"Small Birminghams", sometimes called Bug Boxes. Small 4 wheeled carriages built by Brown Marshalls of Birmingham, which are the earliest passenger carrying vehicles on the Festiniog Railway, dating from 1864-7. In old Company times, they were known as "small Birminghams" to distinguish them from the bogie carriages built by the same company. The term "bug box" is thought to have been given to them c.1955 by an LNER driver, Bill Hoole as it was a term used for ancient 4 & 6 wheelers on the North Eastern Railway. The main square internal frames are thought to be original as well as the door handles. They share with the original Talyllyn carriages (of 1865-66) the distinction of being the oldest railway carriages still in regular use in the world (unless you know differently!). They are:-
- Carriage 1 Third Class Open Observation Saloon "The Zoo Car" - a replica incorporating some original pieces
- Carriage 2 First Class
- Carriage 3 Third Class
- Carriage 4 Third Class
- Carriage 5 Third Class
- No.12 First Class Open 'The Flying Bench'. Later with overall leather awning and aprons to pull over passengers' knees in wet or cold weather. Later still enclosed as a 'porthole' bugbox but restored to original state.
All are serviceable in 2007.
There is controversy over the numbering of the bench. It still actually carried the number The Rule Book has it numbered as 12 . However there are plans to build a porthole Bugbox (to be numbered 12) and then the Flying Bench will be numbered 11.
For completion, and considering the number hasnt been reused, Carriage 6 was another third class bugbox from the same batch from Brown Marshalls of Birmingham. However, this vehicle was withdrawn in 1931, and presumed scrapped.