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FR & WHR & WHHR News

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by AndrewT, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. LittleRedTrain

    LittleRedTrain New Member

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    I may not be a typical passenger, but I've certainly used the FR/WHR as an actual transport service on car-free holidays to North Wales; spending some time in Porthmadog, Caernarfon and Betws-y-Coed and using the steam railways and Conwy Valley to get between them.

    I've also got out at intermediate stations and gone for a wander, jumping on a later train back.

    Sadly neither of those are practical options with the current 'Advance booking' and 'return on same train only' service.

    Similarly with the special events/Victorian Weekend, the idea of having to pick and pay for every train individually, rather than just having a rover valid on everything, really didn't encourage me to make the long journey.

    Although I can see why it was necessary whilst Covid restrictions were in full force, I hope that full flexibility is introduced again before too long, and the FR/WHR doesn't pivot too far away from being a 'passenger carrying railway' to a 'tourist experience'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2022
  2. pgbffest

    pgbffest New Member

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    If anything, this should serve as a good lesson as to what happens when people start spouting off on social media. The whole moan about "only get 45 minutes" was made in response to the Company issuing the public timetables - suspect that the Daily Pest has then gone off to find the story without reading the rest of the comments around the lines of "at the moment" or "we're working towards that, but it'll take a little time"
     
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  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    No, it's a good lesson as to what happens when a company doesn't focus on managing its communications. It would have been perfectly possible to circulate the local press, politicians and trade associations to say "this is what we're doing now, but there's more to develop", but instead it has left a gap that others have filled.
     
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  4. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Looking at the website it says you can return on a later train but you have to book two separate single tickets, and you can only do this by phoning up. I had to trawl though to find this info. So perhaps it should have been made more obvious, then you are leaving less of an open goal for criticism. I expect that either the booking system is not currently set up to cope with this, or at the present time they don't really want people doing it. Probably because you have to have empty seats on the second up trip.

    Looking at some other railways who are still running a similar model, like the Ravenglass and Eskdale for example. You can do this sort of thing easily though the website if you want a longer stay at the end. Of course their service frequency probably helps to even things out and prevent too many empty seats. If they terminated 2/3rds of the trains at Irton Road it might be different story.

    Tim
     
  5. RedDragonofLondon

    RedDragonofLondon New Member

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    It'll be interesting to see how popular the Mountain Spirit trains are this year. The Back to Blaenau services were often sold out a month in advance, and tended to be fully-booked - I know I was taken by surprise and had to keep an eye on the website for last minute cancellations in order to get a space. If the second trains and reduced social distancing fix this, then it was just the reduced capacity. It would be quite interesting if this proves not to be the case, as it would suggest that a large proportion of people want to do the full route, and are taking the Tan-y-bwlch services as a second-best.
     
  6. LNERandBR

    LNERandBR New Member

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    Last I checked, the World Heritage site included the FR itself as well as the area around Blaenau ;)

    Shows how lazy journalists are. :Woot:
     
  7. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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  8. Mrcow

    Mrcow New Member

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    Harbour Station on a very mild and surprisingly pleasant Saturday with canopy work on going and an engineer's train in platform 1.
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

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    I see on the isengard website that the WD Baldwin 608 may take the role of the WHR 590 in next year's centenary celebrations. I thought that the WHHR loco under overhaul at the VoR was going to fulfill that role in the same guise? We don't want to upset this hard won harmony within the various groups. Will the real 590 please stand up! Well neither really unless you include one original side tank
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    A couple of questions concerning the WDLR Baldwin 10-12-D 4-6-0PT:

    Does recent experience with restored examples bear out historic allegations of poor performance?

    On the old WHR, No.590 had a reputation for both rough riding and derailing, plus poor steaming. How much of this was as much a reflection of the condition of pw and maintenance on that impoverished line back then?

    Have any of the recent restorations identified and/or addressed any identified design shortcomings?
     
  11. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Barrie is speculating just for a change and I wouldn't hold your breath over either loco appearing at the event. Never say never though.

    608 had issues with the white metal in the driving axleboxes not adhering to the castings. So the wheels were removed to attend to this. Then covid happened and also the scope of the work required grew on further investigation. The loco is privately owned so things happen with it when they happen. This loco is largely being kept in WD condition where possible.

    I believe work on 590 (794 for the purists) has recently restarted now that winter maintenance on the VofR fleet is nearing completion. Progress will depend on ££££ and a further £20,000 is required to complete the loco. From what I understand this loco will look like 590 with the wooden cab back and various other modifications made at Boston Lodge.

    Tim
     
  12. meeee

    meeee Member

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    590 was a popular engine with the accountants I'm sure. It cost less than a new boiler and came overhauled by Bagnalls. The design is robust and for the most part the loco ran with only routine maintenance and the occasional re-tube. Quite a contrast to the rest of the elderly fleet.

    From a crew perspective It was not popular. The main complaints are the rough ride, poor adhesion, unreliable injectors and the rear sanders always being blocked. The wheels are quite small and the loco would have been flogged hard to keep time which no doubt contributed to the general uncomfortableness.

    Poor steaming doesn't seem to be a frequent complaint. Boyd suggests the ashpan was removed to aid draughting at one point. There is no record of this though. The FR also had a fetish for using ferrules in the boiler tubes. So it is possible that restricting the tube diameter let to poor gas flow and consequently poor steaming.

    Tim
     
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  13. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Thanks for a most comprehensive reply Tim. The point above isn't something I was aware of, but certainly explains a lot concerning endless reports of indifferent performances across the fleet. Much is written too concerning tubes, especially those of 'red metal' (?) and of hand me downs to shorter boilers.
     
  14. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    "Red metal" is a 'catch all' term I've heard used for brass and copper both of which, historically, were used for loco tubes.
    Ray.
     
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  15. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Yes "Everetts Red Metal" is probably a specific type of brass being marketed for boiler tubes at the time.

    Cutting down tubes for re-use isn't that uncommon. Typically they fail at the ends especially if they are overexpanded. So you can just cut the bad bit off and use them in something shorter. Britomart was re-tubed several times using old double engine tubes.

    Tim
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The use of ferrules at the firebox ends of boiler tubes instead of beading the tubes was very common on industrial locos right up until the end of working steam, especially on smaller locos where working in a firebox isn't that easy. Easier to knock a ferrule in than bead the tube over. Mainly supplied by the Patent Ferrule Co, which still exists but when I enquired a couple of years ago, they couldn't tell me when they last supplied any for this purpose. The first few re-tubes I was involved in in the 1960's all used ferrules. Today, using them seems frowned upon, possibly because BR didn't use them and most guidance seems to be based on what they did.
    It was also quite common to piece up non-ferrous tubes by brazing new ends on to them, another practice long gone.
     
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  17. pgbffest

    pgbffest New Member

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    The main reason for the Blaenau trains selling out quickly last year was due to the make up of the set and only being able to use about 2/3rd capacity (if that occasionally) due to Covid restrictions. This year, it'll be a rake of modern saloons meaning that we'll be able to fill the train up, much like the WHR services were last year. Therefore you *should* be able to find a train that suits you. Having said that, recent figures that were put in front of me a couple of weeks ago suggested that it is still the most popular service (followed closely by the Venturer)

    Just because social distancing ends, doesn't mean people will want it to end of course. There's still a lot of people who like the idea of personal space and there are a variety of options on the excursions to cope with this. Tanybwlch services will no doubt be popular in the summer with families with younger kids - 40 minutes each way and an hour to wear the kids out on the playground.

    Basically, this covers the "something for everybody" idea in terms of time / distance etc when we consider the average passenger.
     
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  18. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Apologies as this post is more nostalgia than news but I couldn't find a more suitable F.R. thread. I have been scanning some 60 yr. old negatives and thought that this image of Prince taking water at Portmadoc in 1960 may be of interest as it shows how much has changed since then. It saddens me a bit to see how much of the 'narrow gauge charm' has been lost to progress, not just on the F.R., but needs must......
    Ray.
    BW60-20 FR Prince Portmadoc 7.60.jpg
     
  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    I like the points, fascinating

    When did the last set of ones like that go?
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Wasn't that one removed to Minffordd Yard?
     

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