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October 29th 2011

Minffordd Hostel - Megabash 2012

Ben Rosen advises that Minffordd Hostel is now FULL for Mega bash on the 23rd and 24th March next year.

October 28th 2011

Gigagbash 2011

Howard Wilson writes: The October event was blessed with unexpectedly good weather allowing a significant volume of work to be completed. Once again almost 100 people came together to make improvements to the appearance of the railway, including families, teenagers and folks above retirement age.

There were four main areas of work. At Tan y Grisiau the platform shelter was repainted inside and out and improvements made to the old goods shed. At Tan y Bwlch, work continued on the old station building where the wood panelling had been replaced.

An old sleeper was used to create a new post for the gate to Creau Farm, while the top siding fence was repaired, café furniture restored and the gardens tended. At Penrhyn, the area at the rear between the station building and the road was cleared of buddleia, two fir trees and considerable undergrowth, which required a four wagon works train to take it away. Windows, a sliding door and barge boards were also painted.

At Minffordd Station, the toilet under the platform canopy was decorated, the down platform shelter washed inside and out, while the fence and woodwork on the Gweithdy was painted. At all the stations, supports for signs and lamp-posts were painted, so there is now very little that deserves attention.

Meanwhile, almost thirty people including teenagers, tackled the gardens at Minffordd and planted out tubs and window boxes, some at Harbour Station. A small group produced some superb sign-writing, while another group built the wooden sign boards ready for painting. A few joined the drains gang to assist in Gwyndy cutting and even more worked with the electrical group carrying out rewiring in Boston Lodge. A busy weekend, but also one that provided a wide variety of interesting work for the volunteers.

The speeches following the excellent meal in Tan y Bwlch café on the Saturday evening, began with Howard highlighting the fact that the Bashes have been taking place for 26 years. He recalled that Eileen Clayton had started what was known as the Parks and Gardens Department with an appeal at the Society AGM. She had entered the meeting hall, walked down to the stage, turned and threw down on the floor two signs taken from the railway that were in a very poor state of repair. She called upon volunteers to help with the "detattyfying" process to make the railway presentable where ever possible.

Since then, Megabash has been held in the spring and Gigabash in the autumn. It is estimated that over the 26 years, 5200 volunteers have offered their services, 10,920 person days have been worked, which equates to 81900 person hours. Clearly the total contribution to the railway is considerable and the appearance of the railway much improved.

At the café, Eileen then recalled some of her memories of the early "bashes". Paul Lewin offered thanks to all who had taken part and remarked that the presentation of the Ffestiniog Railway is the envy of many heritage railways throughout the UK. Howard concluded the evening by inviting everyone to register for the next Megabash, to be held 24th and 25th March 2012. Email

October 24th 2011

Job vacancy: Catering Manager

A rare opportunity to join the award-winning team at one of the UK's top visitor attractions...

Our highly-successful tourist railway is going from strength to strength. Catering is a vital part of our offer and an opportunity has arisen for a talented catering manager to develop our business to satisfy our customers' increasing expectations.

Reporting to the General Manager, the role has diverse responsibilities with customer satisfaction first and foremost, together with recruitment, training and retention of staff.

Based in Snowdonia, the success of the business depends on maximising income from the numerous opportunities created by the railway's operations. There are currently two principal outlets with additional income being derived from catering for special functions.

Spooner's Café, Bar & Grill at Porthmadog Harbour Station caters not only for passengers, but is also home to a busy CAMRA award-winning local. Tan y Bwlch Café, in an idyllic woodland location, is popular with walkers and is the centre for many special events and weddings.

The ideal candidate will have relevant formal qualifications and a solid track record in building a successful catering business. Basic IT skills are essential along with the ability to understand management accounts as the role carries P&L responsibility.

Applications should be received by November 15th and should be in the form of a CV with a covering email sent to together with an indication of current salary.

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Gwynedd LL49 9NF
01766 516000

October 21st 2011

Railfest 2012 at the National Railway Museum

Paul Martin writes: The theme of the event for 2012 is first, last or record breakers with it being the Olympic Year. The FR/WHR plans to have a dominant role in this event which is due to take place from the 2nd to the 10th June 2012. In many eyes it's reckoned running Prince, 15 and the Curly Roof Van giving rides stole the show at the last event in 2004 [Yes, it really was that long ago] and we plan on repeating that for this event.

We will have a train on the 2ft gauge running line formed of Palmerston and some appropriate carriages although we haven't decided which yet. You may have read in the railway press previously that the engine would be Lyd but the access restrictions to the running line at the NRM mean we can't get it to the running line without involving a big crane or a Chinook.

In addition to the operational train there will be a static display featuring other narrow gauge exhibits of which we will provide some that may or may not include Lyd. This static show area [the concrete works car park if you know the site] will also include promotional stands from the FR/WHR and other organisations and, probably, Princess and The Boat as static exhibits.

The whole event is still fairly fluid at the moment with overtures currently being made to the non-heritage rail industry to get them on board and involved. That involvement will help shape the event as it develops in the coming months. Due to the evolving nature of the event we've held off saying anything publicly until we had a plan but interest is now growing and we have the basis of the plan.

In advance of the show the track will need fettling up as it hasn't been used for some time. The White Rose Group will be in charge of that and working weekends will be planned in the spring of next year as there is little point in doing the work just to have the winter undo it. Once we get to the show there will be a lot of opportunity for volunteering to help.

The running line runs as an extension of the FR and works under FR Rules so the train will have to be manned by FR/WHR qualified staff so we're going to need a minimum of two drivers, firemen and guards each day but there will also be plenty of opportunity to help as platform staff, ambassadors for our railways and to staff the stands with the static displays.

Further updates on the plan will appear as it develops and, nearer the time, we'll have more leaders for each area but for now if you would like to help or be kept informed please let me have your contact details: - name, phone number and e-mail. You can contact me on 01904 331973 or

October 17th 2011

F&WHR on TV this week

Both railways feature on TV this week...

Tuesday October 18th
ITV1 Wales 1930-2000
Wales This Week

Snowdonia at 60
The people, passions and politics of Snowdonia 60 years to the day after it
became one of Britain's first national parks.

Segment filmed on WHR.


Wednesday October 19th

BBC2 network 2000-2100

BBC HD 2000-2100


All Roads Lead Home

Alison Steadman takes Stephen Mangan and Sue Perkins across North Wales to her home town of Liverpool.

Segment filmed on FR.

October 11th 2011

Gigabash 22-23 October 2011

Howard Wilson writes: I hope everyone is looking forward to a stint of hard work over the two days in October.

We are still compiling the list of tasks that will keep you busy. It's clear that there will be work at several locations which could make it a little more interesting, but the majority of you should report to Minffordd at the beginning of the day - unless you are advised otherwise.

We hope the young people who enjoyed gardening earlier in the year will come back for more; they were a good team. We need the experienced gardeners too, the experienced signwriters, those with DIY skills and those prepared to turn their hand to tackling something new.

Surprise, surprise, there will still be plenty of painting. There will be the usual Electrical Working Party and the Drain Gang will be in action again.

We will have a special train to Tan y Bwlch on the Saturday evening and to enjoy a meal there in the café.

Contact me by email at or ring 0116 2704992. Let me know that you are coming, what you would prefer to do (although I can't always guarantee that we can give you what you would like) and please don't forget to let me know if you are going to come on the train and have the meal at TyB café. Last time the 3 course meal cost about £9. I am expecting that it will be similar this time.

Don't forget that B&B accommodation is listed in the back of the FRS Magazine. The hostel could well be full.

Do you want the dates for next year?

Megabash will be 24/25th March 2012.

Gigabash will be 13/14th October 2012.

October 6th 2011

2011 Works Dinner

The 2011 Works Dinner is confirmed for the Hercules Hall, Port Meirion on Saturday 27th November. All past and present footplate staff are welcome. Maximum 100 guests

Lewis Ash has kindly feed to do the Disco.

Dave Davies and Phil Bradley will be providing the transport this year and they have agreed to provide an opportunity to have a trip on the Saturday during the day for our partners to go sightseeing/Christmas shopping if they wish for a small nominal charge.

Advance notice for 2012 we have provisionally booked Port Meirion for Saturday 24th November 2012.

Forms for the dinner can be found here and the daytrip can be found here

Richard Stedman-Jones and Nigel Muskett

Attached file(s):
  • BOSTON_LODGE_WORKS_DINNER_Saturday_26th_Nov_2011_1.doc
  • Boston_Lodge_Coach_Trip_26th_November_2011.doc

  • October 3rd 2011

    FR on BBC2

    All Roads Lead Home, BBC2 (nationwide) 2000 Wednesday 19th October, features a segment filmed on the FR on July 26th.

    Sue Perkins, Alison Steadman and Stephen Mangan use a new form of navigation, Natural Navigation, in order to learn more about the UK and the areas that mean something to them.

    The series starts this Wednesday 5th October at 2000. More details here.

    September 29th 2011

    Carriage Shop volunteers needed

    Boston Lodge carriage works has a busy winter ahead as new-build carriages, refurbishments and outside contracts vie for attention.

    Metropolitan carriage 353 arrives at Porthmadog
    Steel Carrs 118 and 119 need work with 118 needing a major overhaul.

    113 will be refurbished as 112 including fitting of Eberspacher heater and removing traces of Gas fired heating.

    2021 needs painting and varnishing inside and outside and 2042 needs quite a bit of work including re-cladding the exterior. When these are done there are a good number of carriages that need cleaning down, prepping and varnishing.

    There is a wide variety of skills required so for anybody wanting to volunteer, we should be able to find appropriate work - where better than in the warmth of the carriage works in the bleak midwinter?.

    Alongside external contracts to restore standard gauge Metropolitan carriage 353 and the horse-drawn steam fire engine, Tallylyn Railway carriage 21 is also coming to Boston Lodge for a new body.

    Contact for more information.

    September 29th 2011

    Vacancy - Finance Assistant

    The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways are the UK's premier narrow gauge railway, with a history of innovation stretching back to 1832. Now with the completion of the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, it forms a truly world class tourist attraction.

    The position of Finance Assistant at Harbour Station, Porthmadog will soon become available due to retirement.

    Duties will include payroll, purchase ledger, BACS payments and reconciliations. Knowledge of Accounting & Payroll programs and Excel & Word essential.

    40 hours per week, salary to be agreed. Company Pension scheme. Starting date 1st December 2011.

    For further information and an application form please contact Colin Burtt, Finance Manager, on 01766 516026 , or e-mail

    Closing date for applications is Monday 17th October.