Welsh Highland Railway - Upkeep and Improvements

Harbour Station Works


Upkeep and
Improvements pages:
 
 Harbour station works part 2  Caernarfon Station development

NB For works after 1st November 2013 see part 2

This is the final stage of the major construction work on the Welsh Highland Restoration. The Cob is to be widened and a second platform created at Harbour Station to accommodate the Welsh Highland trains. 

The plan for reorganisation of Harbour Station as at 25th October 2011 has now been published  by the Construction Office.  Click on the plan for a full size version::

Harbour reorganisation plan

20th October 2011

Work was started today at  Harbour Station to widen the Cob to accommodate the proposed WHR platform. A digger was in action today preparing the ground, removing the wall on the seaward side of the railway and creating an access ramp to the foreshore..

24th October 2011

Preparatory work is under way at the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway Station at Porthmadog for its major Cob widening project. The work is needed in order to improve the historic station – which dates from 1863 – to enable it to be used by Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland trains simultaneously. At present, the single platform layout precludes a direct interchange between services from Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon.

A temporary crossing over the rails and an access ramp from the station siding area to the beach will allow access for the plant and some 5,000 tons of fill material required to widen some 200 metres of the 200 year old embankment on the seaward side to allow additional railway tracks to be laid at the Porthmadog end. Says project manager Mike Hart: "The crossing will be completed in December ready for closure of the station in January when the basic Cob widening gets underway. The challenge is to have taken all the fill material over to the seaward side of the Cob before start of services in March - although stone deliveries will have to largely stop for the half term week services in February. By then we anticipate having completed most of the work to widen the Cob with finishing taking another few weeks past then in finally shaping up the embankment using material that will, by then, already be on site. Opening up the wall along the back to of the station helps us access the site over the next few days to dig some trial holes to double check ground conditions."

When the widening work is completed, volunteers will start to lay track on the new section of the Cob over next summer, which can be done without interfering with passenger services. Track materials will be delivered to site by rail. Winter 2012/2013 will then see the new platforms constructed and the rest of the trackwork and signalling completed.   Report and pictures by Andrew Thomas

Exploratory work ahead of the Cob Widening project starting in January 2012 involved building an access ramp to the foreshore at Porthmadog Harbour Station. Pic: Andrew ThomasExploratory work ahead of the Cob Widening project starting in January 2012 involved building an access ramp to the foreshore at Porthmadog Harbour Station. Pic: Andrew ThomasExploratory work ahead of the Cob Widening project starting in January 2012 involved building an access ramp to the foreshore at Porthmadog Harbour Station. Pic: Andrew ThomasExploratory work ahead of the Cob Widening project starting in January 2012 involved building an access ramp to the foreshore at Porthmadog Harbour Station. Pic: Andrew Thomas

27th October 2011

The preparatory work  has removed a section of the wall on the seaward side of the station and created a ramp giving access to the foreshore.  A "Terrier" sampling rig was used on the foreshore to enable a ground investigation to be undertaken. 

Preparatory work for Cob widening - David Tidy

5th November 2011
No 6 Road at Harbour station was being removed to provide turning space for  lorries delivering stone for Cob widening. Pictures by Andrew Thomas

Removing No 6 Road at Harbour station - Andrew ThomasRemoving No 6 Road at Harbour Station - Andrew Thomas

18th November 2011
Tarmac was delivered to create the haul road across the tracks for stone deliveries. Moel Hebog was on hand to create flangeways while the tarmac was still soft. Picture by Andrew Thomas.

Delivering tarmac to Harbour Station for haul road - Andrew Thomas

26th November 2011
On Sunday 13th November steam locomotive Gertrude had become the first Gelert's Farm-based locomotive to travel over the F&WHR metals from Pen y Mount Junction to the Cob as she travelled over Britannia Bridge en route from Gelert's Farm to Boston Lodge.  The trip was to facilitate Gertrude's outward journey to the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at Birmingham's NEC. WHR Ltd director Richard Harrison was at the helm, as the loco was towed by F&WHR diesel Criccieth Castle, driven by F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin.

Gertrude arrives at Harbour Station behind Criccieth Castle. L-R: WHHR director Richard Harrison; F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin; F&WHR signalman Jamie Moore. Pic: Andrew Thomas

The return journey was made on 26th November 2011, towed by SBR Mallet No 9. The accompanying video by John Wooden shows the journey and incidentally gives a good view of the haul road across the tracks at Harbour station, created in readiness for the Cob widening.

3rd January 2012
The contract has been signed for the works to widen the Cob - see News

5th January 2012

Jones Bros have moved on to the site and set up their compound around the haul road.
Picture by Andrew Thomas
Jones Bros compound - Andrew Thomas
11th January 2012
Rock deliveries for widening the Cob started today. Andrew Thomas reports:
The first load of the 25,000 tonnes of rock needed for the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway Cob Widening Project was delivered at 1250 today.
Jones Bros of Ruthin are the contractors for the first phase of the 1 million project which will see 260 metres of the embankment, built in 1811, widened to allow the construction of a second platform at Porthmadog Harbour Station. This will enable trains from both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways to use the station simultaneously.
When the work is complete, in time for the 2013 season, the improvements will allow the railway to offer a much-improved service for passengers, with cross-platform interchange between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon trains.
The rock delivery phase will be completed by mid-February.
Pictures by Andrew Thomas
First rock deliveries to Cob - Andrew ThomasFirst rock deliveries to Cob - Andrew ThomasFirst rock deliveries to Cob - Andrew ThomasFirst rock deliveries to Cob - Andrew Thomas

12th January 2012
Mike Hart explains:
The basic plan is that a trench is dug in the sand which is then covered with a plastic membrane on which the rock is placed. During low tides the area of work will be able to extend with further sections of membrane laid and sufficient rock placed to get above most of the higher tide water levels. Then when the tide is in work will move back to increase the height of sections that have already seen that initial depth of rock cover.
Further stone deliveries took place today.   The photo by Andrew Thomas shows the situation on Day 2:
Cob widening project Day 2 - Andrew Thomas

13th January 2012
Stone deliveries continued,  pictures by David Firth:
Stone deliveries - David FirthStone deliveries - David FirthStone deliveries - David Firth

14th January 2012

The stone which had been delivered by the end of the first week was being levelled.  Picture by Andrew Thomas.
Levelling the first week's stone - Andrew Thomas
19th January 2012
Pictures by Andrew Thomas at low tide show the excavator digging the trench for the bottom layer of armour stone. The trench is lined with a geotextile mat to avoid erosion beneath the stones by wave action.
Excavating armour stone trench - Andrew ThomasExcavating armour stone trench - Andrew Thomas

20th January 2012
Pictures by Andrew Thomas show the extent of the widening works so far, with the excavator engaged in positioning the armour stone.
Cob progress 20th January 2012 - Andrew ThomasCob progress 20th January 2012 - Andrew ThomasCob progress 20th January 2012 - Andrew ThomasCob progress 20th January 2012 - Andrew Thomas

24th January 2012
Work proceeds apace on the Cob widening with frequent lorry loads of  both fill stone and armour stone throughout the day. Around half of the stone required for the task has now been delivered. Time lapse recordings of each day's activity are being posted on the Festrail website. As a brief overview of progress, a series of stills from each day's video has been created. 

The picture by Andrew Thomas shows the current situation.

Cob widening - progress 24th Feb 2012 - Andrew Thomas
26th January 2012
Pictures by Andrew Thomas show the slope of the Cob beginning to appear during placement of armour stone.
Levelling the fill material - Andrew ThomasPlacing armour stone - Andrew ThomasPlacing armour stone -Andrew Thomas

27th January 2012
The latest video from John Wooden shows the work in progress,  including the placing of armour stone on the geotextile base. He explains that the extension is being built up above the final level to provide a stockpile for use during the half term week when trains will be running.


5th February 2012
Stone for the  Cob widening is now stockpiled to a level well  above the track.  The picture by Andrew Thomas shows the situation on 2nd February
Cob works as at 2nd February - Andrew Thomas

Mike Hart reports:
As at last Friday about of the material was already on site and we want to get as much as possible of the balance needed to finish the job squeezed on site by end of this week. Then, during half term week the contractor will concentrate mainly on continuing to build the armour rock wall with only restricted access available over the level crossing at Harbour Station.

8th  February 2012
Mike Hart Reports: We have just about squeezed in all in the general fill stone, plus a stock of armour stone, that will fit on site for the moment. Most of the lorries you see now will be a limited number bringing in more of the large armour stone for the seaward facing slope so as to keep up with the usage rate. Once the slope is finished we don’t expect more than a few loads of general fill will be needed, with the embankment construction finished by end the month

9th February 2012
The latest batch of video stills clearly illustrates the  growth of the Cob over the past month. The stockpile of stone and placement of the armour stone on the geotextile membrane are clearly visible.
John Wooden's new video depicts the process

10th February 2012
Passenger trains start again tomorrow for the half term service. The first passenger stock since the beginning of the year entered Harbour Station today in preparation for the resumption of services. Pictures by Andrew Thomas show the haul road being cordoned off and the train entering the station.
Cordoning off the entrance to the haul road - Andrew Thomas The station prepared for service - Andrew ThomasThe first passenger stock arrives - Andrew Thomas

11th February 2012
The station is back in service for the half term trains.

The extent of the widened Cob is evident with the stockpiled armour stone piled up behind the barrier fence.
Stockpiled armour stoneStockpiled armour stone  Stockpiled armour stone
 A set of points at the station  is in the process of being motorised, and an indicator board has been erected.
New point motorNew indicator board

23rd February 2012
Andrew Thomas reports:
Phase 1 of the Cob widening should be complete around the end of next week (March 3rd). A splendid effort by all concerned and helped immeasurably by the fact that we have had no snow.
24th February 2012
Pictures by Andrew Thomas show the final phases of placimg the armour stone
Phase 1 of Cob widening nears completion - Andrew ThomasPhase 1 of Cob widening nears completion - Andrew ThomasPhase 1 of Cob widening nears completion - Andrew ThomasPhase 1 of Cob widening nears completion - Andrew ThomasPhase 1 of Cob widening nears completion - Andrew Thomas

28th February 2012
The new king point for Harbour Station is taking shape at Price's in South Wales. The FR main line turns left, the WHR goes straight on.
Report and pictures by Andrew Thomas
King point for harbour station - Andrew ThomasKing point for harbour station - Andrew Thomas

13th March 2012
The last delivery of armour stone was made and the last piece put in position:.
Pictures show the Cob widening almost complete:
The last armour stone arrives - Andrew ThomasThe widened Cob near completion - Chris ParryCob widening almost complete - Chris ParryThe last piece of armour stone is placed - Andrew Thomas

17th March 2012
The following press statement on completion of the first phase of widening the Cob was issued by the Company today:
 
Porthmadog, March 17th 2012.
Phase One of the 1.1 million project to redevelop the historic Porthmadog Harbour Station is now complete.
Contractors Jones Bros of Ruthin have placed almost 40,000 tons of fill material and armour stone, sourced from nearby Minffordd Quarry, to widen 260 metres of the 200 year old Cob Embankment which stretches for a mile across the Glaslyn Estuary.
The work will enable the construction of a second platform at the station, which opened to passengers in 1865, enabling a cross-platform interchange between Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland trains. At present, both railways have to share a single platform, which places severe operating restrictions on service levels.
Although most of Jones’ plant has now been removed from site, one excavator will remain for up to two weeks to work on a separate Environment Agency contract to carry out maintenance work on the original Cob beyond the widened section.

Later this year, when the widened section of the Cob has settled, contractors will return to level the surface, remove the existing wave wall and build a new one along the seaward side. Only then can a start be made on relaying track in the station area and the construction of a new island platform serving both railways.
All main line points and signals will be electrically-operated and a prototype point motor has already been installed for testing purposes. It is anticipated that work will be complete in late 2013 or early 2014 as the intensive service on both lines which starts at the end of March effectively precludes any significant civil engineering work before the winter.
The railway has produced a DVD – available from Harbour Station shop or by mail order - detailing the project and including stop motion footage covering the entire construction phase.
For further information contact andrew.thomas@festrail.co.uk or on 01766 516072

31st March 2012
Work was undertaken to relay the siding which forms No 6 Road at Harbour Station.  No 6 Road  had previously been removed to make space for the works to widen the Cob. Picture by Hazel Prent
 Reinstating Road 6 at Harbour Station - Hazel Prent

19th April 2012
The King Point for the revised Harbour station layout has been delivered to Minffordd.  Picture by Andrew Thomas
King Point at Minffordd

17th September 2012
Work is starting on Phase 2 of the Cob widening. The haul road is being reinstated after a section was removed for the summer season, and a base is being prepared for the site office. The various contractors on the site will be sharing a single office to reduce costs. Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Reinstating the haul road - Andrew ThomasPreparing the site - Andrew ThomasPreparing the site - Andrew Thomas

The proposed phasing of the work is shown in the plans drawn by Stuart McNair and released by the Construction Company:
Phase 2 - New wave wall and part of new platform constructed, new King Point installed. Winter 2012-2013.Phase 3 - Tracklaying proceeds without disruption to services. Spring 2013. Phase 4 - Late 2013Final track plan for 2014

24th September 2012
The picture by Andrew Thomas shows the site office in place and the haul road reinstated
Site office and haul road - Andrew Thomas

9th October 2012
Tuesday Gang South report that the trench to bury the water pipe across the haul road at Harbour Station was dug to depth. Protective orange ducting lengths were joined with duct tape and inserted.

10th October 2012
Cob Widening Phase 2 is underway.  Contractors have today started work on the new wave wall. The photo by Andrew Thomas shows the trench being excavated adjacent to the new armourstone.
Start of work on new wave wall - Andrew Thomas   
16th October 2012
The first concrete was poured today for the new wave wall footings. Meanwhile rails from the Isle of Man have been stockpiled at Minffordd in readiness for use as the WHR platform road and sidings in the redeveloped Harbour Station. Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Pouring concrete footings for new wave wall - Andrew ThomasPouring concrete footings for new wave wall - Andrew ThomasRails at Minffordd - Andrew Thomas

5/6 November 2012
The foundation for the new wave wall has been completed and can be seen in the first picture. The old wall is being cut into sections and removed.  Pictures by Andrew Thomas
The foundation for the new wave wall is complete - Andrew Thomas The old wall is being cut up - Andrew ThomasBreaking up the wall - Andrew ThomasRemovng a segment of the wall - Andrew ThomasA segment of the wall has been removed - Andrew Thomas

Precast concrete blocks are being used to construct the new wall. These have been delivered to the site and are being put into position. Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Concrete blocks for the new wall - Andrew ThomasPlacing the first block - Andrew ThomasThe first block in place - Andrew ThomasPausing for a train - Andrew ThomasPlacing the second block - Andrew Thomas

17th November 2012
 Pictures by Andrew Thomas show progress with the wave wall during the past week:  
Wave wall progress - Andrew ThomasWave wall progress - Andrew Thomas    
19th November 2012
The final blocks to complete the wave wall were laid today. Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Laying the final blocks for the wave wal - Andrew ThomasLaying the final blocks for the wave wal - Andrew Thomas
21st November 2012
Minor works to complete the wave wall were still in progress
Wave wall almost complete - David Tidy

14th December 2012
Harbour Station Resignalling

Plans are well advanced for the signalling system to accompany the remodelling of  the Harbour Station layout. It will be controlled  from a new signal box on the Cob with a separate relay room nearby.
Signal box plan
 An appeal in memory of Alan Pegler has been launched to fund the programme.

Work commenced early in December 2012.
On 5th December 2012 the concrete was being poured for the base of the relay room. (Picture by Andrew Thomas)
Concreting the base of the relay room - Andrew Thomas
On 10th December 2012 the walls of the relay room were being erected. (Picture by Andrew Thomas)
Erecting relay room - Andrew Thomas
The roof trusses were  placed by the Tuesday Gang on 11th December 2012. The slates will be laid in January. (Pictures by Tony Baker and Stuart McNair)
Erecting relay room roof - Tony BakerErecting relay room roof - Tony BakerErecting relay room roof - Stuart McNairErecting relay room roof -Stuart McNair
The base of the signal box was being prepared at the same time.  (Pictures by Stuart McNair and Tony Baker)
Signal box base - Stuart McNairBase of signal box - Tony Baker
8th January 2013
Work is now underway on the next phase of works on the Cob.
(All pictures by Stuart McNair)

On Thursday 3rd January the sleepers were removed from the track where the new king point is to be  placed. This also left the cable duct which previously ran alongside the old wave wall free to be lowered as it will need to run under the points
 Lifting sleepers for the king point - Stuart McNairSleepers awaiting removal - Stuart McNair
On Monday 7th January the contractors were digging the trench into which the cable duct is to be lowered
Trench for cable duct - Stuart McNair
On Tuesday 8th January a further trench was being dug outside Spooners. A trench for the power supply had also been dug at the other end of the platform.
Trench digging outside Spooners - Stuart McNairTrench for power supply - Stuart McNair
10 January 2013
The latest phase of works on the Cob and at Harbour station is well under way with much activity on site.

The remainder of the old wave wall  is being demolished and removed:
Demolishing the old wave wall - David TidyDemolishing the old wave wall - David TidyDemolishing the old wave wall - David Tidy Demolishing the old wave wall - David Tidy 
The cable duct which runs along the Cob is being lowered into a trench  in the area affected by the station remodelling works:
Sinking the cable duct - David Tidy Sinking the cable duct - David TidySinking the cable duct - David Tidy
A new series of cable ducts is being laid to service the signalling system:
Cable ducts - David TidyLaying cable ducts - David TidyLaying cable ducts - David Tidy Laying cable ducts - David TidyLaying cable ducts - David TidyLaying cable ducts - David TidyLaying cable ducts - David Tidy
Provision for a new power supply is being made with a trench across the tracks near the water tower:
Power supply ducts being laid near water tower - David TidyPower supply ducts being laid near water tower - David TidyPower supply ducts being laid near water tower - David Tidy Power supply ducts being laid near water tower - David TidyPower supply ducts being laid near water tower - David TidyPower supply ducts being laid near water tower - David Tidy  
Rails are already on site for future tracklaying work.  
The yard points have previously been delivered to Dinas and are being stored there pending installation. The King point has been in store at Minffordd since April 2012.  
Rails on site at Harbour station - David TidyRails on site at Harbour station - David TidyPoints in store at Dinas - David TidyPoints in store at Dinas - David Tidy Points in store at Dinas - David Tidy  
13th January 2013
The latest pictures by Stuart McNair show the progress since 10th January
Harbour works 13 Jan2013 - S McNairHarbour works 13 Jan2013 - S McNairHarbour works 13 Jan2013 - S McNairHarbour works 13 Jan2013 - S McNair
14th January 2013
All but a few feet of the wave wall beside the disc signals has now been removed and much of the work on the cable ducts to supply the new signal box has been completed. The blue boards on posts are for the offset to the ducting trench, but are roughly where the new seaward platform edge will be. Pictures by Andrew Thomas.
Cob widening- wave wall gone, platfrom edge marked out - Andrew ThomasCob widening- wave wall gone, platfrom edge marked out - Andrew Thomas Cob widening- wave wall gone, platfrom edge marked out - Andrew Thomas
17th January 2013
The WHR loop point and the king point were delivered to site ahead of tracklayers' working week starting on 19th January. Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Delivering points to the Cob - Andrew ThomasDelivering points to the Cob - Andrew Thomas Second section of WHR loop point being positioned - Andrew ThomasFirst section of WHR loop point being pulled into position - Andrew ThomasSwitch section of WHR point - Andrew Thomas
19/20 January 2013
Over the weekend the tracklaying working party positioned the king point and the WHR loop point. Each of the points had been delivered in two sections and unloaded on to the track close to the station. The sections were dragged one by one along the track into their approximate positions using a winch.   The WHR loop point was positioned first and the king point dragged over it into postion.  Pictures by Andrew Thomas and Stuart McNair

Positioning the WHR loop point - Andrew ThomasPositioning the king point - Andrew ThomasThe points in place - Andrew ThomasPositioning the king point sleeper - Andrew ThomasPositioning the king point sleeper - Andrew ThomasAdjusting the position - Stuart McNair

Slates have been delivered and work has started on roofing the relay room.  Picture by Stuart McNair
Roofing the relay room - Stuart McNair

The trench to carry the power cable to the signal box is now being filled in.   Nos 1 & 3 roads have been reinstated while no 2 remains to be done.  Picture by Andrew Thomas
   Cable trench being reinstated - Andrew Thomas
22nd January 2013
The Tuesday gang spent the 22nd of January working at Porthmadog. The first part of the day was spent in Minffordd Yard unloading and stacking recovered sleepers that had been changed for new by the Network Rail gang. The second part of the day was spent on the Cob digging out life expired sleepers. The surrounding ballast was dug out but the sleepers left in situ for a future working party when they will be replaced. Thirty four sleepers were dealt with by the gang.
Digging out ballast from sleepers - Tony Baker
Roofing work on the relay room is progressing:
Roofing the relay room - Andrew Thomas
Meanwhile tracklaying is proceeding
Cutting the main line to length - Andrew ThomasTrack work at Harbour station - Andrew Thomas Rest of the World Gang - Andrew Thomas

24th January 2013
John Wooden has produced a video of this phase of the project:


The Rest of the World Gang pose for the camera after completing the installation of the new King and WHR loop points at Porthmadog Harbour Station. Four welded joints and ballasting remain before the line can be returned to use for the Half Term trains next month.  Pictures by Andrew Thomas
Main line nearly complete - Andrew ThomasRest of the World Gang - Andrew Thomas
26th January 2013
Ballast was packed around the King point, after which rails were brought up by the North Wales/Black Hand Gang from the stock in the yard and positioned for the first panel of  the Ffestiniog platform road.
Ballasting the King point - Stuart McNairPacking the King point - Stuart McNairBringing up more rails - Andrew ThomasBringing up rails for the FR platform road -Stuart McNairRails laid in place by King point- Stuart McNair
27th January 2013
North Wales/Black Hand Gang were levelling and packing the track. The initial spurs of track for both WHR platform road and FfR platform road have been laid in readiness for welding the joints..
Packing the King point - Stuart McNairLevelling a spur - Stuart McNair
The base for signal 7A/7B has been cast:
Base for signal 7/7A - Stuart McNair
The proposed signalling plan for  Harbour station shows the location of signal 7A/7B at the end of the extended platform:
Harbour signalling plan 
The work on the relay room by the students from Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Dolgellau is progressing.  Following their offer to make the door and window frames,  they have taken on the slating of the roof as well. The picture shows an interior view:
Relay room interior view - Stuart McNair
29th January 2013
 The Tuesday Gang spent the day at Porthmadog working on the Relay Room. They had previously installed the roof trusses and today turned their attention to the internal floor and walls. A plastic membrane was stapled to the floor, hardboard panels were screwed down on top of it and wall panels were fitted .
Relay room floor - fixing plastic membrane - Tony BakerRelay room floor - fixing hardboard panels - Tony Baker Relay room - fixing wall panels - Tony Baker
Meanwhile the Coleg Meirion Dwyfor students were  installing slates on the roof in the rain. 
Relay room - slating the roof - Tony Baker
31st January 2013
The steel framework for the signal box has been erected on the concrete base.
The view from within shows the floor joists where the lever frame is to be mounted, with the relay room and Boston Lodge beyond:
Erecting the framework for the signal box - Stuart McNairThe framework for the signal box - Stuart McNair Erecting the framework for the signal box - Stuart McNairThe framework for the signal box from within - Stuart McNair

Roofing of the relay room is well advanced and the plastic cladding to resist the sea air is now being applied to the rear of the building.  Wood cladding is proposed for the remainder of the building.
Roofing the relay room - Andrew ThomasCladding the relay room - Stuart McNair
1st February 2013
The interior of the relay room is now fully lined and painted, ready for electrical installation to start. Also visible is the slate punch used for the roofing work.
Relay room interior complete- Steve Broomfield
The new points use S30 rail, whereas the mainline and yard are laid in 75lb rail. To avoid the need for composite fishplates where the two types of rail meet, short lengths of S30 rail have been welded to the 75lb rail ends adjacent to the points.
Positioning the rails - Andrew ThomasPreheating the rail ends - Andrew Thomas Welding the rails - Andrew Thomas
4th February 2013
During a three day working party over the past weekend, F.R.E.D (Ffestiniog Railway Electrical Department) volunteers installed sockets, light fittings, heating and emergency lights in the relay room. By the afternoon of Monday 4th, only one heater and three double sockets remained to be fitted;  the sockets will be done after new racking is installed in the future. Once the armoured cable to the signal box has been installed, a second armoured cable will carry the supply forward to the relay room from the signal box. Report and pictures by Ross Williams
Electrics fitted in Relay room - Ross WilliamsElectrics fitted in Relay room - Ross Williams

The next two new points for the Harbour Station Project have been made by K.J.G Price Ltd. Their photos show
the S30 left hand point (made of new S30 rail) which is to go into the FR platform road as the start of the yard cross over,
while the 75lb right hand point (made from good 2nd hand 75lb rail to match the approach tracks) is for the Britannia Bridge end of the WHR platform tracks.  
The points are subject to a final inspection visit next week, then planning for delivery by month end. (Andrew Thomas)
S30 left hand point for FR platform road - K Price&Co75lb rail point for WHR platform road - K Price&Co
5th February 2013
The Tuesday Gang spent the 5th February changing life-expired sleepers on the Cob at Porthmadog. A cold northwesterly wind guaranteed that everyone worked hard in order to keep warm. Thirteen sleepers which had been dug out a fortnight ago were pulled out and changed for new sleepers. It is anticipated that the rest of the candidates for replacement will be dealt with in a fortnight's time on our next visit to the FfR.  Further toward the station itself a gang of Network Rail apprentices were dealing with a dip, and kango packing. (Report and pictures by Tony Baker)
Replacing sleepers on the Cob - Tony BakerReplacing sleepers on the Cob - Tony BakerReplacing sleepers on the Cob - Tony Baker

6th February 2013
The newly laid points were being packed with ballast
Works train delivering ballast - Andrew ThomasPacking ballast - Andrw Thomas

9th February 2013 A successful outcome to the recent activity is shown by the first train of the season passing the construction site
First train of the season - Stuart McNair
12th February 2013
The Tuesday Gang spent the day painting the steelwork of the new Porthmadog signal box with a black bitumastic waterproof paint. Harbour Station was a hive of activity with contractors laying in the new platform kerbs and elsewhere signalling apprentices fitting out the Relay Room. Half term trains were running and the pictures show Lyd passing the newly completed platform kerbing. Report  by Tony Baker, pictures by Tony Baker and Stuart McNair
Painting the signal box steelwork - Tony BakerNew platform kerb edging - Tony Baker New platform kerb edging - Tony BakerNew platform edging - Stuart McNair
19th February 2013
The Tuesday Gang spent the day continuing with the replacement of life expired sleepers at the Boston Lodge end of the Cob. Todays working party was joint with a Ffestiniog Railway Society working party and replaced a further 23 sleepers completing the job started on the 22nd of January. The sun shone all day from a cloudless blue sky and there was no wind on the Cob giving ideal working conditions. Report and picture by Tony Baker
Replacing sleepers on the Cob - Tony Baker

John Wooden has published the second instalment of his series of videos chronicling the recent Cob widening works:

23rd  February 2013
At Harbour station the point for 4/5 roads was removed for reuse as one half of the FR yard crossover by the new signal box.  Its place was taken by the point relocated from the Caernarfon end of Hafod y Llyn, where a new point has been installed. The picture taken by Andrew Thomas during the works shows the replacement point on the haul road awaiting installation on 4/5 roads.
Replacing points at Harbour station - Andrew Thomas

7th March 2013
The Tuesday Gang were at Porthmadog on the 5th March. Their main job was to reinstate 6 Road. This had been lifted up in panels to allow the contractors to work on the wave wall. They were assisted by a contractor with a mini-digger. The first picture shows 6 Road panels on top of 5 Road. The second and third pictures show thework in progress and the finished job. They also ballasted the points leading to 4 & 5 Roads; these points had been brought in from Hafod y Llyn in place of the previous set. Rails were also unloaded for future work by the FR Dee & Mersey Gang.
The final picture shows the new block work in place at the base of the signal box.
Reinstating 6 Road at Harbour station - Tony BakerReinstating 6 Road at Harbour station - Tony BakerReinstating 6 Road at Harbour station - Tony BakerBlocks in base of signal box - Tony Baker

The new signal posts for Harbour station resignalling have now been delivered to Minffordd yard where they are stored by the rail stack.
Signal posts at Minffordd - Stuart McNair
11th March 2013
New points were delivered today from South Wales to Harbour station
Delivering new points - Stuart McNairDelivering new points - Andrew Thomas
17th March 2013
Work was in progress on the cladding of the Relay Room and on the structure of the signal box.  Pictures by Stuart McNair
Cladding the relay room - Stuart McNair Working on the signal box structure- Stuart McNair
19th March 2013
Tuesday Gang were at Harbour Station ballasting and shovel packing Road 6 which they had reassembled a fortnight previously. The ballast used was second hand and possibly originated from the new Moelwyn Tunnel. The size of some of the lumps did not make the task of shovel packing to get a level siding an easy one  but the result was acceptable.  Report by Tony Baker
 Spreading ballast - Tony Baker Shovel packing ballast - Tony Baker
12/13/14/15 April 2013
The ROWG April long-weekend working party ran for 4 days from Friday 12th, when they were tasked with laying more track on The Cob. On Friday they had a works train from Minffordd to deliver track materials to site, including about 100 timber sleepers and ten 11m lengths of 75lb ex-IoM rail. Two 18m lengths of SAR rail were selected from a number already on site and used to extend the new FR mainline by a panel. The extant panel off the King point was also put into good order. Further progress cannot  be made here until the scaffolding around the relay room is dismantled. The remainder of the time involved  laying a further seven panels of the RhE loop-line along the kerb of the new platform, and fettling the extant one off the Queen point.  Picture by Steve Broomfield shows a track panel being laid, and the background progress with the relay room/signal box. Report by Phil Nock,  pictures by James King
The King & Queen points - James King The RhE loop - James KingThe RhE loop - James King
16th April 2013
Tuesday Gang report by Tony Baker:
The plan was for the gang to make a start fitting the roof trusses to the new Porthmadog signal box. However, the weather had other ideas. A strong wind meant that fitting the large triangular trusses into place would have been difficult if not well nigh impossible. So the day was spent instead fitting more of the wall panels in the signal box and painting the outside of the Relay Room. When finished this will look a real treat. The walls are a soft cream and the barge boards, soffits and fascias are "Signal Box Red" .The plan is to have a go at the trusses in a fortnights time on our next visit to Harbour Station.
The second picture is of  the 10:00 ex Caernarfon arriving on the Cob before reversal.
Fitting signal box panels - Tony BakerCaernarfon train arrives - Tony Baker
19th April 2013
Steve Broomfield reports:
Over the last two days, another 6 wall panels have been fitted to the new Signal Box and the roofing of the Relay Room has been completed by the college students.
Next Tuesday (weather permitting), it is planned to fit the Signal Box roof trusses, currently 'stored' within the structure - these can be seen in the first photograph.


Andrew Thomas adds: The Signal Box wall panels are nearly complete. The Relay Room roof has been finished off and the scaffolding can now come down on the latter.
Relay room from the signal box - Andrew ThomasSignal box progress 19 April - Andrew Thomas Signal box progress 19 April - Andrew Thomas 
23rd April 2013
Combined Tuesday Gangs.  Tony Baker and Steve Broomfield report;
Having been prevented the previous week by strong winds on the Cob from installing the roof trusses on the new Porthmadog signal box, we returned a week later to much calmer conditions and completed the job.  Both gable ends and all trusses and relevant bracing were fitted.  Nine volunteers supervised by Alan Norton were involved and to celebrate the completion we posed for a group picture (see below)  
The roof now awaits some final strengthening ties and a visit from the students at Dolgellau college who will be continuing with their excellent roofing work previously carried out on the relay room.
Erecting roof trusses on the new signal box - Tony BakerErecting roof trusses on the new signal box - Tony BakerErecting roof trusses on the new signal box - Tony BakerErecting roof trusses on the new signal box - Tony BakerErecting roof trusses on signal box - Steve BroomfieldGroup photo - Tony Baker
30th April 2013
The Tuesday Gang spent April 30th at Harbour Station preparing the site for the forthcoming Gala. Metal fence panels were used to mark out the area which is a construction site and not accessible. However the public will be allowed to cross the haul road and use an area between the construction site and the No 6 road siding.
The pictures show ongoing work on the signal box by the joint Tuesday Gang / FRS working party with the roof of the signal box now felted. This task is being pursued with some urgency as the building needs to be made weathertight at the earliest opportunity to permit the work of installing the signalling to start..
Felting the signal box roof - Tony BakerFelting the signal box roof - Tony Baker
13th May 2013
The Rest of the World Gang were ballasting the Welsh Highland platform road.  Picture by Stuart McNair
Ballasting the WHR platform road - Stuart McNair

18-25th May 2013
The Rest of the World Gang's working week in May started on Saturday 18th. Report by Phil Nock:
We had two principal tasks: ballasting and clearing sight-lines on level-crossings. The length of WHR loop-line we laid last month at Porthmadog International, was ballasted the old fashioned way, shovelling some 30 tons of ballast off a train of Hudson and RAF drop-side wagons and then jacking and shovel packing.
There is renewed emphasis on sight lines at level crossings at the moment. Our contribution was cutting back the excess vegetation at level-crossings between Bontnewydd and Rhyd Ddu.

14th June 2013
The window frames were fitted to the signal box.The frames have been made by the students at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor.  Pictures by Stuart McNair and Steve Broomfield
Windows fitted to signal box - Stuart McNair Windows in signal box - Steve Broomfield
18th June 2013
The Tuesday Gang spent June 18th at Harbour Station signal box. They installed insulation between the floor joists, pulled in an earth cable between the signal box and relay room and made a start on installing the wall panels. At the same time Tuesday Gang South were installing concrete troughing between the relay room and signal box to carry the signalling cables. Report and pictures by Tony Baker
Cutting the insulation panels to size - Tony BakerFitting the floor insulation - Tony Baker Installing the concrtete troughing betwen signal box and relay room - Tony Baker
The concrete bases for the new trident signal (see below),  the advanced starter and the distant signals are due to be cast on 21st June. A large quantity of concrete will be required and will have to be pumped up from the Cob road below. This will involve closing the Cob road overnight.  Image by Simon Hose
Trident signal as planned - Simon Hose
21st June 2013
The concrete bases for the signals out on the Cob were poured this evening after train services had finished. Concrete was pumped up from the Cob road which had been closed for the purpose.
Pouring concrete signal bases on the cob - Andrew Thomas Pouring concrete signal bases on the cob - Andrew ThomasPouring concrete signal bases on the cob - Andrew ThomasConcrete pour complete - Stuart McNairConcrete pour complete - Stuart McNair

7th July 2013
The scaffolding has now been removed from the signal box, revealing its true form - picture by Stuart McNair
Signal box less scaffolding - Stuart Mc Nair

22nd July 2013
Now that the scaffolding has been removed from the signal box,  tracklaying on the Cob can resume. The Rest of the World Gang made good progress over the weekend, laying track past the box for the FR platform road and positioning the FR loop points.
Bringing up the loop points - Stuart McNairTrackwork past the box - Stuart McNairPoints in place - Andrew Thomas

23rd July 2013
The Rest of the World Gang continued their working week with further tracklaying work including work on the yard point. The Tuesday Gang were also on site and spent the day putting together a new point for access to roads 4 and 5 which is made up from components of the original point previously replaced by the ex Hafod y Llyn point. The team laid out the sleepers and positioned the main components. with the  Rest of The World gang assisting in lifting the heavier items. The first picture below gives a signalman's eye view of the track southwards:-

 View from the signal box window - Steve Broomfield View past the Relay Room - Steve BroomfieldMoving up the sleepers - Andrew ThomasYard points in place - Andrew ThomasTuesday Gang assemble a point - Tony Baker

24th July 2013
Latest pictures  of track work today on the Cob:
Rest of the World Gang at work - Andrew Thomas The track past the signal box and FR platform - Andrew ThomasPoints in preparation - Andrew ThomasPoints in preparation - Stuart McNair

At the end of the day a works train is the first train to pass the signalbox, bringing up some yard points and a hopper load of ballast which was deposited along the newly-laid track.  
Works train arrives - Stuart McNairThe first train to pass the new buildings - Stuart McNairA wagonload of points - Stuart McNair Ballasting the track - Stuart McNair
6th August 2013
Handrails were fitted by the Tuesday Gang round the new signal bases on the Cob:
Signal base handrail - Steve BroomfieldSignal base handrail - Steve Broomfield  
20th August 2013
The Tuesday Gang day were at Harbour Station. Two members of the gang put some finishing touches to the signal box. The rest were moving heavy point timbers from where they had been dropped beside the FfR main line to the side of the construction site. They also moved some 18 metre rail lengths onto the rail stack from where they had been dropped,  ready for the next session of track laying. The rail movers (RRM's)  were used. the first time for some years that they had used these useful machines. 
Stacking rails on the Cob - Steve BroomfieldFinishing off the new signal box - Steve Broomfield

28th September 2013
During high summer with the busy train service in operation there has been little outward sign of change on the Cob, although preparations are being made behind the scenes for the intensive works needed during the winter to complete the project.  One of the continuing activities has been the signalling system with work in progress in the relay room and the signal box. The picture by Stuart McNair shows the interior of the signal box recently with the lever frame taking shape.
Signal box interior - Stuart McNair


Rest of the World Gang Report - September Working Week

We spent our last working week, which started on Saturday 14th September, making steady progress with the two new platform roads at Porthmadog International, in weather that alternated on a daily basis between wet, including horizontal liquid sunshine blasted by 60mph gales and gorgeous, mild autumn days that burn the tops of your ears.
The up end of the FR road was ballasted and loosely Kangoed, but more ballast is needed here before this (and the rest of it), can be brought up to the correct level and more thoroughly tamped.  Fitting two pairs of insulated fish-plates at the platform end was no mean feat, with rail alignment and length, (or lack of it), making this an awkward, but ultimately successful task. This allowed a certain amount of regapping between the king-point and platform end, that had been lost during earlier ballasting. Sufficient track components to lay a further panel at the down end, were loosely positioned there, but time precluded laying them properly, as an insulated joint to be positioned there, requires rails to be extended by welding, to get the joints in the correct position, relative to the signal.
The entirety of the current track in the WHR platform road and up to the queen-point was aligned appropriately with slewing jacks, no easy task with the track being so low in places and impinging on the concrete haunching holding the platform kerbs in place. Ballast was dropped and the whole lot jacked and Kango-packed to the finished level. 
Pictures by  Bob Zeepvat show slewing and packing the WHR platform road.
Slewing the WHR platform road - Bob ZeepvatPacking the WHR platform road - Bob Zeepvat
5th/6th October 2013
The Black Hand Gang worked at Harbour Station over the weekend. They were reconstructing a 75lb turnout for the second half of the cross-over to link with the sidings at the Ffestiniog side of the new platform. They were joined by the WHR Society President Dave Kent and John Maxey from the S&T Department, who worked alongside the gang to fit bond wires to the various point components for the track circuiting. In addition to installing the point, the gang also extended the Ffestiniog platform line and installed the first of the insulated fish plates.
Report and pictures by  David Firth and Stuart McNair.
Assembling crossover point - David FirthAssembling crossover point - David Firth Assembling crossover point - David FirthFitting an insulated fishplate - David FirthOverview of progress - Stuart McNair
14th October 2013
Continuing progress is being made with the signalling system.
Point motors have been fitted to the three newly-laid points:
Point motor fitted - pic David TidyPoint motor fitted - pic David Tidy
Installation of the lever frame in the signal box is well under way:
Signal box lever frame - pic David TidySignal box lever frame - pic David Tidy Signal box lever frame - pic David Tidy 
The installation of the wiring and the relays in the relay room is essentially complete and testing is in progress to ensure that the system operates correctly in all circumstances:
Relay room - pic David Tidy Relay room interior - pic David TidyRelay room interior - pic David Tidy
The first of the new posts has been erected next to the current starting signal:
New post - pic David Tidy
20th October 2013
The Black Hand Gang were working at Harbour Station on Sunday 20th October. They continued installing the second half of the crossover from the Ffestiniog platform line to the sidings. They also installed a insulated fish plate in the middle of the point and extended the platform line by one panel.
Installing crossover at Harbour Station - David Firth
4th November 2013
A new page has been created to cover the second phase of  the works over the winter of 2013/14.  See this page for future reports

 Back to WHR Project homepage
Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated 4th November 2013 by David Tidy