WHR

News Archive Page

2017

V4.1 updated 2/3/17

with news to 31/1/17

 

Newly archived sections are placed at the top of this page. This page contains archived news from 2017.

 

Caernarfon station works 31/1/17

This northerly view (31/1/17) shows contractors using the station car park to store the new sewer pipes ready for the diversion works which are about to start. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Martin Hallett and was taken on a Samsung phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 news 30-31/1/17

Two new shiny vacuum reservoirs have been made and fitted into the reclaimed brackets. Both have now been fitted to the cradle and painted. Both vacuum cylinders purchased from Sandstone have been fully refurbished and both have new stainless steel shafts. The brackets have also been refurbished and are now ready to be installed. For full story and images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

KS4415 report 26-29/1/17

Recent progress with original F&WHR shunter KS4415, a diesel pioneer loco that was trialled on the WHR in the 1920s, has been detailed on the KS4415 support group's website. In February 1929 the loco was used on the three times weekly Dinas-Beddgelert service after fitting with a vacuum brake. Work on the 1/2" thick frames is nearing completion and well as the chassis. Some 14 photos of progress from 29/1/17 on the sub-frames, brake hangers, spring slippers, radius rods etc. is shown on the KS4415 Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon station works 27/1/17

Gwynedd Council are taking the opportunity to clear the wall of vegetation whilst the site is clear of the new works. They did the section alongside the old car park a couple of weeks ago and are doing this work under possession as they need access along the trackbed.

Drainage works should start on 30/1/17. The pipe running down the wall is not that which is being diverted but the main sewer from a manhole in the roadway just short of the tunnel mouth to a point by the old car park entrance. The pipe down the wall will remain: it is in fact just an overflow for times of extreme weather. There will be a new connection with the diverted drain. It is a pity it is not being removed as it made the track alignment through the station awkward to say the least.

 

This southerly view (27/1/17) shows GC contractors using a cherry picker to clear the Segontium Terrace retaining wall of vegetation before construction of Caernarfon Station starts. In the background the repaired section that collapsed can be seen. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Martin Hallett and was taken on a Samsung phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR turns down NG13?

Steam Railway reports that the WHR has turned down and offer of an NG13 Garratt No.60 (of 1927), currently based in Switzerland at the Schintznacher Baumschulbahn Garden Centre railway (slow website!) A private individual connected with another Welsh narrow gauge railway is currently negotiating for its purchase (VoR? Brecon Mountain? Bala Lake? Penrhyn Quarry?).

 

This Swiss view (unknown date) shows NG13 No.60 on display at the SchBB garden centre railway depot at Schintznach-Dorf, Switzerland. The loco is probably too big for the tight curves on this railway. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy SchBB and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Ex-FR van gets Lottery Award

A £5,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund will see the ex-VoR cattle wagon, used on the F&WHR until recently, restored for used in their demonstration freight train. The GWR built two of these for the VoR when they took over in 1923 but freight services were withdrawn almost immediately due to lack of traffic. In 1937 they were re-gauged and used on the W&LLR from where one was purchased by the FR in 1960 and re-gauged back to 2' for use as a stores van. The vehicle was sold back to the VoR in 2015 and is unlikely to have seen any use on the WHR. The VoR's apprentices will be restoring the van to its original height and refurbishing the running gear.

 

Webcams back on line 27/1/17

The Harbour Station and Tan-y-bwlch webcams are back on line allowing the public to observe the WMWP construction work. It appears that a section just beyond the king point is complete and ballasted. See F&WHR webcam.

 

Coach No.2047 26/1/17

It appears that WHRSoc. funded coach No.2047 will soon be ready for service in time for the new season in March. It has been painted but there are still odd jobs to do. The coach matches No.2046, which entered service in March 2014, in having panoramic windows and a large door at one end for mobility access.

 

This Boston Lodge view (26/1/17) shows new WHR coach No.2047 on display after being hauled out of the Paint Shop by works shunter MOEL-Y-GEST. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Norman Bond (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (26/1/17) shows the interior of new WHR coach No.2047. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Norman Bond (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 17-26/1/17

It appears that investigative work on diverting the sewer that crosses the site has been completed as the site had been levelled and cleared by 25/1/17. The road tunnel (former rail tunnel) under Y Maes will be closed for two weeks from 6/2/17 in association with these works and improving access to the station.

James king adds: Paul Lewin told us last October, the work on diverting the Caernarfon sewer was planned to be done in two stages. The first stage was to dig the appropriate trench to the required depth, and to rock-peck any lumps of solid rock which could otherwise get in the way of the diverted pipe. The plan was that the trench would then be back-filled with the material which had been extracted, so it might look like the pipe diversion had been completed. The second stage, which I suspect has not yet started, will be to re-excavate the trench and lay in and connect the new sewer pipe, with the solid knowledge that they only have to excavate loose material, thus removing a major unknown factor from this sub-contract.

Stuart McNair adds: The drainage work is not even started. The road closure is not entirely due to the drains but is in connection with the alteration to the roundabout.

 

This northerly view (17/1/17) shows excavation of the sewer trench at Caernarfon Station by James Cyf. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Valentine and was taken on an Asus mobile 'phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/1/17) shows the sewer excavation works apparently completed at Caernarfon Station and the site backfilled levelled with all plant apparently removed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Valentine and was taken on an Asus mobile 'phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (26/1/17) shows the road tunnel next to Caernarfon Station will be closed for two seeks from 6/2/17. There are various surveyor's markings on the pavement near the tunnel showing work is about to get underway at this point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Valentine and was taken on an Asus mobile 'phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cob PW work 25/1/17

On 25/1/17 Porthmadog Harbour Station was full of locos and stock involved with the relaying of track on The Cob. Criccieth Castle is stabled on the Welsh Highland platform (in front of two DZ wagons carrying ballast, a mini excavator and a small tracked dumper) while Harlech Castle sits in the Ffestiniog platform, between the Mess Coach and the PW Department's tool train. The KMX tamper/liner has just arrived in the station area, while three loaded ballast hopper wagons sit in the station sidings, presumably loaded in the Llyn Bach car park area. Any photos of PW trains being loaded would be welcome. See F&WHR Facebook page for more photos.

 

This easterly view (25/1/17) shows work underway on the Cob PW works. Diesel locos Criccieth Castle, Harlech Castle and the KMX are all visible in Porthmadog Station yard. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/1/17

Tony Baker reports: Back in October we dismantled the decommissioned crossing at Y Goppa LC 40:99 (Summit Cutting) and all the timbers were left at the side of the track until services ceased. On Tuesday 24/1/17 with the aid of the rail skate and a possession we recovered them and took them to Dinas South Yard. Here they were sorted into reusable and firewood. All nails were removed from reusable and stored for future use.

 

Dinas update 22/1/17

Tom Waldren reports: Last weekend (22/1/17), the North Wales Track Gang (Black Hand Gang) began preparation for fencing off the platform at Dinas. This is required because, recently, some motorists have decided that it is acceptable to drive onto (and even park on) the platform!

 

This northerly view (22/1/17) shows foundations for a new platform fence being erected at Dinas following incursions by cars apparently. The entrance gatepost is next to the station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (22/1/17) shows the foundations with the station building in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (22/1/17) shows the foundations south of the station building with the De Winton 3' gauge Llanfair coffee pot loco, ex-Penmaenmawr Quarries, in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

NG15 No.134 progress report 21-22/1/17

Volunteers are looking forward to another year and fresh enthusiasm after the set back of the move out of the Engine Shed last year. After a number of working parties of consolidation involving moving into the new store/workshop, not far away from but in the same block as where they started out they are back working on the loco again.

Work centred on the pony truck axle boxes and some measuring up taking place on the main loco frames to assist the continuation of the sand-box designs and proposing a design for modifications to the front drag-box to take the F&WHR's standard coupling. As the old South African coupling cannot be used this was removed from the loco's front drag-box a couple of years ago. Details of the F&WHR's standard coupling have been provided and so it was time to check actual measurements against the builder's drawings. Various parts on the loco have been modified whilst in service in South Africa so the drawings do not always correspond to actuality! Volunteers then pencilled a drawing of how they want to modify the drag-box to take the new coupling and so this will be drawn up in CAD and sent to the F&WHR for approval and integration into their drawings.

With further consideration being taken regarding the sand boxes, especially the position of the two new rear boxes that will be required for regular reverse running, one final last check was made against the builder's drawings to ensure sufficient clearance was available against the boiler cladding. A view of the relative boiler position against the running plates had been extracted from the drawings and put into CAD to check those clearances. Doing this was especially important as it is likely the loco will have a slightly thicker layer of insulation around the boiler and thus a slightly larger overall diameter. Some adjustments were needed to the sand box drawings however. Having inspected the frames, it became clear further modification of one of the new rear sandboxes will be required to be able to fit steam sanding equipment.

Volunteers are concentrating on getting the two pony trucks back under the frames and so spent the weekend refurbishing the four axle box castings. The group had originally looked at replacing the conventional oil pad bearings with roller bearings as on the NGG16s, however an alternative solution has been proposed that would involve using the casting much as they are. Volunteers therefore spent time thoroughly cleaning these, including the internal oil ways that allow lubrication to get to the side thrust bearings which were all found to be blocked to some extent! With the axle boxes thoroughly cleaned with the last of the fine rust layer removed, and whilst one pair had already been primed they had suffered a bit in the intervening time so were re-cleaned, all four were then painted in primer. Volunteers give these an undercoat next time.

For full details and images see NG15 No.134 website.

 

Hugh Napier in Manchester 19-22/1/17

Hugh Napier visited the Caravan and Motorhome Show at Event City in Manchester to advertise the F&WHR to the staycation public. There were several such events last year, mostly advertised well in advance.

 

This Event City view (19/1/17) shows Hugh Napier on display at the Caravan and Motorhome Show. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

'FR 1964' Pathé Newsreel

The Pathé Company has a search engine that allows its vast archive to be searched for topics such as the FR, which produces four results (some of which are on YouTube-see below)...See Pathé website.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 1 min 38 seconds of video featuring the FR in 1964. This video was taken on a professional film camera by Pathé Newsreel who used to provide news features as short features for cinemas. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

T&BFCR Co. Inaugural Meeting 28/1/17

With the inaugural meeting planned for 28/1/17, development of this railway in the WHR's back yard, so to speak, will be of interest to the F&WHR either in competition or providing an additional attraction to bring holidaymakers to the area. The meeting takes place at the Trawsfynydd Lake Cafe (next to the Nuclear Power Station) at 10am for 11am start. The meeting is for members only but membership can be purchased on the day.

Please find below a few objectives and clarifications as published by the T&BFCR Co. last year:

 

NR test train to Blaenau 20/1/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 7 min 44 seconds of video featuring 37604 and 37608 in Europhoenix livery on an NR test train visiting Blaenau Ffestiniog and testing both the platform and run round tracks. How long before we start seeing last minute 'out of gauge' cancellations for steam trains on this route? It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Bontnewydd/Caernarfon Bypass delays 18/1/17

The BBC website reports that contractors are concerned that no date has been set for the Public Enquiry into environmental issues on the route of this bypass, work on which was planned to start last year. The appointed joint venture contractors Balfour Beatty/Jones Bros (Ruthin) will have set aside resources and may have rejected other work so that they are available for the construction project. Any further delay could damage their profitability. The £90 million bypass route runs from the west end of the Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwig) Bypass at Plas Menai roundabout, around the south of Caernarfon to terminate at the north end of the A487 Pen-y-groes Bypass (Goat roundabout), south of Dinas. The route crosses the WHR just north of Bontnewydd Halt where passive provision will be left for a possible TRAWS scheme to reopen the Bangor-Afonwen railway thereby completing a Cambrian Coast rail link.

The initial delay suggested work would start in August or September 2017 (see Construction Enquirer website) but work on the bypass cannot now begin until 2018, given a positive outcome to the Public Enquiry, as tree clearance is banned during the 2017 nesting season and no advance work has been done. The bypass consists of alternating 3 lane sections to provide overtaking opportunities in each direction but strangely does not have a junction with the A4085 Beddgelert Road, despite much holiday traffic going into that valley. When complete the bypass will relieve daily commuting congestion in Caernarfon and Bontnewydd as well as easing access by holiday traffic to the area, particularly to Porthmadog and the Llyn Peninsula from the A55 North Wales Expressway.

 

Cob PW work continues 17/1/17

This easterly view (17/1/17) shows Criccieth Castle on a the pw train carrying ballast and an excavator to relay track on The Cob. The loco is propelling the rake off the WHR and may have collected this load in Llyn Bach car park. Criccieth Castle must stabled in Porthmadog Harbour station as the railway is currently pulled up along The Cob. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 17/1/17

Tony Baker reports: On Tuesday 17/01/17 we completed the second of the two foot crossings at Tan-y-Bwlch station. There was a bit more work on this one as it contained a fishplate which meant that extra notches were needed to be cut to clear the fishplate nuts. Weather was mild and a bit drizzly with not the remotest chance of a bit of snow even on high ground.

 

This northerly view (17/1/17) shows work on the foot crossing next to the footbridge at Tan-y-Bwlch on the FR. Preparation of notches in the timbers to clear the fishplate nuts was an additional task. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (17/1/17) shows work on the foot crossing next to the footbridge at Tan-y-Bwlch on the FR. The finished job look s very neat. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR update

The hoped for Crowdfunded loco No.08757 has now gone to the Telford Steam Railway and was delivered there around 16/1/17. The T&BFR does not own a share and Crowdfunds raised will be put to the establishment of a depot at Maentwrog Road station yard with permission of the donors. There is another working party on Saturday 21/1/17 intending to clear track near Cwmbowydd Road l/c Blaenau Ffestiniog. The following Saturday 28/1/17 is the group's inaugural AGM starting at 10am for 11am at the Trawsfynydd Lake cafe.

A copy of the photographic souvenir brochure provided to passengers on the special 'last train' run by the SLS on 22/1/61 has been uploaded onto the BF&TR Soc Facebook page including several photos of the line.

 

Brexit risks/benefits

Steam Railway, reporting on Brexit risks and benefits, has identified significant risks to peripheral railways like the Bodmin and Wenford, which is a long way from population centres and has a small local population, as is the F&WHR. With inflation rising due to the collapse of the pound after the Brexit vote and petrol prices now rising above £1.15, even at supermarkets like Tesco, the cost of visiting the F&WHR has increased markedly. The Governor of the Bank of England has advised consumers against using credit cards as forecast inflation, with imports costing more because of the falling pound, will leave households with less disposable income to spend on holidays etc. Stay-cation may increase as foreign holidays are now much more expensive and foreign tourism may also increase as their dollars and euros will be worth much more in the UK. No-cation is also likely to increase with family's only being able to afford the odd day out at Easter/Whit/Summer if inflation continues to grow as predicted. Hopefully foreign visitors will make up for any decrease in UK holidaymakers in North Wales.

 

Timetable corrections/Snow report

Corrections have now been uploaded to the F&WHR website to accommodate the revised date of SuperPower in September. The next train services will be over the Half Term week 18-25/2/17. Trains will be running from Dinas to Beddgelert at 10:15 and 13:30. A return services is possible from Beddgelert at 12:00. It is possible there may be snow at that time of year but no snow is forecast around the WHR up to 24/1/17.

 

SuperPower 15-17/9/17

After initially being advertised as 6-8/9/17, the F&WHR Facebook page now advises that SuperPower will be held a week later in the year 15-17/9/17, later than in recent years. The move was to avoid a conflict with the popular Festival No.6 at Portmerion.

 

No.130 progress 14/1/17

No.130 is making steady progress in Dinas works. Various parts have recently been delivered including gland packing, pipework for the boiler cradle and water bleed valves. The vacuum cylinder is being fitted to the cradle and attention has been given to a problem with a component that would have caused the loco not to 'notch up' evenly. For full details see No.130 Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon road works 11/1/17

This easterly view (11/1/17) shows roadworks alongside Caernarfon Castle on the hill down from Y Maes to improve access to the WHR station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Snow report 11/1/17

Finally it seems Rhyd Ddu area is predicted some snow on Thursday evening 12/1/17 and all day Friday 13/1/17 at Snowdon Ranger. It is forecast to remain cold for the week ahead too. Sadly there are no trains running unless there are departmental workings. Any photographs would be welcome.

 

The Cob works reveal FR archaeology 10/1/17

Relaying work on the Cob has revealed numerous stone sleepers including two rare full length ones and some longitudinal wooden ones. It is hoped a full archaeological survey can be carried out before new ballast is placed. For images see F&WHR Inside Facebook page.

 

New large picture formats 10/1/17

As from 10/1/17, all images received will be available at full resolution. After clicking the thumbnail, the images should automatically rescale to your screen size. Clicking again will expand the image to full size (where available) and use of the side and bottom sliders can allow visitors to this webpage to exam a smaller section of the image in full resolution.

 

Tuesday Gang report 10/1/17

Tony Baker reports: Refreshed after our Christmas break we descended upon a drizzly Tan-y-Bwlch to continue with the installation of new crossing timbers on the foot crossings to the island platform. The Blaenau end had been finished before Christmas and the old timbers removed from the Porth end also. The new timbers were cut to size, positioned and marked up for drilling and the cutting out of the notches. Next week it is hoped to complete this work and the Building Dept. can then finish the fencing.

 

This easterly view (10/1/17) shows timbers for the foot crossing next to the footbridge at Tan-y-Bwlch on the FR. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (10/1/17) shows timbers for the foot crossing being marked up. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New 2017 timetable

The new timetable for the 2017 season was released on 10/1/17. See F&WHR website. The Green (Dinas-Beddgelert) timetable is as advertised from 18-25/2/17. this is followed by the Brown (Porthmadog-Hafod-y-llyn) timetable MTFX 1-23/3/17 with two services to Hafod-y-llyn as last year. The main Yellow off-peak (Caernarfon-Porthmadog) timetable kicks off from 25/3/17 with occasional MFX and runs with many peak Red timetable days interleaved for Easter and Whit Bank Holidays etc. until the end of July. The red timetable runs for the whole of August and a few days in early September. The Yellow off peak timetable appears again for the remainder of September and (mostly MFX) October. However the Yellow timetable covers the full period 21/10-4/11/17 recognising that school Half Term holidays now cover two different weeks and extend into November.

Winter services from 6/11/17 are still under consideration. Updated timetables will be issued later in the year. There will be a number of special trains including:

The Snowdonian on 8/4/17, The Snowdonian Limited on 10/6/17, shuttles on 19-21/5/17 for RailAle, shuttles and specials 8-10/9/17 for Superpower, a Halloween Special on 31/10/17 and Santa Specials on 9-10 and 16-17 and 21-22/12/17.

There are two special timetable days: a Purple timetable operates on 10/7/17 with departure from Caernarfon delayed until 1030 to accommodate the arrival of an excursion. The 12/5/17 sees an extra train running as the 0940 from Porthmadog and the 1700 return in connection with the Caernarfon Food Festival.

 

Inaugural Meeting of the BF&TR 28/1/17

Although clearance work started last September, the Inaugural Meeting of the Society will take place on Saturday 28/1/17 at the Trawsfynydd Lake Cafe. Anyone interested should arrive in good time for the start of the meeting at 10:00am for an 11:00am start. All members of the society are welcome and membership subscriptions will be available on the day. The agenda will be posted shortly. Elections will take place for positions on the Committee. The positions will be advertised shortly. Members should apply by email to secretary@bftr.co.uk with their membership and contact details and a short description of why they would like to join the committee and what they can offer the Society. This must be submitted by midnight on Saturday 14/1/17.

The BF&TR has expressed its hope it can share Blaenau Ffestiniog station with NR/F&WHR. This could be achieved by splitting the NR platform with a removable stop block half way along the platform to allow longer inbound excursions to operate and run round. Initially BT&TR trains might operate with a DMU or in push-pull mode. However, if agreement cannot be reached with NR/F&WHR for BF&TR trains to run round in Blaenau Ffestiniog, possibly with a token controlled trap point protecting the Conway Valley line, the BF&TR has alternative plans for a Blaenau terminus.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 10/1/17

This southerly view (10/1/17) shows excavation of the sewer at Caernarfon Station by James Cyf. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Valentine and was taken on an Asus mobile 'phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (10/1/17) shows excavation of the sewer at Caernarfon Station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Andy Valentine and was taken on an Asus mobile 'phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR TrainSim

For those who, like your webmaster, have not travelled on the Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd railway in the past, Peter Proctor has designed a good TrainSim showing a view from the cab of a DMU on the route with a TrainMaps insert that shows progress of the train across the map of the route.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQN1UkYzkZA

 

Dan Snow on Channel 4 10/1/17

If you missed the previous showing, Dan Snow's documentary on Lloyd George, featuring Boston Lodge, watch Channel 4 on 10/1/17 from 21:00 to 22:00.

 

Spooners closed from 9/1/17

Spooners Cafe/Bar is closed for professional refurbishment and is likely to be completed within 4 weeks.

 

Caernarfon works 8/1/17

This northerly view (8/1/17) shows the temporary stopblock used to protect the sewer works while the buffer stop (visible on right) has been removed.. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on an digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (8/1/17) shows sewer work beginning on site at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on an digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cob Relaying 6/1/17

This westerly view (6/1/17) shows removal of track on The Cob as part of the WMWP. Work was not stopped by heavy rain. The work begins at the station's king point and works east towards Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Dinas works update 5/1/17

It was 152 years ago on 5th January that the FR officially opened for passenger services. Pullman Observation Car No.152 is taking shape in the workshops at Dinas and will be moved to Boston Lodge Coach Works for completion in the Spring. It's sister Observation Car, No.150, was completed two years ago to mark the 150th anniversary. Perhaps No.152's planned appearance in the 152nd anniversary year is the reason it is not numbered next in the numerical series as No.151.

 

BF&TR Soc news

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society has a new website. There is also a YouTube of recent progress just beyond Blaenau Ffestiniog station on the closed section to Trawsfynydd showing three months of progress, published 4/1/17.

 

Start of works on Caernarfon station 5/1/17

Andy Valentine reports: I noticed on 5/1/17 at 10:30 that James Cyf and Cyngor Gwynedd (Gwynedd Council-Ed) workers/vehicles were in attendance to open up the Caernarfon Station site, presumably to commence the sewer works.

 

BFI FR Deviation video

Click on the British Film Institute video link to watch 30 minutes of the early history of the FR's Deviation featuring the Rhoslyn spiral and the opening of Dduallt station. If you watch films of this era carefully you might see your web-editor's teenage self working in the spiral cuttings from 1968.

 

Volunteer Information update

Paul Lewin (Director and GM F&WHR) advises: There is a so much going on and so many projects in hand that the Ffestiniog Railway Society has arranged a meeting to which all F&WHR volunteers and employees are invited to come along and get a full update. Managers and project leaders will be on hand to give briefings and to answer your questions. There is no charge for attendance. Lunch, tea and coffee will be provided. This year, the location is Grappenhall Village Hall, which we have chosen because it is easily accessed from the rest of the UK by road and rail. We look forward to welcoming as many of the team as possible. Please book by using the registration form below by email to jfenner@ffwhr.com. If there are any specific questions you would like the company to address, please send them to John Fenner at the same address as soon as possible.

Venue: Grappenhall Community Centre, Bellhouse Lane, Grappenhall, WARRINGTON, Cheshire WA4 2SG.

Registration will close on Monday 16/1/17.

To register, follow the link on the FRS website.

 

Welsh Pony update 4/1/17

More images of Welsh Pony were released on 4/1/17 showing good progress to that date. The original regulator valve has been refurbished and fitted inside the steam dome. New bronze castings have been delivered for the safety valve, whistle manifold and axleboxes. Meanwhile the new tender components await riveting. Welsh Pony's old tender is in use with Linda having previously been coupled to the other large England Little Giant. The loco was displayed until recently with a wooden tender from Princess. Click on the F&WHR Insider page for several photos of progress.

 

This Boston Lodge view (4/1/17) shows the front tubeplate of the boiler and steam dome completed. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 18 mins 6 seconds of video featuring progress with the rebuild of Welsh Pony published 4/11/17. This video was taken on a professional Betamax camcorder by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Cambrian Coast 150

Chris Magner reports: I hope everything possible will be done to commemorate the 150th of the amazing Cambrian Coast Railway on 10/10/17 (1867 to 2017). There were no JCBs for Thomas Savin and his men in 1867. So pleasing that in a recent survey the Coast Line has been voted in the top ten railway journeys of the World. I urge everyone to do all they can to ensure the two Class 37/6 locos of West Coast Railway work excursion trains to Pwllheli (There are currently no Cambrian excursions planned for 2017 and neither were there any in 2016 following problems guaranteeing the availability of drivers for the NR 97/3s-Ed). Remember in BR days there were on selected Sundays in the 1970s up to four loco hauled trains on the Coast Line. I know as Max Boyce said 'I was there'. Come back now the 'Cambrian Coast Line Action Group'. It was a big mistake when they folded.

 

Happy New Year!

Your webmaster would like to wish all readers a happy and successful New Year. There will be changes to the website with larger pictures and the webpage will be archived monthly rather than fortnightly.

 

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Page Version 4.1 Dated 2/3/17