Author Topic: Brecon Mountain Railway, Wales  (Read 4325 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Brecon Mountain Railway, Wales
« on: January 08, 2009, 01:46:46 AM »
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Brecon Mountain Railway, Wales has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Wayne Laepple wrote:
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I have had an interesting e-mail exchange with one of the folks at the Brecon Mountain Railway in South Wales. This is a two-footer that is an interesting hybrid of Welsh and American styles. They currently operate a Baldwin 4-6-2 built for South Africa (see Eastern Province Cement Co. no. 2 Baldwin builder's photo in the back of the first edition of "The Maine Two Footers") and a German 0-6-2T, and they have a Baldwin 2-6-0 of 1890's vintage in their shop. Most amazing, they are building replicas of Sandy River no. 10 and no. 23!
Their coaches are very Welsh in appearance but have American style open platforms, and they have a Sandy River-style caboose. Their line runs into a very rugged (for Britain) national park, carrying hikers, fishermen, etc. into the park which has very few roads. Their line is on the grade of a standard-gauge line and currently ends just short of a tunnel, but they hope someday to continue on through the tunnel to the next station. The current line is almost 7 miles.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Thought folks might like to see the Baldwin in action...
No.2 was built in 1930. She must have been one of the last 2-foot steam locos built by Baldwin... Anyone know?

wwfmuseum replied:
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Looks like they have the beginnings of a control tower in the making, with that fellow in the bottom left corner.
They also better not go though that switch that the tender is on in the wrong way, or they'll be on the ground quick.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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It's funny, it does kind of look like that... Must be some reasonable explanation, testing the switch or something.
Here are a few more detail shots of #2, plus a picture taken inside of the Brecon Mtn shops.




Like my old boss George Cunha used to say, "a clean shop is a happy shop"

Bottom photo: James Waite

gordon cook replied:
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The Festiniog has a similar arrangement at the throat of the yard in Porthmadog. It is apparently a safety interlocking system which controls the main line switch, and requires a key to align the switch out of the yard to the mainline. Without the key, it sets up the switches to divert any rolling stock coming out of the yard to a runaway track. From the picture the key may be the 'handle' that's sticking out toward the track from the lower part of the stand.
Not sure who is the keeper of the key. The dispatcher?

Bill Sample replied:
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The Brecon Mountain is a "must-visit" on any future trip to Wales for me.  They also have a North American-design passenger car named the "Carrabassett" which is somewhat like the "Rangeley" but IIRC has some table seating.
The mechanical assembly used for throwing the switches I think is called a "ground frame" and is very much like would be in a "signal box" (what we would call a signal or interlocking tower).  The "switch to nowhere" looks like the start of another siding.  If it was facing the other way, it would be called "catch points" and would be use as a derail to keep equipment off of the main line.
Any UK experts please correct me!

Andy Coward replied:
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I think you are about right Bill.
The rodding from the groundframe (in the UK really a 'signal box' without a roof) leads off to the right of the picture and there is none to the point in question. I reckon this has been inserted for a new siding. The new point will be permanently set for the main at present.
A 'catch point' would only have a single 'moving rail section' and be set the other way to derail any vehicle attempting to leave the run round incorrectly.
The groundframe seems to match one on the Bala Lake railway (a 2ft line in North Wales) where I work as a volunteer driver some of the time, although there seem to be 4 operating rod runs here. One of the levers will alter the point blades while the other operates a 'facing point lock'. This mechanically prevents the point moving and is required where passenger vehicles move over a 'facing point'. The operation is to first operate the lock lever which withdraws a bar from the point mechanism then you alter the point. At the finish of the move do this operation in reverse.
The frame is locked and the loco crew (in the Bala example) have the necessary key attached to the single line staff which must be on the engine to enter the track section.
At Bala the other end or the run round track is only used by the loco so the point at that end is just held over by a weight meaning that the loco can run through and it then resets automaticaly.
Hope this helps.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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The Brecon Mountain is a "must-visit" on any future trip to Wales for me.  They also have a North American-design passenger car named the "Carrabassett" which is somewhat like the "Rangeley" but IIRC has some table seating.
Can't remember where I read it, but I believe this coach runs on a loop of track on private property and is pulled by some sort of remote controlled loco. I suppose it's a private dinner train of sorts. If anyone has pictures or additional info please post it.

Andy Coward replied:
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The Sandy River parlour car reproduction is not on the Brecon Mountain line.
I believe it was built by the Ffestiniog railway for Adrain Shooter's own private garden line known as the Beeches Light Railway. This is a continuos loop line around his grounds but hauled by steam locos and, from video I have seen, these are in no way remote controlled.

Allan Fisher replied:
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Adrian left pictures of his garden railroad including the gas/diesel/battery locomotive ? that he can automatically control from the dining room of the parlor car, but I have no idea how to attach a photo to these replies.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Allan, if they are digital pictures/files you could email them to me and I will happily post them...

Bill Sample replied:
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Thanks for the corrections to my presumed location of the "Carabassett."  Guess I won't have to tear the Welsh countryside apart looking for it!

Bill Sample replied:
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I just received an e-mail from Tony Hills concerning the status of the locomotive projects at the BMR in Wales.  He stated the projects are progressing slowly.
Currently there are three locomotive projects underway.  The priority is an extensive rebuild of an 1897 Baldwin  2-4-0 tender loco that ran on the Mogyana Railway in Brazil.  A new tender was built and is complete except for the tank.  The air brake system, cab and piping remain to be completed.
Now for the replicas - as Wayne mentioned, the BMR is building replicas of SR&RL #10 and #23.  Tony reported that #10's rear frame, trucks, springs, axle boxes,  rods, and valve gear are done.  #23 has had similar progress, plus the tender is completed except for the tank.
When completed, the locomotives will be fitted with air brakes and be oil burners.
Sounds like some common parts shared by the locos are being completed at the same time for efficiency and cost savings - but that is speculation on my part.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum