Home News Diary Dates & Events History Location Membership
Home News Diary Dates & Events History Location Membership

I thought it was now very much time to put an update on the website as we do not stay still for very long.

Firstly, if you follow the group on social network sites, you will be aware that we had a working day on Saturday 18th June. The result was disappointing as no-one new turned up to help. However, it was by no means unsuccessful as Simon, Riv and Mal worked like Trojans and we were able to cross several jobs off the list. Contrary to what people who know me think, I am just occasionally organised and at present, of the 34 jobs to do, we have completed 17; however, lists have a strange life of their own and tend to grow longer over time. So; I will tell you what we have done.

Prior to the working day, one of our local members had treated the base of the building and pathways with weed killer. This is now starting to work, however, the flat area and slopes have not been treated as the grass and wild flowers, sown by Eunice and Keith, are now starting to get going. To continue on a horticultural theme, we needed to get the hedges trimmed. Initially, we were going to pay for a contractor, but as money is needed for other things and Simon had his petrol hedge cutter with him, we thought we would do it ourselves.

The result looked much better, with approval given by the local bird population as we uncovered a load of snails. This left the problem of cleaning up. Riv and I were brushing up when a horse box pulled up and out jumped Trevor Bates, the local Master Saddler, wielding a petrol blower. Having cleared the debris, he explained that he was passing earlier, so picked up his machine from home; a big Thankyou to him. Incidentally, the obituary for his late mother, Rhona, is on this site.

Whilst we were tackling the hedge, Mal was working on the windows. He has now installed new opaque glass in the toilet window and removed the polycarbonate sheets from the others, allowing David and his friend to clean them. Prior to this, Mal had tidied away the power cables on the platform ready for installing the lamp and external power supply. They presented a trip hazard and would have compromised our Health and Safety inspection.

Whilst this was going on, Riv completed glossing the platform fence which now looks great.

Prior to the planned working day, I decided to put the platform surface back to its original condition covered in stone grit. So, with much help from Riv and Simon, three tons of grit were spread and raked level. We know this was the right material as we found the original during platform construction.

Now, the thing about grit is that you have to roll it in. There is a picture with a hand roller visible, taken in the early years of steam traction. Luckily, Simon inherited a Victorian roller when he moved into his present home. So, as I needed little encouragement to pop over to Corwen with him officially to get the roller in the truck, but really to look at his 7 1/4 “ gauge railway that also came with the house! It turned out to be most impressive with three bridges and a tunnel. Anyhow, back to the roller which, by virtue of its function, has to be heavy. So how do we get it in the back of a truck? The normal method is some stout timbers and a rope. Result – said roller developed a mind of its own and was off in the opposite direction narrowly avoiding a swathe of destruction to the 7 ¼ inch track!

On to Plan B, which involved two girders and a repositioned truck to reduce the slope angle. This met with success so, with the roller securely anchored we headed back over the mountain to Glyn Ceiriog. (Good job it was securely anchored going over that hill! – JR)

You may have wondered why they have ramps at platform ends. The answer is to unload heavy garden rollers! Simon was, by now, very enthusiastic and insisted on rolling the entire platform, watched by a somewhat disappointed shed cat who seemed to be under the impression that we were constructing a giant grit-filled tray for much more mundane purposes!

On the Wednesday following, I met my good friend Billy and his brother in law, Andrew, who just happens to have a large covered trailer and a tow car. Having introduced Riv in the shed yard, we trundled over to the Coal Wharf where the slate wagon had been hibernating for 18 months. With much careful positioning, we were able to get very close to the shed. Using steel bars, we are able to form a bridge right into the trailer. After a bit of oil on the bearings, it rolled in and was anchored in place. The load then moved at the regulatory GVT eight miles per hour to the loco shed. A couple of pieces of horse-tram rail were used to build a ramp so it just rolled out on to the shed track. We then took out the timber inserts and pushed it into the shed. My thanks to Andrew and Billy for their help and interest.

On Friday 1st July, we had the monthly meeting and were joined by Karen Murdoch, who is Collections Manager at Wrexham Museum. She has very kindly agreed to help with conservation advice for our artefacts and the registration process for the museum which is vital in order to have the loan of artefacts held in other museums. Wrexham Museum have already been most helpful with loaning the display cases which can be seen in the pictures.

The first weekend in July also saw Riv starting on moving two tons of soil into place. Initially, Simon, Noel and I got some concreting done. Once this was safely floated, we switched to soil moving which then carried on through Saturday. Whilst this was happening in the yard, over at the Village Centre, Eunice, Pauline and her sister were running the GVT stall at the Summer Fair to raise some badly needed cash selling anything from curtains to GVT caps to Pauline’s coat (well, almost. It was nearly sold by Eunice who, given the opportunity, would sell hiking boots to angels – and sign them up as members as well!)

So, now we come to Sunday. As you can see from the pictures, we met a very well known person in the form of Terry Waite. Terry has very kindly agreed to become our President. I think we are very lucky because he is one of the most genuine and sincere people I have ever met. With his vast experience of International Diplomacy and reconciliation he will be a real help to the tramway.

We met at the Christian Centre, who laid on a wonderful spread for our guest. Following this, Terry was presented with a special two volume signed copy of John Milner and Beryl Williams’ definitive history of the tramway. Sadly neither John or Beryl were well enough to be there however, to give some idea of the level of detailing the books, John started researching the GVT in 1952 and informed me that he is still finding new bits of information. He was also responsible for saving the two GVT coaches located at the Tal-y-llyn Railway, plus many other precious artefacts and documents. Because he started his project so long ago, he was able to talk to many of the staff of the GVT.

To finish this update, I would like to thank all the people who have helped us in any way, shape or form to keep the project running.

Best wishes until my next set of selected ramblings

Chris Pendlebury – Publicity Officer – NGVT&IHT

News Update 12th July 2016 - Chris Pendlebury

Website Update 14th April 2016

I was reminded by our Webmaster, John Rutter, that it was time for another update to the site. I will be honest and say that I had not noticed that nearly 6 weeks has gone past, so here goes.

Since the last report I can say that we are rapidly nearing completion of the site work. The track is now laid on both the platform and loop, and looks as though it has always been there. Once again, we found the original sleeper indentations on the loop line as with the platform line, so we know they are in the right place. We have now run out of sleepers although we still have some rail left. However to put more track down we need three sets of 50lb/yd points. They do not need to be in good condition; scrap ones would be fine!

So, after completing the tracks we moved on to the wall parallel to them. After removing three courses of concrete kerbing blocks we then had to provide suitable shuttering to form a tapered concrete cap. Two tons of sand, ten bags of cement and a lot of hard work later we had this completed. Of course, someone has to come and say why did you not use ready-mix? The answer is cost. We need our limited funds to pay for essential things like fire equipment and insurance for the site. So Peter, Simon, Mal and I had a couple of weeks exercise.  Malcolm now has a new nickname as he had to put the stone grit on the wet concrete. He is now known as “Mr Sprinkle.” Once the shuttering came off the result looked great.

Whilst this work was going on, I had a new patio built in order to retain domestic harmony! As a result of this, an eight cubic yard skip was in my drive for a week, so, not wanting to waste an opportunity, a ton bag of rubbish was cleared from site and went into this skip.

We had a visit arranged for 16 retired railway personnel and their families to look around the site. Mike, their group organiser, had been to see us last year. I did warn them that we were not open officially and did not have much in the way of exhibits for them to see, however with help from Simon, Linda and Riv, we put something together for them. Also Linda opened the Institute. They arrived on the regular bus service with GHA specially providing a bigger bus. Having seen the site and shed and been shown round by myself and Linda, they visited the Institute and rounded off their visit with tea, coffee and cakes in Christian Centre with some having the excellent breakfast cooked by the Spar. They seemed to enjoy the visit, made a generous donation and took quite a lot of membership forms with them. Thus we have involved three other village groups in the visit and helped to sustain the local bus service.

So, when we are open, this would seem to be the way forward.

Chris Pendlebury 14th April 2016

Obituary for Mrs Rhona Bates

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Rhona Bates, who passed away peacefully at her home in the village of Glyn Ceiriog following a period of illness.

Rhona was born and spent her whole life in the Glyn Ceiriog district. She grew up and spent most of her life on Plas Lleucu and Chwarel Farms, both of which bordered on the Cambrian Slate Quarries. I remember her describing to me in great detail, the noise of blasting and the cloud of slate dust which hung over the village afterwards.

She was a hard-working member of the Village Community for many years, holding the post of Clerk of the Parish Council as well as being a committee member and subsequently chairman of the Ceiriog Memorial Institute. She was a contributor to, and a distributor of the ‘Glyn News’ as well as being the local news contributor to the ‘Oswestry Advertiser’ newspaper. In addition to this she was a member of the Friends of Chirk Hospital and a very active member of Saron Baptist Chapel in Nantyr.

With so much involvement and dedication to local activities, it is no surprise that she found out about the GVT Group and became involved sometime around 1980. Subsequently she became a much-valued member of the committee with local knowledge that can only be described as phenomenal. Combined with this was a very accurate memory for detail. She loved to know what happened in GVT meetings right up to the end of her life.

With Rhona’s passing, the village has lost a true pillar of the community whose like we are not likely to see again and the GVT one of its most dedicated and loyal supporters.

I am sure that people reading this will join us in expressing their deepest sympathies to her three sons and their families in the valley who continue to work the two farms.

Chris Pendlebury 1st May 2016

Terry Waite has most generously agreed to become the President of the NGVT&IHT and we were delighted to welcome him to the valley on 3rd July 2016. Terry really enjoyed his visit, particularly the afternoon tea provided for all those attending by the Christian Centre a few yards up the road from the Engine Shed.

The special presentation copy of the two volume definitive history of the GVT was generously donated by it’s authors, John Milner and Beryl Williams. These were presented to Terry by Gwilym Hughes, Vice President of the NGVT&IHT

Sadly, John Milner and Beryl Williams were unable to attend the presentation due to illness.

Terry Waite Visits the NGVT&IHT

Gwilym Hughes about to present the two volumes of the definitive history of the GVT to Terry Waite.

Terry Waite accepting the gift

Photos - John & Deb Rutter

All the attendees, including the wonderful ladies of the Christian Centre who provided the afternoon tea, pose for a group photo with Terry Waite

Big improvements to the appearance of the back of the shed this spring. What a difference that splash of yellow makes!

Pictures Eunice Roberts