Monthly Archives: December 2011

Some Early Lines – The Bala Lake Railway, Narrow Gauge

The Bala Lake Railway – Narrow Gauge

Alice at Llanuwchllyn Station –

The Bala Lake Railway ( Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a preserved railway at Bala Lake in Gwynedd, North Wales, which runs for a distance of 4 1⁄2 miles (7.2 km) using 2 ft  (610 mm) gauge rolling stock.

It was built on a section of the former Ruabon – Barmouth GWR route which was closed in 1965. This section runs along the south-eastern shore of Bala Lake. Another section of the former trackbed is today used by the Llangollen Railway .

The railway runs from Llanuwchllyn railway station, where the main railway buildings, workshops and offices are located, to Bala (Llyn Tegid). The station at Bala is outside the town, and there have been various plans to extend the railway into Bala itself, but none have been realised.

Steam locomotives on the line include Maid Marian, Holy War and Alice all built by the Hunslet Engine Company . The railway also has a passenger diesel engine, Merioneth.

The railway is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales .  

Steam Railway
The 2ft narrow gauge steam trains give excellent views of the lake amid its surrounding pastoral and woodland scenery, and of the nearby mountains, Arenig Fawr, Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy.

Start your Visit
Llanuwchllyn (the village above the lake) is the Railway HQ and regular trains link the village with the delightful market town of Bala. At Llanuwchllyn, visitors can see the steam locomotives being serviced prior to coupling onto the train, can view the 1896-built Signal Box in operation and can enjoy light refreshments in the Station Buffet. Often, visitors can visit the railway’s other engines in their shed.

Perfect Day Out

All trains start and finish their day from Llanuwchllyn and early visitors can see the locomotives being prepared for their day’s operations. There is free car parking at Llanuwchllyn Station as well as a buffet, souvenir shop, toilets and picnic tables.

Bala (Penybont) Station
At Bala Station there is limited roadside car parking with large Car Parks in the town centre, about half a mile walk away.

The railway provides an ideal centrepiece for a day’s visit to Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid). A round trip of about 1 hour can be broken at any of the stations to enjoy other activities – a pleasant 10 minutes walk into Bala town for shopping or merely browsing. Access is available to the lake shore at various points for swimming, fishing or simply lazing by the waterside.

Bala Lake Railway / Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid, at Llanuwchllyn

Showing the line at the north eastern end of the station, as it heads for Llyn Tegid. © Copyright Nigel Brown  and licensed for reuse  under this Creative Commons License .

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway – The Tay Bridge Loco

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway

The Tay Bridge Loco

 Illustration:  the engine in its final form, probably taken about 1900.

In 1871 T.Wheatley built two express engines fro the North British Railway numbered 224 and 264, which were notable as being the first inside cylindered 4-4-0 engines with inside frames in Great Britain, a type which was destined for many years afterwards to become a standard express type on nearly every major railway.   A few years later one of them, No.224, achieved unenviable fame as the engine which was blown, with its entire train, into the waters of the Tay when the newly constructed bridge collapsed in a wild gale one December night in 1879, a disaster still well remembered as one of the most tragically spectacular in British railway history. 

North British Railway locomotive 224, recovered from the water after the Tay Bridge Disaster.  Originally issued as a postcard captioned “Old Tay Bridge Disaster, 1879 The Engine” Date 1880.  Source – Dundee Central Library  Author Alexander Wilson († 1922)

After immersion for some weeks the engine was recovered and put into service once more.  It was selected by Matthew Holmes for an experiment in tandem compound working in 1885.  After working thus for some years it was reconverted to simple, and as such, with some modernisation of the original design, remained, together with its sister, in service until 1919.  Latterly the two engines had been renumbered 1192 and 1198.

Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 17”x 24”,  Pressure140 lb.

During its period as a compound, No. 224 was provided with two 20” low pressure cylinders, in front of which was a pair of 13” high pressure cylinders, the stroke being 24”.

Some Early Lines – A History of The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Terminal Station & Trolley by Daniel Towers Lewis

A History of The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Terminal Station & Trolley

by Daniel Towers Lewis

  A Stand-in for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Rail Travel and Chattanooga

In 1838, the Western and Atlantic (W & A) line named Chattanooga its northern terminal for trains departing from Atlanta. On December 1, 1849 W & A operated the first train to Chattanooga. Passengers and goods on board the train stopped at Tunnel Hill, were carried over the ridge in wagons, and resumed there train ride on the other side. This first train stopped at a temporary station. In 1850 W & A completed a tunnel through Tunnel Hill.

On December 11, 1845 the Tennessee General Assembly chartered the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway (N & C). In 1852 the several railway companies operating in Chattanooga began building the Union Station located at the corner of 9th and Market. The station derived its name because more than one railroad united in its construction.

Chattanooga’s Union Station ca. 1885Courtesy Chattanooga Public Library

In 1853, since the Cumberland Mountains obstructed a direct rout to Chattanooga, passengers rode the N & C from Nashville to Bridgeport Alabama, concluding their trip to Chattanooga by riverboat.

By 1857 Chattanooga had become a hub of rail travel in the South. The main structure of the Union depot was built in 1858. Pre-Civil War mainline railroad construction provided Chattanooga with rail service, while also contributing to its strategic military significance from 1861 – 1865.

The Stanton House HotelCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library  On several occasions during the war, the shed at Union station served as a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers from both sides.Economic opportunities in post-war Chattanooga, led John Stanton of Boston to invest $100,000 in 1871 on the construction of the Stanton House, a 100 room L-shaped hotel, in the 1400 block of Market Street. On September 4, 1875 the first trolley in Chattanooga began operation.

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

In March of 1880, the first train of Cincinnati Southern Railway (CSR) rolled into town, creating the first major link between the North and South. A newspaper columnist nicknamed the train the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, a name that would later go down in history. The Choo-Choo crossed the Tennessee River seven miles north of Chattanooga, and two miles further, at Boyce, connected with five miles of the W & A line to Union Station. Eventually CSR constructed its own line parallel to that of W & A from Boyce to Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo would not become famous for another sixty-one years. In 1881 A brick depot was constructed at Union Station.

Historic Marker about the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Chattanooga’s First Electric Trolley

The City Street Railway Company began using electric cars in 1888. The first electric car ran from the Stanton House, located at the later site of Chattanooga’s Terminal Station, to the Tennessee River. By 1889 Chattanooga had 55.5 miles of trolley track. Eventually, the Chattanooga Trolley system grew to an amazing operation with 109 cars operating on 110 miles of track.

Central Station

By 1888 eight passenger lines operated out of Union Station, so CSR and the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad collaborated on building the Central Station at the corner of Market and King. Central Station opened on September 16, 1888. In 1894 six of the railroad companies operating in Chattanooga merged to form the Southern Railway.

The Central Station in the Early 1900sCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

The Terminal Station

In 1904, Southern Railway decided to construct a new station in Chattanooga. The following year, they obtained the Stanton House property, which had fallen into disuse, for $71,000. They chose the design for the new station submitted by Don Barber of New York, which included an awe-inspiring eighty-five foot ceiling. On December 1, 1909 a crowd gathered for the grand opening of Southern Railway’s new $1.5 million dollar Terminal Station in Chattanooga. This same month the Central Station was closed. The new station operated fourteen tracks.

Southern Rairoad’s Terminal Station in Chattanooga, TennesseeCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

Track 29

When Glen Miller and his orchestra recorded a song by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon titled Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the song became an instant success, remaining on the pop charts for seventeen weeks in 1941, and all the world learned of Track 29. Many times during World War II the Terminal Station filled to capacity. After the War American rail travel began to decline. In Chattanooga, this first became apparent with the termination of Chattanooga’s trolley service. On April 10, 1947 at 12:40 A.M. Chattanooga’s last trolley, from the Boyce Line, rolled into the Trolley Barn at 3rd and Market. Today visitors can still see this Trolley Barn across the street from Shuttle Park North.

Chattanooga’s Old Trolley Barn


Union Station in it’s Last DaysCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

Historic Marker about Union Station

Historic Terminal Station

Over the years Terminal Station greeted Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, President and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. In 1948, Southern Railway installed a $265,000.00 switch system. The system, consisting of 100,000 feet of cable that took three years to complete. Today the console from this system is on display next to the Depot Shop. At this point 35 trains arrived each day at the Terminal Station. By the 1970s, declining rail traffic to Chattanooga forced Southern Railway to close the doors of Terminal Station. The Birmingham Special, Southern Railway train No. 18, became the last regular passenger train to pass through the Terminal Station. On August 11, 1970 at 11:35 p.m. the Birmingham Special departed Terminal Station and headed to Washington D.C. The windows of the station were boarded up, as its once immaculate interior began collecting dust. The abandoned station faced the sad prospects of demolition. On May 1, 1971 the Georgian, leaving from Union Station bound for Atlanta, became the last passenger train from Chattanooga. Union Station was razed in 1973.

Rebirth of the Golden Age Of Railroads Fortunately, a group of two dozen local investors had a much better idea for the old station. The investors obtained the property from Southern Railway, and with an initial investment of $10 million dollars converted the old Terminal Station into a family vacation complex. In March of 1973 the United States Department of the Interior placed Chattanooga’s Terminal Station on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Landmark Plaque at Terminal Station

The Grand Dome in the lobby of Terminal Sation

One of the Victorian Parlor Cars Hotel History The new twenty-four acre hotel complex opened May 30, 1973. It included 48 train cars divided into 96 40’ x 10’ rooms, and a 103 room Motor Inn (which today is Hotel Number 1). By 1976, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo averaged over one million visitors a year, and announced expansion plans. These plans included expanding the hotel’s convention center and building an additional L- shaped building of hotel rooms (this became Hotel Number 2). By July of 1977 both expansion projects were completed. In March of 1978 the Choo-Choo continued its expansion by opening an ice-skating Ring. Today this is Grand Central Station., used for special meeting. In March of 1981, the Choo-Choo opened a third hotel building, bring the total number of rooms at the complex to 361.
In 1989 the Choo-Choo Partners Ltd. assumed ownership of the hotel complex, providing $4 million in improvements, and the Choo-Choo joined the Holiday Inn family of hotels.

The Choo-Choo Today

Without question, the Choo-Choo provides both out of town guest and Chattanooga natives a unique experience. Just a few steps from Market Street takes the visitor into a charming world recalling the golden age of railroads, carefully accented by quaint shops and restaurants. At night, the Victorian splendor of the Choo-Choo transforms into a magical atmosphere as forty gas torches illuminate the gardens located between its historic buildings. The Choo-Choo is a living history book of early twentieth century America, when railroads were king. A full exploration of this history book lacks completeness without a ride on the Choo-Choo’s authentic trolley.

The Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

1924 Trolley at the Choo-Choo The Trolley From the opening day of the Choo-Choo hotel complex in 1973, the 1924 Trolley provided one of the most beloved activities on the property. In 1924 Pearly Thomas Car Works of High Point North Carolina built the Trolley. The Trolley operated on the Canal Street Line in New Orleans from 1924 to 1960. The Tennessee Valley Railroad museum obtained the Trolley and brought it to Chattanooga in 1964.
This vintage 52 seat Trolley operates with electricity provided from a 600 volts (D.C.) electrical line above the Trolley. This power runs two electric motors propelling the trolley. The reversible seats were manufactured in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The electricity also powers an air compressor that provides its breaks and opens and closes its pneumatic doors. After being restored in Wallasivlle Georgia, the Trolley began operating at the Choo-Choo in 1973. Inside of the 1924 Trolley

For More Information Visit

Or Call 1-800-TRACK-29

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo is not affiliated with in any way

Published @ by

The Simon Moon Historical Society


Copyright 2002

Duplication limited to free or at cost distribution,with the acknowledgement that such duplicationis by courtesy of the Simon Moon Historical Society

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1870 – Stirling 0-4-2 – Glasgow & South Western Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1870 – Stirling 0-4-2 – Glasgow & South Western Railway

These engines were built in considerable numbers in the 1860s and 1870s by both Patrick Stirling and his brother James, who succeeded him on the G & SWR when the former went to the Great Northern, They were probably the first engines coming within the modern definition of ‘mixed traffic’ locomotives, in being designed specially to cover a wide range of duties.  Patrick Stirling built a large number of similar engines after he went to the Great Northern, and the idea was taken up later by Adams of the LSWR, adopting the same wheel arrangement, but very few railways of the nineteenth century went in for mixed traffic engines on a general scale.

James Stirling’s engines came out in several batches between 1870 and 1878, differing slightly in dimensions and detail.  55 of them survived to be taken into LMS stock in 1923 as Nos. 17021-75, but many were scrapped without actually carrying their new numbers.  The last ones in traffic survived until 1930.

Originally constructed with the typical Stirling domeless boiler and round cab, a good many of them had been rebuilt in the early years of the 20th century by Manson and boilers carrying domes and a slightly more commodious type of cab.Illustration – No. 17066 as rebuilt, at Hurlford in 1928

Unrebuilt domeless engines

Driving wheels – 5’ 7”,  Cylinders – 17”x 24” (18” x 26” in some engines),  Trailing wheels – 3’ 7”,  Pressure – 130 lb,  Tractive effort – 11,439 lb. (14,000 in some),  Weight 32 tons 2 cwt (33 tons 5 cwt).

Reboilered engines

Driving wheels – 5’ 7”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Trailing wheels – 3’ 7”,  Pressure – 140 lb.,  Tractive effort – 14,962 lb.,  Weight – 34 tons 16cwt.

Chasewater Dam News – Pool Road temporarily opens

Chasewater Dam News

Pool Road temporarily opens

Dec 20th, 2011 by lizziethatcher

As you will be aware, due to the hazards associated with the construction works at the site, members of the public have been prevented access to most areas since November 2010 for their own safety.

However, because of the good progress that we have made, we are pleased to be able let you know that we are able to open Pool Road to pedestrians over the Christmas period. Galliford Try will be closing the construction site down for Christmas tomorrow (Wednesday 21 December) when they will be making arrangements for walkers to be able to cross the overflow bridge at the Nine Foot Pool, and so have access along the whole length of the eastern dam.

Unfortunately, we will have to close this access off again when we return to the site on Wednesday 4 January 2012 to enable us to complete the works in this area and will remain closed until completion of the works in the spring of 2012.

However, we hope that this temporary access will allow members of the public to enjoy use of the park over the Christmas break, and we ask that the safety requirements are again respected at the end of this Christmas period.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

December update

Dec 20th, 2011 by lizziethatcher

It might be getting colder by the day and the snow getting ever closer, but on the whole the weather has been very kind to us since the last update in November, and we have made excellent progress with the works.

We’ve finished the main works at the northern end of the embankment and removed everything from the north shore that was being used as a storage area.  The grass seed that was spread on the dam embankment is now starting to grow, and last week a team of volunteers has spread cuttings over the area behind the dam to provide a seed bank to encourage the growth of a heathland habitat come the spring.

The work to extend the stop board grooves in the ‘hidden chamber’ which will allow improved maintenance access to the valve chamber in the future is finished.

Water levels continue to rise and the inlet chamber is now completely submerged. There is still a concrete cover slab to cast at the canal basin which will be done in the New Year – otherwise, our work in that area is complete.

That leaves the works in the Nine Foot Pool. The casting of the concrete spillway slab was originally programmed for the New Year. But we have taken advantage of the weather conditions and brought that forward and were able to cast the final section last week, completing that work.

Concreting work can be difficult in the winter as ideally, temperatures have to be above freezing and rising for new concrete to be placed, otherwise the frost can seriously damage the fresh concrete.

We can now be reasonably certain of completing the Redirock retaining walls around the spillway early in the New Year as this operation is not adversely affected by cold conditions.

The last items of concreting work on the project are the headwalls to the overflow pipes and the main weir in front of the spillway, all of which are planned for the New Year, weather permitting.

Finally, could we, the Chasewater project and site team, thank you all very much for your continuing patience and understanding over the past year. We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and very much look forward to handing Chasewater back to you soon after the New Year.

Another different mode of transport – what an airline!

Kulula Airline

Don’t miss scrolling all the way down to read the flight attendants comments to the passengers.
This is one of the most hilarious e-mails, EVER….would love to fly with this bunch of loonies.

Kulula is a low-cost South-African airline that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Check out their new livery! And have a read about their Customer Relations.



Kulula is an Airline with head office situated in Johannesburg . Kulula airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight “safety lecture” and announcements a bit more entertaining.

Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced,
“People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”


On another flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said,
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”


On landing, the stewardess said,
“Please be sure to take all of your belongings.. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”


“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”


“Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”


As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker:
“Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”


After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in the Karoo , a flight attendant on a flight announced,
“Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted.”


>From a Kulula employee:
“Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth . To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”


“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.”


“Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines.”


“Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..”


And from the pilot during his welcome message:
“Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”


Heard on Kulula 255 just after a very hard landing in Cape Town : The flight attendant came on the intercom and said,
“That was quite a bump and I know what y’all are thinking. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault, it was the asphalt.”


Overheard on a Kulula flight into Cape Town , on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain really had to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The
Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”


Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.”


An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline”. He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said,
“Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Why, no Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?”
The little old lady said,
“Did we land, or were we shot down?”


After a real crusher of a landing in Johannesburg , the attendant came on with,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal..”


Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement:
“We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today.. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Kulula Airways.”


Heard on a Kulula flight:
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing.. If you can light ’em, you can smoke ’em.”

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum – It’s not only about Railways & Canals

Today I  (Alan Neath) have been speaking to the Financial Director of  Aston Manor Transport Museum who are in the process of a move into Aldridge…see below

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum has relocated with all it’s Historic vehicles & Buses from Birmingham to Aldridge in the Former Jack Allen dustcart production line building off Northgate. Geoff Lusher, museum chairman, and Richard the finance director hope that the move to Aldridge will be be the start of a secure future for the Bus Museum, but nothing is formalised yet and the future is still uncertain. Volant Passenger Vehicle Solutions, the company which owns the Aldridge site near Walsall, hopes to convert it from a bus refurbishment business into a bus manufacturing site. The company has given the museum an initial six months rent free with the hope of a 10-year lease to follow. Matt Shenton, from Volant, said: “The museum will be located into one half of the building and the other side of the building will be where our production line will be. “There will be viewing areas where you can look through and actually see the production in progress.”
see the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum website here

Can you Help…

or do you know some body who can help ?

Richard told me today….

Thanks for the talk earlier on this evening.

We are getting very close to moving the final items out of the Witton premises, but with Christmas and a request to hand over the keys to the premises back to the City Council on the 28th, we still have some heavy and awkward items to move away. 

  These include some display cabinets, a telephone box, Bundy clocks, one of which is complete, a wheeling machine and some work benches. 

 There is also the small issue of a tram body but I feel there is a major logistical problem at the Aldridge end to actually get it inside the section of building we may eventually occupy as a new museum.

 What we require is a forklift capable of lifting weights up to half a ton

(ignoring the tram, which is probably around 5 tons). 

 Then a suitable vehicle to lift these on to, with the forklift available at the Aldridge end to reverse the process.

 While I hardly expect anyone to offer to assist on Christmas Day, I, certainly, can be available on any other day up to and including the 28th if necessary, if by any chance someone has the means to move these items. 

  We would not expect this to be done for free, but at a reasonable price.

 Anyone able, capable and have the equipment to help?

 My home phone no. is 0121 – 449 4606 (also a fax) should you want to talk further about this.

Hope somebody can help at short notice and I apologise for troubling the readers of Aldridge and Streetly newsletter with this request so close to Christmas

 Kindest regards

 Alan Neath

 07932 174550


Canal News – Not much time left for Santa Fun on the canals

Canal News

Santa cruises at the Anderton Boat Lift

21 December 2011 – 24 December 2011

Anderton Boat Lift
Lift Lane

River Weaver »

Trent & Mersey Canal »

Boat trips with Santa at the Anderton Boat Lift.

The Anderton Boat Lift lifts boats from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal. The Santa cruises include presents for the children.


£5. To book, call 01606 786777. Anderton Boat Lift – oakparkrunner

 Santa’s grotto boat cruise

21 December 2011 – 24 December 2011

Gloucester Waterways Museum
Llanthony Warehouse

Gloucester & Sharpness Canal »

River Severn »

Meet Santa in his onboard grotto on a one-hour boat cruise from the Gloucester Waterways Museum.

Sail with Santa cruises on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. Join Santa in his on-board grotto for a memorable 45-minute Christmas cruise on the beautiful King Arthur pleasure boat. And everyone gets FREE access to the museum with their ticket.

£7, including children’s presents, and a hot drink and mince pie for grown-ups. Four sailings per day.

Early booking recommended. Tel 01452 318200 or 318201.

Santa at the Falkirk Wheel

23 December 2011 – 24 December 2011Santa at the Falkirk Wheel

Lime Road

Forth & Clyde Canal »

Union Canal »

Visit Santa in his floating grotto at the Falkirk Wheel boat lift.

There will be singing and dancing with Santa’s elves, face painting in the Christmas village, a reindeer hunt and goody bags for the children.

Site entry: Adults £1 (including non-alcoholic mulled wine). Children £2.50 (ages 1-15)
Floating grotto visit: Children £10. 2 adults free per party, £4 per adult thereafter.

23 December: Hourly, 11.30am-6.30pm
24 December: Hourly,

To book, call 08700 500 208. Early booking recommended.

Some Early Lines – Carmarthen, Lampeter and Aberystwyth Line

Carmarthen, Lampeter and Aberystwyth Line

 Lampeter railway station, which was situated on the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line in Wales, was built to serve the town of Lampeterr. It opened in 1866, six years after the line, which reached Aberystwyth in August 1867.

Services at the time were limited, with only three trains running every day except Sundays. However, even this service enabled Lampeter to become an important station, although the cost of building the railway was slowly bankrupting the company. A steam Locomotive, No7 “Carmarthen”, exploded at Maesycreigiau in 1890, and the Cambrian Railway took the M&M to court over unpaid bills. The railway was originally owned by the Manchester and Milford Railway Company, but owing to great financial difficulties, it was sold to the Great Western Railway in 1906.

In 1911, a branch line was constructed between Lampeter and Aberaeron, known as the Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Railway.

During the Second World War, specifically on Saturday 8 July 1944, Lampeter railway station received a contingent of 330 evacuee children from London who were then distributed to homes in and around the local area (including the village of Cribyn. That same day Aberystwyth railway station likewise received 400 evacuee children.

After the nationalisation of the railways, the passenger service to Aberayron ceased in 1951. Passenger trains on the main line to Carmarthen and Aberystwyth continued until January 1965, when they ceased due to flooding, never to resume. Milk continued to be conveyed by railway until 1973, when the traffic was transferred to road, and the tracks were lifted shortly afterwards [2]. The former existence of the presence of a railway in Lampeter is still obvious; the large station and goods yard are now part of the University and the Cattle Market. Station Terrace has retained its name, and the railway bridge over the river Teifi near the Co-operative Supermarket still stands. A bridge once carried the railway over the A482, but this has since been dismantled, although the track bed still remains in both directions. Local residents have been campaigning for the return of the railway to Lampeter.

The Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line was a 4 ft 8½ in standard gauge branch line of the Great Western Railway in Wales which connected Carmarthen with Aberystwyth.

At Carmarthen, the line connected with the GWR mainline from London, Paddington to Fishguard. At Aberystwyth, the line connected with the Cambrian Line. The line also had connecting branches to Aberaeron, Llandeilo and Newcastle Emlyn.

As a result of floods and the Beeching Axe, the line closed throughout to passengers from 1965 and to freight from Pont Llanio creamery near Tregaron to Aberaeron Junction near Lampeter in 1970 and from both Aberaeron Junction and the Newcastle Emlyn branch to Carmarthen in September 1973.

The original station was built in the 1860s by the Aberystwyrh and Welsh Coast Railway to serve trains arriving on the now-closed route from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth via Lampeter and the route to Machynlleth which remains today. The original railway station was greatly extended in 1925 with the original station building on one side of the platforms being replaced by a grand terminus building. This was built by the Great Western Railway, to show the locals their power and to reassure them that the GWR had a vested interest in maintaining the railway service in West Wales – something that had been called into question at the grouping when the Cambrian Railway which owned the station and all the lines into it had been absorbed by the larger, rather more faceless GWR, that had its headquarters far away in London.

The station at this time had five platforms: platform 1 at the south end of the station and 2 island platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 were essentially bay platforms, with the same amount of indent. They were used for the Carmarthen services (though platform 2 would occasionally be used for mainline purposes). With the closure of the line to Carmarthen in 1968, platforms 1 and 2 were given to the Vale of Rheidol line; however, their trains unload at ground level, so a new ramp and island platform has been constructed in the space between the 2 original platforms. Platform 3 is on the other side of platform 2; it is the only platform still in use for mainline rail and has been redesignated as Platform 1 in recent years. Platforms 3 and 4 served the Cambrian mainline. Platform 4 is now taken up by the “Craft” ‘freecycling’ shop. The running around line between these two, for locomotive hauled trains, still exists. Platform 5 was an emergency platform on the other side of platform 4; little trace remains. This area is now an oil storage area and the marshalling yard is the Rheidol Retail Park.

With the decline of railway usage and of tourism within the United Kingdom, the facilities were far too large for its purpose. The railway yard was lifted in the 1980s and the row of shops in front, known as Western Parade, was demolished in the 1990s to allow construction of a new retail park and bus station. The 1925 station building has seen several uses, including as a local museum but was eventually sold off and converted into a Wetherspoons pub. This conversion maintained the architecture and won awards. Other parts of the building have become an Indian restaurant, office space and accommodation for a local furniture-recycling scheme.

Aberystwyth Motive Power Depot was notable as being the last steam locomotive depot on the British Rail network; all steam services ceased in 1968 with the sole exception of the Vale of Rheidol line, which was steam operated until privatisation in 1989 and remains so today. Accordingly, it was an often requested posting for staff.


The Lampeter, Aberaeron and Newquay Light RailwayAberayron, the terminus of the branch from Lampeter. (Originally the Lampeter, Aberayron and Newquay Light Railway) 7407 is about to leave to pick up milk tanks at Felin Fach on July 31, 1959 – R.O.Tuck

The Lampeter, Aberaeron and New Quay Light Railway was a branch of the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line in west Wales. It ran between the seaside town of Aberaeron and Lampeter.  Stations and halts included:

  • Aberaeron,
  • Llanerch-Ayron Halt (now spelled Llanerchaeron),
  • Crossways Halt,
  • Cilau Aeron Halt,
  • Felinfach,
  • Talsarn Halt,
  • Blaenplwyf Halt,
  • Silian Halt, and
  • Lampeter.

It was opened in 1911 between Aberaeron Junction which was located several miles north of Lampeter on the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line and the town of Aberaeron and was closed to passengers by 1951. The route was originally intended to terminate at Aberaeron Harbour, but due to lack of agreement with the harbour’s owners, it was terminated short at the Aberaeron to Lampeter main road (now the A482). In addition, the proposed line to New Quay which was intended to build after the Aberaeron line was operational was never built.

There were many halts on the route with only intermediate passing loop located at the principal station on the line which was located at Felinfach.

Passenger trains were operated as a branch line meeting main-line trains at Lampeter. Trains were operated by the GWR from the outset, typically using GWR 0-6-0PT and GWR6400 Class Pannier Tanks or GWR 1400 Class locomotives with a GWR Autocoach.

Freight trains generally also used GWR 0-6-0PT and GWR 6400 Class Pannier Tanks or GWR 1400 Class locomotives with occasional visits from GWR 2251 Class locomotives on larger trains. An engine shed which was a sub-shed of Aberystwyth Engine shed was provided to house the branch locomotives.

After the end of passenger trains, freight trains continued to provide freight service to all stations. A huge boost to freight traffic occurred in 1950 with the building of a large new Milk Creamery alongside the line at Green Grove which was 2 miles west of Felinfach. This Milk Creamery provided much extra traffic during its construction, plus after its opening it provided large quantities of milk traffic using six-wheel milk tankers which was taken firstly to Lampeter, then combined with milk traffic from Pont Llanio milk creamery near Tregaron on the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line to the freight yards in Carmarthen where they would be combined with other milk tankers from Whitland and other West Wales milk creameries and then on to London.

In 1963 general freight traffic from the line was discontinued and the line was truncated to the Milk Creamery at Green Grove. Several special passenger trains ran on the line before this closure including the one and only diesel multiple unit to travel the whole length of the line which was a British Rail Class 120 unit in early British Railways green livery.

The Milk Tanker Traffic from the Milk Creamery at Green Grove near Felinfach was the only traffic using the line. This traffic continued using diesel locomotives such as British Rail Class 35 into the late 1960s and British Rail Class 37 until the final end of the Milk tanker traffic in 1973. Again, several special passenger trains ran on the route in including British Rail Class 120 and British Rail Class 119 diesel multiple units.

The track was left in situ for a further 18 months before being lifted during the summer of 1975.

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1869 – Aerolite – North Eastern Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1869 – Aerolite – North Eastern Railway

North Eastern Railway Worsdell rebuilt Fletcher 2-2-4T ?66? class locomotive number 66 AEROLITE on display in the great hall at the National Railway Museum, York. Monday 1st June 2009   David Ingham from Bury, Lancashire, England.  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Some authorities regard this interesting engine as dating back to the year 1851, but although there was an engine constructed in that year bearing the same name, it can only be regarded as an ancestor of the 1869 machine, which was in fact an entirely new locomotive.   It was built by E.Fletcher as a 2-2-2 well tank with sandwich pattern outside frames and various features characteristic of Fletcher’s practice of which the plain stove-pipe chimney and the large dome with Salter spring balance safety valves were amongst the most prominent.  In 1886 it was rebuilt by T.W.Wordsell as a side tank with new frames and completely altered in appearance.  At this period it was numbered 66 and lost its name.  It ran in this form for only six years, and was rebuilt again by William Wordsell in 1892, this time as a Wordsell-von Borries 2-cylinder compound, and at the same time a leading bogie was added, making it a 4-2-2T.  As such it seems to have been a very handsome little engine, although no satisfactory photograph of it in this condition in known.  In 1902 it was once again rebuilt, this time the wheel arrangement being reversed, and in its final form it became a 2-2-4T.  At the same time its name Aerolite was restored.  In this condition it bears little or no resemblance to the original engine of 1869.  It ran in this form until 1933, usually being employed in hauling an officers’ inspection saloon.  On withdrawal the LNER repainted it in North Eastern colours and placed it in York Museum, where it now rests.

Original Condition  Driving wheels – 5’ 6”,  Cylinders – 13”x 20”

First rebuild as 2-2-2T  Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”,  Cylinders – 13”x 20”,  Pressure – 140 lb,  Weight – 36 tons 19 cwt

As 4-2-2T  Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”,  Cylinders – (1)13”x 20”, (1) 18½”x 20”, Pressure – 160 lb,  Weight 38 tons 15 cwt

As 2-2-4T  Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”,  Cylinders – (1) 13”x 20”, (1) 18½”x 20”,  Pressure 175 lb, Weight 44 tons 9cwt,  LNER Classification – XlPic – The engine as restored for preservation in York Museum. c.1960