Welsh Highland Railway - Upkeep and Improvements

Caernarfon - Dinas

Upkeep and
Improvements pages:
Caernarfon - Dinas
 Harbour Station works  Caernarfon Station development

This section was built under Phase 1 of the railway's rebuilding, although perhaps it should be described as 'construction' in this case as the railway uses part of the old standard gauge trackbed from Caernarfon to Afon Wen. The construction details can be found using the link below.

Phase 1 - Caernarfon to Dinas - 1997

The section was therefore the first to pass from the construction company into the care of the operating company for its maintenance. The section has been the centre of regular working parties, using both paid and volunteer staff, during much of the intervening time. This section, however takes up the story from 2010 as the Phase 4 of the reconstruction was coming to a close.

During 2007 the Dinas Carriage shed was lengthened to take the extra stock needed for the longer trains comming into use at that time. This in turn neccitated the need to increase the length of the carriage release road allonside the bay platform. The normal operation is for a diesel loco, such as Caernarfon Castle, to withdraw the stock from the carriage shed into the release road. Here the buffet crew stock the train whilst the trains loco for the day is prepared. Whilst in the release road however, even with the diesel right up against the buffer stop there is minimal clearance at the points for other movements in the yard, such as the steam loco going to take fuel.

In order to rectify this both the release road is being extended. The 18th July 2010 therefore saw the Black Hand Gang preparing for that extension with the excavation on the ptatform surface where the track is due to go..

Preparing to extend the release road and bay platform at Dinas. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Preparing to extend the release road and bay platform at Dinas. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

On the same day the Gang also laid and then used a B wagon to test a new 'barrow' crossing that will be used to get supplies to Up trains from the service platform.

Preparing to extend the release road and bay platform at Dinas. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

On the weekend of the 31st July and 1st August 2010 the release road was being extended by half a rail length. This involved digging out the remaining spoil, moving the buffers back and inserting half rail lengths.

The base prepared. (Photo: S.Broomfield)The base prepared. (Photo: S.Broomfield) The half rails in place. (Photo: D.Firth)Caernarfon Castle making use of the extension in the morning. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Caernarfon Castle making use of the extension in the morning. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Caernarfon Castle making use of the extension in the morning. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Hand tamping the new half panel. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Hand tamping the new half panel. (Photo: D.Firth)

On 20th November 2010 the North Wales Black Hand Gang started construction of a new right hand point for future use in the North yard at Dinas. The picture by Steve Broomfield shows the main components laid out.

New point for Dinas yard - Steve Broomfield

With the release road extended in time for the peak operating season the extension to the bay platform had to wait until the end of the year. This was done between Christmas and New Year and the photographs below show the work taking place on the 29th December 2010. 

The buffer stop being draged back to its new position. (Photo: S.Melhuish)The buffer stop being draged back to its new position. (Photo: S.Melhuish)The buffer stop being dragged back to its new position. (Photo: S.Melhuish)The buffer stop being draged back to its new position. (Photo: S.Melhuish)The rail being cut to fill the gap. (Photo: S.Melhuish)The buffer stop in place and being connected to the existing track. (Photo: S.Melhuish)

Dinas Fuel Road - March 2011

The Black Hand Gang were in Dinas for a 'long weekend' working party from the 11th to the 13th March 2011 to insert a new point into the fuel road at Dinas. The fuel road serves the oil storage tank for the oil fired locos as well as being the access to the Goods Shed.

With the help of a JCB they removed panels of track between the loco fuel store and the existing point outside the old clip store and insert another point nearer the fuel store. One track from the point will go to join the existing loco fuel road and the other to form a new siding which in turn will eventually have another point inserted on the Goods Shed side thus forming two new roads ready, in due course, for a loco running shed to be constructed close to the Goods Shed.  By the end of the Saturday the point had been aligned and shovel packed and one curved section of track had been fish plated to the point.

The new point inserted to the South of the existing point leading to the coal dock - looking North. (Photo: P.Roughley)The new point inserted to the South of the existing point leading to the coal dock - looking South. (Photo: P.Roughley)

The following day the track through to the oil tank was re-connected in order to maintain access to the Goods Shed. Further work will take place at a later date.

Reconnecting the fuel road to the new point. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Reconnecting the fuel road to the new point. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

16th March 2011

New display boards have been erected at all the stations and halts along the railway. The photograph from Steve Broomfield shows one of two new boards at Caernarfon and the one at Bontnewydd.

One of the new display boards at Caernarfon. (Photo: S.Broomfield)The new display board at Bontnewydd. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

20th March 2011

Work started this weekend on the replacement of the trackwork outside the loco shed at Dinas. This is an area that has been badly in need of attention for some time as loco preparation there has left the area in very poor condition, especially in wet weather. It is intended to provide a concreted preparation and disposal area. With one of your current guardians of this website being a user of such facilities he can confirm that the improvment will be much appreciated by all loco crews, no doubt as well by the permanent staff working there. 

The pictures from Simon Melhuish show progress on the Sunday in digging out the ballast with pick and shovel and with the help of a mini excavator. The Rest of the World Gang are doing the work and it will continue during the following 'working week'.

Digging out the existing track outside Dinas loco shed. (Photo: S.Melhuish)Digging out the existing track outside Dinas loco shed. (Photo: S.Melhuish)

23rd to 25th March 2011

Work has continued throughout the week on the improvements to the disposal area outside the loco shed at Dinas. By the Wednesday the track had been cleared of all the ballast and the number of sleepers reduced as gauge will be held by the concrete. The gang were therefore busy installing the shuttering and underside membrane in preparation for the first concrete pour that took place the following day. Whilst the concreting of the first track was in progress work continued on the preparation of the second. This involved the attachment of polystyrene to the inside of the rail heads to form the flange-ways within the concrete. Pictures from Steve Broomfield.

The track with ballast removed. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Installing the underside membrane. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Installing the underside membrane. (Photo: S.Broomfield)
The first part of the concrete pour complete. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Completing the first track's concreting. (Photo: S.Broomfield)The first trck complete. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

The second track was completed the following day as can be seen below, and complete with the "The Eryri Venturer", returning to Porthmadog.

The second track now concreted. (Photo: S.Broomfield)A view of the completed area. (Photo: S.Broomfield)A view of the completed area complete with The Eryri Venturer. (Photo: S.Broomfield)

29th March 2011

Over the weekend 26/27 March the North Wales / Black Hand Gang continued with the work on the fuel road and the new sidings at Dinas. The fuel road was aligned, levelled and re-packed on Saturday morning to allow loco NG/G16 №138 to fuel up and also to allow NG/G16 №87 into №3 siding to be coaled.

Work then progressed on aligning and levelling the start of the access to the two new sidings, which then allow the area to be back filled for the access to the catering store and kitchen to be restored. The point which splits this line into the two sidings was then reassembled and aligned. The work on this whole project was greatly enhanced and made far easier with the help of Gwilym Williams and his JCB, funded by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri/Welsh Highland Railway Society.

It should be noted that these sidings were planned before Phase 4 got underway and are not as previously reported to be used for the new loco shed. That will be planned and built as and when the funds are available. These sidings will be used to store much on the little used stock to cut down on the number of shunting moves that have to be made to access any particular item of rolling stock.

10th April 2011

By the weekend of the 8th April the new Loco preparation facilities were in use. The photos below show 138 being prepared for service on the 10th April. 

138 being prepaired for the day's service on the new area outside the loco shed. (Photo: L.Armstrong)138 being prepaired for the day's service on the new area outside the loco shed. (Photo: L.Armstrong)

On the same weekend the North Wales Black Hand Gang were back at work on the new siding being installed in the North yard.. The Left Hand point which splits the line into the two sidings after leaving the goods shed / fuel road was finally put in position. There had been a problem with levelling it and this was discovered as being due to being three buried kerb stones just below the surface. These are a left over from the time when the yard was used by Gwynedd County Council's highways dept.

The point levers for the two new points were installed and the material excavated from around the fuel road and other area was back-filled. Steve Broomfield's photos show the work on the 10th April.

The point now in its correct position. (Photo: S.Broomfield)The three ofending curbstones in the foreground. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Backfilling the new point. (Photo: S.Broomfield)Backfilling the new point. (Photo: S.Broomfield)The completed fuel road. (Photo: S.Broomfield)


29-30 April 2011

The Rest of the World Gang worked at Dinas from 29th April. The job was was to dig out and build a cistern for waste water draining from the newly-concreted loco preparation area. This stinky fluid passes through a settling tank, where solids should collect, and then into a collecting tank. An automatic pump lifts the contents to another system of tanks to separate oil from the water before it is piped to the drains. We built the collecting tank and finished the settling tank, using concrete sections and bricks, prior to filling the area with bulk concrete.  Photos by Simon Melhuish and Steve Broomfield.

ROTWG at Dinas loco shed. Simon MelhuishSimon MelhuishSimon MelhuishTanks nearly ready for surrounding concrete pour. Simon MelhuishThe collecting tank - lowest concrete section filled with concrete. The automatic pump will stand on this base. Simon MelhuishIn construction - Steve BroomfieldAfter build completion and concrete pour -Steve Broomfield

The Gang also assisted on Friday 29th with a stub of rail from points in the North Yard for collection of the visiting Jung Mallet on its return to Statfold Barn.  Photos by Simon Melhuish

Simon MelhuiishSimon MelhuishSimon Melhuish

7th/8th May 2011
The Black Hand Gang continued with the work of extending the new siding in Dinas North Yard. On the Saturday, there were 17 volunteers, the majority of whom worked on continuing with the new sidings at Dinas; others worked on preparing the Goods Shed at Dinas for the forthcoming Real Ale Festival - Cwrw ar y Cledrau/Railale 2011, which will be on from 20 to 22 May. The Goods Shed was cleared of accumulated rubbish after its winter use for working on locomotives and other jobs. The walls and floor were washed down, the walls repainted and the floor repaired.

The work on the sidings progressed with the left hand siding (facing the GoodsShed) being left as a short spur that can be used for off-loading locomotives and other vehicles from low-loaders. Meanwhile the right hand siding was completed up to the edge of the area surrounding the public toilets. So far no buffer stop has been fitted. The siding was aligned, levelled and packed with ballast all under the watchful eye of a number of car owners and spectators who had come to the Vintage Car Rally at Dinas on Sunday 8th May.  

In addition on the Saturday  two further volunteers painted the replica water tank for Beddgelert but the showers put paid to their efforts after a while.
Pictures by Steve Broomfield:

Extended siding at Dinas - Steve BroomfieldExtended siding at Dinas - Steve Broomfield

10th May 2011

The Tuesday Gang spent their day at Coed Helen on lineside vegetation clearance. The main thrust of the exercise being to strip the growth from a retaining wall on the Eastern side of the line. The condition of this wall is not known, it being covered. There are 500 metres of wall to clear and Gang managed around a quarter of it within the day. This showed up that there are several weak spots where the wall needs repair and several spots where it is completely missing. The pictures below show the covered wall before work started and the same section of wall at the end of the day. Also No 138 on the 1500 ex Caernarfon bound for Porthmadog will a well filled train. Earlier trains heading for Pont Croesor were not so full, a trend we have noticed previously. Apart from one very brief shower the gang enjoyed a nice sunny day. 

The retaining wall before vegetation removal. (Photo: Tony Baker)138 on the passing service train. (Photo: Tony Baker)The retaining wall after vegetation removal. (Photo: Tony Baker) 

17th May 2011

The Tuesday Gang continued with the lineside clearance along the stretch between Hendy and Coed Helen which is approximately 500 metres in all. As they work along clearing the growth off the retaining wall, places where work will be needed to repair the wall are revealed. It is not known if this wall received any attention during phase 1 or whether what we are seeing is it's condition post BR days. Anyone know the answer? Lots of standard gauge track screws are being found along the way.

The pictures show a spot where the wall has depreciated and a work in progress shot.:
Decayed wall - Tony BakerWork in progress - Tony Baker

31st May 2011

The Tuesday Gang spent the morning  inspecting the fencing between the railway and Lôn Eifion from Dinas to Bontnewydd.  Any holes were filled and slack wires retensioned. Most of the badger gates were life-expired and measurements were taken for one of our volunteers to make replacements at home.
In the afternoon attention switched to Fron Goch level crossing LC 21:87. Here there was an urgent need to improve the sighting both for the vehicles using the crossing, which is quite busy with garden centre traffic, and from the engine drivers perspective. A good start was made with the removal of a largish tree on the south side which enhanced the view considerably. This job will be continued next week. Whilst at this location, more fencing repairs were carried out, where the wires had been cut since we were there last week. Report by Tony Baker

4th & 5th June 2011

On Saturday pm, the North Wales Black Hand Gang returned to Dinas to start to complete clear up and reconfiguration of the P Way store at Dinas (formerly known as the K1 shed). This task continued on the Sunday, with rubbish being thrown out, scrap items to the 'scrap pile' (recently added to by the NG15 team!) in order to earn a bit of cash for the Railway. Old shelving in the store has been removed, this will be used elsewhere, however the only problem was that a new shelving delivery of shelving did not take place on Friday as expected, so this job remains to be completed on another day.

7th June 2011

Tony Baker reports that the Tuesday gang spent the day at 2 locations. Firstly at Fron Goch LC 21:87 where improvements to the sighting from the crossing, which is used by the garden centre, were needed. By lunch time they had cut back the lineside vegetation to a satisfactory level. They then moved nearer to Caernarfon to the area of Coed Helen to do some more work on clearing growth off the retaining wall. This had been started 3 weeks ago but not completed. Nine volunteers enjoyed a sunny day with one short shower.

Removal of linesde vegetation to the South of Fron Goch Crossing. (Photo: Tony Baker)

14th June 2011
The Tuesday Gang spent the 14th June firstly at Coed Helen completing the clearance of foliage from the retaining wall. They then moved back to Dinas to erect the new shelving in the PW store. Interlocking parts all assembled with just a hide mallet,   no nuts, bolts or washers involved. Six units were assembled and the wooden shelves sealed against damp.
Other gang members were installing new badger gates, manufactured at the Tuesday Gang workshops at Pentrefoelas, to replace the original ones installed between Caernarfon and Dinas  in 1997.
Just after 3 pm a ten coach train  arrived at Dinas.with No 138 at the front of one of the most fully loaded trains to be seen on  the WHR.  Report and pictures by Tony Baker
138 passes Tuesday Gang at Coed Helen - Tony BakerErecting shelving at Dinas for PW store - Tony Baker

21st June 2011

The Rest of the World Gang long weekend started with some tasks on Phase 1. At the North end of Bontnewydd Station , some fencing repairs were undertaken, whilst at Cefn Werthyd, the next crossing North, two rather weather-worn signs were replaced. A comparison between the 'old' and 'new' signs can be seen in the third picture.

Replacing signage at Bontnewydd Station. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)Replacing signage at Cefn Werthyd. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)The new and old signage at Cefn Werthyd. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)

2nd & 3rd July 2011

The majority of the Tuesday Gang spent the 5th July at Bontnewydd carrying out lineside clearance in order to improve the sighting from LC's 22.51 and 22.70. Having removed the masses of foliage, a ditch was revealed running the whole length. This was badly clogged with detritus so will be dealt with next week.

Undergrowth trimming near Bontnewydd Station - Before. (Photo: Tony Baker)Undergrowth trimming near Bontnewydd Station. (Photo: Tony Baker)Undergrowth trimming near Bontnewydd Station - After. (Photo: Tony Baker)

12th July 2011

Tuesday Gang report from Tony Baker:
Today we embarked on a job that most volunteers would run a mile from. The weed killing train somehow managed to avoid the Dinas - Caernarfon stretch this year and as a result Caernarfon Station had taken on a weed infested appearance which passengers might have interpreted as an abandoned railway. Now of course we know that not to be the truth so six brave volunteers set about pulling up all the weeds and bagging up all the detritus left by the local youths on their nocturnal adventures. Due care was taken to look out for discarded syringes. The area between the platform and track was given particular attention as this is right under the passengers noses so to speak. Not a pleasant job but very necessary for the local ambience. By day's end it looked a lot better.

30/31 July 2011
The North Wales / Black Hand Gang working party over the weekend of 30/31 July installed a new fence around the buffer stops at Dinas.
The length of the Bay Platform road and the Release road had recently been extended to allow for the longer trains now running; this had involved the removal of part of the original fence.
This fence after 14 years service had started to show its age, many of the uprights starting to rot; so it was decided to replace the entire fence at this location with the now 'house style' fencing for the WHR.
The cost of all the materials was sponsored by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri (Welsh Highland Railway Society).
By Sunday evening two thirds of the job was completed; the remainder will be completed over the coming couple of weeks by local volunteers working in the evenings.  Report by D Thomas.

2nd August 2011
 The Tuesday gang spent August 2nd completing the recovery of gateposts from Bron Hebog level crossing. They had a Kango hammer with chisel attachment this week which considerably reduced the time spent. After lunch, spent at Dinas, they split into 2 teams, one freeing up rusted clips and the other making up nine sets of flag boards in preparation for the expected increase in volunteer activities after the summer holidays. Report and picture by Tony Baker
Yellow flag boards drying at Dinas - Tony Baker
13/14 August 2011
Dafydd Thomas reports:
Over the weekend of 13/14 August the North Wales /Black Hand Gang completed the fence around the buffer stop at Dinas; repaired, cleaned and painted the buffer stops. We also laid an additional length of rail on the new short siding at Dinas, this is to enable items to be stored on the siding as well as using it to load and off-load coaches and locos from road vehicles.

15th/16th October
Dafydd Thomas reports:
Over the weekend 15/16 October the Black Hand Gang were in action again, not with track work this time, but a start on work on the new part of the loco shed at Dinas which is now in the possession of the railway. New windows were installed and new guttering put up on the west side of the building. This work is sponsored by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri / Welsh Highland Railway Society.
For once the weather was kind with two days of sunshine. Dinas was hive of activity over the weekend not only with the usual loco crew and on-train staff getting their train ready for the day's work, but as already mentioned the Black Hand Gang was in action; there was  the Rest of The World Gang getting their tools ready to go off to work elsewhere; the K1 Group were working on their loco and NG15 Group were working on No. 134 and its tender chassis.

Simon Melhuish reports:
Rest of the World Gang attended the south end of Caernarfon Station, where water is cascading over the Segontium Terrace retaining wall, causing ballast voiding under the points. A temporary ditch was dug for later connection to a drain pipe. An improved path was created for access to the ground frame. Pictures by Simon Melhuish

 Rest of the World Gang at Caernarfon - Simon MelhuishRest of the World Gang at Caernarfon - Simon Melhuish

1st November 2011
Tony Baker reports that it was a very mixed bag of duties for the gang on Tuesday 1st November with most of the work at Dinas. The main job was to oil the axle bearings on the ballast hoppers and mess van in preparation for their use on the winter maintenance programme.  One of the ballast hoppers was full of slate waste which had to be unloaded.
The gang also cleaned and lubricated all the yard points, and the siding points outside the loco shed which had some repairs to their woodwork.
One job away from the yard was also done at Fron Goch level crossing LC 21.87 where rotted timber on the sides was renewed.

28th December 2011
The combined PW volunteer gangs were working on new refuelling arrangements at Dinas.
A new concrete slab was cast adjacent to the servicing platform to take a fuel tank and the surrounding area built up with slate waste.  
A new loco coaling area is being created at the Caernarfon end of the down platform. A few metres at the end of the existing down platform was dug away with a JCB.  Shuttering was put in place, ready for concreting (to rail level) at a future date. The platform end was edged with concrete blocks to provide a step down, and the anti-trespass signage brought forward to suit. 
Pictures by Simon Melhuish and Steve Broomfield.

Base for oil tank at Dinas- Steve BroomfieldSite of new coaling area at Dinas - Simon MelhuishSite of new coaling area at Dinas - Steve BroomfieldSite of new coaling area at Dinas -Simon Melhuish

30th December 2011
Andy Keene reports from Dinas:  We painted the new goods shed doors dark red. They looked great until it started raining. We discovered we had used water based paint which needed another 2 hours to dry!
Painting the Goods Shed Door at Dinas - photo by Andy Keene
24th January 2012
Tuesday Gang's allotted task was to have been taking off fishplates, greasing and putting them back north of Rhyd Ddu at crossing LC 39.08. However, grease does not adhere well to metal  in pouring rain and they switched to an inside job. The new engine shed extension at Dinas was ready for some demolition work so they spent the day knocking down the breeze block wall between the existing engine shed and the extension. Above the breeze blocks was a wooden screen which was also demolished. By the end of the day the upper part of the wall down to the mezzanine floor had been entirely removed. They stopped at that point as the floor was not to be demolished at this stage.   Report by Tony Baker

31st January 2012
Tuesday Gang North  started work at Caernarfon Station digging a trench for a telephone cable toward the water tower where an instrument is to be installed   Report and picture bu Tony Baker
Trench digging at Caernarfon - Tony Baker
7th February 2012
 The Tuesday Gang spent the day at Caernarfon Station installing a telephone cable from the cabinet under the footbridge to the water tower.  The first section from the cabinet to the trackside had to be dug out with a Kango as it was topped with asphalt. The next section under the track is in an orange duct and left half exposed so the anyone doing track maintenance at this spot will know it is there. The cable then swings through 90 degrees and follows the bottom of the wall to reach the water tower. An instrument at this location had been requested by the Operating Department and the telephone was installed in a locked metal box on the wall adjacent to the tower by the S&T Department. 
Pictures and report by Tony Baker.
The cable route - Tony BakerTest call from the new telephone - Tony Baker

11/12th February 2012
Over the weekend of 11/12 February the North Wales / Black Hand Gang were engaged at Dinas in completing the new loco coaling facility at the Caernarfon end of the Down platform.
The job involved mixing and laying the concrete to form the hard standing for the Loadall or tractor to stand on whilst coaling a locomotive; the access trackway across the bay platform road, the release road, the fuel road and № 3 siding; this was made up of slate waste laid on top of a Teram barrier to avoid contaminating the ballast. The trackway was bounded on both sides by timber secured in the ballast by means of metal stakes. Report by Dafydd Thomas

New coaling facility at DinasNew coaling facility at DinasCoaling facility base - David Firth

22nd February 2012
Dinas Loco Shed:
Photos by Laurence Armstrong show progress with refitting the former Water Board building as a loco shed at Dinas:
Mezzanine from loco shed side - Laurence Armstrong
 This shows the old mezzanine (storage) floor on the Loco Shed side which has now been removed. It was in effect above the Water Boards ‘office’ in their half of the building.

Mezzanine from Water Board side - Laurence ArmstrongMezzanine in Water Board shed before removal - Laurence Armstrong
Mezzanine partly removed, viewed from ‘loco shed side (left) and the ‘Water Board’s’ side (right).

New coaling point at Dinas station:
New coaling road at Dinas - Laurence ArmstrongNew coaling road at Dinas - Laurence Armstrong
 143 passing the new coaling point going to collect its train in the release road (left) and the completed crossing (right)

9-11 March 2012
Over the long weekend, Friday to Sunday, 9 - 11 March the North Wales /Black Hand Gang achieved a number of tasks at Dinas. The numbers were swollen for Saturday and for Sunday morning by students from Imperial College's Railway Society.
Tasks included:
    Commencement on the installation of a new fence at the rear of the Up platform.
    Laying a short section of temporary track in the loco shed extension.
    Rubbing down and revarnishing open coach 2021.
    Completion of painting new ends for platform benches; a task that was started by the West Midlands Group.
    Reinstatement of the now repaired bench at Beddgelert, which had been damaged by vandals.
    Installation of the two 'missing' running-in boards at Dinas, as well as a new platform designation sign and a new station sign.
    Spreading of fine slate waste on the area around the Goods Shed; over recent years many dips have formed in this area, which become puddles when it rains.
    General tidying up including sweeping the car park and platforms; giving the access ramp to the Ladies/disabled access toilet a coat of wood preservative.
    In addition there were volunteer gardeners were at work at Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu.
The group of 10 students from Imperial College were a great help; it was good to have some new young blood volunteering. They were all civil engineering students who greatly appreciated the opportunity to have hands on experience of jobs such as mixing concrete and even the simple task of digging a hole.  Report by Dafydd Thomas

24/25 March 2012
Over this weekend, with the first trains of the new 2012 season timetable running, the North Wales /Black Hand Gang continued with the work of installing the new fence at the rear of the Up platform at Dinas. Also two new benches, supplied by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri/ WHRS were installed at Caernarfon station. This will greatly increase the available seating area for waiting passengers.
Report by Dafydd Thomas
27th March 2012
The Tuesday Gang were servicing  T-bolts starting at Dinas Station and working north, whilst the lads from Greenlight were doing the same working south from Caernarfon. The procedure is as follows; 2 people walk along the track, one on each rail and test each T-bolt for tightness. Loose ones are marked with yellow crayon. Another volunteer follows with diesel oil in a container and gives each marked bolt a squirt. The rest of the gang, armed with a variety of spanners, spare nuts, bolts and washers then follow and deal with the loose bolts. Some tighten up without any bother, others won't budge. They have been in situ since 1997 remember. The more stubborn ones are taken out completely and replaced with spares. In our experience most of the stubborn ones are unmodified "O" type.
We started at 24.30, which is the southern end of Dinas Station and marked loose bolts up to 23.70. We rectified up to 23.72. We were assisted by 2 lads doing community service who worked hard on a very hot day for March. Next week we should meet the Greenlight lads coming the other way. Report by Tony Baker

7/8 April 2012
Over the weekend 7/8 April the North Wales / Black Hand Gang continued with work on the installation of the new fence on the Up platform at Dinas.
All fence posts are now in (a total of 87); excess excavated material has been cleared away and all that is needed now is to fit the remaining panels when they are delivered; 40 out of 86 are in place.
Also the gardeners have been busy commissioning the new platform planters at Dinas; when completed with plants they will add a splash of colour to the station. 
Report by Dafydd Thomes

17th April 2012
Tuesday Gang worked at Dinas carrying out repairs to the foot crossing at the southern end of the platforms. All rotten timbers were removed and replaced and slate fines were spread to give an even approach. The crossing on phase one would have been laid in 1997 so really it had lasted well. Picture by Andy Dawson
Dinas Foot Crossing - Andy Dawson

20-22 April 2012
The North Wales/Black Hand Gang worked an extended weekend 20 -22 April.
On Friday, 20th April they collected the remaining fence panels and additional timber required to complete the new fence at the rear of the Up platform at Dinas. This involved two journeys to Glasfryn Fencing's base at Pencaenewydd and a trip to the builder's merchants at Caernarfon.
Saturday, 21st April a concerted effort by the volunteers saw the remaining 43 fence panels installed as well as the closure palings at each joint.
Sunday, 22nd April saw the final touches put to the fence with the tops of the fence posts being trimmed to an equal height with an angular top to allow rainfall to run off; each one being given a liberal coat of wood preservative. A final sweep of the platform saw the job completed. The finishing touch is the new planters installed on both platforms at Dinas, these will soon be filled a colourful display of plants. The new fence has already had many favourable comments from travellers on the railway as well as locals passing on the adjacent Lon Eifion footpath.
Also on Sunday, the new fine slate waste was spread around the Goods Shed and outside the station office/waiting room.
The Society has also provided a new station sign at Dinas, two new running-in boards, and new signs both for the waiting room and to indicate which platform is for Caernarfon and which is for Porthmadog.
Completing fence works at Dinas - David TidyResurfacing the concourse at Dinas - David TidyResurfacing the concourse at Dinas - David Tidy

5th/6th May 2012
Over the weekend 5/6 May the North Wales / Black Hand Gang were mainly engaged in preparations for the Real Ale Festival at Dinas. The opportunity was taken to tidy up the station area and give everywhere a bit of a spring clean.  
Dinas spring cleanedDinas spring cleaned

5th June 2012
Work  was in progress with the extension to the engine shed at Dinas. The concrete floor on the easternmost side, i.e. side further from the running line, was being broken up with a view to installing the new track. A length of old rail is exposed, possible dating from the original WHR.
Report and pictures by Laurence Armstrong
Engine shed extension - Laurence Armstrong Engine shed extension - Laurence ArmstrongEngine shed extension - Laurence ArmstrongEngine shed extension - Laurence Armstrong

23rd  June 2012
A concrete base has now been laid in preparation for laying track in the Dinas loco shed extension.
Dinas loco shed extension - David TidyDinas loco shed extension - David Tidy

2nd July 2012
Rails have now been laid in place in the loco shed extension at Dinas
Rails in Dinas shed extension - Laurence Armstrong

14th July 2012
The North Wales/Black Hand Gang have completed Phase One of the installation of the extended track on No.2 road in the loco shed at Dinas.  The track has been laid on thin steel flats and held down on to the sub-base true to gauge with masonry bolts.  Concrete will now be laid to bring the excavation  up to floor level.
21st July 2012
Pictures by Laurence Armstrong show progress so far with the track extension in the Dinas loco shed.
Track extension in Dinas loco shed - Laurence ArmstrongTrack extension in Dinas loco shed - Laurence Armstrong
24th July 2012
The Tuesday Gang continued with T bolt maintenance north of Dinas. About 20 seized bolts were dealt with.

11/12 August 2012
Over the weekend of 11/12 August the Welsh Highland Railway North Wales/Black Hand Gang were engaged in installing a concrete base for the new diesel fuel tank at Dinas.
This involved not only preparing the area for the concrete, mixing and pouring the concrete but also the excavation of a trench for an electrical duct. The electrical duct is required as the new tank has an electric pump.
The trench had to go under 4 of the tracks at Dinas - the Bay Platform Road, the Release Road, the Goods Shed Road and No.3 siding. This was no easy task as a number of obstacles were encountered, including an area of concrete, large pieces of slate and stones, as well as the remains of a former retaining wall. Once the duct was in place the trench was back-filled and the ballast re-packed under the disturbed sleepers. The trench needs to be continued under the area immediately in front of the P Way stores; this will have to be done by mechanical means as it will be to a greater depth.
Approximately 50% of the concrete was put in place on 12/08/12.

18/19 August 2012
 The Rest of the World Gang was working at Caernarfon Station, clearing vegetation from the retaining walls, the better to view their integrity and prevent damage by Buddleia &c. The gang also spent Saturday morning rodding drains by the PW store at Dinas, but that didn't present any opportunity for interesting pictures.  Report and pictures by Simon Melhuish 

At commencement of work - Simon MelhuishOn completion of work - Simon Melhuish

25/26 August 2012
On Saturday the Black Hand Gang were  were engaged in completing the concrete base for the Diesel Fuel Tank at the north end of Dinas down platform which involved mixing by concrete mixer some 1½ tonnes of aggregate with cement and laying it alongside the previously laid pad..  This job was completed by lunchtime.  Meanwhile a mini digger was utilised to dig a trench between where a conduit pipe had been installed two weeks ago (under the sidings and fuel road) to enable the conduit to be continued to the Permanent Way Shed.  The conduit pipe is now installed all the way from the concrete base to the PW Shed door which will enable a power supply to feed the Diesel Tank pump in due course.  
On Sunday the mini digger was able to complete back filling the trench, consolidate the ground and remove the excess spoil from the job.  The remainder of the day was spent tidying up the North yard.
They were not able to carry out our intended task of disposing of loco ash as there was no loco available. Upnor Castle had to double head the service train with Castell Caernarfon due to a fault with Garratt 143. The problem was a steam leak which was repaired by the end of the day and it was able to take the last Up train from Dinas to Porthmadog.

Dinas diesel tank base northwards - Pete RoughleyDinas diesel tank base southwards - Pete Roughley Electrical conduit installation - Pete RoughleyBackfilling trench with loco ash - Pete Roughley 
4th September 2012
Tuesday Gang were in action at Coed Helen.  Report by Tony Baker:
"Today, the 4th September the Welsh Highland Drains Gang aka Tuesday Gang was in action at Coed Helen. Between OB 20.95 and Hendy there is a long uphill straight. Running most of the way along here on the LH side is a covered drain which consists of a concrete trough with concrete slab lids. The lids are mostly solid but there are two stretches where the lids have elongated slots to allow surface water to enter the drain. Unfortunately debris washed down from the steep bank also enters. Result over the years it gets blocked up. So we were charged with clearing it out. First the build up of soil and such on top of the lids had to be shovelled away.Then lids were lifted at intervals to see how the flow was. Where the lids were solid it was ok but the slotted sections were well blocked. The most effective way to clear it was found to be using the hands to scoop it out. We are not sure if this drain predates the WHR rebuild. It may be an ex BR installation. At one point something heavy had passed over it causing the trough to collapse. It is planned to replace this bit with a pipe. We expect to spend one more Tuesday on this. It makes a change from T bolt maintenance."

8th/9th September 2012
Over the weekend of 8/9 September the North Wales / Black Hand Gang were engaged in preparations at Dinas for the forthcoming Quarrypower weekend.
This involved the building of a stillage for the real ale that will be available in the Goods Shed on Friday and Saturday along with tidying up the Goods Shed. There was also a lot of grass and dead vegetation strimming, clearing up rubbish, surplus bits of material left around the north yard and a good general tidy up of the whole area.
On Sunday they also managed to dispose of a  large quantity of loco ash to level out and make a start on providing a better walking surface in the Carriage Shed.  Report by Dafydd Thomas

11th September 2012
The Tuesday Gang resumed the work of clearing the long drain at Coed Helen that was started last week. As reported a section of channel had collapsed and this was cleared out and four inch pipe inserted. In addition where the channels with slatted lids were situated in areas where debris was being washed down the sides of the cutting the lids were swopped for the non slatted type. The work on the drain was taken as far as it could be awaiting management decision on how it was to be terminated. Work then switched to making a start on rectifying the 38 seized and loose T bolts between crossing and OB 20.95. About half were dealt with by close of play. Report by Tony Baker
Coed Helen drains - Tony BakerCoed Helen drains - Tony Baker Coed Helen drains - Tony Baker

18th September 2012
Report by Tony Baker: The Tuesday Gang spent the day at Coed Helen where a further 30 seized T-bolts were dealt with. We have now completed from Hendy crossing 21.43 to St Helens Rd OB 20.77. Further sections from Bronant LC 23.36 to Hendy remain to be done to complete Caernarfon to Dinas. Six of us worked on this whilst a further three went to Meillionen Halt, which we have adopted, and planted bulbs and various spring flowering plants. All trains seen during the day were well loaded. Most encouraging for this time in the season.

2nd October 2012
On October 2nd the Tuesday Gang were tasked with cleaning out the drainage ditch that runs alongside the track in the vicinity of OB 23.56 (Plas Dinas bridge). Some may recognise this stretch as being the trackbed of the Nantlle Tramway where it goes through a tunnel under the Plas Dinas road. The drain had become heavily silted up due to blockages in the flow due to tree and masonry debris. This we set to clearing it, the theory being that if a good strong flow could be obtained then the silt would be washed away over time. Report and pictures by Tony Baker
Drain defore clearance - Tony BakerClearance under way - Tony Baker Clearance completed - Tony BakerFlow into the Nantlle tunnel mouth - Tony Baker

9th October 2012
Members of the Tuesday Gang were assisting in the carriage shed with the painting of the SA brake van.  A coal fired 138 had just returned from a light engine run to Caernarfon and the crew are seen oiling round and generally checking that all is well.
Andrew Thomas reports that NG/G16 No.138 has been steamed for the first time following overhaul and conversion to coal firing. It is pictured below in the platform road at Dinas following successful test runs to Caernarfon. When 138 is officially returned to service in the next few weeks, NG/G16 No.87 will be withdrawn from traffic for overhaul as part of the maintenance programme. 
Coal fired 138 being checked at Dinas - Tony Baker

14th October 2012
 No.138 was undergoing further trials between Dinas and Caernarfon - the first picture shows Castell Caernarfon with a works train awaiting access to the main line at Dinas, and the second, taken from the departing works train, is of No.138 having returned to the loco shed. Report and pictures by Steve Broomfield
138 on trial - Steve Broomfield138 on trial - Steve Broomfield

16th November 2012
Work started  on erecting the platform canopy at Caernarfon station on 15th November, with Brunswick Ironworks as the contractors.
The canopy will be completed in time for the Santa Trains in December to protect the passengers from the worst of the weather.
The canopy is funded by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri (the Welsh Highland Railway Society), Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Government.
Picture by John E Williams
Erecting the canopy at Caernarfon station - picture by John E Williams

18th November 2012
The canopy at Caernarfon station is progressing.  Pictures by Laurence Armstrong
Construction of new canopy at Caernarfon station - Laurence ArmstrongConstruction of new canopy at Caernarfon station - Laurence Armstrong Construction of new canopy at Caernarfon station - Laurence Armstrong
23rd November 2012
Latest progress with the platform canopy at Caernarfon. Pictures by David Tidy
Platform canopy CaernarfonPlatform canopy Caernarfon
10th January 2013
The finished platform canopy is seen in these pictures:
Caernarfon platform canopy - David TidyCaernarfon platform canopy - David Tidy Caernarfon platform canopy - David Tidy
15th January 2013
 The Tuesday gang spent the 15th January installing a pedestrian gate at the tunnel end of the car park at Caernarfon Station. A gate was found that had been recovered from Bron Hebog LC and which fitted perfectly between two of the existing fence posts. Report by Tony Baker

19th February 2013
 Andy Rutter reports: The Dinas running shed looks quite impressive with the roads full of Garratts, especially as the new lighting makes such an improvement.
These views were taken on the K1 working party weekend of Feb 16/17th.
Garratts in extended Dinas loco shed - Andy RutterGarratts in extended Dinas loco shed - Andy Rutter
23/24 March
Over the weekend 23/24 March the North Wales/Black Hand Gang were busy at Caernarfon and Beddgelert. First job on Saturday morning was a litter pick-up at Caernarfon station before the first train. This is a perennial problem at this  station with mainly bottles and cans being thrown from the footpath above the station. The Ff&WHRCo will be asking Gwynedd Council and North Wales Police to assist with reducing or even eliminating this serious anti-social and hazardous problem.

26th March 2013
The Tuesday Gang were tasked with replacing a life expired boundary fence at Dinas. The fence lies between the railway's land and the land belonging to an adjacent house by the entrance to the north yard. The fence is to consist of concrete posts, gravel boards and wooden panels.This proved to be a slow job as we encountered a concrete raft 4 inches below the surface when digging the post holes. A Kango and chisel bit had to be used and only one panel was successfully installed by close of play. Report by Tony Baker

2nd April 2013
The Tuesday Gang continued with the erection of the fence panels on the boundary near the entrance to Dinas north yard.  By the end of the day, four of us had fixed a further five panels and started the last two holes for the last two panels. Hole digging was not too bad but one or two difficult bits though with buried rocks and some tarmac. The remaining two holes are going to be problematical on account of hitting the concrete raft again.

30th July 2013
The Tuesday gang spent Tuesday 30th July at Dinas spreading more ash in the carriage shed, adding to the ash they had spread previously alongside No 1 Road for the benefit of staff working on the carriages. A start was also made on fabricating a new non slip platform for the ground frame at the side of the carriage shed.
Previous work during the month had included painting check rail ends, point levers and buffers along much of the line, and oiling up points at Dinas
28th April 2014
The Llanwnda Distant signal was donated some years ago and has been in storage at Dinas ever since.  It has now been restored and put on display in Dinas North Yard.
Llanwnda signal in Dinas! - Laurence ArmstrongView from the up platform - Laurence Armstrong   View from the down platform - Laurence Armstro View from alongside goods shed looking north - Laurence ArmstrongThe view with 87 arriving in the platform - Laurence Armstrong

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Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated 28th April 2014 by David Tidy