Should Welsh railway enthusiasts be looking further ahead?

Preservation, Museums, Heritage Railways, and matters of general interest.

Should Welsh railway enthusiasts be looking further ahead?

Postby Penrhos1920 » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:28 pm

https://www.a1steam.com/category/news/

Not only have the A1 trust built and operate a new mainline locomotive and are now building a second. But they have announced that they are going to build a 3rd and a 4th. Plus there are at least 20 other new builds on the way ranging from the Holden F5 2-4-2T to a second P1 2-8-2.

So shouldn’t there be a Welsh new build. Yes some of the new builds could have Welsh connections, but I think I’m right in saying that none are firmly of Welsh origin or design primarily for use in Wales. So come on boys how about a TVR Riches K/L 0-6-0 ? Probably the most numerous Welsh loco with 85 built, but not very well known nowadays.

My favourite would be a Rhymney A1 tank. A full set of original drawings is available at the NRM. I’ve had a look and I think it would be an easy project.

The A1 trust have also announced that they are going to have their very own charter train. Which would be fine if it were not that the coaches are going to be Mk.3s. I’ve got nothing against Mk.3 coaches; they were the finest coach built and operated in the UK. But, if I’m going to spend a large amount of dosh on a mainline steam tour, then I want to travel in a coach that feels like I’m traveling behind a steam engine. Not traveling at 75mph in a luxury air-con coach.
Modelling the Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway, Barry Railway and Rhymney Railway at Penrhos Junctions in SF4.
GWR short (4 & 6) coaches.
http://www.penrhos.me.uk

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Re: Should Welsh railway enthusiasts be looking further ahea

Postby andrewnummelin » Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:21 am

Penrhos1920 wrote:
So shouldn’t there be a Welsh new build.
...
But, if I’m going to spend a large amount of dosh on a mainline steam tour, then I want to travel in a coach that feels like I’m traveling behind a steam engine. Not traveling at 75mph in a luxury air-con coach.


Not easy if you want a main line tour. The LNWR was English, the SWR didn't have any of its own stock, the Cambrian didn't really use unique designs and the Manchester & Milford doesn't really count! Best I can think of would be to go for a NA&HR 2-4-0 and train - should at least be something you couldn't see elsewhere.
One could, of course, consider restoring a coach from Nantgarw - certainly appropriate for a rail tour, and handy for photo stops with no platforms.

More seriously, if you want something attractive with crowd appeal earning power, a good candidate would be a Dean single.

If by mainline one means not narrow gauge, I'd think of things a little more interesting than a "standard" 0-6-0. So perhaps a RR 57 (air braked!), or a Monmouthshire 0-4-4T, or TVR railmotor, or BP&GVR Mountaineer.

For real travel experience, in the absence of broad gauge for the VofN 3rd, the best option could be a Dowlais workmen's train. A step up would be a B&MR train with Fay & Newall(?) brakes (plus a modern back-up for safety). And for the exclusive luxury trip, the L&NWR's "Engineer South Wales" - would that have enough guts to tow a Cambrian observation coach?

Dream on!
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Andrew Nummelin
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Re: Should Welsh railway enthusiasts be looking further ahea

Postby Noel » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:26 am

Being cynical, I wonder where the money for all this is coming from, and how well the trust will cope with an economic down turn, if we get one. Are we not in danger of looking back too much, rather than forward?

Having grown up with steam engines on the railway in the 1950s and 1960s, I have to agree with Penrhos - a loco rebuilt for good reason before nationalisation, running with 1970s Mk 3 stock isn't likely to interest me much. As for the V4, only two were ever built, and they were described at the time as a Rolls-Royce loco to do a Ford car job; but then, I've always regarded Gresley as a seriously flawed designer...

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Re: Should Welsh railway enthusiasts be looking further ahea

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:40 am

Penrhos is quite right to say that rebuilds are becoming increasingly fashionable in the railway preservation world and yet there are no initiatives taking place in Wales. There is the restoration of TVR No 28 taking place on the Gwili Railway but that is not a rebuild of course. If we were to embark on a rebuild project however, I think it should be of a company that is currently not represented in railway restoration; the Taff has two: No 28 on the Gwili and No 85 on the Keighley & Worth Valley.

There are any number of candidates for a rebuild of Welsh independent locomotives. I think that the suggestion of a tank engine is a good one since it is less complicated than a tender engine and thus less expensive; as a first project, it would be important for it to be achievable. The suggestion of a Rhymney Railway A1 is such a suitable candidate. My personal favourite is the Barry Railway Class J.

In terms of the practicalities, there are a number of options. It would need some sort of structure to regulate its development. It could be a limited company, a trust or a supporters organisation and I suspect that the finance would have to be provided by crowd sourcing. As this is a rebuild, I doubt whether heritage grant money would be available.

One of my reasons for joining the Circle was a recognition of the richness of Welsh railway history and how little I knew about it. It is also striking how low the profile of Welsh railways is compared to other English companies, given the richness of that history. It is not. of course, the responsibility of the WRRC to embark on rebuild projects. But there are plenty of opportunities to develop these ideas. We would not have a replica of the Pen-y-Darren locomotive were it not for a former Circle President's desire to see a dream become a reality. It seems to me that this forum is a good place to discuss what those options should be.
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