Bala Lake Railway
Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid
|Alice at Llanuwchllyn, 18 July 2004|
|Length||4.5 miles (7.2 km)|
|Preserved gauge||2 ft (610 mm)|
|Bala Lake Railway|
The Bala Lake Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a preserved railway at Bala Lake, in Gwynedd, north Wales, which runs for a distance of 4 1⁄2 miles (7.2 km) using 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge rolling stock.
It was built on a section of the former Ruabon - Barmouth GWR route which was closed in 1965. This section runs along the south-eastern shore of Bala Lake. Another section of the former trackbed is today used by the Llangollen Railway. The Bala Lake Railway is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales.
Stations and route
Following closure of the standard gauge line in 1965, the Bala Lake Railway opened on 13 August 1972, operating over 1.5 miles of track from Llanuwchllyn to Pentrepiod. Although Pentrepiod station is now a small request-stop halt, it was the eastern passenger terminus for the first operating season. Extension work continued throughout this period, and by the start of 1973 the line had been extended to Llangower. Extension works continued and in 1975 the line reached a new temporary station at Pant-yr-hen-felin. The following year, 1976, the line reached Bala (Llyn Tegid), now known as Bala (Penybont). It was intended to continue the expansion into the town centre of Bala, opening this last stage in 1981, but these plans were abandoned early in that year.
The railway's stations are:
- Llanuwchllyn is the railway's headquarters, and includes the main railway buildings, workshops and offices.
- Pentrepiod Halt is an operational request stop.
- Glan Llyn Halt is a limited-use station, open only during the Halloween and Santa Special train services.
- Llangower is the principal intermediate station. All trains stop here, and trains pass in the passing loop during a two-train service.
- Bryn Hynod Halt was a request stop. It closed in 2011, and the platform was demolished in February 2012.
- Bala (Penybont) is the line's other terminus, and is located near the town of Bala. There have been various plans to extend the railway into Bala itself, but none have been realised.
Most trains on the line as steam-hauled, using one of three locomotives currently in service. Steam locomotives currently in use or stored on the line are Maid Marian, works number 822 (in use), Holy War, works number 779 (in use), Alice, works number 780 (in use) and George B, works number 680. George B is currently undergoing a lengthy rebuild. In April 2012, the slightly larger locomotive Winifred, works number 364, was repatriated to the UK from a warehouse at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA, to be permanently located on the Bala Lake Railway. At present the loco is being restored to working condition. All the locos were built by the Hunslet Engine Company, for the Dinorwic Quarry and Penrhyn Quarry. The current steam locomotives (and two of the former engines) are all Hunslet Engine Company slate quarry locomotives, leading the railway to advertise itself as the home of the Hunslet brand. One locomotive, Maid Marian, has twice undergone full overhauls at the expense of a special supporters' society for railfans with a particular concern for this engine.
There are four main diesel locomotives in service on the railway. These include Meirionydd, a Bo-Bo diesel-hydrostatic locomotive built by Severn Lamb, of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1973, and based on a Western class standard gauge locomotive outline design; Trigger (Bob Davies), a Baguley Drewery, works no. 780, which is the railway's main standby diesel, used to haul out of season trains, for yard shunting and goods or works train haulage, which was built as 2 ft 6in gauge for the Royal Navy at Fishguard, purchased by Pete Briddon's Yorkshire Engine Company, regauged to 2 ft, and named 'Bob Davies' in honour of a remarkable railway man; Chilmark, Ruston & Hornsby, works no. 194771, the oldest of the railway's diesels (a 40DL diesel mechanical 3-speed built in 1939 for the Air Ministry), used by the Royal Air Force for hauling explosives and ammunition at RAF Chilmark, Wiltshire; and Lady Madcap, a Ruston & Hornsby 20DL, which sees only occasional use for light shunting and ballast ploughing.
A new addition to the fleet is a track maintenance trolley in the style of a standard gauge Wickham trolley.
Summary of locomotives
|Locomotive Name||Locomotive Type||Year Built||Builder||Works Number||Notes|
|Current Steam Locomotives|
|Winifred||0-4-0 ST||1885||Hunslet Engine Co||364||Undergoing long-term restoration; planned to be in service Spring 2015.|
|George B||0-4-0 ST||1898||Hunslet Engine Co||680||Undergoing long-term restoration.|
|Holy War||0-4-0 ST||1902||Hunslet Engine Co||779||In regular service.|
|Alice||0-4-0 ST||1902||Hunslet Engine Co||780||In regular service.|
|Maid Marian||0-4-0 ST||1903||Hunslet Engine Co||822||In regular service.|
|Former Steam Locomotives|
|Lilla||0-4-0 ST||1891||Hunslet Engine Co||554||Sold to Ffestiniog Railway in 1997.|
|Jonathan||0-4-0 ST||1898||Hunslet Engine Co||678||Left BLR in 1986.|
|Dryw Bach or Ashover||0-4-0 ST||1918||Kerr Stuart||3114||No longer at Bala Lake.|
|Triassic||0-6-0 ST||1911||Peckett||1270||At Bala from 1992. In service from 2008. Left Bala Lake 2011.|
|Helen Kathryn||0-4-0 ST||1948||Kassel, Germany||28035||At BLR from first opening until 1975. Moved to Llanberis Lake Railway and now on South Tynedale Railway in Cumbria.|
|Current Diesel Locomotives|
|Chilmark||4W DM||1939||Ruston & Hornsby||194771||Built as an RAF ammunition locomotive. At BLR since 1976.|
|Lady Madcap||4W DM||Ruston & Hornsby||Light duties.|
|Bob Davies||4W DM||Baguley Drewery||780||Built for the Royal Navy. Passenger & engineers' locomotive.|
|Merionnydd||Bo-Bo||1973||Severn-Lamb||22||Diesel hydrostatic double-cabbed locomotive. Passenger locomotive. Built for the BLR.|
|Wickham trolley||4W trolley||A track inspection trolley in the style of a Wickham trolley.|
|Former Diesel Locomotives|
|"No 2"||4W DM||1936||Ruston & Hornsby||182137|
|4W DM||1938||Ruston & Hornsby||189972|
|Indian Runner "No 3"||4W DM||1940||Ruston & Hornsby||200744||Built for gravel works. Moved to BLR in 1977. Left BLR in 2004. (Named Invicta until 1981.)|
|Cernyw "No 11"||4W DM||1940||Ruston & Hornsby||200748|
|Flaxen||4W DM||1942||Ruston & Hornsby||209430|
|4W DM||1949||Ruston & Hornsby||283512|
|4W DM||1934||Motor Rail||5821|
|4W DM||1939||Hunslet Engine Co||1974|
|4W DM||1949||Lister-Blackstone||34025||Left BLR in 2001 (to Devon Railway Centre).|
|Alister "No 2"||4W DM||1958||Lister-Blackstone||44052|
- Steam '82 directory, edited by Roger Crombleholme and Terry Kirtland, published 1981 by Allen & Unwin (London), ISBN 0-04-385091-X, entry 304.
- Statement of G H Barnes (General Manager) in Steam '81 directory, edited by Roger Crombleholme and Terry Kirtland, published 1981 by Allen & Unwin (London), ISBN 385 083 9, entry 304.
- "Welcome to the Bala Lake Railway". Bala-lake-railway.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- See the full list at this supporters' society webpage.
- See that society's own website.
- "Triassic moves to Statfold". Railways.national-preservation.com. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- See data and illustrations at the official webpage.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bala Lake Railway.|
- Bala Lake Railway
- Ruabon to Barmouth (British Railways in the 1960s Sectional Appendix Extract) (via The Internet Archive)