Klausrl’s Weblog

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

Just a couple updates.

Dateline: 6/16/2010.

I’m in Tennessee tonight. Brought a load of plywood from Baltimore to a small town in Tennessee, then got a load of casting sand to go to New Jersey.  Not my favorite state to deal with, toll roads, crowded, and right now muggy.

Hopefully something headed west from New Jersey will turn up.

In other news. The Welsh Highland, cross town link to the Ffestiniog Railway will be approved for operation in October. I expect that a full schedule will wait for the 2011 season. The hold-up seems to have been the design an installation of the warning light on Britannia Bridge. This is the sort of thing that happens when governments are involved. It’s not like anybody had to invent the train crossing.

I find that in the interest of accuracy, I must modify this post. Sometime ago, I read somewhere that there was a bureaucratic hold up on the Welsh Highland cross town link.  As Chris was correct to point out, this was a funding problem.  Furthermore the Welsh Government has been a big help in completing this huge project.

My personal funds may permit a trip to Dublin next year, my Wife really wants to see Ireland. A quick boat ride to Wales seems like a good idea.


June 17, 2010 Posted by | trains, Truck Stuff, Wales | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Latest travel deal. $6 a day train travel!

Just an update to those that might travel in Wales.  The railcar on the right in this photo is on the Conwy Valley  Line, a delightful ride from the North Coast to Blaenau Ffestiniog .

The little train on the left is on the Ffestiniog Railway and a great way to get to Porthmadog on the coast. And of course as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, later this year the connection with the Welsh Highland Railway.

The new news is the price. A full day pass on the Conwy Valley Line is (drum roll please) 3 pounds sterling, less that $6.00 for the whole day.

Considering the area served by the Conwy Valley Line, this might be the best travel buy on the planet.

Thanks to John for pointing this out.  The Cambrian Coast Line “One Day Ranger” pass is 8 pounds sterling, or in U.S. terms. A little less than $16 for a days travel.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wales without a rental car.

Just a quick taste of Wales.  This particular photo from Arriva Trains Wales web site.

I’m working up a sample trip from Manchester to Llandudno Junction, then to Blaenau Ffestiniog. There transfer to the Ffestiniog Narrow gauge to Porthmadog.  In Porthmadog a person could ride the Welsh Highland round trip to Caernarfon, taking a few hours to see the huge castle at that end of the line. Remember that also in Porthmadog there is the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway a short ride with a stop at the shops working to restore some of the old engines. Very nice “Tea Room” as well.

Back on the standard gauge line south to the Talyllyn Railway. This little railway is a great ride, well worth the time.

The Talyllyn also hosts a very nice museum.

On to  Aberystwyth and the Vale of Rheidol. A first rate operation although lacking in some of the personality of the Ffestiniog or Talyllyn, the Vale of Rheidol runs deep into dense forest, clinging to hillsides, up to Devils Bridge.

Back at Aberystwyth, it’s an easy connection back to Manchester.

This trip could be made without the use of a rental car or bus transfers. The airport at Manchester has a train station in the terminal, that has frequent service to Manchester Piccadilly (that’s the main train station).

April 6, 2010 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland this summer?

I’ll let the links speak for themselves.



And, if you decide on a trip to the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland check out the Oakeley Arms Hotel. Large rooms for the U.K., and great food. In the Pub, on cool nights they have a coal fire going in the fireplace. The coal warms you to the bones.

New this year to Porthmadog  a Travelodge. Provides the equivalent of US turnpike, motel service.  For those on a budget, this could make the difference.

Remember also Port Merion is just nest door, for you Patrick McGoohan fans, Port Merion is the Hotel/Town that served as the setting for “The Prisoner” BBC TV Show.

For those of you that are “Bucks UP” The Village is operated as a Hotel, although the tariffs are breath taking.

The grounds are however open to us commoners for a small fee. It’s worth an afternoon walkaround.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tal-y-Llyn Railway troubles

DSCN0572 Small Web view

Just getting the word out. Not sure how to help, but the Tal-y-Llyn railway on the coast of Wales would seem to be suffering from the slack economy. Word is that the operation lost about 100,000 pounds, roughly $180,000 last year.
The Tal-y-Llin is one of the oldest restored railways in the U.K., but suffers from being some distance off the be beatin track. About halfway between Porthmadog, and Aberystwth Wales, this wonderful little railway is passed by on the way to other destinations.
Check them out at http://www.talyllin.co.uk.. it’s worth the look, and if you happen to get to the U.K. a trip through Wales is worth the time. You don’t really need a rental car as the train service is good. The only notable gap in transportation, being that the west and north coast railways have no direct connection. If you have the time, one can take the Ffestiniog from Porthmadog to Ffestiniog, and catch the Conwy Valley standard gauge line to the coast.
The Cambrian Coast route stops right at the west end of the Tal-y-Llin railway, a 1/2 block walk to the narrow gauge station and museum.
Anyway here’s the question for you. Any ideas on how to get the word out about the trains of Wales. I know there are sites out there (Great Little Trains of Wales) and other, but their visibility seems low. I’m not in the travel industry, but it seems like that might be the key to helping out these small railways. It would be a shame to lose some of them.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welsh Highland Railway update.

Latest news from Wales is hat that last sections of the Welsh Highland may be set in place sometime late this month. This makes the Easter 2009 open for passenger traffic, look like a go.

A Garrett at Caernarfon, on the Welsh Highland.

Next year it will be possible to take a train from Caernarfon, south through the Snowdona National Park to Porthmadog on the west coast, then east on the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog. That’s about a 40 mile trip, plan for the whole day for this trip.

Not sure at this point what locomotives will run the through trips, the big South African Garratts are too large to run past the yard at Boston Lodge, so I assume the the Double Fairlies from the Ffestiniog will handle any “express” trains.

Double Fairlie on the Ffestiniog.

For any train buff, this is worth the trip. Several airlines serve Manchester, England. For those that dont want to deal with London it’s a great way to get into the U.K.

Take the time to check out the other little railways in the area.

August 13, 2008 Posted by | trains, Wales | , | 3 Comments

009 model railroad

First of, I should explain what OO9 means. OO the scale 1/76 that is 1 inch represents 76. This is the common equivalent of the popular HO in the United Kingdom. HO being 1/87 and OO 1/76 there is a degree of sharing between the scales. People, trees, and buildings from one scale are usable in the other.
OO9 is OO (1/76) scale, but using the 9 millimeter gauge track from the N scale (1/160) manufactures. This results in a workable 2 foot narrow gauge, in the OO scale. Using the chassis from N scale locomotive, the bodies are replaced with 1/76th scale bodies, making a narrow gauge locomotive. There are quite a few good suppliers of kits for the conversions, and some manufactures make some full kits, with running gear.

<>Check out the 009 society web page, they have links to suppliers. Try their web site www.009society.com/ Look around but be sure to check the suppliers at the bottom of the links page.
Currently I’m building a traveling show layout, based on the Ffestiniog Railway, in Wales. This layout started small, but sections keep getting added until now it has grown to a 15X25 foot rectangle. In the style of show layouts, the operation is inside the box, and made to be best viewed from the outside.Taking a train on an imaginary trip from Porthmaddog to Ffestiniog would be a follows:
The Cobb

Leaving the Station at Porthmaddog, the train goes across the Cobb, a six foot long sea wall section. Next is a sharp left turn alongside Boston Lodge, the work shop, locomotive and coach storage areas. This section of the model is being extended slightly to include a scaled down representation of Port Merion, known to some as “The Village” from the spy, sci fi show, The Prisoner.

The Village


After Boston Lodge turn our train runs past Minnffordd. This is the site of the exchange yard with the standard gauge railway.

Penrhyn Level Crossing

Penrhyn Crossing

Mid 1980

After Minnfford there is a bit of forest and the level road crossing at Penrhyn. This is the section where the climb to the mine starts. Also the forest will become a lot more dense at this point. Thanks to a 009 member, John de Frayssinet , I now know that the stems of common sage, makes great trees. So now it looks like I can afford to have a forest that the trains disappear into. My current thinking is that a very dense forest is a good way to hide the points where the sections join together.

Leaving Minnffordd there is some question. Until a week ago the next section was going to be Ddualt, but since a trip to Wales, and a visit to Tan-y-Bwlch (take that spell check), we are thinking of adding a 6 foot section that would include the Tan-y-Bwlch station.

Tan-y-Bwich Station


Next would be the signature work of the new Ffestiniog , Dduallt. Dduallt was where the restoration team had to gain considerable elevation to clear a reservoir that had been built while the railway was inactive. This spiral, one of a kind in the UK is a great photo location, and had to be part of the model. At Dduallt the mainline makes the turn to run across the back of the layout.

At this point things are not yet set in stone, but some type of a festival is going to be going on, just a good excuse for all the odd stuff we can’t justify any other way.

Another turn back toward the front including the mine. At this point there is considerable height to the main, and the slate mine will have plexiglass sides showing the operation in the mine.

Then a hidden spiral will bring the mainline back down to Porthmaddog.

When complete the trains will take a 70 or so foot trip, hopefully creating the feel of actually going somewhere, rather than running in a circle.

The photo below shows the port area framework. Since this photo I’ve completed the 2X6 frame and trackwork for “The Cobb” The tracks have been proven using an N-Gauge locomotive that is larger than any of the 009 locos that will run on the layout.

Porthmadog area

Porthmadog framework

We have decided that rather than staying strictly with Ffestiniog locations, the some scenes will be “visiting” from other railways, such as the Tal-y-Llyn Railway.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | trains | , , , , , , | 2 Comments