Ffestiniog Railway Society
The Festiniog Railway Society's (note only one 'f') origins can be traced back to the meeting called in Bristol on 8th September 1951 by seventeen year old schoolboy Leonard Heath Humphrys.
Prior to this a number of individuals, including James Boyd, Patrick Whitehouse and Bill Broadbent, had made tentative enquiries into the possibility of bringing the Festiniog Railway back to life but the complications of the Festiniog Railway Company's share ownership proved a major obstacle. A meeting called by Portmadoc Urban District Council on 20th April 1951, attended by both James Boyd and Leonard, failed to make any progress. Leonard therefore started writing to the railway press and also to the then FR Company Chairman Cynon Evan Davies. Having received some measure of support he called the Bristol meeting. Among the thirteen that attended that meeting (and were somewhat surprised to discover that Leonard was only seventeen years old!) were Allan Garraway, John Bate, Fred Gilbert, Bill Winter and Vic Mitchell.
Two further meetings were held at Barnet in 1951 and then on April 20th 1952 a meeting at the premises of the Stephenson Locomotive Society in Kensington resulted in the group adopting the name "The (Proposed) Festiniog Railway Preservation Society". After the first of these three meetings Fred Gilbert engaged his solicitor, Leslie Taylor Harris to investigate the Festiniog Railway Company's principal proprietorship. This lead to further contacts with Cynon Evan Davies which identified sufficient shares and debentures to provide a controlling interest in the Company. Partially as a result of the activities of this committee a very generous offer of a large holding of ordinary shares of the Festiniog Railway Company was made available to Alan Pegler, who was able to acquire them on 24th June 1954 and subsequently transfer them to Festiniog Railway Trust.  At this point the name Festiniog Railway Society was adopted with its first newsletter, already reporting voluntary activity on the railway, published in October.
The Society, which up to that date had existed as an unincorporated body, was registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee (No. 542449) on 24th December 1954, with the title Festiniog Railway Society Limited. In 1997 the society became a registered charity (No. 1064178) and changed its name to its current title, Ffestiniog Railway Society.
The support given to the railway by the Society has expanded considerably over the years. Early on in the Society's existence area groups were established which provided a channel for voluntary help (many of the groups running week-end working parties) and for local fund raising and publicity. The Society has been able to make significant donations to the railway, mainly to funds supporting specific projects. In particular Minffordd and Pehrhyn hostels have been funded and managed by the Society, providing budget accomodation for both long term and short term volunteers.
Membership is open to all and the benefits include free and reduced travel on the FR (see Travel Privileges) and a quarterly magazine full of news from and about the world's oldest railway company. For more details see the Society Website.
The Society is also referred by the initials FRS and FRSL in this wiki and other publications.
- Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Society House Magazine Issue No: 012 , page(s): 010 , Recollections II
- Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Society House Magazine Issue No: 085 , page(s): 026 , Looking Back
- Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Society House Magazine Issue No: 085 , page(s): 030 , The Rebirth of the Festiniog Railway
- Festiniog Railway Society Newsletter No. 1 October 1954
- Festiniog Railway Society Newsletter No. 4, November 1955