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FR & WHR & WHHR News

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by AndrewT, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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    The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways have invited the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway to run a special train for its members over the Welsh Highland Railway following the WHHR AGM on Saturday 21st July, following successful spark arrestor tests at the weekend.

    The train will operate from Porthmadog WHHR to Hafod-y-Llyn and all seats must be booked in advance from the WHHR.

    F&WHR Chairman Dr John Prideaux said that he was delighted that the WHHR Members would be able to enjoy this journey and that the event marked a further milestone in the improving relationship between the two railways.

    WHHR Chairman Martyn Owen said that the event would realise an ambition held by WHHR members for many years and thanked F&WHR management for their cooperation.
     
  2. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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    And in case you missed it the first time...

    WHHR joins in F&WHR Quarrypower gala September 14th – 16th

    The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway is joining forces with the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway to play a significant part in this September’s Quarrypower event.

    Half a century ago, the scrap line at Penrhyn was photographed and the locos which looked so sorry for themselves then have now been restored to their former glory. We are celebrating by bringing the engines back, in steam and lined up as they were 50 years ago. We will be running them in a cavalcade at Beddgelert so they can all be seen and photographed against the backdrop of Snowdonia.

    The Welsh Highland’s popular Superpower weekend is to become Quarrypower this year and restored Penrhyn Scrap line locos will be in action over the length of the F&WHR with the added attraction of the chance to see the locos in a convoy on the WHR from Caernarfon to Porthmadog and on both the WHHR and FR over the course of the weekend.

    For many of the locos it will be the longest single journey they have ever made.

    The date is set for the 14th – 16th of September when Lilian, Stanhope, Eigiau, Sgt Murphy, Bronllwyd and the newly-restored Hugh Napier will be reunited with the F&WHR's Lilla, Linda, Blanche and Britomart in what promises to be an unforgettable demonstration of Quarrypower.

    Friday sees the grand arrival at Dinas of the engines for the first time as they steam over from Boston Lodge. There will be the opportunity to ride behind triple-headed shuttle trains from Dinas to Caernarfon and Waunfawr.

    All the locomotives will be in steam for evening photography in the yard at Dinas, where music, food and beer will be available. Meet the loco owners, crews and the people who restored and now care for them and perhaps buy them a pint.

    On Saturday, big sisters Linda and Blanche ‘The Queens of the Hill’ will double head a special service from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and back, while Dinas opens to the public at 0700 so you can see the engines emerge from the shed and prepared for the day’s activities. Don’t worry about breakfast, bacon butties and tea will be available on site.

    At 1000, there’s a chance to see the locos lined up in scrap line order for the first time in 50 years, accompanied by the Nantlle Silver Band. At 1130 you can follow the locos up the line with our special bus service as they head for the Beddgelert cavalcade.

    On arrival, each of the engines will be showcased on the S bends above Beddgelert, providing great photo opportunities. Then follow the locos through the Aberglaslyn Pass as they make their way to their overnight stop at Gelert’s Farm on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. The WHHR will be operating an enhanced service throughout the day, on the hour and half hour.

    Enjoy a pint or a meal in Spooner’s as the sun goes down and watch out for a special guest appearance on Saturday evening at Harbour Station.

    Sunday is your chance to see the locos light up at Gelert’s Farm, which opens at 0700. Food will be available in the Russell Tea Rooms. Then there’s a chance to ride behind them as an intensive service operates between Pont Croesor, Minffordd and Porthmadog Harbour and between Porthmadog WHHR and Pen y Mount. Trains will run non-stop through Harbour Station on their way to Minffordd.

    Watch regular Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland services mingling with Quarrypower specials at Harbour Station throughout the lunchtime and early afternoon peak.

    See and ride the grand finale special from Pont Croesor to Harbour Station at 1600 and marvel at the most unusual sextuple header you will see this year.

    In addition, there will be book signings of David Payling’s new volume on the Garratts and Kalaharis of the Welsh Highland and Gordon Rushton’s long-awaited definitive history of the rebuilding of the WHR.

    There will be guided walks along the Bryngwyn Branch and the route of the Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the National Slate Museum at Llanberis will have its incline working specially on the Sunday between 1100 and 1530. Pre-booking is essential for these activities.

    The locos
    Name Location
    Lilian Launceston
    Eigiau Bredgar
    Stanhope Apedale Valley Light Railway
    Sgt. Murphy Teifi Valley
    Bronllwyd Statfold Barn
    Hugh Napier Penrhyn Castle
    Linda F&WHR
    Blanche F&WHR
    Lilla F&WHR
    Britomart F&WHR

    Ticketing
    A special Three Day Rover ticket is available, giving access to Gelert’s Farm and Dinas plus travel on the FR, WHR and WHHR. It includes the walks and travel on the bus services but note that places on these must be reserved at the time of booking.

    Tickets for individual days are also available. Prices start at £25. For more details, check the microsite at Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways - Quarry Power or phone the booking office on 01766 516024.
     
  3. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Fantastic news. Great to see the two lines working together for mutual advantage. Let's hope more joint events will follow in future!
     
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  4. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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  5. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Member

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    Then theres hope for Russell to do the full length of th line when shes re-built?
     
  6. Nexuas

    Nexuas Active Member

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  7. Nexuas

    Nexuas Active Member

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    My personal account of Saturday... for those who care to read it.

    As the fireman on the outward bound journey, I have to say it was a great honour and a privilege to be involved in the whole experience. I made no secret to anybody who asked that I was really quite nervous about the whole thing before we set off, but once under way GELERT proved to be a very capable and free steaming loco. She was complete master of the load, and as we were limited to only 15mph she was not stretched at all by the experience. Both my driver (Lewis Dittrich) and I were very happy to have completed the run, but we can not deny that the hill up to Beddgelert which lies beyond the end of the Hafod-y-Llyn loop is really the holy grail which we seek to pit our wits/skills against.

    The day started at 9.00am, with a very dirty GELERT being dragged out of the loco shed, the following 6 hours were spent cleaning, polishing and generally titivating her, so that she could shine throughout the evening. The fire was lit at 2.45pm, it was just before lighting up that the realisation dawned on me that I had not fired GELERT since October 2010, (all my turns since either had a competent trainee fireman meaning I have not touched the shovel all day, or had been on GERTRUDE, DOLL* or ELIDIR* [* visiting locos for the last two years' galas]) GELERT had only been steamed once with the new spark arrestor fitted, and it was felt that the loco behaved differently. Maybe the long gap in my experience with GELERT meant that I had less to compare the current experience to, but I have to say I felt she was slower to light up and seamed to fill the cab with a lot more smoke than my memory remembered, the damper seams to give a bit more control of heat from the fire. The blower MUST be on every time you open the fire hole door, GELERT used to have a very good natural draught, but this seams to have been weakened by the spark arrestor.

    Once pressure began to rise, the blower was very slowly turned on to try and avoid covering the freshly cleaned paintwork in sooty water, (successfully achieved) and finally the cab was cleared of smoke and last bit of cleaning could be completed. Thanks go to David and Barbara Holmes, Mark Seale, Dave Hill, Dave Rutt and Lewis Dittrich for their help in cleaning and preparing the loco and Owain Brown and Martyn Owen for sorting the spark aresstor. Gelert's farm yard took on an eerie calm during the afternoon, the company AGM was taking place in the school next door, and the place had cleared of all members and Volunteers except for the days train crew running the service train, and four of us prepping GELERT, the quiet and calm I think helped ease some of the stress/fear of the evenings activities.

    Just after 5pm the service train returned hauled by GERTRUDE and the stock was dropped into the yard, to enable us to shunt the set for the evening train, Gladstone, Toastrack, Buffet car, Ashbury and VOR brake van were propelled back into Porthmadog (WHR) station to be met by a full platform of excited members. GELERT was uncoupled for the stock and taken to the water tower. Our instructions were to fill the tanks as full as we could get them. During the brake tests last year, GELERT had consumed a considerable quantity of water and require refilling at Beddgelert, this needed to be avoided! (Sadly) The balance pipe on GELERT is quite slow and so 15 minutes or so were spent at the water tower, giving time for a final oil round and a quick wipe down of all the paint work to remove any final dirt which had settled.

    Once couple back on the stock, a quick swig from my Tea can, and we were ready to depart to Pen-Y-Mount, a great sense of responsibility hanging on our shoulders, knowing if things went wrong, this could spell the end of any future trips out onto the Rhe line. 120 expectant members and many on lookers would be following our progress!

    There was due to be a wait of unknown time at P-Y-M while the token was received for the section to PC, and for the points to be unclipped and set over, I had to be ready to leave at a moments notice, but did not want to the loco to blow off wasting water, for me as a fireman the next 4.5 miles was going to be a bit of a journey into the unknown... (I know for FR/Rhe crews this is their daily duties, but for us it was a big deal, I was hoping that the 12 trainee fireman turns I had done on the WLLR half a lifetime ago would come back to me.) A quick team talk with WHHR chairman Martyn Owen about the conduct of the train for the evening, and then it became apparent that departure was imminent. A quick check of water level, right at the top of the glass, having successfully kept the loco quiet during our pause at P-Y-M, a look in the fire box, a couple of shovels of coal and we were off...

    I am lead to believe the whole journey to H-y-L was about 45 minutes, to me it felt like 5 or 6. It was all over too quickly, but from my point of view a very successful trip, pressure gauge showing 155psi moving by less than 4 psi either way, water remaining towards the top of the glass, but with 'just' enough space for the loco to be kept quite during the run round and wait at H-Y-L. GELERT was a joy to work with! My personal highlights were running out of PC and across the bridge, with the low evening sun glinting off the side of the stock, and arriving at H-y-L, with the sense of a job well done, the pat on the back from the FR pilot man when we stopped was greatly appreciated. The two sheep that leapt from the undergrowth into our path near Croesor junction were less appreciated! But it soon dawned on them that getting out of the way of the the large looming beast was the best plan.

    Lewis and I handed to loco over to Mark Seale and Dave Hill for the return journey, speaking to them afterwards, I think they had as much fun as we did!!!

    When the train arrived back at Port, there were many, many happy faces (not just the two loco crews!) and a real sense that we had done well. And a huge sense of hope that more could be achieved in the future.

    Beddgelert here we come...

    Russell Pearn. (One very happy person!!!!)
     
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  8. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 New Member

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    Well done! I'm sure to many watching from the "outside" this would seem a gentle trundle along the flat a short distance and back - a bit of a doddle in fact. But the first of any run is a venture into the unknown, and as you say, if anything had gone wrong it could have put back future collaboration with the FR.
    You are very fortunate to be a part of such a historic event that looked highly unlikely not so long ago. Those of us without any particular affinity to either Porthmadog camp all breathed a sigh of relief and smiled!
     
  9. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

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    We did indeed :) Looking forward to collaboration and cordial relations - united, I think you will be stronger, and achieve more.
     
  10. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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    Winifred is now confirmed to attend Quarrypower next month alongside Lilian, Stanhope, Eigiau, Sgt Murphy, Bronllwyd and Hugh Napier together with the F&WHR's Lilla, Linda, Blanche and Britomart.
     
  11. Autotank

    Autotank Member

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    Any news on further WHHR forays onto the WHR? I assume the test last month was deemed a success operationally?

    Looking forward to a brief visit to North Wales in a couple of weeks to make the most of the Summer timetable before it finishes - I always really enjoy a trip on the evening FR train with a beer or two in Spooners! I'm hoping that a Double Farlie will be on the afternoon Rhyd-Ddu service as I'm sure they sound great up the hill through the Forest.
     
  12. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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    The 1645 Port-Rhyd Ddu and back is rostered to have either Merddin Emrys or Earl of Meirioneth at the front. The service runs Mon-Thurs until August 30th.

    Next WHHR / F&WHR joint project is Quarrypower Sept 14-16.
     
  13. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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  14. AndrewT

    AndrewT Active Member

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    AT210780-1024.jpg AT210791-1024.jpg AT210823-1024.jpg AT210837-1024.jpg AT210850-1024.jpg AT210864-1024.jpg AT210891-1024.jpg AT210900-1024.jpg AT210910-1024.jpg
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Telephoto does distort I know but could the "bendy" engines be knocking the track about a bit?

    P.H.
     
  16. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Nah it was like that to start with.
     
  17. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly Member

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    Worth a look for the keen readers among the patronage of this forum is surely the latest FR Society book auction (details HERE) bids are taken through post, telephone and e-mail, this sells off donated second hand books and usually brings a healthy sum of money in to a very deserving cause. This year the FR Heritage Group's Waggon Tracks Appeal will recieve the support, a very deserving project as it aims to relay Minffordd station in bullhead track and lay the foundations of a project which will hopefully see all the railway's vast collection of over 200 victorian freight vehicles put under cover.
     
  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  19. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Nice piccies - thanx for the link!

     
  20. tamper

    tamper Member

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    My wife and I would both like to say a very well done to all the staff and crew for the splendid organization in getting us and all the other passengers through to Caernarfon and back during the attrotious weather and flooded track on Tuesday 25th.

    And yes, we were the daft couple in the open coach on the 12.45 ex P-M!!!
     

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