This remarkable special was arranged to raise funds for the
"Phase 5" appeal. It ran firstly from Porthmadog to Blaenau
Ffestiniog, then to Caernarfon, passing non-stop through Porthmadog,
finally returning to Porthmadog at the end of the day.
For the WHR section the train was double-headed with
double Fairlies. Photos by
Tony Baker and Richard Watson
Phase 5 – The Sustainable Railway – Update by Andy Savage
In the last six months we have seen real progress with the Phase 5 fundraising, and we are starting to see some initial progress on the projects.
Fundraising for the Sustainable Railway projects has come from a number of places. The main appeal, plus associated cash support and gift aid, has raised just short of half a million pounds – a brilliant start in less than a year. We currently have 20 Gold subscribers, 25 Silver and 57 Bronzes. Added to that should be a large individual donation towards a new carriage, support from the FRS to two more, and the CRhE donation towards the Welsh Water building at Dinas, giving a grand total of well past £600,000 – well done and thanks to all who have contributed towards this.
We have continued the design of many of the projects. At Harbour Station we now have a design that everyone is pretty happy with, including the ability to run round trains on both railways without affecting each other’s platforms. Both WHR and FR trains will be able to arrive and depart at the same time. At Blaenau and Caernarfon we are in discussions with the local communities about what might be done to improve the facilities at those stations.
The design of the new ‘standard’ FR profile carriage is complete, and our look ahead at what is needed has made clear that we will probably need some more full size WHR carriages to strengthen the rakes in due course.
The layout proposals for Boston Lodge and Minffordd are being worked up, with a new Minffordd South Junction to give direct access to the yard a real possibility.
Physically there are the first signs of progress. At Dinas, as I mentioned, we have acquired the rest of the WWA shed. This is being weather-proofed as a first step, after which we expect to extend the loco stabling facilities into it. With the revised train services needing only a single train stabled at Dinas, we are revising our proposals here to see just how much we need to spend at this stage.
At Minffordd the new Infrastructure office has been delivered, the first step towards the proposed new depot there. On the carriage front, 103 is in service, the first new carriage, and 121 is under construction, with an order for 108, the third in the new series already funded and placed.
Alisdair Stewart reports on Harbour Station elsewhere – but the key message is that we have much of the funding for this project in place, and if (but only if) Welsh Assembly Government funding can be made available, we will be in a position to match it, and proceed with the widening, this winter.
Behind all the progress fundraising continues. There will be a big article in the November Railway Magazine, complete with a revised brochure updating the appeal. We need all the money that we can raise to deliver all the Sustainable Railway projects, and with Gift Aid and the 10% sponsorship on offer, every pound you give is worth over £1.37 to us straight way – more if we can use it to attract volunteer support and grant funding – we can easily turn your £1 into £5 worth of work in the right circumstances. So please, do consider taking out a standing order to the Phase 5 / Sustainable Railway project - you can find the application forms, and all the latest news, at our web site, www.phase5.org.uk