Tales Of The River Bank

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway Fence2Fence Team were in action over the weekend of 25th & 26th January. The work area was between Tanllan and Mill Curves – a stretch of line of about half a mile. If you are old enough to have thought this post might be about Hammy Hamster then I am sorry to disappoint you.


After the November Fence2 Fence session, Willy, our long standing Team Leader stood down. In the photo above he is giving his farewell speech at the team’s annual dinner. Dave and Peter have volunteered to be the new leaders and organise the vegetation management sessions.

Strimming At The Lawn

Saturday morning and Dave and Chris tackle a small patch of bracken opposite ‘The Lawn’. Due to the shape of the lineside bank the railway’s flail couldn’t get to grips with this. The following day we raked up best part of a cubic metre of debris from this short stretch of lineside. So a summer fire risk has been removed.

River Bank Coppice

There was no heavy work scheduled for the weekend; just plenty of work with loppers trimming back coppice stools and stray saplings so as to maintain a good view of the River Banwy. In December 2017 we took down five large trees at this location. This was a pre-emptive move as they were too large for the soil they were in and they were at risk of toppling either into the river or onto the railway – either way we would have had to pay a significant sum to tidy up the mess.

Regular readers of this Blog may remember the poem A Lament For Five Brothers that appeared way back in December 2017. Verse five goes :
This band of brothers has fallen
But we will rise, not as five, but fifty!
Come Easter and new shoots
Will spring from our stumps

River Bank Coppice Cut Down

Well spring forth they did and we must have trimmed back more than five times fifty fifty shoots. Ae the same time we had the opportunity to inspect the state of the bank – which just here is protected by gabions that were installed in the 1980s.

Image linked from https://www.ultimate-one.co.uk

Gabions are wire cages that are put in place and then filled with rocks. The ones in the river seem to have survived quite well.

Setting Back

The vegetation at the entrance to the sidings at Tanllan had started to encroach on the lineside and was restricting visibility during shunting operations. It is a safety requirement that the Shunter and at least one of the Loco Crew can see each other at all times. The Fence2Fence team had been tasked with trimming it back to ‘improve sighting’.

Visibility into Tanllan Sidings 1/12/2019

This was how we left it on 1st December; much better, but look closely and you can see that once the leaves are back on the trees it won’t be quite so good.

Vegetation Identified For Cutting Back

The same picture again:
The purple line identifies vegetation that will be covered in leaves in the summer. The tree inside the red line is dead and leaning towards the railway.

Dealing with most of the growth inside the purple line was relatively easy. The dead tree took a lot of thinking about before a strategy for eliminating the risk of it falling on the railway was worked out.

Cutting Back Completed

Rather than remove the tree at stump level it was decided to remove the branches just above the lowest fork. The branches were roped and then tensioned to control which way they fell and cut using a pole saw. The careful planning paid dividends and the task went well and yielded some useful lighting up wood.

Tanllan Sidings - Improved Sighting

A Diesel Driver’s view of the entrance to the sidings.

Fence Line Cleared of Brambles

The brambles along the fence line have been cleared using a combination of a ‘slasher’ to get them out of the wire and then mashed down using a petrol powered brush cutter.

Lunch Time (Left)
Lunch Time (Right)

Sunday 26th January and some of the team are taking a well earned rest from working in the rain.

Sweeping Out The Wagon

The very last job of the weekend was to clean out the wagon.

More pictures here


And if you really would like to catch up with Hammy Hampster, Roderick Rat and GP then you will find them over on Youtube

Posted in Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, Photographs, Poetry, railroad, railway, Tanllan, vegetation management, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, winter | Leave a comment

2019 Twelve Months In Twentyfour Photographs


Dumper About To Unload

Filling in Nine Acre Quarry near Heath & Reach began in earnest. The quarry face in the background had been netted to prevent sand martins nesting there. The fill material was clay brought in from the adjacent Mundays Hill Quarry.

Hammering In Staples 1

Repairing fences between School Mistress Cottage and Heniarth at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway


Looking Down Quarry Cutting

Quarry Cutting on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.
This part of the line was the focus of attention by the Fence2Fence Team over four weekends during the winter of 2018/19. The slope on the left had been covered in a dense thicket of blackthorn which was depositing heavy leaf fall onto the railway.

Scimitar-horned Oryx

A pair of Scimitar-horned Oryx taking a drink in their pool at Whipsnade Zoo.


Magic Roundabout

A visit to the Statfold Barn Railway. This was the first time I had been there and I had a very enjoyable time. The entrance fee covered the cost of as many train rides as you desired, an excellent museum and on the day I visited the workshops were open to look around.


I accidentally disturbed this newt whilst tidying up some old railway sleepers left at the lineside near Hanged Man’s Tree. As it was very cold the creature was in a state of torpor and made no attempt to move. The sleepers were very carefully replaced so as not to crush it.


Wet Day In Llanfair Caereinion

Countess seen from the windows of the signal box at Llanfair Caereinion during a rain shower.

A Cute Little Vole

A cute little vole caught our attention while visiting the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.


Cutting Through the Re-bar

Network Rail demolished the footbridge that carried a public footpath over the West Coast Main Line at Leighton Buzzard.

Pressure Washing

A bogie from one of the MAV carriages is pressured washed prior to receiving a minor refurbishment of the brakes and running gear.


Expediant Drainage

After several days of heavy rainfall a drain beneath the railway became blocked. Water spilled over and was flowing through and across the ballast. An expedient solution consisting of two 200mm diameter pipes were inserted between the sleepers to channel the water away. A few days later it was dry enough for the Track Gang to dig out the inlet to the drain and get it flowing properly once again.

Bumble Bee on Geranium

A bumble bee searching for nectar in a geranium flower. You do not necessarily need a fancy camera for wild life photography. This picture was taken using a mobile phone.


A Nosey Wasp

A nosey wasp alighted on my camera and remained long enough for me to photograph it.


On the 6th of July there was a Memorial Train for the late Tom Newby who passed away in January. His sons James and Richard are seen with Countess at Raven Square Station in Welshpool.


Superheater Header

Some months previously, the superheater header for 699.01, Sir Drefaldwyn, was found to be porous. After some unsuccessful attempts to find the cause of the problem it was decided to manufacture a new one. A pattern was made and a raw casting delivered to the W&LLR workshops at Llanfair Caereinion. The picture above shows the casting in the later stages of machining.

Gatekeeper Butterfly

A gatekeeper butterfly seen during a walk near Heath and Reach.


Mundays Hill Looking Towards Double Arches

The harvest has been gathered in and the large round bales of straw are waiting to be wrapped in polythene and then stacked to await later use.

Welshpool Water Tower

Familiarizing crews with ZB2 ‘Zillertal’ got underway. After the loco arrived from Austria it was dismantled to allow our insurance company’s inspector to examine the boiler. It then had to be re-assembled and steam tested for him. The loco was able to enter traffic on Friday 30th August, which was the first day at the W&LLR annual steam gala.


Running Bunker First - Mono

The owners of Chevallier, a Manning Wardle 0-6-2T, built in 1915 as works number 1877, undertook some modifications to the exhaust arrangements. In the photo above W&LLR driver ‘Gandalf’ is driving the loco, light engine, from Llanfair to Cyfronydd to check if any, of the bearings might run hot. Nothing was amiss and a week or so later it then undertook some load trials. These indicated that the modifications have reduced coal consumption.

Fitting Fishplates

Meanwhile at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway a team from the Elizabeth Line (aka Cross Rail) assisted the regular track gang to relay the section of line from Stonehenge Works to Mundays Hill. As their railway has not yet opened for business they were, shall be say, under utilized.

The team consisted of: a supervisor, 2 leading trackmen and 6 apprentice trackmen. The latter group were almost at the end of their training period. Because most of the Elizabeth Line comprises of slab track and a mere 3 miles of traditional track the week proved a valuable part of their training.


Simplex & Hudswell Clarke 'Ganges' class Locos

On 20th November 1919 the narrow gauge railway that skirts the eastern and southern edges of Leighton Buzzard was officially opened. On 17th November 2019 a formal centenary event took place with a special train for members of the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society and guests. The picture above was taken a few days later on the actual centenary. It shows two Hudswell Clarke ‘Ganges’ class steam locos, similar to the pair that were supplied for the opening of the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, and a petrol powered boat framed Simplex locomotive. These light weight, versatile, machines were used to pull the wagons of sand out of the quarries and the steam locos took the graded sand to the tipping docks where the sand was transferred to standard gauge wagons.

Signing Off

The Engineering Office at Llanfair Caereinion. This building is where the day to day running of the locomotive and mechanical engineering aspects of the railway are managed from. The outer portion is the ‘Booking On’ point and is where the maintenance documents, repair books and operational notices are readily at hand. Then there is the ‘inner sanctum’ aka the Workshop Manager’s office.


Santa Claus

The old guy in the red suit, along with is posse, has flagged down a train at Tanllan and is preparing to climb on board and distribute gifts to the children.
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway had an excellent ‘Santa Season’ and thankfully there was no disruption due to snow.

Cockle Dredger

To mark the end of the year, and this blog post, the final image shows a cockle dredger at the quay-side in Leigh-On-Sea at sunset on Sunday 29th of December.

You will find many more photographs on my Flickr pages

Best Wishes for 2020.


Posted in Carriage & Wagon, demolition, gala, Heritage, LBNGR, Leighton Buzzard, Llanfair Caereinion, locomotives, Photographs, railroad, railway, Simplex, Tanllan, Welshpool, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops, Zillertal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2019

Best Wishes for a Contented Christmas and a Happy New Year

If you would like to read part of the Christmas story you will find Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus here <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=MSG&gt;

If you would like to spend some time just looking at photographs, mainly of the railway variety, but with a few others showing canals, earth moving equipment, flora and fauna, then my Flickr Photostream is here <https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanllan/&gt;


Posted in Ferret, Llanfair Caereinion, Photographs, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

100 Not Out

One hundred years ago on 20th November 1919 the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway opened for traffic. Over that time the railway has in one form or another has been operated . It was built to carry sand from the quarries to the east of Leighton Buzzard to the main line railway sidings adjacent to the Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable branch line of the London & North Western Railway Company.

Simplex & Hudswell Clarke 'Ganges' class Locos
Locomotives at Stonehenge Works.

Prior to the building of the line the sand had been carried initially by horse and cart and then by larger waggons hauled by traction engines which caused severe damage to the roads. The two main quarry companies Joseph Arnold & Sons Ltd and George Garside Ltd were face with the cost of ongoing road repairs or finding a better means of transporting the sand.

Festoon & Skips
20hp, petrol engined, boat framed Simplex ‘Festoon’.

With the end of the Great War a large amount of light railway equipment came onto the open market. Arnold’s and Garside’s formed the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway Company which was mainly built on narrow strips of land under wayleave agreements. The original company never had a Light Railway Order!

When the line opened ‘main line’ trains were worked by a pair of small steam locomotives. These had been built, by Hudswell Clarke, as yard shunters for the War Department Light Railways (WDLR) . They were 0-6-0 well tanks and were examples of the makers standard ‘Ganges’ class.

Hudswell Clark 'Ganges' class 0-6-0WTs
A pair of preserved Ganges class locomotives borrowed to celebrate the centenary of the railway.

Trains in the quarries were hauled by horses and petrol engined Simplex locomotives – again ex-WDLR.

Festoon & Skips
Festoon is a 20 hp ‘boat framed’ Simplex very similar to those used by the WDLR but is a mere youngster having been built in 1929.
Festoon & Skips

The steam locomotives did not last for very long and were replaced by more internal combustion powered machines, once again war surplus, and the product of the Motor Rail & Tramcar Company of Bedford.

Tin Turtle aka Armoured Simplex
An armoured Simplex similar to those purchased to replace the LBLR’s steam locos

More pictures from the Centenary Photo Shoot on 20th November 2019
Pictures from the ‘Official’ centenary event on 17th November 2019

Many thanks to all who made today’s event possible but in particular Chris & Duncan.


Posted in Heritage, Industrial Archaeology, LBNGR, Leighton Buzzard, locomotives, Photographs, pit, quarry, railroad, railway, Simplex | Leave a comment

Carriage Works Archive

Twenty years ago (1999) the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway was in need of additional carriages that would be suitable for ‘everyday use’. The search lead to the Jindřichův Hradec Místní Dráhy in the Czech Republic and they were able to sell the W&LLR two semi-derelict vehicles that had been built for the Hungarian state railway company MAV in the 1950s.

Cax 430 was converted and put into service fairly soon afterwards. The rebuilding of Cax 418 commenced in July 2003.

Cutting Out The End Panels

Regular visitors to our railway will know that we like balconies. This carriage was not going to be an exception. In this first of the pictures Leslie Pask, perhaps better known in the Llanfair Caereinion workshops as ‘Squeak’ is cutting out one of the end panels with an oxy-acetylene cutter.

Cutting Out The End Panels

A side view of the same process. Note the pile of bits of timber lying on the ground.

Cutting Out The End Panels

The inevitable consequence was that the wood was set alight by the falling sparks.

Pasco Rowe in Action

A couple of days later and the end panels have gone. There is sill more cutting to do though.

Pasco Rowe in Action

Here we have a picture that sums up the much missed Pasco Rowe with a hammer in one hand and the gas-axe in the other. He had a ‘can do’ attitude to any project that he took on and was renown for seemingly resolving all problems he encountered with either an arc welder or oxy-acetylene cutter. Regrettably he developed an aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and passed away in his early fifties.

The Interior

A look through the empty bodyshell. These carriages are substantially built and ride on equally heavily built bogies. Note the watering can at the far end to provide a means of quenching any accidental fires.

Shot Blasted & Primed

Once the ends had been cut open to create the space for the balconies nothing much happened until November. Then a shot blasting contractor was brought in to clean and prime a number of items undergoing restoration. Cax 418 is seen on the Ballast Siding at Tanllan and the shot blasting kit is mounted on the back of a lorry on the loading dock.

It was then shipped to Boston Lodge where it was fitted out by the Ffestiniog Railway’s Carriage Department.

The other items shot blasted at the same time were Monarch and the chassis of the former SKGLB carriage number 569.


Posted in Carriage & Wagon, Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, Photographs, railroad, railway, Tanllan, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday (23rd October 2019)

Nature Subsuming Railway
Rails & Logs
Overflowing Bucket
From The Summit Looking Towards Stonehenge Works
Mundays HIll
Holding sleeper Against Rail Prior To Spiking
Lifting and Placing Track Panels
Fitting Fishplates
Narrow Gauge Tracks To Mundays Hill
Slewing The Heal Of The Turnout
Posted in Heritage, LBNGR, Leighton Buzzard, Photographs, railroad, railway, track | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday (16th October 2019)

Posted in Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, locomotives, railroad, railway, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reconfiguring The Workshop

Since gala there have been some changes to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s workshops at Llanfair Caereinion. Regular readers of the blog will be aware that to cover a shortage of steam locomotives the railway has hired one in from the Zillertalbahn in Austria.

Welshpool Water Tower

ZB2 ‘Zillertal’ is somewhat taller than the incumbent fleet of locomotives and in order get in and out of the workshop a bit of surgery on the gable end and the doors to Road 2 was necessary.

Modified Doors

Taller doors.

Modified Doors

Thankfully the gable end roof truss did not need to be modified.

There have also been some changes to Road 1 – it is now considerably shorter than it once was. The existing welding fume extraction machine has been deemed unfit for purpose so a new more powerful one is going to be installed – in the corner where the welding bench is. So it is all change!

Workshop Road 1 - Before

This is a ‘before’ view looking towards the doors to the outside world.

Workshop Road 1 - Before

And this is a ‘before’ view looking towards the welding bay in the rear right corner.

Workshop Road 1 - During

The first two lengths of rail have been removed and can be seen lying on the floor in the foreground. We couldn’t undo one of the nuts that held the right hand waybeam down; so we split the beam instead. It didn’t put up very much resistance.

Workshop Road 1 - During

The first three brick piers put a bit of resistance up at first but rapidly yielded when the Cambrian hammer was applied. (Yes we have a large sledge hammer that once belonged to the Cambrian Railway Company.)

Workshop Road 1 - During

Shortening the next set of waybeams.

Workshop Road 2 - After

A chisel in an SDS hammer drill made short work of the cement that was stuck to the concrete floor. In this view the task is almost complete.

Wagon Load Of Rubble

A wagon load of rubble. This was later transferred to one of the Bowaters dropside wagons and subsequently taken down the line to bolster the embankment on Castle Bank adjacent to the sewage works.

Coal Bunker for 699.01 (Sir Drefaldwyn)

Last but by no means least an length of rail was welded across the end of the track to prevent any vehicles ending up on the floor. Sir Drefaldwyn’s (aka 699.0) bunker and cab floor assembly can be seen under the portable lifting gantry.


Posted in 699.01, demolition, Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, locomotives, railroad, railway, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops, Zillertal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loco Crew Familiarisation

Welshpool Water Tower

To cope with a shortage of serviceable steam locomotives the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) went in search of a locomotive to hire. Now not all railways are the same gauge (the distance between the rails); in Britain, ‘standard gauge’ and ‘2 foot gauge’ (including 600mm and similar) were relatively common. The W&LLR is built to a gauge of 2 feet 6 inches (762mm) which is uncommon in the British Isles other than in collieries and ammunition dumps. As a consequence there is not very much suitable equipment around full stop; let alone locomotives available to hire.


As with many things in life its is not what you know, but who you know, that will get you where you want to go. The railway was advised that the Zillertalbahn in Austria had a locomotive that had had recently been overhauled and might be available to hire. It was a U class 0-6-2T tank engine built by Krauss way back in 1900. An example of class is seen in the picture above, taken by Heinz Bircher, near Mayrhofen in 1967.

ZB2's Works Plate

Early in the summer two W&LLR crews went to Jenbach to assess the loco and gain some familiarity with its operation. Or in the case of Simon, who had spent the summer of 1969 working as a fireman on the Zillertalbahn, some nostalgic re-familiarisation.

With the deal agreed the loco was shipped to the UK. Then to meet the requirements of our boiler insurance company a thorough inspection was required and with that completed the locomotive entered traffic at the end of August.

Now the Zillertalbahn is a 20 miles (32km ) long railway and runs along the valley between Jenbach and Mayrhofen climbing about 70m (230ft). By comparison the W&LLR is a mere eight miles long (13km) but in the first couple of miles, between Raven Square and Golfa Summit, climbs 85m (279ft) before crossing the watershed that separates the rivers Severn and Banwy and descending 65m (213ft) to Llanfair Caereinion. In summary the gradient profile resembles that of a roller coaster.

Diagram showing the gradient profile of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
The diagram above has been copied from The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway by Ralph Cartwright & Ralph Russell (1981 edition)

Time For A Mug Of Tea

The fireman has time for a mug of tea before getting ready for another trip.
Notice that the steam dome is very close to the front of the boiler. This is ideal when going up hill chimney first. When going up hill cab first it can be a distinct disadvantage as there is an increased risk of water being carried over from the boiler into the cylinders.

Some operational hiccups and consequential late running at the recent gala made it clear that it would be advisable to provide footplate crews with some formal familiarisation rather than people being rostered to operate the loco and told to get on with it.

Familiarisation Regime – Firemen

The fireman are required to do a round trip to Welshpool and back again accompanied by a trainer, typically Alan R or Joe G.

One of the key learning points is to make sure that there is a good, hot, fire well before departure time.

The fire grate is quite large and flat and there is a brick arch. The lack of a slope on the grate means the coal will not rattle down as the loco goes along the line and has to be placed in the correct position. Getting the coal right to the front can be tricky at first – if it hits the brick arch it will drop short and then potentially form a hump of coal making getting further coal right down the front even harder.

Due the gradients on the W&LLR there are number of locations where it is critically important to have the correct minimum water level, however, when running cab first, too much water at these same locations can result in carry over into the cylinders. Just to complicate matters the injectors have small cones (6mm) and are rather slow and so, ideally, the fireman’s side one needs to be running whenever the regulator is open.

Familiarisation Regime – Drivers

Part One is to complete a round trip firing under supervision. Part Two involves understanding how the locomotive is prepared for use and driving a round trip under supervision.

The preparation part involves learning where all the lubrication points are and in particular how the axleboxes are lubricated. The driving wheels have conventional oil wells in the axlebox tops that can be accessed through the wheel spokes – so setting the loco correctly is essential to get at them. The pony truck axleboxes can only be accessed from underneath the loco. Each of the eight axlebox under-keeps has also got a drain valve that has to be opened to remove and water that may have accumulated. After the water has been drained oil is then pumped through the same valve to top up the under-keep reservoir.

So what is different about driving this engine to any of the other W&LLR fleet ? Well not a huge amount but there are a few significant features. The first is that the hand brake is for parking only. It is operated by a weighted lever on the fireman’s side of the cab. So the loco can only be stopped either by applying the vacuum brake or ‘poling’ the reverser (OK at very slow speed or in an emergency). The regulator is not mounted on the boiler backhead but is adjacent to the reverser and is moved backwards and forwards. The other feature is the presence of a speedometer which incorporates a tachograph.

The lack of a controllable handbrake or an independent power brake on the loco means that any wheel slip has to be managed by a combination of regulator setting and then once the slipping has been controlled the application of sand to the rails.
On my supervised driving trip Golfa Bank was very wet and slippery and sand was used from Nant-Y-Caws Cutting and the all the way through the reverse curves.

The Zillertalbahn have requested that when coasting with the regulator shut, unless the we are moving at a crawl, the loco is placed in full gear and with the cylinder drain cocks open.

Ready To Depart

ZB 2 ‘Zillertal’ stands ready to depart at Welshpool Raven Square on 26th September 2019. The two columns of steam rising from the boiler are not from the safety valves. The one on the left is the exhaust from the steam turbine generator and the other one is from the vacuum brake ejector which has a silencer and discharge pipe immediately in front of the cab.

The ride in the cab is very smooth and the controls are well positioned and easy to operate. Probably the biggest niggle is that the vacuum brake ejector is not very efficient below 10Bar (145psi) and it is necessary adjust the control valve or even use the large ejector to prevent the brakes from dragging. As the safety valves are set to 12Bar (174psi) there is not a lot of working margin.

Having completed the familiarisation schedules footplate crew members are then able to be signed off a competent to operate the loco. I undertook my training on 25th & 26th September and ‘went solo’ later on the second day.

Was it worth it ? I mean surely a steam engine is a steam engine ?
In answer to my own questions I would say ‘Yes it was’. Without the benefit of the tuition I would probably have worked out most of the nuances after a few trips but there might well have been some late arrivals as a result. As our core income is dependent on the people who come to visit the railway then providing them with a top quality journey is a matter of importance.

On The Ash Pit

Emptying the ash pan – a messy chore


Posted in Castle Caereinion, Golfa Bank, Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, locomotives, railroad, railway, Welshpool, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Zillertal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mission Impossible and a Steam Gala Part 2

Zillertal After Dark

The star of the 2019 Gala was Zillertal. It is seen here on Saturday evening during night time photography session. Steam is issuing from the vacuum ejector and turbo generator exhausts while JT is giving the motion a wipe over.

Joan & Zillertal After Dark

Joan and Zillertal at Llanfair on Saturday 31st August 2019. The availability of powerful battery powered lights has made the organising of after dark railway photography much easier. Additionally there are no trailing cables for people to trip over or engines to sever which makes things a lot safer.

Picture Yourself In A Train At A Station

Countess has arrived with the last train of the day from Welshpool.

The Guard Has Finished For The Day

The guard has finished his shift and has collected all his equipment together. He is about to go off duty but will be working again the next day.

Zillertal Passes The Signalbox

Zillertal passes the signal box on its way to the ashpit. Running with lights is mandatory in Austria. Zillertal is equipped with two steam powered turbo generators to provide electricity for the lights and other equipment.

Zillertal On Shed

Our long term visitor is now at the back of the engine shed and the crew are about to leave for the night. The wooden smoke trough at the front of the shed had to be modified to allow this engine’s chimney to pass beneath it.

Signalbox and Engineering Office

The signal box and the Engineering Office.
In the ‘box the signalman is having a conversation with a visitor. Through the door of the Engineering Office you can see the loco allocation board and some lamps. The outer section of the office serves as the Booking On Point for footplate and engineering staff. At busy times like galas this is where the Yard Foreman is based.

The dark shape in the foreground is Ferret a, Hunslet, diesel loco dating way back to 1940.

Emptying The Ashpan

Countess has been coaled, watered and after cleaning out will go into the shed . It is good to remember that in the ‘good old days’ when steam was ‘king’ the dirty work of emptying ashpans and smokeboxes went on day and night.

Joan departs from Llanfair Caereinion with a short, demonstration, goods train. It will run as far as Cyfronydd where it will be re-sorted, and wait a while before returning to Llanfair.

Goods Train Waits at Cyfronydd

Joan and the goods train wait at Cyfronydd for the block section between there and Llanfair to become clear. The driver will then be given the single line Train Staff for the LL-CYF_LLA section.

Propelling Goods Train To Tanllan

With the trucks not being required for a couple of hours they are propelled to Tanllan for sorting and storage. This photo was taken from the brake van.


The shunter uncouples the wagons from the brake van while an, apparently impatient, Goods Guard looks on.
The Grondana buffer/coupler arrangement used on the Welshpool and Llanfair light Railway is relatively safe in as much as no human action is required to align the couplers during an ease-up move, however, the screw links do take time to fasten/unfasten and can become lost or misplaced.

Shunter In Action

The shunter now guides the loco driver into the sidings with the wagons.

Joan At Tanllan

Joan pauses while brakes are pinned down and the loco is uncoupled.

Re-assembling Zillertal

This picture was taken on 23rd August. Zillertal was rapidly being re-assembled after the boiler had been given a thorough NDT examination. A snag with the regulator on the day of the steam test (27/08) meant that the loco was not signed off into revenue earning service until 09:45 on Friday 30th August – after the gala had commenced.

You can find out more about bringing Zillertal into service in Issue 46 of The Earl


Posted in Countess, Cyfronydd, diesel, gala, Heritage, Joan, Llanfair Caereinion, locomotives, Photographs, railroad, railway, Tanllan, The Earl, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops, Zillertal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment