WHR Saloons - 1997 Batch
The new WHR's new coaches are similar to recent FR corridor coach designs, but take advantage of the more generous WHR loading gauge. The first coaches to be completed for reopening were five 39-foot coaches (four saloons and one semi-open) built by Winson Engineering. The first (the semi-open no.2020) was delivered to the Ffestiniog Railway in June 1997, with the full set moved to Dinas in September. The glazed saloons nos. 2040, 2041 and 2042 seat 36 passengers each, as does the semi-open design; brake carriage no. 2090 seats 22, and can accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers or bicycles.
Over the winter of 2008-9 no. 2090 went to Boston Lodge for conversion from a passenger vehicle to a service carriage with toilet facilities, giving some of the same facilities as new carriage no. 2010 (see below). No. 2090 was moved by road from Dinas to Minffordd Yard on November 9th 2008.
No. 2090 is seen below in Boston Lodge on January 22nd 2009. The work did not involve a full conversion to match no. 2010; while it did not have a generator installed (requiring major structural alteration) for cooking facilities, it has been fitted with a toilet (thus providing the same facility on both main WHR carriage sets), space for disabled passengers, and a bay of seating. It has retained the number 2090, rather than being renumbered into the same sequence as no. 2010.
The modified no. 2090 was returned to Dinas by rail on March 23rd 2009.
The Pullman [top of page]
A sixth Winson coach made its début in September 1998. No. 2115 is fitted out as a luxury Pullman-style vehicle, with commercial sponsorship (reflected in its name, Bodysgallen - a hotel near Llandudno owned by the sponsors). This carriage has been in regular WHR(C) passenger services since 2000, apart from a period in 2002 when its already luxurious interior was repaired and upgraded at Boston Lodge. It seats 20 passengers.
The Pullman was fitted with a pair of refurbished Romanian roller bearing bogies (acquired for new build carriages - see below) in December 2007, as the plain bearings of its ex-SAR bogies were deteriorating. These SAR bogies would later go to Boston Lodge for refurbishment, and would either be used under a new vehicle or held as spares. The following pictures illustrate the differences between the two types of bogie.
In Spring 2008 these Romanian bogies were swapped with the modified bogies from carriage no. 2060 (see below), which had been rebuilt at Boston Lodge with new stretchers, and gave a much improved ride.
The 2002 Semi-Opens [top of page]
As the Railway extends, further coaches are needed; in particular the extension of 2003 brought with it a need for two full trainsets. A further two semi-open carriages entered service in 2002, built by the well known firm of Alan Keef Ltd. This design has been prioritised in view of the popularity of the existing no. 2020. In January 2002 the framework of the first of these coaches (2021) was complete, with fitting out in progress, as seen in Jon Whalley's pictures below.
The completed no. 2021 was delivered to Dinas on April 9th 2002 (below), and entered service at the start of June.
No. 2022 was delivered on July 27th 2002.
During the winter of 2010-11, no 2020 was converted into Service Car no 2011
During the winter of 2012-13, no 2021 was refurbished with a central glazed section and vinyl covered seats (pictures by Norman Bond):
During the winter of 2013-14, no 2022 was refurbished and received a similar treatment to 2021 with the central glazed section. It is seen in David Smith's picture below on the 22nd March 2014 at Caernarfon ready to return to Porthmadog. It had earlier been part of the set that formed the first departure from the remodeled Harbour Station layout.
Building Saloons 2043-5 at Boston Lodge [top of page]
Further new vehicles have been built at Boston Lodge. Enclosed saloons 2043 and 2044 were the first, generally following the design of nos. 2040-2, but slightly longer to allow double width doors (as on 2090) for better access at one end for prams, luggage, etc. Steel for their construction was delivered to Boston Lodge by June 27th 2006, and the views below taken the following month show the underframe of no. 2043 in the welding bay, and SAR bogie components under refurbishment and modification. The last picture shows coupling components.
It has become clear that a large number of the SAR goods bogies acquired for carriage construction were in very poor condition, and those that remain to be used require quite a bit of work. Adaptation for passenger use includes new, softer springs, which can be seen on a pallet in the fourth picture above, but in this case new sideframes are also being fabricated, and the bars for these are on the same pallet. Each bogie consists of bottom part and a top part - in the same photo the top parts for all four bogies are at the back, whilst the lower parts are in the foreground. Between these two frames sit the springs, and each side has three side frames which hold the axleboxes (not shown) to the bogie frame.
No 2043 is seen below in the welding bay on August 25th 2006, almost ready to be moved into the carriage shop.
Progress is seen below with the body, the first wooden chair frame, and bogie assembly in September.
Components are seen below for 2044, waiting to take 2043's place. The pre-assembled vestibule floor frames show the different lengths. The remaining pictures show couplers for the carriages, and wheelsets; all are being turned before the bogies are assembled.
The Festiniog Railway Company Board agreed on August 4th 2006 to authorise construction of closed saloon no. 2045 within the same batch as 2043 and 2044, to take advantage of economies of scale.
When seen below on September 25th 2006, 2043 had been moved into the carriage shop for panelling and fitting out, and 2044's underframe had replaced it in the welding bay (right).
Progress with the carriages is seen below on October 6th 2006.
When seen below in mid-November 2006, 2043 and 2044 were both in the carriage shop. Panelling was nearly complete on 2043 and its roof canvas had been fitted (seen with surplus to be trimmed in the first row of pictures below), and 2044 was nearly as advanced (lower left). 2045's underframe structure was standing complete and painted in the welding bay in the Erecting Shop.
Shortly before Christmas 2006 all three saloons were in the carriage works.
The pictures below show progress on January 20th 2007. No. 2043 had moved to the paint shop where its livery was being applied, and would be followed by no. 2044 (which had already received about two thirds of its primer coats). No. 2045 was at the stage of having wooden framing attached to the metal structure prior to panelling, and the tongue and groove woodwork of the ceiling was complete. The last picture shows the seat frame production line, with the replica Spooner "Boat" in the background.
When seen below on February 1st 2007, no. 2043 (left) had returned to the carriage shop, with no. 2044 taking its place in the paint shop, and panelling of no. 2045 was in progress (right).
The following pictures show progress with the three carriages on February 17th 2007.
When seen below on April 25th 2007, all three carriages had been painted, and were rapidly approaching completion.
The completed no. 2043 is shown below in Boston Lodge Yard on May 5th 2007. The livery had been changed at a late stage to give single-coloured doors, in line with other carriages in WHR service.
No. 2043 was delivered to Dinas by road on May 20th 2007; the first pictures below show it in Minffordd Yard the day before. The carriage was placed on WHR metals with the long vestibule at the Porthmadog end.
No. 2044 is seen below in Boston Lodge Yard on May 25th 2007, completed and ready for delivery to Dinas.
Nos. 2045 and 2044 (in that order) were delivered to Dinas on June 10th 2007. At that point no. 2043 was still to be fitted with secondary suspension shock absorbers, which were in place on the other two carriages (see the last two pictures).
The three carriages entered service with no. 2043 marshalled in the E-set, and 2044 and 2045 in the F-set. As was expected, maintenance after a few days in service involved adding extra wool trimmings in the axleboxes as the first sets of trimmings installed at Boston Lodge had settled, but no other problems were found.
Saloon No 2046
Work started on the chassis of carriage 2046 at Boston Lodge in January 2013. This carriage is being funded by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri/Welsh Highland Railway Society. It will be similar to its immediate predecessors and will feature double glazing and roller bearing bogies. It will have large panoramic windows, rather than the smaller windows on existing WHR stock with opening top lights for ventilation. A similar carriage is to be funded by the Ffestiniog Railway Trust in 2014. These carriages will allow the E and F sets to have eight WHR carriages each and reduce the need to reinforce the trains with FR carriages.
By mid February the chassis had been transferred to the carriage shop for fitting out. The woodwork had been completed and painting was in progress in October 2013. Meanwhile the bogies have been refurbished and fitted with roller bearings to reduce friction and maintenance.
Works progressed steadily through the year with the vehicle then being delivered to Dinas where it is seen below in the carriage shed in January 2014.
2046 finally entered revenue earning service on the 22nd March 2014 when it was part of the set on the first departure for Caernarfon from the new Harbour Station layout. It left on the 10:45 departure to Caernarfon, returning on the 14:15 service from there. The following pictures from David Smith, who was Guard on the service, shows the carriage at Porthmadog and Caernarfon that day.
Nos. 2010 Service Car and 2100 Observation Car
Boston Lodge's next WHR carriage project after 2043-5 was the building of service car no. 2010 and First Class observation car no. 2100. They were originally on roller bearing bogies acquired from Romania rather than the plain bearing SAR bogies used previously. The bogies (regauged from 760mm gauge) were supplied by CFI of Brad, Romania, and arrived at Minffordd in July 2007. One pair was fitted under Bodysgallen towards the end of the same year (see above).
The welded chassis and body frame for the first of these new carriages (no. 2010, which was originally going to be numbered 2091; future service carriages will follow in the 201x series) has been manufactured by a firm with a fabrication workshop near Caernarfon; here is a first look at it, on January 3rd 2008.
The frame was delivered to Minffordd Yard on January 17th 2008, and was lowered on to SAR bogies for movement to Boston Lodge, where the Romanian bogies were already located.
On March 7th 2008 the woodwork of no. 2010 was well advanced, and the firm near Caernarfon had started work on the frame for no. 2100.
These views of both carriages were taken on March 14th 2008.
The following exterior and interior views of no. 2010 date from April 6th 2008.
No. 2010's diesel generator set is seen installed in its compartment on April 17th 2008.
By the same date, no. 2100's frame had reached an advanced state. The carriage has a semi-circular observation end, emulating Caledonian Railway Pullman vehicles; this picture gives the first illustration of this striking feature.
The frame was delivered to Minffordd on April 22nd 2008, and lowered straight onto its bogies for movement to Boston Lodge. The crossmembers visible within the body had been added temporarily to maintain stiffness during transport.
The two vehicles were alongside each other in the carriage works in early May 2008. No. 2010's outline was becoming very apparent, with the shallower windows distinguishing it from the passenger vehicles, and its toilet compartment was also visible. Installation was about to start on a carriage toilet pump-out facility at Dinas, located between the release and fuel lines in the North Yard.
On May 13th 2008 current work on no. 2010 included undercoat, and woodwork had started to be added to no. 2100.
These views show progress with the two vehicles on May 23rd 2008.
No. 2100 was receiving its panelling when seen on June 30th 2008.
On August 22nd 2008 work was in hand on the interior woodwork of no. 2100, and the kitchen of no. 2010 had been equipped.
No. 2010 made its first public appearance on clearance tests at Harbour Station on August 27th 2008.
The special curved glass panes for no. 2100's observation end arrived from Greenberg Glass Ltd of Bangor on August 28th 2008. They comprise two side panes as well as the main observation window pane; the opportunity was taken to make a trial fitting of the latter for photographic purposes.
By September 5th 2008 the centre pane had been installed, the carriage exterior was in primer and internal panelling work was continuing.
No. 2010 was moved by road from Minffordd to Dinas on September 8th 2008.
No. 2100 is seen below on September 24th 2008, with the exterior largely complete.
Interior panelling and woodwork was in progress on October 3rd 2008. The red paint was undercoat rather than livery, which had not yet been finalised. It was however understood that it would not immediately be named (as Pullmans normally are), and that it may be named as part of the official opening of the complete WHR route in Autumn 2009.
No. 2010 went out on test on the WHR(C) service train on October 16th 2008 (first picture), and is seen in service at Rhyd Ddu three days later in the remaining pictures.
The interior of no. 2100 is shown below on October 25th 2008, together with marquetry panels which would feature inside the carriage.
These pictures taken on November 14th 2008 illustrate the high standard of craftsmanship achieved on no. 2100. By this point the marquetry osprey panels had been fitted, as had tables, and the interior was only lacking carpets and chairs. On the exterior, final paint still had to be applied, and the corridor connection had not yet been fitted at the "plain" end of the carriage. In the second picture, there is a glimpse through the curved end window of an 1860s observation car - the FR's "Flying Bench", being fitted with the support framework for its replica canopy.
No. 2100 was up on jacks in the Erecting Shop when photographed on December 16th 2008, with work in progress on its vacuum braking.
The exact final livery for no. 2100 was kept a closely-guarded secret until the completed carriage was wheeled out of the Paint Shop for its official portrait photos on March 10th 2009. The livery combines a Pullman style with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway-based colour used on the FR's Victorian rake.
The carriage was ultimately outshopped on a pair of modified South African bogies rather than the Romanian ones. One of the bogies on 2010 is also of South African origin.
No. 2100 was delivered to Dinas by rail on March 12th 2009, as part of the first train to run through from the FR to the revived WHR. It entered service on the Beddgelert reopening specials on April 7th 2009, and was launched into regular passenger service the next day.
No 2011 Service Car
On November 24th 2010 the Company has made the following announcement::
Following detailed discussions between departments, it has been decided to convert the original semi-open carriage 2020 into a second service vehicle for the WHR, rather than to carry out further alterations to 2090. There are several advantages to this – 2020 is due for a major refurbishment anyway and it is easier to start with a fairly blank canvas and we get to keep 2090 as a spare brake with toilet and disabled space. Yes, we lose a few seats but open carriages are not at all popular on a wet day and retaining the 21 warm seats in 2090 is a lot better. The costs are very similar and both sets will still contain a semi-open carriage.
Work proceeded on the conversion at Boston Lodge during the winter of 2010/11 under the direction of Norman Bond and the result was revealed on 24th May 2011. Photos by Norman Bond
After final checks the car finally entered service on 9th June 2011. It is seen here on its first revenue earning trip about to leave Rhyd Ddu on the 1105 to Caernarfon. Photo by David Firth
Romanian Carriage no. 2060 [top of page]
At the same time as nos. 2043-5 were being built, a fourth carriage of different design was acquired. No. 2060 (starting a new number sub-series) is a steel-bodied saloon of a type common in Central and Eastern Europe, and is understood to have been used previously on the 760mm gauge Turda-Abrud line in Romania; it is one of four recovered in scrap condition from there a few years previously. It has been supplied by a Romanian contractor as an overhauled shell on regauged bogies, fitted with standard WHR couplers. Seating and interior trim (in a similar style to the UK-built saloons) have been added at Boston Lodge. The picture below (seen previously on the Appeals page) does not show no. 2060, but a similar carriage refurbished in Romania for a line in Germany, with FR/WHR livery added digitally.
If no. 2060 is a successful proposition, it is reported that about ten more of these coaches may be available.
The FR's Jon Whalley & Norman Bond visited Romania in early March 2007 to inspect progress and clarify a number of detailed construction queries. No. 2060 has been supplied in a mechanically largely complete condition, fitted with roller bearing bogies, vacuum brakes. and the body painted. But, internally only the floor and wall/ceiling timber fixing studs were installed, and the electrics and heating were left for Boston Lodge to fit. The bogies are seen below, complete with the latest FR Co. standard flange lubricator brackets. This type may become the new standard WHR carriage bogie for future Boston Lodge builds.
No. 2060 is seen below on March 20th 2007, mounted on the rebuilt bogies, fitted with FR/WHR couplers, with the body rebuild completed and the windows fitted.
The pictures below were taken during an inspection visit to Romania by Mike Hart on April 2nd-3rd 2007. The carriage has been supplied with studding for timber fixing inside the sides and roof, and also a finished wooden floor (not yet installed when seen below). Boston Lodge would finish the interior, fit the corridor connections (though fall plates and FR couplers were fitted in Romania), install the electrics and heating, and do various other detailed finishing jobs.
The carriage was loaded up for road transport on April 15th 2007, and arrived at the FR on the 19th. As it is too tall to pass under Rhiw Plas bridge it was craned onto FR metals from the adjacent roadway in an early morning operation, instead of being delivered via at Minffordd Yard.
No. 2060 is seen below outside Boston Lodge Old Loco Shed on April 26th 2007.
The carriage was moved into the works for mechanical attention in July 2007. Its fitting out was awaiting completion of woodwork on the second replica Pickering carriage being built for the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.
In late August 2007 no. 2060 was back on its bogies and outside in the yard, with the first interior woodwork being fitted.
The interior panelling was making good progress in early October 2007.
The seating follows the same 2+1 pattern as the other WHR saloons, and the new seats are identical to those made for nos. 2043-5; the aisle is narrower, as dictated by the overall width of the vehicle.
On January 3rd 2008 the carriage appeared complete or very close to completion, with WHR corridor connections fitted and stickers applied to the windows.
On March 7th 2008 no. 2060 was up on jacks again, and work was being done on its bogies to improve the ride. The second picture shows revised bogie stretchers a fortnight later. These bogies were subsequently fitted to the Pullman (see above).
In May 2008 the carriage remained up in the air in the Erecting Shop, and having donated its own successfully modified bogies to the Pullman, two of the other Romanian bogies were undergoing the same modifications for use under no. 2060.
When seen on May 23rd 2008 the bogies were ready and the carriage had been lowered on to them.
The completed carriage was photographed near the Old Engine Shed on June 30th 2008.
No. 2060 was delivered to Dinas by rail on March 12th 2009, as part of the first train to run through from the FR to the revived WHR. The carriage entered service on April 8th 2009.
FR Carriages [top of page]
From the start of the 2003 high season, the modern and Heritage WHR(C) stock were joined by two carriages from the FR, allowing two full passenger rakes to be formed for the extended two-train services to Rhyd Ddu. These were no. 113 (left-hand picture below) and observation car no. 100 (right).
No. 100 was withdrawn from public service at the end of the main 2005 season, with its bodywork close to life-expired. It was replaced on WHR(C) services in 2006-8 by no. 101, which was delivered to Dinas on February 4th 2006. A new 100 has been built at Boston Lodge and entered service on the FR in Spring 2007.
With the building of observation car no. 2100 and service carriage no. 2010, and the conversion of no. 2090 into a service carriage, the smaller profile FR vehicles were, for a time, no longer be needed in the WHR rakes. No. 113 is seen below at Minffordd in early November 2008, having just been moved back to the FR by road, and about to be taken down to Boston Lodge.
Heavy passenger loadings after the WHR reopened to Hafod y Llyn have led to a decision to move FR carriages nos. 119 and 120 north for Summer 2009, with one added to each WHR train set. They were transferred to Dinas by road on June 19th 2009; no. 120 was the first to arrive, and is seen below prior to unloading.
Both carriages went straight into service the day after they arrived; no. 119 was pictured below at Waunfawr.
No. 1000 [top of page]
The former no. 100 has been given an extended lease of life as a riding/messing van for volunteers working on Phase 4 tracklaying, in addition to no. 1001 (see below), and renumbered as no. 1000. The Pullman-style armchair seats, and other parts to be reused in other vehicles, had been removed by the end of 2005, though the swivel seats in the observation end were left in place, as they were not required elsewhere.
The carriage is seen below recently mounted on its overhauled South African bogies in late May 2006, with the body sitting a little higher than when on its original FR bogies, which had been returned to Boston Lodge for re-use.
It is seen below in mid-July 2006, carrying its new number, fitted with footsteps for access away from platforms, and with yellow visibility panels added.
No. 1000 was moved up to Rhyd Ddu (together with the SAR van) on August 4th 2006, and is seen below in use two days later.
No. 1001 [top of page]
This passenger brake vehicle falls between categories, as it has multiple uses. It was built to 2' 6" gauge in 1957 by D. Wickham & Co. Ltd for the military Chattenden and Upnor Railway, and was known as a Combination Car (because it had separate compartments for officers and ratings). It was then sold to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in 1961, who in turn sold it, minus bogies, to the 2' gauge South Tynedale Railway in 1989. It was not used there, and was subsequently acquired for WHR use. It has been regauged from 2'6" to 2' gauge, by fitting a pair of the ubiquitous South African bogies, and is seen on the left below in 1999, with various jobs still needing completion. The second picture shows it undergoing a repaint in Dinas Goods Shed in June 2002, into a livery matching the modern coaches.
No. 1001's main use to date has been as a mess coach for use on works trains, the purpose for which it was initially purchased. It is also available as a reserve brake vehicle for regular passenger services, or for special workings such as "driver experience" goods trains.
Maintenance & Improvements [top of page]
After several years of service, the saloons reached the point where they need a little TLC, and the arrival of extra carriages means that they can now be released one by one for the work to be done - though when the two-train service is running, availability of more or less 100% is required of the fleet. This started as a volunteer project, carried out in the former Goods Shed at Dinas. No. 2042 was the first to be tackled, as seen below. The loco bunker visible in the left-hand picture belongs to Llanfair.
Brake carriage no. 2090 spent five weeks at Boston Lodge in January-February 2004 for maintenance and a full repaint, into an experimental disabled-friendly livery based on that applied to new FR carriage no. 122. It is seen below on arrival back at Dinas; unfortunately it disgraced itself on its first service train the next day, and had to be replaced by no. 100 for the rest of the weekend.
Saloon no. 2040 made the same journey for maintenance a year later, being moved to the FR by road immediately after the 2005 New Year holiday.
No. 2041 went to Boston Lodge for the first time in June 2007, and is seen below left with side panels removed, revealing the window mechanisms, and on the right with new panels in place the following month.
No. 2041 was returned to Dinas on September 7th 2007, looking good as new.
The sequence of pictures below, taken earlier that day, reveal what is involved in getting a carriage on to a lorry at Minffordd to take it to Dinas; this is one task that is no more now that the WHR is reconnected to the FR!
In Summer 2009 slip boards were made and fixed to four WHR carriages; at this point they were lettered to display "Caernarfon - Beddgelert - Aberglaslyn" on one side of the carriages, and "Aberglaslyn - Beddgelert - Caernarfon" on the other. The style is representative of boards fitted to original WHR carriages.