28 February 2009
The "Golden Bolts" Ceremony
Two golden bolts, one for each track gang who constructed the Welsh Highland Railway.
Porthmadog Wales UK - The tracks of the Ffestiniog (FR) and Welsh Highland Railways (WHR) were physically joined at Porthmadog Harbour Station on the evening of Friday, 27 Feb 2009.
The event was marked by a ceremony the following day.
Two "Golden Bolts", each inscribed for one volunteer track gang, BHG for the North Wales Black Hand Gang and ROTW for the Rest of the World Gang, were installed. The bolts, made from aluminium bronze, were manufactured by Beaumaris Instrument Company (BICO). Following the ceremony they were due to become part of a display with a group photograph in Spooner's bar.
The day of the ceremony was dry but overcast, with steam from the locos in attendance tending to linger. Newly restored WHR NGG16 number 87 shared the honours with FR's Palmerston and Merddin Emrys, both of which ran on the old WHR. Indeed Palmerston had worked on building the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway (NWNGR) in the 1870s, and the WHR in 1922-3.
The event attracted a large crowd of volunteers and supporters (past and present). It almost had the feel of a gala event, even though no passenger trains were running.
After BHG and ROTWG organizers Dafydd Thomas and Paul Bradshaw fitted the bolts, number 87 ran from the FR to the WHR line, followed by Merddin Emrys (and later, Palmerston).
Master of ceremonies Richard Buxton introduced speeches by Dr. John Prideaux - Chairman, Ffestiniog Railway Company, Dafydd Thomas - on behalf of Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri, and Hywel Williams - MP for Caernarfon. The event was then marked with group photographs of the volunteers and staff who had brought the project to fruition.
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