Welsh Highland…


history is made!


NGG Garratt no 87 on the WHR’s flat crossing across the former Cambrian Railway – the first steam train to pass this way for over 70 years. Frame from You Tube video by Festshopman.

(Click on picture to view video in a new window.)

A sudden rush of comments late last night alerted us to the fact that more history was being made on the Welsh Highland Railway – the first steam train ran through Porthmadog for over 70 years. (A diesel hauled train which ran about a week earlier, was the very first.) Last June, we published an article recognizing the remarkable achievement of the Festiniog Railway Company in managing the rebirth of the Welsh Highland Railway. We also contrasted the support given to the Welsh Highland project by public bodies over the last decade with indifference and hostility faced by those who battled for the future of the Polish narrow gauge.

In the same article, we referred to our Chief Mechanical Engineer’s concerns on how well the ex SAR locos with their long wheelbases would cope with the small radius Britannia Bridge curve laid in tram rail that was part of the WHR’s ‘Cross Town Link’ linking the WHR and FR in Porthmadog.

We are pleased to be able to report that yesterday the WHR’s Garratt no 87 went round the curve without any difficulty. We are also very grateful to all those from the WHR who sent in their comments to let us know the good news. Since these comments are buried deep down in our archives with the original article, we have also reproduced them in full below.

Meanwhile our CME, grumpy as ever commented, She may have got round the curve, but how happy was she about it, you tell me that? Apparently only after the Garratts have completed a full summer season of running through the curve, and he has a chance to talk to the fitters responsible for maintaining them, will he be completely satisfied!

We can happily report that your fears about NGG16 Garratts having trouble with the sharply curved tram track on the Cross-Town Link were completely unfounded. No. 87 made the first run by steam along the link this morning – without any difficulty, and reportedly even without any flange squeal.

Ben Fisher


WHR Observer

Today NGG 16 No 87 passed the sharp curve without problems. :-)


(The links in the last two comments lead to the video referred to at the start of this article.)

Now that the Welsh Highland Railway is finished, what next? What of the scores of volunteers who rebuilt it? What can they do now? We have a proposition. Come to Poland! There are a couple of hundred miles of narrow gauge track that would benefit from your attention and a score of local authorities that would benefit from hearing about the WHR’s rebirth.

*another ‘Railfan’, not our Dyspozytor!

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