Phase 3 pages:
Snowdon Ranger - Glan yr Afon
This section formed part of WHLR Ltd's Contract 3E-1 civil engineering work, which started in the opposite direction from Snowdon Ranger. In the southwards direction towards Glan yr Afon, fencing was complete by the end of June 2002, prior to the start of full-scale work on preparation of the trackbed.
Work south from Snowdon Ranger started in earnest in the second half of August 2002, with early tasks centred around the usual consolidation of the trackbed and work on drainage culverts and channels. Jan Woods' picture below shows trackbed with sub-base laid, looking north towards Snowdon Ranger; the gable belongs to the youth hostel.
The work proceeded gradually from the Snowdon Ranger end towards Glan yr Afon, and by early December the extensive drainage work (on this stretch the Railway is at right-angles to rainwater flowing down from Snowdon towards Llyn Cwellyn) and laying of the slate waste sub-base was essentially complete, and the plant machinery had been moved back closer to the Snowdon Ranger base. This left the way open for ballasting, which started from the Glan yr Afon end in late December, and is working back towards Snowdon Ranger. Bundles of sleepers were deposited in readiness for tracklaying as the ballasting proceeds. Jan Woods' pictures below show various locations on January 6th 2003. The new trackside drain seen in the first picture, leading to a culvert, is an example of the improvements being made along this section, which was built at minimum expense at the end of the 1870s, with inadequate drainage.
The sheep creep UB90 at CH12275 was widened from about 1m to 2.5m, requiring one new abutment. Roger Dick's pictures below show it on January 21st 2003, with foundations for the new abutment in place.
The structure is seen below on February 17th, with cladding of the new abutment under way.
Staff are seen below at UB90 on March 12th, working on shuttering and reinforcement prior to the casting of the deck.
The deck was cast two days later.
The bridge is seen below on March 26th, with the deck complete and stone cladding in progress.
While this job was under way, ballasting continued northwards, and by February 15th was within sight of Snowdon Ranger, at about farm crossing LC52 at CH11580. The view below is looking back along this last stretch on February 17th; the yellow pegs indicate the centre line for ballasting.
Two days later, ballasting work is seen below proceeding back to Snowdon Ranger, with the ballast top vertical alignment being checked with a laser beacon and receiver.
With ballast extended back to the recently established rail store at Snowdon Ranger, the North Wales Gang started tracklaying southwards from that point on February 22nd, as no more tracklaying could be done at Rhyd Ddu Station pending the delivery of points.
The Simplex diesel Dolgarrog and its container "loco shed" were moved from Rhyd Ddu North to Snowdon Ranger in early March 2003, together with the braked flat wagon. The loco is shown in use supporting tracklaying at LC52 on March 9th, in appalling weather conditions.
The loco is seen below stabled at Snowdon Ranger on March 12th (left), together with the new track running south of the station (right).
Jim Comerford's pictures below show tracklaying on March 15th, including the farm crossing at CH12000 (last picture), and also illustrate the use of RRMs.
Chris Price's pictures below show two areas of the track already laid, and the Head of Steel on April 5th. The following day, the track gang were fast approaching UB90, laying track on the ballast laid the previous weekend.
South of UB90, sleepers had been laid out on the approach to Glan yr Afon; the curve in the background is the start of the reverse curve leading to the bridge. The tips of Glanrafon Quarry are visible in the background.
Jim Comerford's picture below gives an even clearer idea of how this section relates to the next parts further south. The reverse curves are evident either side of the Glan yr Afon Bridge, which is in the trees on the left. Behind, the Glanrafon site compound can be seen, from where track extends to Rhyd Ddu.
Tracklaying by WHLR Ltd staff reached the end of the Snowdon Ranger - Glan yr Afon section in the second week of April, clearing the way for volunteers to start laying track in the opposite direction from Snowdon Ranger.
With track laid across Glan yr Afon bridge, top ballasting and tamping work proceeded northwards along this section. The tamper and Upnor Castle with the ballast plough are seen below at work north of UB90 on June 27th.
Phase 3 pages:
Snowdon Ranger - Glan yr Afon