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These new coaches have been designed and built in the UK by a partnership between Garmendale Engineering Limited of Ilkeston, Derbyshire and the Hunslet Engine Company, to a performance specification defined and project managed by the Railway.
Not only do the carriages boast higher levels of passenger safety, space and comfort, but the manufacturing process is a world first in the rail industry.
Most railways use simple adhesion of rail wheels on the rails to move a train along a track.
In the case of mountain railways the gradient of the track means that simple adhesion does not work.
Although the material chosen for the carriage body had been used in the production of road freight vehicles in the recent past, it has never been used in the production of rail vehicles.
Combining strength and thermal insulation characteristics with extremely low weight made the choice of this material particularly appropriate for our carriage project.
The rack and pinion system used is that patented by the Swiss engineer Dr Roman Abt.
The railway uses double rack rails, fastened to steel sleepers between the running rails.
In 2012 the first of 4 new carriages was delivered to Snowdon Mountain Railway with the remaining 3 due for delivery early in 2013.
Some of the original carriages have updated with new bodies constructed on them for new Heritage Steam Experience.
A Traffic Controller at Llanberis, who is responsible for the overall movement of traffic, controls the movement of trains.
The railway, laid to a gauge of 2ft 7 ½ in (800 mm) which is common to most mountain railways, consists of a single track with 3 passing loops spaced equidistantly between Llanberis and the Summit.
(Hebron at 1069 ft (326 m), Halfway at 1641 ft (500 m) and Clogwyn at 2556 ft (779 m)). The total length of the railway is 4 miles 1188 yards (7.53 km), with an average gradient of 1 in 7.86. The gradients on the route make it unsuitable for a normal adhesion railway, so a rack and pinion system was installed.
Rather than a revolutionary design, the bogies represent an incremental improvement to an existing design that has been in passenger service since 1986 and latterly improved in 2006 on the old carriage number 10 and the summit project flatbed truck.