2011-08-25 Welsh Highland Railway

I visited the Welsh Highland Railway for the first time in 2009. I was deeply impressed, not only by the unique feat of reviving the railway after eighty years, but also by the stunning trainride to then Hafod-y-Llyn. It really was a Sleeping Beauty!

Now the line was completed I wanted to do te ride again. I even managed to convince my wife to come along as the ride itself is so beautiful that it even makes it bearable having your husband jumping all over the place gibbering about steam, Garratts, trains....
DSC07658 DSC07601  We found our 10:00 train in Caernarfon, freshly arrived from its night lair in Dinas. I built  a model of no 87  and I could see a few detail differences with no 143 here. For one the grease pump on the footplate has five brass tubes and draws its supply from a large container between the sandboxes. DSC07602 DSC07603  The loco uncoupled and ran round. At the left of the photo a tower of Caernarfon Castle
DSC07608  Taking water DSC07612 DSC07614  Man and wife shall not be separated...by glass DSC07618  The tenfold grease pump in more detail
DSC07620  After taking water 143 moved to set itself in front of the train DSC07621 DSC07623 DSC07624
DSC07628  We're of the same age. I was also "built" in 1958 DSC07631  Another difference with no 87. The steam pipes run straight down. DSC07636  Ready to run DSC07644
DSC07647 DSC07667  Off we went, here passing Dinas shed. The weather was fine, variably sunny and not too cold. DSC07669  After Dinas the line turns inland and trough very scenic grasslands DSC07671  Taking water at Waunfawr
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DSC07696  Water streaks are always a grateful object to picture DSC07702  Soon after Waunfawr the mountains started closing in. That's were the real hard work started. DSC07706  I can still hear the Garratt beat reverberating in the countryside, getting in and out of sync. DSC07720  In the distance we could get a view on the Snowdon Mountain Railway's train getting to the summit
DSC07731  A glorious panorama DSC07734  Rhyd Ddu in the Ddistance DSC07736 DSC07737  A look back on Llyn Cwellyn
CIMG3143b CIMG3144 DSC07744  In the last curves before Rhyd Ddu DSC07770  A crossing train with the same locomotive??
DSC07774  No, at Rhyd Ddu I was terribly disappointed to hear that motive power would be changed. The Garratt locomotive of the return train from Porthmadog had broken down so that train was brought up to Rhyd Ddu by a conventional steam locomotive and a diesel locomotive. As this pair was too weak to bring their train safely down the steep gradients to Caernarfon, the motive power swapped trains and took our train to Porthmadog with our Garratt returning to Caernarfon. I was more or less pissed off. DSC07776 DSC07780 DSC07782
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DSC07793 DSC07801  Meanwhile "our" Garratt was disappearing in the distance DSC07804 DSC07809  An on we went down towards Beddgelert
DSC07813  I'had never imagined I would ever be doing this behind a stinkin' diesel. In the loops before Forest station DSC07815  Crossing the bridge and entering the Aberglaslyn Gorge DSC07820 DSC07821  running with the train....
DSC07824  The Aberglaslyn Gorge is great to walk!! Do it, if you happen to be there. DSC07832 DSC07835  After the gorge we rode into the plains DSC07841  When we reached Pont Croesor, today's end of the ride, this train would not venture into Porthmadog, I was relieved to see another Garratt ready. It was "my"  no 87 that I modeled . Now take a look and see how different the grease pump arrangement is. No 87 was hte particular lcomotiv that broke down this morning, as I heard at the station. Now, it would be taking our train back to Caernarfon. So in the end the morning breakdown proved to be a lucky strike: I had four different locomotives in front of my train instead of one, two of which were Garratts!
DSC07845 DSC07847  By now the clouds that had been gathering since exiting the Aberglaslyn pass started unloading their unwanted cargo DSC07855 DSC07857
DSC07864 DSC07866 DSC07871  Reentering the Aberglaslyn pass DSC07875
DSC07883 DSC07891  Beddgelert DSC07892 DSC07898
DSC07905 DSC07906  The piping I can dream after I built the model DSC07911 DSC07920
DSC07928  The very different arrangement of the live steam pipe of no 87 DSC07931 DSC07938 DSC07940
DSC07943 DSC07950 DSC07955  By now the sun came out again DSC07959  On the straight towards Rhyd Ddu
DSC07969 DSC07972 DSC07981  Here we met 143 again DSC08012  Another shot of dark blue beauty, at Waunfawr.
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DSC08045  A third Garratt in Dinas' shed