Welsh Narrow gauge Explorer 2021

Steam in Wales: 28.10. – 9.11.2021

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

This will be the last program organised by Bob Branch so it includes just about every possible heritage railway and the tour is much more comprehensive than the very successful 2019 program. We’ll visit more lines and see many more locomotives. We will use good quality accommodation and a comfortable tour bus (for those who book the full package).

The Welsh narrow gauge lines are famous for their authentic rolling stock, scenic lines and first class heritage sites. During the tourist season there is almost no space for running photo charters; and many nice photo spots are out of reach. Only when the regular service stops you have the time you need – and full access to the rolling stock.

Weather conditions in Wales are well known! You might have dull, rainy, windy, cold weather, all year round, but when the weather co-operates you have fantastic “spot lighting” of the mountain greenery with a low, but intense sun. Glint shots to die for!

We will see an exciting large number of locomotives including the staple Garratts and Fairlies. It is not guaranteed, but we’re planning even more variety. NG16’s, K1 (on the wish-list of many of us and now available again), NG13, Hunslet, Baldwin, GWR tank, the “Earl” and “Tom Rolt”.

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

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Itinerary

The itinerary is, at the moment, only a letter of intent. Due to the pandemic several railways are understaffed and have difficulty in corresponding. So the itinerary below shows what’s planned, not what’s 100 % confirmed.

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Date

Itinerary

28.10.

Arrival and meet the group. If you booked the full package: charter bus transfer from Manchester airport at 12:30 noon to our hotel in Ebbw Vale

29.10.

Brecon Mountain Railway with their Baldwin plus a mixed type train. For those who booked the full package: charter bus transfer to our hotel in Welshpool

30.10.

Welshpool GWR tank the Earl plus mixed train, they have some fabulous Pickering coaches plus coal wagons

31.10. – 2.11.

A variety of trains on the Welsh Highland Railway awaits us. Planned are the Garratts NG 16’s 87 and 130 on separate days with South African freight trains, the cute K1 Garratt with a SA-style mixed train, Welsh Pony with 3 green coaches, this will be from Harbour station and used to get us all to locations around Rhyd Ddu. There should be a new build Pickering brake coach available to us and a picture from the 1930’s with Welsh Pony and the Pickering coach only will be attempted at Bryn-y-Felin bridge, which is historically accurate. For those who booked the full package: we will stay in fantastic cottages in Porthmadog with an additional kitchen and living room.

3.11. – 5.11.

Ffestiniog Railway: Slate train all 3 days, freight train, Harbour station picture on all 3 days with double Fairlie haulage, planned is also the use of a couple of cables quarry Hunslets with some slate wagons at the top of the line as well, for pictures with the slate screens as a backdrop. An early start is requested for the shot at Molwyn tunnel. For those who booked the full package: we will stay in fantastic cottages in Porthmadog with an additional kitchen and living room.

6.11.

Today is a rest & recovery day on the F&WHR with a Pullman coach for a round trip Porthmadog to Caernarvon to take in Caernarvon Castle and the “Italien” village Portmeirion. We’ll probably have some barrels of beer aboard plus some snacks will be available.

7.11.

Those who booked the full package will be bussed over to Tywyn in the morning. On the Talyllyn railway we’ll enjoy a mixed train with the locomotive “Tom Rolt”, not seen last time. For those who booked the full package our charter bus will bring us to our hotel in Abersystwyth in the late afternoon.

8.11. – 9.11.

Vale of Rheidol Railway: On one day we’ll use a GWR tank and a mixed train, on the other day the Garratt NG13 plus an engineers train. For those who booked the full package: our charter bus will bring us back to Manchester airport. Flights from 17.30 hrs should be reachable.

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Line description

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

The Welsh narrow gauge lines are a marvel that traverses so many different landscapes it's almost impossible to give an accurate line descriptions. From the sea at Porthmadog to the Mountains of Snowdonia, my advice -just enjoy it all. The line is well covered on the internet, so as the Brecon Mountain railway, Welshpool, Talyllyn or the Vale of Rheidol. The pictures give you an idea about the railways.

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Small Print

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

The tour is arranged by Bob Branch in conjunction with Paul Lewin, the GM of the F&WHR, who together have over 20 year’s experience in organising photo charters on the F&WHR. Between them there is very little else to add to the expansive itinerary as planned.´

The itinerary might need some adjustment. Locomotives are not guaranteed, they can fail, especially after a long summer season (which we all hope is on). But the number of available locomotives is so good that we’ll have for sure a good variety of different classes any types.

On most days we will not be stopping for a lunch break, please bring water and or other non-alcoholic liquids with you, and suitable energy bars or snacks. The exception is the one leisure day in our Pullmann cars where Bob will offer you a fine snack and some good beer.

Although we hope for the better, Wales can be very wet and cold in the first week of November. Please wear appropriate cloths. Please remember that at this time of the year the sun, if any, will take quite a while to come over the Snowdon range of mountains.

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

In regards to operating on the WHR we have to cross the standard gauge line, which is controlled by Network Rail, at possibly set times during the morning and afternoon either side of service trains to and from Phwelli. This may restrict our time, however in past years this has not been an issue.

While writing this the pandemic situation in November 2021 is currently unknown. In mid October we’ll send the participants an update about the current situation and the requirements.

There are two ways you can participate: Option A: you book the trains only and arrange everything on your own or you book option B: the full package including airport pick-up, transfers, hotels and breakfast.
The tour is arranged any guided by Bob Branch, so please do not expect the usual FarRail standard of the tour. Announcements will be very, very sparse; we’ll often spend much time at the same position and do some variations of the position and we will do it the relaxed way. However, if the weather cooperates you’ll get some magnificent pictures.

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Safety is a major issue in UK; the safety rules are as strict as they’re used to be in developed countries. Jumping on and off trains is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. You always need to follow the instructions of the railway staff and we may need to sign a waiver. Standing too close to the track is not advisable, especially in regards to the very tight clearances on all four railways. We’re not allowed to do any sort of “gardening”, as after all the WHR in particular runs through the Snowdon National Park and they would take an extremely dim view of tree pruning.

Always use common sense when crossing roads and railway tracks. Neither FarRail Tours nor the local providers can be held responsible and will not accept any liability whatsoever in the case of any accident or damage or issues, additional costs etc. caused by delays or changes in the timetables. We recommend you to take out an accident insurance and travel cancellation insurance.

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

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Price

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Option A:

Welsh Narrow gauge Explorer, 29.10. - 9.11.2021, includes trains only, nothing else: £ 1,100

Option B:

UK (Wales)
Welsh Narrow Gauge Explorer 25 to 38 participants £2,450
28.10.2021 – 09.11.2021 Single room surcharge £470
Registration Deadline: 01.08.2021
Charter trains only: £1,100
 

The price includes

Option A:

Option B:

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

Not included are:

Option A:

Option B:

Narrow Gauge Steam in Wales

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