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 In 2000 the boiler failed an inspection and it was withdrawn from service after 104 years of admirable work.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  !