The WHR Project -
This week, 13th May, marks 10 years since Team Wylfa first took up the
challenge… What was it? Painting the new Pont Betws before it was
craned across the Gwyrfai. It seems hardly 2 minutes since my then
office colleague; Martin Baker (ex BHG) and I were painting it during
that lovely warm spring of 2003 as Phase 3 was rapidly progressing
towards its conclusion.
After the bridge painting – and other of my Wylfa project engineer
colleagues joining in, we progressed onto servicing track components
ready for the weekend tracklayers – 10 bags minimum of each of M0-,
M0+, M2, M4 & M8 clips and 10 pairs of fishplates each week.
Occasionally we went up the line to do a spot of tracklaying including
the ‘Promontory Point’ meeting of North & South by Castell
Cidwm on a very wet and soggy July night. Several weeks of ‘Geismaring’
to final tightness the track clips between Snowdon Ranger and Castell
Cidwm followed, then, fixing trackside signage between Rhyd Ddu and
Castell Cidwm and finally, laying out the sleepers for Rhyd Ddu Station.
After Phase 3 opened, we asked what else we could do and ended up
stripping NG15 №134 for a ‘no cost’ assessment and partially overhauled
the tender chassis. Later we cleaned out the Dinas Clip Shed, installed
lighting, laid some temporary track and, after lifting 134’s boiler,
rolled the chassis inside. The Clip Shed is now our ‘spiritual home’
When a halt was called on 134, we moved on to the Garratts doing
various clean-up and overhaul tasks such as removing tubes and
descaling 140’s boiler internally and externally. Stripping and
prep’ing 138 for its 10 year overhaul.
When Phase 4 was suddenly announced, there was a hectic flurry of
activity to overhaul the RRM fleet as they had been left where they lay
after Phase 3 and all were seized up. I think we stripped and
overhauled 5 pairs in the end…
Then came what has become our main bread and butter job – checking and
oiling the carriages during the running season. Since we’ve been doing
this (6 years now IIRC), there has only been one failed axlebox with a
couple of other failures attributable to brake cylinder problems. A
pretty good record…
With the 134 Project having restarted in 2009, our spare time has been
spent back on that and we look forward to finally completing the
overhaul and seeing her steam in a few years’ time.
The Team has changed over the years. Initially it was made up
completely of Wylfa Power Station engineers but, when the major upgrade
project came to an end, most of the contract engineers left the
district. Luckily some local volunteers joined us and they now form the
core Team but in the last 6 months, one of my former Wylfa colleagues
has come back to the district to work at Trawsfynydd and he has
co-opted one of his colleagues to join us…
So, here’s to the next 10 years!
All of our exploits are recorded in the Volunteer Projects on this
website and on Barrie Hughes’ ‘Isengard’ website.
Clive Briscoe, Team Leader
to Get Involved, or
the WHR Project homepage
Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last
updated 20th May, 2013 by Laurence Armstrong