I’ve threatened to add photos of a trip I took to Wales recently, and I’ve nothing else to do this evening so here they are!
For those of you who have never been (why?) Wales is as close to Mecca as we have in the UK when it comes to narrow gauge railways, there are so many in such a small space, you’re constantly tripping over the brown tourist signs pointing to the next of the ‘great little trains’.
Four of us booked a cottage for a boys week away, the first day of which was very enjoyable spent at the 009 Society AGM and exhibition on the Narrow Planet trade stand. It was also the first exhibition I’ve attended since taking over the shared role of editor of the 009 News – nice to meet lots of new people.
So, on return to our cottage from the AGM at Rainford we planned out what to do for the rest of the week. As Sunday was the only day the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway ran the choice was obvious.
It was nice to be greeted by Resita number 19, I’ve always had a soft spot for these locos and it’s the first time I’ve seen the one on the W&LLR.
We had an enjoyable trip down the line with a friend, George. At the far end we trekked over to the sheds, another nice surprise was seeing Bagnall 0-4-0+0-4-0T Monarch, another loco I’ve liked for a long time but not seen – expect a model of this at some point!
Day 2 was an action packed day – we were up early for a ride on the Festinog Railway.
Loco of choice, double fairlie Merddin Emrys.
Weather got steadily worse on the run up the line and we arrived in a wet Blaneau Festiniog! Fortunately we got off at Boston Lodge on the way back for a guided trip around the railway’s workshops.
It was nice to see ‘Isaac’ a Bagnall 0-4-2T being worked on for the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Hopefully I’ll get to see it at Woody Bay soon.
Even more exciting was standing on Lyd’s footplate, my favourite loco!
It was good to see some of the staff as we walked around and learn what they do to look after the stock on such a busy line. Boston Lodge always seems like such a hive of activity.
The line’s first loco, Princess, was in the sheds after a recent repaint ready for her 150th birthday.
A stark contrast from what lurked outside…
No. 143, an NGG16 Beyer Garrat from the Welsh Highland Railway.
Another nice surprise was seeing Alco 2-6-2T Mountaineer. This loco is the first narrow gauge engine I ever rode behind in the late 80’s. So I’ve always had a soft spot for it, in fact I’ve got a model to build at some point, though it won’t run on Isle Ornsay.
So, after Boston Lodge we headed off to Llanberis for a quick poke around Dinorwig quarry. We had far too little time to do it justice, so we’ll have to go back for a longer trip.
Then in the evening it was off to play trains at the Isle of Stoner. Very enjoyable!
Day 3, and a trip on the Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth in the morning with PJ. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much as I’d heard it had become a bit clinical with very little heritage on show. But I was nicely surprised, there is work going on to reinstate the old station halts in traditional wiggly tin.
See that person on the right, yes, him in the black coat – he’s the other half of the 009 News editorial team!
So, after another enjoyable trip we headed off to meet Neil Rushby for a trip around the Corris Railway sheds, and later to see his growing collection of model railways.
Neil and some others at the Corris have recently restored Dulas, a 009 layout of the line which I recall seeing at Minehead model railway exhibition in the 1990s. It was a lovely layout then, and they’ve done a great job restoring it.
The next day we did both Welsh Highland Railways. In the morning stopped to watch some shunting at Porthmadog, then headed over for a ride on the WHHR and a look around Gelert’s Farm museum.
Late morning arrived and we headed off to the other Porthmadog station to catch the WHR to Rhyd Ddu – good job we saved the full run for another day as the weather was awful.
On our way we encountered Hugh Napier, Prince and Palmerston on a test run, I later found out that they had been to the Aberglaslyn Pass to test their spark arrestors before the 150th Birthday celebrations.
Our final railway day before heading home was at the Talyllyn Railway.
Edward Thomas was the only loco in operation. Sadly I didn’t get many photos on the run up the line – it’s a lot straighter than I remember, so no curves to get shots on as we went, and we had to head back to Pendre, so no lineside shots either apart from those during the pauses at Nant Gwernol and Abergynolwyn.
Our last bit of ‘training’ was to stop in Tan-y-Bwlch woods that evening to take some photos of the last FR train of the day before heading off for a pint and some foot. I’m quite pleased with the following shot!
Here’s a video of some short snippits of footage from our week away:
A very enjoyable week! Roll on next time we’re allowed out to play.
I’ve been back to doing some work on the layout over the last couple of days – there’s a post coming soon on painting the rocks on the station board and using Derwent pastel pencils to detail them.