The Cross Town Link Line approaching
the Britannia Bridge
the Britannia Bridge
This golden-bolt ceremony marks the culmination of ten years
tracklaying effort (phases 2, 3 & 4) by over five hundred
volunteers, supported by funding from private donations, the Millennium
Commission, the Welsh European Funding Office and the Welsh Highland
Paul Lewin, General Manager of
the Ffestiniog Railway
carrying the Golden Bolts to
One Bolt for the Black Hand
Gang and the second for
The Rest of the World Gang.
The Golden Bolts at the
Junction shown with
the Silver Trowel used in
1833 for the
ceremonial laying of the first stone sleeper.
The Golden Bolts
(made from Aluminium/Bronze alloy)
in situ at the junction.
Fixing the Bolts - Dafydd Thomas
(Chairman Black Hand Gang) and Paul Bradshaw (Chairman Rest of the
The final golden bolts were installed by
the chairmen of the two teams in the presence of
representatives from these volunteer teams, which have completed the
of the 24 miles of track laying work.
The Welsh Highland Railway track-laying
teams work on alternate weekends with one team (The Black
Hand Gang) made up of predominantly Welsh speaking local
volunteers, and the other team (The Rest of the World Gang) comprising
volunteers living throughout the UK and beyond.
Volunteer Track Gang Members
Thomas, Chairman Black
Hand Gang and a local Councillor, made an impressive speech first in
Welsh and then in English. He was intently
listened to by John Prideaux, Chairman Ffestiniog Railway Company and
Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon who both made excellent speeches.
87 waiting to be driven onto the WHR and below cautiously doing so!
Once the connection had been made the
Welsh Highland Railway's latest locomotive, No.87, - newly restored at
the Ffestiniog Railway Boston Lodge works - made the first movement on
to the new section of line and was positioned with original Ffestiniog
Railway locomotives, built in the same works more than 100 years ago.
FR engines waiting their turn.
A large body of supporters and visitors
assembled to witness and record this historic event!
The Welsh Highland Railway is owned and
operated by the Ffestiniog Railway and public services are scheduled to
commence from Caernarfon and Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert on the 8th of
April. The service will extend through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Hen
Hafod on the 21st of May and through to Porthmadog after the 2009 peak
Mr. Mike Hart, Chairman of Welsh Highland
Construction Ltd, the subsidiary company of the Ffestiniog Railway
tasked with building the new line said:
“This is a very proud moment for the many
people that have worked so hard to make this dream a reality. Our
volunteers and staff have worked in all weathers and against seemingly
overwhelming odds at times to reach this landmark. We are delighted to
make this connection with the world’s oldest independent railway and we
are looking forward to running public services in the spring.”