whrs logo
Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri
Welsh Highland Railway Society

Society Projects
Photo: S.Melhuish 

The Project:

To help the company in its task of laying track and  keeping that already laid in first class condition.

Track Work

There is no doubt that the track makes a railway. Simply, if there's no track there's no railway! And if there's no railway there's nowhere for the rest of the 'toys' to run.

This however, is no toy. It is a serious business running the Welsh Highland Railway and with that in mind it is therefore of no surprise that tracklaying and maintenance is high on the Society's list of activities. Whilst the railway company has its own staff working on the track they are very much involved with the day to day maintenance of the track to ensure the published trains are able to be run. They therefore rely heavily on the volunteer trackgangs to provide that extra effort needed, especially when specific tasks or projects are to be done.Track laying near Beddgelert (Photo: John Williams)

But first there had to be a railway to be maintained. Whilst the railway was paid for with funding from the Millennium Fund (Caernarfon - Rhyd Ddu) and the Welsh Assembly (Rhyd Ddu - Porthmadog) in most cases that only paid for the civil engineering works. The railway itself, or more precisely the track, was laid predominantly by volunteers with the section from Rhyd Ddu to the Network Rail crossing in Porthmadog being 100% volunteer laid. Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri were central to that effort.

Track maintenance near Llyn Cwellyn (Photo: Simon J. Melhuish)Two track groups were set up with the aim of laying the track. The Black Hand Gang that started around 1997 and is made up of mainly local volunteers, and the Rest of the World Gang, well, from where it says, that was set up to provide the extra effort needed to complete the Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog section. Your geographical location does not preclude you from joining in with any one particular group.

If you are new to the Welsh Highland Railway please take a look at the Welsh Highland Railway Project website (link on the left) to see the huge contribution that the volunteer track gangs made to the rebuilding of the railway and particularly that of Phase 4.

The Platelayer's Special - 30th October 2010 (Photo: Simon Melhuish)That volunteer effort on Phase 4 was rewarded on the 31st October 2010 when the FR Company put on The Platelayers Special, a train that ran all the way from Caernarfon to Porthmadog to celebrate the opening of the Phase 4 section to complete the entire WHR route. This was to enable all those that had contributed to the tracklaying to have a ride over the completed line.

The train is seen at Rhyd Ddu on its way to Porthmadog hauled by Single Fairlie Taliesin and the recently introduced into service Lyd.

Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri is a Registered Charity, №1094938

All content webmasters or as indicated - This page updated 20th May 2013 by Laurence Armstrong