This section is started with the report of some line side clearance
being done during a Rest of the World gang weekend on the 17th October
2010. This was at Bryn Gloch with the clearing lineside
vegetation consisting mainly of gorse.
27th November 2010
Working in the snow, the Rest of the World
Gang, assisted by Imperial College students, extended
the headshunt at Rhyd Ddu
by one rail length. Later a start was made on reducing the
length of the short siding, so that a new footpath can be made
next to the water tower base. for the benefit of coach parties using
the coach park. Pictures by Steve Bromfield
28th November 2010
More pictures of the
weekend's work on the headshunt and the siding at Rhyd Ddu. Pictures by
The long working weekend of
7th Jan through to the 10th Jan was to replace the wooden sleepers at Cae'r
Afon with those of the steal South African type.
The Friday saw Castell Caernarfon and DZ175 take the sleepers to the
site. The Rest of the World Gang also took two long wooden sleepers to
Caernarfon for the replacement of point timbers at the south end of the
loop as well as collecting numerous sleepers from alongside the track
route. The second picture shows the trackgang, who were joined by
members of the ICRS, on the way to Cae'r Afon with the third picture of
them working at the site.
6-7th February 2011
The Rest of the World Gang braved strong winds
torrential rain on 6th February to put a "stagger" in the rails around
curves, north of Rhyd Ddu. A half rail on the Snowdon side was cut out
at the start of the curve at the Caernarfon end, and taken to near the
station shunt limit. The rail all through the curves was then
unclipped, dragged half a rail towards Caernarfon, re-plated and
re-clipped. With South African clips this was quite time-consuming. The
staggering was almost completed on 7th February
Having staggered joints (as used on the sharply curved parts of phase
IV) should mean that the curves hold their shape better, reducing the
problem of "threepenny bit" joints. Pictures
by Simon Melhuish
The Tuesday Gang spent the
1st March at
Rhyd Ddu installing Anti-trespass at the Caernarfon end foot crossing
to the island platform. The following photos from Steve Broomfield show
the various stages of construction.
3rd May 2011
The Tuesday Gang spent
part of the day at Rhyd Ddu concreting in various posts in the
area of the new foot crossing from the bus stop to the platform. These
posts are to take "Way out" signs, warning signs and directional signs.
Photo by Steve Broomfield
26th June 2011
During the long working
weekend of the 24th to 27 June the Rest of the World Gang were working
between the two bridges at Betws Garmon on the 26th where they were
jacking and packing a 'dished' joint. This included some
the general vertical alignment in this area and also the
of some some loose SA clips.
Photo by Steve Broomfield
27th June 2011
The Rest of
the World Gang turned to lineside vegetation clearance, at
and Bron-y-fedw-uchaf to Glan-yr-afon,. They were
passed by 143 (single-headed this time) and 87. Report and
photos by Simon Melhuish
16th August 2011
Tuesday Gang worked at Castell Cidwm OB 34.57 where there lies a
stretch of fencing toward Snowdon Ranger that required beefing up. An
extra 52 fencing posts were thumped in between the road overbridge and
LC 34.79. This is where the short lived Cwellyn Halt was situated in
Tuesday Gang South meanwhile were completing the woodwork associated
with Micro ETS. Report by Tony Baker.
20th August 2011
It was the turn of the Rest of the Word Gang to be out and about on the
weekend of 20th and 21st August 2011. During this weekend the major
task was the removal of dips and the correction of cant on the lead
into Rhyd Ddu station from the North. It was a very damp weekend as can
be seen for the photographs below of the gang in action. The
only interruption to the work being the passage of the service trains
and 87 is seen approaching in a couple of the shots.
On Sunday the gang moved to the South of Rhyd Ddu to tighten
fishplates at Pitt's Head and Tro Elain.
Members of the Tuesday Gang south were rodding the drains at
Castell Cidwm where an interesting discovery was made. Report
by Tony Baker
The North Wales / Black Hand Gang were engaged in track work at Rhyd
Ddu station over the weekend 27/28 August. This involved aligning the
track, correcting track cant and packing sleepers as well as ballast
The opportunity was also taken to clean the interior of the platform
shelter, which had recently been use by a family of house martens as a
toilet! Report by Dafydd Thomas
30th August 2011
Tuesday Gang were at Castell Cidwm to continue reinforcing the fences
on both sides of the track. No horses here, but Welsh Black Cattle
which can be boisterous. So 50 extra posts were banged in. A picture of
an inscription which is on the Blaenau side of OB 34.57 (Castell Cidwm
Road Bridge) is attached. Does anyone know anything about it?
6th September 2011
Tuesday Gang were continuing with the fencing improvements between
Castell Cidwm and Snowdon Ranger. This time they started from the
Snowdon Ranger end as they were getting a long way from CC road bridge.
The condition at this end was not as bad as the CC end and new posts
were only planted where the existing post felt a bit shaky. Altogether
about 30 new posts were banged in.
The occasional shower hit them and the River Gwyrfai was very high.
Report by Tony Baker
20th September 2011
Today the Tuesday Gang were bushwacking at Betws Garmon, clearing the
road that leads to the remains of the Betws Garmon station building.
This road has not been used for some time and had sizable trees growing
in it. Pictures by Tony Baker of the scene before and after,
work in progress and a view of No 87 on the 12:30 ex Caernarfon taken
from the site of the station building.
24th/25th Septembr 2011
this weekend the North
Wales / Black Hand Gang were engaged in track maintenance on the farm
occupation crossing just north of Ffridd Isaf crossing at Rhyd Ddu. The
job comprised removal of crossing timbers and grids, checking rail cant
on the curve, adjusting the cant by jacking the high rail and packing
ballast with Kango hammers, tidying ballast and replacing the crossing
timbers and grids. Saturday's weather was atrocious, Sunday was ok
until the rain started again at about 15:30. Report by Dafydd
Thomas, Photos by Steve Broomfield
8th/9th October 2011
The North Wales / Black Hand Gang's was at work at Rhyd Ddu over the
On Saturday 8th October, torrential rain all day and a small gang
dictated a small job, preferably indoors, so they installed wire mesh
in the roof of the platform shelter to deny the birds a place to roost
as they had been leaving liberal quantities of droppings in the shelter
On Sunday 9th October the weather was a little more favourable and they
were able to carry out track maintenance on the Down line at Rhyd Ddu,
which needed to be levelled and the sleepers packed to maintain the
11th October 2011
Both sections of the Tuesday Gang worked at Betws Garmon replacing the
double gates leading to the site of the former station building with a
single gate set slightly further back from the road. A ballast store
is to be located here, as it was during phase
to supply ballast for the Winter Works Programme.
Shortly after arriving on site, Lyd passed, heading back to
Porthmadog with one carriage, following repairs at Dinas after failing
there during Superpower. Passenger trains passing today were well
loaded especially the 10:45 ex Porthmadog.
The pictures by Tony Baker show Lyd passing the remains of Betws Garmon
Station, the gang hanging the new gate and finally No 87 on the 14:30
ex Caernarfon in a view only made possible by the recent clearance work
at this site.
The Rest of the World Gang spent the first day of the October 'Long
Weekend' at the site of the former Betws Garmon station, where the
access track and the area surrounding the building were further cleared
of small trees and vegetation, these being fed into a shredder. The
opportunity was taken to improve the sight-lines to the crossing near
Pont Betws Garmon (last picture). The trees and bushes within the
building itself were also cut down.
8th November 2011
Tony Baker reports:
Tuesday 8th November the Tuesday Gang was tasked with transporting 450
interlocking concrete blocks to Rhyd Ddu to be used for the
construction of future ballast retaining walls. A works train was used
with Caernarfon Castle at the head. Unfortunately as only 2 DZ wagons
were available, each one holding approximately 150 blocks, we were only
able to deliver 300 blocks to site. A second journey was not possible
due to circumstances beyond our control.
Meanwhile other TG members
were assisting with Tryfan Junction station building, rodding the
drains at Castell Cidwm and fitting guttering to various station
buildings along the line.
The video by Andy Keene shows the Tuesday Gang train passing Tryfan
Junction en route to Rhyd Ddu:
12/14 November 2011
The Rest of the World Gang. Simon Melhuish reports:
We met up with members of Imperial College Railway Society at
Dinas on Saturday 12th November. We took our train, consisting
of two DZ wagons, the tool van and mess coach, headed by Castell
Caernarfon, to Ty'n-y-Weirglodd (between Plas y Nant and
Castell Cidwm - Ed), where we unloaded concrete blocks. We then
continued to Rhyd Ddu, where we started building new ballast-retaining
walls. This job was completed on Sunday.
On the Monday we collected at Plas-y-Nant halt and walked south to the
curve by Ty'n-y-Weirglodd where we had left a train-load of concrete
blocks and the tool van plus a DZ. A year or so previously RotWG had
built a ballast retaining wall around part of the curve, but sideways
forces exerted by the track (e.g. from thermal movement) had pushed the
top course over the lower course. These were the older, smaller blocks.
So we demolished the wall and rebuilt using the new, larger blocks
(about 30 kg each, at a guess). We more than doubled the length of the
wall on Monday, with work set to continue into Tuesday.
Pictures by Simon Melhuish
The Tuesday Gang were at Rhyd Ddu to service fishplates from
LC 39.08 to the end of the straight section where joints become
staggered at 38.50 approximately. The work consists of taking apart the
fishplate, which are the SA type used on phase 3, applying liberal
amounts of grease and bolting them back up again. What they were not
prepared for was the many different sizes of nuts used and a trip back
to Dinas was needed to find more spanners. As well as
servicing the fishplates they also applied lubrication to all the T
bolts from LC 39.08 back to the bridge at 38.77.
Pictures by Tony Baker show fishplate being taken apart and
put back together.
Tuesday Gang carried on from where they left off last week. The first
job was to attend to the rail joint discovered last week at Rhyd Ddu.
It was 2 cm wide which is slightly more than ¾". In the temperatures
prevailing at the moment, a rail joint should be something in the
region of 6 to 10 mm. To deal with it, firstly the fishplates are
removed on the joint in question and also on the next joint downhill
which incidentally had no gap at all. Then all the T bolts on the rail
have to be loosened and the rail itself nudged along it's length with a
crowbar to break the seal. Then, using the blade of a spade in the gap
in the web and at the same time pulling on the rail with tongs
hopefully it can be persuaded to move. This process is then repeated on
the uphill rail and finally the fishplates are bolted back together and
the T bolts tightened. This process took about 2½ hours.
They then moved down to Castell Cidwm where they continued with the
process of lubricating T bolts and greasing fishplates. A goodly number
of tools are needed for this job, as explained previously
there are different sized nuts on the fishplates and T bolts.
Pictures are attached showing the gap before remedial action and again
afterwards. Also undoing and tightening back up the T bolts.
Report and pictures by Tony Baker
Tuesday Gang spent the 13th March continuing with their programme of
fishplate maintenance. Firstly, at Castell Cidwm, a further 4 pairs of
fishplates were stripped down, greased and reassembled. This completed
the work at Castell Cidwm. Moving on to Rhyd Ddu they started at LC
38.64 and worked north stripping down and greasing a further 7 pairs.
At the same time the T bolts from 38.50 to 38.70 were all lubricated.
Next week should see this location finished with 11 more pairs left to
Tuesday Gang completed the last stretch of fishplate greasing and T
bolt lubricating between 38.33 and 38.64 at Rhyd Ddu, with
from the Green Light lads. 25th March 2012 Today, the Tuesday Gang South undertook the
The frame and letters of the Running-In Board at Plas y Nant
were given a coat of white gloss, thus completing our activities there
They further investigated the 'rocking' foot crossing at Rhyd
Ddu, North end, but were unable to undo the four fixing bolts (some
'heat' required here ?).
The broken gate latch at Beudy Cerrig, between Rhyd Ddu and
Pitt's Head, was replaced, observed by some of the 'local residents'
The board at the bottom of the gated entrance to Beddgelert
station site (NW) was re-attached, using stronger chains and
The seized padlock at the Porthmadog Council Crossing gate
was 'freed-off'. Report by Steve Broomfield.
The Tuesday Gang spent the 29th May at Caeau Gwynion. The main job was
to clear out a culvert, which although not completely blocked, was
silted up and contained large stones and boulders washed down from the
hills above. The culvert appears to be unrebuilt from original and is
about two feet square. The only way to clean it out was to crawl into
it and pass back the stones. Volunteers, of which there were nine of
us, took it in turns to crawl in. The accompanying picture shows the
cleared culvert at the end of the day. In parallel with this activity
volunteers were also dealing with seized T-bolts along this section.
About 2 dozen were undone, wire brushed, greased and reassembled
successfully. The weather was sunny and hot.
Report and pictures by Tony Baker
The Tuesday Gang spent the day working just south of Waunfawr Station
cleaning out ditches and culverts. The problem was caused by vegetation
growing in the ditch and either side of the culverts. The farmer here
has dug out his ditch on the field above the line but not in his field
below the line as yet. Welsh Highland is responsible for the ditch
running parallel to the track at 30.36 and the culvert at 30.74. These
are now cleared of the encroaching vegetation. Attached pictures show
culvert before work starts and the ditch in the process of being
cleared. Five volunteers were present assisted by two community pay
back lads. Whilst at this site they checked all the "T Bolts" and found
106 seized which will keep them busy for a while. Report by
Tuesday Gang South report that the new running-in board was erected at
Snowdon Ranger. All that remains is to fit the three caps to the metal
Rest of the World Gang attended Castell Cidwm where there is trouble
with the drains. Pressure from the head of water in the downhill pipe
is forcing off a junction in the pipework. Improvements to the run of
drains alongside the line are being considered.
Some work was also done on a farm gate, to
discourage intrusion by sheep, and at a farm crossing, which
is suffering decay to the timbers. Picture by Simon Melhuish
The North Wales / Black Hand Gang's first job for 2013 was
the realignment of one half of the large S curve at Tro Ffridd.
Saturday, 12th January, with a bitterly cold wind howling down from the
gap between Yr Wyddfa and Yr Aran, we seperated the track in the middle
of the S curve. We then set about digging out the ballast from the
sleeper ends and commenced the process of realigning the curve. This is
a bit of a back and forth job with men heaving on pinch bars whilst the
supervisor shouts directions at them.
By 15:30 we had nice alignment
with a reasonable transition into the curve from the Rhyd Ddu
direction; but we also had a 100mm gap in the rails where we had
separated the track earlier in the day. However that was a job for
Sunday morning, 13th January was equally as cold as Saturday
but without the wind. We now set about regapping the rails; this
involves loosening the track bolts and moving the rails up, putting the
correct gap at the rail joints. The idea being that eventually to lose
the 100mm gap. However after doing this on about 10 rails there was
still a considerable gap and it was 16:00. There was no choice but to
call a halt, fading light, falling snow and tired volunteers dictating
this action. Some of the volunteers had spent the day shovelling the
ballast back into the voids at the sleeper ends; this will give the
tamper something to work with. The works train finally truddled into
Dinas at almost 18:00.
It was now up to the Network Rail
apprentices to finish the job on Monday, 14th January; which I'm glad
to say they did ably supervised by Paul Bradshaw a CRhE/WHRS
Report by Dafydd Thomas
North Wales/Black Hand Gang weekend, 6/7 April.
Over this weekend they were engaged in rebuilding an embankment
retaining wall at Tro Ffridd (just north of Rhyd Ddu station).
Blocks were brought up by works train and the job slowly progressed
over the weekend. A slight dip in the track was also rectified
by jacking and packing
using Kango hammers.
A return visit in two weeks' time should see
the job completed.
by David Firth show work in progress between service trains, and the
works train by the wall at the end of the weekend
16th April 2013
Further work waas carried out on the ballast wall at Tro Ffridd.
Picture by David Firth