Having completed another trio of slate wagons, and posed them for their official photos, they needed a test run.
I suppose I could have just coupled the three of them to the battery shunter and given them a quick trundle but I fancied seeing how they'd look in the rest of the slate train AND I still had "Palmerston" prepared from the previous weekend. So here's what the test run looked like:
There was seemingly no-one at work in the quarry (understandable - working slate when it's minus whatever must be particularly unpleasant...), so the train returned empty. I'm working on that though...
Anyway, I'm pleased to say that the wagons ran very nicely. I'm pretty impressed with the England too - individually those wagons are light enough, but I've packed as much lead as I could into them, and the full rake has 28 axles, but the loco pulls them up my 1:40 gradients and round my 3'-ish curves quite happily...
I'm guessing that will probably be the last train of the year - if I keep up my usual tradition, the next will be on New Year's Day...
One of the good things about having a small garden is that it makes 14 wagons look like a decent length slate train!
The combined rake does have a very Ffestiniog feel, despite containing some WHR wagons - no doubt the England at the front helps! For New Year's Day I'm thinking I might go for WHR train. I've got 4 WHR "crate" type wagons, but they also used opens for carrying slate, and pinched Ffestiniog wagons too. With the Baldwin in the front and a WHR brake van on the back, I should be able to make a fairly accurate train...
I'm not sure how many years it is now that I've run a train on New Year's Day, but I kept up the tradition this year, and with a first for me too - a reasonably accurate Welsh Highland slate train. Unlike the Ffestiniog, the Welsh Highland used open wagons as well as the familiar "crate" type for the conveyance of slate, which I replicated in my train. I included a "borrowed" Ffestiniog wagon too, another fairly typical feature of Welsh Highland goods trains.
In truth, the train looked better than it ran, with some under-weighted wagons, debris on the line and "Russell"'s rather track-shy pony trucks contributing to some fairly erratic running, but nothing that can't be cured - and it felt good to start the year as I mean to go on.
All the best,
Looking good your .
All The Best
That's how the Cambrian News reported the opening of the completed Welsh Highland Railway, on 1st June 1923, recording the departure of the first train from Porthmadog at 8:10 am.
Naturally, yesterday morning, EXACTLY a century later, I was in the back garden...
The first train was pulled by Ffestiniog Small England loco "Princess", and comprised three carriages - all FR ones, I'd guess, from photos of early WHR services. I recreated it as best I could, with my own Small England and the closest rake of carriages I could muster, and am pleased to report that the train left bang on time...
The train sat in the garden all morning while I got on with other things, but further celebratory trains ran in the afternoon - more photos to follow!
In the afternoon I got back out in the garden to play trains some more, starting with a further run of "Palmerston" and the FR rake:
As the England cooled down, "Russell" raised steam, and some WHR carriages appeared, giving Trefechan an unusually busy appearance:
"Russell" headed up to Penlan with two of the Ffestiniog carriages (where "Palmerstone also magically appeared), before trundling back down to head a mostly WHR rake, completed by an FR brake composite, which it duly pulled back up the line:
On its journies to and from Clarach, it passed "Palmerstone and train, creating some pleasing pictures quite reminiscent of the old WHR, I thought:
All in all, a really rather pleasant afternoon in the sunshine. I hope to do it again soon - but I need to buy some more butane first!
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