18-9-05 LIVING NEXT DOOR TO ALICE

Our presence at the Corwen Country Show was a great success. Members worked in shifts throughout this weekend to promote the project. Quarry Hunslet “Alice” provided a wonderful centrepiece for the two days.

Many new members have now been enlisted to the society, and the profile of the project raised significantly. Much needed funds were raised through the sale of items at the stall. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it work

 


Paul one of our members helps a visitor onto Alices' footplate

Bryce lets off some steam!!

The closing scene on Sunday evening
3-9-05 LOCOMOTIVE NAMED

The Henschel 0-8-0 locomotive currently being modified and restored has finally been named. Members were developing various nicknames and things can get a little confusing! We felt that the loco now needs an identity of it’s own. Apparently the name was chosen on the day it was purchased, so now with the owners permission, we are pleased to announce that the locomotive will carry the name “Joseph”

SHOP

Our on-line shop has been a great success over last twelve months. A big thankyou to all who have supported the Trust and its aims. We now feel that we can offer the few items featured on-line at our shop at a reduced rate. We will no longer charge for postage & packing to UK customers. As time permits we will add to the items (mainly Penrhyn branded goods featuring OUR slate wagon logo) and develop on-line payment methods.

29-8-05 PENRHYN EXCURSION ARTICLE

We have added yet another feature to the “articles” section of the website. The feature entitled “Penrhyn Excursion” movingly documents Mr Alisdair McNicol’s encounters on a visit to the Penrhyn Railway as a young teenager in 1964.
23-8-05 GALLERY UPDATE

Added some colour images to the archive gallery (gallery 2)
The images are part of a collection taken in the early 1960's by Mr David Elliott who was studying at Bangor University at that time. David has generously donated his Penrhyn collection to the Trust. The images at the gallery feature some of the disused locomotives on the blacksmiths siding at Felin Fawr.
21-8-05 STEAM & COUNTRY SHOW

We are to attend our first public event on the 17 th & 18 th of September at the North Wales Steam and Country Show at the Legends Park Showground near Corwen. The weekend will see the launch of the Society and it will be a unique opportunity for everyone to meet up face to face for a friendly chat. Members will be at hand (or in the beer tent!) to answer all your questions and to chat about this important project.

Hopefully it will be an opportunity for members to unwind and relax for the first time in 18 months.

The steam and country show at Corwen is usually an amazing event with hundreds of attractions from fairground rides to traction engines, it always proves to be a wonderful day out for the whole family.

Now obviously, no Penrhyn weekend event would be complete without a quarry Hunslet!! So for the first time in its history, the show will be blessed with one!

We look forward to meeting you. (Just keep your eye out for the Hunslet and we wont be far away!)

20-8-05 WEBPAGE UPDATE

Added "Hugh Napier" article to the "articles" section.

9-8-05 FUTURE COACHING STOCK

Future coaching stock has always been a subject of great interest within the Trust, as the railway was mineral line and did not carry passengers as such, there is little we can replicate in the future. Replica quarrymans coaches will be built and will run with replica Penrhyn saloon coaches, very similar to Lord Penrhyn’s saloon coach now preserved at Penrhyn Castle. Being of very similar length and width, the RNAD Trecwn flat wagons will form the base for the new saloon coaches and a prototype will be built utilizing wagon No. 412

Our younger computer wiz kids have been busy coming up with visualizations of the finished product. Thanks to Gareth“gazzer” Parry for coming up with the adapted image below.


Adapted from an original image by Andrew Goodwin WHR (P)

4-8-05 FELDBY PROGRESS

The Feldbahn was moved out into the sunshine a couple of weeks ago to have the dome and tanks lifted off and to have the boiler lagging removed. The clay mud was analysed and the specialist company employed returned to carefully remove the substance. Work continues with cleaning up the boiler prior to inspection. Contact has been made with other owners with the view to working together to make up bulk orders of new parts.



2-7-05 MORE RAIL

Another little contribution was made recently to our rail stock. The rail, mostly flat bottomed, was advertised for sale on an internet website and was noticed by one of our members. Little did we know that the rail was located just a few miles away at one of our neighbouring groups!

The Dolgarrog Railway Society are working hard to re-open the old standard gauge branch line that once linked the Dolgarrog Aluminium Works with the Conwy Valley line. The narrow gauge rail that we have purchased was originally used at a site near Tal Y Cafn and formed part of an earlier project but now obviously it is way too light for the groups current activities. On inspection, six 24ft lengths of Penrhyn bullhead were discovered, apparently this rail was purchased by one of their society members in the mid 1970’s from the festiniog Railway!

This latest purchase is not a great advancement, but it’s yet another small step in the right direction.

Why not visit the Dolgarrog Railway Society website HERE


Some of the various types and lengths of rail photographed before delivery to Bethesda
17-6-05 PROGRESS

Work continues on the loco and the careful dismantling process to reach the point of solid construction so that the rebuilding can commence. The cab has now been removed along with the coal bunker and side tanks. The backhead and firebox wrapper have now been de-scaled. Initial visual examination of these areas and the inner firebox looks promising

Before they were removed measurements and photographs were taken of the tanks to help visualise planned changes


Carefully dismantling the cab sheeting "Alang" style!

Thats better! Slowly the cab comes apart.

A before and after shot of what might be!
29-5-05 LOCO UPDATE



For those who have not worked it out already, the locomotive that arrived last week was built by Henschel & Sohn in 1917 number 15540 an 0-8-0 featuring the renowned Klien-Lindner Axle Articulation System. It served in France during the First World War, and after the War it was sold to the British owned Sena Sugar Estates in Mozambique and became “Sena No 1”. Believe it or not the loco worked there up until the early 1980’s when it was withdrawn from service along with several others. The loco then became one of several that were purchased in 1999 and imported to the UK.

The loco has now been purchased privately by one of our members and all associated work will also be privately funded, with the exception of perhaps volunteer labour provided by interested members. Final agreements between the Trust and the owner will hopefully be finalized shortly.

Undoubtedly though the loco will remain at Penrhyn as long as we want it.

To address the various issues that members and indeed the wider general public might have with regard to this loco.
Obviously the loco is not and never has been a Penrhyn loco, members should be assured that this is just one loco and will probably be the only non Penrhyn steam loco to return to the line. What it now gives us is the opportunity to be imaginative and the chance to prove ourselves and carry on the Penrhyn tradition of buying up what was available and making it work.

Members can also be assured that it is our intention to return at least two original Penrhyn locos as stable mates for the above. We chose to return this particular loco last week because it was becoming a target for thieves and vandals and therefore in danger.

The other side of the coin here might be those who are concerned as to what modifications we intend to carry out on the loco.

All parts removed and not reused on the loco will be labelled and placed in storage and there will be no alterations to the structure of the loco meaning that it will be quite possible to return the loco to it’s original appearance.

The consensus at the moment seems to be that nothing will change below footplate level; any modifications above this level will depend on the condition of the boiler. If a new boiler is required (which we hope it isn’t) undoubtedly the loco will then be fitted with a saddle tank, otherwise it will retain side tanks although slightly shorter than the originals. The cab sheeting will need replacing due to its condition, so the opportunity will be taken to give the loco what we believe to be a more graceful look. The chimney was stolen in the last few months; this now probably means that the replacement will be of a Hunslet style. The only other major addition will be a bolt on extension to the front buffer beam, basically creating around 12’’ ahead of the smokebox; well the sand buckets’ got to sit somewhere!! We will keep you updated as to progress on the strip down and boiler removal.

27-5-05 MATHEW SPENCE 1971-2005

Our strategist Mathew Spence tragically died in the early hours of yesterday morning.

We would all like to extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Mathew’s foresight and devotion to the Penrhyn Project was truly inspiring and commendable.

Gareth Owen (Director PRG) “Mathew was an extremely genuine, modest young man. His involvement with this project along with even more complex projects around the world will now stand as testaments of his achievement. My sincerest condolences to those close to him”

Jonathan “There are few words that can describe the way I feel at the moment, I have know Mathew for many years, as someone once said, friends are not friends unless you can trust them! Mathew was definitely my friend, one of the most trustworthy loyal individuals you could ever wish to meet. We will never forget you Matty”

20-5-05 PENRHYN 40!



Its exactly forty years since the last locomotive worked at Penrhyn in 1965.

We felt that something should be done to coincide with that sad time.

Now obviously we don’t have much scope yet, so we did the only thing we could do, move one of our steam locos to Penrhyn.

The loco chosen was purchased by one of our members recently and the intention is to incorporate its vital components in a modified outline. Although its outward appearance might be a little daunting, underneath it all it is in remarkably good condition.

The loco arrived at Port Penrhyn yesterday morning after its long journey and all eleven tons of it was lifted onto a trailer, it then set off on a emotional final six mile journey up the Ogwen valley pausing briefly on what was once the Penrhyn Railway before leaving the Port. (See photos at gallery 3)

After unloading the loco the little team returned to the Port to collect the skip wagons that have been generously donated to the Trust.

A very big thankyou to everyone involved, you know who you are! We really do appreciate it. (Photos of the day’s activities have been posted in gallery 3 at the homepage)

15-5-05 UPDATE

This week will probably prove to be our most exciting time to date. Assuming everything goes to plan, you will read about it here towards the end of this week.

The latest journal will be out soon members, please be patient with us.

The galleries have been added to recently and they are set out as follows- gallery 1 (locomotives in preservation) gallery 2 (historic) gallery 3 (our latest project photos)

If you have a photo that you would like to see in any one of the galleries, send them to us. All photos will be credited to the owner.

Additionally, if you have a fond memory of the Penrhyn Railway that you might like to share, why not write an article for the “articles” section? Again all work submitted and used can be credited to the author.

All submissions to admin@penrhynrailway.co.uk

15-4-05 WAGONS ARRIVE

At 8am this morning, (an hour earlier than expected) our first artic load of wagons arrived at Bethesda from South Wales.

Although it was teaming down with rain the operation went smoothly and they are now safeley stored and await modification and restoration.


One of the 2.5 ton boxvans is lifted off the lorry using the big tractor, special thanks to JGAC for the loan of two tractors today.

One of the flat wagons is lifted off the stack

Our first consignment of rolling stock blends with the dramatic surroundings
8-4-05 UPDATE

We apologize for the lack of news items over the last few weeks and hopefully we can make up for this lost time.

Membership applications have recently been suspended due to the fact that we have more than doubled expectations and targets over the last nine months. Applications from local residents are on target and applications from the locality are still being accepted for the time being.

We have recently updated our shop area and many more lines will be added shortly.

With this in mind we prefer to continue with the traditional method of ordering by mail. Orders will normally be sent out by return of post.


RAIL

A small quantity of much needed light flat-bottomed rail was donated to us recently and it arrived at Plas over the Easter period. It was cleaned up and will be laid near the workshop to store rolling stock on and some lengths will be laid within the buildings. We still don't have quite enough but this is definitely a good start.


Photo- little tractor unloads lengths of rail
29-1-05 WAGONS

A quantity of various types of wagons was purchased by members recently for use on the railway. These will arrive at Plas shortly. Full details and plenty of photos will be added here as soon as they arrive.



Dangers

Some work was carried out today at cutting 1A (near the slate embankment) to make the area as safe as possible for future volunteer parties.

The recent high winds and gales had brought down a substantial oak branch, and it was lodged dangerously with one end wedged in the tree and the other resting on the slate pillar fencing. After a few minutes working out the best means of attack, chainsaws cleared a minimal amount of scrub to open up the working area and then progressed with the part of the branch that was resting on the fencing to ensure that as little damage as possible occurred to the pillars.

Within ten minutes the branch came crashing down and was sawn up into manageable sections.


The scene on arrival, the branch can be seen at the top of the image

The site after some clearance work

The branch comes down with little damage to the fencing

The branch is cut up into sections for removal.
18-1-05 Rail Chairs Again

The good news is that a meeting recently with the Ffestiniog Railway has been successful and we will purchase our rail chairs at scrap value.

The bad news is that they are unsure at this time if they can provide us with enough bullhead rail to match them. If the rail is available it will be sold to us at a figure that is yet to be agreed, not at scrap value.

Shop

Added a small selection of books to the shop section of the website complete with downloadable order form

5-1-05 Journals Etc

Due to a sudden influx of new members over the last two weeks or so, things have become a little strained.

For those who have applied for membership recently (over the Christmas period) and have heard nothing, please do not fret, a journal and that is on the way to you.

For existing members Journal No.3 is currently being published and will hopefully be an improvement on the last two.

3-1-05 Hopper Wagons

A useful addition is currently being made to our permanent way stock

These useful nicely proportioned hopper wagons are to be purchased. Please don't be alarmed, we realize they are hardly Penrhyn originals but they will be essential and very useful for the day-to-day movements of materials in construction.

The wagons will be transported to the temporary workshops for refurbishment within the next month or so.

2-12-04 AUCTION

One our members noticed something interesting that was put up for auction recently. It turned out to be a Hunslet works plate belonging to the quarry loco "Margaret"

A few phone calls were made to an auction house in Sheffield and the Trust placed a bid of £1055 on the plate which was to be auctioned last Saturday. Enquiries today at the auction house revealed that we had not been successful and the plate was eventually sold for £1950!

Had we been successful, we would have offered the plate at cost to the present day owners of the locomotive if they were interested. With any luck the plate has now gone to these people and if not, I think we can be reassured that it will be well cared for considering the amount that was paid for it!

Margaret was one of the "small class" locos that spent it's working life within the quarry and a sister locomotive to "Alan George". The works plate was removed from the loco in the 1960's as the engine stood derelict at Felin Fawr Works and it was no doubt sold to a local antiques shop. Where the plate went from there is anyone's guess!

Margaret was the last steam locomotive to leave Penrhyn in 1969 in quite a dilapidated state.



More Land

As you might be aware, a mile long section of Penrhyn trackbed was purchased by one of the members from the Penrhyn Estate and it has recently been donated to the Trust.

This section of the railway passed through a slate tip at Tanysgafell and it basically meant that access to our trackbed would be very difficult.

The same member has purchased the slate tip which includes the buried 1801 Tyn Y Clwt incline and today we were informed that the site which amounts to 5 acres including the incline is to be donated to the Trust and that the transfer of ownership will take place shortly. This now means that we will have a site to work from on this section and road access can be implemented.

As you can imagine we are all chuffed to bits with this news, and as always we are very very grateful.

Other news today. A source for flat bottomed rail seems to be at hand thanks to a supporter. The track in question is still being used at this time but it will hopefully become available when we are ready for it. From what we have been told it is in good condition and there will be ample amounts including turnouts for the whole project.

13-11-04 Penrhyn Track

Two Trust members attended a meeting with Mr Fred Howes of the Ffestiniog Railway yesterday, this was to view and discuss the possibility of purchasing back the original Penrhyn bullhead rail and matching chairs.We had hoped to have this meeting many months back but we have been so busy it was just not possible!

On arrival we were informed by Fred that if the scrap piles of chairs (mostly Ffestiniog) were not sorted or in other words if we did not pick out what we wanted to purchase, they would be scrapped this week! This meant that we would need to select from the piles what we wanted and pallet them up tidily today!!

Now with some members abroad and only a few hours to contact other willing members, it was decided it was not enough notice, especially if members had made other plans.

Bryce and Jonathan decided to get going before our chairs were gone forever! This morning meant an early start to scour the countryside for some pallets! Now if someone's lost their pallets, we do apologize, but it was very much an emergency! On arrival at Minffordd yard, it was plain to see that the work ahead was going to be a challenge especially for two people having to move thousands of chairs to identify the Penrhyn originals and stack them on pallets.

Hours later with aching backs and limbs, most of the Penrhyn chairs were on pallets, wrapped in film and inscribed with PQR. The chairs that are on pallets are now safe but of course they need to be paid for! If anyone feels they would like to donate something towards this cost, please email Bryce directly at bryce@penrhynrailway.co.uk

A further visit to the FR will be necessary within the next week to try and stack a further 500 chairs that might have been over looked today, anyone interested in turning up to help can email us at admin@penrhynrailway.co.uk for details.

We would like to thank Mr Fred Howes of the FR for letting us access his yard today.


This is what we were looking for! Penrhyn Railway chairs of 1887 inscribed "PQR"

The first pallet begins to take shape.

Our chairs all wrapped up ready to come home

10-11-04 Meetings

While the silly season approaches fast, the little Penrhyn team have been attending meetings with the local authority and various other sectors.

With that, today meant that the chairman and two of the Trust directors met up at Bethesda to attend talks at Caernarfon. the results of the meetings are generally encouraging but the time it will inevitably take for decisions to be made, can at times be frustrating.

I think it is rightly assumed by many that this project will and must involve the Felin Fawr complex, and still negotiations continue to this end. This site will become the focus of the project and where the railways engineering workshops and heritage centre will be located.

The afternoon brought further meetings on a very exciting project that the Trust will enter into shortly. As always you will read about it here first. This one will probably be the best Christmas present the Trust can expect this year!

Trust chairman Mr B Latham and Trustee Mr J. Ball.


(photo Mr G Owen MBCS)