Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

January 13th 2012

Training railway workers on the F&WHR

Basically anything we can’t do when trains are running.

The Permanent Way Department at Dinas consists of only four full time staff but is complemented with volunteers and external organisations. One of these is Green Light Training, a company based in South Wales which specialises in training people in railway skills who then hopefully find employment with the various agencies that work for Network Rail.

They first started training on a section of track near Amlwch on the Isle of Anglesey but they were restricted with the amount of work they could do there. Their courses last thirteen weeks of which we are fortunate to have them for twelve after their initial week's training in South Wales. They carry out basic maintenance on the railway and are basically at our disposal for whatever tasks we have for them.

We had our first intake in June 2011 and we are currently halfway through our second course with another intake starting towards the end of January. Not only are we fortunate to get all of this work done for free we also get to do some of the courses for free and last year a mixture of volunteers and paid staff attended a small tools course at Dinas which saw twelve people passed out to use a variety of tools on the track and two attended a Network Rail Track Induction course which is useful because the other organisation we have visiting our railway for training purposes is Network Rail itself.

It is our second years' involvement with the Network Rail Apprenticeship Scheme where groups of first year students spend four days on the railway carrying out maintenance tasks such as jacking and packing and realignment of track. This year they will be carrying out these tasks in various locations such as Rhyd Ddu and Waunfawr and we have them for five weeks at the beginning of the year.

Since 2007 we have also been involved with the Community Payback Scheme which gives us around seven hundred and eighty hours free labour every year.

And not forgetting our stalwarts the Black Hand Gang, The Rest of The World Gang, the Tuesday Gang and all the various FR Society area groups who work alternate weekends, long weekends and working weeks, along with everyone who puts in an individual effort of a day or a few hours here and there. It all helps.

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