Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Plan

I was inspired by the fictional history which John de Frayssinet created for County Gate and his railcar experiment to come up with a plan based on an alternative history. Though I'm thinking of Snowdonia rather than Austria, the Johannesdorf Tirolerbahnen, which featured in the November Continental Modeller, has something of the feel of what I'd like to achieve.

Pannned Lines

The North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways obtained an Act of Parliament 1872 to build lines running from Portmadoc to Bettws-y-Coed via Beddgelert and Capel Curig[1]. They were also considering building lines from Bettws-y-Coed to Corwen and Penmachno and from Portmadoc to Porthdynlleyn via Pwllheli alongside the Cambrian Coast line[1]. They did build a line from Dinas to Rhyd-Ddu and a branch to Bryngwyn[2] (later to become part of the WHR).

The Welsh Highland Railway

The WHR originally ran from Dinas to Portmadoc. An extension to Caernarfon was planned but never built by the original company but was built by the WHR(C). There is a possibility that the WHR might get extended to Bangor at some point in the future (phase 5). In an alternative world both these extensions might have been built when the standard gauge lines over those routes closed.

The Plan

So how might these line look if they had been built? I'm thinking mostly about those parts which would be in the Snowdonia National Park. I've drawn a map rather than try further explanation. I might add further lines and stations as my ideas progress.

Passenger operations
The line now runs steam trains for the heritage railway market and diesel services for locals and tourists who just want to get from A to B. The diesel services will probably a mixture of DMU, railcar and loco hauled. There'd be lots of walkers, mountain bikers (using special bike trucks) travelling on the diesel hauled trains.

I'll assume that the government is encouraging freight off roads and onto rail in the national park and have stuff like freight to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel.
I'm also thinking about a bike hire company that hires bikes at various stations on the network and the bikes can be brought back to any station. The bikes are the re-distributed by train. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some more reasons for freight trains too. Maybe timber?
  1. ^ a b WHR(P): Forerunners to WHR
  2. ^ Wikipedia: North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways