Welsh Highland Railway - Upkeep and Improvements

Pont Croesor - Porthmadog Harbour

Upkeep and
Improvements pages:
Pont Croesor - Porthmadog Harbour
 Harbour Station works  Caernarfon Station development

This section was built under Phase 4 of the railway's rebuilding and was the last of that phase of the reconstruction. The section carried its first passengers as part of the Supporters Charter trains and the Platelayers Special for those helping with the construction over the weekend of 30th and 31st October in 2010. The construction details for the section can be found using the link below:

Phase 4 - Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog - 2005 to 2010

16th November 2010

The first of the work to be reported on this page is that of improvements to the foot crossing alongside Llyn Bach. This was being remodeled by the Tuesday Gang on 16th November 2010.

Remodeling the Llyn Bach foot crossing. (Photo: S Broomfield)Remodeling the Llyn Bach foot crossing. (Photo: S Broomfield)

29th November 2010

Work is now well advanced on modifying the points and signalling at Harbour station to provide for WHR operations next year. The pictures by Andrew Thomas show the point rodding and  signalling work, including the new blockshelf  over the frame. The new fencing on the footpath side of the WHR is also shown.  Photos by Andrew Thomas.

Point rodding at Harbour - Andrew ThomasNew blockshelf - Andrew ThomasSignalling installation - Andrew ThomasSignalling installation - Andrew ThomasFootpath fencing - Andrew Thomas

30th November 2010

The Tuesday Gang were at work today on the final foot crossing. Tony Baker writes: 

Today we started our last level crossing. LC 58:36. This is on the currently closed footpath from Pen y Mount to Porthmadog, cut by the bypass work. The first job is to install the crossing timbers. These are cut to size on site and have to fit round the sleepers and rail fixings. We completed the inner timbers and started the outer timbers. About 2 hours work remains to finish this stage. Then the CCT grids will be installed and finally the signage.   Our understanding is that the construction company will hand this final length over on the 1st Dec 2010
Pictures attached show the cutting and shaping and the state we left it in for now: 

Installing LC 58.36 - Tony BakerInstalling LC 58.36 - Tony Baker

1st December 2010

More pictures of the new installations at Harbour station, courtesy of Phil Brown.  The pictures show the new blockshelf,  point mechanism, and the signalling relating to the Britannia bridge crossing, including the stop boards and controls for the crossing. The actual key to operate the switches forms part of the token. Commissioning is planned to be completed by the end of the second week in December after which testing and training will  commence. The plungers on the blockshelf will operate backlocks on the frame and from left to right are planned to be:
Acceptance for in-bound WHR train
WHR disc signal
Yard Exit signal
Cancel for the previous ones.
Main points release
WHR points plunger and indicator (inside locked block).

Blockshelf over frame - Phil BrownHarbour signalling - Phil BrownHarbour signalling - Phil BrownPoint mechanism - Phil BrownPoint mechanism - Phil Brown

Stop board at crossing for down trains - Phil BrownKey switch to initiate crossing for down trains - Phil BrownCrossing indicator light for down trains - Phil BrownCrossing indicator light and stop board for up trains - Phil BrownKey switch and speed restriction board for up trains - Phil BrownKey switch for up trains - Phil BrownHarbour signalling - Phil Brown

13th December 2010

Day and night time tests were carried out yesterday for an independent crossing audit led by Arup, with representatives of North Wales Trunk Road Agency, Gwynedd Police and
Porthmadog Town Council present. The audit was a routine procedure in advance of the change of status of this road once the Porthmadog bypass is opened. Some trains also continued on to Pont Croesor for driver training. Photographs by Andrew Thomas show the train  topped and tailed with Vale of Ffestiniog and  Merddin Emrys:

VoFf ready sto start - Andrew ThomasME tails the train on the bridge - Andrew ThomasME leads the return journey - Andrew ThomasVoFf follows through again past the Cob Records store - Andrew Thomas

The video by David Meggers shows the test run in daylight:


14th December 2010

The Tuesday Gang continued with work on the last level crossing LC 58.36,  the currently closed footpath at Pen y Mount. Tony Baker writes:
The crossing timbers were completed and one side of the CCT grid was completed. All being well this will be finished off next week which will wind up their phase 4 work. The weather and various illnesses have taken their toll and the last couple of weeks have seen  numbers fall to 6. It was however, a glorious sunny day today and the last rays of the setting sun striking the Moelwyns was something to be treasured.

Tuesday Gang at LC58.36 - Tony Baker

10th January 2011

Work continues all the time on the Porthmadog by-pass and the following photographs from Alasdair Stewart show the progress on the abutments for the bridge over the WHR ay Pen y Mount.

Eastern abutment next to the line to Harbour. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)Western abutment next to the WHHR line. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)By-pass bridge construction. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)

26th January 2011

Concrete has now been poured for the eastern abutment of the bypass bridge. The bridge will be known within the railway as Pont Bodawen:

Concreting eastern abutment of bypass bridge - Steve Broomfield

9th February 2011

Today the Porthmadog By-Pass contractors were removing the sheet piling alongside the 'new' bridge piers - the pictures below show this in progress.
Unfortunately, removal of the piling beside the WHR main line caused the 'near' rail  to drop by some 20mm, so the Rest Of The World Gang were summoned from Ffridd
Isaf, to sort out the problem urgently as the Sherry & Mince Pie trains were running.  Report by Steve Broomfield

Removing the sheet piling - Steve BroomfieldThe pier beside the WHHR - Steve BroomfieldRemoving the unwanted cant - Steve Broomfield

15th February 2011

A detachment of the Tuesday Gang transported and erected the temporary crossing-keeper's hut at Cae Pawb.  The transport was by courtesy of 'Moelwyn' and a 'B' wagon.
This was in addition to the Tuesday Gang's main activity.

Transporting the hut to Cae Pawb - Steve BroomfieldErecting the hut - Steve Broomfield

This video by John Wooden shows how the hut was delivered. It also gives an unusual view of the route from Harbour station to Pont Croesor including an update on progress with the bypass:-

15th March 2011

With the abutments now completed the installation of the bridge deck commenced on the 15th March 2011. The pictures below from Alasdair Stewart shows the work in progress. It was intended to place all the beams onto the East abutment by the end of the following day, the 16th March. After that the crane will move round to the west side to commence the installation of the beams there. That work will go into Friday after which work will start on splicing them together. Smoke deflector plates will be craned in from the top rather than working on plant sitting on the ground underneath.

The new bridge deck supporting beams across the Eastern abutment. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)The new bridge deck supporting beams overhanging the Western side of the central pier. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)The new bridge deck supporting beams across the Eastern abutment. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)

24th March 2011

Work on assembling the deck supporting beams continued during the week. By the Thursday of the following week they were having their bracing pieces attached. This is highlighted in the middle of the three photographs from Alasdair Stewart below.

A view of the supporting beams all in place. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)Close up of the cross bracing. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)A view of the supporting beams all in place. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)The new bridge deck supporting beams across the Eastern abutment. (Photo: Alasdair Stewart)

10th May 2011

With the rest of the gang working at Coed Helen, two members of the Tuesday Gang were deployed to rework the 'Council Crossing' at Llyn Bach in Porthmadog. The centre timbers were fitted with more substantial coach screws and were then planed, in order to reduce the height to that of rail level.

A view of the re-installed Council Crossing timbers. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)A view of the re-installed Council Crossing timbers. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)A view of the re-installed Council Crossing timbers. (Photo: Steve Broomfield)

18th/19th October 2011

New walking route constructed for FfR/WHRstaff at Cae Pawb to access the control cabinet
On the Tuesday a small party of the Tuesday Gang went down to Cae Pawb with the materials and prepared the site for the main task on the Wednesday. The task was made possible by the cooperation of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway who kindly allowed us to approach from Gelerts Farm yard . Access through from the WHHR to the WHR was made by removing a fence panel and building a ramp up which to barrow the slate fines to the site.
The new footpath across the Network rail lines at Cae Pawb  was constructed  on the Wednesday by the WHR Tuesday Gang, two D of E volunteers and two Rail Track staff, together with the help of Ian Hartill who managed the project. One-day passes were required for all the construction staff . The section on the standard gauge was built by the NR staff out of a plastic-like material which was slip proof. The WHR  sections on the sides leading to the WHR gates consisted of wooden frames built on site and filled with slate fine sand wacker-plated after laying. 
Report and pictures by Tony Baker and David Firth.

Building access route at Cae Pawb - Tony BakerCae Pawb access path - David FirthBuilding access route at Cae Pawb - Tony BakerCae Pawb access path - David FirthBuilding access route at Cae Pawb, 143 passing - Tony Baker


20th October 2011

Work was started at  Harbour Station to widen the Cob to accommodate the proposed WHR platform. A digger was in action today preparing the ground. See Harbour station for further information about works to widen the Cob and remodel the station

15th November 2011

The Tuesday Gang's task this week was to deal with a dip in the track at Penymount Junction. A preliminary survey found that between the level crossing LC 58.11 and the junction points there were in fact 2 dips which were both at rail joints. The first step was to remove the fishplates, clean and grease them and reinsert leaving the bolts loose. During this process it was noted that on one rail the gap was very tight so that had to be dealt with first. Then a set of sighting boards was set up and the dips were jacked up and kango packed one at a time. By the end of the afternoon all looked a lot better. A revolutionary new type of kango bit was successfully trialed at the same time.
Pictures by Tony Baker of greasing fishplates and jacking and packing.

Tuesday Gang greasing at PenyMount - Tony BakerTuesday Gang packing at PenyMount - Tony Baker

6th November 2011
Tuesday Gang continued with fence maintenance. Taking a works train they made their first stop at the foot of Nantmor Incline and attempted to make the sides of LC 50.27 sheep proof. They then proceeded to Portreuddyn to the "Teletubbie Bridges" where the right hand fence was suffering the attentions of Welsh Black Cattle. As usual when faced with this problem they added sturdier posts in between each pair of existing posts put in by the contractor in 2007. Fifty eight new posts were added in all.

11/12th December 2011
During the week commencing 4th December the haul road across the tracks which had been installed for the construction of the Porthmodag bypass was removed by the contractors and the trackbed reinstated. Over the weekend of 11-12/12/11 a combined team of volunteers from Rest of the World Gang and WHHR relaid the tracks. Both main lines were reconnected and ballasted and the two WHHR sidings were reinstated. Twenty seven tonnes of ballast which had been delivered to the site from Minffordd Quarry and was used to pack sleepers, fill cribs and provide a ballast shoulder.
Some further works remain to be carried out by the contractors at the haul road site including reinstatement of fencing and the public footpath as well as the rebuilding of the wall of the former transhipment wharf.   

13th December 2011
Tuesday Gang were at work again reinforcing fencing near Portreuddyn between the "Teletubbie Bridges".  Picture by David Firth
Fencing works at Portreuddyn - David Firth

29th January 2012
A Ffestiniog Railway works train travelled from Minffordd to Gelerts Farm carrying telegraph poles - a gift to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.

The F&WHR had agreed some time ago to donate telegraph poles to the WHHR as a goodwill gesture to replace the two that they had to lose as a result of the bypass works. They needed these to complete their pole route over the site of the now removed haul road.

The S&T works train stopped either side of Cae Pawb en route to replace the current signals, which suffered from glare in certain conditions. Improved dual aspect LED units were fitted in their place in time for the next running of Welsh Highland Railway trains during the upcoming half term week.
Report and pictures by Andrew Thomas
Unloading the signal - Andrew ThomasAdjusting the signal - Andrew Thomas Unloading the polesl - Andrew Thomas

21st February 2012
Tuesday Gang South report that the following were carried out:
1. Pont Croesor to Pen y Mount - all missing ERCs (Elastic Rail Clips) were replaced.
2. Pen y Mount foot crossing - gate latches removed, closure chains / weights added.
3. Y Cwt, Snowdon Street, Britannia Bridge - 'red' ERCs (Elastic Rail Clips) pulled in to correct positions.

28th February 2012
Tuesday Gang South activities included evaluation of fencing jobs at Llyn Bach and alongside Gelert's Farm.
Firstly, in consultation with Julian Harrison and Chris Mace, to attach mesh fencing on the car park side of the Llyn Bach 'straight', in order to reduce the accumulation of litter on WHR 'territory' (as currently witnessed).
Secondly, in discussion with Stuart McNair and Graham Farr (WHHR), to prevent unauthorised access onto both WHR and WHHR from the public footpath (soon to be re-opened)...more mesh fencing to be attached here.
Report by Steve Broomfield

13th March 2012
Tuesday Gang South.
A three-strong team this Tuesday, working at Llyn Bach, completed the attachment of two additional fencing rails all the way from 'Wilkinsons' Crossing' to the 'Council Crossing'.  
On Thursday this week, they plan to carry out similar work, from the 'Council Crossing' to Snowdon Street and also add some more support rails in the vicinity of both crossings. 
Next week, they plan to start adding the wire mesh fencing on the car park side of the 'new' fencing rails - it is thought that this will take a couple of weeks (at least). 
Following that, there is some more wire mesh fencing to add, in the Gelerts Farm area, where the ("shortly to be re-opened") public footpath runs alongside the railway.. 
Report by  Steve Broomfield

20th March 2012
 Over the last two weeks Tuesday Gang South have been engaged in constructing a wire mesh fence on the car park side of the Llyn Bach 'straight'.  Last week, the wooden fencing rails were attached to the posts.  Today, the wire mesh was fitted to these rails, starting from the Wilkinsons' Crossing and ending short of the Council Crossing.   Next week, they intend to complete the task, i.e  from where they finished today to Snowdon Street and around the two crossings.  Thanks to Tony Williams for organising the welding of their ad-hoc fencing tensioner, which proved most effective. Report by Steve Broomfield
 Mesh fence at Llyn Bach - Steve BroomfieldMesh fence at Llyn Bach - Steve Broomfield
27th March 2012
Tuesday Gang South completed the mesh fencing between Wilkinson's and Snowdon Street
Wire mesh fencing - Steve Broomfield

3rd April 2012
Tuesday Gang South  completed the following wire mesh fencing:
At Gelert's Farm, between the footpath and the WHHR 'shed' 
At Gelert's Farm, between the footpath and the WHR 'main line' 
At Wilkinsons' Crossing, on the Llyn Bach side.
Mesh fencing beside footpath at Gelert's Farm - Steve Broomfield

16th April 2013
Tuesday gang erected blue barrier fencing to protect the work site during erection of the signal box at Pen y Mount.  Pictures by David Firth
Erecting blue barrier fence at Pen y Mount - David FirthErecting blue barrier fence at Pen y Mount - David Firth
19th May 2013
Pen y Mount signal box
The base for the signal box at Pen y Mount Junction was prepared earlier this month and the flat packed signal box delivered to the site from storage at Dinas. The original suppliers have now erected the box in its final postion at the junction. The box was funded by the Welsh  Highland Heritage Group and is a replica of the Cambrian Crossing box
Signal box base at Pen y Mount - Michael ChapmanSignal box erected at pen y Mount - David TidySignal box erected at pen y Mount - David Tidy

8th June 2013
Roofing was in progress for the Pen y Mount signal box. Picture by Stuart McNair
Roofing Pen y Mount signal box - Stuart McNair
18th November 2013
Pen y Mount Junction Signal Box

A 7-lever frame has been supplied by the Ffestiniog Railway Company for use in the signal box. This is being refurbished in the WHHR workshops and the mechanical  interlocking modified for its new role. Five of the levers will be used initially. Three will operate the points and the approach signals from the two directions respectively. Two further levers will each lock the frame until released by separate keys for the two lines.
A floor will be installed in the signal box once the frame is in place. Pictures courtesy of John Kerr
Lever frame for Pen y Mount - John KerrLever frame for Pen y Mount - John Kerr

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Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated 18th November 2013 by David Tidy