Published 13th March 2012
THE Glyn Valley Tramway Trust has been granted planning permission to rebuild a section of the long-closed, but never forgotten, Glyn Valley Tramway. The permission granted by Wrexham Council on February 6 covers a mile of 2ft 6in gauge line from Chirk station following the route of the B4500 Chirk to Glyn Ceiriog road to Pontfaen station, north of Chirk Fisheries.
Chirk’s GVT station (adjacent to Chirk’s national network station) will be reconstructed on the original site along with stock storage building, plus a small building at Pontfaen. Work will start almost immediately with the first stage projected for completion by autumn 2014.
The GVT opened as a horse-worked tramway in 1873 to link quarries at Glyn Ceiriog to the canal south of Chirk six miles away. On conversion to steam operation in 1888 it was re-routed through Chirk Castle estate to reach the GWR station at Chirk. Mineral lines extended beyond Glyn Ceiriog to other quarries. GVT passenger trains ceased in 1932 and the line closed in 1935.
The GVT is widely remembered with great affection, but revival has proven rather controversial. The trust has pursued this project, based on 2ft 6in gauge, with the idea of making comparatively rapid progress by utilising equipment available following the closure of ex-military networks which used this gauge.
A separate organisation, The New Glyn Valley Tramway & Industrial Heritage Trust (formerly the Glyn Valley Tramway Group) is dedicated to replicating the GVT’s original, almost-unique, 2ft 4.5in gauge and is progressing a different project centred on Glyn Ceiriog loco shed.
Winter work at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway has focused on a major effort to get its Resita 0-8-0T No. 764.425 (WLLR No. 19) into traffic for this season – and keep it in traffic.
The locomotive has not enjoyed the happiest of times since it arrived at the WLLR in June 2007 after being overhauled in Romania. The leading axle and the driver’s side coupling rod broke on August 31 2008, it returned to action for the WLLR’s September 2009 gala but soon after leaking tubes sidelined it until the start of the 2010 season, it broke the rear driver’s side coupling rod on August 4 2010, returned to appear in the September 2010 gala but was out of action again mid-event when a broken stay was discovered, hence the latest period in the workshops.
Since being stopped on September 5 2010, around 300 firebox stays have been replaced, the driver's side cylinder has been removed on discovering it was out of alignment with the motion (it is being re-fitted correctly, with the motion and bearings rebuilt accordingly) and the Klein-Lindner ‘articulated’ rear axle has been removed for attention to the bearings. The leading axle assembly has also received attention as has the regulator linkage. A new ashpan has been made and a new cab has also been produced to both increase headroom and produce a stiffer structure.
The Downpatrick & County Down Railway is to double the track out of Downpatrick Station, thereby separating the railway’s north and south lines. The project is being undertaken in conjunction with installing track into the new HLF-backed ‘Carriage Viewing Gallery’ and Downpatrick’s new signalling layout. Long term, the new arrangement will make it easier to operate two trains when the Ballydugan or Racecourse line extensions are opened
The revised layout will be implemented in stages, periodic main line severances being worked around operating requirements. The project should be finally completed in 2013.
The Elsecar Heritage Railway has courted controversy by scrapping Avonside 0-6-0ST 1945/1926, the frames and boiler having been sold “for recycling”. The connecting rods are reportedly sold to a preservationist for use on another restoration project.
The loco last steamed at the Nene Valley Railway in the early 1970s, was displayed at Peterborough NVR station for several years then moved to Wansford. The loco was sold to an NVR volunteer in early 2006 who commenced restoration work, then sold the dismantled loco to Elsecar. The new owners intended to use useful parts in the restoration of its Avonside 0-6-0ST 1917/1923 Earl Fitzwilliam. Income from the ‘recycling’ of 1945/1926 will go towards funding heavy maintenance of Peckett 0-6-0ST Mardy No. 1 (The ‘Mardy Monster’) in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Restoration of Beamish’s 1877-built ex-Seaham Harbour 0-4-0ST No. 18, the last surviving locomotive built by Stephen Lewin, is in the final stages. Hopefully it will appear at Beamish Museum’s April 12-15 Great North Steam Fair.
The locomotive was rebuilt from a well and wing tank into saddle tank form by Seaham Harbour Engine Works in 1936 – there is an argument to the effect that the loco should be regarded as having been built by Seaham Harbour Engine Works, incorporating substantial Lewin parts! The current restoration will present the loco in this form.
Having worked at Seaham Harbour for 93 years, No. 18 was withdrawn in 1969, in very poor condition. Presented to Beamish in 1975, work undertaken two years later to return it to as-built condition was unsuccessful. The current restoration effort got going in 2005 with work allocated to various contractors.
The chassis, boiler, saddle tank, cab, bunkers and fittings are being brought together at Alton Engineering in Derbyshire for final assembly.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is offering a number of coaches for sale, some owned by the railway, others privately owned with disposals being handled on behalf of the owners by the G-WR.
Some of the vehicles are in good condition but requiring finishing work (e.g. 1948 Swindon-built GWR Hawksworth Inspection Saloon) while others are in very poor condition. Some of the latter will be stripped and scrapped if not sold in a reasonable time. A two-car Class 108 DMU is also available. For details see www.gwsr.com/news/features/stock-sale-jan-2012.aspx
The disposals are a recognition that the vehicles are taking up desperately needed siding space and will never reach the top of the queue for restoration.
The Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway is also handling the sale of vehicles. In this instance, four vintage carriages which were owned by a P&BR member who died last year.
The vehicles, all needing work to bring them back up to passenger carrying standards, are 1896-built GWR clerestory brake first open No. 231 (once used as the Newport Engineers Saloon, preserved in 1967 originally at the South Devon Railway), 1923-built LSWR 'Ironclad' brake third corridor No. 1357 (heavily modified as a staff and tool coach by BR), 1939-built SR post office tender vehicle No. 4958 (substantially intact, originally preserved at the Mid-Hants Railway as a workshop extension) and 1907-built LSWR restaurant composite No. 70 (a clerestory coach until 1931 and converted to an ambulance coach in 1943, seeing service on the Longmoor Military Railway).
The P&BR is also selling a GWR restaurant coach chassis which is surplus to requirements. Details of all the vehicles can be found on www.vintagecarrigestrust.org.
Expressions of interest and offers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
by May 31.