Posts Tagged ‘Ffestiniog’


  • SIZE 23 x 18 Cms 9×7 INCH (including 2.5 cm border for mounting and framing)

Product Description
This is a new, high quality, individually printed, reproduction fine art print. We use superior grade materials and the latest printing technology to create stunning products. We extremely confident that you will be pleased by all aspects of the product and service you will receive.The size of print is 9 x 7 inch (23 x 18 cms) – these are printed onto extremely high quality luxurious, heavyweight, textured fine art paper/card 250gsm Our contemporary, stylish, wooden… More >>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - May 4, 2017 at 10:30 pm

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  • SIZE 30.4 x 40.6 Cms 12×16 INCH

Product Description
You have two choices:- you can purchase your desired coloured frame (PRINT + FRAME + MOUNT) which is ready to hang or you can purchase the PRINT ONLY. Please choose from the options above. This is a new, high quality, individually printed, reproduction fine art print. We use superior grade materials and the latest printing technology to create stunning products. We extremely confident that you will be pleased by all aspects of the product and service you will receiv… More >>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - April 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm

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2010 Ffestiniog Railway Vintage Weekend Highlights on Friday 8th Oct.

The Ffestiniog railway ran its annual vintage weekend. Here is my footage of the first day, Friday the 8th of October. Shot 1 Lyd climbing the Dduallt spiral enroute to Blaenau Ffestiniog with its first passenger working. Shot 2 Double Fairlie’s Patent Merddin Emrys emerging from Moelwyn Tunnel’s North porthole. Shot 3 Lyd heading South past Tanygrisiau reservoir. Shot 4 Merddin Emrys Southbound passing Tanygrisiau Hydro Power Station. Shot 5 Palmerston heading into Tany-y-Bwlch station with the gravity train. Shot 6 Lyd and Blanche heading North towards Tan-y-Bwlch station. Shot 7 The Gravity train heading South past the woods at Llyn Mair. Shot 8 Spooners bizarre boat train heading over the Cob to Porthmadog. Hope you enjoy watching the highlights on a very windy day. Don’t forget to watch Saturday’s highlights.

20 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - July 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

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A day in the cab with Blanche on the Ffestiniog Railway

Probably the most exhilarating cab ride I have ever had – high running speeds, tight schedule, all on 2 foot gauge! Later on past Minnford they really get going, lots of wheel slip action with a very heavy load, and almost running out of water due to the extra coaches added on a busy holiday in June. this is older video shot SD in MiniDV with a handheld camcorder. Was just learning about steam at the time so you’ll hear some novice questions from me.

16 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - July 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

Categories: Vintage Steam Locomotives   Tags: , ,

Ffestiniog & WHR “The Spring Thing” Steam gala 2011 part 1

With Welsh Highlands final connection to Porthmadog now fully operational the Ffestiniog and WHR railways put gala over both railways

17 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - March 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm

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Through Snowdonia National Park in Wales with the Blaenau Ffestiniog Railroad

Narrow, rusted rails curved from the dark, slate-gray and velvet-green Snowdonia Mountains into Wales’ Blaenau Ffestiniog Station, at the threshold to the single-street, stone architecture Welsh town.  Misty clouds, like transparent sheaths, draped themselves over the mountains in the piercing, 50-degree temperatures, while smoke from the town’s collective chimneys filled the air with its almost-welcome aroma.  Would only its warmth coincide with the smell!  Shattering noon with its whistle and emitting bilious smoke from its stack, the black steam engine emerged from the mountain tunnel after its one-hour, ten-minute ascent from Porthmadog.

                Although the current station had been constructed on the site of the old Ffestiniog/Great Western Railway Station in 1833, the original Ffestiniog line had terminated in Duffws, which had opened for passenger operations in 1866 and had closed in 1930.  The modern-day Blaenau Ffestiniog Station, opened in 1982, was a joint facility with the Network Rail Conway Valley Branch Line.

                A lurch, created by the initial snagging of the car couplings, and a second whistle, preceded the train’s initial movement beyond the platform.  Sandwiched between gray rock walls, built up of seemingly tracing paper thin slate, the relatively minuscule steam engine, pulling its string of narrow passenger car bogies, plunged through a night-transforming tunnel, reemerging abreast of rolling green hills.

                 The Ffestiniog Railroad had its origins in the mining industry.  A significant housing demand, along with the slate to roof them, had been created by the Industrial Revolution, and the mountains of North Wales, rich in such resources, were quickly accessed by a myriad of rail lines which connected the high-elevation mines with the sea-level ports.

                In 1798, W.A. Madocks, acquiring some land parcels, performed a series of reclamation projects, including that of Traeth Mawr shore, which extended inland to Port Aberglaslyn, and that of the Great Embankment, known as the “Cob,” across the estuary.  The Cob itself, diverting the River Glaslyn, created a natural harbor called Port Madoc which later became known as “Porthmadog.”

                Initial slate deposit mining occurred in the mountains near Blaenau Ffestiniog.  The product, transported by pack animal-drawn farm carts over rough road to the River Dwyryd, was then transferred on to shallow-draft river boats and taken downstream for further transfer to large sailing ships.

                The primitive, manual arrangement soon proved incapable of satisfying the demand, and a railway, surveyed by James Spooner, from Worcestershire, was constructed and incorporated as the Festiniog Railway by an Act of Parliament on May 23, 1832.  Although it ran on track, it continued to use non-motorized propulsion, gravity-induced during descent and horse-pulled during return.  At 23.5 inches, the narrow-gauge track corresponded to that of quarry railroads, and proved advantageous during both operational phases: it was wide enough to permit horses to efficiently haul the empty cars up the mountain, yet narrow enough to permit easy negotiation of the multitudinous curves mandated by the mountainous terrain.

                Demand, soon eclipsing the horse-chain-gravity system, pointed to the need for steam engine power, but this proved unfeasible because of two initially-insurmountable restrictions:

Operation of a steam engine on such a narrow gauge had been envisioned as impractical. Passengers could only be legally carried over British standard gauge track, of 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

Commencing its descent from 710 feet to sea level, the narrow-gauge chain made the steep, one-mile sprint from Summit Cutting to Tanygrisiau, where it joined a Blaenau Ffestiniog-bound train, already stopped on the other track.  Originally opened in 1866, it had featured a continuous gradient to Boston Lodge in order to permit gravity to pull its heavy, slate-filled cars toward the coast.  The station itself had not reopened as part of the later tourist railroad until 1978.  After a brief pause, the train once again regained momentum.

The restrictions, impeding steam technology implementation on the route, were not overcome until Charles Easton Spooner, James Spooner’s son, took over the railroad in 1856 and thence invited tenders to design and build such a locomotive, not awarding a contract until seven years later, in 1863, to George England and Company for four small locomotives.  The first of these, the Princess, in a 0-4-0 side configuration with tenders for coal, became the world’s first narrow-gauge passenger car-propelling steam engine when it had entered service with the Ffestiniog Railroad in October of that year.  The Mountaineer, entering service concurrently, had been followed by the Prince and the Palmerston in 1864.  The Prince had earned several titles, including that of oldest working engine on the Ffestiniog Railroad, that of the oldest working engine anywhere in the world, and that of the oldest engine still in steam configuration on its original line, although its tender had been converted to carry oil as opposed to its original coal in order to reduce the risk of line side fires.

The Board of trustees ultimately granted the railroad permission to transport passengers, making it Britain’s first narrow-gauge, passenger-carrying rail line, although it initially only carried quarrymen.  Increasing demand was satisfied with the introduction of two more locomotives, the Welsh Pony and the Little Giant, in 1867.  The former, built by George England as a larger, more capable successor to its original four engines, had featured saddle tanks from inception, while its earlier derivatives had been reconfigured to this standard.

Skirting round the left side of the silver-surface appearing lake, the Ffestiniog Railroad traveled past grazing white sheep, which almost appeared as topographical extensions of the rolling, velvet green hills.  Plunging into a mountain-bored tunnel, it was once again engulfed by darkness, its internal lights temporarily providing the only illumination.

Two miles before reaching Dduallt, the train followed a 35-foot-high deviation spiral, which had been rebuilt in 1965 so that the Ffestiniog Power Station could be installed.  The station itself, opened in 1865 and operating with its own Station Master before World War II, passed without cessation.

Campbell’s Platform, following in quick succession, had been a private station which had served Dduallt Manor, a small manor house partly dating to the 15th century.  Colonel Andrew Campbell, who had been a licensed explosive handler and had helped construct the Dduallt Spiral, had purchased the house in 1962 and had stored his own diesel locomotive in its shed, using it to travel as far as Tan y Bwlch.

Emerging from the Garnedd Tunnel and maintaining a high-shrill screech as the spark-igniting wheels of its passenger carriages rounded the turns, the train passed through tall, needle-thin pine and Llyn Mair (Lake Mair) became visible through the left windows.  Briefing stopping at Tan y Bwlch, it accepted two passengers.  Opened in 1873, Tan y Bwlch had reclosed 66 years later in 1939, and was reactivated with the restoration in 1958.

The Ffestiniog Railroad’s later engines, although more powerful, had only proved a temporary remedy, as escalating demand indicated the need for additional track and an Act so authorizing it was passed in 1869.  However, the cost and engineering obstacles of doubling the existing line proved prohibitive and the solution again lay in the design of a still more powerful locomotive which could pull longer, higher-capacity trains.  Such a design, however, incorporating the optimum combination of features, seemed an inherent contradiction, for, while a larger, more powerful locomotive would be able to haul longer, heavier trains, it would be equally unable to round the sharp curves and climb the steep gradients characteristic of narrow-gauge, mountain topographical mining railroads.

The solution emanated from Robert Fairlie, a railway engineer, who designed a double-bogie engine, the Little Wonder, in a 0-4-4-0T configuration, comprised of a single longer, rigid boiler, but erroneously appearing like two smaller locomotives attached together like bookends.  Built by the Fairlie Engine and Steam Carriage Company, it produced more than double the power of the smaller single engines, yet could easily negotiate the track’s tight curves and steep inclines.

In 1872, the Ffestiniog Railroad also became the first user of passenger bogie coaches in Great Britain.

Although the line prospered for some 83 years, less expensive tiles eventually replaced slate as roofing material and its purpose gradually diminished until, in 1946, it had been forced to cease operations.  The original Princess locomotive had been the last to run.  The Welsh Pony had undergone major overhauls in 1891 and 1915, but its boiler had been condemned in 1938.

A Preservation Society, founded to restore and reopen the line, rebuilt a 2.5-mile track section which had been flooded in order to make way for a hydroelectric station, and today the railroad enjoys a resurgence as a steam engine-powered, narrow-gauge tourist train which travels the 13 miles between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog several times per day.

Belching billowing white smoke, the steam engine passed Plas Halt, a station opened in 1963 to serve the Plas Tan y Bwlch, a house from the 1600s and the seat of the Oakley family, a quarry owner from the late 18th century to 1961.  In 1975 the house had become a Snowdonia National Park residential study center.  Now at a 375-foot-elevation and halfway through its 13-mile journey, the carriages rocked laterally as their wheels clanked over the narrow rails.  A snaking river seemed to descend below the train as the valley receded below.          

The Ffestiniog Railroad operated a variety of restored, narrow-gauge passenger bogie carriages, typical of which had been the Number 11.  Originally built in 1880 by the Gloster Wagon Company of Gloster, it had served as the railroad’s Number 4 car, but had been reconstructed during the 1928-1929 period as a passenger/brake carriage.  Reentering service in 1956 with the new, post-mining tourist railroad, it subsequently appeared with an observation saloon and end windows after a second refit the following year, and was mounted on a steel underframe in 1967.

                The current Number 12, also having been built by the Gloster Wagon Company and having served as the Number 5 car, had seen service as a passenger/brake carriage after its 1929-1930 reconstruction.  One of the first two cars to be restored by the Preservation Society, it reentered service in 1955, and two years later had been fitted with a buffet counter and a side corridor, and had been coupled to Carriage Number 11.  Having been lengthened and also mounted on a steel underframe, it operated for some 20 years until a 1982 renovation saw the removal of the buffet counter and the installation of a new seating arrangement.

                My carriage had been configured with dual, facing seats on the left and single, facing seats on the right, which were upholstered in red material and separated by wood-grained tables.  The first class compartment, located mid-way in the carriage, had been accessed by hinged doors opening into either outer coach section, which was adorned with blue-upholstered seat pairs on either side and the wood-grained separating tables.  The carriage’s ceiling was arched and wood paneling covered its side walls.  Train attendants took orders for hot drinks, crisps and chocolates, cakes and biscuits, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages.

                Rhiw Goch, a crucial point on the original Ffestiniog Railroad, had been the station where the loaded, descending trains met the empty, ascending ones.  A horse stage station between 1836 and 1863, it had been the location of contractor-provided horses, which hauled the empty slate wagons over each stage.  The horses themselves were transported to the lower stage station in dandy wagons.

                Stopping at Penrhyn at 1305, the train was now ten miles from Blaunau Ffestiniog and at a 160-foot elevation.  The station, opened in 1865, had been reconstructed with material from the old Porthmadog Station in 1879.  The stop itself had reopened with the new Ffestiniog Railroad in 1956.

                Emitting a heavy trail of billowing steam, the engine led its snaking chain of carriages through low, dense green vegetation, having left the high-elevation of the mountains behind it.

                Minffordd, opened in 1872, had been the rail interchange with the Cambrian Coast Line and the site of the Outdoor Engineering Depot in the former Slate Trans-Shipment Yard.

                The silver-gray surface of the harbor, visible ahead and to the left, was now separated by flat marsh which extended from the tracks to the shore.

                Boston Lodge, which had originally opened in 1928, had been the location of the Boston Lodge Works, the quarry site for the stone used in building the Cob between 1808 and 1811, while the Boston Lodge itself had served as the office and stables during its construction.  The 1856 Weigh House, perched on its top end, had been used to weigh the loaded, descending slate trains, but was later superseded by Minffordd in 1872.

                Following the coast, the train turned to the left where the tracks blossomed into six and pulled into the Porthmadog Station, which had originally opened in 1865 and was now alive with crowds awaiting the return ascent to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

                The line, whether hauling slate for mining, transporting passengers for profit, or carrying tourists for pleasure had succeeded in maintaining its usefulness for some 150 years.    


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - June 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm

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