WHR

News Archive Page

2019

V4.3 updated 3/11/19

with news to 30/9/19

 

Newly archived sections are placed at the top of this page. This page contains archived news from July-September 2019.

 

Funkey substitution 30/9/19

This view (30/9/19) shows Vale of Ffestiniog shunting at Porthmadog Harbour Station before running ECS to Caernarfon to haul the 1000 departure from Caernarfon. This was due to the non-availability of the rostered steam loco No138. 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.

 

NG15 No.134 progress September

The September working party was an excellent well attended affair with much achieved and plenty of youngsters helping over the weekend, One job that took by far the most effort, with two people working on it most of the weekend was painting the main driving wheels. These had returned a week ago from being re-gauged so were in need of cleaning and painting. These were cleaned on the Saturday then painted in undercoat an on the Sunday they received a coat of gloss black. Volunteers also painted the wheels on both pony trucks as well as patching up damaged paintwork on the rear truck's frames and also painted inside the front drag box. The previous weekend saw some of the works staff lower the front coupling to the height required to run on the WHR and also to install the new front coupling box. It was apparent whilst doing this that the inside of the dragbox had never been painted so this was needle-gunned clean, all the debris was vacuumed out and a coat of undercoat applied on the Saturday followed by top coat on the Sunday. Volunteers also painted all the ends of the suspension arms that were crack tested a couple of months ago.

The main job the group wanted to make good progress with was attaching the lubrication pipework to the Krauss Helmholtz front pony truck. They had made the various brackets last month and these were attached to the frames this month. Volunteers did a trial fitting of the flexible pipework that will lubricate the ball joint and the sliding box it sits in. The pipes and fittings were then removed and the brackets were painted! Volunteers would have liked to have started the copper pipework but only got as far as annealing the copper pipe for it. However the brackets for the flexible hoses were attached to the main frames down to the Krauss Helmholtz pony truck after they had been painted.

Whilst all this was going on two of the team started work on another panel for the new side running plate. This involved removing the lubricator and the old panel and measuring up and marking out the various slots that are needed in it. This was then cut to size and slots cut in it, although volunteers never got around to trial fitting the piece. Some other components that will be needed when the loco is re-wheeled were identified and refurbished where required, although it was noticed there was one piece missing that will need to be made.

For images see No.134 website.

 

Archive views of K1 18/11/95

K1 had been at the FR since its purchase from static display at Beyer-Peacock in 1966 but the large loading gauge had always been an issue and it was eventually stored under a tarpaulin in Glan-y-mor yard. In 1976 it was loan at the NRM in works grey but the purchase of the WHR with its larger loading gauge allowed reconsideration of its future. The nascent WHRS were tasked with its restoration and it was moved back to North Wales in 1995, spending two days on display at Caernarfon as a statement of intent, the first steam loco to be seen there since BR. The loco was also displayed at the FR Gala before moving to Tyseley Steam Centre in late 1995 for Midlands' engineers to have easier access. Colin Hill was the project leader and your webmaster met him at a pub Weedon to discuss a visit which culminated in this set of slide scans dated 18/11/95. Colin also obtained the water tower for Caernarfon station from the Southam Cement Works quarries at Bishop's Itchington. This had been used to water the 5 works 2' gauge Pecketts (and a Bagnall), Jurassic (now restored at the LCLR), Liassic (operational at the  SBR) Triassic (now OOU at the BLR) and two others.

On disassembly at Tyseley K1  was found to have some components from K2. It has been sidelined for several years now following expiry of its boiler certificate and rumours persist about its future.

 

This Tyseley view (18/11/95) shows K1 being disassembled near the turntable at Tyseley Steam Centre. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tyseley view (18/11/95) shows K1 being disassembled. Tyseley Steam Centre were to attend to restoration of the boiler which had been removed in this view. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tyseley view (18/11/95) shows K1's. boiler, removed from, the frames for repair at Tyseley Steam Centre. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tyseley view (18/11/95) shows K1's cab being disassembled. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Tyseley view (18/11/95) shows K1's cab door removed for renovation. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Lyd off to the L&BR Gala 26/9/19

This view (26/9/19) shows the Lyd being shunted onto a low loader by Criccieth Castle using the siding in the Llyn Bach car park at Porthmadog. The loco was visiting the L&BR gala on 28-29/9/19 and will return in early October. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Replica Carriage No.21 in traffic 22/9/19

The volunteer project to complete a replica Ashbury's coach No.21 reached a conclusion on 22/9/19 when the coach was outshopped. the Project x team volunteers were treated to a special run on the FR. The coach bodywork had been completed for some time but was awaiting completion of the original pattern bogies. This is a tourist coach and adds to the fleet of several preserved Ashbury's coaches on the F&WHR/WHHR that can form an impressive heritage rake/rakes as used on the WHR.

 

Final nuclear flask train 18/9/19

Without any advice on enthusiast news sources, the final Wylfa Nuclear Flask train ran on 18/9/19 hauled by Nos. 68005/033 after the locos had taken a final single flask to Valley. Many enthusiasts were disappointed as they had been expecting DRS to put on a show, e.g. a headboard. This was the final freight working on the North Wales Coast for the time being though there are rumours of new ballast/slate waste workings. The BBC carried the final flask story later, see BBC website. Some 87,890 Magnox fuel elements had been removed and breakdowns in the removal equipment had led to this taking nearly 4 years since the plants closure in 30/12/15. It is hoped that the sidings will be retained for Wylfa B, if it ever is built, and for the use of the triangle by steam excursions on the North Wales Coast.

 

This northerly view (13/9/19) shows one of the final workings by the Valley Nuclear Electric flask train with No.68017 Hornet and No.68034 entering Chester Goods Loop at 16.31 with one of the final workings. 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 Canon EOS 1300D digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS4415 update 16/9/19

The refurbished radiator/cab heater has been returned from Exeter and Newquay Radiators. The header tank has been replaced as it was corroded. See KS4415 website for images. Copies may be made of the misspelt McClaren label from the header tank as a promotional item.

 

Boston Lodge's new Carriage Shed gets wood cladding 15-17/9/19

Boston Lodge's new Carriage Shed is being clad in wood on the east and north sides. Trackwork in the shed remains to be completed, as does plain-lining of the old Boston Lodge turnout.

 

This westerly view (15/9/19) shows the east face of the new Carriage Shed being clad in wood. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (15/9/19) shows the south face of the new Carriage Shed with internal tracks still waiting to be laid. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (15/9/19) shows the west face of the new Carriage Shed being apparently clad in steel. Work is still underway to make the building weather-tight for the Autumn/Winter as witnessed the scaffolding. Curved rails in the foreground will be laid for access to the tightly curved track into the shed used for loco release after ECS stock is shunted to the shed.. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (15/9/19) shows the north face of the new Carriage Shed being clad in wood. Tracks will soon be laid through the three doors into the shed from recently laid pointwork. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (15/9/19) shows the north face of the new Carriage Shed being clad in wood. When Pen Cob Junction was relaid three points were laid to allow access to the new 3-road Carriage Shed. The old Pen Cob Junction is also visible on the left and will need plain-lining once time allows. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Mark Bishop and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (17/9/19) shows the east face of the new Carriage Shed being clad in wood. One of the ex SAR B wagons is currently used at Boston Lodge for loco coal. 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.

 

Greaser's Express 14-15/9/19

The annual Greaser's Express which greases points was hauled by Moelwyn on the FR on 14/9/19 but road transport was supplied for the WHR the following day.

 

VoR Gala 14/9/18

This northerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 coaling in preparation for its next turn. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.10 stabled after its single demonstration freight turn of the day. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.1213 passing at Capel Bangor. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 arriving at Devil's Bridge on the final train of the day. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 arriving at Devil's Bridge on the final train of the day. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 arriving at Devil's Bridge on the final train of the day. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 rounding one of the sharp curves as it descends from Devil's Bridge on the final train of the day. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.10 shunting ECS stock into the old BR depot behind which is now in use as a carriage shed. A new carriage shed is planned in the former Manchester and Milford platforms, still owned by the VoR, alongside the main platforms in Aberystwyth's NR station, currently about 10 minutes walk from the VoR station. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.1213 and No.7 being cleared of ash outside the 2012 build workshop/depot at Aberystwyth. The three loco sized doors are entrances to the Loco Shed and the workshop are the far end of the shed. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows VoR No.8 joining the line up in the ash pit road outside the workshop/depot at Aberystwyth after coming off the 1700 from Devil's Bridge. No.7 meanwhile had shunted to the right hand siding to release the ash pit road for No.8. The line up was a last minute unplanned event asked for by enthusiasts. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows all three Swindon built locos lined up outside the workshop/depot at Aberystwyth. It is a pity the VoR does not have a turntable as the locos might look better facing the afternoon sun boiler first. It is not known if they ever operated this way on the VoR. The track to the right leads to a loading point for rail vehicles to be carried by lorry. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Baldwin No.590 progress 14/9/19

A Baldwin lookalike loco to be renumbered as No.590 that operated on the original WHR is nearing completion at the VoR, Aberystwyth workshops. The Imperial War museum's repatriated (ex India) No.794 is showing good at the VoR, whose engineers hope it might be completed next autumn. The project had previously ground to a halt at Alan Keef's works before moving to Aberystwyth. It is hoped that the loco might feature in a future Gala on the WHR, along with Russell or haul a 'Journey into the Past' special one summer. it used to haul 2/3 coaches on the 1 in 40 and the new boiler is said to be more powerful than the original design to these ex-WD locos.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows the rear view No.590 making good progress with the cab and coal bunker complete. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows the front of  No.590 making good progress with the new boiler sitting on the rolling chassis and one of the two pannier tanks fitted. While an original tank exists, having reputedly been sold to store paraffin in a local Porthmadog garage, it is not proposed to reuse it. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

VoR Gala 14/9/19

The VoR had a very successful Gala on 14-15/9/19 with so many visitors that the small ticket office, which was also selling food and gifts, was overwhelmed resulting in long queues! Your webmaster revisited his alma mater and remembered the BR blue steam locos! All three locos were in steam and their ex-BR diesel No.10 was used for a demonstration freight as well as being ECS pilot at the end of the day. There were also depot visits and  privately owned NG13 Garratt No.60 Drakensberg was visible in the workshops and would also make a good visitor to the WHR having come all the way from Switzerland in 2017, see  Cambrian News story.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows the front of NG13 No.60 making good progress with the new spark arrestor fitted to a F&WHR design. The spark arrestor is essential because the VoR runs through dense woodland in areas and fires would be devastating to the Rheidol Valley. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows the front of NG13 No.60 making good progress with the loco on ambulance bogies. This Hanomag built loco is of similar power to the WHR's Garratts. Work is also underway on the two power bogies. This privately owned loco may appear in traffic next year and it is intended to be used on heavy summer loadings and Gala traffic specials. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This view (14/9/19) shows ex-Penrhyn Quarry Hunslet Nesta which was recovered from a swamp in Puerto Rico after export in 1965. Apparently the loco had never been used or displayed whilst in the Americas. The loco is in poor condition and will be a long term restoration project. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

K1 cups given away

K1 cups were given away as mementoes of the 'Journey into the Past' workings on Sundays 15 and 22/9/19 perhaps presaging a change in status of the loco as rumours are circulating amongst staff. K1 is currently stored unserviceable at Dinas and the paid staff have no time to progress its return to service, since they are working on Garratts No.87/130 simultaneously.

 

This view (29/9/19) shows the K1 mug given as a memento to passengers on the 'Journey into the Past' workings on the final two Sunday workings in 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 13-24/9/19

By 13/9/19 the tanks at Boston Lodge had been painted in red.

By 23/9/19 the cab fittings had been trial fitted, including new seats and even coat hooks.

By 24/9/19 new steam pipes were made for both No.130 and the identical ones for No.87 which is likely to be in steam first.

 

North Wales road access news

Many travellers to the WHR use the A55. West bound traffic on the A55 has suffered severe congestion near Llandulas with lane closures from 8/9/19 for 5 weeks until mid-October. The contraflow is to repair a bridge at Llandulas. See North Wales Pioneer story.

Good news is that approval for the new bridge at Queensferry has been given which will take off the current westbound stub next to the river Dee. The 3 lane bridge will be built on the east side of the current Queensferry crossing and extended to the Queensferry flyover. When opened it will allow the old dual carriageway bridge to be upgraded and returned to use as a 3 lane bridge giving much needed dual 3 lane access to North Wales at this pinch point. It will also carry a footpath and cycleway.

The new carriageway will extend under NR's North Wales Coast main line and it is uncertain if NR has requested that a four track bridge will be provided to allow for future increases in traffic on the current two track railway e.g. if an Irish Tunnel is built as suggested by current Prime Minister (as of 29/9/19!). The current bridge built in the 1960s does carry a four track formation. Previously NR failed to ensure the A483 dual carriageway bridge on Gresford bank was built to double track. This had led to a single track section between Wrexham and Chester that is restricting growth on this route. Public Exhibitions will be held this Autumn. Construction could begin in 2021.

 

North Wales main line trains 12-29/9/19

This easterly view (13/9/19) shows No 67010 westbound on the MANWAG working as seen from the Puffin rest area footbridge at Penmaenmawr at 12:18 in the fine weather that characterised much of 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (13/9/19) shows No 67010's DVT rear westbound on the MANWAG working as seen from the Puffin rest area footbridge at Penmaenmawr working towards Holyhead. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (13/9/19) shows No 67010 eastbound on the MANWAG working departing Chester for Manchester. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (13/9/19) shows No 67010 westbound on the MANWAG working for Llandudno with the driver out of his cab and waiting for the guard's signal at Llandudno Junction. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

On 18/9/19 No.67014 working the Cardiff-Holyhead failed on the Welsh Borders at Shrewsbury and was replaced by a 3-car Class 175 the following day as if there are no spare Class 67s around!

On 20/9/19 No.67014 worked the Cardiff Holyhead. No.67010 was back on North Wales MANWAG workings on 26/9/19.

A working on 29/9/19 saw D1944/47501 Craftsman /47614 hauling an ECS LSL working Holyhead to Crewe.

 

Archive views of Snowdon Ranger 16/10/01

Archive views are welcome from other contributors. Here are a selection taken whilst Ian Condon was staying in the Snowdon Ranger station building from October 2001.

 

This northerly view (16/10/01) shows the vacant trackbed at Snowdon Ranger before work began on extending the railway to Rhyd Ddu. The station building in behind the hedge and had been turned into a holiday let owned by the warden of the nearby Youth Hostel. A footpath, visible on the left, crosses the site. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Condon and was taken on a Sony PC100 video camera which had a photo facility. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (16/10/01) shows the vacant trackbed heading north from the Snowdon Ranger level crossing towards Caeau Gwynion farm. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Condon and was taken on a Sony PC100 video camera which had a photo facility. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (16/10/01) shows the vacant trackbed heading north from the south end Snowdon Ranger showing there was space for a siding here in WHR days. The platform and waiting shelter now occupy the space where the cattle feeder is situated. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Condon and was taken on a Sony PC100 video camera which had a photo facility. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (16/10/01) shows the vacant trackbed heading south from the Snowdon Ranger level crossing towards past the old station building. The footpath that crossed the site on the left was diverted to run in front of the old station building and run alongside the west side of the formation to the level crossing. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Ian Condon and was taken on a Sony PC100 video camera which had a photo facility. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Annual Holiday

Your webmaster will be on annual holiday for the next two weeks so there will be no updates before the start of October.

 

More archive views from 5-7/11/95

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the trackbed in the Aberglaslyn Pass. Sensitive negotiations took place with the SNPA who were initially very keen on the scheme. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the entrance to the long tunnel T4 at the south end of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The permitted path on the trackbed was very popular with walkers. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the entrance to the short tunnels T2/3 in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass. The trackbed was also used by a local water main visible protected with concrete on the left threading the two tunnels. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the Afon Glaslyn rapids, which was to prove one of the spectacular views available from train. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the Pont Croesor bridge which had recently been improved by GC. The abutments have space for the WHR girders. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the Pont Croesor bridge which had recently been improved by GC. The abutments have space for the WHR girders. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

More archive views from early November 1995

Two locos Nos. 138/142 were in the process of being purchased from SAR and were to be refurbished before delivery to the UK. Rails, track fittings and wagons were being recovered from Donnybrook line in South Africa. These photos from early November 95 are from a film processed 9/11/95 and are from a date in the range 5-7/11/95 as the film would have been posted first class 8/11/95. The process date is shown on the scans below.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows Waunfawr station and Snowdonia Parc with renovation starting on the pub tom improve the facilities. Sleeper indentations are still visible in the grassy trackbed with both main line and loop on the right hand side of the station building which is in an advanced state of decay. The pub's fence-line required adjustment later to reflect the correct property boundary. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. Of the three Gwyrfai bridges this one was deemed beyond repair and was replaced by one donated by BR stored in a PW yard near Sheffield. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. The bridge is fenced off having no deck. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge just south of Betws Garmon station. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows another view of  the Gwyrfai bridge from the Betws Garmon road bridge. Unlike other sections of the trackbed, this section does not show sleeper indentations as the Caernarfon water main had occupied the trackbed and later required removal to the right. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (5-7/11/95) shows Snowdon Ranger station. The small station building is dwarfed by a more modern Youth Hostel accommodation block. It is now hidden from the railway behind a fence. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows Castell Cidwm road bridge before the trackbed was deepened for the WHR's Funkey/Garratt gauge. It showed clear evidence of flooding. The wider trackbed to the left was, for a short while, the original terminus of the NWNGR at Llyn Cwellyn before the final section to Rhyd Ddu was completed. This bridge has remained a flooding problem after tithe reopening of the WHR and additional drainage measures eventually became necessary. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

North Wales main line news 11/9/19

No.67014 was on the Holyhead-Cardiff WAG on 11/9/19 and Nos.68033/4 were on the Valley Nuclear Electric with 3 flasks....can't be many left now!

 

Moving Pictures No.35 10/9/19

Click on the YouTube window to watch 34 mins 50 seconds of video covering young volunteer activities and an extended report from Dinas on progress with Nos.87/130. This YouTube was published on 10/9/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

Archive views from early November 95

Many moves were underway in 1995 towards resurrecting the WHR, with funding sources being sought, Nos. 138/143 being imported from South Africa, negotiations with Gwynedd Council to lease the Caernarfon-Dinas ex-BR trackbed, moves to acquire the WHR trackbed etc. Your webmaster wanted to record the 'before' views of the WHR and fortunately a permitted path existed along much of the railway though some farmers objected to its use and were using the trackbed for their own purposes. A WHR Society had been formed and Mike Hart was driving forward the project with enthusiasm. The film process date is shown but the slides are from a day in the range 5-7/9/95.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the sleeper indentations still visible in the grassy trackbed on Ffridd Isaf curve just north of Rhyd Ddu station during a walk to Glan-yr-afon Viaduct. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the state of Glan-yr-afon Viaduct at this time. the slimy wooden way beams did not encourage your webmaster to cross the structure! Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the Glan-y-afon Viaduct in better light but still looking dangerous. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5-7/11/95) shows WDA funded improvements in Caernarfon. This is what the east end of the road tunnel looked like before the start of works in 1996 from Crown Street at the bottom of the station incline. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (5-7/11/95) shows the view in the opposite direction with the former BR trackbed rising up into the main Caernarfon station site behind what was then the QuickSave store. Back in August Bank Holiday 1967 your then teenage webmaster had stood on Caernarfon station during a North Wales 5 in 7 Runabout Ticket and looked wistfully at the rusty tracks that descended this incline towards Dinas. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5-7/11/95) shows the state of Dinas station from Ty'n Llan road bridge. Gwynedd Council were planning to evacuate the site and this gave a good start to the WHR project with both the original station building and the Goods Shed still in existence. The road behind the cyclist occupies the space between the two BR platform faces and the WHR was later to occupy this space. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.130 progress 9/9/19

By 3/9/19 the sand boxes had been painted.

By 9/9/19 the new coal bunker had been sand blasted and primed ready for painting and was stored in the Heritage shed at Boston Lodge ready for painting.

 

Last chances to sample Journey to the Past

This year the Prince hauled 'Journey to the Past' specials have been extended into September with workings on both Sunday 15 and 22/9/19.

 

North Wales main line news 9/9/19

The first Mk4 coaches for TfW to replace the current MkIII rakes are now at Eastleigh for overhaul/refurbishment The December deadline looks likely to be missed. The Mk4 DVT is No.82226 and the SV (service vehicle/buffet) is No.10325, which will have first class seating installed, then FOD (First Open Disabled) No.11323 will become TOD (Tourist Open Disabled), TO (Tourist Open) No.12454 and TOE (Tourist Open End, standard/no gangway at one end) No.12225.

The trains are already showing on RealTimeTrains with Set 1 starting at Holyhead and Set 2 starting from Cardiff.

On 9/9/19 Nos.88004/68004 hauled the Valley flasks. On 6/9/19 Nos. 68001/18 performed the duty.

On 6/9/19 Nos.57601/57313 hauled the Northern Belle ECS to Holyhead for servicing after a Lincoln-Llandudno excursion.

On 4/9/19 Nos. 68033/034 hauled the Valley flasks.

There is a report on the resumption of cement traffic to Pen-y-Ffordd after many years of road-only delivery with No.66713 in charge on 28-29/8/19 reversing at Dee Marsh sidings.

On 2/9/19 Nos.68003/18 hauled the Valley flasks. The MANWAG service saw DB liveried No.67010 in service the same day.

With the Valley flasks likely to finish this autumn it is good to hear that another form of freight may return to North Wales. It is reported in the North Wales Coast website that Penmaenmawr Quarries sidings are being refurbished for a resumption of ballast deliveries and Llandudno Junction Yard/Glan Conwy sidings being cleared for Breedon Aggregates which recently took over Penrhyn Quarry and may be considering slate waste by rail.

 

WHR West Midlands Group Meeting 12/9/19

The next West Midland Group meeting will be Thursday 12/9/19: 'North Wales Standard Gauge' by Dave Waldren. This follows on from Dave’s show last year on the Cambrian. It will be a ‘vintage photographic journey’ over the non-Cambrian standard gauge lines in North Wales, including Afon Wen-Bangor, Anglesey, North Wales Coast line, Denbigh, Ruabon-Barmouth, Bala Ffestiniog etc.

The venue is 7.30 pm, Dennis Carson Room, Dame Elizabeth Hall, Firbank Close (off Oak Tree Lane), Bournville, Birmingham B30 1UA. All are welcome! Free entry, but a donation to our funds to cover room hire and refreshments would be most welcome.

 

Row erupts over Anglesey Central Railway 29/8/19

The ACR volunteers hoping to reopen the Amlwch branch are making excellent progress with clearance of the route which last carried freight in 1993. Generally the line only requires vegetation clearance and, in future, spot re-sleepering to make it fit for use again. Local plans exist to run a commuter service from the county town of Llangefni to Bangor. However, a local environmentalist group wants to rip up the track and convert it to a long distance cycle route like the Lon Eifion that parallels the WHR. Anglesey Council confirms its policy has not changed and it hopes the railway plan will come to fruition in the near future.

See Daily Post story.

 

Welsh Pony 27/8/19

A find in a second hand shop cabinet has produced a genuine Robert Stephenson steam pressure gauge of 1954 vintage which will look quite appropriate on Welsh Pony. It looks perfect inside but will need to be checked to see it is calibrated correctly.

 

This view (28/8/19) shows the Robert Stephenson pressure gauge. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR). Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

FR Winter shut down

The F&WHR plan to close the FR for much of the coming Winter season to allow progress on track renewals under the WMWP. This is likely to mean more trains on the WHR over Winter as last year.

 

WHR AGM moves back to September

The WHR AGM is set to take place on 12/9/20 (TBC). The Snowdonian Limited will run the same weekend rather its normal Spring slot and there will be a 'small' WHR event over the weekend, so clearly not a 'SuperPower'! The main event of the year will be a Fairlie Weekend gala 19-21/6/20 to celebrate the Fairlie Trials. This may include some events of the WHR.

 

'Journey to the Past' final September weekends

The final trips by the Prince hauled Caernarfon-Tryfan Junction-Rhyd Ddu 'Journey to the Past' train are on 15/9/19 and 22/9/19. A descriptive pamphlet is provided with the tour.

 

Castle View Lounge

The Castle View Lounge, on the mezzanine floor of Caernarfon's De Winton Cafe has been fitted with comfy chairs and is open from 9-5 pm with hot food available until 3pm. The lounge can also be booked for private functions.

 

North Wales main line news 30/8/19

Nos. 68004/88004 hauled the Valley Flasks on 30/8/19. Traffic is likely to finish in September bringing an end to freight on the NWC line as the final fuel rods are removed from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. The need for a new reactor, Wylfa B/Wylfa Newydd at this site, currently halted by financial concerns, was brought home to many who lost power and suffered heavy disruption on 9/8/19 with some passengers stuck in trains for several hours when the National Grid shed the excess load because of the simultaneous failure of two power stations.

A pairing hauled the flasks on 18/8/19 and again on 21/8/19 with Nos. 68033/34 on the duty.

On 26/8/19 Nos. 68003/18 performed the duty.

Nos. 68008/88004 hauled the flasks on 28/8/19.

A new flow is a resumption of cement tank traffic from Pen-y-Ffordd which has only received occasional Scottish opencast coal in recent years. on 28/8/19 No.66713 was on the duty running as 6Z41 Gloucester New yard to Pen-y-Ffordd.

TransPennine Express loco hauled Mk5 services from Liverpool-Scarborough from the 24/8/19 over the Bank Holiday Weekend, though there were some initial failures.

Also seen on its way to North Wales on 16/8/19 was a new DMU No.397002 for Northern. these are being assembled into raked at the former RTZ site at Holyhead though they are arriving on the back of  Convoi Exceptionnel road vehicles making a huge block on local roads such as the Northwich Bypass. The train was later allocated to ROG locos Nos.47815/823 on 21/8/19 which took them to Crewe on 22/8/19. It is not known if further deliveries will be made via the ex RTZ sidings.

A bag of bolts mistaken for a landslide of rocks caused trains to be suspended to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 22/8/96. Trains resumed the following day after the line was inspected and the bag of bolts found. See BBC story.

 

Bontnewydd Bypass news 24/8/19

Martin Kressman advises: On Friday (24/8/19) signs were out warning of road closure between Bethel and Plas Menai roundabout on account of blasting (A substantial cutting is required from the Plas Menai roundabout up onto the adjacent plateau to the south as the Welsh Government shortened the scheme by removing the 1 km from the summit of the Y Felinheli bypass. -Ed).

 

No.130 progress August 2019

Good progress is being made with No.130 after the boiler setback that caused delays earlier this year. Various components have now begun to appear in Burrell's Plum, the loco's designated colour scheme. This is the nearest shade to Canadian Pacific Red chosen by the owner.

 

This view (26/7/19) shows the new paint scheme for No.130. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Peter Best. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

By 26/8/98 the crinoline supports for the cladding had been completed. The cladding and dome have been painted at Boston Lodge.

 

Archive views 30/8/1995?

Here are four more photos continuing your webmaster's collection of scanned slides from the very start of the WHR project, before this website and even before a start of work! The process date is 10/9/95 but the slides are mostly likely to have been taken on 30/8/95 when I visited the FR.

 

This southerly view (30/8/95?) shows the concrete base of the former Good's Shed at Beddgelert sometimes used as a Loco shed for Baldwin No.590. The sliding doors were at the south end. At this time there were still rails in Goat Cutting to the right of the white houses, left by an earlier preservation attempt by the antecedents of WHHR. The station has been radically altered in the last few years with the addition the raised island platform to the right. The modern northbound/Down line passes through the site of the Goods Shed. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (30/8/95?) shows the overgrown Summit Cutting viewed from Pitt's Head road bridge. The piers of the never completed footbridge are also visible. At this time the trackbed under the bridge was flooded as was the boggy cutting to the north of it. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95?) shows the undulating trackbed from Pitt's Head halt towards Rhyd Ddu station visible in the distance. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95?) shows the GC toilet block build roughly on the site of Rhyd Ddu station building. The gravel track follows the line of the WHR to Ffridd Isaf level crossing visible in the distance. The car park has changed markedly with the road now occupying the parking bays by the fence on the left and new bays built by the right hand fence with a modern surface with blocks that allow drainage. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Archive views spot 30/8/95?

Here are some more archive views from late August, possibly 30/8/95, before work commenced on the WHR.

 

This westerly view (30/8/95?) shows Porthmadog Harbour station with an FR train hauled by Merddin Emrys about to set out for Blaenau Ffestiniog. The station has been radically altered in the last few years with the addition the WHR platform to the right. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned on a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III from a slide. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (30/8/95?) shows Prince shunting an FR whilst Merddin Emrys is ready to for Blaenau Ffestiniog a few minutes after the previous photo. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95?) from the trackbed of the incomplete PBSSR shows Bryn-y-felin bridge with the GC footbridge built over it to give access to the trackbed through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Nantmor. In the background the original Bryn-y-felin road bridge can be seen. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95?) shows Beddgelert depot complete with foundation of lamp hut, inspection pit and water tower. The Good's Shed on the far side of the line had been used as a loco shed on some occasion but all that remains is the foundation. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Journeys to the Past Sunday specials

The F&WHR/WHHG 'Journey to the Past' Sunday special train  is operating again this summer, but this year with an extended season after a successful trial run for four Saturdays last August. This year it is running for six Sundays, 4-25/8/19 and 15-22/9/19. The journey starts at 1030 at Caernarfon to meet the host before an 1100 departure, rather than Dinas as last year, giving chance for a snack in the De Winton Cafe. The trip includes a visit to Tryfan Junction and a picnic lunch at Rhyd Ddu. Trains will be hauled by Prince, hauling 3 heritage coaches, although the loco roster does not confirm this. See F&WHR website for full details.

 

S4415 news 14/8/19

The refurbished radiator has been delivered from New quay Radiators. While the rest of the loco is not yet ready to receive it, it will be easy to fit when the volunteer group reach that stage. Nutexa Frictions has also returned the band brakes fitted with new brake linings following the removal of the unsafe asbestos brake linings.

 

North Wales mainline news 14/8/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic continues unabated even though Wylfa is nearly empty of fuel rods. It cannot be long now before the last freight train on the North Wales Coast, a line that in recent years boasted freightliners to Holyhead, RTZ traffic to Holyhead, stone trains from Penmaenmawr etc.

On 14/8/19 Nos. 68034/88010 hauled two flasks.

Aberdeen based First Group and Trenitalia, the nationalised Italian State Railways company, is taking over the WCML franchise from Virgin and intends to offer a Llandudno-London service. Let's hope this is in addition to and not lead to a reduction in the current WCML trains to Holyhead that connect with ferries. Many enthusiasts will understand why our rail fares are so dear when we have to pay a profit to a foreign nationalised railway rather than paying our own nationalised railway (remember BR?) at cost!

Gobowen (for Oswestry) will be served by a new service via Wrexham putting a further strain on the single track Wrexham North Junction to Rossett. This replaces a London service lost when Wrexham and Shropshire pulled the plug back in 28/1/11. Interestingly this leaves the short section between Gobowen and Shrewsbury without a WCML service although it could be used as a diversionary route. Other new stations include Liverpool South Parkway and Walsall. Diesel Voyagers will be replaced by a more environmentally acceptable train! See Government Press release including new WCML Franchise Map.

Notice has been given by TfW that the Mark 4 coaches and DVT will replace the current Mark 3 coaches on the Class 67 hauled Holyhead-Cardiff services SSuX from 16/12/19. The services are 05:34, 11:34, 16:51 Holyhead-Cardiff Central and the return workings 07:02,11:24, 17:16 Cardiff Central-Holyhead. Many enthusiasts will regret the passing of the comfortable Mark III coaches in favour of the distinctly hard seats in the Mark 4s.

 

Caernarfon bypass news

Martin Kressman reports: The first girder for this bridge was lifted into place overnight on Monday 12/8/19.

 

Introducing Archive Views from late August 1995

After a sustained bout of progressively scanning old slides from 1970 onwards, slides from mid 1995 have now been reached. This was the period when the FR announced it was to buy up the WHR and reconstruct the route. Your webmaster who was producing a Channel Tunnel column for RAIL until August 1995, decided to get some 'before' images of the WHR and start covering the construction story even though it was 200 miles from home (the Channel Tunnel was a similar distance away!). Eventually, after a short period of coverage in Railway Magazine, this website appeared. There are many previously unpublished images to come. The process date is 10/9/95 and I was in Porthmadog 30/8/95 but may have been staying in the area for a few days.

 

This northerly view (30/8/95?) from Ty'n Llan road bridge shows Dinas station site whilst still occupied by Welsh Water. The two platform faces can be seen either side of the Welsh Water access road. The original WHR Dinas station building is hidden between more modern construction on the right, since demolished. Cyclists are using the Lon Eifion trackbed cycleway which remained open to Hendy Crossing except for a short period during Phase 1, the construction of Dinas-Caernarfon section. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was scanned from a slide using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Normal news service will be restored now that the 1995 WHR archive slides have finally been reached.

 

Chaloner at Shrewsbury Flower show 10-11/8/19

Despite the forecast rain (particularly Sunday!) the crowds came to enjoy the F&WHR's offering of rides behind Chaloner in two bugboxes on track laid alongside the River Severn at Quarry Park, Shrewsbury. Temporary track had been laid on the riverside footpath by volunteers by 6/8/19. See F&WHR website.

 

This westerly view (9/8/19) shows Chaloner at the Shrewsbury Flower Show running on temporary track alongside the River Severn. Click on the image to enlarge and click again to see full size (where available). This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dp

 

Caernarfon Bypass news 8/8/19

Martin Kressman reports: A sign has appeared on the A487 between Caernarfon and Bontnewydd announcing overnight closures of the road between 22:15 and 05:00 on the nights of 12-14/8/19. Presumably this is to enable the Bailey Bridge to be erected.

Construction of the piers to support the Bailey Bridge carrying the bypass haul road over the A487 at the Meifod in Bontnewydd was well advanced on 25/7/19

 

North Wales main line news to 7-12/8/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic has been more random recently as it nears an end.

7/8/19 Nos. 68004/8

8/8/19 Nos. 88002/5

12/8/19 Nos.68001/4

Due to the Acton Grange blockade on the Manchester route the ManWAG set was not being used M-F from 22/7/19 for two weeks but was used on a Saturday relief on the North Wales Coast Crewe-Llandudno return, followed by Crewe-Holyhead return. It was intended to run the relief again on 27/7/19 and 10/8/19, with a Cardiff trip on Saturdays 3/8/19, 17/8/19 and 31/8/19.  It was unclear if No.67014 was staying on the set while it was sidelined from normal duties.

 

Blaenau Reopening steam special 3/8/19

Following storm damage in March NR reopened the line from Llandudno Junction to Llanrwst for the National Eisteddfod on 18/7/19 and to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 24/7/19 restoring a public transport connect to the F&WHR from the North Wales Coast. TfW ran a special train with steam haulage (a first for TfW) from Chester to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 3/8/19 hauled by Nos. 48151/45690, courtesy of WCR, Carnforth.

NR used Roman Bridge yard as an access point for PW work on Blaenau section.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows Linda and Taliesin in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 waits for the pilot loco to run round from the NR headshunt in Blaenau Ffestiniog. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows No.48151 easing past No.45190n in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 with 6 inches to spare!  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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (3/8/19) shows No.48151 alongside No.45190 in the FR headshunt while No. 45690 with 6 inches to spare with the FR's Phil Brown officiating on the FR side!  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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

See also Daily Post report.

 

Carriage Shed progress 3/8/19

There was good progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed to be seen by 3/8/19. All the steelwork at the west end appeared to have been erected though roofing remained to be completed.

 

A498 Road closure postponed 1/8/19

Originally these roadworks would have seen the A498 from Capel Curig to Beddgelert closed between 8am and 5pm (approximately) for the first 4-5 working days of August. The closure will eventually be from the Pen-y -Gwryd to Llyn Gwynant but the road is too narrow and bendy for vehicles to safely pass the resurfacing works. The closure has been postponed until later in the year after concerns it would interfere with holiday traffic in the peak summer season.

The diversion is through Llanberis and will take an extra 30-40 minutes to reach Nantgwynant and Beddgelert.

When the work eventually starts the road will be open after approx 5pm and at weekends.

 

Moving Pictures No.34 26/7/19

Click on the YouTube window to watch 34 mins 13 seconds of video covering young volunteer activities and FR scenes, including the TfW Blaenau Reopening Special at Blaenau Ffestiniog. This YouTube was published on 26/7/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

Premier Inn Porthmadog 4/7/19

On 4/7/19 Premier Inn submitted a planning application to Gwynedd Council to convert the former Tax Offices on the site of Britannia Foundry into a Premier Inn which would be very convenient for the F&WHR. There is a Travelodge at the far end of town on the Ffordd Penamser with no associated restaurant. See GC Planning application.

 

Boston Lodge update July 2019

Merddin Emrys was out of traffic for a while with a minor boiler problem but was back at work in mid-August.

Work on Welsh Pony continues as a volunteer led project. The drive frames have been fitted and new side rods being manufactured. The inner and outer frames are complete with some work required on the outer frames which were distorted. Boiler lagging and cladding is underway. Two clack valves have been fitted which provide a non return path for boiler filling under pressure. An additional safety feature is a modern safety valve fitted under the dome.

Garratt No.87 is on a fast track to return to service soon in black livery with an SAR/SAS loco in crossed formation as used on bilingual South African Railways. The WHR is operating with just two Garratts in service along with Funkey Vale of Ffestiniog which can be called in to help if necessary following a failure. the cab remained to be painted after sand blasting and undercoating.

The FR's new double Fairlie, James Spooner, using many parts from Earl of Merioneth, is making good progress with the fitting of the new reverser. It will carry No.8 in the FR loco sequence.

Lyd is due to attend the L&BR Gala on 28-29/9/19 and following some superheater repairs, was back in traffic in July. It is hoped the loco might be back for the Victorian Gala a week later. This Winter a 10 year exam in due and some improvements are planned such as a new coal-only ashpan.

Lilla has been reassembled after its 10 year exam and now has new injectors.

On the carriage front ex-SAR wheelsets continue to be re-profiled and the steel types will be fitted to new carriages. The chilled iron ones are for use under wagons. All wheels have been moved in 1/8" on axles to suit the FR track gauge. The new WHR Saloon frame for No.2048 is well advanced with stainless steel for the saloon frame and carbon steel for the main frames. In August this vehicle was due to enter the Carriage Works for fitting out and may enter traffic next season.

 

No.134 May-June 2019

In May the NG15 No.134 working party volunteers were slightly lower on numbers but they did achieve quite a lot in the end. The grease pipework was completed for the two pony trucks in that all the pipes are now in place, however they still need to silver solder the fittings onto the ends. A complete new set of cotter pins was made for the suspension. The smaller cotters for the top of the suspension hangers had been laser cut for volunteers and so we finished them by grinding and filing these into the correct profile to fit snugly into the hanger. These will now be sent away for hardening.

Volunteers also worked on the driving wheel axle boxes, as were the full time staff by re-machining the white metal bearings. The design for the axle boxes has changed over the years whilst in service in South Africa, no doubt to bring their design to being similar to that for the NGG16 Garratts. One aspect of this however, is that there were a pair of bolts missing that attach the axle box oil well to its securing plate. The oil wells had the tapped hole but there was no hole in the securing plate. These were therefore duly drilled. Unfortunately as the holes in the oils wells were in somewhat 'random' positions they all had to be individually measured and the plates customised to suite each axle box.

Volunteers also started to drill the bolt heads that secure the oil well and its securing plate to the bottom of the axle boxes so they can be fitted with securing wires to prevent them coming loose. Two boxes were completed leaving six for next working party.

Finally volunteers started drilling the holes in the cylinder cladding so as it can be fitted to the loco rather than have the cladding lying around potentially getting damaged. The left hand side was completed so the right will be tackled next working party.

In June again volunteers were thin on the ground as they were supporting Gala events. Unfortunately, on examination, after having some components made volunteers found that the drawings did not match reality!

Work focussed mainly associated with the suspension. Volunteers assembled together all the suspension components and with those already attached to the loco they checked them all looking for possible issues. In doing so one bush was found to be missing on a compensation arm and so that will need making and pressing in. The team attached, or rather swapped over all the old small cotters for the new ones that they had made the previous working party. There were also two large cotters that were missing and these had been cut out for the team by the full time staff and so they were shaped to fit into their relevant 'home'. Volunteers went through all the pins and catalogued what was needed by way of washers and double checked the dimensions of those pins that are missing.

For full details and images see No.134 website.

 

Moving Pictures 26/7/19 No.33

Click on the YouTube link to watch 26 mins 43 seconds of video covering Castell Caernarfon and the WHR Gala. This YouTube was published on 26/7/19 and was taken by John Wooden on a professional 4K camcorder. It is best watched in HD in Google Chrome browser as only 720p HD available on Windows. Alternatively click on YouTube link.

 

North Wales mainline news 22-29/7/19

The Valley Nuclear Electric flask traffic has been more random recently as it nears an end.

22/7/19 Nos.68001/34

24/7/19 Nos.68008/88010

29/7/19 Nos. 880010/3

 

Conwy Valley branch to open early 18/7/19

The Conwy Valley Line will reopen to Llanrwst on 18/7/19 and be extended to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 24/7/19 in time for the National Eisteddfod at Llanrwst and school summer holiday traffic. TfW and NR are celebrating the reopening by hosting a steam trip from Chester to Blaenau on Saturday 3/8/19 with tickets being available from Monday 22/7/19. No.70000 Britannia is also due to haul a UK Railtours Irish Mail trip from London to Holyhead the same day, steam hauled from Crewe.

As part of the works on the Conwy Valley line, the speed limit at Maenan between Dolgarrog and Llanrwst has been restored from 30 to 45 mph though Dolgarrog station remains closed until the platform repair is complete. See BBC report, Daily Post report and NR Press release.

 

Last days of the Wylfa flasks 10-15/7/19

Freight traffic in North Wales Main Line will cease with the final nuclear flask traffic from Wylfa via the Valley Nuclear Electric siding. Traffic has become sporadic with the diagram currently shown as continuing to 13/12/19 as a Q path (as required). One of the latest runs was on Wednesday 10/7/19 and followed by another on Monday15/7/19.

 

This northerly view (10/7/19) shows No.88007 Electra leading 88004 Pandora passing Ffynnongroyw hauling three flasks. The light load is well within the power rating of these primarily AC electric locos which are also fitted with a Caterpillar 950 HP engine for use away from the catenary such as in this view. 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 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Boston Lodge carriage shed update 11-12/7/19

This easterly view (12/7/19) shows progress with the new carriage shed on the made ground near the new sea wall. The parallel section of the steel structure is nearly complete with some progress made at both curved ends of the shed. Also visible are the steel uprights for the store rooms on the seaward side at each end. Most of the roof bars are present for the parallel section. In the yard Castell Caernarfon is present, strangely out in the open! Also a B wagon with coal and works shunter Moel-y-gest. 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 drone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (11/7/19) shows progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed on the made ground behind the new sea wall  Here the new stanchions can be seen on the curved entrance. 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 (11/7/19) shows progress with the new Boston Lodge Carriage Shed on the made ground behind the new sea wall. Here the new roof trusses are in place and the support bars for the steel sheeting roof. 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.

 

Castell Caernarfon progress 10/7/19

This southerly view (10/7/19) shows Castell Caernarfon receiving attention at Boston Lodge out in the open with Upnor Castle in the background. 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.

 

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