The WHR was reopened from Beddgelert to Hafod y Llyn on Thursday May 21st 2009. Events included special trains for guests and local residents, and the first public train over the section, before the start of timetabled services on the 22nd.
The "Aberglasyn Pass Opening Train", double-headed from Caernarfon by NGG16s nos. 87 and 143, carried invited guests. It was preceded first by diesel Vale of Ffestiniog running light engine to Hafod y Llyn and back up to Rhyd Ddu on "Minesweeper and Infantry Duty"; fortunately there turned out to have been no repeat of the failed attempts to disrupt the previous month's Beddgelert reopening. Prince and a vintage set then ran ECS to Hafod y Llyn an hour ahead of the Garratt-hauled train.
At Beddgelert guests disembarked for the reopening ceremony. Dr John Prideaux (FR Company Chairman) introduced Caerwyn Roberts, Chairman of the Snowdonia National Park Authority; both speeches focussed on the economic benefits expected from the reopening through the Aberglaslyn Pass, and then from reopening through to Porthmadog as early as possible. The actual honour of reopening was reserved for Prince, whose train then entered Beddgelert from the south in an echo of well known pictures of the old WHR, and struck a ceremonial banner (which the loco succeeded in tearing rather than breaking) held across the track by volunteer Dr Megan Williams, and Glenn Williams of Boston Lodge Works.
Guests then rejoined the opening train for the inaugural return journey through the Aberglaslyn Pass and Nantmor to Hafod y Llyn loop, where the Garratts ran round the train and hauled it back to Beddgelert. While guests took lunch at the Royal Goat Hotel, the Garratts ran a special to Hafod y Llyn for residents of Nantmor, while Prince's set ran up to Rhyd Ddu to pick up the passengers who had paid £50 a head to ride the first public train of the new era through the Pass. These workings then met again at Beddgelert, where the residents disembarked and the guests reboarded to return to Caernarfon, while Prince set off for Hafod y Llyn.
Opening Day operations at Hafod y Llyn - external gallery by David Clegg.
YouTube video (John Wooden/FR Co):
The following pictures show operations in the first days after reopening to Hafod y Llyn (with some scenes north of Beddgelert), including the simple routine of a Hafod y Llyn arrival, run round and departure.
Video: 87 at Cwm Bychan, 24.05.09 (Stewart Macfarlane)