PROJECT RHEILFFORDD ERYRI
WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY PROJECT
1998 NEWS ARCHIVE
See also - [2009 News] 
  
  
  
  
- January 1998 - An agreement was legally formalised
between the FR and the WHR Ltd, providing for ways for the companies to work
together if the Welsh Highland Railway Order is granted. In outline (full
the agreement's terms are as follows:-
- The WHRL will be allowed to extend its present line from Porthmadog
to Pont Croesor and beyond, and to operate trains on this section once
the second phase of the line from Caernarfon (from Dinas to Waunfawr)
has been completed. This extended southern line would be built to the
same standards as required for the rest of the line, and would become
part of the complete railway operation when the two ends meet. The WHRL
will not compete with the FR for grant funding of the extended line.
- Once the line is complete from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, WHRL
heritage trains will have guaranteed access to the entire route,
subject to various terms and conditions on both sides.
- There is provision, subject to various conditions, for FR
trains from Caernarfon to terminate at the WHRL Porthmadog station, as
well as for through working from the Welsh Highland to the FR. The WHRL
would remain in full control of its present retail outlets.
- The question of nomenclature is resolved by agreement for the completed line to be called the Welsh Highland Railway. In the meantime, the northern end will be known as Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon), and the southern line as Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog).
- The FR and WHR Heritage Groups will be encouraged to develop a Rails to Porthmadog heritage facility at the WHRL's Gelert's Farm site.
- A joint steering committee will facilitate liaison between FR and WHRL.
- Upon formalisation of the above agreement, the WHRL's
objections to the proposed Welsh Highland Railway Order were withdrawn,
and this decision was submitted to the Public Enquiry.
- The Public Enquiry drew to a close at the end of the
month. Following this, the Inspector has up to three months in which to
submit his report to government, and the Minister for Local Transport
then has up to three further months in which to make a decision.
- The FR was reported to be bidding for a further five South
African locomotives, recently imported to the UK for an abortive
railway scheme on the Yorkshire coast. The engines comprise three
Garratts and two NG15 2-8-2 tender locos.
February 1998 - Parts of Garratt no. 143 were delivered to Dinas for reassembly and commissioning of the loco, anticipated for May.
- De Winton 0-4-0VBT Llanfair was acquired for display purposes, and delivered to Dinas.
March 1998 - Restoration work began on the ex-NWNGR buildings at Dinas.
- The water tank formerly used on the railway of Southam Cement Works was installed and commissioned at Caernarfon Station.
April 1998 - The first full season of Caernarfon-Dinas passenger services began.
- NG15 Class 2-8-2 locos no. 133 and 134 were purchased from previous owners in Yorkshire.
- The Snowdonia National Park Authority received more than
5,700 letters from supporters of the WHR reconstruction, objecting to
the Authority's proposed change to the Eryri Local Plan which would
remove references to the WHR.
May 1998 - A public display was opened in the former Goods Shed
at Dinas, outlining the past, present and future of the Ffestiniog and
Welsh Highland Railways. Locos Llanfair and no. 133 are also part of the display.
June 1998 - A Parry People Mover test vehicle was tried out on
the line. This is a hybrid low-energy vehicle powered by a flywheel, in
this case driven by a LPG motor. Larger versions may be considered for
intermediate services on the railway.
- The power units of No. 143 were dispatched, one after the other, for attention at the Bury Works of Riley & Son (E) Ltd.
July 1998 - Extra pointwork was laid in the North Yard at Dinas,
connecting up the bay platform road and the adjacent release road, and
providing a connection to the carriage shed due to be built later in
- The Public Enquiry into the Eryri Local Plan opened, and
in the first days received evidence regarding the Snowdonia National
Park Authority's decision to oppose rebuilding of the railway through
the National Park. The remit of this third Enquiry covers "broad
planning policies and land use issues", and it will not consider other
issues already dealt with by the December 1997 - January 1998 Public
Enquiry. See Peter Johnson's first-hand account of evidence regarding the WHR at the Enquiry (hit BACK to come back here).
September 1998 - Garratt No. 143 entered service, double-heading with No. 138 at the successful Enthusiasts' Weekend event.
- The Bodysgallen luxury Pullman coach made its début at the same event.
October 1998 - The regauged ex-Chattenden and Upnor Railway
"Combination Car" was delivered to Dinas for use as a mess coach on
December 1998 - The new carriage shed was erected at Dinas.
WHR Project News
Authored by Ben Fisher; last modified
January 15th, 2004