WHR

News Archive Page

2017

V4.2 updated 9/1/18

with news from 1/10/17 to 30/11/17

 

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

Events 2017

1/1/17 Final Mince Pie Special 1015/1330 return from Dinas to Beddgelert
19-22/1/17 Hugh Napier at the Caravan and Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
18-25/2/17 Start of WHR 2017 Green Timetable Dinas-Beddgelert (2 trains a day)
18-25/2/17 Palmerston on show Kings Cross promoting 'Great little Trains of Wales' booklet
1/3-23/3/17 Orange Timetable MTFX Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn
25/3-30/3/17 Start of WHR 2017 Season Yellow Easter Timetable (5 days only) MFX
1/4/17 Trains every day in May (except 28/4/17) including Easter Red timetable (14-18/4/17) and 29-30/4/17 and 1/5/17
8/4/17 The Snowdonian
28/4-1/5/17 FR Quirks and Curiosities event (includes some WHR events from Hafod-y-llyn)
6-14/5/17 Palmerston visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool
13/5/17 Caernarfon Food Festival (Extra services)
19-21/5/17 Rail-Ale 13th Annual Beer Festival based at Dinas
10/6/17 The Snowdonian Limited- a limited re-run of The Snowdonian
11-12/8/17 Lilla at the Shrewsbury Flower Show
20/8/17 Classic Car Show and Family Day at Dinas
15-17/9/17 SuperPower (WHR AGM 16/9/17)
21-24/9/17 Prince at Highley (SVR) running during the SVR Gala
6-8/10/17 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
27/10/17 WHR Halloween Train
4/11/17 Final day of Yellow timetable
8-30/11/17 Orange timetable Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn WThSO
9-10/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
16-17/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
21-22/12/17 WHR Santa Specials Caernarfon-Waunfawr and Porthmadog-Beddgelert
27/12/17-1/1/18 WHR Mince Pie Specials Caernarfon-Beddgelert

 

Railtours 2017

1/3/17 'Cathedrals' Express' Euston-Holyhead (steam) Steam Dreams

15/3/17 'The Edinburgh Express' Bangor-Edinburgh (diesel) WCR

22/4/17 'Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru' Lancaster-Holyhead via Stafford including various freight-only chords/loops (diesel) BLS

29/4/17 'North Wales Extravaganza' Norwich-Holyhead (diesel) NENTA

1/5/17 'The Victorian Day Pullman' Skegness-Llandudno (diesel) WCR

3/5/17 'Royal Windsor Express' Holyhead-Windsor (diesel) WCR

10/6/17 'The East Lancs Enterprise' Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) WCR

23/7/17 'North Wales Coast Express' Liverpool to Holyhead (steam) RYTC

25/7/17 'Welsh Mountaineer' Preston-Blaenau Ffestiniog (steam) RYTC

20/9/17 'Conway Valley Explorer I' Dumfries-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) with FR option WCR

4/10/17 'Conway Valley Explorer II' Scarborough-Blaenau Ffestiniog (diesel) with FR option WCR

10/10/17 'Cambrian Coast Express' Bristol temple Meads-Pwllheli (diesel) Pathfinder

11/10/17 'The Jorvik/Scarborough Spa III' Bangor-Scarborough (diesel) WCR

18/11/17 'Llandudno Christmas Fayre' Euston-Holyhead (diesel/electric to Crewe and steam from Crewe with No.46233) Steam Dreams

 

Moving Wheels No.12 30/11/17

Click on the YouTube link to watch an unusually short 12 mins 11 seconds of video covering FR news. Surprisingly there is no coverage of major news stories such as Boston Lodge seawall works or Prince and Blanche on WHR Hafod-y-llyn shuttles. This edition was published on 30/11/17. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser.

 

Final Orange timetable trains 30/11/17

Prince is again rostered for the final Orange timetable services of the year on 30/11/17. The wintery weather has produced a snow cap on Snowdon offering alpine scenery as the trains cross The Traeth. WHR Santa Specials will run from Dinas-Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog to Beddgelert on 9-10/12, 16-17/12 and 22-23/12/17.

 

Snow reports 29/11/17

With Winter upon us regular snow reports will be made on the website as many like to take WHR pictures in the snow. The first comes from Martin Kressman dated 29/11/17: For the last few days we have woken to snow on the tops of Snowdon, the Glyders (between the Llanberis and Nant Ffrancon Passes-Ed), the Elidirs and the Carneddau (east of Bangor-Ed).

Winter has started cold with snowfall across much of the UK, though just flurries in the South. After the paucity of snowfall in recent years any reports will be welcome. To see snow images of the WHR from the past see Snow Scenes Page.

 

This southerly view (31/12/00) at Waunfawr shows No.143 departing on a Mince Pie special after running round. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes. Slide scanned using Minolta DiMage Scan Dual III and iPhoto Plus4 image correction technology.

 

TRAWS scheme gets a boost

The Government is actively engaging with councils to examine rail reopening schemes. The TRAWS scheme to reopen Bangor-Afonwen and Aberystwyth-Carmarthen has been promoted as Wales' prime scheme with the latter section already subject to a major feasibility study. The Independent has identified the TRAWS scheme as worthy of consideration. See Independent news article.

 

Boston Lodge 29/11/17

This easterly view from the foreshore near the west end of Boston Lodge (29/11/17) shows completion of the new sea defence works. The seaward pile wall is complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view from the foreshore near the east end of Boston Lodge (29/11/17) shows completion of the new sea defence works. While seaward pile wall is complete work continues behind it on a inner pile wall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/11/17

Tony Baker reports: We completed work at Plas Bodaden Straight (east of Dinas-Ed) at last having spent four Tuesday's working on it. Again we had to put the rods through the pipe taking the water off Railway land.

 

Storms hit North Wales 23/11/17

Flooding closed several roads around the WHR on 23/11/17 and mainline train services were cancelled from Bangor to Holyhead and Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Roads closed included:

  • A4085 is shut in both directions between B4418 at Rhyd Ddu and Ffordd Eryri in Waunfawr
  • A498 between Tremadog to Beddgelert and on to Pen-y-Gwryd is shut
  • B4410 is closed between Prenteg and Llanfrothen
  • A4085 between Aberglaslyn and Nantmor also closed

The effect on the WHR is unknown but no doubt the line is being inspected for damage. The Hafod-y-llyn shuttle was due to run on 23/11/17 during the storm.

 

Blanche returns to service 22/11/17

Blanche returned to Porthmadog Harbour station on 22/11/17 with a running in trip from Boston Lodge. It is hoped the loco will be available for the 125th Birthday Hunslet Gala planned for Linda and Blanche over the long weekend 22-25/6/18. The loco double headed with Prince to Hafod-y-llyn that afternoon.

 

This easterly view (22/11/17) shows Blanche on a running in turn from Boston Lodge after its recent major overhaul. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (22/11/17) shows Blanche on a running in turn double heading Prince crossing Britannia Bridge on its afternoon working returning from Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is courtesy F&WHR and is a screengrab from the Porthmadog Harbour station camcorder. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/11/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang spent a thoroughly wet day changing a rotten timber on the foot crossing at Beddgelert. It had been noted during the operating season that the anti-slip was coming away. We did a temporary fix at the time by putting in longer screws. We realized then that the problem lay with a rotten timber that could not be seen hence our return later to change it. We all ended up soaked through but got the job finished.

 

No.130 update 20/11/17-27/11/17

On 20/11/17 work was about to start on straightening the bent regulator handle at Dalgleish's boiler works. All the rivets are in on the sling stay hanger angles and the tubeplate gusset stay to barrel brackets.

By 21/11/17 most of the rivets were in the tubeplate. The ones either side of the longitudinal weld will have to be done after welding is completed and there are a few on the bottom of the tubeplate that will have to be done when the boiler is on its side or upside down.

On 27/11/17 work had taken place on the plates that bolt each side of the pivot to minimise the extent to which the cradle rocks on the bogies.

 

Boston Lodge seawall report 19-20/11/17

Good progress is being made with the Boston Lodge sea defences, which also gains additional ground for the expanded Carriage Shed to accommodate the WHR rake stabled at Boston Lodge. For both rows of piles at the east end of the site, towards the cliff, the piles are going into pockets ‘chiselled’ into the rock, which is quite hard in places. These are then secured with quick setting concrete and also possibly additional rock bolts before the surrounding space is back filled and compacted with the rock already on site.

 

This northerly view from the foreshore near the south end of Boston Lodge (19/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the seaward pile wall is near complete. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view from The Cob near the Boston Lodge headshunt (20/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the seaward pile wall is near complete up to the rock armoured section of The Cob by the depot headshunt in the foreground. Piling works underway in the mid distance involve a secondary line of piles. Rock from the Heritage Carriage shed excavations is being used to backfill the space behind the new seawall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view from The Cob near the Boston Lodge carriage shed (20/11/17) shows progress with the new sea defence works. It appears that the second line of piles is being driven inland about 4 metres from the sea wall. Rock from the Heritage Carriage shed excavations is being used to backfill the space between the pile walls and inland of the new seawall. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Hartill (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 18-19/11/17

The NG15 Group had a quieter working party at Dinas this month with no trains running, it being the break between the last service trains of the summer on the north end of the line and the Santa Specials in December. Volunteers were also a bit thinner in numbers for various reasons however there were still enough of them to tackle two areas of work at once. The group been told that their sheet steel had arrived as well as some paint for the pony trucks, so they had a good idea of the jobs to be tackled this weekend. A request has been received to remove the wheels from the tender bogies as these still needed to be re-profiled. It is believed the plan is to press the wheels along the axle a small amount to get the correct back to back measurement then to profile to get the correct flange and tread section.

On Saturday morning therefore set to and lifted the bogie frames up, removed the wheelsets, then removed their axle boxes. After coating the axles in grease and wrapping in rags the wheels are now ready for collection to be taken to Boston Lodge. In the afternoon volunteers split into two groups with one group cutting the cylinder cladding out of the large sheet that had arrived whilst the others painted the pony trucks in gloss top coat. They also completed the undercoat in areas not fully covered last time ready for gloss the following morning.

On Sunday volunteers continued working on the cylinder cladding. This involved first taking it to the loco and checking that the general outline was correct then tidying up the edges, tweaking some of the holes that had been cut and generally made it a good fit. The plan will be to roll the sheet to fit round the cylinders at the next working party.

In the meantime the 'paint gang' with a bit of help from the others turned the pony trucks round so as they could work on the other side a little easier then set to and did some more undercoating and then top coated the parts that were undercoated the previous day. Volunteers then did a few other smaller 'loose ends' sort of jobs before coming back at the end of the day to put top coat on that undercoated earlier in the day. It was just about dry so hopefully all will be well.

So that was the end of a very productive weekend. Just a three week break then volunteers be back the last working party of 2017 on 9-10/12/17. For full details and images see NG15 website.

 

Caernarfon booking office reopens 23/11/17

Caernarfon station booking office is open for sales of Santa Special tickets and presents ThFSO from 23/11/17 to 15/12/17 (ThFO from 7/12/17). Opening times are 1100 until 1600 Thursday/Friday and 1000 until 1700 Saturdays. Outside these dates tickets can be obtained by phoning 01766 516070. See Santa Trains website.

 

Prince for Orange timetable w/c 18/11/17

Prince has again been rostered to haul the Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn shuttles SWTO. The final shuttles of the year run week commencing Saturday 25/11/17 as Santa trains start after that.

 

2018 events

Dates for 2018 events have been added at the bottom of this page. See also F&WHR Events page.

 

Prince rostered for Hafod-y-llyn shuttles 18/11/17

Prince has again been rostered for the SWThO Hafod-y-llyn shuttles from 18/11/17. Any photos would be welcome for publication.

 

Caernarfon station progress 16/11/17

This westerly view from Segontium Terrace (16/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The ground floor is being prepared for cast in situ concrete. The steel reinforcing mesh is being cut to size and placed with supporting fibre reinforced concrete rods to hold the mesh off the blue plastic waterproof layer. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 15-19/11/17

A large lorry load of super heater elements was delivered to the Stockton boilermakers on 15/11/17. The boiler backhead has now been assembled and is awaiting tack welding. The front tubeplate is being riveted in and the smokebox door has been fixed in place. Se No.130 website for images.

 

Julie Walters Coastal Railways series

The C4 series on Coastal Railways starts Sunday 26/11/17 presented by Birmingham actress Julie Walters who starred in the several Harry Potter films. The F&WHR will feature in Episode 4 currently scheduled for transmission Sunday 17/12/17 and features Boston Lodge and a trip on the WHR to Caernarfon recorded in October 2016. See Channel 4 Coastal Railways website for further details.

 

Welsh Pony progress 15/11/17

This Boston Lodge view (15/11/17) shows Welsh Pony's cab completed in a heritage grey interior colour that was found under layers of paint. The exterior black colour is a temporary measure. 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.

 

Work starts on Boston Lodge sea defences 15/11/17

Although an exhaustive search for alternative local locations has been made with a view to creating a replacement facility, a suitable site with both rail and road connections within operating distance of Harbour Station could not be found. Thus the railway company faces the challenge of refreshing and rebuilding the workshops whilst they remain operational. The first area for attention has been the land and facilities underpinning the operation. Road access has already been improved. It has to be remembered that historically the works was not connected to the road in any way.

The second step has been to ensure that the interface with the surrounding area has been given proper consideration, bearing in mind that this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Work to manage the flow from sewage, surface water and rainwater has already been completed requiring significant investment.

The third step was the construction of the new Heritage Carriage Store, which provides undercover accommodation for rolling stock and equipment whilst other buildings receive attention. This was completed in September this year.

The fourth step is to improve the sea defences at the eastern end of The Cob in keeping with similar work undertaken in Porthmadog. This offers the site enhanced protection making it possible to use the land on the seaward side of the current carriage sheds which was previously exposed to the actions of the sea. Sheet piling work is underway alongside the Carriage Shed. The new defences will be completed by Christmas 2017.

 

This easterly view (11/17) shows sheet piles being driven into the foreshore along the property boundary alongside the Carriage Shed. The final level is indicated to the right by the completed level of sheet piling and the pile of rock from the Heritage Carriage Shed excavations seen behind may be used to level the ground for the new Carriage Shed to accommodate the WHR rake based at Boston Lodge. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The next phases of the construction will most likely include improved carriage storage facilities before attention turns to the main workshops and conservation of the historic parts of the works.

Paul Lewin said: 'There has long been a desire to see the deeply historic Boston Lodge works effectively secured for future generations. This programme, which will see modern buildings taking the brunt of the daily work and providing better facilities for our staff, will also release the very old buildings to be restored and used for purposes aligned with heritage.'

See F&WHR Press Release for full details and images.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/11/17

Tony Baker reports: This week the Tuesday Gang were again at Bodaden Straight. This time we were armed with a set of rods to unblock the ditch where it runs into a pipe. Once this was achieved we carried on clearing. Several clumps of reeds were encountered which required the use of a pick to get the roots out. This section of track was under a possession so the procedure is that we contact the Person in charge of Possession and get permission to enter their possession.

 

This view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear a blocked pipe on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/11/17) shows the pipe on the Plas Bodaden straight now with running water after rodding. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear clumps and roots in the blocked ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/11/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear clumps and roots in the blocked ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/11/17) shows the way ahead on the Plas Bodaden straight. An excavator on the new well wagon might make a faster job of this and many similar overgrown ditches on the WHR. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Conwy valley Line reopens 13/11/17

The Conwy Valley Line, closed for repair on 20/10/17, reopened on 13/11/17 after rebuilding a supporting pillar just inside the northern tunnel mouth of Blaenau Ffestiniog tunnel and clearing recent storm damage from other areas. See Daily post report and NR Press release.

 

KS4415 update 11/11/17

On 11/11/17 volunteers temporarily refitted the gearbox in the loco frames. This was so they could take some measurements and assess the condition of the cast feet that the gearbox rests on. The gearbox is a big casting, which has feet that sit over the layshaft at the front of the loco. These feet have been broken and welded or brazed in the past but the repairs were of poor quality and will not be good enough to use in service. Volunteers were measuring to see how much space there is around the gearbox to fit some additional strengthening, which is something they will look at in the future. The KS4415 Facebook page features a video of the gears meshing.

 

Work stops on BF&TR clearance

Heritage Railway Magazine reports that work on clearing the track between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd was stopped in early November after NR engineers identified a problem with a bridge near the proposed Trawsfynydd Lake terminus. The bridge appears to have been damaged and NR has closed a footpath on H&S concerns. The Blaenau Ffestiniog & Trawsfynydd Railway claim the damage to the bridge is 'slippage' and point out NR has not maintained the structures for 30 years and the area suffers heavy rainfall. The BF&TR has a licence to clear the track but it remains in NR ownership. The BF&TR website has not been updated for a while and there is no mention of the problem on social media.

The BF&TR has an initial goal of operating trains in 18 months time for a mile from Trawsfynydd Road Yard to Trawsfynydd Lake Halt near the decommissioned Nuclear Power Station using the Class 414 EMU from the recently closed Coventry Electric Railway Museum as hauled stock. So far £1,400 of the £11,500 target has been donated and the Heritage Lottery Fund has indicated it will match fund the remainder when the appeal reaches half way. See 2HAP Appeal.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 16/11/17

David Ganger reports: Our next meeting takes place this coming Thursday 16/11/17. We welcome back Alasdair Stewart who will be talking to us about his latest narrow gauge trips and adventures.

Our December meeting will be on Thursday 14/12/17 (note, the second Thursday) and will be our now traditional ‘Mince Pies and Members’ Slides event. We will then meet again in February.

We meet at the Six Bells Pub, 9 High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5DH. We meet up any time after 6-6.30pm and an evening meal is available in the restaurant or bar. Prices are reasonable. The meetings are usually held in the Function Rooms, accessed from the car park at the rear of the pub, and start around 8pm with a halfway break for coffee (£1.20 per person). We finish around 10pm.

There is a charge of £2 per meeting for Group members, £3 for non-members.

Fulbourn is easily accessible from the A14/M11 corridors and is served by Stagecoach bus Citi 1 (This bus runs every 30 minutes until 23.36, via Cambridge railway station where it arrives at 00.05) Car parking can be busy but there is space available on Church Lane, a 3-5 minute walk to the pub.

You are most welcome to join us. We meet on the third Thursday of the month (excepting December when it’s the second Thursday), with meetings held until May – with a break in January.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 10/11/17

This southerly view from Segontium Terrace (10/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The upper level has been concreted and a stairwell is visible in the foreground. The lower floor has a blinding layer before laying slabs next week. This completes Phase 1 of the project. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Thanks for your support

Thanks to the several people who have recently sent me PayPal payments via my email address to support the cost of running this website. It is much appreciated. Now I am a pensioner, 'every little helps'!

 

Prince 8/11/17

After the minor collision with a wall at the SVR a more thorough inspection was made at Boston Lodge before the loco was returned to traffic. Prince has been operating the Orange timetable Hafod-y-llyn shuttles this week.

This easterly view (8/11/17) shows Prince departing on the afternoon train to Hafod-y-llyn. 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.

 

WHHR Baldwin Appeal relaunch

The WHHR has relaunched its appeal for funds for completion of the Imperial War Museum's Baldwin No.794 in its care. The loco has been moved from Keef's to Aberystwyth Vale of Rheidol workshops. About £60,000 is needed to complete the project for the pipe-work, brass-work and cab fittings and most importantly a complete new set of motion. The existing set is 'very worn'. The new boiler is already built and paid for, being completed in 2012 by Israel Newton.

Work should start in early 2018 and when completed the loco will run as 590, reprising the role of the WHR's original Baldwin 590 in the 1920s and 1930s. Although the loco is to be completed air braked, there is still hope that agreement can be reached with the F&WHR to run both 590 and Russell on the WHR during Galas in coming years. Both would be sure to draw the crowds providing historical tableaux scenes at Beddgelert where the two locos were often to be seen during the 'frontier years'. See Baldwin Appeal website.

All being well in April/May 2018 the sale of Bachmann R-T-R 009 Baldwin 590 models will help raise funds for the Appeal. See Facebook story.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/12) shows the Baldwin's new boilermaker's plate. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Gelert's Farm view (5/12) shows the Baldwin's new boiler on display at Gelert's Farm. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Michael Chapman and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Orange timetable starts Wednesday 8/11/17

From 8-11-17 to 30/11/17 the WHR is running the Orange timetable service from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn. The timetable advises that these trains can only be joined at Porthmadog so both Hafod-y-llyn and Pont Croesor Halt are out of use. In face the short platform at Hafod-y-llyn has not been available for some years as it is only on the loop line. Hafod-y-llyn is used for running round in this service and sees use for occasional PW trains. The service runs SWThO and reappears in March from 3/3/18-15/3/18 MTFX. Prince is diagrammed this week for the Orange timetable 11:15 and 14:45 departures from Porthmadog.

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/11/17

Tony Baker reports: On 7/11/17 the Tuesday Gang were continuing with ditch clearance at Bodaden Straight (between Dinas and Waunfawr-Ed).

 

End of season ECS movement 5/11/17

With the end of the Yellow timetable on Saturday 4/11/17 there was a ECS movement with locos and carriages being hauled from Boston Lodge to Dinas for repair/winter storage the following day. Vale of Ffestiniog assisted No.138 hauling a B wagon, No.87 and Glaslyn with the Porthmadog based rake back to Dinas. At Dinas, Bill was used to shunt No.87 to store. The train left Porthmadog at 09:30, paused at Beddgelert 10:20 - 10:37 and arrived at Dinas at 12:13.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows No.138 dragging the failed No.87 on the WHR platform. Vale of Ffestiniog is collecting the WHR rake from the station sidings to form the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog is collecting the WHR rake from the station sidings to form the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 dragging the failed No.87 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas. The train is crossing Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. No.87 is being towed dead in the formation. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. No.87 is being towed dead in the formation and appears to have had some of its motion removed on the nearer power bogie. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas crossing Pont Croesor bridge. Glaslyn is also in the formation and Cnicht dominates the scene. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog double heading with No.138 on the end of season ECS from Boston Lodge to Dinas at Beddgelert with the failed No.87 in the rake. No.138 may have required water so the train stopped for nearly 20 minutes in the station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting the B wagon with No.87 into the North Yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Bill shunting the failed No.87 in the North Yard. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/11/17) shows Bill shunting the failed No.87 in the North Yard. The loco livery looks quite appropriate with the diamond style yellow and black warning panel borrowed from BR shunting locos. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 update 3-12/11/17

By 3/11/17 the boiler's backhead had been completed and drilled. By the 11/11/17 the regulator valve, J pipe and gauge frames had been sent to Stockton for fitting to the boiler. By 12/11/17 there was progress to report on the two power units. The front unit had its coupling assembled and was more or less complete as well as the pony truck spring. The rear truck has most of its springs fitted. Soon they will be moveable under their own wheels. A day later the reverser and handbrake stands had been fitted to the boiler frame. For images see No.130 Facebook page.

 

Caernarfon station progress 3/11/17

There will be no station canopy or awning over the track next to the station building. Room has been allowed for at least two and probably even three Garratt locos in the headshunt. There will be a service walkway between the station building and the headshunt for delivery of food and removal of bin waste. There will be a forecourt area next to the current gate between the station building and the existing platforms and loop where the station canopy is retained. The forecourt will be open to at least to start with. The architect has been asked to look at possibilities of covering the forecourt over but this is very much in the background until the building is up and running. Initially, when the station opens next Summer, passengers must run the risk of the weather between the station buildings and the platform.

See PDF Caernarfon station plan.

 

This northerly view from Segontium Terrace (3/11/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station. The steel section flooring for the first floor cafe are now in place. The cafe will offer a view over the trains as there is no platform awning in this area. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Aerial view 2/11/17

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows Linda, with demountable tender cab fitted, passing Boston Lodge on the 1340 from Blaenau Ffestiniog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Quadcopter views 2/11/17

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows No.138 on the afternoon train crossing Pont Croesor at 15:50. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (2/11/17) shows No.138 crossing Pont Croesor level crossings at 15:50. The Glaslyn Wildlife Osprey hide can be seen above the loco. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/11/17) shows No.138 waiting in Pont Croesor halt for the token to proceed to Porthmadog. The rake has been shortened to 8 coaches in this Autumn Season train with reduced loadings. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Revised timetable 1-3/11/17

The WHR operated an amended timetable on 1/11/17 probably due to NR refusing the Cae Pawb Crossing path due to an engineering possession during the Cambrian Coast closure for engineering work on the Artro Viaduct. Apparently the request to release the crossing had to go all the way up to NR Headquarters in Cardiff! The train from Porthmadog ran about an hour later all day as a result.

The FR Facebook page advised: 'Due to operational difficulties beyond our control'... the 1045 from Porthmadog was retimed to depart at 1155, passing Beddgelert at 1235, Rhyd Ddu at 1305, Waunfawr at 1300 (sic!) and Caernarfon at 1405. The retimed train must have crossed the southbound train at Pont Croesor as the latter was due to arrive in Porthmadog at 1210. The retiming also affected the return working with departure from Caernarfon at 1505, passing Waunfawr a 1545 (cross trains), Rhyd Ddu at 1610, Beddgelert at 1640 and arriving back in Porthmadog at 1725. However No.138 was noted arriving in Porthmadog at 1711. Earl of Merioneth was on its normal FR duties.

However, continuing loco shortages following No.143's ashpan support cruxiform failure on 31/10/17 have made providing traction more difficult in the last week of the Yellow timetable. To compound the problems No.87 was not available either as it has been on the Boston Lodge Garratt pit all week with its left hand motion removed. No.143 was back in action on 3/11/17 taking the 1045 out of Porthmadog.

The Operations Department must be longing for the end of the season on Saturday 4/11/17 and the reinstatement of recently repaired No.87, not to mention the completion of No.130 next year.

 

More disruption 31/10/17

No.143 was failed on 31/10/17 leading to substitutions.

 

This southerly view (31/10/17) shows the Earl of Merioneth coupled to Vale of Ffestiniog coaling up for the 1000 ex Caernarfon. The locos must have been shedded at Dinas following disruption on 29/10/17 and presumably 30/10/17. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (31/10/17) shows the Earl of Merioneth coupled to Vale of Ffestiniog on the 1000 ex-Caernarfon passing Cae Moel. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station cafe

When Caernarfon Station cafe opens next year it will be named De Winton Cafe after the nearby loco works which built so many coffee-pot locos for local quarries.

 

Tuesday Gang report 31/10/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang were at Bodaden Straight clearing out an overgrown ditch on 31/10/17. Earl of Merioneth passed with Vale of Ffestiniog on 10 am ex-Caernarfon and No.138 on the 14.15 ex Caernarfon. About 100 metres were cleared leaving about the same length to be done next week.

 

This view (31/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang starting to clear an overgrown ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (31/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang clearance of the overgrown ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Water is beginning to flow again. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (31/10/17) shows No.138 passing with the 14:15 ex-Caernarfon. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (31/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang clearance of the overgrown ditch on the Plas Bodaden straight. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (31/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang towards the end of the day. A similar length needs to be cleared next week. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Quadcopter views 30/10/17

This westerly view (30/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth double heading with Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for a failed Garratt at Pont Croesor halt. The formation of the partially completed standard gauge Beddgelert Railway crosses through the farm and converges with the WHR in the top left of the image. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (30/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth with Vale of Ffestiniog double heading and substituting for a failed Garratt crossing Pont Croesor bridge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings on a Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tornado to visit North Wales twice in 2018

North Wales is to see a resurgence of main line steam tours in 2018 after the recent cutbacks. Tornado is to visit on 28/4/18 on The Ynys Mon Express from Leicester to Holyhead. See UK Railtours website. The loco will also haul a Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead trip on its private Tenth Anniversary Tour on 19/10/18.

Also, a new steam operator, Jeremy Hoskins Loco Services Ltd TOC, hopes to start its new steam services with Crewe-Llandudno pre-Christmas Trains. Mike Hart, who led the WHR revival project, is a director of the new business and its website will go live soon.

Meanwhile Belmond is selling its interest in the Northern Belle luxury train operation to WCR parties, which may see its Mk2f Pullman liveried rake move from the SVR stabling point to somewhere nearer its core northern cities business to cut ecs running.

 

Shock ATW withdrawal from WalesRail 30/10/17

Arriva Train Wales has pulled out of bidding for the new WalesRail franchise. This leaves three mass transit operators in the bidding process with sadly no experience of long distance loco-hauled services needed in North Wales. See BBC news story and Daily Post news story.

ATW has also had to bustitute the Blaenau train service as the NR test train found a problem in Blaenau Ffestiniog Tunnel at the end of October. Repairs will take until at least 13/11/17 and will also cover storm damage from the recent storm Brian. For images see Daily Post story and follow up Daily Post story.

 

No.130 progress 29/10/17

The sling stay hanger angles have been fitted into No.130's boiler and are in the process of being prepared for riveting. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

Earl substitution 29/10/17

No.138 suffered a brick arch failure which caused loco substitutions. This kind of fault is rapidly repaired as Dinas stocks spare brick arch blocks that can be rapidly fitted. The loco was back in service by 1/11/17.

 

This easterly view (29/10/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for No.138 on 1045 from Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (29/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth passing on the through line to double head Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for No.138 on 1045 from Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (29/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth double head Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for No.138 on 1045 from Porthmadog ready to depart. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly webcam view (29/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth and Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for No.138 departing Harbour Station on the 1045 from Porthmadog. There must have been some problem yesterday as the rake was left just clear of the points at the Caernarfon end and would have needed moving to get a loco onto it. 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 webcam. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (29/10/17) shows Earl of Merioneth double head Vale of Ffestiniog substituting for No.138 arriving back at Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Sean Thomas and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHR Halloween train 31/10/17

The WHR Halloween train on 31/10/17 is sold out.

 

Kerr Stuart 4415 update 29/10/17

Volunteer work on this original WHR diesel shunter is progressing at Boston Lodge during October. In mid October the Group was planning to start work on the disassembled original McLaren MDB4 diesel engine that they plan to restore. This engine has a broken crankshaft but when repaired should produce about 45kW (60HP) at 800 rpm.

On the 18/10/17 the broken crankshaft was examined and it turns out to be a single piece of steel, not modular as previously thought. The F&WHR's CME believes that the broken end can be drilled out and a new piece can be made and fitted at Boston Lodge. Measurements of the sump and block have shown there has been no distortion following the welded repairs.

On 22/10 the crankshaft was meticulously measured to check if it had distorted when it was broken. Volunteers were relieved to discover that it had not.

In the final weeks of October, the KS4415 Group spent a couple of days at Boston Lodge going over the lubrication system of the McLaren MDB4. The oil pump has been overhauled, the pressure release valve has been checked over and the oil ways in the sump casting have been cleaned out.

See KS4415 Facebook page for images of recent progress.

 

Cambrian Coast closure from 28/10/17

It is going to be difficult to visit the F&WHR by train for a while. Hot on the heels of the closure of the Conwy Valley branch for emergency repairs to the Blaenau Ffestiniog Tunnel come news of NR's planned maintenance work on the Afon Artro wooden viaduct between Llanbedr and Pensarn on the Cambrian Coast Line north of Barmouth. This viaduct is a smaller version of the Barmouth viaduct and the jacking technique used on the Artro Viaduct will also be applied to the Barmouth viaduct if successful when that bridge comes up for repair in the next few years. While NR says the Artro Viaduct work will be finished by the end of the year, a bus replacement service is only suggested until 5/11/17. See NR webpage.

 

This easterly view (21/2/17) shows the Afon Artro wooden viaduct as NR engineers were assessing it for this Autumn's upgrade works. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright NR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

ATW is providing M-F buses between Barmouth and Pwllheli but SSuO Machynlleth-Pwllheli. However they have planned the bustitution until 10/11/17, so are obviously not so optimistic about a prompt return of the bridge into service. See ATW website.

 

BF&TR update 28/10/17

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway has a YouTube channel featuring progress in the form mostly of slides. Work continues at both Cwmbowydd road level crossing in Blaenau Ffestiniog and Maentwrog Road yard, destined to become the line depot. The latest update is 28/10/17. See YouTube.

The BF&TR is still hoping to raise funds to purchase and transport the 2HAP set No.4311 from the recently closed Coventry Electric Railway Museum. The EMU would be used as hauled stock when the railway acquires a loco. See 2HAP appeal.

 

Castell Caernarfon update 28/10/17

The repair of Castell Caernarfon is stated in TSR98 to be a low priority. The refurbished gearbox was returned just before SuperPower in early September but remained wrapped in plastic at Boston Lodge during the FR's Vintage Weekend. Relying on the FR's rescue loco Vale of Ffestiniog would cause a very long delay before rescue as this loco is unable to lift a full length train up the 1 in 40 unless supported by a steam loco such as Lyd or Dinas diesel pilot No.9, currently at Boston Lodge for a repaint.

 

This southerly view (27/9/17) shows Castell Caernarfon in the Dinas headshunt. Its refurbished gearbox was returned by mid-September. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a iPhone 5Plus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon progress 27/10/17

This westerly view from Segontium Terrace (27/10/17) shows progress with the new Caernarfon station at ground level. Installation of drains can be seen, progress with the blockwork and preparations for the ground floor slabs. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 24/10/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang worked on two crossings between Dinas and Caernarfon. First off was Fron Goch LC 21-87 where we needed to clear the crossing of vegetation in order to see the state of the timbers. One centre timber will need changing at a later date. Then it was on to LC 22-09 Bronnydd where we changed one rotten centre timber. The forecast had been for heavy rain but we didn't see a drop until on the way home.

 

This northerly view (24/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang clearing vegetation at Fron Goch level crossing, near the Garden Centre. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (24/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang replacing the central timber at Bronnydd level crossing a little further south. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (24/10/17) shows the Tuesday Gang with the completed Bronnydd level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 news 21-24/10/17

There has been considerable progress with the outsourced boiler at Stockton and the loco frames at Dinas in the last month. In mid September a visit by the F&WHR staff was pleased with the boiler work which will be delivered to Dinas early in the New Year. It is anticipated the frames will be ready to receive it by that time. By 24/9/17 the throatplate had been fitted to the boiler.

By 27/9/17 a former was made for the boiler backhead and with the plate in stock, it was hoped to form the backhead shortly after this date. By 2/10/17 the front smokebox ring was offered up to the smokebox plates and the throatplate was tack welded in place.

By 21/10/17 work at Dinas had seen to cradle near complete with attention focussed on the fitting of a new pivot ring where the cradle will fit into the new Vesconite bearing on the power bogie. Meanwhile at Stockton the last major part of the boiler, the backhead, had been formed.

By 23/10/17 the two sling stay angle brackets were finished and the first one had been fitted. After this the recovered sling stays can be assembled. All of these parts will soon be completed and not seen again until the boiler has its first 10 year overhaul.

By 24/10/17 the header had been trial fitted to the new tubeplate and found to be an acceptable close fit.

 

This Dinas view (21/10/17) shows No.130's new white Vesconite self-lubricating bearing pad.. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a mobile phone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 report 21/10/17

Clive Briscoe reports: We had hoped to get a lot done this weekend but Saturday proved very frustrating yet again, with raw materials not being provided for us. Several of the team are now on pensions and it costs us money we don't really have anymore for us to come long distances only to find we have to twiddle our fingers and thumbs. A tin of black gloss paint should have been waiting for us to do the final top coat on the front K-H and rear pony truck frames after the last 'z' axis threaded plugs had been secured in the oil ways in the axleboxes. Laurence and Ben fitted the last plugs whilst David and myself rubbed down small chips in the existing paint coats and filled with quick drying primer.

Just before lunch, I went up to the Loco Shed and asked the two lads working on NGG16 No.130's power bogies if they knew where our paint was. Blank looks so in desperation I raided the paint cupboard and found a part used tin with a thick crust on it. Back in our workshop in the other yard, we cleared the crust and managed to get (just) sufficient goo to go on the frames after lunch. Both trucks are just waiting for new axle bearings and can go back under the loco to make the frames a truly complete rolling chassis now. The other job we'd hoped to continue was the cylinder cladding but the sheet steel still hasn't arrived.

No.134 official report: Well this month's working party wasn't distracted by trains and things like Superpower but volunteers had storm Brian to contend with! This was a somewhat severe low depression that swept across the UK, centred only just north of Wales on the Saturday of the working party. It continued with strong winds through the Sunday as well and at times on the Saturday the workshop roof was rattling and vibrating so much volunteers couldn't hear themselves talk! Regardless, work continued even if it distracted progress somewhat.

Volunteers were again concentrating on the two pony trucks. Whilst these had been painted once already they had taken a bit of a battering from being moved around and manipulated at various times so both received a spot prime on the badly damaged areas on the Saturday morning. Whilst the spot priming was being done, volunteers blanked off the last three remaining 'z-axis' holed in the axle box oilways. These had been removed so that the oilways could thoroughly cleaned out as all were completely blocked. This was then followed by a full coat of black paint in the afternoons in all the accessible areas. There are still some small bits to do, especially where the securing ropes are, so both trucks will need some manipulation next time to make those areas accessible to be able to finish the painting.

On the Sunday volunteers concentrated on the Krauss-Helmholtz pony truck's pivot point. The pin in the frames was cleaned and oiled then volunteers cleaned all the components that make up the ball joint that is assembled into the Krauss-Helmholtz truck itself. The components consist of a box that is secured in the pony truck but that is allowed to have a small amount of vertical and lateral movement. Within the box there are two half ball joint cups and within that a brass ball joint that is located onto the pivot pin in the frames.

By the end of the weekend volunteers got to the point where the two cup halves just need pushing that little last bit into the box. There are just a few more jobs to do on the Krauss-Helmholtz truck then the No.134 Group will really not be far off having this and the trailing truck put back under the loco. See No.134 page for images.

 

Beddgelert Forest Campsite closure 31/10/17

Beddgelert Forest Campsite will close on 31/10/17 after providing affordable holidays since the 1930s. The site is being redeveloped as a up-market log cabin campsite with hot-tubs and a campsite bar etc. Camping in the Forest has applied for and succeeded in obtaining planning permission for conversion of the campsite with 16 expensive-to-rent log cabins and up to 59 touring pitches (at the southern end of the site) and 26 camping pitches. There was a big campaign by locals against the development and it may reduce the number of tourists visiting Beddgelert. See petition for more details.

Your webmaster met many touring caravan/campervan holidaymakers at the campsite in late September who were very upset to hear of the change as generations of their families had been coming to the woodland venue. Annoyingly for holidaymakers, noisy ground tests were allowed in late September even before the campsite closed!

The change in use will significantly reduce the numbers of holiday makers at the campsite and thereby affect WHR traffic at Meillionen Halt. Access to Meillionen Halt may be limited over the next 6 months with work underway in the campsite building lodges as the internal roads which provide access to the halt are private.

 

This view (18/9/17) shows the notice displayed at the campsite during September. Many visitors to the WHR use the campsite for cheap accommodation as it has its own halt. The WHR may suffer from reduced traffic from Meillionen Halt and it may not be possible to access the halt during building works over the Winter as access roads are private. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a iPhone5 Plus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bring back Russell!

Chris Magner writing in Heritage Railways magazine has asked the F&WHR and WHHR to get their heads together and solve the long standing question of Russell operating on the WHR. He says having Russell at SuperPower next year would put the 'Super' back into SuperPower (SuperPower passengers seemed thin on the ground this year-Ed).

 

Halloween Train 31/10/17

Seats are still available on the WHR's Halloween Train on Tuesday 31/10/17. The train runs from Caernarfon to Waunfawr at 1830 in the dark as the clock will have been set back an hour on Sunday 29/10/17 to GMT. Passengers will enjoy Halloween capers on the train and at the Snowdonia Parc Brewpub, where a fiendish finger-buffet awaits - followed by fireworks over the station, before boarding the train for the journey back to Caernarfon where arrival is at 2100. As usual there is only one train on the WHR, whereas the FR has three Halloween evening trains over the weekend of 26-28/10/17 at 1800 from Porthmadog to Tan-y-bwlch.

WHR tickets cost £18.50 adults, £14.60 children 10-15 and £12.25 children under 10. Seats may be reserved at the Caernarfon Booking Office on 01286 677018.

 

Storm Brian 21/10/17

F&WHR trains operated normally through storm Brian after track inspections, though high Spring Tides coupled with the storm whipped up spray over The Cob.

 

This northerly view (21/10/17) shows No.138 crossing Britannia Bridge with a high Spring Tide and a storm causing water to reach unusually high levels in the harbour. 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 Pictures No.11 YouTube 20/10/17

Click on the YouTube link to watch 27 mins 6 seconds of video covering Caernarfon Station and a round up of Boston Lodge news published 20/10/17. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser.

 

No.87 repair 20/10/17

No.87 was repaired by 20/10/17. The water tank had been taken off and a wheelset dropped. The suspension springs on left hand side of front engine were removed and the frame levelled on either side of full depth crack. The crack was ground out on either side of frame, welded up and the weld was ground smooth before re-assembly of the loco. It should be available for traffic soon though Nos.138/143 are currently rostered this week.

 

Gowrie Project

The Gowrie replica project Facebook page was established on 6/10/15 and the project appears to have been running for more than 2 years. Gowrie was the final loco built for the NWNGR and the final single Fairlie loco built in the UK (except for the replica Taliesin). It was disposed to the Government in 1918 and subsequently scrapped, see Gowrie Festipedia page.

 

WHR cancellation 17/10/17

Despite the storms, the WHR was operating on 17/10/17 but then No.138 failed at Pont Croesor with the 10:45 to Caernarfon and was recovered to Porthmadog as no loco was available capable of taking the full length train and dead engine forward up the 1 in 40 to Rhyd Ddu. This also meant cancellation of the 14:15 return from Caernarfon. The F&WHR is in need of a powerful rescue diesel particularly as No.87 may be out of action for a while.

 

Welsh Pony report 14/10/17

Platework repairs on the cab are now complete with a newly made roof ventilator. The next stage is painting.

This Boston Lodge view (14/10/17) shows Welsh Pony's new cab roof with completed ventilator. 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.

 

Caernarfon station progress 13/10/17

This northerly view (13/10/17) shows blockwork well underway with four bricklayers and some filling up to the underside of the floor. The large entrance door to the display area will allow a spare loco or wagon to be on show there. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Barmouth Bridge upgrade

NR is seeking approval to spend over £20m upgrading Barmouth Bridge to ensure it stays fit for another 150 years of service. The bridge celebrated its 150th anniversary in mid October with a special loco hauled train from Bristol to Pwllheli. Work will be undertaken in the NR Financial Control Period 2019-24 and a final decision was due to be taken on 13/10/17. See BBC news story.

 

Tuesday Gang report 10/10/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang have been working at Boston Lodge for the last 5 weeks building a level crossing behind the carriage shop. Still not finished.

 

Cambrian Coast Express 10/10/17

The Pathfinder Tours 'Cambrian Coast Express' celebrated 150 years of the completion of the A&WCR and Barmouth Bridge. The train was hauled by two NR Class 37s (Nos. 97303/4). The tour gave about 3 hours in Porthmadog for those that chose to get off there.

 

Click on the YouTube link to watch 4 mins 26 seconds of video covering the Cambrian Coast Express railtour at Porthmadog on 10/10/17 published 11/10/17 taken from Moel-y-gest. This video was taken by John Rawlings on a Canon 5D Mk 2 digital camera with a 400mm lens and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser.

 

This easterly view from Moel-y-gest (10/10/17) shows the Cambrian Coast Express approaching Porthmadog with the new bypass and the Afon Glaslyn Bridge in view to the rear. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available. This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a Canon 5D Mk 2 digital camera with a 400mm lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view from Moel-y-gest (10/10/17) shows the Cambrian Coast Express passing Porthmadog Football Club. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a Canon 5D Mk 2 digital camera with a 400mm lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view from Moel-y-gest (10/10/17) shows the Cambrian Coast Express arriving at Porthmadog and passing the southbound ATW service. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a Canon 5D Mk 2 digital camera with a 400mm lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view from Moel-y-gest (10/10/17) shows the Cambrian Coast Express at Porthmadog. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright John Rawlings and was taken on a Canon 5D Mk 2 digital camera with a 400mm lens. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Heritage Carriage Shed floor completed 8/10/17

This Boston Lodge view (8/10/17) shows Criccieth Castle and some rolling stock inside the Heritage Carriage Shed. The floor has been finished with polished concrete effectively completing the shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR Victorian Gala YouTube 6-8/10/17

Click on the YouTube link to watch 29 mins 48 seconds of video covering the FR's Victorian Gala 6-8/10/17 including some WHR scenes published 12/10/17. This video was taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder and is best watched in 1080p HD in Google Chrome browser.

 

Caernarfon station progress 5/10/17

This northerly view (5/10/17) shows the roof supports for the display area and blockwork underway. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Michael Portillo visit 4/10/17

Michael Portillo visited the WHR on 4/10/17 to film an episode for the new series of Great Railway Journeys. The film crew had visited the FR the day before. The programme is likely to be aired in January 2018 as all early series have occupied this time slot.

 

Caernarfon Station progress 3/10/17

The F&WHR advises that Caernarfon station is an EU-funded INVEST project which helps 100 businesses expand. Following the F&WHR policy of purchasing in Wales as far as possible, the steel frame is being built by MPH Construction of Mold. The station is now due to open late Summer 2018 after delays due to the discovery and diversion of the gas main that crossed the corner of the site.

The WHR was largely built with EU funds.

 

This northerly view (3/10/17) shows the situation at the end of the day with the steelwork complete and blockwork underway. 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 (3/10/17) shows the situation at the end of the day. With the steelwork complete, blockwork has begun on the platform side of the station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/10/17) shows the situation at the end of the day. With the steelwork complete, blockwork has begun around the front of the rotunda as well. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Dai Jones and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Luxury afternoon teas in October

Every Saturday in October First Class passengers on the 1410 from Porthmadog to Caernarfon will be offered afternoon tea for £15 and a bottle of Prosecco for £17.95. These offers must be booked in advance. See F&WHR website.

 

Lyn runs on the L&BR Gala 29/9-1/10/17

The L&BR's replica Baldwin No.762 Lyn, a 2-4-2T loco, appeared at the railway's Gala starting 29/9/17. After several visits of the F&WHR's L&BR replica Lyd to the railway it is hoped that Lyn may return the favour by visiting the WHR, possibly for SuperPower next year. See the L&BR website for pictures and video of the event.

As regards the planning applications for the extension of the railway southwards from its Killington Lane terminus to Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir, while North Devon Council dealt with the matter speedily and approved the short section south of Blackmore Gate, Exmoor National Park Authority have now taken over 18 months to consider the application without reaching a decision. This mirrors the problems the WHR had with the SNPA to some extent. See Planning Application on the ENPA website and Committee report dated 3/5/16.

 

Mountaineer move 14/9/17

The FR's ALCO 2-6-2T Mountaineer, stored at Glan-y-pwll was moved to Boston Lodge on 14/9/17. Mountaineer was withdrawn at the end of its boiler ticket in February 2006 after a few weeks on the WHR when it opened in Autumn 1997 and when it replaced Blanche in 2000/1 hauling trains to Waunfawr until September 2001. The loco will need conversion to coal firing and a boiler overhaul but the move to Boston Lodge does not mean work will start immediately, rather a reorganisation of stock storage.

 

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