2009-06-13 WHR

In our 2009 UK roundtrip I had incorporated three rail related visits: to Swindon ex-GWR works, to the Welsh Highland Railway and to the National Railway museum in York.

Main goal of a visit to the WHR would be photgraping the NGG16's there. June 13 was to be the long awaited day of my first encounter with a real live Garratt...
Welshhighrailmap  The route of the WHR. At Dinas the line veers east north-east to Caernarfon which is not on this map. The line now ends at Hafod-y-Llyn.   A return trip takes about four hours. At a price of £25 you really get value for money DSC03397  no 87 shunting the first train of the day in the early morning sun  This was my ultimate goal: Welsh Highland Railway, in pursuit of NGG16 no 87  First I went to Caernarfon at about 9:00 but there was nothing to do, the first train was to leave at 10:00. Caernarfon does not have an engine shed so I expected it to come from somewhere not to distant from Caernarfon. I gambled on Dinas, and I was proved right. What a reward for a little bit of deduction. DSC03398  I am building a model of this loco. I took the oppurtunity to photograph it in every detail, resulting in some 800 photos for the day.   No 87 is a locomotive of the Garratt type. A normal locomotive has all driving axles fixed in the main frame. A Garratt though consists of three separate parts:... DSC03410  1. the front driving truck, a steam locomotive on its own except for the steam generating portion and carrying the front water tank.   The front truck pivots just under the smokebox of the boiler
DSC03414  2. The boiler frame with the boiler slung between the trucks and with the driver's cab.  This part has no wheels of its own, it hangs suspended between the two trucks. DSC03417  3. the rear truck, almost identical to the front truck, except it carries a coal bunker.   The rear truck pivots under the driver's cab. Garratt schem  And this is the end result of this complicated construction: the loco is able to take up tight curves, despite its length.   Other advantages:   - more driving axles transfer more power therefore eliminate double heading of trains  - the multitude of axles (ten in case of the NGG16) spread the weight of the loco, keeping axle load within limited ranges  - the boiler can be wider and the firebox wider and deeper than on any other locomotive type, enabling free steaming and very good thermal efficiency.    This all comes at a price. A Garratt is more difficult to maintain. DSC03399  Emblem between the sandboxes
DSC03401  That lovely play of the sunshine on the nuts DSC03418 DSC03433  The engine needed some attention DSC03441
DSC03442  Crosshead DSC03475  Main driving crank pin DSC03444  Gauges in the cab DSC03446  Builders plate
DSC03512  Whistle DSC03519  Impressive piping DSC03551  After half an hour or so the crew prepared the train with empties to leave for Caernarfon. I dashed from Dinas to Caernarfon and was in to time to catch the loco running round the train. DSC03528  Standing on a footbridge I was able to shoot some rare elevated pictures. The roof vent
DSC03529  The water tank DSC03531 DSC03570 DSC03573  The Pullman car. This creation is a recent restoration. Beautiful in its own right, it does not stop amazing me. People pay a considerable amount of money to travel in this car, desperately trying to ignore the mob heading for the other cars.   But where is this car situated? At the end of the train!   So? Well, on the way to the Aberglaslyn Pass you will be dragged all the way back. To put it in plain words: with your butt in the wrong direction.  Ok, but you'll be going back!!  Yeah sure, on the way back you're staring at the loco's butt all the way down and you can't see a thing.  So why bother paying for this thing? For your own ego? Your display of wealth? Showing off to others? Don't be daft, cut the crap, sit third class in the open coach, see the landscape, see the loco, see what you are heading for, stick your head in the wind and enjoy and forget about that posh thing at the wrong end of the train. Now that's value for money!!
DSC03584  Now that's the right end of the train DSC03626  At 10:00 we left. Some 20 minutes later we passed the shed at Dinas where no 143 was sitting, simmering before making the second run of the day. DSC03663  After Dinas the track turned south and the train headed through the countryside to the mountains. DSC03664
DSC03670b DSC03671  Pulling the chain for a big, very big flush... DSC03700  Snowdonia lies ahead DSC03715
DSC03719 DSC03720 DSC03728 DSC03748  Halt at Rhyd Ddu
DSC03755  Once again taking water DSC03769 Loops  Aerial view of the loops before Beddgelert DSC03776  Heading north again. "Look daddy, another railway". Daddy, in total puzzlement, "huh"?
DSC03777  Taking the second reverse curve  Now is that a strong picture, or what? DSC03810  Reaching Beddgelert DSC03826 DSC03827
DSC03832 DSC03836 DSC03842  "Mind your head" is no funny remark. It is "dead" (excuse for the wordplay) serious. Again articulation is clearly visible on the front truck DSC03845
DSC03855 DSC03858  Vertical curves... DSC03864  Hafod-y-Llyn, end of the line for now. Track-laying has reached Porthmadog but authorisation to use the track has not been issued yet. DSC03868
DSC03881  Tending the train and the passenger extremely well DSC03885 DSC03911  Leaving Aberglaslyn pass DSC03924  From a distance the loco looks white, A close up tells otherwise
DSC03936 DSC03939  The driver watching ... DSC03940  .. his firemen. Again taking water DSC03946
DSC04005b DSC04011  Meet at Rhyd-Ddu. DSC04029 DSC04030
DSC04033  This female driver is obviously very proud of her job and her engine. Rightly so!! DSC04034 DSC04038 DSC04045  No 143 sets off towards Beddgelert
DSC04065  Between Rhyd Ddu and Llyn Cwellyn the treeless landscape allows a free sight on the loco DSC04079 DSC04082 DSC04124  The bridge at the exit of the Waunfawr station area
DSC04150  Back in Caernarfon, the station with the impressive castle in the background. DSC04155  Guess what, taking water!! For the next ride DSC04164 DSC04168  Cleaning the fire and ashpan
DSC04341  Later that day A passed the Aberglaslyn pass by car and waited for the third train of the day on its return from Hafod-y-Llyn to Caernarfon. From there on I chased it. DSC04343  As I expected it was run by no 87 again. DSC04366 DSC04400
DSC04402 DSC04428  A few atmosphere pictures to complete this report DSC04439