WHR Carriage Formations

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

As the service on the WHR line has grown, the formation of the carriage rakes has been amended. Formations have been supplemented by transfers from the FR as appropriate. Here are details of those amendments, logged as they happen.

Note: the current maximum length of standard WHR rakes is 10 carriages, but this will be increased with the reconstruction of Caernarfon station.


The Welsh Highland Railway timetable requires two trains of corridor carriages. These should each contain a first class (observation) car, a service car, a brake toilet car and an open car. The remainder of the train is made up from standard class saloons. These are distributed between the trains to ensure each has sufficient accessible spaces.

The carriage sets are identified by letter. The two main WHR sets are E-Set and F-Set whilst those on the FR are A-Set, B-Set and C-Set. Other letters may be used for non-standard or vintage sets from the FR. In addition, some winter timetables with shorter journeys use the FR carriage sets.

Current Strategy[edit]

Note: the implementation of this plan was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic problems preventing a return to the previous turn-up-and-go service.

The current carriage strategy was outlined in TSR 97 (Summer 2017). When this is completed each of the two sets will be formed of a core of nine carriages: a Pullman observation car, a Service Car, five third class saloons, a semi-open carriage, a third class/service composite and either of the non-standard carriages 2060 and 122. In the future is it intended that spares sets of three older third class saloons from the FR will be added to busier trains on demand, similar to the concept on the FR. For the present, this function will be fulfilled by adding the heritage lock-ups 23 and 24 which are no longer used by default as they largely run empty, or are used as glorified luggage vans.

Carriage 116 is due to be replaced by a WHR sized saloon around 2020. It will then be transferred back to the FR. If traffic levels rise, meaning that more than nine carriages are routinely required in a set, more WHR carriages will be constructed.


The initial formation when the line opened in 1997 was


On the day of the official Welsh Highland Opening to Waunfawr - Friday 15 September - the service trains were formed:-

11 - 23 - 17 - 37

Over the weekend 16 & 17 September, the formation was:-

11 - 12 - 23 - 17 - 37

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2004 and 2005[edit]

During Summers 2004 and 2005 the WHR(C) currently had 2 main passenger sets, consisting of 5 corridor carriages, NWNG Railway compartment coach and a bike wagon each:

For Superpower Weekend 2005 a third - called the Colonel Stephens set - was formed based on the The 1930's Train:

For this event, Carriage 26 was brought from the FR to substitute for Carriage 23 in F-set.

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Winter 2005/06 Set Formation[edit]

Source - Winter 2005/06 Operating Department Provisional Timetable

Other Winter 2005/06 changes[edit]

11 December 2005 - ( 2090 - 2040 - 2042 - 2041 - 2115 - 113) 2020 substituted for 113 giving longest all enclosed, corridor connected rake to date.

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2006 Set Formation (for WHR Subscribers Specials on 8 April 2006)[edit]

2006 Set Formation (from 9 April 2006)[edit]

The shuttle set for the Welsh Highland Superpower 2006 on 9 & 10 September was:-

1001 - 16 - 39

Carriages 16 and 39 where delivered to Dinas on Friday 8 September, being returned to the FR on 11 September.

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Set Formations for Subscribers Trains - 24 March 2007[edit]

Spring Set Formation (from 25 March 2007)[edit]

Summer Set Formation[edit]

Set formations following the entry into traffic of Carriages 2043, 2044 and 2045.

Carriages 24 and 2022 are spare at Dinas Junction. Carriage 2041 is undergoing a major overhaul at Boston Lodge, the last of the 1997 batch to be so treated.

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Spring Set Formation (from 15 March 2008)[edit]

Carriages 23, 24 and 2021 are available as spares at Dinas.

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Projected 2009 WHR passenger sets[edit]

This leaves 2022, 24 and 23 to be added as demand requires. Bike wagons may also be added to these sets.

It was announced in Mid June 2009 that there would be some shuffle of carriages to accommodate the increase in passengers following the extension of the WHR. The formations for the WHR side is predicted to become the following:

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2011 marked the first year of the complete WHR and as such any (Subject to Rule book restrictions) F&WHR carriage/set could operate on the route during this year. However the railway still has two WHR only sets, E and F sets. These will be formed for 2011 as follows:

Also due to limited overlap between Cae Pawb and Snowdon Street LC set lengths have been reduced with the removal of the bike wagons. These are no-longer required as the service cars (2010 and 2011) have ample room for cycles.


For the 2013 high summer season the sets were formed as follows:

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For the beginning of services in March, the sets were formed as follows (having been reshuffled to confine the carriages still fitted with plain bearings into one set).

24, 122 and 2060 were still undergoing winter maintenance work, with 123 temporarily forming the top end of F-Set.


By Easter the carriages had gained their normal formations as winter maintenance was completed.


The 2015 WHR carriage formations were as follows:

Winter Service[edit]

For the 2015/6 Winter Service of two trains per day between Porthmadog and Rhyd Ddu, F-Set was reformed. In previous years FR stock had been used on this service and on the FR, but with the FR closed for relaying works a WHR set was utilised allowing a full catering service.


The 2016 WHR carriage formations were as follows:

23 and 24 were added, one to each set, as required.


The 2017 WHR carriage formations are as follows:


With 2047 and 2091 not yet completed E set was initially bolstered with two of the Superbarns from A set.

Following the start of the two train service on the FR the Superbarns were required back in A set and 116 was moved to E set so that the two sets ran with one fewer carriages than normal.

23 and 24 were added, one to each set, as required.


The 14th of May saw 2047 and 2091 introduced to service in E set. At the same time 2060 was removed from the other set for some attention in the carriage works and replaced in by 113.

23 and 24 were spare at Porthmadog.


On the 17th of July 2060 returned from the carriage works resulting in the following formations:


The main 2018 WHR carriage formations are as follows:

For a few days in August 100 replaced 2115 in F-Set whilst it the latter was in the carriage works for maintenance.


The core 2019 WHR carriage formations are as follows:

Sundays in August saw the return of the 'Journey into the Past' heritage train hauled by Prince, formed as follows:

The high summer timetable was arranged in such a way that E-set was stabled at Dinas on a Saturday and Sunday night, enabling Carriage 23 to be shunted into and out of the heritage set each week.

Victorian Vintage Weekend[edit]

This weekend saw the introduction of 2152, and the formation of F-Set then became:

After the launch weekend of 2152 the set became:

2115 was held in reserve to provide additional first-class accommodation on services when required.


23 - 24 were allocated to the FR to run as part of the reduced COVID-19 timetable on the FR from July 2020.

Due to COVID-19, the Hafod-y-Llyn services (using FR sets) were cancelled in March 2020. The main season WHR service was suspended and therefore E-set and F-set were out of use. Services were re-started from 18th August, using Garratt 87, and E-set as below. To enable social distancing, alternate seating bays were blocked out of use on each carriage, resulting in 30 seating bays per train.

2021 - 2022 - 117 - 119 were available as spares. Up to two were added to the train depending on demand and weather conditions.


23 - 24 were allocated to the FR for services to Tanybwlch.

Covid-19 meant that train services continued to be run to a modified timetable. The Caernarfon based services were run using E-Set. Unlike the previous year, transparent partitions were added to coaches allowing them to be filled to their normal capacity. Carriage 2100 was turned round so it could be used at the Blaenau end of the set. The Porthmadog based set was formed mainly of FR stock, also fitted with partitions and featuring an observation car turned to face Blaenau.




23 - 24 were allocated to the FR for services to Tanybwlch.

E-set and F-set continued to operate out of Caernarfon and Porthmadog respectively, with the A-set forming the additional summer services from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu.


*150 swapped from F-set to the FR B-set when the Harbourmaster did not run.


*150 swapped from F-set to the FR B-set when the Harbourmaster did not run.


E-Set operated the Snowdonia Star and Gelert Explorer services, F-Set operated the Harbourmaster and the Aberglaslyn services, G-Set operated the Cwellyn


E-Set operated the Snowdonia Star and Gelert Explorer services, F-Set operated the Harbourmaster and the Aberglaslyn services, G-Set operated the Cwellyn

See also[edit]