WHR

News Archive Page

2017

V4.1 updated 4/9/17

with news from 1/7/17 to 31/7/17

 

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

 

No.138 31/7/17

This southerly view (31/7/17) shows No.138 stabled alongside No.87 and Vale of Ffestiniog at Boston Lodge. The motive power department will be glad to have three Garratts available over the peak timetable period. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 29/7/17

Good progress has been made with the new boiler at Adam Dalgleish's works in Stockton-on-Tees. Firstly, the thick bed plate was carefully set up level. Then the foundation ring was fixed and the frame onto which the boiler barrel would sit was constructed. The tolerance needed is very precise and, with the aid of digital measuring devices, it needs to be within 0.1 of a degree. The two outer wrapper plates have been fixed and braced.

 

No.138 progress 28/7/17

This southerly view (28/7/17) shows No.138 piloting No.87 all the way to Porthmadog on a very wet start to the School summer holidays which saw waterfalls in full spate. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 27/7/17

This northerly view (27/7/17) shows the appearance of large machines at the Caernarfon station site. In the background a tracked auger at work. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (27/7/17) shows the auger at the Caernarfon station site. The roundabout is still not complete as it appears people have been driving straight across, unused to the new 'shared space' style of roadway, which some find dangerous. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS4415 Update 26/7/17

Due to a temporary lack of space at Boston Lodge the rolling chassis of KS4415 was propelled to storage in Minffordd Yard by Criccieth Castle. The gearbox was returned to Boston Lodge from Minffordd for examination. See KS4415 Facebook page for images.

 

Coach No.1001 progress 25/7/17

Martin Kressman reports: Work has restarted on Mess Coach No.1001. On Tuesday (25/7/17) we were grinding down to bare metal around the side door openings to enable them to be welded shut. (The WHR Mess Coach is former Admiralty Chattenden and Upnor 'Combination' coach purchased from the South Tynedale in 1989 and before that used previously on the Welshpool & Llanfair-Ed).

Richard Watson adds: The Chattenden & Upnor Railway ceased to be called that in 1906 - thereafter it was known as the Lodge Hill & Upnor Railway. I too thought it was the C&UR until I researched the history of the loco Upnor Castle - see my article at Welsh Highland Heritage Journal. (Also see Wikipedia -Ed).

 

Tuesday Gang report 25/7/17

Tony Baker reports: Today we were at LC 53:06 Erw Fawr (Large Acre). Our job was to replace the ballast in the two foot with new centre timbers and to investigate why the gates were difficult to close. The weather was hot which slowed us down somewhat. The difficulty in operating the gates was due to rotting gate posts which will hopefully be dealt with in due course. Next week we will return to replace the rotten outer timbers.

 

This westerly view (25/7/17) shows the decayed side timber at Erw Fawr level crossing, north of Croesor Junction. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (25/7/17) shows work underway removing ballast and replacing with new central timbers at Erw Fawr level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (25/7/17) shows No.87 approaching Erw Fawr level crossing, with the 1000 ex-Caernarfon, passing Ynys Fach. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (25/7/17) shows No.87 approaching Erw Fawr level crossing, with the 1255 ex-Porthmadog, having rounded the Croesor Junction Deviation. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/7/17) shows preparation of new crossing timbers at Erw Fawr level crossing, with Cnicht in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (25/7/17) shows the new central crossing timbers complete at Erw Fawr level crossing, with Snowdon in the background. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

SuperPower update 15-17/9/17

SuperPower this year celebrates the fact that the Snowdonia National Park is now an International Dark Sky Reserve, only the tenth place in the world to gain this status. There will be a number of special opportunities for visitors to enjoy the new status. On the Friday evening at Dinas there will be a talk by award-winning local dark sky photographer Kris Williams for members and event rover ticket holders.

Dinas will also be open all day on the Saturday. There will be the opportunity to check the progress on NG/G16 No.130, NG/G15 No.134, and K1. Quarry Hunslet Lilla will also be in steam offering short train rides.

'Dark Sky Wales' will also be at Dinas with their 'Digital Planetarium' complete with stunning visual shows designed by professional astronomers. In the planetarium guests will enjoy a tour of the heavens looking at constellations and the mythology including tales from the Mabinogion. It is possible to zoom in to the planets and explore them in detail before venturing out of the Milky Way and visit other galaxies. This amazing experience can be booked online here.

A cafe/bar will be open all day in the Goods Shed. Also on the Saturday, there will be a guided walk from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert, covering local history and the National Park's dark sky status.

Details of special trains are as yet unclear. However Heritage Railway magazine suggests there will be several after dark special workings. sunset is about 1940 at Porthmadog during the SuperPower event. 

SuperPower tickets are available to purchase online here, and it is hoped to provide more detailed information regarding other special attractions in due course.

 

Scots Guardsman runs to Blaenau 25/7/17

One of the increasingly rare mainline steam excursions works into Blaenau Ffestiniog today hauled by Royal Scot Scots Guardsman No.46115. The train is the 'Welsh Mountaineer' from Preston organised by the RTC. This may be the last steam run of the season as it appears that there are only two diesel hauled excursions to North Wales in the second half of the year.

 

Dinas changes 24/7/17

This southerly view (24/7/17) shows the garden of the recently acquired Station View bungalow, destined to become a volunteer hostel. The overgrown garden is being cleared as the house is about to be let on a temporary basis. The overgrown Leylandii were removed by a specialist contractor. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Russell Campaign

Chris Magner writes: 2017 is the 80th Anniversary of the old Welsh Highland Railway closure. Since 1988 Russell has been on the FR (twice, 1988 and 1990-Ed) and the new WHR (SuperPower 2000-Ed). A Welsh Highland Heritage Railway train has reached Beddgelert (Gelert 29/12/12-Ed). The one thing that many want to see is Russell at Beddgelert. Whilst there would be some technical adjustments made to achieve this nothing is impossible for this to take place. When Russell was on the FR in 1988 it took a lot of co-operation between the volunteers at Boston Lodge and Gelert's Farm to make this happen. I would welcome a campaign for this.

 

No.134 report 22-23/7/17

With lower temperatures, the group got more done this month. The arrival of the manufactured castle nuts for the fitted bolts allowed volunteers to move into the final stages of the reassembly of the axle boxes onto the pony trucks. Previously, they had started to ream out the holes for the fitted bolts however, the fitted bolts could not be tightened or in some cases actually inserted without fear of upsetting the positioning of the axle boxes so work had stopped. With the nuts now in the Group's possession volunteers tightened those bolts already knocked into their holes on the rear pony truck. They were then able to drill and ream out the remaining holes and fit and tighten the bolts for those. This now means the rear truck is almost complete. Volunteers will give them a final tighten and fit the split pins next time. At the same time they will also drill the holes needed to fit the split pins to the bolts holding the truck centralising spring unit into place. This last outstanding job should mean that the rear truck will be ready for fitting to the loco once the wheels are refitted.

On the front, Krauss-Helmholtz truck, the Group fitted and tightened the bolts to the 12 holes already reamed out. There are a further 8 holes to ream and fit bolts to however. This truck is much heavier so it will need a bit of serious manhandling to get the truck into position to be able to drill them as the holes are in a different plane to the previous 12. Volunteers also fully tightened the centralising spring unit onto the truck's frame and started to drill the holes in the bolts and fit the split pins. Running out of time on the Sunday they only managed two of the eight so the rest will be done next time.

A few more of the cylinder casting cladding attachment holes were cleaned and tapped, however there are still a few more to do in much more awkward positions. Volunteers were also asked to look at the manufacture of the cladding for the cylinders. For this they resorted to their tried and tested method of a cardboard template. It was decided to split the cladding in the vicinity of the revised larger drain cocks to be able to actually fit it. Once the template was made, volunteers cut out the steel sheet to the overall outline. All the 'fiddly' hole cutting will be done next time.

See NG15 No.134 Facebook page for images.

 

WHR views 22/7/17

This northerly view (22/7/17) shows No.87 southbound at Beddgelert. The KMX tamper-liner is in the siding to the left causing a shadow. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (22/7/17) shows the new ivory and green livery applied to buildings at Beddgelert with ebony fence paint. The KMX tamper-liner can be glimpsed in the siding on the left. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (22/7/17) shows the recently repainted Romanian carriage No.2060 at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on an iPhone 4 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 22/7/17

Clive Briscoe reports: The nuts for the fitted bolts had arrived so most of the fitted bolts that had been fitted in the axlebox/pony & K-H truck got hardened up. There are still a few holes to ream so that is tomorrow's job. Down in the carriage shed, where No.134's rolling chassis is, two of us made a cardboard template for the cylinder cladding. On Sunday steel sheet will be cut.

 

BF&TR working week

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway is having a working week at its Maentwrog Road depot from 29-7/17 to 5/8/17. During the week they hope to uncover the site of Trawsfynydd Lake Halt. See BFTR website. For the people who never saw the line in action, lots of images are being contributed to their Facebook page showing the railway as it was with nuclear flask traffic, explosives traffic, Sunday special DMUs and excursion traffic etc.

 

Work finally begins on Caernarfon Station building 20/7/17

With work now complete on diverting the recently discovered gas main that crossed the site, the site of Caernarfon station building was marked out on 20/7/17.

 

This northerly view (20/7/17) shows the completed diversion of the gas main as evidenced by new tarmac in St Helens road. The station site is now free to be marked out for the construction of the station building over the next several months after months of unexpected delay after discovery of the gas main. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/7/17) shows surveyors marking out the site for construction of the station building to begin. In the background, the roundabout is still not fully completed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/7/17) shows surveyors marking out the site for construction of the station building to begin. The temporary disabled access runs along the foot of the retaining wall and is closed off from the worksite by Heras site fencing.. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Glyn Valley Tramway moves forward 20/7/17

As one door closes, another opens. The Glyn Valley Tramway has advised of progress starting out from Chirk station towards Pont Faen about 1km along the Ceiriog Valley. Progress has been delayed by the illness of the Trust's chairman but it is hoped a 30 year lease of the station site will soon be signed along with agreement with NR to allow tree removal and site clearance. See GVR Trust Facebook page.

 

Electrification halted 20/7/17

Wires will stop at Cardiff, the Government has decided, reports the BBC. So Swansea trains will be operated by bi-mode trains which will switch to diesel power west of Cardiff. See Wikipedia IEP for full details about the Intercity Express Programme. See Hitachi website for full details about the Class 800/801 Hitachi bimode trains. TRAWS hope that the money saved could be used towards the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line and Bangor-Afon Wen link to reconnect the Cambrian Coast Line as a North-South Wales link. The Government also cancelled the Kettering-Sheffield electrification promised to Nick Clegg when he was deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Liberal Democrats and a Sheffield MP in the Coalition Government 5 years ago. Also cut was the Windermere Branch which Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats until 20/7/17, had campaigned strongly for.

On the plus side the Tory/DUP Coalition has suggested it will offer improved journey times and connections in North Wales but with no specifics.

 

Welsh Electrification dropped 20/7/17

Elsewhere the Government announced on 20/7/17 that it has cancelled Cardiff-Swansea electrification. However there would be improved journey times and connections across North Wales, which could improve public transport options for those visiting the WHR..

 

Beddgelert changes 19/7/17

This southerly view (19/7/17) shows the planters removed from the platform at Beddgelert and the space filled with tarmac. The planters were getting ravaged by sheep. The KMX tamper liner is making use of the siding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 19/7/17

No.130's reverser is practically finished. Many of the components that make the reverser were life expired or so worn to make them unusable. So the Dinas staff have carefully restored the reverser bracket and components. It can soon be mounted on the cradle. Progress has also been made with the boiler. The outer wrapper plates have been fixed to the foundation ring. The tubeplate complete with gusset stay has been fitted and riveted and the crown stay holes drilled and reamed on the outer crown of the boiler. Soon the outer and inner firebox will be positioned ready for final fitting. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Tuesday Gang 18/7/17

Tony Baker reports: On the 18/7/17 we were at LC 53:96 Gatws Bach where we changed a rotten centre timber. Usually we find both centre timbers will have deteriorated but in this case only one had. The job still took the same amount of time though.

 

This northerly view (18/7/17) shows the decayed central timber at Gatws Bach level crossing, north of Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/17) shows the decayed central timer at Gatws Bach level crossing removed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/17) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting notches in the new timer to fit around track clips. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (18/7/17) shows the finished job at Gatws Bach level crossing removed. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size (where applicable). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.138 out on test 18/7/17

No.138 was out on test on 18/7/17 after an extensive overhaul. The loco piloted No.87 to Rhyd Ddu and was shunted onto the back of No.143's northbound service there. No.138 was hauling the water wagon as Plas-y-nant bridge is no longer able to take two Garratts. Having three Garratts available will give maintenance cover over the Summer peak season and allow interesting workings in super Power in September.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 5 mins19 seconds of video showing No.138 out on test on the WHR published 18/7/17. The loco has been rebuilt over the last year and is seen double heading with No.87 with the water wagon sandwiched between them. The loco was removed at Rhyd Ddu and shunted the water wagon onto the rear of No.143's northbound rake. This video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Another Garratt for Wales 17/7/17!

The Vale of Rheidol reports the arrival of a new locomotive at Aberystwyth. NG G13 No 60 was built in Germany to a British design and operated in South Africa. More recently it worked in a garden centre in Switzerland (see earlier story). After careful negotiations, meticulous planning and an 800 mile journey it has arrived in Aberystwyth via Allelys Heavy Haulage. The privately owned locomotive will enter the VoR's workshops for overhaul. It may be used to occasionally bolster the railway's resident motive power fleet in future years. See VoR Facebook page for video and Press Release. Maybe, with the surfeit of motive power, the VoR will at last be able to return the favour of the loan of Palmerston and allow one of their ex-GWR side tank locos to visit SuperPower.

 

Penrhyn Railway closes 15/7/17

The Penrhyn Quarry Railway heritage operation, which only started in 2012 at Felin Fawr near Bethesda has been closed down after just 5 years of existence. The line was revived over a short length of the original PQR at the former Coed-y-parc depot in Bethesda with plans to extend north towards Bangor as far as Felin hen. The trackbed was largely clear. The locos and equipment are being moved elsewhere, possibly to other sites including the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. The gala planned for 22-23/7/17 has been cancelled along with all future events. A new company had been formed last year to operate the railway and regular services started only in February. See Daily Post report.

 

Replica Ashbury coach for F&WHR

Boston Lodge is to build a replica Ashbury brake carriage for the F&WHR, presumably No.22 and finished in Maroon livery to match No.24. This will enable a NWNGR vintage train to be run with No.24, a replica built in 2002 and finished in NWNGR maroon livery. Construction (by volunteers) will start after the completion of FR replica Ashbury No.21 to appear. The WHHR at Gelert Farm has two restored NWNGR coaches, one restored and the other a replica.

Heritage stock

NWNGR No. Running No. Owner Notes
8 29 WHHR Gladstone Car built by Metropolitan C&W
9 25 WHHR Replica of an Ashbury
10 23 WHHR Buffet Car built by Ashbury
11 26 F&WHR Normally runs on FR, built by Ashbury, re-bodied
12 23 F&WHR Normally runs on WHR, built by Ashbury, carried No.24 on WHR
13 28 F&WHR Scrapped. Built by Ashbury
14 27 F&WHR Scrapped. Built by Ashbury
  21 F&WHR Replica Ashbury being built for F&WHR
  22 F&WHR Replica Ashbury being built for F&WHR
  24 F&WHR Replica of No.23, an Asbury Summer coach in NWNGR Maroon.

 

Class 319 Flex for Wales

The Welsh Government is to provide two thirds of the funding to ATW to lease 5 Class 319 Flex electro-diesel units, which used to run Thameslink commuter services from Bedford. The move will allow Class150/158 DMUs to be taken out of service and upgraded for Reduced Mobility Requirements. See Railway Gazette story and Global Rail News. As it seems the units will be used in the Cardiff Area there are still hopes of some decent loco hauled trains as a follow on order for Transpennine's Class 68 plus Mk 5 order for the North Wales-South Wales/Birmingham/Liverpool (via Halton curve -see below)/Manchester services.

 

No.130 update 16/7/17

The process of rebuilding the geometry of the power bogies is well advanced and the new horns of the leading power unit have now been fitted. They need to be hardened before final fitting and then the axleboxes can be white metalled and machined to fit. It will not be too long before the first power unit is re-wheeled.

 

Work starts on Halton Curve 14/7/17

Work has started on the long standing Halton Curve project to re-link Liverpool Lime Street and North Wales. The 1.5 mile route links Runcorn on the WCML and Frodsham on the Manchester-Chester route and crosses the more westerly of the two 'coat-hanger' bridges over the M56 (the other carries the WCML). Work is due to be completed in May 2018 with services starting in December. See BBC report. It is hoped the link will bring additional passengers by public transport to the WHR, though initially, passengers on the hourly service will have to change at Chester. The local passenger service was withdrawn from the line as long ago as 5/5/75.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the line was used by a scheduled summer Saturdays-only return service between Liverpool Lime Street and Llandudno but this ended when the double track was reduced to a single line in 1994 following the privatisation of British Rail. At the same time, the associated double points and diamond crossings for southbound trains were removed from both junctions. Only northbound trains (Frodsham to Runcorn) were left able to use the line and it was re-classed for single-line working. Railtrack's decision was based on reducing maintenance costs and, by removing the crossings and points on the West Coast Mainline, increase through-train speeds between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe.

To avoid the expense and inconvenience of a statutory closure process for Halton Curve, a summer dated Parliamentary train continues to run (northbound only), the 0753 SO from Chester to Runcorn 27/5/17-9/9/17.

 

Palmerston School Special 12/7/17

About one hundred pupils plus staff from Ysgol Eifion Wyn Junior School Porthmadog enjoyed a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway to Beddgelert and back on 12/7/17 in glorious sunshine.

 

This southerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston crossing Pont Croesor with a three coach school special to Beddgelert and Minffordd. The rake comprised the Victorian livery curly roofed van, a bowsider and a bugbox. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston climbing the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank, the start of the steep climb to Rhyd Ddu. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston taking water from the heritage tank after running around at Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston descending the Aberglaslyn Pass. It is interesting to note that vegetation has finally begun to grow on the copper contaminated embankment 100 years after construction following the addition of some soil during the WHR construction. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (12/7/17) shows Palmerston at the foot of the 1 in 40 Nantmor Bank, about to pass through the short Hafod-y-llyn works train loop. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Moving wheels No.8 12/7/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 22 mins 35 seconds of video detailing recent events on the F&WHR published 12/7/17. This video has been produced by John Wooden (F&WHR). It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Gobowen station secured for rail use 11/7/17

Gobowen station buildings, largely empty for more than 10 years, have been purchased with help from the local councils, who offered a grant and loan amounting to£110,00. The station will be owned by the Oswestry Station Building Trust. This is the Cambrian Heritage Railways junction with the Wrexham-Shrewsbury line. Having recently received a TWA they are now hoping to open from Gobowen to Llynclys, through Oswestry station which may compete with the WHR. Cambrian Railways completed purchase of the bay platform and coal yard a few years ago and now own the whole route from Oswestry into the station. The campaign to save the station from private ownership is featured on their forum. The future of the tenants, the booking office run by Severn-Dee Travel (originally set up by girls from Moreton Hall Girls' School) and the station cafe run by pupils with learning difficulties from Derwen College, is secured. See Parish Council press release and Shropshire Star story.

 

Caernarfon Slate Quay project wins £3.5m grant 11/7/17

The Daily Post reports that the Caernarfon Slate Quay project, covering the area of derelict land between Caernarfon Station and the Harbour Master's Office opposite the castle, has been awarded an improvement grant. The grant' of almost £3.5 million, comes from the Heritage Lottery fund and will allow artisan workshops and holiday lets to be constructed on the site, including Beics Menai bicycle hire. The money is part of a £15 million EU funded scheme 'Caernarfon Tourism Attractor Destination'. The WHR has enjoyed considerable funding from the EU over the years and similar funding may dry up in the future if Brexit goes ahead. See also BBC story.

 

West Midlands Group meeting Thursday 13/7/17

Dave Waldren advises: PLEASE NOTE that due to illness, the next meeting of the WHR West Midland Group has been changed. We will no longer be entertained by Robert Pettitt on ‘Feldbahnen’, and we send Robert our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Instead, Dave Waldren will be presenting an evening of narrow gauge indulgence! In the first half, he’ll be showing a selection of unpublished vintage narrow gauge railway images from his collection, dating from the 1930s to the 1970s. In the second half he will be showing some recent videos, taken at this year’s Beer Festival, ‘Quirks II’ and the Group visit to the Downs Light Railway.

A warm welcome awaits all; come along and enjoy an evening with us regardless of whether you are a WHR Society member or not. The meeting will start at 7:30pm prompt, The Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane) Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA

 

Appeal for help with SuperPower

The F&WHR needs volunteers to prepare for SuperPower and to put it all away again afterwards. People are needed Wednesday and Thursday 13-14/9/17. Those who are travelling some distance would be welcome to join the North Wales Group for their monthly meeting at the Mountain Rangers Social Club, Rhosgadfan, on Wednesday 13/9/17. Help is then required Friday to Sunday 15/9/17-17/9/17 to help with stewarding, manning stands etc all through the day and evening on both Friday and Saturday. Finally assistance will be needed to put it all away again on the Monday 18/9/17. Anyone who would like to be involved in this popular event please let Tym Crowther know your availability and the F&WHR will find you something to do. Contact Tym Crowther – andy@tymcrowther.eclipse.co.uk

 

Timetable change 10/7/15

A special timetable ran on the WHR on 10/7/17 for the Belmond 'Grand tour of Great Britain' to visit the WHR. The normal 10 am departure from Caernarfon was re-timed to 10:30. The FR's observation car No.150 was been added to provide two first class coaches to accommodate the luxury tour participants.

 

New BF&TR website 10/7/17

A new Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Co. website has been launched. The group is still working at Maentwrog Road and Cwmbowydd crossing with volunteer work parties every weekend to clear the line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd lake of undergrowth.

 

Lyn steams at Keef's 9/7/17

Replica L&B Baldwin loco Lyn was steamed for the first time at Keef's factory near Ross-on-Wye. See Lyn homepage for video of this event. Rumours persisted that the 2-4-2 pannier tank loco would be trialled on the WHR but it will now be delivered direct to Woody Bay in September after fettling work at Keef's and be launched at the L&B Gala over the weekend of 20/9/17-1/10/17. There is hope the unique loco will come to the WHR next year as the F&WHR lends Lyd, another L&B replica, to the L&B Galas regularly. The Lyn Supporters Group still needs to find £25,000 to finish the loco and paint in SR green.

 

Welsh Pony progress 8/7/17

This Boston Lodge view (8/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler now with some additions to the firebox. Gauge glasses have been fitted. The mounting for the regulator is apparent and a Salter's safety valve fitted supported by a more modern safety valve hidden inside the brass dome. Supports to carry the rear frames that the cab will be built on are visible. The boiler still needs the smokebox fitting to the front. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

BF&TR update 8/7/17

After some recent personnel changes a new website has been produced. A deposit has been paid for the chipper and work is in progress this weekend clearing several buddleia bushes from south of Cwmbowydd Road level crossing in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Up to date images of progress are available on the BF&TR Facebook page.

 

No.130 progress 5/7/16

The manifold (completed in 2016 and stored since) was delivered to Dinas at the end of June ready for the delivery of the new boiler. In early July the water pipework, including the sieve box, were finished and fixed to the cradle. New ball valves have been fitted and just need the flexible hose fitted to the tanks.

 

L&B gains Local Plan approval 5/7/17

The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, which frequently guests the F&WHR's Lyd, has been pleased to hear that the Exmoor National Park Authority has unanimously approved the Local Plan which includes reinstatement statement of the L&B and planning protection for its trackbed and infrastructure. This may be the reason for the 12 month delay in receiving planning permission for the section of the Killington Lane to Blackmoor Section which it is now hoped will receive approval on 5/9/17.North Devon council approved the section south from Blackmoor Gate to Whistlandpound station as long ago as June last year. The railway has the long term aim of extending to a new station above Lynton and into Barnstaple to the site of the old depot which still exists at Pilton, where there is also a large car park.

 

Caernarfon station gas main works 4-5/7/17

Work is underway to move the gas main from the worksite for Caernarfon station. The gas main was discovered late in the day and has delayed the start of construction the station. Footpath diversions and traffic control are needed while the road is excavated to accommodate a diversion for the gas main. A new wheelchair accessible route has been created along the east edge of the WHR compound against the retaining wall while the gas main diversion works continue.

 

This northerly view (4/7/17) shows construction of the diversion of gas main which crosses the WHR station site (presumably the trench near the road). The new excavation and yellow pipes for the new gas main can be seen in St. Helens Road. Once the diversion is complete work will be able to start on constructing the new station building at Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/7/17) shows construction of the diverted gas main which is being moved into St. Helens Road. The diverted wheelchair accessible route can be seen on the right between the worksite offices and the Segontium Terrace retaining wall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Free weekend buses from 8/7/17

The TrawsCymru bus network that largely replaced long distance trains in Wales such as Bangor-Aberystwyth-Carmarthen and Wrexham-Bala-Barmouth across North and mid-Wales is becoming free at weekends until at least May next year. Bus services include those above but also Newtown-Brecon-Cardiff/Swansea. The £1million scheme is funded by the Welsh Assembly and is designed to promote tourism. See Daily Post report.

 

Caernarvon BR station images 3/7/70

Caernarvon (as it was then known) BR station was located in the car park area behind Asda and the station building was roughly where the Balaclava Road roundabout is located. Your web editor was lucky enough to travel to it in one of the last year's of operation in late August 1967 in a DMU (sitting behind the driver!). The line had recently been singled in 1966, with (as I recollect) the Up line being used for all traffic. Sadly the pictures I took with my mum's Brownie 127 have become lost over time. On 1/7/69 Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle and trains ran as far as Dinas (including the Royal Train) for stock storage even though the line had been mothballed for 5 years following closure on 7/9/64. It is interesting to note that regular trains ran from Manchester Exchange and Liverpool Lime Street to Caernarvon in the mid sixties.

Caernarfon BR station closed 5/1/70 but reopened as a freightliner terminal six months later after the fire that destroyed the Menai Straits tubular bridge on 23/5/70. Final closure came on 30/1/72 after the new Menai Straits railway bridge was opened (albeit single track!). Dave Waldren has kindly provided a set of images he recently purchased from this short-lived revival dated 3/7/70 when Caernarfon became busy again as a freightliner terminal. Full details of Caernarfon's three earlier stations (including one on the site of the current WHR station) can be found on the Disused Station website.

 

This westerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station with track removed from the former Bangor bays. A Class 47 in two tone green shunts freightliner wagons in the yard. The track dips down behind the signalbox into the Cross Town tunnel, now converted for road use. Two road cranes are visible for transferring freightliner wagons. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station with a road crane transferring freightliner wagons to lorries for onward shipment to Holyhead. The wall to the left of the crane still exists in the Balaclava Road car park and Y Galeri now occupies the site of the sheds visible in the distance. The track dips down to the left into the Cross Town tunnel, now converted for road use. The nearer track was exclusive to Llanberis, closed to all services, after an extended afterlife as an Excursion line, on 7/9/64 then lifted soon after. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Caernarvon BR station a road crane transferring freightliner wagons to lorries for onward shipment to Holyhead. The wall to the left of the crane still exists in the Balaclava Road car park and modern flats, Premier Inn and Travelodge motels now occupy the tank farm to the left. On the right he track dips down to the left into the Cross Town tunnel and converges into one track for Dinas as the right hand track for Llanberis had clearly been lifted by this date as all that is left is a catch point. The nearer crane appears to be in a fixed location with the loco shunting the wagons past it for unloading. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (3/7/70) shows the closed Jacobean Caernarvon BR station building on the left in front of the church with track removed from the former Bangor bays in the foreground. A Class 47 in two tone green shunts freightliner wagons in the yard. This view is taken from the site of the Balaclava Road roundabout between Morrisons and the former Christ Church, with visible spire, which became the Hwylfan Fun Centre in 1999 after lying derelict for almost 20 years. The area to the right became Morrisons. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (18/7/70) shows the closed Britannia Bridge following the fire on 23/5/70. Work is underway to extract the burned timbers before removal of the tubes and replacement with the new arched structure. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Dave Waldren from an original of unknown provenance and was taken on a film camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Pony progress 1/7/17

This Boston Lodge view (1/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler now mounted on the frames. The boiler still needs the smokebox fitting to the front. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (1/7/17) shows Welsh Pony's original boiler now mounted on the well wagon for transport and storage at Minffordd. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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