Daily Archives: September 26, 2011

133 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News April 1991

133Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News April 1991

Editorial – Nigel Canning

This looks like being the year that the Railway Inspector finally pays us another visit, as he has written saying he will inspect our railway ‘in the summer’.  If what he sees meets with his approval we may have a longer length of line to run on, if it does not we might not have a line at all.  It is now up to all of us to do our best to ensure that he sees an improvement in the existing railway, and that the extension to Willow Vale and beyond meets his requirements.

Later this year ‘Lion’ should enter service, and hopefully after that, ‘Asbestos’, which means that by Gricers Day we could have three engines in steam together for the first time in nine years, and even the new platform fro them to run trains into.  Let us just hope the Railway Inspector is impressed during his visit!

Locomotive News

No.4 Asbestos – Work on this loco has continued through the winter months and in March it passed its visual/ultrasonic boiler inspection.  Examination, however, has revealed that part of the firebox crown is nearing its limit on plate thickness and it is only a matter of time before serious repairs will be necessary.  The boiler will now be prepared for its hydraulic test.

No.5 Sentinel – This loco also passed its boiler examination in March and again looks like being the only serviceable steam loco for at least the first half of the season.  Repair work over the winter has included re-machining of the steam brake valve, fitting of a new cast fire grate and work on the paintwork in preparation for the ‘gasworks red’ livery to be applied as soon as weather permits.

No.2 Lion – A brand new saddle tank was delivered to Chasewater and temporarily fitted to the loco in January to check its dimensions; it was virtually perfect!  Other work has included the installation of sliding cab shutters and the boiler has been washed out.  The boiler now awaits the fitting of new washout plugs before the hydraulic test can be carried out.

S100 – Work has continued on this loco with the redesign of the hornguide grinding machine.  Another of the four main leaf springs has been stripped, cleaned and re-assembled.

DL7 – This loco was taken out of service for a couple of weeks recently while the injectors were removed, overhauled and refitted.

Fowler – This loco has remained in service without problem over the winter hauling works trains to the extension pastWillow Vale.

Smith Rodley Crane – This vehicle has seen only minimal use lately although work has continued on its repair and restoration.

Permanent Way News

The majority of work carried out by this department recently has been concentrated on the extension of track pastWillowVale.  Whilst the number of volunteers has fallen slightly, those brave enough to carryon through the worst of the winter have at least had a comfortable works train.  The favourite formation for this appears for some reason to be: the Fowler diesel, the DMU centre car and the two GWR brake vans with, of course, the stove kept well stoked.

The concrete platform for Willow Vale Halt has yet to be collected from theSevernvalley Railway as it is planned to carry out this job when the evenings become lighter allowing longer hours to be worked if necessary.

One extra job urgently requiring attention is the repair of the bridge handrails, which having recently been repaired and increased in height, have now been totally destroyed by the local toe rags.

Carriage & Wagon News

Midland four-wheel passenger brake – This vehicle has remained sheeted over during the winter, but work will continue as soon as the weather improves.

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln six-wheel coach – Some progress has been made on this vehicle, but again the damp weather has limited the type of work that can be carried out.

Great Eastern six-wheel passenger brake – All of the doors have been removed from this vehicle for repair ‘off-site’, and the bodywork has been prepared and painted in yellow primer.

Wickham 2 car DMU E56171 & E50416 – The trailer car of this set has remained coupled to theGloucesterover the winter, and work has been carried out on refurbishment of the bar.                                                                                               A start has bee made on repairing, rubbing down and priming the bodywork of the power car ready for a repaint.  Work has also been carried out inside, removing seats and tables to make room for re-decoration.                                                                  Since the last issue of Chasewater News a preservation group dedicated to restoring the Wickham as a working DMU has been formed.  This organisation is currently drawing up its proposed constitution which is expected to be similar to that of the Hudswell Group in that the DMU will remain at Chasewater.

Gloucestertrailer E56301 – Little work has been carried out on this vehicle over the winter and there are rumours that another society may be interested in purchasing it for preservation elsewhere.  In the meantime it will be used on trains at Chasewater coupled to either the Wickham trailer or the new centre car.

Derby centre car W59444 – This coach arrived at Chasewater in January, having travelled from Tyseley diesel depot by low loader.  Before it enters passenger service, it is planned to fit a bar as a replacement for the one in the Wickham trailer.  Livery will probably remain BR blue and grey for the time being, although early BR carmine and cream has been rumoured as the intended replacement.  One problem has become apparent in that being a centre car, it has no handbrake so it has to be marshalled between another braked vehicle and the loco or the buffer stops.

General News From The Line

It now seems that the large portacabin which had been intended for use as a station buffet will not now be coming to Chasewater.  In view of this, work has started on renovating and converting the two smaller units which arrived in December to form a smaller buffet and separate kitchen.  As this work is likely to take quite a while, catering on a limited scale will take place on the train and possibly in the Wickham power car once more.                                                                                                                                           The portaloo is now in its final position next to the south end of the platform where it will be much appreciated by the loco dept.  Work on its refurbishment is progressing well and a race is now on to see whether the buffet or portaloo opens for business first.

Human Resources

An interesting meeting of working members was held in March to discuss ideas to improve work output on the railway by providing more organisation and planning so that priorities can be agreed in advance and last minute panics avoided.                 To achieve this, four departmental ‘foremen’, listed below, were appointed, whose job it is to liaise with each other to agree priorities and to suggest suitable jobs for anyone arriving at the railway and wishing to help out.

Permanent Way         Les Emery

Carriage & Wagon     Dave Whittle

Loco Dept                  Tony Sale

Station & Site             Steve Organ

If you don’t already have a project of your own and wish to help out, please contact any of the above people, or ask at the booking office where to find them.

 All photos – Nigel Canning

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Some Early Lines – Bala – Festiniog Railway

Bala – Festiniog Railway

The branch train for Bala Junction photographed in 1953.  H.C.Casserley

History – The Bala and Festiniog Railway was a 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm), standard gauge, railway backed by the Great Western Railway (GWR)  railway inNorth Wales which connected Bala with Blaenau Festiniog.

1882 saw the completion of the spectacular branch from Bala through the wild and mountainous region to Blaenau Festiniog, where it met with the LNWR and the narrow gauge Festiniog Railway.  This view of Bala Junction, one of those curiosities, of which there have been one or two other examples of in the British Isles, of a purely interchange station only, without road access, and to or from which one could not obtain a ticket.  H.C.Casserley

The railway originally connected Bala and Llan Festiniog and was incorporated on 28 July 1873, and opened on 1 November 1882.  In 1883 the line was extended by converting the existing Festiniog and Blaenau Railway between Llan Festiniog and Blaenau Festiniog from 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm) gauge to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. The line terminated at Blaenau Festiniog (GWR) where until 1939 it connected with the Festiniog Railway to Porthmadog. At Bala Junction, the line connected with the Ruabon Barmouth GWR line. The line closed to passengers in 1960 and to freight in 1961. An unusual feature of freight operation on the line was the carriage of 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm) gauge slate wagons (provided by the GWR) on standard gauge transporter wagons between Manod and Blaenau Festiniog where the wagons were off-loaded in the large station yard and their loads of dressed slate transferred to standard gauge GWR wagons for onward carriage via Manod and Bala.

Blaenau Festiniog – robertdarlaston.co.uk

The building of the Llyn Celyn reservoir necessitated the flooding of the line. A diversion was considered but never built. A short section from Bala Junction to Bala remained opened but was eventually closed in 1965.

7442 rattles along near Glyndyfrdwy on a Ruabon – Bala train in June 1956.  J.B.Snell

The summit of the line was at Cwm Prysor which lay at 1,278 feet / 390 metres above sea level. The line served an extremely remote area of North Wales, most of which was not served by a main road until the A4212 road opened in the early 1960s.

5810 waiting with a train from Bala Junction in 1953.  H.C.Casserley

In 1964, a connection was made through Blaenau to the Conwy Valley Line at Blaenau Festiniog North allowing access as far as the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd; a loading facility for nuclear flasks was constructed a hundred yards north of the closed Trawsfynydd Lake Halt.  In 1982, the Festiniog Railway was reopened to Blaenau Festiniog Central when the former GWR station was re-opened to passenger traffic and Blaenau Festiniog North (LNWR) was closed.

A view taken in 1953 near Trawsfynydd on the Bala – Festiniog branch, closed to passengers in 1960.  The upper section between Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Festiniog, however, remained open in consequence of the construction of an atomic power station, the waste spoil from which is conveyed by means of a new connection with the LNWR at Blaenau Festiniog away down that line’s branch via Llandudno Junction fro disposal.  H.C.Casserley

Current status

The only part of the line in use today is the very short section between the two stations in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The section of line between Blaenau (GWR) and Trawsfynydd power station closed in 1998, although the track has remained in situ for several years. Much of the trackbed remains intact except for the section flooded by Llyn Celyn and some sections used to improve the A4212 road. Several other sections are open as permissive paths.

Many of the former stations are now in use as private residences.

Shunting at Blaenau Ffestiniog in March 1954.  J.B.Snell

 

A morning train from Blaenau Festiniog to Bala nears Trawsffanaeth behind 0-6-0 pannier tank No. 7442 in July 1951.  P.B.Whitehouse

Heritage railway preservation attempts

Lately, there have so far been at least two attempts in preserving at least a few miles of remaining trackbed of the line, however the first two attempts did not succeed. There is still hope one day that some of it could be re-opened as a tourist attraction which would boost the local Welsh economy, once possible funds could be made officially and a perfect name is found.

 
 

 A 74XX 0-6-0 Pannier Tank enters Trawsffanaeth station with a mid-day train from Blaenau Festiniog to Bala in July 1951.  P.B.Whitehouse

 
 
 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia