When will WHR trains run to Portmadoc?

Friday, August 21 2009

NG-G16 no87 Rhyd-Ddu

Welsh Highland Railway NG-G16 No.87 Beyer Garrat  pulls away from Rhyd Ddu with the evening train to Caernarfon. Photo marchiectid. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

(The WHR scenery is too magnificent to appreciate by looking at a small thumbnail! Click on the photo, and then on the magnifying glass icon, to view a larger version.)

The planned reopening of the WHR from Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadoc has been postponed for the second time in succession. A Ffestiniog Railway Company press release issued 18 August states.

… we are planning for services in 2010 to follow the pattern very successfully operated in 2009, between Caernarfon and Hafod y Llyn.

Some services will be extended over a further section of new railway to the bridge at Pont Croesor, giving magnificent and extensive views of the Snowdon range and of the Osprey nest site.

If the dispute is settled early enough, then it may be possible to run some trains through to Porthmadog at the end of 2010, but a full summer timetable will not now be feasible before 2011.

The dispute mentioned in the press release is between the FRCo and the Welsh Assembly Government and concerns repairs carried out by a FRCo contractor to a retaining wall to the River Glaslyn near Britannia Bridge at Porthmadog. WHR are claiming £335,429.74. WAG have paid £73,779.38 to date, and WHR are demanding payment of the balance of £261,650.36.

The WAG position is given in the statement below.

The Welsh Highland Railway is currently demanding payment in the region of £250,000 towards the cost of works undertaken at Britannia Bridge on behalf of the North Wales Trunk Road Agency. The amount claimed is disputed on the basis that the Agency can only be responsible to make a contribution towards the cost of undertaking a permanent repair to the training wall, which it considers is significantly less than that claimed by Welsh Highland Railway. The amount claimed by Welsh Highland Railway also includes a significant claim from its contractor for loss and expense, for which the Agency is not responsible.

The dispute highlights the problems of running a project with many actors involved and where the mutual financial obligations are not clear. (Look no further than the disputes between TfL and Metronet and Tubelines for further examples.) In such cases the absence of an agreed arbitration process can spell disaster.

Further information:


One comment

  1. Rather a simplistic comment — but it did seem that things were going a bit too well, re the Welsh Highland’s linking up passenger-service-wise with the FR !

    Greatly to be hoped that it will be possible to resolve the financial / legal snarl-up, and that there may indeed come to be “a slice of heaven in twenty-eleven.”

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