The WHR Project - Volunteer Projects

Team Wylfa at 10 years old

Pen Blwyddyn Hapus TÓm Wylfa

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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’ and headquarters!

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

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Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated 20th May, 2013 by Laurence Armstrong