THE WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY
RECOMMENDED READING AND VIEWING
Not all books listed are necessarily in print, but your
library may be able to oblige. UK titles in print are likely to be
available through FR/WHR(C)/WHRS outlets including mail order, and/or
through the WHR(P) bookshop and mail order service.
- Narrow Gauge Railways in North
Caernarvonshire, vol. 1 (West), Oakwood Press
(1981), ISBN 0-85761-273-0. The section on the Nantlle Railway details
the early history of the modern WHR's route into Caernarfon.
- Narrow Gauge Railways in South
Caernarvonshire (2nd ed.):
- Vol. 1, Oakwood Press (1988),
ISBN 0-85361-365-6; includes the history of constituent parts of the
original WHR and other railway schemes (reprinted 2000). Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Vol. 2, Oakwood Press (1989),
ISBN 0-853631-383-4; the history of the completed original WHR, plus
material on the 1964 Company.
- K1: 1ère
Garratt en Tasmanie/1st Garratt in Tasmania,
published by the author (23 rue des Martyrs de la Libération, 31400
Toulouse, France) (1996), ISBN 2-9505403-3-3. A thorough account of the
North-East Dundas Tramway and its rolling stock, in particular the
pioneer Garratt K1, now being rebuilt for the Welsh Highland. Parallel
French and English text, though the reader of French will be at an
advantage in many places. Comes with a supplement of 147 detailed A3
drawings to 1:19 scale, of which 49 are devoted to K1. Original
watercolours take the place of historical photographs. Expensive but
worth it for K1 devotees; available in the UK through Camden Miniature
Steam Services, Bath.
- Welsh Highland Wonderland,
Pride Books (1982), ISBN 0-946283-00-1; a good selection of pictures of
the old WHR, reproduced in large format if not always top quality.
Festiniog Railway Company:
- Rheilffordd Eryri/Welsh Highland
Railway: Traveller's Guide, 3rd edition
(2004). An almost entirely restructured and rewritten replacement for
the previous version, with many new (mainly uncaptioned) pictures
mostly taken in 2003, reproduced to a high standard. Intended to
introduce the visitor not just to the railway journey but also to the
communities and countryside served by the Railway, and activities
complementary to riding on WHR(C). Includes a slightly reduced version
of Lewis Esposito's "W.H.R Heritage Trail, Caernarfon Rhyd Ddu" poster
(with extra colour). Perhaps a shame the list of websites
omits the official WHR Project site...
Gordon & Ann HATHERILL:
- Slate Quarry Album,
RCL Publications (2001), ISBN 0-9538763-2-2 (softback), 0-9538763-3-0
(hardback). A fascinating insight into the detail of slate quarries and
their internal railways. Deals mostly with two Blaenau Ffestiniog
quarries, but the coverage is also relevant to those served by the WHR.
The cover features a fine picture looking across Llyn-y-Gadair from its
small quarry to Rhyd Ddu Station.
Richard L. HILLS:
- Beyer, Peacock: Locomotive Builders
to the World, 3rd impression, Venture
Publications (1998), ISBN 1-898432-05-8; the history of the Manchester
firm that built the Welsh Highland Garratt locomotives, includes
pictures of K1 being built in 1909 and much else.
- The Origins of the Garratt Locomotive,
Plateway Press (2000), ISBN 1-871980-43-7. Learned material about the
early development of the Garratt (some texts already seen elsewhere,
including in The Snowdon Ranger), plus archive
photos of K1 being built (same as in the above volume) and at work in
Tasmania (not featured in the BP volume), surrounding a facsimile
reprint of H.W. Garratt's booklet The Garratt Patent
Locomotive. Recommended despite some odd slips, mainly on the
rear cover (K1 is an 0-4-0+0-4-0, not an 0-1-0+0-1-0 - shades
of Emett! - and a photo titled as being at Dinas is in fact at
Minffordd), all royalties are being donated by the author
towards the restoration of K1.
John C. HOPKINS:
- Rheilffordd Eryri/The Welsh Highland
Railway: 1991 to 2003, 4th edition, December 2003,
388pp. Published by the author, in aid of the funds of the Welsh
Highland Railway Society. A very thorough and mainly first-hand account
of the purposes, proceedings and outcomes of the Public Inquiries and
High Court cases (etc) which have allowed reconstruction of the WHR,
including much detail and documentation which may be unfamiliar to
those who were not closely involved. Although it concentrates on the
administrative side of the revival, this is by far the most thorough
published account of how the WHR revival has come about, and the
complexities involved, from the first suggestions of reopening during
World War Two up until reopening to Rhyd Ddu in August 2003. Please
note that only pre-ordered copies of this printing were produced, it
was not intended for general sale.
- Portrait of the Welsh Highland
Railway, Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. (1999),
ISBN 0-7110-2658-0; an account of the old WHR, its predecessors, and
the modern revival(s). Includes several historical photos not widely
seen in print before, in addition to better reproductions than usual of
many of the familiar ones, and fresh research on aspects including the
enigmatic PB&SSR. Updated 2nd edition published 2000.
- An Illustrated History of the Welsh
Highland Railway, Oxford Publishing Company (2002),
ISBN 0-8609-3565-5. The most comprehensive single volume yet published
on the WHR, its predecessors and revival. Fresh research from primary
sources amplifies and effectively rewrites much of the corporate and
legal history in considerably better and clearer detail than
publications previously regarded as "standard". Historical pictures are
a mix of familiar views and a good variety of others little or never
seen in print before, from NWNGR and "old" WHR periods. The book
includes clear, brand new maps from this site's map maker John Sreeves,
comparing various proposed, historical and future routes. While less
detailed in some areas (e.g. rolling stock, history and operations of
WHR [Porthmadog]), this is essential reading for the Welsh Highland
- An Illustrated History of the Welsh
Oxford Publishing Company (2009),
ISBN 0-8609-3565-5. The
Second Edition of Peter Johnson's comprehensive treatise of the Welsh
Highland Railway. Much of the illustrative content of this edition is
new, including many in colour. For those that have the first edition
this 2nd edition should be considered a compliment rather than a
replacement. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
Gwynfor Pierce JONES and Alun John RICHARDS:
- Cwm Gwyrfai: The Quarries of the
North Wales Narrow Gauge and the Welsh Highland Railways,
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch (2004), ISBN 0-8638-1897-8, 368 pages. A meticulous
labour of love which makes the varied and complex histories of the
slate quarries served by the NWNGR and WHR much clearer than ever
before; covers quarries physically connected to the "main line" and
Bryngwyn Branch, plus nearby quarries which were not. Concentrates on
slate with some passing references to the metal mines. Best read in
conjunction with large scale O.S. maps; while the book includes a
modest selection of maps and pictures (some unfamiliar) it concentrates
on text. Exceptional value for money.
John KEYLOCK (compiler):
- The Welsh Highland Railway, An
Historical Guide. Part One: Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu,
Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group (2005). A valuable parallel to
the "modern" guide book, presented in a similar format but using
archive photos mostly taken between the 1890s and 1940s. Includes some
not believed to have been published before, and particularly good
reproductions of more familiar ones (notably an uncropped version of
the 1893 Dinas "wardrobe photo"). The text is clear and detailed and
conveys the very different atmosphere of the former WHR. Includes a new
version of Lewis Esposito's Heritage Trail map as the centrespread. A
second part, covering Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog, will follow when the
complete line reopens.
Michael J.T. LEWIS & John H. DENTON:
- Rhosydd Slate Quarry,
3rd ed., Adit Publications (1994), ISBN 0-9522979-0-6. The story of one
of the slate quarries that fed the old WHR via the Croesor Tramway, its
industrial archaeology, and an insight into a vanished way of life. The
book that set the standard for all studies of slate quarries published
since its first edition in the 1970s.
Part of the ruins of Rhosydd Quarry,
Vic MITCHELL & Keith SMITH:
- Branch Lines around Portmadoc
(1923-46), Middleton Press (1993), ISBN
1-873793-13-8; a photograph-based account of the WHR and Festiniog
Railway in the given period. Includes the much-debated "Picture 84",
showing what may well be an ex-NWNGR carriage unrecorded by previous
- Tasmania's Hagans: The North-East
Dundas Tramway Articulated "J" Class,
published by the author (Queensland, Australia) (1998), ISBN
0-646-33442-5; available in the UK through Camden Miniature Steam
Services, Bath. Primarily about the remarkable semi-articulated Hagans
2-6-4-0T J1, which preceded our Garratt K1 in Tasmania, but also rich
in details and photographs of K1's original home. Into the bargain, the
author presents a practical and well-argued defence of the reputation
of the much-maligned J1. Details for ordering from Australia are here,
including a PDF supplement to the book which also serves as a useful
taster for those who haven't seen it yet. See also the author's
- "Russell": The Story of an Historic
Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotive, WHR Ltd.
(1996), ISBN 0950-1178-3-8. The story of the WHR's most famous
locomotive, and its restoration.
William G. REAR:
- Caernarvon and the Lines from
Afonwen and Llanberis, Scenes from the Past
series no. 28, Foxline Publishing (1996), ISBN 1-870119-42-8. One of
WHRS member Bill Rear's numerous books about railways and transport in
North Wales; this volume features Caernarfon-Dinas in standard gauge
days, plus much else of interest.
Alun John RICHARDS:
- A Gazetteer of the Welsh Slate
Industry, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch (1991, out of
print), ISBN 0-86381-196-5. Summary history and physical decription of
every known slate quarry in Wales, from the largest concerns down to
the smallest trial workings, including cross-referencing of differing
names for individual sites.
- The Slate Railways of Wales,
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch (2001), ISBN 0-86381-689-4. Inexpensive but
thorough and readable introduction to railways (narrow and standard
gauges) serving the slate industry, plus useful guides to physical
remains of those which no longer exist.
- See Alun John Richards's site, which
among other things, includes useful amendments to his books.
Dave SALTER and Dave WORRALL:
- Walks from the Welsh Highland
Railway. Part 1: Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu, Walks
with History series, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch (2003), ISBN 0-86381-816-1. A
pocket-sized guide to a set of imaginative and well researched walks
around WHR(C), commendable for not ignoring the areas served by the
lower stretches of the line, and offering a good mix of easier and more
demanding routes. Includes historical and modern photos in mono,
including some not seen in print for some time (e.g. Beddgelert
posed solo with a passenger train).
- The Welsh Highland Railway:
Caernarfon to Porthmadog - A Phoenix Rising,
Silver Link Publishing Ltd. (1999), ISBN 1-85895-142-9; a good
presentation of the past, present and future of the Welsh Highland,
with a thorough set of illustrations including some unfamiliar (and
thus welcome!) historical photographs. Includes pieces by David Allan
and John Keylock (The "64 Company"), Colin Hill (K1:
The World's First Garratt) and the late Handel Kardas (The
Future). Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- The Welsh Highland Railway: Volume 2:
Halfway to Paradise, The Nostalgia Collection
series, Past & Present Publishing Ltd (2004), ISBN
1-85895-233-6. This second mainly pictorial volume takes the story on
from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu, and also looks ahead at rebuilding the
remainder of the WHR. Numerous historical views are also included, some
previously unpublished or not in print for some time. A worthwhile
addition to the bookshelf despite a few detail errors in the captions.
Includes texts by Dave Kent (The Continuing Story),
John Keylock (Heritage) and David Allan (The
'64 Company: an Update). Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- The Welsh Highland Railway: Volume 3: Ain't No Stopping Us
Now. The Nostalgia Collection
series, Pant & Present Publishing Ltd (2009), ISBN 1-85895-259-8 John
Stretton continues the story comparing the old railway in operation and
in dereliction with the newly restored section from Rhyd Ddu, through
Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass. 128 pages, paperback. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Quarry Hunslets of North Wales: The Great
Oakwood Press (2001 - updated reprint Autumn 2004), ISBN 0-85361-575-6.
Although not directly about the WHR, an absorbing book which features
the few Quarry Hunslets that worked in quarries that fed the old WHR
(including a works photo of Glanrafon Quarry's unusual and elusive Silurian),
plus the various survivors which have visited WHR(P) and WHR(C), and
the project to recreate Lady Madcap at WHR(P).
- The Welsh Highland Railway: a History,
4th edition, Stenlake Publishing (2003), ISBN 1-84033-263-8. A further
revised version of this familiar concise, well illustrated and
competitively priced history of the old WHR. Unfortunately there are a
few wrong picture captions - some spectacularly wrong, others more
subtly so - which may trap the unwary. Pictorial coverage includes a
number of interesting "recent finds" not widely seen elsewhere, notably
a fine picture of the NWNGR General Manager at Snowdon Ranger with an
inspection trolley. The text of the second
edition (1990) is on the Web.
- Return to Dinas,
VHS video, Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video Services vol.9, 1997; 90
minutes of competent amateur footage showing numerous aspects of the
construction and operation of Phase 1 of WHR (Caernarfon). Also
features WHR (Porthmadog) in 1995. Proceeds from the tape go to WHR
appeals including the restoration of Garratt K1. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Welsh Highland to Waunfawr,
VHS video, Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video Services vol.12, 2000; 2
hours. More of the same very thorough approach; Jon features WHR
(Caernarfon) operations and special events after the opening to Dinas,
but concentrates on the preparation and execution of Phase 2 to
Waunfawr, with commentary on regular visits to the site as it was
transformed from dereliction to a railway once more, showing a series
of trackbed walks, plus lineside and on-board sequences with work
trains. Includes a short sequence showing work on K1's power units at
Boston Lodge. Concludes in August 2000 with diesel and steam test
trains and the first public trains. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Welsh Highland Railway re-opening to Rhyd
Ddu, DVD-R or VHS, Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video
Services, 2003; 1 hour 45 minutes. Thorough coverage of Phase 3,
digitally mastered and edited, from footage of the untouched trackbed
to the opening day, via regular site visits during construction,
including lineside and on board footage of works trains (including the
delivery of the Betws Garmon river bridge), test trains (including the
first steam arrival at Rhyd Ddu) and the Royal visit. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Welsh Highland Railway Building Back to Beddgelert, DVD, Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video
Services, 1 hour 29 minutes.
This DVD covers the rebuilding of the line from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert.
Starting with scenes showing the undisturbed route, progress is
followed through to the running of special trains in 2007. Included is
some coverage of work between Pen-y-Mount and Pont Croesor. In addition
we experience trips on construction works trains and the sponsor
special train. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- Welsh Highland Railway Construction Beddgelert to Porthmadog, DVD,
Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video
Services, 1 hour 30 minutes. This DVD covers the second part
of Phase 4, the rebuilding of the line from Beddgelert to Porthmadog.
Starting with scenes showing the undisturbed route, progress is
followed through construction to the Golden Spike and special trains in
2008 and 2009. In addition we experience trips on sponsor special
trains. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- For the Love of Steam: Re-instating
the Welsh Highland Railway, Beca
Video/S4C/Ffestiniog Railway, 1998, c.65 minutes. Extended
English-language version of S4C's memorable documentary Codi
Stêm: Stori Ail-sefydlu Rheilffordd Eryri,
including extensive footage of Garratt 138 (and others) in South Africa
and Wales, the construction and opening of Phase 1 of WHR (Caernarfon).
- For the Love of Steam II: Re-instating
the Welsh Highland Railway, Dinas - Waunfawr,
S4C/Beca, 2000, c.38 minutes. Complementary to the above title, an
extended version in English of the second Beca WHR programme, Ail
Godi Stêm, which was transmitted on S4C in December
2000. Although shorter than the first feature it is packed with
interest, covering Phase 2 of the project from Dinas to Waunfawr,
including the official opening, the September 2000 Gala with Russell,
Taliesin, and double-headed Garratts, plus an
introduction to the task of reinstatement onwards to Porthmadog (anyone
puzzled by the twisting route above Beddgelert will find their
questions answered by a graphic neatly overlaid on an aerial shot).
Features interviews with many people involved with the railway, and
with local people - not all of them pro-railway. Also has brief footage
of winter services taken after the S4C version was broadcast. Picture
aspect ratios are "stretched" vertically on a standard TV (where they
were stretched horizontally in the S4C version), but production values
are otherwise high.
- Welsh Highland Railway: "Lein Bach",
Video Services, 2nd edition 2000, c.60 minutes. An accurate
and well-told history of the WHR, concentrating on the original railway
and its predecessors and using accounts from locals who remember the
old line, and historians. Also features Palmerston
and Russell at WHR (Porthmadog) in 1998, and a
footplate ride from Dinas to Caernarfon on Beyer-Garratt 138. Despite
the odd liberty in the choice of illustrations, and an abrupt
historical leap from 1937 to 1997, has plenty to offer for newcomers
and WHR afficionados alike. The updated second edition adds some 22
minutes to the original programme, covering the tasks involved in the
extension to Waunfawr plus test trains, and the September 2000 opening
and Gala. The style changes in this extra part, with clear explanations
by the people involved rather than presentation by a single narrator,
but is none the worse for it. Logan intend to produce expanded and
updated versions of the programme as WHR rebuilding progresses, and
offer the opportunity for purchasers of earlier versions to trade them
in (see their site).
- Rheilffordd Eryri/Welsh Highland Railway
(Caernarfon): Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu - A Driver's-Eye View,
double DVD set, Ffestiniog Railway, 2005, 130 minutes in total. Filmed
on the first return journey of the 2005 Super Power weekend and
released the following day! The title is a slight misnomer, as part of
the driver's view on Garratt no. 138 Mileniwm/Millennium
is taken up by the loco's tanks. In this case the camera is mounted on
the leading end of the loco and gives a clear view straight ahead (no
panning left or right), non-stop from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu on Disk 1,
and crossing no. 143 and Prince at Waunfawr and
Dinas on the return journey on Disk 2. The weather is a mix of sun and
cloud (down to about 2000 ft over the mountains). No commentary or
other technical features apart from chapter structure. Simple,
brilliant, essential. A similar set is also available covering the FR.
- Welsh Highland Railway Cab Ride Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert, DVD,
Jon Marsh Ciné Film and Video
Services, 69 minutes. Filmed from the footplate of James Evans'
quarry Hunslet "Velinheli" on 26th April 2007, the occasion of the
first steam loco into Beddgelert station since Russel in 1937. It is
complemented with additional lineside shpts taken by the then
Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri Chairman, Dave Kent. It includes a number
of clips from Rhyd Ddu as well as the entire return journey
back from Beddgelert. This film was produced with the co-operation of
Welsh Highland Railway Construction Limited to allow footplate crews
and supporters the opportunity to view the first part of the new line
now under construction. The DVD also makes use of, courtesy J Sreeves and L Armstrong, the Phase 4 Construction Maps to be found on this website. No narration. Available in the Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri shop.
- The Steam Machines: a magical
journey on the Welsh Highland Railway steam trains from Caernarfon to
Rhyd Ddu, DVD or VHS, Click
Productions Ltd, 2003, 30 minutes. A travelogue with
narration covering the journey from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu soon after
reopening, plus footage of the July 2003 Royal visit. Please note that
this is not the English version of the S4C Rhuthro
i Rhyd Ddu programme, but an entirely separate production.
- The Welsh Highland Railway,
DVD or VHS, GWP
Video, 2004, 61 minutes. Broadcast-quality material covering
highlights of the WHR Project from the early 1990s to 2004, with
commentary by Gordon Rushton.
- Welsh Highland Railway Phase 3:
Amateur Videocamera Footage of the Construction and Opening 2000-2004,
DVD+R or VHS, Barrie Hughes, 2005, 110 minutes. An extensive collection
of mainly short extracts showing an excellent range of scenes of
reconstruction from Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu, special events, and the
reopened line in operation. Mastered on VHS from Hi8 camcorder footage.
A very good accompaniment to Barrie's well-known website (see WHR Links). Available from WHRS sales, proceeds
of sales go to WHRS projects. A re-mastered version of Barrie's Phase 2
footage is also available, which also includes good footage of services
in the snow in December 2000 not advertised on the sleeve..
- Song of the Rails: The Story
of the Sandstone Narrow Gauge Railway, Easter Free State, South Africa,
DVD, Sandstone Estates/Frameline Television, 2004, 80 minutes. The
story of our partner railway in South Africa, its purpose, building and
extension, and the Sandstone Heritage Trust's inventive special events.
Locos featured in action include industrials, an NGG16 and NG15, but
the star is the ex-Beira Railway 4-4-0. Broadcast quality.
- The Apple Express: South Africa's
Avontuur Railway, Sandstone Estates/Frameline
Television 2001, 64 minutes. Features the history and present situation
of the Avontuur system, with Apple Express Society passenger trains
hauled by classes NGG16 or NG15, and Class 91 diesels on freight
workings. Includes a brief introduction to the Port Elizabeth cement
works line from which the WHR and FR Funkey diesels were purchased.
Also features the Sandstone Steam Railroad, and NGG13 Garratt no. 60 at
work in Switzerland.
Drawings for Modellers
We get quite a few queries about drawings of WHR(C) rolling
stock. This part of the page may in due course
develop into a more comprehensive list of what's been published, and
perhaps also information on what kits are available in various scales,
but to start with we can answer the most frequent request, which is for
drawings of the modern carriages. Drawings for the Winson/Keef
carriages and the Pullman are available, courtesy of Boston Lodge,
through the service offered on behalf of FR Heritage Group Sales.
Enquiries should be directed to Adrian Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
or by Royal Mail to:- Adrian Gray, 25 The Pound, Syresham, Brackley,
Northants NN13 5HG (SAE required for postal enquiries). Drawings are
available in 4mm and 7mm scales. They show side and end elevations, a
seating/internal plan and an underframe layout of the carriages as
built. They are outline only, not General
Arrangements. 4mm drawings cost 65p per sheet (A4), 7mm scale 85p per
sheet (A3). Postage is 45p per order in an A4 envelope or £1 per order
rolled in a tube. Cheques payable to "Festiniog Railway Heritage Group"
- sorry no electronic facilities, and please note "Festiniog" with a
single F in this case.
- WHC/01 WHR Pullman Saloon "Bodysgallen" (2115)
- WHC/02 WHR 3rd class, 12m open carriage (2020-2)
- WHC/03 WHR 3rd class, 12m closed saloon (2040-2)
- WHC/04 WHR 3rd class, 12m closed saloon with guard and
wheelchair compartments (2090)
- WHC/05 WHR 3rd class, 13m closed saloon (2043-5)
to WHR Project homepage
Authored by Ben Fisher; last updated June 13th, 2010 by Laurence Armstrong