cambrian ERTMS commissioning date will be in March, rather than the February Half Term date previously announced.

 

Summit Sign 18/1/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Today, members of the Black Hand Gang were at work at the line's summit, between Pitt's Head and Pont Cae'r Gors (Summit Cutting) completing putting concrete in the base for the summit sign, which has been commissioned by the Society's North Wales Group. Hopefully the sign will be installed by the end of the week.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 16-17/1/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend 16-17/1/10 the North Wales Track Gang (Black Hand Gang) were in action again at two locations. A small group were assisting Roland Doyle at Cae Pawb to continue with the work of installing the mechanism for the catch points on the southern approach to the flat crossing with Network Rail. The rest of the gang were continuing with the realignment of the track curve between Hafod-y-llyn Isaf farm crossing (LC103) and Pont Ynys Ferlas (LC196). Once track around the curve had been aligned to the correct curvature that had been calculated using the Hallade system, the track panels were connected back to the rest of the track. Two panels remain to be done as well as correction of expansion gaps at rail joints north of LC103.

 

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This view (16/1/10) shows the workings of the point motor for the southern catchpoint motor unit. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Jim Comerford and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This southerly view (16/1/10) shows the point motor and detector fitted in place. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy Jim Comerford and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These westerly, northerly and westerly views (all 17/1/10) show the fitting of the point motor and detector at Cae Pawb NR Crossing South. The first view shows the interior of a point motor. The second view shows the point motor and detector in position and the third view shows the western point motor. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Britannia Bridge issues 13/1/10

FR Co. Statement 13/1/10:

'As part of its project to rebuild the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, the Ffestiniog Railway was granted rights under a Transport and Works Act to construct the basic railway at this location. The tracks across Britannia Bridge have been in place since June 2008, together with bilingual signs warning road users of railway tracks in the road and advising cyclists to dismount and walk across.

Before any road/rail crossing is brought into public use, the railway company concerned must apply to the Secretary of State for a crossing order. This process requires consultation over the design of the crossing with all statutory bodies including the police and relevant highway authorities.

Over the last four months, informal consultation meetings have been held with the Office of the Rail Regulator and statutory bodies ahead of the formal application for a crossing order which will be submitted during January 2010.

Once this order is granted the work will be completed on the crossing including the road markings and installation of traffic signals. The crossing will then be brought into use. Regular public train services across the bridge will not start until the Spring of 2011.

The police wrote to us last summer expressing some concerns over the short tramway section of track across Britannia Bridge. We responded to that letter at the time and believe they were reassured on all the points raised and that the matter is now closed.

Once the railway is complete, around six train movements are expected on a normal day. Each takes less than two minutes and train speed will be limited to five mph as a primary safety measure.

Until the crossing design is finalised and approved the company has covered the rails with tarmac enabling traffic to flow in exactly the same way it did prior to the installation of the track. The completed crossing will make full provision for pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic to interact safely with railway traffic. Cyclists will be diverted via a clearly marked route which takes them safely over the rails.

The company understands that there is also a plan to extend the existing cycle track across the Cob embankment around the back of the Inland Revenue offices and thence to Llyn Bach, avoiding the Britannia Bridge completely.

When essential engineering train movements are required prior to the completion of the crossing, traffic management is put in place whilst the tarmac is removed and the train worked across the bridge. The tarmac is then replaced immediately afterwards.'

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, January 2010

The statement follows revelation of correspondence between the police and the FR last July reported in the local press and the BBC website.

 

Cae Pawb crossing works 12/1/10

Work has started on the Cae Pawb Crossing controls. A concrete foundation is being cast on the north east corner of the crossing for the location cabinets that will control the crossing. The heritage style crossing cabin was planned for the northwest corner of the crossing in its original location.

 

S14_AS12-1-10CP crossing base.jpg (78591 bytes)

This southerly view (12/1/10) shows Jarvis employees building the concrete base for the location cabinets in the north east corner of Cae Pawb crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Pont Croesor opening May

The WHR will open to Pont Croesor for the Spring Bank Holiday in May (31/5/10). Passengers will be able to alight and visit the adjacent Osprey Centre. The WHRCL was taking decisions on 12/1/10 and the intention is to have one full length platform on the west side of the loop at this stage with a shelter and toilets. The improvement in speed limits achieved over recent months on the existing line will mean that the 2 mile extended journey will have little impact on the overall journey time.

 

January Track Gang appeal

Paul Bradshaw reports: The start of the 2010 running season approaches rapidly. At the end of March trains will run to Hafod-y-llyn as they did in 2009. It is planned that trains will be running to Pont Croesor from late May. Before the season starts there are many tasks to complete. To that end we have a working “week” planned this month. It starts on 23/1/10 and runs through to 31/1/10. We have work to do on Phase 3 and other jobs south of Hafod-y-llyn. Why not join us whether for the whole week or part of it? We need your help.

If you need more information or, even better, you want to let me know that you can join us see Contacts page. I look forward to hearing from you.

Paul Bradshaw, Trackwork Volunteers Co-ordinator Welsh Highland Railway

 

Team Wylfa cancelled 12/1/10

Team Wylfa on 12/1/10 was cancelled due to the predicted heavy snowfall in North Wales.

 

Red NG16s

With No.138 soon to appear in red, Raymond Guy from Capetown (South Africa) has provided this image of a red NG16 in service.

 

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This view (1980s) shows red liveried No.116 ready for the off at Port Shepstone. This NG16 belonged to the then ACR and was taken when ACR was at the height of its activities back in the 1980's. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cae Pawb crossing

The plan is for Cae Pawb to have location cabinets installed and the interlocking commissioned in the next few weeks to coincide with NR's February half term blockade of the Cambrian Coast Line for ERTMS commissioning. There will be either two or three cabinets. The crossing cabin is a longer term project. It should go in this year but is not on the 'critical path' as far as getting the signalling equipment sorted out.

 

Tryfan Junction working party cancelled 9/1/10

The WHHG working party planned for 9/1/10 at Tryfan Junction has been cancelled. The next working party will be in February. It is hoped to have the platform ready for a special planned for 1/5/10, when members of the WHHG will be allowed to get off at the platform. Public opening could follow after the halt is passed by HMRI. For full details see WHHG website.

 

Loco report 6/1/10

Castell Caernarfon is receiving attention in Dinas Yard. The loco bonnet has been removed and attention is being given to the gearbox. Both the Funkey diesels have transmission/gear box issues and are without key components at the moment.

 

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This westerly view (5/1/10) shows the maintenance of Castell Caernarfon at Dinas following a heavy snowfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.87 is on ambulance bogies at the moment whilst its own bogies receive some Winter maintenance.

 

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This northerly view (6/1/10) shows the maintenance of No.87, now on accommodation bogies, at Dinas following a heavy snowfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is 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 (5/1/10) shows Conway Castle at Dinas following a heavy snowfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart (WHRCL) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 5/1/10

Tony Baker reports: Six stalwarts braved the snow and ice to continue the work on the crossings at Hafod-y-llyn. The animal guards are now complete at LC 96/97 but until the pickup is repaired we cannot complete the crossing timbers at this location. By 1430 the snow was becoming quite heavy and not wishing to spend the night at Hafod-y-llyn we made our way home on the long way round via Tremadoc!

 

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This southerly view (5/1/10) shows the Tuesday Gang working on the level crossing animal guards at Hafod-y-llyn during a heavy snowfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (5/1/10) shows the snowy mountains as seen from Hafod-y-llyn during a heavy snowfall. 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 5/1/10

Clive Briscoe reports: A very Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you all had a good Christmas. Just a quickie to let everyone know that should you fancy burning off some of the Christmas pud and haven't joined in any of the many other post Christmas bashes run by other groups, we'll be restarting at Dinas on Tuesday evening 12/1/10, 7pm as usual. Unless any other orders come in from on high to the contrary, we'll be continuing work on NG15 No.134. There's some very meaty 7/8" BSW studs (and stubs of studs) to remove from the cylinder blocks that will tax our muscles plus many other smaller jobs.

 

K1 working party cancelled

This weekend's K1 working party (9-10/1/10) has been cancelled due to the weather. The next scheduled working party will be 13-14/2/10.

 

No.134 report 3/1/10

Andie Shaw reports: This is a quick up date on a small working weekend on the NG15 No.134 held this weekend 2-3/1/10. A good start was made on the weld repair about half way through the left side - fumes were not as bad as feared so will continue with this next time. We also removed a lot of the studs from the cylinders. The right hand side studs were completely removed with just 3 to drill out as these are sheared off. The left side on going. For a full report see the NG15 website.

 

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This Dinas view (2/1/10) shows the weld repair in progress. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Dinas view (2/1/10) shows quenching the studs after heating. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

134_AS3-1-10 436.jpg (46334 bytes)

This Dinas view (3/1/10) shows grinding weld repair on frames were they where they were badly corroded above the rear frame stretcher under the ashpan. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This Dinas view (3/1/10) shows all studs removed from rear of right hand cylinder. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

134_AS3-1-10 440.jpg (71380 bytes)

This Dinas view (3/1/10) shows heating the studs to remove them. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andie Shaw and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales Track Gang report 2-3/1/10

Dafydd Thomas reports: Over the weekend of 2-3/1/10 the North Wales/Black Hand Gang continuing with the job of realigning the track from UB196 to LC103 (from the Afon Nanmor Bridge to Hafod-y-llyn Isaf farm). The Rest of the World Gang had continued with relaying the track on the curve between these two points, on a slightly different alignment (further from the rock face), from Wednesday (30/12/09) to Friday (1/1/10). The NW/BHG checked the alignment, measuring the chord throughout the two curves; it will then be possible to give the exact amount to nudge the rails at set locations to give an even smooth curve. We also checked the vertical alignment and where necessary jacked and packed the track. Sounds simple but it involved shovelling a lot of ballast. The track has not been reconnected at LC103 as the joint gaps north of this point need to be adjusted.

 

S11_SB2-1-10HYL isaf curve in snow.jpg (65905 bytes) S11_SB2-1-10snow on Afon Nanmor straight.jpg (59468 bytes)

These southerly and easterly views (both 2/1/10) show early morning snow south from Hafod-y-llyn Isaf (Parry's farm) LC103 and onto the long straight over the Afon Nanmor bridge. The track has been moved further from the rock cutting face. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Steve Broomfield and were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DSC-FS3 digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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These easterly and northerly views (both 3/1/10) show the track being lifted and ballasted. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Keene and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Finally WHR in snow 2/1/10!

The last day of the Winter service saw snow lying at Rhyd Ddu. Passenger services do not resume until 28/3/10 and snow is less likely at Easter.

 

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These southerly views (both 2/1/10) show K1 and No.143 rounding Ffridd Isaf curve in the snow on the final passenger train of the Winter service. This was the first time there had been lying snow at Rhyd Ddu when a passenger train was running for many years. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Keene 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 2/1/10) show K1 and No.143 arriving at Rhyd Ddu on the final passenger train of the Winter service. The snow had almost disappeared by the time the train returned in the second photo. 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 (2/1/10) shows the No.143 leading K1 out of a snowy Beddgelert. Unusually, No.143 was leading on this final return journey of the season as on previous days K1 had been piloting so it could be removed easily at Dinas on return. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright David Firth and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Porthmadog Harbour snow 2/1/10

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This easterly view (2/1/10) shows Blanche and Prince shunting at Harbour Station following a heavy snowfall. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHR snow 2/1/10

Chris Dearden reports: It snowed pretty hard in Porthmadog on the afternoon of New Year's Day for the first time since early 2000, and by next morning, there was still enough around for some nice pictures. Volunteers carried on working, finishing off relaying the main line. The job was almost complete, but needed a clear up train to remove old rails and scrap metal ...... something which wasn't easy to do with some of it buried under the snow!

 

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This northerly view (2/1/10) shows the orange Ruston diesel from Hoveringham Quarry heads up the line away from Gelert's Farm with a New Year works train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This westerly view (2/1/10) shows Simplex No.4 stands at Pen-y-Mount. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/1/10) shows Simplex No.4 pauses along the WHHR main line with a rail recovery train after re-laying over the Christmas holidays. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/1/10) shows the spiky form of Cnicht dominates the background as the works train pauses to collect scrap left over from the main line. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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This northerly view (2/1/10) shows the spiky form of Cnicht viewed across the fields with the WHHR track gang and the works train becoming orange dots in a scene dominated by the Snowdonian mountains. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Chris Dearden and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHR in the snow 1/1/10

Andrew Goodwin was lucky with the snow on 1/1/10 and has kindly provided this YouTube clip of the WHHR.

 

Click on the YouTube box above to watch 0 min 40 seconds of video of PW working at Gelert's Farm on 1/1/10 in the snow. This video was taken by Andrew Goodwin on a camcorder.

 

Track gang report 1/1/10

The combined track gangs were in action at Hafod-y-llyn Isaf (Mr Parry's farm) on 1/1/10. It soon became clear that we were short of 100mm to close the gap. There was snow on the rails!

 

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These southerly and westerly views (both 1/1/10) show the track lifted south from Hafod-y-llyn Isaf (Parry's farm) and the 100mm gap that was left. There was snow on the rails! Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Keene and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

S11_AK1-1-10HYL curve S.jpg (112368 bytes) S11_AK1-1-10LC103N.jpg (89298 bytes)

These southerly and northerly views (both 1/1/10) show the smooth curve formed south of Hafod-y-llyn Isaf (Parry's farm) with the track further from the rock face and the track to be laid across LC103 to complete the relaying job. Click on the images to enlarge. These images are copyright Andy Keene and were taken on a digital camera. Images post processed using iPhoto Plus4 and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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