Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sunshine on the Ffestiniog

Last week we visited the Ffestiniog Railway, as we try to every year or two. For me it is one of the most interesting railways in the UK and many years ago, as a teenager, I volunteered on the track gang. Unusually though this visit was in glorious weather - clear skies and bright sun making for excellent views of the scenery, though while sat at Pothmadog the coaches were getting uncomfortably hot!

We usually start our journey at Blaenau and there we met David Lloyd George, trying to blend into the slate walls in a strange unlined grey (had Blaenau been under more typically local weather it may have been hard to spot!). I understand this is due to the winter overhaul over-running though it may be a homage to the early years of preservation, where the first Double Fairlie returned to service in primer.

This being a 3-train timetable day we passed Merddyn Emrys leading Linda at Tanygrisiau - why double-heading was necessary I don't know, but Linda seems to be crewed by children!

And Earl of Merioneth at Tan-y-Bwlch.

The new Porthmadog station layout now allows for two trains to be there simultaneously, so providing a glimpse of Garratt 138 running round it's train before departing for Caernarfon.

Looking back across the cob it can be seen how much it has been widened to provide space for the new island platform (the left-most line is on the original formation). The new signal box and signals are attractive, while the wider platform and changes around the station building area make it a much more spacious and attractive area for visitors. I have no idea what those odd sheds are on the platform though...?

DLG had to add a tenth coach for the return trip, the trains certainly seemed well filled. And with such superb views, such as this one of Snowdon from the cob, it is easy to see why!

There are a few more photos here, and why not plan your visit?


Iain Robinson said...

Fabulous photos, Michael. I'm an ex-track gang man myself, although these days I'm demoted to litter picking, of which there is an endless supply :-) While it's company policy to encourage youngsters it's not often seen as extravagantly as this...great to see it.

Michael Campbell said...

Thanks. I should point out that these days I just visit for a train ride with the family. Living 300 miles away and family responsibilities means volunteering isn't practical right now!

Anonymous said...

To reply to your queries:
DLG is in grey because the company tends to outshop locos from overhaul in undercoat to enable them to be dismantled to sort out teething problems without knackering the new paint job. Once they've run in they are repainted into full livery - Merddin Emrys spent the 2005 summer in black for the same reason.
Merrdin Emrys has just come out from having had bogie attention and boiler work - hence double heading with Linda for running in purposes.
Those sheds on the platform hide the various bits of shore supply kit for the carriages - battery charging cable, fresh water top up, toilet tank emptying hose.

Michael Campbell said...

Thanks for those answers!

I still think the "sheds" could be more sympathetic to their surroundings...