The WHR Project - Volunteer Projects

Team Wylfa - History


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Team Wylfa is a team of volunteers loosely based as a group of people from Wylfa Power Station. On the 13th May 2013 they became 10 years old and over those years they've provided a valuable service to the railway tackling specific jobs such as tracklaying, maintenance of carriages during the running season and work on the restoration of the NG15 №134 locomotive. A summary of those 10 years can be found on a seperate page: Pen Blwyddyn Hapus TÓm Wylfa.

As they are not formally attached to the WHR Society, or any other supporting group it resulted in the reporting of their activities being 'ad hoc' at best. This section hopes to rectify that and give the group a window through which their complementary work on the railway can be portrayed.

Team Wylfa was the brainchild of Clive Briscoe, himself having 40+ years 'service' in the FR Family. He started work on the WHR in a small way by relaying track through Tryfan Junction Halt and across the level crossing there during an extremely wet day during Phase 2. Not long after that in Aug 2002 he started working at Wylfa Power Station (thus the group's name) as a project engineer and it was a few months after that that the call went out for volunteers to paint the replacement river bridge at Betws Garmon. His office colleague then was one Martin Baker, a member of the Black Hand Gang in those days, and together they decided to take up the challenge. This was the beginning of Team Wylfa. 

Team Wylfa Painting Betws Garmon bridge. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

Over the next few weeks, more project engineers from a major upgrade project at the power station – all working away from home and at a loose end in the evenings - joined them.

Initially they went over on the Tuesday evening, then on Thursday evenings as well, and after the exploits had leaked out they were eventually joined by another colleague. The week after that was with a further colleague or two and before they knew it, the bridge painting was done and they had been moved onto track clips. We got to know the clip shed very well over the months that followed and up to 10 or 12 Wylfa project engineers worked exceptionally hard to sort and service a minimum of 10 bags of each of the 4 sizes of track clips and fishplate assemblies for the weekend track layers

Occasionally the group got out on the track especially as Phase 3 came towards its completion. The Team, with other volunteers and staff, joined North and South at Castell Cidwm on a very wet evening on 17th July then ‘Giesmared’ (power torque wrench) the track clips between Snowdon Ranger downhill to Plas y Nant. Then there was planting the statutory signage between Rhyd Ddu and Plas y Nant and laying the sleepers out for Rhyd Ddu Station.

Tracklaying at Castell Cidwm. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Joining the 'North' and 'South' sections at Castell Cidwm. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Joining the 'North' and 'South' sections at Castell Cidwm. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Phase 3 'North' and 'South' sections united Castell Cidwm. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

When the railway was opened to Rhyd Ddu, the Team did not want to disband and instead asked, ‘What next?’ and were put onto stripping the ex SAR Class NG15 loco, №134 for assessment towards a no-cost restoration. Work had started on this loco back in the days of operating between Caernarfon and Dinas, however no one who worked on the loco then was available to consult. A good deal of work was done including cleaning, part overhauling and painting the tender chassis and bogies in the Dinas Goods Shed over the winter of 2003-4. Removal of the boiler from the main frames and preparation of a shed in which to house its future restoration work followed. This turned out to be the now ex clip shed where the group had spend many  happy hour sorting out South African rail clips. The loco rolling chassis was moved inside in the spring of 2004 before a halt was called due to funding issues.

NG15 №134 as they found it…. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)The boiler lifted from the loco's frames. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)NG15 №134's frames in Clip Shed. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Joining the 'North' and 'South' sections at Castell Cidwm. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)NG15 №134's tender frames in Clip Shed. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

Subsequently, the team reduced in size during this period as the major engineering project at the power station reached its conclusion and the contracted project engineers moved away. However, the remaining volunteers, now supplemented by some local non power station volunteers have enabled the team to take on various tasks since. Out of season, they undertake a range of maintenance tasks on the loco fleet as witnessed in the photographs.

Working on one of NGG16 №140's power units. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Descaling NGG16 No140's boiler. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)140’s boiler ready to go to LNWR for completion. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

The NGG16 №140 had been moved from Glan y Pwll to Dinas and was next on the list of jobs for Team Wylfa to tackle. Please start stripping the boiler and a power bogie were the instructions as this was now 'top priority' to return it to steam. However after a few months on this, its priority fell and we were asked to take on the carriage checks and oiling up which have been continued to this day during the operating season.

Getting 138 ready for overhaul. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Next stage - taking the boiler cladding off. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Grinding off the tube ends in the fireboxl. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)Exterior de-scaled it prior to painting. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

During the winter periods different sets of tasks have been allocated to the group such as the stripping of 138 for its 10 year overhaul which included completing the grinding out of the tubes from the firebox end. It was then thoroughly descaled externally and repainted it in heatproof aluminium paint.

They were then set to work on 140’s boiler when the decision to fast track 143's 10 year overhaul by fitting 140's overhauled boiler to it was made. Chipping out the internal scale was no small task; it was nearly 1” thick in places and “laughed” at the needle guns so a compressed air driven chisel was resorted to for a lot of the work. Eventually, after a lot of sweat and tears (from the dust which got everywhere – there were nights when you couldn’t see across the Goods Shed for the ‘fog’), the internal scale yielded and it was then descaled externally and repainted.

The Team’s usual view of the carriages. (Photo: Clive Briscoe)

Currently Team Wylfa are engaged on the carriage checks and oiling when trains are operating, and this is obviously more frequent during the peak summer season however in the time between they are still engaged on the NG15 №134 restoration project where they fit in jobs to be done on the loco in between the regular monthly working parties.

As mentioned they are a small, friendly group that provide regular and varied work for the railway. They are usually at Dinas on Tuesday evenings from 7pm. Please check on any of the  usual websites for updated info or telephone the Team Leader, Clive Briscoe on 01407 830541 (home) or 01407 733595 (office) or email: clive.briscoe@magnoxsites.com, .

For up to date reporting of Team Wylfa's activities have a look it the Reports page.


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Website authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated 31st August, 2011 by Laurence Armstrong