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

  • January 25th 2005 - It was announced that Mike Schumann was retiring from the Board of Directors of Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd, the Ffestiniog Railway Company subsidiary responsible for constructing the new Railway. Director Mike Hart said:

    "I have enjoyed working alongside Mike Schumann since the Ffestiniog Railway Company first become involved with the reconstruction of the Welsh Highland Railway nearly fourteen years ago. He provided the initial funding that kick started the project as well as being a major match funder to the Millennium Commission project. He has dedicated much of his time during this period to helping turn the project into a viable working railway. There can be no doubt that without Mike's very considerable practical and financial assistance The Welsh Highland Railway would still be largely a barren trackbed. Mike leaves with our very sincere thanks and gratitude for all he has done to make the new Welsh Highland Railway a success".

    While Mike Schumann retired from day to day WHR Project Director activities he would continue to be involved in Welsh Highland Railway policy development as a Director of the Ffestiniog Railway Company and Trustee of the The Ffestiniog Railway Trust.

  • February 14th 2005 - The Railway gratefully received a donation of two air compressors from Wylfa Power Station on Anglesey, which will be used for raising steam in locos at Dinas Goods Shed when required (oil-fired locos need a compressed air supply). Unit no. 2495 (left-hand picture below, seen on a testbed) is a completely overhauled unit, ready to use. No. 2497 (right) is a spare, with a new cylinder block, complete with a bedplate and two spare motors.

    The units are seen below being loaded and checked at Wylfa before starting their journey to Dinas.

  • August 1st 2005 - Phase 4 construction was ceremonially launched with a special train for invited guests from the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, WHR(C), WHR(P), other heritage railways, and contractors. Having arrived at Rhyd Ddu on the footplate, the Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan AM, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government, formally launched construction by cutting a tape at the point where Rhyd Ddu Station meets the section of trackbed to Pont Cae'r Gors where contractors were at work; the Assembly's Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, also attended.

    The event also served as a celebration of the raising of over a million pounds by the Phase 4 appeal (see July 28th entry above). It was also announced that the Wales Tourist Board was making a grant of 125,000 towards construction of further WHR carriages at Boston Lodge, and that the contract had been signed the same day for the supply of new rails from Poland to take the railway through to Porthmadog. This was a major joint order including rail for renewal programmes on the FR and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.

    It was further announced two days later that the rail purchase (and a separate contract due shortly for supply of steel sleepers) would include track materials for WHR (Porthmadog)'s Traeth Mawr extension, to be supplied to them at a discount by Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd. As part of the deal, land at the WHR(P) Pen y Mount site was to be used to store WHRCL's track materials for rebuilding northwards as far as the Nantmor embankment.

    In the same week it was reported that the railway was to receive a substantial legacy from the estate of the late Mr David Sumner, former head of Inter City on-board services, a good friend of the FR and supporter of the WHR. This was likely to be used for purposes including building a carriage, possibly another Pullman. It should be noted that the sum reported in the press was understood to represent the whole of his estate, of which the railway is not the sole beneficiary, and the actual sum going to the railway was not yet known.

  • September 2005 - Pioneer Garratt K1 was taken to Crewe Works to be exhibited at "The Great Gathering" open weekend, together with the FR's Palmerston. The pictures below (by Chris Lindop, Andy Rutter and Peter Johnson) show the loco at Crewe first before the event, and then during it. A special set of steps had been made up at Dinas to allow visitors into the cab.

  • October 30th 2005 - The last train of the main 2005 season was also the last to use the existing station layouts at Caernarfon and Rhyd Ddu. The loop and platform at Caernarfon were to be extended at the Dinas end to handle longer trains, and as part of this work the water tank siding was removed; in future locos would take water while standing on the extended loop, which would come into use for December's Santa Trains. Rhyd Ddu Station was also being extended and completed into the form it requires for through running to Porthmadog, with changes including a longer loop and island platform, and loco watering facilities. While this work was being done, train services in December and February ran between Caernarfon and Waunfawr.

  • October 2005 - WHR (Porthmadog) volunteers laid the first Phase 4 track, extending northwards across Pen y Mount Crossing onto the historic trackbed. Illustrated updates are on the main WHR(P) site and their extension site.

  • Volunteers made progress with dry stone walling alongside the line between Dinas and Waunfawr. The pictures below show the results near Gwredog Isaf, to the Waunfawr side of Tryfan Junction. This is a good example of the volunteer work which goes on outside the main running season - see Volunteer Projects for what's going on, and how to get involved.

  • November 12th 2005 - Pioneer Garratt K1 hauled its first passengers since the 1920s. This was as part of a photographers' freight charter; as K1 was not yet authorised for solo passenger turns, the train was topped and tailed by NGG16 no. 143 and Upnor Castle when also carrying the photographers in carriages at the rear. For more details and pictures, see K1 - Testing and Commissioning.

  • November-December 2005 - Volunteers extended Caernarfon Station loop at the Dinas end, as part of a project to adapt the station to take longer trains. Extension of the platform was due to take place in early 2006.

 WHR Project News page
Authored by Ben Fisher; last modified May 22nd, 2006