See also - [2009 News] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999] [1998] [1997] [1996] [1995] [1993-4]

  • January 2004 - Quite a number of website visitors had been curious about just what the position was about moving on to Phase 4 of the WHR Project, and developments such as improvement to passenger facilities on the operating railway. Here is a statement (15.01.04) from Michael Whitehouse, Chairman of the Festiniog Railway Company and of construction company Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd:

    Now that the WHR Millennium Commission Project is up and running, we have been attending to the various snagging works which will be ongoing during the winter. However, apart from constructing a station at Caernarfon, the project is now complete as far as the Millennium Commission is concerned and the team at the Dinas office are putting together a completion record at the request of the Millennium Commission. We are seeking the Millennium Commission's formal agreement to construct a "portacabin style" station at Caernarfon for the 2004 season so that we can have a better commercial presence there.

    As the Millennium Commission part of the project is now complete, it is necessary to wind down Welsh Highland Light Railway Limited's operation and so three of the track team have transferred to the Festiniog Railway Company for ongoing work on the WHR track. Pete Gray is also transferring to the FR as the Senior Permanent Way Supervisor (WHR). Jan Woods will soon be leaving us and the Board would like to record their grateful thanks for her hard work. We hope that if and when Phase 4 is able to start, we will be able to welcome her back to continue her good work.

    Roland Doyle has kindly offered to stay on for one day a week from the beginning of February in order to provide continuity pending a decision on Phase 4. We are very grateful to him for his extremely hard work throughout the Millennium Commission project and for agreeing to stay on to provide this continuity which is very valuable whilst we work out a funding and commercial package for Phase 4.

  • Early February 2004 - North Wales suffered extensive flooding in exceptionally heavy rainfall. While other areas were affected more, especially the Conwy Valley, the effects were very visible at various points along the Railway. At the height of the floods, the siding at Plas y Nant was reported as under water (boggy ground), but the river bridges coped well with the extreme conditions, with no reports of scouring.

  • February 13th 2004 - HMRI granted approval to operate trains across Snowdon Ranger crossing without stopping. Most signal heads on the Railway were replaced by a more "Heritage" design which would be common throughout FR and WHR, as a first step towards the operations strategy. Also, cables were run for new shunting token signals at Dinas in the preceding week.

  • February 16th 2004 - ex-South African Railways brake van no. 3172, generously donated by the Sandstone Heritage Trust in South Africa, was delivered to Dinas, touching down at 1.51pm.

  • February 27th 2004 - The Festiniog Railway Company and the WHRS K1 Group announced the appointment of Roland Doyle as Locomotive Engineer to the K1 Project, on a five-month contract starting on March 1st to complete and commission pioneer Garratt K1. Roland also continued as part-time manager of WHLR Ltd while that company was in a "holding pattern" awaiting funding for further extension of the Railway (see January 15th update below).

  • Late February 2004 - The area experienced the first significant snowfalls since Phase 3 opened - more pictures here.

  • March 2004 - Repairs were completed to the retaining wall above the Railway on the climb out of Caernarfon, at the site of the November 2003 landslip (see 2003 News). The picture below, taken just over a fortnight before completion, reveals something of the new concrete structure built under massive bracing over the winter, now entirely hidden by stone. The resulting structure stands proud of the original line of wall, but this is far from the only irregularity in the walls on this stretch, and there is still space to add a second track if required at some future point.

  • Early March 2004 - Volunteers pressed ahead with gauge widening work at the curves north of Rhyd Ddu.

 WHR Project News page
Authored by Ben Fisher; last modified February 21st, 2005