Monday, 20 April 2015

It’s here!!!!

On Wednesday 15th April the much anticipated Snowdon Mountain Goat period carriage arrived onsite. At 7:30am the engineering staff arrived onsite to ensure the delivery went smoothly and the meet the crane required to lift the carriage onto the track.

The crane is patiently waiting for the carriage. \But where is it?

As 8:00am arrived, to our shock, the carriage didn’t! As we wondered where it could be somebody jokingly said, “I bet it has got stuck in the road works just outside the village”. Either way the carriage finally arrived after 9:00am. Onlookers were amazed by the vivid carmine red livery and intricate detailing of the wood and metal work.

Belatedly the carriage arrived
Lifting onto the track was completed in no time at all.
Lifting the carriage onto the tracks was efficiently completed in less than one hour.

Over the next week to ten days our fitters onsite will be fitting the guard rail,calibrating the automated brakes, applying decals and then commissioning will begin for the carriage to be ready for the 1st May 2015.

The carriage was ready to be shunted into the shed for finishing touches before commissioning. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Second Heritage Steam Carriage 2015.

The first Heritage Steam Carriage launched 2013 had a specific “female” identity synonymous with the Mountain and our sense of place i.e. The Snowdon Lily.

In addition the new carriage explored our relationship with our original company – “The Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotel Company Limited” est 1896 and indeed the original livery of cream and brown was used to finish the carriage. The first Heritage steam carriage has been such a success we want to repeat the process but give the new vehicle an original identity of its own.
The Snowdon Lily. Which entered service in June 2013.

Our second heritage steam carriage will have another theme synonymous with the Mountain and our sense of place . The new carriage will have a bright new livery that reflects the heritage of locomotive No 5 that is being refurbished to push the carriage just as it did in 1896 onwards. The new livery is a bright Swiss red with the legends in either gold or chrome silver (depending on which looks best on the carriage ) . The name of the carriage is “The Snowdon Mountain Goat” which again combines unique Welsh wildlife , is a good name for Welsh translation and has a resonance as the new carriage will be climbing the mountain just as the wild goats do.

A very early picture showing the original enclosed and open topped carriages.

Like the Snowdon Lily , we will carry the same legends on the carriage. On the top of the carriage will be the Snowdon Mountain Tramroads company name board. On the doors will be the Welsh name on one and the English translation on the other , repeated both sides. On the centre side of the carriage will be the SMT  1896 logo but this time flanked by two leaping mountain goats .

Monday, 30 March 2015

The Snowdon Mountain Goat Close to Completion 

Over the last 2 weeks Garmendale Engineering Limited have worked extremely hard to get carriage 5 (the Snowdon Mountain Goat) at a point where it is close to completion.

Since our last visit 2 weeks ago, all of the paneling has been manufactured in house at Garmendale engineering. The technology used is a unique composite consisting of two exterior Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) sheets sandwiching an Omniboard inner section. This gives a touch and lightweight paneling to the carriages.
The Side Panels and Iroko woodwork installed onto the mountain goat.

All of the windows and window vents have been fitted to the carriage. In order to save on weight we have decided to use single glazed safety glass – this allows us to maximise the size of the window which would be restricted by a heavier double glazed pane. The doors have been glazed and fitted.
The roof for the carriage has been a particular challenge to Garmendale Engineering. As the carriages are unique to Snowdon Mountain Railway, the roof is a one off design. It is constructed in a single board which is an epic 11.5 meters in length. Similarly to the side panels, an inner GRP skin sits underneath an Omniboard inner, but unlike the panels there is an exterior aluminium panel which protects against hot ashes discarded by the steam locomotive.

The Mountain Goat near completion.

All of the exterior hardwood trim has been hand crafted and fitted by a joiner.  The wood used is Iroko which is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa. We chose this as it is the closest match to the bare wood on the original carriages from 1896. Iroko is low maintenance and is treated with a specialist hardwood coating that maintains the beautiful bare wood finish.

The final big job was to install the seats to the carriages which were bolted in place. Garmendale Engineering are now adding final touches to the carriage and it is expected to arrive onsite on the 15th April. Once it has arrived onsite it will require in house set up and will go into commissioning. 
The installed seats

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Carriage Taking Shape

Over the last few weeks our partners at Garmendale Engineering Limited have been working busily on Carriage number 5. 

The chassis has been blasted and powder coated and is ready for the Superstructure to be fitted. The Superstructure has been fabricated and powder coated in a carmine red (Ral 3002) finish.  

The powder-coated superstructure ready to be bolted to the finished chassis.

Each of the 34 seats has been individually fabricated, powder coated and finished in beautiful Iroko hardwood. Over the next couple of weeks Garmondale will be working to put the floor, seating and panelling into the carriage attaching the bogies and adding all of the intricate finishing details.

Each of the seats has been individually crafted.

We are also proud to announce the new carriage will be called "The Snowdon Mountain Goat" - more about this next time!!

Friday, 6 March 2015

The History of Moel Siabod and Carriage 5

At Snowdon Mountain Railway we are proud of our heritage and history spanning three centuries. We are very excited to see the reintroduction of Locomotive number 5 after an absence of 15 years and the re-building of carriage number 5.
An early picture of locomotive 5 with carriage 5

Historic picture of number 5

Locomotives numbers 4 and 5 were ordered in 1896 in the second batch of rolling stock after the arrival of locomotives 1, 2 and 3. All of the first 5 locomotives were manufactured by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works of Winterthur Winterthur CH | Stadler . The first locomotives cost the railway £1,525 each, which in today’s money would be £181,205.88. An agricultural worker would earn on average £0.66p per week and would have taken 45 years to save up for it! Number 5 was named Moel Siabod after the nearby mountain in the Moelwynion range and at 872m it is the highest peak in the range. Like all of our steam locomotives the boiler is inclined to ensure the boiler tubes and firebox remain level on the steepest gradients, this is common to all mountain rack railways across the world.

In 2000, the boiler that was on locomotive number 5 (which we still have in storage) failed an inspection due to damage to the fire box. As the locomotive was no longer required for operations, it was removed from service and placed in storage. Over the years our rolling stock is all subject to wear and tear.  It is unclear how many different boilers loco 5 has had over the years, but with an average lifespan of 30-40 years so we think it has had 3 or 4 boilers. The water tanks and locomotive cab has been rebuilt many times. However, the chassis and the running gear of locomotive number 5 is all original from 1896.

The Original Chassis for locomotive number 5

Carriage number 5 was also ordered as part of the second batch of rolling stock in 1896 from the Lancaster carriage works and arrived in the original livery of brown and cream. The original design had the distinctive Snowdon Mountain Tramroad & Hotels Company header boards at the top of the carriage and curtains with no glass in the windows. The header boards were removed in the 1920’s as the ownership of the railway changed. In the 1950’s the carriage body was rebuilt and changed to the distinct design with 3 windows in the front and the livery changed to red and white. Carriage 5 remained unchanged until it was removed from service in 2012. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Work Progresses

Work on the bogies and the re-introduction of locomotive number 5

Work on the new carriage is well underway. The work on the original chassis has been completed by Garmendale. Onsite we have been working hard to restore the bogies for carriage 5 which is the chassis frames, suspension, axles and wheels. The downhill bogie on this carriage also contains the automatic safety braking mechanism and the pinions.
Firstly the original bogies were completely dismantled and inspected for any defect, bearing in mind they have been running for nearly 120 years they were in surprisingly good condition. New bogie cross members were manufactured in-house and installed by our own fitters. New suspension springs were installed and the automatic braking system was completely dismantled, inspected and serviced. The final job before reassembly was re-profiling of the wheels.

The other big area of work that is taking place this winter at SMR is the full restoration of locomotive number 5. Locomotive number 5, or Moel Siabod (named after the nearby mountain in the Moelwynion range), arrived onsite in 1896 when the railway opened to the public. In 2000 the boiler failed an inspection and it was withdrawn from service after 104 years of admirable work. Moel Siabod was placed in storage and it seemed unlikely it would be used operationally again at the railway. When the new fleet of carriages arrived in 2012/13 it quickly became apparent that the steam product was extremely popular and further capacity would be a big asset , and this is when the idea of restoring Moel Siabod was first mooted.
In 2014 it was decided that another heritage carriage was needed, but the likelihood of seeing Moel Siabod operational was still unlikely. However, as the year progressed and the order was placed for the 2nd heritage carriage, the possibility of Moel Siabod running again became a necessity as the other steam locomotives would not be able to cope with demand. Planning for number 5’s return began in May.
To restore a 119 year old steam locomotive to full operational order is no easy task; for one you cannot buy components off the shelf – they have to be specially made. As a result many of the components are original which include: chassis, running gear and cylinders. All other components are to be manufactured externally or made in house.

Over the coming weeks the blog will follow the progress of Locomotive number 5. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Planning Starts

New Heritage Carriage – The design phase

After the success of “The Snowdon Lily” which entered service in 2013, we felt that the heritage style carriage concept was an excellent blueprint for the new vehicle. The biggest feedback from our customers was that they loved the excellent craftsmanship and intricate detailing in the carriage in addition to the sense of space and room. Our steam trains were selling out at times weeks in advance, so we decided that a new carriage would be based on a similar design to Lily, but given its own personality and colour scheme.  

“Not only will we be seeing another period style carriage but locomotive number 5 will be returning to service after 15 years absence”.

Our inspiration for the Snowdon Lily carriage was depicted by fantastic imagery from our wonderful archive of Victorian photographs. The “Lily” was characterised by big windows and intricate corner detailing inspired by the ones in the original carriage design.  The design for the new heritage carriage will have very similar detailing and layout to its original ancestors – but with modern glass windows, which was a feature not featured in the 1896 version.

Like the Snowdon Lily, the new carriage is to be built on one of the original chassis from 1895 - carriage number 5. Carriage number 5 was stripped of its body when it was taken from service in 2013 and placed in storage. 

We are proud to be working again with our partners Garmendale Engineering Limited, who built all our new fleet of carriages in 2012/13 and they were eager to receive the chassis from carriage number 5. The tasks that were required to be completed on the chassis included: Realignment of the handbrake linkage, new front and rear beams, new bogie pivots, chassis strengthening, new running board brackets and new body mounts. Furthermore, a full refurbishment of the bogies has been completed onsite by our very own fitters in Llanberis.

 “Work being carried out at Garmendale on the original chassis”.

In our next edition we will be looking at the work that is to take place on the bogies and modifications to the 2013 design that will be seen on the new carriage. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

The Future

Moving Into the future

In November 2012 an exciting chapter in the history of Snowdon Mountain Railway began when we took delivery of the  first of four contemporary carriages. This arrival was the beginning of a new era for the railway and saw the complete replacement of its existing carriages which had served the railway admirably since 1923.The first carriage was quickly followed by the arrival of three additional new carriages in time for the start of the 2013 season.

Arrival of a contemporary carriage
In addition to the new diesel hauled carriages ,  Snowdon Mountain Railway built and commissioned  the rebuild of an original 1896 carriage to be pushed  by an original steam locomotive . This carriage- christened “The Snowdon Lily”  - surprised us by its popularity in 2013 and 2014 with the service being sold out on many operating days through the year.

 Clearly having disappointed customers unable to travel on our fabulous steam trains is not good for business so our Railway has taken the decision to build another Heritage Steam Carriage to partner “The Snowdon Lily “ for 2015 . The order has been placed and we anticipate delivery on site in April for commissioning and entry to service in May.

An early picture of Loco No. 5 Moel Siabod
In addition to our new Heritage Steam carriage  , we are bringing out of retirement locomotive  No 5 – Works number 989 – Moel Siabod  which dates from 1896 . This engine retired awaiting restoration in 1999 and the success of the new Heritage Steam Carriage is a perfect opportunity to bring this wonderful old locomotive back into service for 2015 .

Over the next 13 weeks leading up to the expected delivery date we will be detailing the building of the new carriage and bringing Moel Siabod back to life.

Spanning three centuries – The Snowdon Mountain Tramroads and Hotel Company Limited (est 1896)  - Snowdon Mountain Railway  !


Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 Season Nearly Here

2015 Season Will Be Here Soon Now

One of the questions we get asked frequently is “ What do you do in the winter? ”
We all agree that the winter months go far faster than the summer ones and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Now the new year is here and we are preparing to start another season. Opening date is 20th March so there will be new staff to recruit and lots of training to be done and then, before we know it, we will be open and looking forward to welcoming visitors again every day until the first weekend of November.
If anyone is interested in working for Snowdon Mountain Railway in the 2015 season application forms are available from the office so why not e-mail or give us a call?