Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
A 16 mile return journey by narrow gauge steam train through beautiful Mid Wales countryside.

rcNews Archive 2013 to 2014

News Archive 2013 to 2014

Archive News from the Line

2013

 

2014

For other news stories please follow the follow links:

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Archive News 2009 to 2012

Archive News 2002 to 2008


Release date 26th November 2013

Relay completed on schedule

The first of this winter's major track renewal tasks has been completed with over two weeks to spare before the start of our Santa Train service on 14th December.  Unlike last year when one large task was allocated for the entire winter maintenance schedule, the 2013 /2014 maintenance features a number of smaller tasks.  The current job has seen 21 lengths of rail re-laid near Dolrhyd Mill, a short distance from the terminus at Llanfair Caereinion.  New wooden hardwood sleepers and modern fixings have been united with the best of the original 1902 45lb/yard rail from that location and from a section of line replaced last year.  These original rails have benefitted from being on a straight section with less wear than many other locations on the railway. 

In addition to the re-laid section, re-alignments and tamping at both ends of the job have taken place - all but doubling the length of railway to be tackled in just 13 working days.  Most of our voluntary track gang have worked extra to maintain a strong team on every day.  Other than the occasional task to tidy the area, and the final adjustments, the track gang will now return to preparing for a turnout replacement adjacent to our Tanllan carriage shed.

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The last passenger train has operated - the railway as it was before the job was started.

 5 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

It is time to replace the sleepers.......

 5 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The first day - and preparations for a 'Big Push' next week are underway.

 8 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Photo: Alan Barnes

Sleeper preparation production line.  Pre-drilling using a jig took place undercover,

and the pandrol base plates were attached before stacking for transport to site by train.

 8 November 2013    Photo:  Alan Barnes

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The yard has been converted to an engineering depot.  The ballast wagons have already been used to transport some ballast to site

as road access was not possible on this occasion, and the first wagon load of sleepers is loaded.  Being a small job compared with

last winter, only 249 new sleepers were required - and they were all prepared within two days.

 9 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The JCB was transported to and from the relay site just around the corner using the 'Rollwagen'.

 12 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The railway is still complete, but a roadway has been produced using ballast in preparation for creating a new clean trackbed once the old track has been lifted.

The kink in the old alignment was where the line had deviated around a tree which regrettably was found to be rotten and was removed before the job commenced.

 12 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

 

Dismantling is underway.

 12 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Bruce Webber

An empty trackbed ready for levelling.  Dismantling took about two days to complete.

 12 November 2013    Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

 

Photo: Bruce Webber

 

The curve at the Llanfair end of the relay site was re-aligned - partly by mechanical power - but fine tuned by the human touch..

 14 November 2013    Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

 

Photo Bruce Webber

 

With the track-bed levelled the reconstruction begins.

 15 November 2013    Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo Bruce Webber

 

'Now if everyone sticks to their job we'll soon get this down'.  Everyone was so committed that hardly any photographs were taken - looks as though 'Tea' has just been called.

The starting point has been determined by the left hand (inside) rail of the curve.  The right hand (outer) will be replaced.

 15 November 2013    Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

 

Another two pandrol clips have just been put in.  With the prepared sleepers the track is going down rather fast!

 15 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

An occasional slew ensures the track is not too far from the correct alignment as the job proceeds.

 15 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

By the end of the first week about half of the section had been re-laid.  The following Monday would see it all in place and ready for connecting to the rest of the railway.

 15 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The first winter snow has fallen.  A wagon load of rails stands ready to replace some on the realigned curve. 

Once Santa trains have finished more rails will be replaced on this section.

 19 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Photo Dave Bothamley

A 'new' rail is cut in, and the re-laid section is connected once again to Llanfair shortly afterwards.

 19 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

And holes are drilled using the magnetic drill at the Welshpool end of the job.  Within half an hour the

railway was connected throughout once again.

 20 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Smiles all around as some of the gang take a breather whilst the ballast trains makes a run.

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Centre Discharge wagon places ballast between the rails........

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

...... and the Side Discharge deals with the ballast shoulders.

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

On the whole we have been blessed with nice, if a little cold at times, weather.

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Photo Dave Bothamley

Ballast in place - time for the Tamper.

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

A rotating laser (and detector on the Tamping machine) helps the operators set the correct height.

A pass has just been completed between two fixed locations, and every third sleeper has been packed.

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The machine then passes through again ensuring all sleepers are packed. 

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

A quick tweak here and there.

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

And tidying can begin.

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Photo Dave Bothamley

A pause for breath next to a section of completed railway.

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

Photo Dave Bothamley

The best reward for a good job is to sit back and look at all that you have achieved.  A straight, and tidy section of railway.

 22 November 2013    Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

 Photo:  Kevin Heywood

And as the sun sinks over the horizon the gang can head off for a well deserved rest.......... maybe not, there are still a few tweaks required

and then there are the other winter jobs too.

 21 November 2013    Photo:  Kevin Heywood

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Release date 11th October 2013

No. 699.01 will run again!

At a recent Board Meeting, the GM and CME gave a Presentation on future locomotive rebuilding options. The Board of Trustees accepted their recommendation to return 699.01 to service as the next major project to be tackled by Llanfair Workshop.

Built in 1944 by Franco-Belge as a tender locomotive for the German Military, the locomotive eventually became Loco No.19 on the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn (SKGLB), that running between Salzburg and Bad Ischl in Austria. When the line then closed in 1956, the locomotive transferred to the Steirmarkische Landesbahn (Styrian Provincial Railways) for use on the line between Weiz and Ratten. It was rebuilt as a tank locomotive in 1957 and is 27 tonnes in working order.

The locomotive was purchased by the W&L in 1969 and last ran in 1999. The rebuild is expected to take around 12 months.

 

'Sir Drefaldwyn' and 'Joan' in workshop 11 November 2013 Photo Kevin Hetwood

699.01 was moved into the workshop for exploratory work during September, during which time she was partially dismantled.  Work will resume this week. 

Meanwhile 'Joan' sits alongside as part of her winter maintenance is undertaken.

11 November 2013  Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The locomotive and the rear (green) carriage both operated on the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn (SKGLB)

13 September 2013  Photo: Kevin Heywood

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Release date 4th October 2013

Replica carriage refurbishments

Following the end of the High Summer season and Anniversary Gala, and before the bulk of the winter maintenance starts, the workshop has undertaken a quick repaint of carriage Bi20 and also carried out some minor repairs.  The replica Zillertalbahn style carriage (using Austrian components but constructed in Romania) arrived on the W&L in 2007.  Earlier in the summer carriage Bi17 received attention and the opportunity to continue skill transfer to new volunteers was too good to miss.

In addition to the two refurbishments carried out by in-house staff, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways completed an exterior re-varnishing and roof repainting of the first Pickering Replica carriage number 6466 at our Tanllan Carriage shed.  This work, along with a few repairs, was undertaken during late August, and in just 5 days the vehicle was transformed to like-new condition.

Photo Kevin Heywood

Carriage Bi20 earlier this season showing 6 years of wear and tear.  19 May 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

After a few days work the paintwork has been rubbed down and the roof has already been repainted.  10 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The balcony gates have been removed and are being prepared for painting and new fittings.  10 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The first layer of undercoat is being applied to the other end of the vehicle

 and a window production line is in operation.  10 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

Photo Kevin Heywood

Rapid progress has been made to parts of the carriage to allow the signwriter to carry out his work.  13 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Finishing touches are being applied to the brown gloss.  17 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Windows are being masked prior to receiving a final coat of paint.  17 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Geoff Gauntlett

And ready for re-fitting.  19 September 2013

Photo: Geoff Gauntlett

 

Photo Geoff Gauntlett

A few odd jobs to go.  19 September 2013

Photo: Geoff Gauntlett

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Finishing touches and varnishing has taken place, but the gutters still require a final coat of paint.  20 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

 

The carriage is complete, other than a couple of balcony gates (out of view) which are still being modified.  28 September 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

Bi20 leaves the workshop for the short journey to the carriage shed where it will remain until next season.

A shame the weather rather spoiled the occasion!  3 October 2013

Photo: Ian Sanders

 

Bi20 looks ready for her next train, but as the vehicle is not fitted for steam heating it will be next year before that takes place.  3 October 2013

Photo: Ian Sanders

 

 

 

Looking like new once again, carriage 6466 has been refurbished by staff from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways Boston Lodge works.  30 August 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

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Release date 14th September 2013

699.01 on the move!

After a further failure of Resita 764.425, wide-ranging investigation of potential options is taking place to determine the most attractive, cost-effective and business like way ahead. Options include doing nothing, repairing the Resita once more, rebuilding another W&L locomotive and even leasing or purchasing a locomotive from elsewhere.

Built by ‘Franco-Belge’ in 1944 for the German Military as a tender locomotive, Loco No.699.01 worked on the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn (SKGLB) in Austria until the line closed in 1956. The locomotive transferred to the Wiez – Ratten line in Styria where it was converted to a tank locomotive and eventually sold to the W&L. It has been out of service since 1999 and is now in the Workshop in Llanfair for preliminary investigations into the cost of this option.  The move from storage in Welshpool has provided us with a lovely photographic opportunity to share with you.

Photo Ian Sanders

Before 699.01 could be removed from the Welshpool locomotive shed No.6 'Monarch' had to be temporarily shunted out of the way.

There are not many opportunities to see this locomotive in the open.

13 September 2013   Photo:  Ian Sanders

 

Photo Ian Sanders

699.01 is removed from the shed.  For the time being the locomotive has been replaced by two heritage wagons.

13 September 2013  Photo:  Ian Sanders

 

Photo Bruce Webber

Before her journey to Llanfair, some valve gear was removed from the loco, and lubrication was applied.

13 September 2013  Photo:  Bruce Webber

Photo Ian Sanders

En-route to the workshop  -  at Castle Caereinion.

13 September 2013  Photo:  Ian Sanders

 

Photo Ian Sanders

And a pause at Cyfronydd to photograph the train with some flowers!

13 September 2013  Photo:  Ian Sanders

 

Photo Ian Sanders

The workshop staff couldn't pass Heniarth without a photo run-past!

13 September 2013  Photo:  Ian Sanders

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

No.10 / 699.01 has safely arrived at Llanfair Caereinion.

13 September 2013  Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

With the sun out we took the opportunity to park the locomotive with some of our Austrian carriages.

13 September 2013  Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

And into the workshop for evaluation, alongside an Austrian style carriage under refurbishment.

13 September 2013  Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

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Release date 25th August 2013

'30inch Railways Worldwide' Book to be launched at Gala

The W&L is very pleased to welcome author David Scotney, and publisher Frank Stenvall to the 50th Anniversary Gala next Saturday, where in keeping with our modern day railway, they will unveil a truly international book.  Not only does the book cover subjects from all around the globe, but it is also a collaboration between a British author and a Swedish publisher.  The launch will take place at approximately 12.15pm at Llanfair Caereinion station.

Book Cover

In the latter part of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century 30inch gauge Railways provided the only practical link from many rural areas to the outside world. They could be found across the globe but had particular concentrations in areas as diverse as the USSR, India, Germany, Yugoslavia, China, Poland, Japan, Hungary, Austria, Egypt, Argentina, Chile, Taiwan, Brazil, Korea, Bolivia and Romania.

More than 35,000km of public 30inch Railways were built. Their main attractions were their ability to follow the landform, with sharp curves and steep gradients, and a resultant relatively low capital cost. This, however, came with drawbacks of low speeds, limited capacities and freight transhipment. These problems made them particularly vulnerable to the rise in road transport.

Some 30inch lines do still exist to provide a lifeline for rural areas while a few others such as the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway offer an intriguing tourist ‘experience’.

This book (416 pages A4, ca 600 illustrations, hb. £50.), the product of many years of research, tells the what, why, how and where of these 30inch Railways along with their actual story. The book is illustrated comprehensively with photographs, specially prepared line drawings and maps.

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Release date 10th August 2013

Zillertalbahn Bi17 Emerges from Workshop

Former Zillertalbahn carriage Bi17 has left the workshop following its refurbishment.  Some time will be allowed for the paint to harden before the carriage re-enters service later in the month.  Photographs of the earlier stage of refurbishment were posted on 10 July.

Photo  Kevin Heywood

The floor is stained prior to re-varnishing.  So much easier with most of the seats removed.

12 July 2013

 

Photo  Kevin Heywood

The hot weather during July made life difficult for the painters and it was not uncommon to find them starting at 7.00am to avoid the paint drying too quickly. This approach led to a haphazard look as areas were completed according to the available time.  And of course an unscheduled repair to a locomotive at the start of the day could soon ruin any plans. 

The two shades of undercoat was purely brought on by the desire to use up a batch of paint from another job before moving on to the latest recommended shade.

12 July 2013

 

Photo  Kevin Heywood

The need to ready some areas for the sign writer resulted in the temporary 'three shades' livery.

23 July 2013

 

Photo  Kevin Heywood

The carriage is starting to look like her former self once again as the last areas receive gloss paint.

31 July 2013

 

Photo  Kevin Heywood

Sign writing is now in place and a coat of varnish has been applied to protect it.  The 2nd Class designation '2' has been reattached.

The writing on the right is the vehicle identification, 'B' denoting second class ('A' would be first class, and 'C' third class), 'i' refers to the open balcony entrance,

 and 17 is the carriage number.  The lower 's' denotes 'schmalspur' / narrow gauge.

31 July 2013

 

Photo  Kevin Heywood

And the 'Zillertalbahn' plate as well.  The Zillertalbahn in the Tirol region of Austria is still operating today so we are very pleased

to advertise the railway, and the name provides an extra element of interest too.

31 July 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

A few joints are sealed before the final coats of paint are applied to the window surrounds.

1 August 2013

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Fitting and testing the gates to the balcony entrance.

1 August 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

First time in the open air since the end of May.

9 August 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The interior has been re-varnished.

9 August 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

And with some of our other Austrian carriages in the background.

9 August 2013

 

All photos:  Kevin Heywood

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Release date 5th August 2013

Powis Castle Special Offer

 

Powis Castle and Garden and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway are happy to announce their half-price partnership once again this August! Anyone purchasing a ticket from one of us will be offered a half-price equivalent ticket at the second venue if presented within seven days.

This offer is only available until 30th August, and is not available in conjunction with any other offers or discounts.

Powis Castle and Garden is open every day from 11am until 5.30pm. You can find up to date news and information at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis.

The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway runs daily through August. You can find further dates and timetables and events on this website, our facebook page (www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway) or on Twitter at @Llanfairline

 

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Release date 1st August 2013

50th Anniversary Gala - Re-enactment of 1956 Last Train

Photo: Ivo Peters

The last train operated by British Railways (WR) prior to closure of the line was a Stephenson Locomotive Society charter on Saturday 3rd November 1956.

 

The train of wagons, hauled by Loco No.822, arrived in Llanfair Caereinion at 4pm and departed for the last time at 4.10pm. On Saturday 31st August we intend to re-enact the arrival in Llanfair Caereinion as part of our ‘50th Anniversary of Preservation’ celebrations. The scene will be set to music from the Aberystwyth Silver Band.

 

This event will form part of our weekend Gala event - further details on our 50th Anniversary Gala page.

 

Aberystwyth Silver Band Logo

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Release date 10th July 2013

Zillertalbahn carriage refurbishment

Between everyday tasks required to keep the trains operating, workshop staff have turned their attention to former Zillertalbahn carriage B17.  The carriage is one of four vehicles obtained from Austria in 1968, but as it was constructed in 1901 it is actually older than the railway it now operates on.  Needless to say, over the years many of the original materials have been replaced but the charm of the vehicle has been retained.  The carriage is expected to return to service later in the summer.

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Sidelined to the less regularly used set of carriages, B17 is showing signs of a need for refurbishment.

19 May 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Fixtures and panels are removed to enable the frame to be checked and minor repairs to be carried out a few days after the vehicle entered the workshop.

1 June 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

With the panels back in place and after a thorough rubbing down painting of the undercoat is now in progress.  The light shining next to the

footstep indicates that there is activity taking place beneath the carriage at the same time as the bodywork, and most of this is already complete.

25 June 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

And the 'interior decorating' is also progressing well.

25 June 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The seats and luggage racks have been removed to allow easier access to the carriage floor, but they too are receiving attention.

6 July 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Repairs are being made to the open ended balcony.

6 July 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

And the exterior handrails and window protectors are renovated on an adjacent bench.

6 July 2013

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Body repairs are almost complete and most of the carriage is now in undercoat.  This vehicle will retain its brown livery when completed.

6 July 2013

 

All photos: Kevin Heywood

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Release date 16th April 2013

50th Anniversary Season is Underway

With the problems reported elsewhere on this page, it is with some relief that the Easter period operation has passed and the 2013 season is in full swing.  The severe snow one week before opening may have been the last thing that the outdoor engineers wished to see, but it added a magical touch to the first week's operation as can be seen in the accompanying photographs.  It would have been disappointing had the railway reached its Golden Jubilee with a partially closed line (although perhaps quite appropriate if the trains had only operated between Llanfair Caereinion and Castle Caereinion because of the problems near Sylfaen), but the efforts of staff and volunteers ensured the whole line was open. On the 6th April, the railway celebrated 50 years of preserved operation.  More information about the anniversary can be found in the Press Release issued on 8th April.

Mention has been made of the outdoor engineers, but the mechanical department must not be forgotten.  During the last two weeks all four main line passenger steam locomotives have been in use - the first time for some years that this has been possible.  In addition, Salzkammergut Lokalbahn carriage C569 quietly entered service on 30th March, and wagon 33 has made a  transformation from a snow covered Permanent Way vehicle to a stage fit for the Chairman of the Company.

All in all, it might have been a cold Easter holiday, but non the less an enjoyable and satisfying one.  Do come and see us for yourself.

 

Photo Alan Barnes

'Joan' approaching Coppice Lane with the first train of the new season.  29 March 2013

Photo:  Alan Barnes

 

Photo Patrick Cheshire

'Joan' at Cwm Lane with the first train of the season from Welshpool.  29 March 2013

Photo:  Patrick Cheshire 

Photo Ulrich Clees

Newly restored carriage C569 (the 4-wheeled carriage next to the locomotive) quietly entered service and is

seen here on her first train near Coppice Lane with 'Countess'.  30 March 2013

Photo: Ulrich Clees

 

Photo Patrick Cheshire

'Joan' is once again in service near Coppice Lane.  31 March 2013

Photo:  Patrick Cheshire 

 

Photo Andrew Charman

  Carrying a suitable headboard, 'Countess' is seen at Castle Caereinion, terminus of the line when re-opened to the public in 1963.  6 April 2013

Photo: Andrew Charman

 

Photo Andrew Charman

  One of the 'Nostalgia Trains' near Heniarth.  The carriages used 50 years ago have moved on to new pastures, but the three carriages used on this train

all arrived on the W&L during April 1968 making them the next best thing.  6 April 2013

Photo: Andrew Charman

 

 

Photo Andrew Charman

  Members gather around the Chairman, Alan Higgins, whilst he updates a speech made 50 years earlier from the same wagon.  6 April 2013

Photo: Andrew Charman

 

No.19 at the Kink. Photo Bruce Webber

  On the three days that the railway has not been in operation since Good Friday the track gang have continued their work on repairs

to the line caused by the winter weather.  During the 'Engineers Possession' the gang take a well deserved break to admire No.19 which was being run-in following

winter maintenance.  Everyone loves steam trains!  12 April 2013

Photo: Bruce Webber

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Release date 16th April 2013

We made it!

It has not been the easiest few months leading up to the Easter opening and, as hinted elsewhere, resources have been stretched. Despite major unexpected problems, the first train ran on time with only a few people knowing of the struggle beforehand.  At one stage it seemed as though we were finding new problems every day, and as February rolled into March the track gang put in extra days and rose to the challenge.  With a feeling that perhaps we are now moving out of the 'Winter Railway' and into the operating season we thought you would like to see some of the extra jobs needed before trains could operate again.  When we set ourselves the challenge of trying to document our winter activities to share with you we never thought there would be quite so much.  Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement and gratitude that we have received from people who have already seen the end result.

A note about the photographs. With pressure mounting to carry out all of the jobs, the photographers often resorted to cameras on mobile phones to record the work during short breaks.  Weather and machinery have not made the workplace the best place to store expensive camera equipment at times.  We hope that it does not detract from your enjoyment. 

 

Quarry Cutting ...... Nice flowers, pity about the location!

Photo Kevin Heywood

A landslip in Quarry Cutting on the Golfa Bank was the first indication of a difficult winter ahead.

Photo Kevin Heywood

We believe the landslip occurred around New Year but, like other problem areas, it was cut off from our rail bound resources by the gap in the track on the

winter relay near Cyfronydd.  The cause was a blocked stream running adjacent to the main road further up the hillside.  The stream was effectively diverted through the field and on to the railway at this point.  The snowdrops are always particularly beautiful at this location yet rarely seen by anyone but the engineers. 5 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

 

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

A few hours with shovels could have cleared enough of the surface mess to allow trains to pass.  5 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

Or you can do it the easy way and ensure a more longer lasting job is achieved.  The 'Rollwagen' has proved to be a saviour this winter, and the use of the JCB

ensured that the line was cleared and ditches re-instated in just one day.  The old method of transporting road vehicles would probably have taken half a day

alone for the safe loading and unloading of the vehicle. 4 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Castle Bank ...... A Little Rabbit Problem

Photo Dave Bothamley

This was a known problem, but not one that we wished to tackle at this moment in time.  Rabbits have a fondness for the soft earth that

is used on many of our embankments. Heavy rain after a large snow fall combined with the rabbit burrows to move this job on

to the 'must be done now' list. Fortunately, like most of the winter problems, the damage did not stop trains passing the site as it was caught in time. 

The following sequence of photographs show the progress as the new retaining wall was constructed.  6 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

6 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

8 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

11 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

The finished product is quite a work of art.  What isn't clear in the photographs are the various fixings to help keep it in place - it doesn't just rely on gravity. 11 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

Cwm Curves to Pussy Bridge ....... Unwanted Water

Photo Kevin Heywood

The fast melting snow caused a stream at Cwm Curves to divert along the trackbed.  The volume of water must have been impressive but only the

after effect was seen.  Note the debris alongside the far rail, and one of the areas where the water broke through back to the stream which is out of sight to the left of the photograph. 

This was the area of track relaid during early 2012 and was soon repaired.  7 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Of more concern was the damage just around the corner at Four Mile Oak where an old tree stump has partially blocked the stream.  The volume of water took

the easiest route through the gap - the soft railway embankment.  With the stream now a little too close for comfort the decision was taken to remove the

 stump and return the stream to its natural course. At this time there was still no rail access to this site.  7 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

A contractor was used to cut up part of the stump.  12 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

Photo Dave Bothamley

By the time work was being planned for the removal of the stump at Four Mile Oak (just visible above the right shoulder of the

gentleman wearing orange) water levels had dropped and it was realised we had a larger problem at the location known as Pussy Bridge.  Note the state of the field, 15 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

Swirling water had undermined one of the bridge retaining walls.  The solution - temporarily divert the stream, dry out the bed and build new foundations.

Some stone had already been placed to help fill the void beneath the wall. 15 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

Diversion in Progress. 15 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

'Where's the water gone?'  15 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

Concreting in progress.  18 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

Photo Dave Bothamley

And the finished concreted bed is protected from the weather. This area of the line is one of the most

windswept, and during the period that the repairs were being made the cold and damp was almost unbearable. 18 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

Photo Dave Bothamley

Shuttering in place for the retaining wall.  19 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

And thumbs up.  Stage one complete.  With part of the wall in place to provide support the opportunity was taken to continue the job and secure the

rest of the wall in a similar manner rather than have to return to the location in the very near future.  20 March 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Bruce Webber

The second phase coincided with the heaviest snow of the winter - just one week before trains were due to start.  Whilst roads further north

were becoming impassable, the bulk of the snow held off for work to continue on 22 March.  The workforce altered their working days to ensure that precious time was not lost because of the snow.  Excellent forward planning.  22 March 2013

Photo: Bruce Webber

 

Photo Bruce Webber

Trains were used to transport concrete the short distance from Sylfaen station to Pussy Bridge. 22 March 2013

Photo: Bruce Webber

 

Photo Bruce Webber

By the end of the day phase two of the retaining wall was in place (the base having been constructed the previous day). Working conditions

were even more unpleasant but sufficient progress was made to ensure that trains could pass Pussy Bridge once more. Heavier snow followed later

in the evening and the following day. 22 March 2013

Photo: Bruce Webber

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

By the following Monday the site was not looking very Spring like. Staff were optimistic that the emergency repairs would now be completed,

but were less so about water supplies for the steam locomotives required the following Friday. 25 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

A sense of achievement is keeping spirits high! 25 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The retaining wall is in place, pointing can wait a few days. 25 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Bruce Webber

Trains had worked through from Llanfair.  'The Wasp' in the background cleared the way, and No.7 brought two pipes for the

Four Mile Oak repair.  As on many days, workshop staff interrupted their schedule to help the outdoor engineers with the repairs. 25 March 2013

Photo: Bruce Webber

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

The Rollwagen was used once again to move the JCB between sites.  25 March 2013

Photo: Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

There is still a considerable amount of tree stump to mark the location of the old Oak, and the stream has now been cleared.

The extent of the erosion is quite obvious. 26 March 2013

Photo: Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

Snowing again, but the work is nearly complete. 27 March 2013

Photo: Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

A few week's later and you would hardly know that there had been so much trouble. 13 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The pointing took place as the first trains of the season were rolling by, and finishing touches will take place in the near future. 13 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Castle Caereinion Electricity Supply ..... an interruption

Photo Dave Bothamley

One of the planned jobs for this winter was a new electricity supply at Castle Caereinion.  Work for new ducting was on-going when some of the emergency

repairs were discovered and labour was transferred elsewhere.  Work is in progress once more as this is being typed. 27 February 2013

Photo:  Dave Bothamley

A Few Ten Minute Jobs ..... how come they always take longer than the boss says?

Photo Kevin Heywood

The wet weather has caused considerable debris to be washed into the railway's drainage system.  This particular one a short distance away

from the winter relay site was so blocked that water started seeping through the embankment and on to the railway below. 5 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Traditional shovels were the solution on this occasion, and some two hours later the water was back on the correct course.

The day also coincided with a short spell of mild weather and for once everyone was too hot!. 5 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Alan Barnes

We'll be digging out culverts and streams for months, but the larger ones have been tackled.  This one near Heniarth was

one of the more satisfying clearances.  The debris had been as high as the rail below the top rail on the old gate, and the water not far from it. 

When the snow suddenly melted during February it was smaller streams like this that suffered the most, the River Banwy behind the photographer was not as

dramatic as it often can be.  The snow that fell the day after this photograph melted at a much slower, and less damaging rate. 21 March 2013

Photo:  Alan Barnes

 

Photo Alan Barnes

A change from repairs.  Whilst a gang cleared the adjacent stream, new signs were erected at Dolarddyn Road level crossing. All these little jobs

 add up and before you know it another day has passed and the opening day is a little closer. 21 March 2013

Photo: Alan Barnes

Problems at The Kink ...... An age old problem

Photo  Kevin Heywood

The area of the railway near Cyfronydd known as The Kink has suffered from land movement throughout the 50 years

of preservation.  With snow covering the sleepers that we wished to lift and tamp we could not tackle this job before train operations on 29 March. 

A temporary speed restriction was applied, and the line was closed for repairs on the first available day without trains.

To slew the track back into place speedily the JCB was brought to site.  5 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Dave Bothamley

The movement doesn't look too great in the photograph, but you should be looking at a left hand curve rather than a straight line with a bulge.

It took until about 7.00pm to do sufficient slewing, lifting and tamping to allow trains to operate the following day - the Golden Jubilee celebration.

Once you start a job you've got to finish it. There was no doubt a little last minute effort to finish something 50 years ago as well. 5 April 2013

Photo: Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

On the following Monday, with no trains planned a small gang returned to site to continue improvements.  About 50 tonnes of ballast

was used to return the levels to something resembling normal.  Having started the job we decided that it was time to spend a little more effort at

improving the location rather than the periodic slew and tamp that takes place every few years.  8 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The Tamper in action.  Levels are beginning to look decent once more. 8 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Alan Barnes

One final day to smooth the job and lay extra ballast to secure everything in place. The full extent of the job is visible. 12 April 2013

Photo: Alan Barnes

 

Photo Alan Barnes

Tidying has taken place, and a most satisfying job achieved. 12 April 2013

Photo: Alan Barnes

 

So is that it? Can the outdoor engineers take a break?

Fortunately everyone enjoys themselves, and who wants to work in miserable weather to then sit indoors during the more pleasant months (we hope).  All the work outlined above has taken place instead of other planned maintenance which will continue when trains are not in operation.  Time has already been spent back on the Relay Site between Cyfronydd and Dirty Lane to do some of the finishing jobs and much more is planned.

Photo Dave Bothamley

One of two small occupation crossings at the eastern end of the site which received new timbers

whilst some of the gang were at The Kink. 5 April 2013

Photo: Dave Bothamley

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The livestock crossing at the western end of the site receives the last finishing touches. 12 April 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

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Release date 28th March 2013

Snow and Chocolate

In addition to the usual pre-season preparations, the track and workshop staff have put down their normal tools of their trade and picked up shovels and brushes to ensure that the recent snow fall is clear of public areas and the line is clear between Welshpool and Llanfair Caereinion.  The snow is melting slowly but there should be a chance for the first few visitors of the season to view the entire line as rarely seen by public passenger train.  And for the children travelling between 29th March and 1st April......... a FREE Easter Egg.

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

'The Wasp' is ready to clear the line of any obstruction. 25 March 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The view from 'The Wasp'.  The depth of the snow varied throughout the line, but very few drifts were encountered en-route, unlike many of the surrounding roads.

Luckily no major trees were found to have been brought down by the weight of the snow.  25 March 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin HeywoodPhoto Kevin Heywood

Not content with a full day's work of repairs along the line, at the end of the day these gentlemen opted to work late and clear Welshpool station in readiness for opening.  Meanwhile, other track and workshop staff cleared Llanfair Caereinion station.  27 March 2013

Photos: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Complete with newly fitted steam heating equipment, 'Joan' is ready for the next day's service.  28 March 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

And looking back 50 years ago to 1963 when the railway was being prepared for re-opening for the first time after closure by British Railways ........

...... a little more snow.

 

Castle Caereinion.  Photo:  Basil Roberts / W&L Archives

 

Castle Caereinion. Photo:  Basil Roberts / W&L Archives

 

Cyfronydd.  Photo:  Basil Roberts / W&L Archives

 

 

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Release date 28th March 2013

Winter Relay - The End of the Job (Almost)

Over a month has gone by since we wrote about the relay site being ready for ballasting and tamping, and it has taken nearly all of that time to complete the task.  The gang have been split between planned maintenance and unplanned repairs.  The inevitable call on some of our resources being required in two places at the same time has caused some delays.  This collection of photographs completes the planned outdoor maintenance story and we hope encourages you to come and have a look for yourselves from one of the balconied carriages of our passenger trains.  Those of you who have been inspired may wish to learn more and join the gang.

 

Photo Bruce Webber

Moving the ballast from Cyfronydd station to the site using the Ballast Hoppers has only taken a few days to complete the bulk of the job, but further

journeys have been made to some areas to bring the embankment levels back towards their original height.  1 March 2013

Photo Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo John Seaman

The Side Discharge wagon in action.  28 February 2013

Photo John Seaman

 

Photo John Seaman

The Centre Discharge Wagon takes its turn - so much easier than shovelling by hand. 28 February 2013

Photo John Seaman

 

Photo John Seaman

Sign Hut Curve ballasted, but before the tamper has passed through the site.  28 February 2013

Photo John Seaman

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

A rotating laser is used to ensure the tamper operator is aware of the correct level before a sleeper is tamped (a detector is mounted on the tamping machine).  28 February 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo John Seaman

The Tamper in operation - pushing and vibrating stone under each sleeper.  When required, hydraulic clamps and lifting rams are used

to lift the rails (with sleepers) to the desired level.  28 February 2013

Photo John Seaman

 

Photo Bruce Webber

UGM No.9 in operation.  1 March 2013

Photo Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo Bruce Webber

A closer view of the Tamping Tines performing a task in a fraction of the time required if done by hand.  1 March 2013

Photo Bruce Webber

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Tamped track before tidying.  20 March 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

And a little further on, after tidying.  20 March 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The finished product.  20 March 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

'The Wasp' passing Sign Hut.  20 March 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The gang en-route for one final day of tidying.  21 March 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Alan Barnes

Almost Done.  For the time being a 10mph speed restriction has been applied to the site whilst the track is consolidated.  The site will be re-visited

after Easter to make final adjustments if required.   21 March 2013

Photo Alan Barnes

 

And a look back at how it looked before clearance work started last Autumn, courtesy of Richard Johnson:

Photo Richard Johnson

Photo Richard Johnson

Photo Richard Johnson

 

 

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Release date 22nd February 2013

Winter Relay - Are we connected?

Hardly a day has gone by since the last Winter Relay update on this site without somebody asking "Are we connected yet?"  The track gang are pleased to announce that the simple answer is "Yes".  However, as will be seen from the following photographs there have been many other activities on the site, and there is still a lot of work to do before passenger trains can operate through to Welshpool at Easter.  So perhaps the answer should really be "No, but the job is going well."

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Unlike many of our larger relaying projects in the recent past it has not been possible to take lorry loads of stone direct to site. 

All new ballast is being delivered to Cyfronydd station, a short distance away. This has meant that we have not been able to prepare the levels of the trackbed

before relaying the sleepers as well as we would have liked and will result in a longer period of levelling at a later date. 13 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Another consequence of the shortage of ballast on site before relaying was the day needed to cover the largest of

the new drains with approximately 30 tonnes of stone - all by hand.  It at least helped the gang keep warm.  13 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Alan Barnes

10 years after the rest of the shipment was laid, these three South African rails are en-route to help bridge the gap between the old 'new' track and the new 'new' track.  15 February 2013

Photo: Alan Barnes

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The last of the new Polish rail has been laid and a few sleepers are being unloaded to bridge the gap

to the existing South African rail.  The last two dozen or so sleepers to be laid are not new as a small number of the sleepers taken up last November were found

to be re-useable during a survey of the site at the planning stage.  The remainder of these will probably be used next winter. 15 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

A new retaining wall under construction.  18 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

And the finished product a few days later.  The structure is required to maintain an adequate ballast shoulder.  20 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

A smaller structure.  In the distance a day of ballasting (using the ballast hoppers on 14 February) is visible.  18 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Another drainage structure.  A grate will be added at a later date to help prevent debris blocking the pipe under the embankment.  20 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

'The water feature' - a few concrete slabs will be added to aid maintenance.  20 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Bridging the gap.  The first pair of South African rails are in position and pandrol base plates have been placed on the sleepers. 18 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

As there was a shortage of South African fishplates, the rails are being cropped to allow new Polish plates (different hole positions) to be fitted. 19 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

A new hole being drilled.  The 'mag drill' is a cross departmental tool and will also be spotted in the workshop week story below. 20 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

'The Connection'.  Polish (Left) and South African (Right) rail meet.  The South African rails have been re-drilled, but before greasing, the Polish plates will

require a small amount of work to match the slightly different South African rail profile on the right hand side.  21 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

With the rails in place the final sleeper is drilled.............21 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

................ and the last screws go in.  21 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Before slewing the railway into the correct position in readiness for ballasting, the train had to be pushed beyond the occupation crossing known

as 'Dirty Lane'.  Living up to its name, the flange ways of the crossing needed digging out and the opportunity was taken to clear some of the drains of

the large quantity of mud that had been washed into them since trains last operated. 22 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

With the levelling instrument near to the crossing, a straight line has been put in from that point to 'Sign Hut Curve' - this section of ballasted track does not form part

of this year's relay and is now 10 years old.  22 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Does the General Manager want the team to slew the track to his right, or is he asking the photographer to get out of his way?  22 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Not quite the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, but the end result is very satisfying.  22 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

A final few tweaks and the new track is ready to be ballasted.  22 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

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Release date 22nd February 2013

Workshop Week

Without a headline stealing project the workshop has been absent from this page for a few months, however maintenance tasks have continued on an almost daily basis.  The gathering of a larger than average workforce during the annual February Workshop Week (9th to 17th February) has provided an opportunity to review some of the work that has been on-going for some time.

Photo:  Rolf Thomas

 The workshop team on the Monday. L-R standing: Tony Cass, Simon Bowden, Alan Regan, Geoff Gauntlett, John Dunkley, Paul Durant, Gareth Smith, Gareth Jones, Richard Roberts, Keith Bide, Bruce Webber, Roger Pattie; L-R sitting: Andrew Charman, Rolf Thomas, Simon Durant (on Joan). Photo: Rolf Thomas

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Fitting the steam heating system to Joan, seen here drilling the front buffer beam for the hose connection to the train.

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Installing a common design of fusible plug across the fleet, seen here reaming out the front plug hole on No. 19.

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 While Joan’s ashpan was removed to give access for caulking the foundation ring, the opportunity has been taken to fit new dampers and doors in heavier material.

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

Some of the bearing wedges in the motion of Nos. 1 & 2 were found to be excessively worn.  These were built up and machined to the required dimensions.

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

A number of washout plugs are being replaced.  Here a new plug is having its head cut on the milling machine.

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

The linkage to No. 19’s regulator was modified with the intention of improving operation of the pilot valve.

 

 

Photo:  Bruce Webber

I have seen the light!  Workshop Week is a good thing.

Photos unless otherwise shown:  Bruce Webber

 

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Release date 10th February 2013

Progress Outdoors Photo Update

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

The top of Sylfaen Bank, heading towards the highest point on the railway, during an expedition to retrieve some pipes for use on

the current site. The pipes were manhandled (easy in the snow) to Sylfaen before hitching a ride by road to

Cyfronydd with the supply of newly acquired materials.  22 January 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Bad weather has continued to cause problems throughout January and early February, but on the whole it has not affected the progress of the relaying team. 23 January 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo John JacobsPhoto John JacobsOn the other hand a further fall of snow a few days after these pictures were taken, followed by a rapid thaw and heavy rain has caused greater difficulties with the new drainage works and also at other locations along the railway.  24 January 2013

Photos: John Jacobs

 

 

Photo John Jacobs

Where possible existing drainage has been re-used along the site, but for some stretches the old pipes were found to be inadequate for the current quantities of rain fall. 30 January 2013

Phtoto: John Jacobs

 

Photo John Jacobs

It is not easy to create drainage structures in fast flowing water. 30 January 2013

Photo: John Jacobs

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

One of the access chambers approaching completion.  The pipes will be covered by ballast shortly.  6 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

The interior of the chamber.  Before too long nobody will even notice that this work has taken place.  6 February 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Sleeper Drilling.  Photo Kevin Heywood

Most of the sleepers have been pre-drilled before transport to site.  Some of the regular track gang came in for an extra day to finish the task, conveniently located

at one end of Llanfair workshop to provide some protection from another flurry of snow.  5 February 2013

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

Back on site the end of the relay is in sight.  The inclined base plates are being positioned on the sleepers,

whilst the JCB (and operator) wait patiently for the rails to be lifted into place.  7 February 2013

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Bruce Webber

Man & Machine.  The JCB has lifted one end of the rail and the gang move into position to lift and swing the other end on to the inclined baseplates.  8 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

Photo Alan Barnes

With everything in place, and with pre-drilled sleepers, the rail is soon fastened down.  8 February 2013

Photo:  Alan Barnes

 

Photo Bruce Webber

And before long there will be one less length of track to lay.  Looking back towards Llanfair most of the railway between the rail head

and the train in the background has been laid during a three day session.  8 February 2013

Photo:  Bruce Webber

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

It is evident from the photographs that the progress is heavily dependant on machinery and tools, but the most important element is the workforce who have come together in some atrocious conditions.  Mess facilities are provided on site and the gang look forward to the topics of conversation during breaks, which might include the benefits of home made bread, vintage cars, naval history, the latest TV sensation, and occasionally a railway related topic.  7 February 2013

Photo:  Kevin Heywood

 

Photo W Field

Photo W Field

Meanwhile, having been postponed by January's poor weather, the lineside clearance team have been at work near Dolarddyn Road on a task that aids visibility to the approach to the level crossing at that location. 3rd February.

Photos:  Willy Field

 

 

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Release date 15th January - Updated 22 January 2013

Winter Relay Photo Update

Photo:  Alan Barnes

'New Year' focuses the mind and the realisation that before long it will be time to re-open the railway to passengers once again.  Not wanting to disappoint, the staff and

 volunteers have turned their attention to the large gap separating the two sections of line and are delighted with the progress to date. 

Ballasting and tamping of this section will be undertaken shortly to allow the temporary crossing in the foreground to be completed.  12 January 2013

 

Photo:  Alan Barnes

 

Photo:  Alan Barnes

Meanwhile the 'advance gang' are continuing drainage work and the preparation of the track bed.  12 January 2013

 

Photo:  Alan Barnes

 

 

Photo David Bothamley

 

The trackbed has now been levelled at this point by the JCB in readiness for the next track laying gang the following day .  15 January 2013

 

Photo:  David Bothamley

 

Photo John Seaman

 

Two days on and the supply train (including hot drinks) is being shunted at Llanfair Caereinion - and the forecast snow is starting to settle.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: John Seaman

 

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

 

Ahead lies a section of drainage that has recently become blocked after rain caused erosion on land adjacent to he

railway and the existing pipes were unable to cope with the quantity of water.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Work continues clearing the cess.  Much of this area will receive new, and larger pipes to try and avoid problems in the future.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo John Seaman

The gang are delighted with the railway's recently acquired hydraulic rail bender which requires much less effort, and is therefore quicker to use than those used

previously (see photograph in news story from 20 December 2011).  Progress is slower whilst the rail bender is required to pre-bend the rails, although

the curve is nowhere near as sharp as some of the others on the railway.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: John Seaman

 

Photo John Seaman

Another few screws are put in place and the Impact Wrench will shortly be used to fasten the rail to the sleepers  17 January 2013

 

Photo: John Seaman

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Periodically on a curve the inner rail requires cutting to keep the joints on each rail opposite each other.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Another length of sleepers and rails are in position, temporarily laid straight to ensure a good fish plated joint between the nearest rails and the previous length.

Unfortunately, with an amber weather warning and heavy snow falling, the following day's activities were postponed to avoid un-necessary risk.  17 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

To help make up for the lost day, a few members of the gang re-arranged their activities the following Monday to continue the work. 

Mechanical lifting has aided the rail handling.  21 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

 

Photo Kevin Heywood

Bit by bit (18m by 18m)......... progress is being made.  21 January 2013

 

Photo: Kevin Heywood

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2014

Release date 20th February 2014

Welshpool loco features on latest Royal Mail stamp collection

One of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s two original steam locomotives has found a different kind of fame, featuring on the Royal Mail’s latest pictorial stamp collection issued on 20th February.  Locomotive No. 822 ‘The Earl’ is one of four locomotives appearing on the ‘Classic Locomotives of Wales’ collection – the final release of a four-part set that began with England in 2011, followed by Scotland in 2012 and Northern Ireland last year.

The Earl is shown on the 88p stamp, hauling a freight working in the W&LLR’s pre-preservation days in the 1950s, when the line ran through the streets of Welshpool. The loco is seen crossing Brook street into the now long-gone ‘Narrows’, with a car parked across the line having to be pushed out of the way.  Following the railway’s closure by British Railways in 1956 both The Earl and identical sister loco ‘Countess’ were stored at Oswestry works, from where they were able to be rescued when the line was reopened by the Preservation Company in 1963. Since then the two locomotives have proven the backbone of the tourist-era locomotive fleet.   

Llanfair Caereinion’s local postman, Nick Thomas, and W&LLR volunteer Andrew Charman helped the Royal Mail launch the new stamps at the railway’s Llanfair Caereinion headquarters. The Earl is currently in the workshop having heavy winter maintenance to ensure it is in prime condition for the railway’s new season at Easter.

“We rely on The Earl and its sister engine, Countess, to haul trains on our eight miles of narrow gauge railway from Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion,” said Andrew.  “We are delighted to be helping Royal Mail launch the stamps and to be highlighting the work that volunteers do to ensure that their history is preserved and enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year,” he added.    

The other three locomotives featured on the stamps are the Ffestiniog Railway’s ‘Blanche’ and two standard gauge locomotives on the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait and in the South Wales coal fields.

Working in collaboration with railway experts, Royal Mail’s stamp design team reviewed thousands of photographs to find these period photos of steam locomotives in Wales.  The stamps come in a fully illustrated Presentation Pack. Inside the pack, Welsh railway historian, David Gwyn, takes a look at Wales’ steam railways and the impact the steam locomotive had on Welsh history.  The stamps are on sale in selected Post Offices from today and from www.royalmail.com/classiclocomotives

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