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November 9th 2011

Christmas Party

Volunteers, staff and friends of the Rheilffordd Eryri / Welsh Highland Railway are all invited to this year's Christmas Party.

Elwyn Jones writes: This year we are returning to Dinas Goods Shed for our annual Xmas do, to be held on Friday 2nd December.

We have the usual offer of food, drinks (real ale, wine, ciders or soft drinks), and entertainment by Neil Wilde (all the way from Yorkshire). The cost will be £20 per person and is all inclusive.

The party is open to volunteers, staff and friends of the Welsh Highland Railway. It all kicks off at 7.00 pm. Food list will be given out to all interested parties when they contact myself or Dafydd Thomas by either e-mail or phone. 

My contact no is 07840 910460, Dafydd is 07808 846103 please reply by Friday 18th November.

Brand new heaters have been installed to keep you all warm!

November 3rd 2011

Latest issues of Sidelines and Broadlines

Please find below the latest editions of the HRA's Sidelines and Broadlines newletters.

Attached file(s):
  • Sidelines_116.pdf
  • Broadlines_116.pdf

  • October 31st 2011

    Kids Training Week 2012

    It’s a rainy October Monday and we’re already getting enquiries about next year’s Kids Training Week!  The dates for KTW 2012 are Saturday 28th July – Friday 3rd August.

    Please contact for further information.

    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