This page is an attempt to record the changes of numbers that carriages and waggons have had over the past 150 plus years on both the Festiniog and the Welsh Highland. The FR stock has had several renumberings since reopening, whilst the old WHR, and its precursor NWNGR also had a few attempts of which only partial details survive.
The stock will be considered under three headings.
Source Detail: Boyd for material prior to 1975, though updated and corrected by FRM, Heritage journals, etc. In particular, FRM 50 has a stock list for Aug 1970, FRM 54 has an update to Aug 1971, FRM 93 has a list for 1981 and TGBC has the position at 1992.
1. FR Stock
1.1 Original numbering.
Before the 1946 closure it would appear that the policy of the FR Co was to have different number series for different classes of stock, all in theory starting at 1. No official list was available to Boyd but he gives the following categories (there may have been more) -
- Passenger Brake Vans
- Passenger carriages
- Quarrymen's carriages
- Goods brake vans
- Slate wagons
- Slab wagons
- Stone trucks
- Pig, calf wagons
- Iron bolster wagons (not wooden)
- a general goods series including coal and other open wagons, vans, wooden bolster wagons, etc.
1.2. The New Administration.
After the re-opening from 1954, the surviving passenger brakes (which had by then been rebuilt with passenger accommodation) were renumbered into the carriage series as 10-12, and some wagons were renumbered, probably to eliminate duplications or because they had no visible number. At this stage there were separate passenger and goods lists. The surviving goods brakes were renumbered into the passenger list as 1 and 2, as they were often used on passenger trains at this time. The surviving Quarryman's coach became 8 in the passenger list.
1.3. The 1967 Unified List.
In 1967 it was decided to have a single series of numbers for all passenger and goods rolling stock. The intention was that there should be no duplication of numbers between coaches, vans and wagons. To this end, some wagons were renumbered to avoid confusion with coaches and brake vans.
- Any wagons numbered between 1 and 59 and between 100 and 129 were moved to 130 and above, to leave these ranges for coaching stock.
- The old carriages were not renumbered at this stage. 1-9 were 4 wheeled coaches and vans, and 10-26 were bogie coaches. Tourist open coaches were later to be added, and given numbers 37 - 39 & 42, numbers originally used for toastrack coaches in the 1920s.
- New coaches were to be numbered in the 100 to 129 range. New coach 24 (already built) and 25 & 30 (under construction) became 104, 105 and 110 to fit in with this policy.
- Service stock acquired from elsewhere mostly went into the 60-99 range. Service stock mostly adapted from old FR wagons was put in the 130-199 range. Unmodified 2-ton slate wagons were put in the 2xx range, 3 tonners in the 3xx series and slates converted to flats in the 4xx.
1.4. The Present System.
In 1996 with several replica carriages in construction or planned, re-numbering of brake vans was proposed to release appropriate low numbers for the replicas, and by 2005 all the passenger brakes were in a separate series once again. Since then, when historic wagons have been refurbished they have mostly been restored to their original number (if known), sometimes causing duplication with other vehicles.
Why the PW Dept mess coach is numbered 1111 is a mystery but at least it doesn't clash with anything else.
There are therefore three separate and overlapping number series now -
- Passenger brake vans (1-5) and historic goods brakes (6 & 7). However vans 2, 4 & 5 are currently running as Carriages 10-12 as these numbers match their 1960s period appearance even though they duplicate other carriages.
- Carriages (1-42, 100-124), Service stock and unrestored or modified old wagons with 1967 numbers (51-99, 131-437, 1111), and new or acquired stock for the new WHR (863-5004, carriages being 1001 and 2010-2115). This is the 1967 scheme suitably extended.
- Restored and replica historic wagons with original numbers (some approximate). (1-1057, 284503 with many gaps). Several of these duplicate other wagons.
2. Original NWNGR/WHR stock
The original numbering is not known, but the stock seems to have been renumbered at least twice in NWNGR days but full records have not been found, which has led to much speculation. The surviving carriages were renumbered in 1923 from 23 upwards to follow on from the FR carriages in a combined list. Brake-carriages became 8 and 9 to follow on from the FR passenger brake van series. Such details as are known are here. Surviving NWNG wagons were probably not renumbered.
3. New WHR stock
Following the same principle as in 1923 the newly-acquired stock for the reopened WHR has been given numbers high enough not to overlap with the FR stock.
The ex-SAR wagons have kept their original numbers where known (863 being the lowest) and ex-SAR wagons with unknown original numbers are numbered 2001-5.
The ex-Chattenden mess coach/ brake van is 1001.
The new carriages are numbered in the 2xxx range above 2010.
The ex-SAR brake van is 3172, its original SAR number.
Ballast hoppers have been renumbered 4021 on to avoid confusion with coaches (their SAR numbers had been 2021 on).
Ex-RNAD wagons rebuilt by EAG have been numbered 5001 on.
The WHHR has its own number series for new or acquired coaches and wagons, but original or replica WHR or NWNGR vehicles bear an appropriate WHR or NWNG number for the livery carried.
Some renumberings of coaching stock
This is not a renumbering, as the current holder of this position is the new build Curly Roof Van. However, because of the number of different Number Ones, a potted history is given here.
- 1863 - 1873?= A four-wheel 'sentry-box' type brake van
- 1873 - 1921 = Bogie curly-roof brake van
- 1923 - ???? = believed to be a van converted from a quarryman's carriage for the WHR.
- 1955 - 1963 = A converted quarryman's carriage ( 2 balconies) which before closure was van 6. Became Van 1 in 1955 but deteriorated in service and ended its life as a grounded shelter at the bottom end of Dduallt Station. The remains were removed to Boston Lodge in the 1990s and from the dimensions, a replica van (7) was built.
- 1964 - 1996 = the current Van 51 held the title of Van 1
- 1998 = the current Van 7 was built as a replica of Van 1 (1955) but never ran with this number, entering service as No 7.
- 2004 - now = the new curly Roof Van
Van 2 originally Van 2, then Carriage 10
The old company had it as Van 2, but the new administration, around 1955, decided to renumber it in the carriage series as Carriage 10. In 2005 it reverted to its original number. Meanwhile a converted Quarryman's with one balcony (previously No 8) ran as Van 2 until 1996-9 when it was renumbered 6.
Van 4 originally Van 4, then Carriage 11
The old company had it as Van 4, and again, the new administration in around 1955 decided to renumber it in the carriage series as Carriage 11. In 2005 it reverted to its original number. It currently wears the number 11 as appropriate for its '60s livery.
Van 5 originally Van 5, then Carriage 12
The old company had it as Van 5, and again, the new administration, around 1955, decided to renumber it in the carriage series as Carriage 12. In 2005 it reverted to its original number. It currently wears the number 12 as appropriate for its '60s livery.
Van 7 replica of Van 1 (1955)
Built in 1998 as a replica of a converted quarryman's carriage which, before closure, was van 6. The original Van 6 became Van 1 under the new administration in 1955 but deteriorated in service and ended its life as a shelter at the bottom end of Dduallt Station. The remains were removed to Boston Lodge in the 1990s and from the dimensions, this replica van was built.
Van 51 originally Van 1
Built in 1963 as a replacement for the old No. 1. Van. Renumbered 51 in 1996 to allow for construction of a replica No. 1 Van.
Built in 1894 by Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Co, Manchester for the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways (NWNGR) as a "Summer Coach" and numbered 12. In 1923 it became 24 in the FR/WHR combined series. In 1936 the coach passed into FR Co. ownership. At some point in this era it was renumbered Carriage 23 in the FR series.
Carriage 123 originally 101 The original 101 existed from 1968 until 2009 when it was withdrawn. It then entered the works at Blodge where it was refurbished. It returned to service as 123, a third class top-end observation car with disabled access.
Carriage 104 originally 24
This carriage was the first of the completely new stock and entered service as 24. However, as they were being built in the Centenary period, it was decided, in May 1967, to start a fresh number range denoting modern stock from 100 upwards, and this carriage became 104.
Carriage 105 originally 25
When originally planned Carriage 105 was intended to be number 25. However, as they were being built in the Centenary period, it was decided, in May 1967, to start a fresh number range denoting modern stock and this carriage entered service as 105.
The former 100, now WHR construction Mess Coach 1000 existed as such only from 2006 to February 2010, seeing little use from 2009 onwards. At that stage it was mounted on old South African bogies, making it ride higher and given the poor condition of the bogies, much rougher. In February 2010, a team at Dinas dismantled and scrapped the bodywork. The chassis and frame was returned to Boston Lodge, and parts used in other projects.
A new 100 was constructed in 2005-7 as an all 1st class observation car.