Harbour Station remodelling and resignalling (2007-2014)

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The new Trident Signal on the Cob is the centrepiece of the new signalling at Harbour Station.

Harbour Station, Porthmadog, required major works as part of the arrival of the Welsh Highland Railway into the town. Initially, this was a temporary connection of the WHR to the FR, installed in 2008 and commissioned in 2011. However, this layout was problematic to operate and a more permanent solution was needed. This lead to the wholescale remodelling and resignalling of the station: this included the construction of a second platform and associated run-around loop along the Cob, and a signal box controlling a mixture of semaphore signals and colour light shunt signals.

Early plans for remodelling (2007)[edit]

This is the construction plan, as of 15 October 2007, shortly before work was due to start. This is identical to the version that appeared in FRM-195. Many subsequent changes have been made.

The original plans for the remodelled Harbour Station. Supplied by David High © 2007 WHRCL

The WHR line comes in at the top left of the picture and runs at a 45-degree slope to join the FR line at the bottom right. The platform is the shaded area, now covering what was 1 road (the full black line in the shaded area). The Cob Record store is the rectangular building at the top. The trackwork at the water tower end of all the Harbour roads is subject to change for operational requirements.

There are also some documents, copyright © WHRCL, which are available to view. It should be noted that these were the planned arrangements as of the date that appears on them.

Harbour Station Section

Temporary WHR connection (2008)[edit]

With the WHR fast approaching Porthmadog, changes had to made to the layout of the station.

The 'temporary' connection made in 2008 was used for a limited number of trains each day during the 2011 season. The popularity of these trains, together with the opening of the Porthmadog bypass in October 2011 meant that the 2012 season saw all WHR trains terminating at Harbour Station, even though this required a pilot loco to haul trains on and off the cob from the one platform. With only one platform, no FR movements could take place whilst the platform was occupied by a WHR train. This operation was complicated and time-consuming.

This, in turn, led to pressure to complete the changes proposed for the WHR's arrival.

Remodelling (2014)[edit]

Initial work begins[edit]

In late 2011 the initial works were carried out to start the ‘Cob widening project’ to makeup new land to build a second platform for Harbour Station. This involves removing the built-up sea wall, pole carrying lights and a webcam, and building the haul road access.

Work starts in earnest[edit]

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The station is completed[edit]

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Resignalling (2014)[edit]

List of signals[edit]

All signals are operated by the signal box unless otherwise stated.

Signal number Purpose Photo Notes
1 Platform 1 inner up starter Mounted on same post as 2A
1BR Banner repeater of signal 1's aspect
2A Shunt from Platform 1 Mounted on same post as 1
2B Shunt from Yard


Shunt to Yard

Shunt to Platform 1

Theatre indicator:

FR Platform 1


The theatre indicator used was originally from the ill-fated signalling system at Blaenau Ffestiniog

6 Shunt from Platform 2
7A Platform 2 up starter
7B Platform 1 outer up starter
10 Shunt north-westwards from the Cob Theatre indicator:

FR Platform 1

WHR Platform 2


WHR Loop

11 Down Home for entry into the WHR loop, or entry with caution into a platform already occupied by a train. Mounted on the Trident signal
12A Down Home for entry into the Yard Mounted on the Trident signal
12B Down Home for entry into Platform 1 Mounted on the Trident signal
12C Down Home for entry into Platform 2 Mounted on the Trident signal
AS Advance Up Starter controlling entry into the Porthmadog-Minffordd section Cleared by placing token for Porthmadog-Minffordd section through the drawer-lock found in the signal box.
51 Shunt signal controlling entry from Britannia Bridge into Platform 2 or the WHR loop Operated by the Spooners Ground Frame

Theatre indicator:

Platform 2

WHR Loop

52 Shunt signal controlling entry onto Britannia Bridge from Platform 2 Operated by the Spooners Ground Frame
53 Shunt signal controlling entry onto Britannia Bridge from the WHR loop Operated by the Spooners Ground Frame
Headshunt indicator Indicates permission to proceed from headshunt via either 2-road or 3-road. Theatre indicator:



Further reading[edit]

The current most comprehensive text on the design, implementation and operation of the new Harbour Station signalling is:

  • Harbour Station, Porthmadog: Building a new signalling scheme by Bob Bloodworth (2019)

Bob Bloodworth was a late volunteer who was very significant in the installation of the new signalling. It can be purchased from F&WHR shops, and from the Festrail online shop here.

See also[edit]