Many years ago, when I was very small, my Uncle was a doctor in St Asaph. We used to visit and use his house as a base for holidays which invariably led to visits to railways, the Ffestiniog being my favourite. Whether it was my favourite because of Merddin Emrys, whose Gomm badge I had, or whether it was because my Uncle was working on the Tanygrisiau to Blaenau Ffestiniog section, which was yet to open, I don’t know. (My sister had the Earl of Merioneth Gomm badge which she gave to me once she was old enough to understand she had a choice whether she liked railways or not..!)
Despite being a very young age I do remember the spiral at Dduallt and trains crossing there.
When I started my own volunteering I was somewhat disappointed to discover the loop had been removed. It’s such a shame. Dduallt is such a lovely place to go to, to sit and watch the trains go by, to watch Rhoslyn Cottage sink slowly into the lake…! Its reopening was also exactly 10 years before I was born so you can work out my age from that if you can be bothered.
(I feel now should be the time a business plan is put forward to reopen it. It was removed because the top end points which are on a curve got a hammering, particularly to the switch rail, from down trains entering the loop. However, given the FR now has sufficient funds to build unnecessary locos (however fun and enjoyed they may be), I can’t help feeling they should have the funds to reinstate the loop as a lock out one a la Rhiw Goch. But I digress…)
Volunteering on the Ffestiniog got my existing railway modelling interest to move into 009. As a 009 modeller, Ffestiniog man, and lover of that spiral, the holy grail to look up to was, and is, Dduallt, built by David and Rob Waller. One day, I thought, may be I could build something like that.
I’ve always enjoyed seeing it at shows and over time I have got to know Rob through him building me my tamper (and many years ago I asked him for advice on modifying my Mountaineer kit to have the Fairlie cab, but I doubt he remembers – see here for the result.)
(C) Rob Waller
Anyway, to get to the end of this script, this weekend is the Great and Small event at the Welsh Highland Railway at which will be Dduallt and the Wallers latest creation, Bron Hebog.
Not having enough people to operate both railways, they have cast the net wide for assistance and the net has caught me up. So this weekend I am getting to play with Dduallt, the layout I’ve been in awe of for far too many years.
If you are around do come and say hello. You’ll be able to tell it’s me. I’ll be the one jumping around like a little kid in a sweet shop. Yes, I’m excited.