Gelert's Farm Works
|Gelert's Farm Works|
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Gelert's Farm Works is the operating centre for the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (WHHR). It was, as the name suggests, a working farm. After the WHR Ltd purchased Beddgelert Siding in 1975 from British Rail the ramshackle collection of farm buildings known as Gelert's Farm came up for sale. The farm which is situated between Beddgelert Siding and the Cambrian line and was purchased to become the operating centre for the rebuilt WHR Ltd. After possession of the land was obtained in late 1975 track was laid into the site. Over the next couple of years five sidings were laid into the yard and another back towards Pen-y-mount. The old hay barn was converted into a Loco shed and a large pole barn became the Carriage Shed. The stone buildings were converted to workshops and a machine shop.
A third plot of land was purchased in the 1980's and this consisted of the area where the old crossing Box, and the attendant keepers cottage were located. Apparently this also included a short length of track of the Festiniog Railway link line. How this came to pass is mixed in with the histories of the Gorseddau, Cambrian, WHR, FR, British Rail, and Network Rail. From Boyd it would appear as land given to the Cambrian by the Gorseddau to enable a continuation of crossing rights where the stile is at Tremadog Road station.
In 1990 a strip of land south of the Cambrian Main Line known as Cae Hir was purchased.
In 1985 the area between the Carriage Shed and the WHR(P) main line was cleared and the Big Shed (100ft by 40ft) was constructed. The now vacant Carriage Shed was taken over by the Civil Engineer's Dept and renamed the Civvies Shed. The yard was remodelled giving four roads (No's 1-4) in the Big Shed, two roads into the Civvies Shed (No's 5&6), one road into the Loco Shed (No 7) and a siding (No 8) alongside the Loco Shed.
During the 1986/1987 season, a temporary platform was constructed adjacent to the Big Shed for special events. In 1988 a permanent platform was constructed known as Gelert's Farm Halt. This has been majorly improved recently (2008-9) in preparation of the Museum opening.
The next major development was the construction of the RED Shed north of the main yard alongside Farm Junction. This was in an area of the site known as the Old Man's Area. Between 1990 and 1993 a new shed (60ft by 30ft) was constructed and fitted out by the Railway Extension Department. Three Sidings (No's A-C) were laid into the new RED Shed (painted grey) and another siding (No D) was laid alongside the RED Shed. Access was gained from a half lead on No 8 road alongside the Loco Shed. During this period the shunting neck parallel to the main line was extended to the site of the old trans shipment Wharf where two sidings were laid.
By 2003 the WHR(P) had decided that its future lay in becoming the heritage centre for the entire WHR. It was realised that more covered accommodation, workshop space and sidings would be needed over the next ten years. The Civvies Shed had ceased to be used as a workshop, had become a depository for junk and was in imminent danger of collapse. In August 2003 a new siding (No 9)was laid into the cleared eastern bay of the shed for use as a Wagon repair shop. Over the next six months the roof was repaired and most of the floor concreted. The renamed Carriage & Wagon Workshop (C&W Shop) is now back in use, building and repairing both carriages and wagons.
During June 2005 the north west corner of the C&W Shop was dismantled. One month later during the WHR(P)'s annual Civil's Week the trackwork in front of the Shed was rearanged with two half leads, this resulting in a new siding between the Big Shed and the C&W Shop. The new siding was numbered No 5. The two sidings into the C&W Shop were renumbered No's 6&7. The Loco Shed road was renumbered No 8 and the old No 8 became No 10. Over the Christmas holiday No 5 road was extended between the two sheds and alongside the exhibition area. Eventually a new shed (3.4.5 Shed) will cover the exhibition area with No's 3&4 roads extended through the back of the Big Shed alongside No 5 road. No 6 road was severed alongside the Loco Stores and then slewed 8ft towards the Joiners Shop and extended 80ft towards the Cambrian Line. A concrete pad 45ft by 10ft was laid at the end of the siding for the new Diesel Shed. Work also started on clearing Cae Hir.
Further work took place in 2007 clearing the Display Area in preparation for the new museum building. In September 2008 the steel frame for the new Museum was erected. It consisted of two parts. The main exibition hall 90ft by 36ft and the annexe which will contain the entrance lobby, lavatories and a display room. The annexe is 45ft by 18ft. The cladding was attached to the building in early October and track laying took place during the Autumn Bash work party. Over the winter period the entire floor was concreted, walls erected and the building fitted out to a very high standard. A paved ramp was built between Gelert's Farm Halt platform and the entrance lobby. The new Museum building was opened during the Easter holiday.
After the opening of the museum attention switched to completeing the outside display area and the Diesel Shed. During the Easter period a new siding was laid alongside the Museum building connecting to No5 road via a wagon Turntable. A second track was installed beside the concrete base for the Diesel Shed and the pad widened by 11ft to double the Diesel Shed size. The frame is due to be erected during the Civil's Week work party.
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