Weekly Exhibit

In contrast to the Isle of Man Railway signal windlass featured last week, the Manx Northern Railway used a compensated signal lever patented by Stevens & Son. The design automatically allowed for expansion and contraction of the signal wire. The weight on the lever was free to slide keeping a constant tension on the wire until the lever was operated when the weight locked in position.

Museum working party 2nd May 2024

The skies were grey over Tywyn this morning but no rain fell so working outside was not curtailed. Alas we were down to just Charles Benedetto and John Olsen this morning, as other commitments depleted our ranks.

The first job was to finish treating the new timber for the Aberllefenni counter balance wagon; last week we did the frame and sides leaving just the floor planks to do. The first coat was achieved before the first train departed so we used the intervening time to record the pieces of the old Corris mail waggon photographically with a tape measure in frame to allow future measurements to be taken. The rebuild is utilising a standard TR wagon frame that is of a differing cross section of ~ 5×4 inches whereas the condemned frame was ~ 7×4 inches, so it is important to record these changes. Measurements of the metal plates and rods were also taken as a prelude to having new ones made as the rods were very wasted where they had been in contact with the timber of the frame and the internal reinforcing plates will require new smaller versions to be made.

Having waved away a lightly loaded train we collected David Broadbent from the museum and Max Birchenough from control for our coffee and biscuits in the cafe. In the absence of Andy there was a ‘run’ on the chocolate Hobnobs.

Returning to our labours we gave the floor timbers and second dousing with wood treatment and then returned them to the dry of the Gunpowder Store. Uncovering the kit of parts of wagon no 164, the ex TR two bar slate wagon with brake, we removed the nuts and washers holding the four corner straps on the upper set of bars and knocked the rusty bolts out. Removing the straps revealed that the ends of the cross bars were badly rotted and disintegrating and there was also evidence of rot in the longitudinal bars to a lesser degree. It will require removal of the paint on the longitudinal bars before we can establish if they can be saved or not but the cross bars are beyond further use.

Having covered the wagon back over and put away all the tools, we left the site tidy and safe.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

An Isle of Man Railway signal windlass made by A. Linley and Company; Birmingham. The windlass wound a chain connected to the signal wire, round a drum fitted with a ratchet pawl to hold the tension.

Weekly Exhibit

To commemorate St George’s Day, a Dinorwic Quarry wooden pattern for the nameplate “George”. The nameplate was carried by a Hunslet Engine Company 0-4-0ST, works number 184 of 1877. The locomotive was later renamed Minstrel Park, and was withdrawn around 1920.

Museum working party April 18th 2024

A cool bright sunny morning in Wharf Yard for the first working party after the Easter break.

Andy Sheffield, Pete Thomas, David Broadbent and John Olsen took full advantage of the dry spell to sort some of the old iron and timber behind the water tower. With a class 97 loco to be named in the near future on the mainline siding behind Wharf Station, we needed to identify, and tidy up, our historic artefacts from in amongst TR items and old bits of wood and metal that had been dumped there.

First the large, and heavy, Aberllefenni counter balance wagon drawbar needed to be shifted off the ex TR wagon frame so that the grounded frame beside it could be placed on top of it; luckily no. 7 was being watered and we were able to borrow the youthful third man to help us shift it. A bit of shunting of the two historic wagons allowed a lot of museum material to be placed in the two foot and then ‘covered’ by the counter balance wagon. Keith joined us to point out the TR material and the rubbish to be placed in the appropriate skips, but that task was for after waving away the first train and having our coffee.

We were joined by Charles Benedetto, Ann McCanna, Max Birchenough and Tom Place for our refreshments in the warmth of the cafe as the chilly north west wind had piled up the clouds.

Suitably watered and fed we returned to the yard to shuttle the waste to the skips in the yard and tidy up the ground around our wagons; whilst piling the TR material for the Outdoor Gang to deal with in due course.

Before we wrapped up for the morning we reviewed the most pressing tasks for our attention next week, which are to attend to the paintwork of wagon no. 164, ex TR two bar slate wagon with brake, and to treat the replacement wood for the Aberllefenni counter balance wagon rebuild with anti rot fluid prior to assembly of the frame. The Corris Mail Waggon rebuild is on hold until after no. 164 is returned to service.

Weekly Exhibit

From sixty years ago, the Talyllyn Railway Easter and Spring timetable. The Friday service provided an opportunity for those living in the valley to have a couple of hours at Tywyn on its weekly Market Day.

Weekly Exhibit

The Official Opening of the Teifi Valley Railway took place this day in 1986. The ticket shown was issued for this event. The 2ft gauge railway was built on the trackbed of part of the former standard gauge line from Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn. The railway went through a difficult period in 2014, with part of the line replaced by a road-train, but is now operating again from Henllan to Pontprenshitw.

Weekly Exhibit

A selection of track components from the Croesor Tramway. The horse-drawn tramway used chaired T-section rails, mounted on wooden sleepers.

The southern three miles of the tramway were relaid in heavier rail when they became part of the Welsh Highland Railway in 1922.

Weekly Exhibit

A Festiniog Railway cast iron wagon number plate. The type of wagon which carried this number is unknown.

Saturday 23rd March Book Launch

Yesterday, the museum hosted a book launch for two new books in the ‘Recollections Series’ published by Silver Link Books. The Talyllyn Railway book is a joint effort by authors, and long time Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society members, Nigel Adams and Bob Cambridge. The Fairbourne Railway book is by Nigel Adams, with help from his son, Justin.

The Archbishop of Wales (also the Bishop of Bangor), Andrew John, performed the book launch in the Museum, and afterwards Archbishop Andrew travelled on the train that departed at 2.10pm.

Nigel Adams commented that he hoped that these books will be a valuable ‘publicity tool’ for both the Talyllyn Railway and the Fairbourne Railway, and bring some extra visitors to both railways.