Thursday, 9 August 2012

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway...

Hi everyone. Having left work on a half-day this morning, I picked up Eddie before departing towards Bala. On the way we decided to call in for a round trip on the 2ft 6" gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. We arrived at Llanfair around 30 minutes before our departure so took the opportunity to grab a cuppa'. Jeff Cogan and Ken Bull were already there. They both work at the Echills Wood Railway and are also the official photographers for Statfold Barn...its funny how you seem to know everyone! In the yard at Llanfair was 0-6-2 Kerr Stuart "Joan", in light steam. Last time I came here she was nearly finished in the workshops, following overhaul. Today she was out in the sunshine, shining away. With a loud whistle we were graced with the arrival of 'Resita'. This 0-8-0 tank engine was also in bits last time I was here. Today she was on one of her first test runs following a heavy overhaul and arrived in 'failed' condition having ran a few hot bearings. She was duly retired from service with the reserve loco ("Joan") being brought round quickly and placed on the front of the train.
'Resita' - The 0-8-0T
I wasn't conplaining when 'Resita' failed as I had only really come to see "Joan". I saw "Countess" and "Earl" when I last came, as "Joan" wasn't ready, but today she certainly was. What an attractive engine.
The fireman who was making up "Joan"s fire kindly invited us up onto the footplate for a look around. It was a remarkably large cab with everything you would expect inside. I was surprised to see vacuum brakes fitted...I thought they would be air. The fireman talked of how "Joan" was a reliable and powerful locomotive, if you 'had her right'.
We left Llanfair, behind "Joan", on time and passed the Beyer "Countess" (the other loco in service) half way down the line. We travelled on an open balcony; one of the joys of the W & LLR coaches. From there you could see everything clearly on this beautiful sunny day.
GWR "Countess" - Sister Beyer to "The Earl"
Last time I visited the W & LLR it was raining and so this time it was very pleasant to see it in its true glory. The countryside around the winding route is fantastic.
After descending Golfa Bank and pulling into the terminus at Welshpool station, "Joan" was uncoupled and took water at the tower. It turns out myself and the driver had met before, on a works trip out...small world!
Having ran round "Joan" recoupled before hauling us easily back up Golfa and on towards Llanfair across the countryside.
Through The Square Window
After what seemed an easy run, "Joan" pulled back into Llanfair in the late afternoon sun. What a lovely journey.
We alighted from the coaches before enjoying another cuppa'. From here it was another hours journey across the mountains to Bala and the Bala Lake Railway. Below is the film I took at the W & LLR...
It had been a very pleasant visit but, now, its across the mountains we go. Up hill and down dale we drove passing...yes you've guessed it...thousands of sheep! We arrived at the Bala Lake Railway headquarters and found our accomodation: one of the caravans on the station yard - very nice. However when I turned around to Eddie to talk to him and he wasn't there, I had to go in search of him. I discovered him in a grassy patch behind the van, attempting to chop a tree branch off with what can only be described as the poorest of butter knives! He then commented, "its not cutting very well"...oh dear, must have been sun exposure, Ed...
With that, its off to the pub! Cheers guys. Sam...

1 comment:

Eddie said...

You wouldn't have been laughing when that branch was scratching the caravan side at 3.00am. There's method in the madness of us seniors. I agree though a butter knife is not the best tool when there is a shed full of equipment a few yards away.