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From this month's featured article
Charles Easton Spooner (1818-1889) was the Secretary and Engineer of the Festiniog Railway Company from 1856 until 1886. He was also Engineer to the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company and was involved in the family company of Spooner & Co., which at times appeared to conflict with the FR.
Charles was the third son of James Spooner and was born in Maentwrog in 1818. As a teenager he, along with his oldest brother, James, assisted his father in laying out the Festiniog Railway. He and James continued to assist their father and Thomas Prichard during construction. Charles was thus trained as a civil engineer, gaining much practical experience that would stand him in good stead in his later life. During the early 1840s, Charles' training continued under both Joseph Locke and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He continued to be involved with the railway under his father, who was Secretary to the Company. (more...)
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This month's featured picture
The Rhiwbach Tramway was a narrow gauge railway connecting the remote slate quarries to the east of Blaenau Ffestiniog with the Festiniog Railway. Built to the same gauge as the FR and completed in March 1863, it ran from the FR's Duffws station, three miles east to to Rhiwbach Quarry, serving the Cwt-y-Bugail, and Blaen y Cwm quarries on the way. Just before Rhiwbach itself was reached, a branch lead to Bwlch y Slaters (Manod) quarry, now operated by Rigcycle and known as Cwt y Bugail, the original quarry of that name having closed in the early 1960s.
The line was actually built by the FR but paid for by the Festiniog Slate Company. It was designed by Charles Easton Spooner, then Secretary and Engineer to the Festiniog Railway Company.
The quarries connected to the tramway had no practical road access as they lay at an altitude of around 1560' above sea level in a remote moorland.
The photo shows No. 1 incline in May 2013.
Photo credit: User:Dan Crow
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