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Preserved LocomotivesSteam Locomotive 7 OWAIN GLYNDWR

Ex GWR narrow gauge 2-6-2T tank engine

built for the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales

Heritage & Preserved Steam Locomotive Engines

My Archive Steam Photos from the 1960s

 

 

The Vale of Rheidol Railway is justly considered one of the Great Little Trains of Wales, with the railway line running between Aberystwyth on the Cambrian coast and Devils Bridge.

A ride on the Vale of Rheidol Railway is the greatest way to explore the stunningly scenic Rheidol Valley. The Vale of Rheidol Railway opened in 1902 is a masterpiece of engineering, and designed to carry lead ore, timber and passenger traffic.

The narrow track gauge lets the railway follow the contours of the terrain with lots of sharp curves and steep gradients making the steam locomotives work really and the ensuing sights and sounds add to the railway's charm.
 

7 OWAIN GLYNDWR

24. Ex GWR narrow gauge (1' 111/2") 2-6-2T tank engine 7  (pictured in April 1966 or 1967?) was built for the Vale of Rheidol Railway at Swindon Works in 1923. I've no idea where the photograph was taken? Just cam across it by chance while out walking somewhere in Wales!

Technical details of locomotive 7  OWAIN GLYNDWR: Boiler pressure of 7: 165 lbf/sq.in., Weight of 7: 25.0   tons, Wheel diameters of 7: 2' 0'', 2' 6", 2' 0", Valve gear of 7: Walschaerts piston valves, Cylinders of 7(diameter x stroke): 111/2" x 17" (O), Tractive effort of 7: 10510 lbf, Power classification of 7: Class Unclassified

 

The Vale of Rheidol Railway is one of the Great Little Trains of Wales, running between Aberystwyth on the Cambrian coast and Devils Bridge.

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GWR Rheidol Tank
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GWR Rheidol Tank
VoR No 8 Llywelyn.jpg
Llywelyn outside the locomotive works in Aberystwyth in 2015
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Charles Collett
Builder GWR Swindon Works
Build date 1923-4
Total produced 3
Specifications
Configuration:

Whyte 2-6-2T
Gauge 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm)
Fuel type Coal
Boiler pressure 165 lbf/in2 (1.14 MPa)
Cylinders Two, outside
Loco brake Air Brakes
Train brakes Air Brakes
Couplers Chopper
Performance figures
Maximum speed 20 mph
Career
Operators Great Western Railway
British Railways
Vale of Rheidol Railway
Number in class 3
Numbers 7, 8, 9 (1213)
Locale Aberystwyth
Delivered October 1923
Current owner Vale of Rheidol Railway Ltd
The GWR Rheidol Tanks are a fleet of 2-6-2 steam locomotives of the Great Western Railway design built between 1923 and 1924. They were designed by the railway's Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Collett, for working services on the Vale of Rheidol Railway between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge.

Background
Prior to the grouping of in independent railway, the Vale of Rheidol Railway was operated by the Cambrian Railways. The fleet consisted of two locomotives built by Davies and Metcalfe, supplented by a Bagnall locomotive.

Shortly after taking control of the line, the GWR realised that the original rolling stock was in a poor state of repair. They built three new locomotives (numbered 7, 8 and 1213) at the GWR's Swindon Works. Number 1213 was later renumbered 9.

Mistaken identity
It is still possible to find references (in print, and on-line) to the mistaken belief that No 9 is one of the original Davies & Metcalfe Locomotives,[1] as some websites and books incorrectly perpetuate this myth,[2] having been successfully hoodwinked by Swindon Works.[3] The Works were very effective in their coverup, entitling the parts that made up the new No 1213 as 'spares' in the accounts book, as the GWR Board had only given them leave to build two new locomotives (No 7 & No 8).[4] A simple test to prove that No 9 is actually of the same vintage as No 7 & No 8 is to compare the working drawings between it and a Davies and Metcalfe locomotive Rheidol historian C C Green, who carried out this comparison, stated of all three current locomotives that "mechanically they are identical", and having compared the current No 9 (the 'new' 1213) with the plans of the original 1213 stated that "no single part" of the original locomotive could possibly have fitted the new one.[5]

Over the winter of 1948/9, In 1946, the GWR undertook a renumbering of the remaining locomotives inherited from pre-Grouping companies, and this saw the 'new' 1213 being renumbered as No 9.[6]

British Rail ownership
Along with other ex-GWR locomotives, No 7, No 8, & No 9 all retained their numbers under British Railways ownership, and in 1956 were given the names which they still carry today, being unnamed up to that point. These three locos were the only steam engines to survive in BR's ownership after the end of mainline steam traction in August 1968, excluding steam powered cranes which remained in service until 1995. Under the TOPS numbering arrangements introduced at this time they were allocated Class 98 and were nominally numbered 9800798009, but these numbers were never actually carried on the locomotives. All three locomotives, and the rolling stock, carried standard British Rail 'rail blue' livery until the 1980s, when the locomotives were given more traditional liveries that they had carried in the past.

Conversion to oil firing
The locomotives were originally designed to burn coal, however there was a period spanning over thirty years during which the three locomotives were oil fired. Problems with sparks and unreliability of the coal supplied caused British Railways to look to alternative fuels for the locomotives. Locomotive No 7 was the first to be converted in 1978, followed by No 8 in 1979 and No 9 in 1981.[7] This change was later reversed with Locomotive No 8 returning to coal in 2012 and No 9 in 2013.

Preservation
All three Vale of Rheidol tanks are still in service and operating on their original route.

The standard livery is Great Western Railway green and all three locomotives currently carry this livery. The locomotives were named by British Railways in 1956 and currently do not carry their nameplates.

Image Number Name Year built Notes In Traffic?
VOR7 Abery1.jpg 7 Owain Glyndŵr 1923 Hauled the last steam service under British Rail ownership of the line. Under Overhaul
VoR No 8 Llywelyn.jpg 8 Llywelyn 1923 In Traffic
VoR No 9 Prince of Wales.jpg 9 (1213) Prince of Wales 1924 Numbered 1213 from delivery until gaining the No 9 in 1948.[8] Put through Swindon works as an overhaul of the original No 2, but is in fact a complete new locomotive.[9] As of November 2016 the locomotive carries No 1213 once more. In Traffic


Vale of Rheidol Railway
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vale of Rheidol Railway
Rheilffordd Cwm Rheidol
An afternoon train to Devils Bridge (geograph 5730422).jpg
Locomotive No. 8 Llywelyn on the climb to
Devil's Bridge terminus
Locale Ceredigion, Wales
Terminus Aberystwyth
Devil's Bridge
Commercial operations
Name Vale of Rheidol Light Railway
Built by Engineer: James Szlumper
Original gauge 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned by Phyllis Rampton Narrow Gauge Railway Trust
Operated by Vale of Rheidol Railway Limited
Stations 4 stations 5 halts
Length 11 3⁄4 miles (18.91 km)
Preserved gauge 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm)
Commercial history
Opened August 1902 (freight only)
22 December 1902 (passenger)
1913 Taken over by Cambrian Railways
1922 Great Western Railway Grouping
1948 Became part of British Railways
1968 Became the last steam operating line on British Rail
Preservation history
1989 Privatised
Headquarters Aberystwyth
Website
www.rheidolrailway.co.uk
[ vte ]Vale of Rheidol Railway
Legend


The Vale of Rheidol Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Cwm Rheidol) is a 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway, opened in 1902, that runs for 11 3⁄4 miles (18.9 km) between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge in the county of Ceredigion, Wales.[1]

From 1968 until 1989, when it was the first part of British Rail to be privatised, it was the sole steam-operated line on the 1948 nationalised British Rail network.

Unlike most other preserved railways in the United Kingdom, the Vale of Rheidol Railway did not have a period of closure between its being part of the national rail system and becoming a heritage railway, and so has operated a continuous service for residents and tourists.


History
A narrow gauge railway in the area of Aberystwyth was first proposed after the initial route planned for the Manchester and Milford Railway, from Llanidloes to Aberystwyth via Devil's Bridge, was altered, and then abandoned, before construction started.[2]

The original primary purpose of the line was to carry timber (for pit props in the South Wales valleys) and lead ore from the Rheidol Valley to the sea and the main line railway at Aberystwyth. Many lead mines in the valley were producing ore at the end of the 19th century. Following an Act of Parliament in 1897, it was not possible to raise finance as quickly as expected, and construction commenced in 1901. To save money, rock was hand-hewn rather than blasted. Construction was overseen by the chief engineer, Sir James Szlumper, although he left day-to-day affairs in the hands of the main contractor employed. It was during construction that the ex-Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway locomotive Talybont, regauged from 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) to 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm) and renamed Rheidol, arrived on the line, where it would remain for the rest of its life.

In the Daily News of 9 August 1901 it was reported that the line was expected to be completed by March 1902[3] and the directors were hopeful for a free grant from the Treasury for the Aberayron Extension.

By the time the railway was ready to open in 1902, lead mining in Ceredigion was in steep decline. However a significant growth in tourism was under way, and the carriage of passengers soon became the principal traffic of the railway. It opened for mineral traffic in August 1902 and for passengers on 22 December 1902,[4] using two 2-6-2T locomotives built by Davies and Metcalfe and the aforementioned Rheidol, built by Bagnall.[5] The original stations were Aberystwyth (located on Park Avenue), Llanbadarn, Capel Bangor, Nantyronen and Devil's Bridge (Pontarfynach). A short branch ran along the Rheidol's bank to the harbour. The final construction cost was reported as 60,000[6] (equivalent to 5,977,900 in 2016).[7]

The line was moderately successful as a tourist railway although local passenger and freight traffic remained limited, to the extent that the harbour branch was very little used throughout its existence. However, efforts were made to develop the tourist service over the summer seasons with the construction of open-sided carriages and such was the level of the tourist trade the locomotive Palmerston had to be hired from the Festiniog Railway over a number of summers pre-war.

Towards the end of its life as an independent company, the half year revenue of the company as reported in February 1911 was 3,660[8] (equivalent to 342,060 in 2016).[7]

As a branch of the Cambrian Railways
In 1912 the use of electric power from the river was considered, but plans for such (never likely to have taken place due to lack of capital) were abandoned when the line was absorbed by the Cambrian Railways on 1 July 1913.[9] The Cambrian Railways obtained the company for the seemingly bargain price of 27,311[10] (equivalent to 2,466,269 in 2016),[7] when compared with the construction cost of 69,267 (equivalent to 6,901,187 in 2016).[7] The onset of war in 1914 closed the lead mine and passenger services were reduced, which put the final nail in the coffin of any planned improvements.[11] The reduction in Passenger services and the need for timber for the war effort meant that freight became the principal revenue source for a short while.[11] The line also served Army training camps in the valley, and such was traffic that as had occurred before the war, the locomotive Palmerston had to be hired over several summers during wartime.

Under Great Western Railway control
On 1 January 1922, as part of the Cambrian Railways the line was grouped into the Great Western Railway (GWR).[11] A new station was opened immediately adjacent to the town's main standard gauge station.[5] The GWR invested quite significantly in its new asset, overhauling one of the two Davies & Metcalfe locomotives and building two brand new locomotives, which arrived in 1923. Works records appear to show that the GWR carried out heavy repairs to the original Prince of Wales whereas in reality the locomotive was scrapped and a brand new locomotive built to replace it.[12] Rheidol was withdrawn from traffic in 1924.[13]

New open carriages were built to replace the home-made examples used by the VoR and Cambrian, and in 1938 the closed carriages were entirely replaced by high quality modern replacements, all of which are still in service today.

However, the GWR also recognised the line's limited traffic outside of its tourist operations. In 1932 the last remaining original locomotive sent back to Swindon works and put up for sale. A buyer was not forthcoming and so the locomotive was scrapped in 1935.[14] In 1933 the harbour branch was formally abandoned, and in 1933 the line became a summer operation only. The entire line was closed for the duration of World War II, though maintenance continued. After closure for over 6 years, the railway reopened in June 1946.[15]

Nationalisation

Prince of Wales with British Rail logo in 1981
The Great Western Railway became part of the Western Region of British Railways on 1 January 1948 and the line continued to operate a tourist service.[16] In the 1950s local managers ensured that the VoR remained well looked after. The coaches carried BR's express livery, and the locomotives acquired names in 1956 and fully lined[clarification needed] express livery for the following season.

In the 1960s, the ex-Cambrian network of Western Region was transferred to the London Midland Region. A question mark hung over the VoR's future for some time, until the Minister for Transport, Barbara Castle, confirmed that it would remain open and in British Rail's hands. In 1968, the line was rerouted in Aberystwyth to run into the former standard gauge Carmarthen line platforms of the main station, which had been abandoned in 1964. This meant that the route of the line no longer dog-legged and did not have to cross Park Avenue by a level crossing.[17] The former standard gauge locomotive shed was also refurbished and adapted into use for the VoR.[18] The former station site is now occupied by a supermarket and the former route was sold for redevelopment.

In the late 1960s the line's locomotives and rolling stock were (somewhat controversially) painted into British Rail's corporate blue livery with the famous 'coming or going' logo emblazoned on loco and coach sides. This was gradually improved in the 1970s with lining and other embellishments, until in the 1980s a return to historical liveries was countenanced. This, together with occasional visits by Mountaineer of the Ffestiniog Railway and special trains such as Santa specials and even simulated Wild-West style Indian attacks, helped to keep the line's attraction fresh to the public, despite declining investment which resulted in insufficient maintenance which culminated in a spectacular (though injury-free) derailment near Aberffrwd in 1986.

Under TOPS the steam locomotives were given the designation Class 98.

Privatisation
The line was privatised in 1989, the first part of BR to be privatised, being sold to Peter Rampton and Tony Hills (the late owner and General Manager of the Brecon Mountain Railway).[19] In 1996, Rampton and Hills split their partnership, with Hills retaining control of the Brecon, and the Rheidol being sold to a trust formed by Rampton, the Phyllis Rampton Narrow Gauge Railway Trust.[20] Unusually, the VoR operated completely without volunteers for approximately the first 20 years of its privatised operation.

Today
The railway continues to operate as a tourist railway, generally operating between Easter and the end of October, with extra services during February half-term and at Christmas. See timetable for operating dates.[21]

The railway is promoted as one of The Great Little Trains of Wales, a joint marketing scheme launched in 1970 that encompasses eleven narrow gauge railways in the country, mostly found in north and mid Wales.[22]

During the summer months, the railway offers Driver for a Fiver experiences on a short demonstration line at Devil's Bridge station.

Station restoration project
The railway carried out a major redevelopment project to enhance the facilities at many of the intermediate stations along the route. Raised platforms were built at the principal crossing and terminal stations, the first time in its history that the railway has had these. Additionally, new waiting shelters have also been provided at some locations in the style of original buildings which had been lost in previous decades.[23]

Engineering workshops
There is now a substantial purpose-built workshop building at Aberystwyth which as well as maintaining the railway's own rolling stock also takes on contract work for other railways.[24]

Special events
The railway operates a programme of special events throughout the year. These include 1920's Jazz Nights, evening specials, Halloween Ghost Trains, autumn colours trains, Santa Specials at Christmas and Wedding events. The Driver for a Fiver experience allows you to drive a real steam engine at the Devil's Bridge station in the summer.

In 2014 the line received its first visiting locomotive since the 1980s, when Palmerston returned from the Ffestiniog Railway for the first time since its original periods of hire around the First World War, and in 2015 the line held its first ever enthusiast-orientated gala event.

Television and film appearances
The railway has been seen both on television on many occasions including an episode of Great British Railway Journeys, filmed in 2012 and detective series Y Gwyll, filmed in 2016.

The route
See also: List of stations and halts on the Vale of Rheidol Railway
The main terminus of the line is at Aberystwyth, where the railway's administrative headquarters and the workshops are located. Leaving this station the line travels eastwards towards the village of Llanbadarn Fawr. There is a request stop at Llanbadarn. Trains towards Devil's Bridge pause here briefly to activate the level crossing before proceeding. A short distance from Llanbadarn, the line passes over the River Rheidol on a timber trestle bridge. The line then passes the Glanyrafon Industrial Estate which has developed over the last 25 years before heading out into open countryside. After 4.5 miles (7.2 km) Capel Bangor station is reached. There is a passing loop here and a station building. All trains stop here.

Leaving Capel Bangor the line passes the Rheidol Riding Centre before it begins to climb steeply through the woods at Tanyrallt. After about 10 minutes the train reaches Nantyronen a small country station and request stop. Here locomotives take water from the water column before the train continues on the climb to Aberffrwd.

Aberffrwd station is 7 1⁄2 miles (12.1 km) from Aberystwyth, a journey time of approximately 40 minutes. There is a passing loop here and a station building. All trains stop here. Beyond Aberffrwd the line climbs at a gradient of 1 in 50 all the way to Devil's Bridge. This section of the line is isolated with no road access. The track sits on a ledge known as Pant Mawr and follows the contours of the terrain, passing through two request stops at Rheidol Falls and Rhiwfron before reaching Devil's Bridge.


Map of the Vale of Rheidol Light Railway in 2006
When the lead mines were being worked there was an aerial cableway linking them with Rhiwfron.

The railway had a branch line which ran to Aberystwyth Harbour, principally for freight services. The Harbour Branch became redundant with the predominance of tourist passenger operations and was closed and lifted. Little evidence of it remains today.

Operation
See also: List of Vale of Rheidol Railway rolling stock
The operational base is at Aberystwyth, where there is an engine shed. Heavy overhauls are undertaken in a purpose built workshop on the south side of the line.

Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge stations have booking offices. For passengers joining the train at any intermediate station, tickets are issued by the Guard.

The railway is single track with passing loops at Capel Bangor and Aberffrwd which are operated by the train crew. The line is worked by tokens, which authorise the driver to enter a single line section. Tokens are provided for:-

Aberystwyth to Capel Bangor
Capel Bangor to Aberffrwd
Aberffrwd to Devil's Bridge
A Duty Officer is rostered whenever a passenger service is in operation. The Duty Officer regulates train running, overseeing the staff signalling system and giving permission for trains to enter the single line sections, recording train movements on the Train Graph and ensuring trains are formed of an appropriate number of carriages.

Awards
2016 National Coach Tourism Awards, Winner, Coach Friendly Heritage Railway.
2015, 2018 National Coach Tourism Awards, Finalist, Coach Friendly Heritage Railway.
2015 Aber First Awards, Best Visitor Experience.
2015 Aber First Awards, Best Customer Service.
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 TripAdvisor, Certificate of Excellence


Preserved LocomotivesHOMEPAGE for all of Phil and Molly's PicsMy Archive Steam Photos from the 1960s

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Good trainspotting 'TRAINSPOTS' Good trainspotting and photographic locations  Barnetby Station, North Lincolnshire  *  Carlisle Station  *  Clapham Junction Station, London  *  Colton Junction, south of York  *  Crewe Station  *  Doncaster Station, South Yorkshire  * Hellifield station - Carlisle to Settle line * Lancaster station  * Newcastle Station  *  Northallerton Station  *  Nuneaton Station  *  Sheffield Station  *  Stratford Station, East London * Warrington Bank Quay station * Wigan North Western - WCML York Station

See Also * Class 01 * Class 02 * Class 03 * Class 04 * Class 08 * Class 09 * Class 10 * Class 11 * Class 14 * Class 20 * Class 24 * Class 25 * Class 26 * Class 27 * Class 31 * Class 33 * Class 35 * Class 37 * Class 40 * Class 43 * Class 44 * Class 45 * Class 47 * Class 50 * Class 52 * Class 55 * Class 56 * Class 57 * Class 58 Class 60 * Class 66 * Class 67 * Class 68 * Class 70 * Class 71 * Class 73 * Class 76 * Class 77 * Class 86 * Class 87 * Class 88 * Class 90 * Class 91 * Class 92 * Derby Lightweight * Class 101 * Class 108 * Class 114 * Class 117 * Class 121 * Class 122 * Class 127 * Class 141 * Class 142 * Class 144 * Class 150 * Class 153 * Class 155 * Class 156 * Class 158 * Class 159 * Class 165 * Class 166 * Class 170 * Class 175 * Class 180 * Class 185 * Class 220 * Class 221 * Class 222 * Class 252 * Class 313 * Class 315 * Class 317 * Class 319 * Class 320 * Class 321 * Class 322 * Class 323 * Class 325 * Class 332 * Class 333 * Class 334 * Class 350 * Class 357 * Class 360 * Class 365 * Class 373 * Class 375 * Class 376 * Class 377 * Class 378 * Class 379 * Class 380 * Class 387 * Class 390 * Class 395 * Class 414 * Class 423 * Class 442 * Class 444 * Class 450 * Class 455 * Class 458 * Class 460 * Class 465 * Class 466 * Class 507/508 * Class 3000 *

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