The Welsh Highland Railway is now fully restored and connected to the Ffestiniog Railway. This two foot narrow gauge railway runs 25 miles from Caernarfon on the Menai Strait in North Wales through the dramatic Snowdonia National Park to Porthmadog. The Millennium Commission, the European Union, the Welsh Assembly and many very generous private donations have raised over £28,000,000 needed to complete the project.
Our film will take you on the complete journey and features the powerful South African Garratts. With dramatic cab ride and track side action. See the track gangs at work in the Aberglaslyn Pass and the tunnels, including riding with the works train.
See the railway now fully developed working as it is today in 2013. We even used a helicopter to bring you never seen before dramatic aerial views. The helicopter follows Garratt 138 from Castell Cidwn, to cross with 87 at Rhyd Ddu, then down to Beddgelert and breath taking views of the train in the Aberglaslyn pass and beyond Nantmor.
Filmed in high definition and edited by GWP with the full co-operation of the railway. Narrated by BBC’s Nicholas Owen.
Running time - approx 103 minutes
GWP's new production, available on both DVD and Blu-ray, features some rare and exciting footage. As well as having access to both the lineside and the locomotive's footplate, Graham hired a helicopter to get some terrific aerial footage.
The production reprises some footage from the earlier 2004 DVD covering the re-building of the WHR - including some interesting views of the contractors at work preparing the trackbed. The opening of the first section between Caernarfon and Dinas in 1997 is shown, with views of the almost insurmountable task which faced the contractors looking at the filled in cutting in the south yard at Dinas. Nevertheless, with much financial help from the EU and the Millenium Commission, work progressed. There is included here some great footage of the ROWG at work laying track at Bryn y Felin on Phase 4, with a brief shot of Mike Schumann delicately applyng track grease to a fishplate ... before cutting away to an aerial shot of the completed formation in the Aberglaslyn Pass for comparison. I also hadn't seen before the footage of the contractors working in Tunnel 4, so I found this fascinating.
There are some nice shots at the Garratts seen from a car window pacing the train near Pitt's Head, coupled with some fine action shots from the lineside. Unfortunately the capricious Welsh weather does render some scenes to be a little on the dark side, but not unduly so. There is a great telephoto view of the Down train at Plas y Nant showing the frightening gradient as the train approaches from Castell Cidwm - not for the faint of heart if your a member of the p.way department! The aerial view of the trains crossing at Rhyd Ddu is sublime.
This production, at around 100 minutes, gives a great overview of the WHR. There are a few lapses in the pronounciation of the Welsh place names, but overall, it's a very enjoyable piece of work. 'The WHR - The Complete Journey' does exactly what it says on the cover, making it a thoroughly enjoyable souvenir of the WHR and the beautiful scenery through which it passes. For me, though, NG/G16 No.138 is the star of the show. Recommended.
Available from the F&WHR shops as wll as through the Society's websales.
- The late Roy Woods, Editor of The Snowdon Ranger Magazine (Official mag for Welsh Highland Railway)
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