Welsh Highland Railway

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Star Picture

This northerly view 14/4/14 shows No.138 drifting down towards Beddgelert Forest Campsite at 1116. Most of the services leading up to the Easter Bank Holiday weekend were hauled by Nos. 87/143 so this was a relatively rare outing for the red Garratt. The train was due to depart Beddgelert at 1125. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Kodak DX6490 digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welcome to Version 4 of this website, launched on September 8 2004 with news about work on Phase 4 of the WHR scheme. In addition to this Stop Press page and a Phase 1/2 page, there are 9 location pages, covering the Phase 3 works between Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. There are a further 9 pages covering Phase 4, the full route through Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, including the Traeth Mawr to Pen-y-Mount works recently constructed by the WHHR with three regularly updated map links for this area by Laurence Armstrong.

Finally, there are pages covering 'Phase 5', Views from the Line, the history of the abandoned PBSSR works around Beddgelert, Archived News and a Contacts page for volunteers. Another page covers the current operation of the WHHR southwest from Pen-y-Mount.

 

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The above OS map shows the route through the Aberglaslyn Pass and Beddgelert. Click on the image to enlarge. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Click here to use the free OS Get-a-map service.

Route section pages

Listed below are links to pages featuring progress on different sections of the line or archive views. Jump ahead to News section or follow the section links from page to page. Please note that access to the links below was restored on 2/9/04 at the new website www.isengard.co.uk

 

Phase 4 pages

Rhyd Ddu to Pont Cae'r Gors (updated 29/6/06)

Pont Cae'r Gors to Hafod Ruffydd Halt (new 8/10/06)

Hafod Ruffydd Halt to Beddgelert Forest Halt (updated 4/12/06)

Beddgelert Forest Halt to Beddgelert Station (updated 1/7/07)

Beddgelert Station Area (updated 30/6/07)

Beddgelert Station to Bryn-y-felin (updated 1/7/07)

Aberglaslyn Pass (updated 2/7/07)

Nantmor to Pont Croesor (updated 16/7/07)

Pont Croesor to Pen-y-Mount (updated 1/4/07)

WHR (Porthmadog) (updated 1/4/07)

Porthmadog Cross Town Link (updated1/4/07)

 

Other pages

'Phase 6' page (new 2/4/06)

Views from the Line Page (updated 26/2/05)

PBSSR Works Historical Page (updated 25/3/05)

Rhyd Ddu Opening Page (New 14/2/04)

Archived News Page (updated 2/3/17)

Snow Scenes (updated 31/10/15)

Rolling Stock News Page (updated 28/12/04)

Phase 4 News Page (updated 3/3/05)

Volunteer Contact details page (updated 18/5/16)

Phase 2 and 3 page list (updated 27/8/08)

Video list (new 9/11/15)

Access to Phase 2 pages is currently being progressed.

 

If you would like an automated announcement of site updates, email me at the NEW (2013) address below replacing the letters 'dot' with a full stop

Isengard@talktalkdotnet

This has been introduced as an anti-spam feature.

Disclaimer

There has never been any intent by myself to suggest that the views on these pages represent the views, opinions or policy of the FR, the WHRCL or the WHRS.

I am happy to confirm that this is an INDEPENDENT web news service.

 

Stop Press!!

New construction images/text will be posted on a regular basis.

New text in RED!

 

News Section

WHR timetables

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR North map dated 5/11/07

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR Middle map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Laurence Armstrong's latest WHR South map dated 14/3/10

Click here for Mike Schumann's Phase 4 TWA maps courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS

Click here for John Sreeves Gradient profile courtesy of Steve Harris/WHRS

Click here for Chainages and OS Map Reference

 

Moving Pictures No.4 YouTube 25/3/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 16 min 40 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 25/3/17 including the first trains of the new season on 25/3/17. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Caernarfon station access steps improved

This northerly view (24/3/17) shows the Caernarfon station platform access steps improved with railings and high visibility edges in time for the start of services on 25/3/17. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No. 130 news

On 23/3/17 the firebox tubeplate was delivered to the boiler makers at Stockton-on-Tees. It is hoped the combined plates can be inserted into the foundation ring on 27/3/17. The firebox should be finished around Easter. It is hoped the completed boiler will be delivered to Dinas in August. See No.130 Facebook page for images.

 

BF&TR Crowdfunding appeal

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway has launched a second Crowdfunding Appeal after the failure of its previous one to purchase a redundant Class 08. This second appeal is for tools for further clearance of the line including a £5,000 chipping machine. See Appeal. See Volunteer Facebook page for progress achieved with hand tools and a small excavator at Maentwrog Road depot.

 

Conwy Valley still closed

NR has put out a statement about the continuing closure of the Conwy Valley route, which has been closed for over a month now. Bustitution is occurring.

 

Warm weather forecast for weekend services

Warm sunny weather was forecast for the first weekend for the new season with temperatures up to 15oC or more. There was a fresh snowfall on the mountains on 22/3/17 which may persist until the weekend.

 

Dummy siding for Tryfan Junction

The WHR Heritage Group is looking for volunteers to be 'Friends of Tryfan Junction'. Volunteers would open the station building on High Days and holidays, cut the grass etc. This year they have permission to build a dummy siding for slate wagons. See WHR Fanpage for contact details.

 

Caernarfon car parking

While the new Caernarfon station building is under construction, the ticket office has moved to 'Ty Seiont' (formerly home to 'Age Cymru') further along St Helen's Road, near Travis Perkins. This allows the F&WHR to provide booking office, shop, waiting room and toilet facilities as close as possible to the existing platform. However, being located at the opposite end of the station from the previous building, this will unfortunately lead to increased walking distances in many cases - and visitors are advised to take this into consideration when planning their day-out.

 

This map view (15/3/17) shows access to Caernarfon station from Saturday 25/3/17. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

DISTANCE FROM BOOKING OFFICE TO -

Platform (via steps): 90 yards

Platform (via accessible entrance): 300 yards

Limited on road parking on St Helens Road

Teiars Gwynedd/Gwynedd Tyres Car Park: 150 yards (pay at Teiars Gwynedd)

Slate Quay Car Park: 400 yards (pay at Slate Quay booth)

DISABLED ACCESS -

There is a car park beside the new premises for the use of disabled/blue badge drivers and staff. The building has level access, with automatic / 'push-button' sliding doors. There is a dropped kerb crossing of St Helen's Road outside the building. Unfortunately, due to site restrictions, the F&WHR cannot provide ramped access onto the southern end of the platform - so the accessible route involves the use of the pavement to reach the original path onto the station.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/3/17

Tony Baker reports: We spent the day back at Penrhyn widening Highgate crossing with more timber then fitted the anti slip which we cut to size back at Dinas before we left. There were five volunteers and the weather was a bit showery at times.

 

This northerly view (21/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang at Highgate Crossing on the FR at Penrhyndeudraeth, a recently relaid section. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

New WHR season starts 25/3/17

The final days of the Orange timetable see trains to Hafod-y-llyn on 22-23/3/17. The F&WHR's new season daily Easter service starts on Saturday 25/3/17. Trains will operate from Caernarfon but using the new ticket office in the former Age Wales building (Ty Seiont) at the south end of the platform. There is a special deal with the Harbour Car Park but an enterprising local landowner is providing cheaper car parking on a cleared site next to the former DeWinton works which is nearer the ticket office. There are steps up onto the platform from the Ty Seiont ticket office but disabled access is still possible at the north end of the platform. Good weather is currently forecast for the weekend. Intending passengers at Caernarfon need to be aware of continuing local roadworks which might delay access to the station from the A55 as well as the continuing roadworks just east of Bangor.

 

This northerly view (20/3/17) shows the Caernarfon station construction site with work still underway on the sewer diversion. The shortened headshunt now has a buffer stop of sorts and the disabled access is visible on the left between the Heras fencing and the wall. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (20/3/17) shows the construction site with restored footpath. The road tunnel is still out of use and the road is single track across the roundabout. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (20/3/17) shows the new toilet block at Dinas. Tracks into the Good's Shed still exist but are covered in slate waste as they have not been used so much in recent years with increased space available in the Loco Shed following purchase of the former Welsh Water end of the building. Access to Dinas is currently unsigned from the A487 though GC has promised to sign the access. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi

 

Baldwin appeal latest 20/3/17

A new appeal leaflet has appeared on the WHHR's website to support the completion of the IWM's Baldwin No.794 which will operate on the WHHR. The loco has been moved from Alan Keef's to the VoR, Aberystwyth, for completion. A new boiler is available and one of No.590's original tanks is available for fitting if found to be suitable. The loco will carry No.590 whilst at the WHHR. It is hoped an agreement about air-braked rescue locos can be reached with the F&WHR so that No.590 (and indeed Russell!) will be allowed to operate special trains on the WHR egg. at Superpower, allowing recreation of scenes such as the 'Beddgelert Frontier' operations of the 1930s.

It is estimated that £60,000 is needed to get the loco back on the rails and the WHHR is looking for donations via its Appeal e.g. 1,000 people at just £5 a month for 12 months would provide sufficient funding to complete the job. Over 1,000 people have looked at the Appeal pictures.

 

No.134 progress 19/3/17

Clive Briscoe reports: The front K-H and rear pony truck axlebox oil holes in X, Y and Z axes were finally cleared and then the axleboxes all mounted in the frames. It's the first time the K-H truck has been all of a piece for quite a few years. All the axleboxes are only bolted up to their respective frames with temporary bolts - possibly in 3 weeks at our next working weekend, we'll be removing each bolt in turn and reaming the holes out for fitted bolts - if the reamer has arrived. Meanwhile, Laurence Armstrong was busy completing the overhaul and lapping in of the cylinder anti-vacuum valves.

Another job tackled was cleaning and painting of the boiler's steam dome and cylinder valve chest covers. The actual cylinder closed end covers were dug out and cleaning up started, they'll be finished and painted next time. The final job of the day was to mount the bottom halves (oil reservoirs) into the axlebox castings for trial fit - easier said than done as the horns of the castings tend to close up a bit so a length of studding and some nuts was resorted to ease the horns slightly by carefully jacking them open by a few thou. See No.134 Facebook page for more images.

 

This Dinas view (19/3/17) shows No.134's rear pony truck assembled with axleboxes for the first time in many years. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Clive Briscoe and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR progress 17/3/17

A container was delivered to Maentwrog Road Yard on 17/3/17 to store tools between the volunteers weekend visits. Work is currently concentrated on the Maentwrog Road site. See BFTR Facebook Page for images.

 

No.130 progress 18/3/17

No.130 now has a refurbished prototype speedometer. Work over the last few days included the assessment of the steam and exhaust main pipes and where not up to the job new pieces are being inserted. Generally, considering that the engine has not run since the mid 1980's, they are in pretty good condition. Some of the running plate is being offered up. See No.130 Facebook page for images of progress.

 

Keolis Amey visit 15/3/17

Guests from Keolis Amey enjoyed a team building day on the railway on 15/3/17. Keolis Amey run the Docklands and will run the Manchester Metrolink from July 2017.

 

This easterly view (15/3/17) shows Hugh Napier in the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour with Keolis Amey guests. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 12 mins 12 seconds of video taken on 15/3/17 of news about the Keolis Amey Team Building Day published 16/3/17 taken by John Wooden (F&WHR) on a professional betamax camcorder. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Lon Las Ogwen 23/2/17

Gwynedd Council has been developing another long distance cycle/walking path from Bangor to Llyn Ogwen at the head of the Nant Francon Pass along the route of the former Bethesda Branch. There was a gap in this path at Tregarth railway tunnel a few miles north of Bethesda. The tunnel is now being reopened to complete the path. James Cyf who worked on the WHR contracts are completing the work which will open this Spring. See North Wales Chronicle.

 

Prince and Palmerston in steam 15/3/17

Prince and Palmerston were in steam on 15/3/17 for a corporate charter event for Keolis-Amey. Palmerston was noted on a 4 coach rake heading up the FR over the recently completed Penrhyndeudraeth relaying.

Terry Scott adds: I also observed Linda and Hugh Napier out and about.

 

This easterly view (15/3/17) shows Linda in the sidings at Porthmadog Harbour with Merddin Emrys ready to leave Porthmadog with the 14:05 train for Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A494 upgrade consultation 13/3/17

Consultation is taking place over the main road link, either the upgraded existing blue southern A55/A494 option or the Red A548 northern link from Shotwick A550 junction to the A55 Northop via the new Flintshire Bridge, that leads to the F&WHR from the North West conurbation. The two proposals up for public consultation from 13/3/17 for 12 weeks until 5/6/17. In the Blue scheme the A55/A494 would be widened to three lanes each way plus an independent scheme for a new Queensferry Bridge just to the south of the existing A494 bridge. It has been revealed that the new bridge will go ahead anyway as the 1960s built bridge needs reconstruction since the discovery of structural problems. See WAG Consultation process. See BBC report 19/1/17.

The Welsh Assembly Government seems to be pushing ahead with the scheme as fast as it can before EU funding for the A55 TEN scheme disappears with Brexit. The proposals also see yet more pious hopes to encourage the use of railfreight in North Wales, which has almost disappeared, except for the residual Nuclear Flask traffic and that for just another year until Wylfa is defuelled!

 

North Wales 'Metro' proposals 2/3/17

The WAG proposals see development of a 10 point plan for rail in North Wales which may affect accessibility to the F&WHR by public transport. These include:

See WAG website.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/3/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang spent today, 14-3-17 on the FR at Penrhyn building 2 new foot crossings in the area recently relaid just west of Penrhyn station. On the FR level crossings don't appear to have numbers but do have names. First we built a crossing at Highgate followed by one at Bron Gwynedd. The original crossings were removed when the line here was relaid in the last months and had been replaced with temporary ballast. To access the crossings, which were already in an area covered by a possession, we trundled tools and materials down from the station on a braked trolley. Foot crossings are only half of the size of occupation crossings at four foot width and here the timbers were coach bolted to the wooden sleepers.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang on the way to the site with a braked trolley at Penrhyndeudraeth station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the Tuesday Gang fixing new wood at Highgate Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the completed Highgate Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows work at Brongwynedd Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (14/3/17) shows the completed Brongwynedd Crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

No.134 working party 18-19/3/17

Volunteers will be working on No.134 this coming weekend (18-19/3/17) at Dinas.

 

Funding boost for Caernarfon 13/3/17

£2.5 million pounds of EU funding has been given to the Caernarfon Town and Waterfront Regeneration project. With Parliament voting to give the Prime Minister the authority to start Brexit on the same day, the end of such EU funding, from which the WHR has benefitted so much, is in sight. The funding approval for Caernarfon will unlock a £14 million Tourism Regeneration Programme of investment from the Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales. See Daily Post story.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 4 mins 55 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 13/3/17. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

East Anglian Group meeting 16/3/17

David Gander reports: Our next meeting takes place this coming Thursday 16/3/17. Following our extremely short AGM, we welcome Chris Jones who will be talking to us about ‘George England Engines’, something dear to all our hearts!

Our April meeting will be on Thursday 20/4/17 when we hope to have Paul Lemon telling us about ‘The Colne Valley Railway’. On Thursday 18/5/17 David Colenutt will talk to us about ‘Corsican and Sardinian Narrow Gauge’.

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.

 

Quirks and Curiosities II 28/4/17-1/5/17

The first draft of the passenger timetable for 'Q&QII' shows trains on the WHR from Hafod-y-llyn or Pont Croesor on all days except Saturday 29/4/17.

 

Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR 13/3/17. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR Lottery win aid trainees

The F&WHR has won £464,00 from the Heritage Lottery fund to support its 'Skills for the Future programme' and support 20 trainees in a Heritage Trainees project. The intent of the 'year long traineeships' is not to turn out fully-qualified, time-served, craftsmen and women, but to give foundation training in a range of heritage skills and to show them the opportunities and possibilities available within the 'heritage' sector, with encouragement to continue training and development of those skills into a fulfilling and sustainable career. See Daily Post story.

 

Trawsfynydd Railway project progress 11/3/17

More illustrations have been added to the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Facebook page showing progress with clearance at Maentwrog Road yard. The group is also looking for donations of unwanted railway books etc. to sell in order to raise money for the project. Offers should be sent to the group's chairman.

 

Wickham trolley repaired 10/3/17

Two new Facebook videos, courtesy of Glenn Williams (F&WHR), shows the recently repaired Wickham trolley running into the new Heritage Carriage Shed at Boston Lodge.

 

Welsh Pony progress 8/3/17

Welsh Pony has all its boiler tubes fitted and expanded by 8/3/17.

 

This Boston Lodge view (8/3/17) shows Welsh Pony's boiler having the boiler tubes expanded. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Glenn Williams (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Prince hauls weekend trains 11-12/3/17

Prince has replaced Merddin Emrys on trains from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn for the weekend of 11-12/3/17. The loco is rostered until 16/3/17.

 

Plan B...WHHR Baldwin 'No.590'

In conjunction with the Vale of Rheidol the WHHR has revealed details of its 'Plan B' for the Baldwin loco No.794 which recently moved from Alan Keef's to the Vale of Rheidol to be completed. The loco has a new boiler and may use the original tank from No.590 which is in store at Gelert's Farm. A new appeal leaflet will be published shortly. If agreement is reached with the F&WHR, the loco may be allowed to run on the WHR recreating heritage photo opportunities such as the frontier scenes at Beddgelert. Unfortunately the loco will be air braked and so running the train will depend on agreement being reached about air braked rescue locomotives.

 

Click on the image to enlarge the Vale of Rheidol press release.

 

WHR Easter services

The new season's Easter service will resume from Caernarfon on 25/3/17. The reduced length of headshunt available because of the sewer works is just manageable for a Garratt with care.

 

Trawsfynydd Group appeals for volunteers

The Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway Society is appealing for more volunteers to help clear the line. After completing clearance a short section just south from Blaenau Ffestiniog NR station they have moved onto Maentwrog Road where they are clearing the former yard. See Cambrian News story.

 

Merddin Emrys 9/3/17

This easterly view (9/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys ready to leave Porthmadog for Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (9/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys returning to Porthmadog from Hafod-y-llyn on a beautiful day seen between the Afon Dylif bridge and the site of Croesor Junction. Snowdon on the left, still has a covering of snow. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Caernarfon station progress 9/3/17

This northerly view (9/3/17) shows the new drain being tested in the former car park area. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. 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 7/3/17

Tony Baker reports: The gang was at Hafod-y-Llyn on 7/3/17 where we repaired the fences at level crossings LC 50.41 and LC50.88. In both cases posts had rotted through at the base and the wind did the rest. We believe that the crossings in this area were built in 2007 so they lasted just 10 years. This week we were in the dry and the snow covered top of Snowdon was just visible in the distance.

 

This southerly view (7/3/17) shows the initial state of the crossing at LC50.88 Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This southerly view (7/3/17) shows the completed crossing at LC50.88 Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Merddin Emrys on Orange timetable trains 8/3/17

Merddin Emrys took over from Prince as expected this week on the Orange timetable trains twice daily to Hafod-y-llyn, although the official loco roster is still advertising Prince. Members of the Visit Britain press trip joined the train.

 

This northerly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys with Cedric Lodge collecting the token at Pont Croesor for the section to Hafod-y-llyn on the first train of the week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys running round at Porthmadog after returning from Hafod-y-llyn on the first train of the week. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (8/3/17) shows Merddin Emrys at Porthmadog ready to depart for Hafod-y-llyn on the afternoon train. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Steve Broomfield and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS 4415 update 3/3/17

The Kerr Stuart shunter has had additional work done to secure nuts with a novel application to the split pins. See KS4415 Facebook page.

 

Moving Pictures No.3 6/3/17

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 21 min 6 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR published 6/3/17. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Circular journey proposed

In the 2017 timetable, passengers can make the return journey from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon but not the reverse direction. The F&WHR will be working jointly with ATW to promote the 'Snowdonia Circle' day-out including Conwy Valley and North Wales Coast services to Bangor, F&WHR trains with a bus connection between Bangor and Caernarfon.

 

No.130 update 4/3/17

The No.130 Facebook page contains images of the completed firebox door plate and an outer wrapper plate pre-drilled and ready to fit.

 

Conwy Valley Line closed

Storm Doris brought trees down on 23/2/17. The BBC News website reports that the line was still closed on 4/3/17 as an unstable rock face was discovered during the clearance work. A replacement bus service from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog, calling at Llandudno Junction, is operating until further notice.

 

Expansion of Oswestry tourist line approved 2/3/17

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, has agreed to the Cambrian Heritage Railway's Transport and Works Act Order, subject to some amendments, (see letter dated 28/2/17) for the railway between Gobowen and Blodwel Quarry in Shropshire. See Shropshire Star report dated 2/3/17. This route is operated by the Cambrian Heritage Railway which has run trains over a short length south from Oswestry Station since 22/4/11 and is extending towards Weston Wharf, due to open Easter 2018. There is a long term aim to reopen to Gobowen where the CHR has purchased the bay platform and land for a run round loop and, in the west, to Blodwel Quarry, where there is a junction with a separate group running the Tanat Valley Light Railway at Nantmawr. A separate disconnected piece of the CHR operates at Llynclys just a few hundred yards from the main line. However, there are two major challenges facing the group where the line currently crosses the A5 and A483, both trunk routes, as well as the A495 at Porth-y-waen. It seems the DfT will insist on road overbridges/tunnels at the first two locations. This extending tourist line could attract more tourists to North Wales or possibly abstract revenue from the F&WHR, being nearer the Midlands conurbation.

 

This northerly view (20/10/80) shows a Class 25 crossing the A495 at Porth-y-waen (used by many F&WHR supporters from the Midlands who travel via Llangynog) with four empty wagons en route to Blodwel Quarry. Porth-y-waen Halt platform is obscured by the wagons. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on a Zenith E SLR camera. Image scanned from slide film and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Bala Lake Railway progress 17/2/17

The BLR is also making progress according to a report in Cambrian News. The Red Dragon project is a plan to extend into Bala Town Centre and the BLR has purchased a small patch of land in the town centre for part of their new Bala terminus. This is at the west end of the town, not near the original Bala Town station. The scheme has recently been amended to run over the existing B4403 Dee Bridge at the exit of Bala Lake, similar to the WHR's Britannia Bridge crossing, to avoid the cost of a new bridge over the River Dee.

 

Prince 2/3/17

This northerly view (2/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Snowdon (left), crossing Pont Croesor. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Departmental working 2/3/17

This northerly view (2/3/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog approaching Britannia Bridge with a short departmental working including the frame for FR Observation car No.152 and B1621 containing loco coal. The frame for No.152 was made in Dinas works because of lack of room at Boston Lodge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (2/3/17) shows Vale of Ffestiniog crossing Britannia Bridge with the frame for FR Observation car No.152 and B1621 containing loco coal. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Welsh Rail survey

The National Assembly for Wales Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee (NAWEISC) is conducting a survey into rail passenger needs. See Survey to participate. Points that could be made include dealing with the ERTMS debacle that is stifling railtours and the visitor economy of the Cambrian Coast; reopening Bangor-Afonwen and Aberystwyth-Carmarthen; the possibility of loco-hauled trains using the new Mk5 coaches (on order for TransPennine) on the North Wales Coast and from Manchester to Cardiff; Shrewsbury to Birmingham International etc.

Also see this introductory video from NAWEISC.

 

First trains of season 1/3/17

This easterly view (1/3/17) shows Prince on the first return service from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Moel Hebog, approaching the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince on the first return service from Hafod-y-llyn, approaching the Afon Dylif bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Alasdair Stewart and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with a dusting of snow on Snowdon in the background, approaching the site of Hafod Garregog Halt. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince returning from Hafod-y-llyn with the morning run, crossing Britannia Bridge. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (1/3/17) shows Prince backing onto its train at Porthmadog. The rake include FR Observation car No.150. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Cathedrals Express fails 1/3/17

Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express from Euston to Holyhead was failed at Euston when No.86259 Les Ross/Peter Pan suffered problems. The steam loco for the North Wales Coast leg No.45699 Galatea was stood down at Crewe after being substituted for the Black Five No.45407 The Lancashire Fusilier.

 

ECS working 28/2/17

This northerly view (28/2/17) shows Criccieth Castle setting out south from Dinas on an ECS, presumably in connection with the Orange timetable due to start the following day. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

KS4415 report 26/2/17

KS4415 is the experimental diesel shunter trialled on the WHR in the 1920s and being restored by a volunteer group at Boston Lodge. The most recent progress report reveals that the transmission band brake has been dismantled ready for grit blasting. Most of the components are in a fair condition and the adjustable link is in great condition, with the threads definitely reusable. The frames have been painted in grey top coat to protect them from further corrosion. Finally the starting donkey engine 'gearbox' has been dismantled, again for grit blasting. This is also in good condition, mainly just requiring some new roller bearings. See KS4415 Facebook page for images.

 

Prince for Orange timetable 1/3/17

Prince has been chosen to haul the Orange timetable MTFX service from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn from 1-5/3/17, subject to change. Merddin Emrys will haul the trains next week. Trains run at 11:15 and 14:05 from Porthmadog. Heavy snowfall is forecast on Snowdon every day until 7/3/17 so the mountains will have a dusting of snow. The timetable continues until 23/3/17, after which Easter services begin from Caernarfon to Porthmadog with the new season of trains.

Although there is a platform at Hafod-y-llyn, the F&WHR advise: 'It is recommended that intending passengers should only join the train at Harbour Station at Porthmadog. There is limited pedestrian and vehicular access at Hafod-y-llyn, so passengers are not advised to join or leave the train there.'

Departure times for Hafod-y-llyn are 1155 and 1445 after a ten minute run round. There is no mention of whether passengers could join or alight at the intermediate stop at Pont Croesor where the train stops to activate the level crossing and pick up a token.

Photographs of the trains would be welcome.

 

This poster about the history of Prince (1/3/17) is similar to one produced for Palmerston, which was displayed recently at King's Cross. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 28/2/17

Tony Baker reports: We spent a very wet day repairing the level crossing fence at LC 50:79. The replacement posts were first reclaimed from LC 40:99 which has been closed so a bit of recycling going on to save the company a bit of cash. The fence was down when we first arrived with 2 posts rotted through at the base.

 

This easterly view (28/2/17) shows an early sign of Spring with daffodils appearing in the raised bed planters (to deter sheep!) at Beddgelert station. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/2/17) shows the initial state of the crossing at LC50.79 Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/2/17) shows a new post hole being made at LC50.79 crossing at Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (28/2/17) shows the finished crossing LC50.79 at Hafod-y-llyn. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

WHHR Baldwin to be completed at VoR 24/1/17

The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway's No.794, a WD Baldwin 4-6-0T, was delivered to the VoR at Aberystwyth on 24/1/17 for completion. The loco was received from India in the 1980s and has not been in a steamable condition since. It is owned by the Imperial War Museum and is on loan to the WHHR. Alan Keef's had previously started work on it. It is hoped the loco will be returned in two years to run on the WHHR. Both the Baldwin and Russell may run on the WHR sometime in the future as they did on the original WHR, if agreement can be reached between the WHHR and the F&WHR. No.794 will carry No.590 to simulate the original WHR Baldwin.

 

L&BR Baldwin delay

The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway's Baldwin, hoped for this Spring, will now be delayed until the L&BR's September Gala following discovery of miss-match between the boiler saddle and boiler leaving gaps in support along with other minor problems. Lyn No.762 is a recreation of the 2-4-2T that ran on the L&BR until the 1930s. It has previously been stated that the loco would be trialled on the WHR in return for the frequent lendings of Lyd to L&BR Galas.. See L&BR 762 News website.

The L&BR is surprisingly still awaiting a planning decision from Exmoor National Park on the Killington Lane to Blackmoor Gate section whereas the North Devon Council, whom received the application at the same time, approved the reinstatement of the railway from Blackmoor Gate to Whistlandpound Reservoir station last June! One obstruction has been removed by the purchase of the L&BR Trust of 'Fairview', a house with a section of trackbed. The house itself (less the trackbed) is being sold on to a Trust member. The entire trackbed as far south as Parracombe Churchtown is now in the hand of the Trust or Exmoor Associates who are buying up the trackbed and leasing it for a nominal charge to the L&BR. See Exmoor Associates webpage for news of clearance of the trackbed. 

 

No.130 news 25/2/17

Further progress is being made with the new boiler for No.130 at Stockton Castings. The wooden pattern for the backhead former was used recently to make the complex shape of the backhead pattern and, from that, form the backhead from red hot steel plate.

 

ATW preparing bid for WalesRail

Arriva Trains Wales (owned by Deutsche Bundesbahn-nationalised German Railways) is considering a bid for the new WalesRail franchise when its franchise ends in 2018. They are particularly interested in suggestions for the North Wales Coast and Conwy Valley lines. They are looking to meet User Groups to discuss what passengers want. In recent years ATW has added loco hauled trains from Holyhead to Cardiff/Manchester to relieve pressure on its Class 175 DMUs which are often wedged. One suggestion that could be made is to seek a follow-on order for the new build Transpennine Mk5 coach loco-hauled trains for all peak Manchester-Cardiff services and other routes where the current shortage of DMUs frequently leads to unpleasantly packed travelling conditions. A suggestion for the Conwy Valley Line is to run summer steam specials as ScotRail is planning and are already running on the Fort William to Mallaig to replace those now banned by the ERTMS debacle on the Cambrian Coast.

Anyone wishing to make representations should contact ATW's Teleri Evans.

 

Orange timetable restarts

The Orange timetable restarts on Wednesday 1/3/17 and runs MTFX 1-23/3/17. Trains run from Porthmadog to Hafod-y-llyn (no access). The full Caernarfon-Porthmadog Yellow timetable commences on 25/3/17 (occasional MFX until the end of June). The Green timetable Dinas-Beddgelert service only ran on six days to Saturday 25/2/17 as two days (Thursday/Friday) were lost to storm Doris with 95mph gusts bringing down trees in the area north of Beddgelert.

The area around Rhyd Ddu is forecast to receive snow overnight on 27-28/2/17 leading to a dusting on the mountains for the start of the Orange timetable.

 

Palmerston on the move 26/2/17

The F&WHR Insider Facebook page shows a video of Palmerston being extracted from Kings Cross overnight on Sunday 26/2/17-Monday 27/2/17. The loco was on display for a week over the Half Term holiday period hopefully encouraging Easter visitors to the GLToW.

 

New Nuclear hope for Trawsfynydd reactor site 25/2/17

A proposal for new small nuclear reactors has been made for the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear reactor site. This may mean renewal of freight services including concrete deliveries and fuel rods to the Trawsfynydd Nuclear siding. The route from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the siding is currently being cleared by a volunteer group in association with NR with the aim of operating it as a preserved railway. See BBC story.

 

Trains run 25/2/17

Following sterling efforts by the Lineside Maintenance gang to remove fallen trees and repair damage, the Welsh Highland Railway trackbed has now been cleared above Beddgelert. Trains will run as originally timetabled on Saturday 25/2/17, with departures from Dinas at 10:15 and 13:30. A round-trip is possible in the reverse direction on the 12:00 departure from Beddgelert. The F&WHR apologised for the disruption to their half-term services and any inconvenience caused.

 

Train service cancelled 24/2/17

There are a number of fallen trees across the line north of Beddgelert and these cannot be cleared and the track repaired in time for today's services. It is hoped to restore services for the final day of the Half Term services on 25/2/17. Currently there are no plans to add a service on Sunday to compensate for the lack of trains on 23-24/2/17.

 

North Wales Track Gang update Autumn 2016

In October group of young Bombardier volunteers assisted the NWTG clearing the area of trees and saplings between Tryfan Junction road bridge and the level crossing the other end of the station but the chipper refused to work. The NWTG also helped clear Caernarfon station and on 30/10/16 shortened the headshunt to allow contractors access.

In early November the Caernarfon toilet block was moved to the temporary station building site at Ty Seiont. A works train was used on 12-13/2/16. The Welsh Water manhole was finally discovered alongside the platform at the third attempt and track had to be dismantled to access the manhole as a sleeper had been laid across it. Another trip to Dinas saw not progress chipping the cuttings as the chipper failed again. Finally on 26/11 they got the chipper working but it failed again.

Some progress was made reconfiguring the track at Caernarfon so a sleeper does not lie on the discovered manhole but more attention will be required early in 2017. The year ended with the gang helping get the Santa preparations ready at Dinas, including temporary facilities in the Goods Shed.

 

Train service cancelled due to storm Doris 23/2/17

All WHR trains were cancelled on 23/2/27 due to gusts approaching 80mph as storm Doris passed through. It is hoped to reopen the line tomorrow (24/2/17) after a safety inspection for fallen trees etc.

 

Palmerston 22/2/17

Alun Cairns (Secretary of State for Wales) visited Palmerston during the afternoon of 22/2/17. He spent several minutes talking to volunteers (mainly F&WHR). The event is to promote 'Take the Big Train to See the Little Train' booklet. See Big Train Little Train. Palmerston will be removed on 26/2/17.

 

This easterly view (22/2/17) shows Palmerston with the Welsh Secretary donning the driver's cap. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Keith Holland and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (22/2/17) shows Palmerston with the Welsh Secretary promoting the Big Train Little Train booklet. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (22/2/17) shows Palmerston with its train at King's Cross. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Tuesday Gang report 21/2/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang were back at Hafod-y-Llyn today replacing rotten timbers on LC 50.79.

 

This northerly view (21/2/17) shows the Tuesday Gang removing the decayed central crossing timbers on LC50.79, at the south end of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (21/2/17) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting the central crossing timbers on LC50.79, at the south end of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (21/2/17) shows the completed crossing timbers on LC50.79, at the south end of Hafod-y-llyn loop. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Half Term trains 21/2/17

This easterly view (21/2/17) shows No.143 setting our south from Dinas. Weather over the holiday week has been grey and mild with no sign of snow sadly except on the peaks. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

TRAWS Phase I update 20/2/17

Local politicians are jumping on the band wagon to resurrect the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen rail link and bring more South Wales visitors to the Cambrian Coast. The route could be reopened by 2022 they claim. See South Wales Evening Post report.

 

Palmerston at King's Cross 20/2/17

Palmerston is on show to advertise the GLTOW 'Big Train...Little Train' campaign. The loco, Ashbury carriage No.10 and wagon No.220 were delivered between 0100 and 0500 on 18/2/17 and will remain until 26/2/17. There is a video showing the delivery into King's Cross on the F&WHR Insider Facebook page.

 

This northerly view (20/2/17) shows Palmerston in the concourse at King's Cross. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Joey Evans and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This display panel view (19/2/17) shows information about Palmerston's history displayed alongside the loco in the concourse at King's Cross. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Seven million competition prize winner

As the website approached 7 million hits your webmaster ran a small competition for the first person to hit 7,000,000 or the nearest greater number. There is a small prize for the winner, a copy of a book from the Country Railway Routes series (Middleton Press) 'Bala to Llandudno', featuring Blaenau Ffestiniog by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith. The book contains archive maps of all stations and yards and archive steam and diesel photographs, including the Festiniog and Blaenau narrow gauge railway later converted to standard gauge as part of the GWR's route from Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The route is in the news at the moment as the track from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd is been cleared for operation by a preservation group.

The results are as follows:

Tony Ellis                                 7,000,000 WINNER (Trefriw, Conwy)

Adrian Batt                               7,000,002

Alan Mitchard                           7,000,058

Andrew Middleton                    7,000,086

Ben Brampton                           7,000,088

David Power                              7,000,092 (Australia)

Jeremy Clark                              7,000,146

Malcolm Peakman                     7,000,290 (Canada)

Bill Edwards                              7,000,425

Graham Ladlow                         7,000,526

Pete Arnold                               7,001,426

Simon Artymiuk                        7,001,698 (Cornwall)

The competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered.

 

No.134 progress update 18-19/2/17

Following the move from the Loco Shed to the Clip Shed late last year, the NG15 Group is hoping to make rapid progress this year. Volunteers are designing a new dragbox for the front end of the loco to replace the side chains that were used on this end of the loco during SAR days. The standard F&WHR coupler will be fitted at the same height as other F&WHR stock for compatibility. It has been decided to use the self lubricating thermoplastic Vesconite for bearings that the F&WHR is trialling on its rolling stock. The material is reputed to last 10x longer than bronze bearings and is cheaper too!

Volunteers can now make progress with the axleboxes of the pony wheels once the new Vesconite wheel bearings are ready. After the wheels have been machined by Boston Lodge, progress can be made to reassemble the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. Working party weekends have been arranged for every month in 2017.

Clive Briscoe adds: Most of the 'usual suspects' turns up for the February working weekend (18-19/2/17). With the change of plan to use Vesconite bearings in the pony trucks, work continued to clean up and refurbish the original axleboxes so in due course, volunteers will be able to fully reassemble the front K-H truck and conventional rear pony trucks. Also tackled was refurbishing the cylinder shifter and by-pass valves. Meanwhile, our lamp guru was busy disassembling a Stone's Tonum lamp into its constituent parts - the bowl is reusable but other steel bits are not too good. He is going to get quotes for spinning new bowls and other steel bits and a brass foundry for prices on the hinges and other brassware using the originals as patterns - in such small sizes, shrinkage won't be too much of a problem. If the prices look good then new lamp assemblies, fitted with modern LED lights, could be made available for more of the NGG16s and of course, No.134.

 

No.130 progress 11-18/2/17

Good progress is being made with new Garratt No.130. On 11/2/17 several new parts were available to assemble including a new shaft for the rear bogie reversing gear and new parts for the pony trucks. On 17/2/17 the front tubeplate was cut using water jet technology (using abrasives for steel cutting) and the quality of the finish is such that no additional work is needed. On 18/2/17 all the crankpins were fitted to the driving wheels (also other F&WHR loco wheels) using liquid Nitrogen. There was also an inspection of progress with the new boiler in mid February and it appears the backhead is nearing completion.

 

Caernarfon roadworks 16/2/17

This easterly view (16/2/17) shows work on the road improvement leading down to the station from Y Maes, the town square. A much needed footpath is being provided on the castle side of the street. However it seems the road is also being paved in the same way. this has the effect of making drivers assume it is a shared space and driving more carefully. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (16/2/17) shows work on the new sewer diversion at the roundabout next to the WHR terminus. Traffic control is now in place across the roundabout and the tunnel is closed. The road has now been resurfaced where it crossed the sewer just outside the tunnel (compare to photo dated 8/2/17 below). Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

A55 disruption

Road works on the A55 between Junctions 17 and 19 have led to a contraflow for several weeks from 23/1/17 to 31/3/17 for the Conwy Tunnel upgrade. This is leading to congestion in both directions. See WAG website.

Advance works are also underway on the southern side of the A55 by contractor Jones for the Abergwyngregyn to Tai'r Meibion section just east of Bangor which was built in the 1960s to a earlier standard of dual carriageway construction that sees regular flooding. The new work is already leading to speed limits with a single lane westbound and some congestion. See WAG website.

In the longer term, major works will take place to grade separate the roundabouts at Junctions 15 and 16 at Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr to ease traffic flows. See WAG website.

 

Dinas report 18-21/2/17

No.143 hauled the first train of the season on Saturday 18/2/17. Numbers turning up for the first train were relatively low but the afternoon train did better. Reports from locals suggest there were more Half Term visitors in the area the week before when many English schools were on Half Term. In some earlier years the F&WHR operated trains over two weeks at Half Term to cover the varying Half Term holidays across the catchment area. Any images of the Half Term trains would be welcome.

K1 was noted outside the Loco Shed with No.138 behind being assembled. Upnor Castle was the Depot pilot and Caernarfon Castle was shunting in the North Yard. Ben was still up on the bank by the Carriage Shed but it did not appear that the recently refurbished Bill had been transferred to Dinas yet. PW shunter No.9 was parked in the Dock Siding.

Glaslyn was in action on the Half Term train which was formed of WHR stock only.

Dinas Goods Shed has been set up with a temporary ticket office, sales area and cafe for the Half Term trains while the new Ty Seiont (former Age Wales) building at the south end of Caernarfon's platform is well on the way to becoming the new temporary station building with a station sign on its wall.

 

This southerly view (18/2/17) shows the temporary ticket office (1 week for Half Term only) in Dinas Goods Shed. The other end of the shed had a pop up cafe! Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Barrie Hughes and was taken on an iPhone digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The North Wales Track Gang was completing platform fencing south of Dinas station building, including a gate next to the station building.

 

This easterly view (21/2/17) shows work on the station fence has been completed. Space for a gate has been left just south of the station building. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

The line has seen a lot of attention from the chainsaw gang in advance of the bird nesting season tree cutting ban in March, particularly between Dinas and Waunfawr. However on the upper reaches of the line the WHR could soon be moving into the Xmas tree business with many small fir trees growing within the fence line between Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert:-)

Although the Hafod-y-llyn groundframe was completed last year for the Green timetable (and will be in use during March) there has been no further progress with the Beddgelert groundframe which has lain in pieces now for two years after initial attempts at assembly.

 

ECS move 17/2/17

Bob Rainbow reports: Vale of Ffestiniog took perhaps the first coaching-stock movement of the season on Friday (17/2/17), when a WHR set was seen leaving Porthmadog ECS, presumably for Dinas, about 10am. The Funkey was heard from a distance back in Porthmadog about 4.30pm.

 

Gwyrfai Observation car Appeal

WHR Soc. Press release

An appeal, launched in 2016 to support the building of a second WHR Observation Car, that will be similar to Glaslyn, is currently on target to achieve its aim of having the funds available to start work on building it at the end of 2017. However, we need to ensure that this is the case, so the sooner we get those final donations in the better. All donations big or small will be gratefully received.

A name has already been chosen for this carriage, namely Gwyrfai, the Afon Gwyrfai is another one of the rivers that the WHR follows on its route from Caernarfon to Porthmadog (the valley from Rhyd Ddu to Bontnewydd-Ed).

Having a second observation carriage for the other WHR carriage set is a key means of attracting more passengers to the Railway.

To make a contribution or add to a donation you’ve already made, please:

1. Send a cheque, payable to CRhE/WHRS, to: CRhE / WHRS ℅ Festiniog Railway Company, Infrastructure Office, Dinas, Caernarfon LL54 5UP

OR

2.Make a credit card payment through the web site using PayPal, at http://tinyurl.com/Gwyrfai-Appeal (slow link).

 

F&WHR Moving Pictures 16/2/17

The second edition of the F&WHR's new YouTube series appeared on 16/2/17 entitled 'F&WHR News: Moving Pictures No.2' offering a compendium of 'behind the scenes' video news and progress reports about the F&WHR.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 20 min 18 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Volunteer accommodation Dinas 14/2/17

WHR Soc. Press release

The WHR Society’s board has today (14/2/17) moved a step closer to providing volunteer accommodation at Dinas as we (the Society) have become as from today the owners of Station View, Dinas. This property is the bungalow at the entrance to Dinas station, formerly the home of the late Mrs Peggy McGinn.

Our intention is to initially let the property so that we can have time to get all the arrangements in place to allow volunteers to use the property when volunteering on the railway as well as earning some income whilst we do this. The plan is to have it available as volunteer accommodation sometime next year.

The purchase of property has enabled us to achieve one of the prime objectives in our business plan. Hopefully we can provide more information in the next issue of The Snowdon Ranger magazine.

 

Pump trolley marathon 28/4/17!

A team of hardy (some might say foolhardy!) volunteers is to use a pump trolley all the way from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon on the first day of Quirks and Curiosities on Friday 28/4/17. As a through train, the trolley will carry 'The Snowdonian' headboard! While the downhill sections will be an easy ride, the long 1 in 40 climb from Hafod-y-llyn to Pit's Head Summit will tax the endurance of the railway athletes!

 

Palmerston departs for King's Cross 15/2/17

Palmerston departed via lorry for King's Cross from Minffordd Yard on 15/2/18 and was due to be rolled into the display area in the new concourse, along with slate wagon No.220 at 1am on 18/2/17. The loco will be on display for a week until 25/2/17 promoting the Great Little train of Wales. It is interesting that so little use is being made of the new road/rail transfer point in Llyn Bach, possibly because of the need to move cars out of the staff car park to get the lorry up to the loading dock.

 

Tuesday Gang report 14/2/17

Tony Baker reports: The Tuesday Gang spent St. Valentine's day replacing rotten centre timbers at LC 50.41 which is at the bottom of the ski slope (Nantmor incline-Ed). Whilst in this neck of the woods we identified lots of work on several crossings where not only crossing timbers were rotten but several coral fences had collapsed due to the supporting posts rotting through at the bottom.

 

This northerly view (14/2/17) shows the Tuesday Gang removing the decayed central crossing timbers on LC50.41, just south of the Nantmor Incline. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/2/17) shows the Tuesday Gang cutting new central crossing timbers for LC50.41. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (14/2/17) shows the finished job at LC50.41. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

(S)no(w) report 13/2/17

After a cold several days with surprisingly little snow the Met Office is now predicting temperatures of 8-9oC around Rhyd Ddu for the first three days of the Half Term services 18-19/2/17. Sadly it seems there will be cloudy/drizzly conditions and mild temperatures around the WHR when many were hoping for snow at Half Term. There is still time for the weather to change to more snowy conditions by the final day of these twice daily Dinas-Beddgelert services on 25/2/17. After that the Hafod-y-llyn Brown timetable runs 1-23/3/17 MTFX before Caernarfon opens again for the new season's Easter timetable on 25/3/17 by which time snow is less likely.

 

No.130 update 11/2/17

A variety of parts arrived by 11/2/17. Firstly a nice new shaft for the rear power truck reversing gear, followed by assembled brake cylinders, followed by work on one of the power units and finally new parts for the pony trucks. See No.130 Facebook page for images of progress. New drip valves are being made and some old ones reconditioned.

 

Carriage Works report 10/2/17

Clive Briscoe reports: No.2091 is coming along nicely as of Friday 10/2/17. All exterior surfaces are now rubbed down for repainting and most of internal modifications completed. New carriage No.2047 has only some electrics to complete in the battery trays and will then be complete.

 

Recruitment Day

The F&WHR is holding a recruitment day on 28/2/17 from 14:00 to 18:00 in Spooner's Bar. The railway is looking for seasonal workers to be based at Dinas or Porthmadog, including on-train Stewards, Catering Assistants, Booking Office Assistants and other front of house roles. For more information phone 01766516073.

 

Welsh Pony progress 2-10/2/17

By 2/2/17 work was well underway on riveting the tender parts together. The Welsh Pony story is to feature in forthcoming issue of Steam Railway. On 10/2/17 the crankpins were fitted to Welsh Pony's driving wheels along with those for the new Fairlie James Spooner's (ex-Earl of Merioneth) and the new Garratt No.130. The 24 pins were fitted using liquid nitrogen (delivered at 77K/-196oC, close to its boiling point) to contract the size of the pins before inserting and allowing them to warm up and tighten.

 

This Boston Lodge view (2/2/17) shows Welsh Pony's tender in the process of being riveted. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size image. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This Boston Lodge view (2/2/17) shows Welsh Pony's crankpins in the process of being fitted, still showing frozen condensation. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again for full size image. This image is copyright Paul Lewin (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

TRAWS progress report 9/2/17

Following meetings in January and early February with WAG representatives, the TRAWS chairman has produced a positive report about progress with the TRAWS Phase 1 plan to reinstate the Aberystwyth with Carmarthen rail link, a route where 97% of the trackbed is available. The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (NICW) will exam the TRAWS plan. The group's chairman made a statement on 9/2/17 about the future direction of the project now that the £300,000 feasibility survey has been confirmed and NICW will inform that survey.

Last year's aerial survey did not show enough detail so it is planned there will now be a drone survey. The group seem to be now assuming that a separate group will take responsibility for Bangor-Caernarfon-Afon Wen Phase 2 of the scheme to reconnect North and South Wales via the Cambrian Coast. Such a scheme might see third rail being required through the WHR's Caernarfon station. See TRAWS website.

 

Titbits Winter 2016-7

The floor of the Goods shed at Dinas has been renewed and will now been in good condition for the Beer Festival and SuperPower weekend, now moved to 15-17/9/17 to avoid a clash with the huge No.6 Festival, now in its sixth year. Donations are on target to reach the £170,000 that needs to be raised towards the new WHR Observation coach but more is still needed before the go ahead can be given. The coach will be named 'Gwyrfai' celebrating the name of the valley that railway runs along from Bontnewydd to Rhyd Ddu. A 'Give it a Try' volunteer weekend is being held on 22-23/4/17. As well as the Kings Cross Palmerston event over Half Term, there will be a second Albert Dock promotional event in May.

On the workshop front, the Works Manager has not had time to write updates for the last six months. However, stainless steel blower pipe failures have taken from grate failures as the main cause of concern. The Garratt ashpans also showed some signs of distortion. Steady progress is being made with No.130, a paid project, and No.87 has returned to Dinas for a boiler exam. Most attention is being given to No.138 which was clanking last year. The front driving wheels have been turned at Boston Lodge and attention will be given to the rear later. Roller bearings have been replaced and new tyres fitted to the front truck and the inner truck tyres turned.

WHR Pullman car has had new SAR type diamond frame roller bearing bogies fitted. This completes the conversion programme started in 2011.

A new cylinder head was fitted to the Cummins engine in Vale of Ffestiniog. Although this improved performance the loco failed on the stock transfer of 5 wagons to Dinas in the winter and Criccieth Castle had to be sent to the rescue.

In yet a further restriction on visits to Boston Lodge, visitors will in future be accompanied and so it would be helpful if requests were made in advance.

Progress with the conversion of coach No.2041 into No.2091 has not been as fast as expected. The idea is to make this into a brake/toilet coach like No.2090 to provide a toilet at the second class end of the train in both rakes. The doors, windows and even some areas of the floor were found to be rotten. Top lights will be fitted and new tables/upholstery fitted. This coach was one of the original fleet that entered service in September 1997 has seen little work since, so is over 20 years old.

The KMX tamper was not used in the Tan-y-bwlch WMWP track renewal as there was rock close under the trackbed which might have damaged the tamping mechanism. Instead the petrol driven hand tampers were used as shown at the last AGM.

Signalling developments include a remote mechanism for Cae Pawb NR crossing but this is currently a lower priority. It is also intended to have a starter signal at every WHR station, interlocked with the token. Rather than do this piecemeal, the signals will be installed station by station but not switched on until a suitable date in 2017/8 WMWP. This will improve safety by preventing a train starting without the right token.

The materials from the Caernarfon Ticket office were stored at Dinas Goods shed over winter. They will be installed in Ty Seiont, the former Age Wales building at the south end of the station ready for the Spring reopening. The station building will feature shop, booking office, reception and toilets. There is also a room suitable for meetings.

Julie Walters visit last year will be followed up by some additional Springtime filming before the Channel Four 'Coastal Railways' programme is shown in the summer.

As part of the Caernarfon Station project, the extension of the platforms to the north will finally allow the 12 coach mega-trains, originally planned for the WHR to be introduced. It is hoped the sewer diversion will be completed by the end of March and allow 12 months to complete the station building in time for Easter 2018. The extension of the track and the new headshunt by the tunnel mouth would be part of the WMWP 2017-18.

After visiting Kings Cross 18-26/2/17 for Half Term, see Daily Post story, Palmerston will visit to the Albert Dock, Liverpool, on 6-7/5/17 and this may be extended in view of last year's success but as it is the weekend after the FR's Quirks and Curiosities event on 28/4-1/5/17 the dates of the possibly extended visit are yet to be confirmed.

Betws Garmon station building has been fenced off from the running line pending a decision what to do about this former halt and yard. With the apparent continuing refusal of Bryn Gloch caravan site owners to have a platform on their land despite the convenience it would provide for their customers, maybe Betws Garmon should be reopened as it is within easy walking distance, unlike Waunfawr or Plas-y-nant halts.

 

Sewer diversion works 8-9/2/17

This southerly view (8/2/17) shows work on the new sewer diversion crossing the old railway tunnel entrance roundabout next to the WHR terminus. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (9/2/17) shows work on the new sewer diversion at the roundabout next to the WHR terminus. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This easterly view (9/2/17) shows work on the road improvement leading down to the station from Y Maes, the town square. A much needed footpath is being provided on the castle side of the street. Click on the image to enlarge. Click again to see full size. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

T&BFR Soc. appeals for volunteers

The T&BFR has shifted work to Maentwrog Road yard and station following the near completion of clearance work at Blaenau Ffestiniog from the station limits to Cwmbowydd Road l/c. Society Chairman David Herbert, a loco driver from Shrewsbury, spoke to the Daily Post about the project. See Daily Post website. An NR spokesman said: "Network Rail is pleased to be working with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group with the collective aim of regenerating the disused railway land in Blaenau Ffestiniog. In January this year, a second site was added to the group’s licence to provide them with further access to clear vegetation and complete survey work. We will be working closely with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group and the local community with regards to the possible next steps once the initial clearance work and surveys have been completed."

 

Dinas update 7/2/17

While the boiler inspector was checking No.143 on 7/2/17 ready for the Half term trains on 18/2/17, he also checked the two spare boilers to see which was is better condition. The aim is to have a third spare Garratt available from April/May. The works is experimenting with Vesconite bushes, a high strength plastic product made in South Africa, see Vesconite website. It is hoped the bearing will have longer life than conventional brass/white metal bearings. No.138's worn boiler pivot has also been replaced with this material. One of its power bogies has been finished and attention is now focussed on the second.

No.130's boiler cradle alterations are nearing completion with both power bogies now being vacuum braked which required frame alterations. The former steam brake on one bogies has been removed. With the new boiler soon to come from Co. Durham, it is hoped the frame will be ready in time to receive it.

 

Tuesday Gang report 7/2/17

Tony Baker reports: I did not work last week. On Tuesday 7/2/17 the Tuesday Gang was at LC 56.24 (just short of Gatws Bach) replacing two rotten centre timbers. They were replaced by 2 timbers salvaged from LC40.99 (Summit Cutting-Ed) which we recently decommissioned.

 

This northerly view (7/2/17) shows the decayed initial state of the central crossing timbers on LC56.24, just north of Gatws Bach. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/17) shows a dusting of snow on Cnicht. Snow has been in short supply this year, even on the peaks of Snowdonia. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/17) shows the central timbers being replaced. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (7/2/17) shows the completed job using recycled timbers that show some wear. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tony Baker and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

East Anglian Group Meeting 16/2/17

Stephen Sullivan reports: More news about our meeting on 16/2/17, following the last-minute unavailability of our planned speaker. Ian King will introduce the evening with some of his recent shots of Continental narrow gauge. Then Jon Marsh will be presenting and discussing some of his videos in his inimitable style. He will be bringing a selection along with him for sale on the night.

 

No.143 ready for action 7/2/17

Martin Kressman reports: The pre-season steam test of NGG16 No.143 was successfully carried out in front of the insurance inspector at Dinas on 7/2/17.

 

BF&T Railway progress

After a successful initial meeting in Trawsfynydd attended by about 30 people, progress has continued in Blaenau Ffestiniog and is nearing completion on Phase 1, Cwmbowydd Road l/c to NR boundary fence in Blaenau Ffestiniog station. Clearance work has also started on Phase 2 at the proposed depot at Maentwrog Road yard and the adjacent station. See BF&TR Society website.

 

Cold snap may lead to snowy Half Term!

A cold snap forecast from 8/2/17 onwards may lead to lying snow around the WHR for its Half Term trains 18-25/2/17 at least on the mountains. Snow was forecast on Snowdon on 7/2/17.

 

Cob footpath reopens 7/2/17

The Cob footpath reopened on 7/2/17 after pw works relaying some of the track on The Cob from the king point eastwards.

 

Dinas station fence nears completion 5/2/17

This westerly view (5/2/17) shows the newly completed platform fence by the bay platform. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This northerly view (5/2/17) shows the fence completed from near the station building to the bay platform with a gate next to station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/2/17) shows foundations for a new platform fence being erected at Dinas south of the station building as far as the barrow crossing. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (5/2/17) shows the completed entrance gate next to the station building. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Tom Waldren and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Work finally starts on Caernarfon Station 3/2/17

A small ceremony was held with local MPs to publicise the start of works on the £2 million Caernarfon Station project on 3/2/17. Paul Lewin reports that the Welsh Water sewer diversion works have now 'gone into overdrive'. See BBC website report dated 5/2/17. See also Business News story.

 

This northerly view (1/2/17) shows the local MP and AM visiting the start of works at Caernarfon along with Paul Lewin and Dafydd Thomas. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

F&WHR Moving Pictures No.2 3/2/17

A new YouTube appeared on 3/2/17 entitled 'Moving Pictures February 2017' and appears to be the first of a regular series offering a compendium of behind the scenes video news and progress reports about the F&WHR.

 

Click on the YouTube link above to watch 23 min 16 seconds of recent video of news about the F&WHR. It is best watched at 1080p HD mode available on e.g. Chrome.

 

Tamping The Cob 2/2/17

This easterly view (2/2/17) shows the KMX tamper liner tamping the track on the recently relaid Cob track beyond the Harbour Station king point. The relaid section reaches a point between the two signals. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

This westerly view (2/2/17) shows the smartly relaid Cob track from the signal to the Harbour Station king point. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright F&WHR and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

Palmerston on display Kings Cross

Palmerston, is returning to London for the first time since it was built there in 1864. Palmerston will be rolled into King’s Cross Station at 0100 on Saturday 18/2/17 and will be on display in the modern ticket hall until Sunday 26/2/17, covering the Half Term holiday period when trains are operating. Palmerston was built at George England's Hatcham Iron Works nearby in East London, and was completed in March 1864. The locomotive was named after Viscount Palmerston, Liberal Prime Minister and Chairman of the Welsh Slate, Copper & Lead Mining Company’s quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The locomotive saw extensive use on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways until withdrawal from service in 1937 for use as a stationary boiler in Boston lodge during WW2. Despite being deemed ‘beyond repair’, Palmerston was the subject of a long restoration, and eventually re-entered service on the railway in 1993. It currently sits alongside Prince as one of two working original George England locomotives, soon to be joined by Welsh Pony. For the duration of the visit, F&WHR staff and volunteers will be joined by colleagues from the other ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ to promote ‘Big Train meets Little Train’ - The recently published free guide to Welsh narrow gauge railways and how to visit them by rail.

 

Greg Davies on 'Who do you think you are' BBC 1/2/17

The WHR and Harbour Station will show in tonight’s episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' featuring comedian Greg Davies as he travels by train to Nantmor in search of his ancestors. The programme is available on Network BBC One at 2000-2100 and also available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

 

Spooners reopens 3/2/17

Spooners grill/cafe/bar reopens on 3/2/17 following a major upgrade.

 

Caernarfon station works 1/2/17

 

This northerly view (1/2/17) shows contractors using the station car park to store the new sewer pipes ready for the diversion works which are about to start. The red line on the ground is approximately the route of the sewer diversion. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is copyright Stuart McNair (F&WHR) and was taken on an Olympus digital camera. Image post processed and displayed at 96dpi.

 

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
8/4/17 The Snowdonian
28/4-1/5/17 FR Quirks and Curiosities event (includes some WHR events from Hafod-y-llyn)
6-7/5/17 Palmerston visit to Albert Dock, Liverpool (may be extended)
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
15-17/9/17 SuperPower (WHR AGM 16/9/17)
6-8/10/17 FR Victorian Weekend (may include some WHR events)
27/10/17 WHR Halloween Train
9-10/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
16-17/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
21-22/12/17 WHR Santa Specials
27/12/17-1/1/18 WHR Mince Pie Specials (to be confirmed)

 

Mainline news

There will be a series of railtours both to and from North Wales in 2017 and it seems that Penmaenmawr Quarries are to start delivering stone by rail again, while de-fuelling and removing contaminated material from Wylfa Nuclear Power Station will continue for another year at least. In recent years steam on the North Wales Coast/Blaenau Ffestiniog has declined and steam on the Cambrian disappeared due to NR reneging on its promise to provide a mobile ERTMS unit.

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

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

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

30/9/17 'Conway Valley Explorer II' Cleethorpes-Betws-y-coed (diesel) WCR

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

 

Trackwork Volunteering 2017

Keeping the permanent way, in particular, and the infrastructure in general, fit for trains to run is an essential task. Volunteers have a lot to offer by assisting with this. We have a mix of weekend and weekday working parties. The Black Hand, Tuesday Gang and Rest of the World Gangs will be very glad to accept your help. Contact the relevant organiser to let him know when you plan to join us. Please do not just turn up as that makes it difficult for us to plan ahead.

The programme for 2017 is as follows:

January 7-8/1/17 14-20/1/17WW 21-22/1/17    
February 4-5/2/17 11-17/2/17WW 18-19/2/17    
March 4-5/3/17 11-17/3/17WW 18-19/3/17    
April 1-2/4/17 8-9/4/17LW# 15-16/4/17^    
May   13-14/5/17 6-12/5/17WW 27-28/5/17^  
June   10-11/6/17 17-18/6/17LW# 24-25/6/17  
July   8-9/7/17 15-21/7/17WW 22-23/7/17  
August   5-6/8/17 12-13/8/17LW# 1920/8/17  
September 2-3/9/17 9-15/9/17WW 16-17/9/17   30/9/17-
October -1/10/17   14-15/10/17 21-22/10/17LW# 28-29/10/17
November 4-10/11/17WW# 11-12/11/17   25-26/11/17  
December 2-8/12/17WW# 9-10/12/17      

^ Bank Holiday weekend

LW-Long weekend Friday-Monday

WW-Working week Saturday-Friday

# For dates for April, June, August and October are subject to confirmation-contact Paul Bradshaw if you are interested. Dates for November and December 2017 are provisional pending preparation of the Winter Major Works Programme for 2017-18.

The Tuesday Gang expects to be operating pretty well every Tuesday.

Arrangements may change so contact the working party organiser before you commit yourself to joining us just to make sure.

Contacts

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday gangs, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw.

Tuesday Gang:

Contact Tony Baker for details. Phone: 01492 874579 Email: SPUDDY43@aol.com

North Wales Black Hand Gang (BHG):Dafydd Thomas Phone: 01248 681019 Email: dthomas@ffwhr.com

Rest of The World Gang (ROWG):Paul Bradshaw Phone: 01766 770034 Email: pbradshaw@ffwhr.com

If you intend to join one of the weekend or Tuesday Gang days, please contact the appropriate organiser. If you are interested in weekday working or have any queries about track work volunteering, please contact Paul Bradshaw. See Contacts page.

 

Gradient graph

John Hopkins has contributed this image of the gradient profile of the WHR. It makes clear how much of a mountain we have climbed and how steep the drop through Beddgelert is. Maybe most of all, it reveals the challenge facing northbound trains after they stop at Beddgelert!

 

Gradient profile.JPG (319064 bytes)

This image is courtesy/copyright John Hopkins and is derived from data courtesy John Sreeves with additional work by Michael Bentley. Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Site development

If you have suggestions for development of this site, please contact me by email at the address at the top of the page.

 

Comments

If you would like to make a comment about this website, why not visit my Guestbook? If you have a correction or require a reply please leave your email address or, more simply, send an email directly to my email address shown near the top of this page, just after the list of links to other pages.

 

[Sign My Guestbook] [View My Guestbook] Powered by E-Guestbooks Server.

 

Maps & Plans and links

Click here for Steve Harris' /WHRS' full list of Historical Maps and Gradient Profiles

DVD material can be purchased from Jon Marsh who is the WHRS' (DVD Only) Mail Order officer. All other materials are now sold in the F&WHRS shop.

Click here for the Mail Order web page

Click here for the Official WHR website

Click here for Official WHHR site

Click here for FR Company websites

Click here for Welsh Highland Heritage Group

 

V4.3456 updated 27/3/17