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From this month's featured article

The Maenofferen Wharf in Minffordd Yard

Minffordd Yard is located to the north of the FR main line just west of Minffordd station. In old company days, slate was transshipped from here on the Cambrian Railways. It is now the headquarters of the Infrastructure Department and one of their main depots. It is also used to store heritage vehicles and artefacts.

The extensive slate wharves and exchange sidings with the Cambrian Railways were established in 1872. There is some confusion over dates here. Having originally leased the land from the Huddart Family estate the FR Co. bought the land for £2500 in mid 1876.

Slate storage sheds were built at the FR main line end of the yard, adjacent to the Maeofferen wharf and continued in use, leased to Davies Bros., slate merchants, until the 1960s. They are now fully used for railway purposes.

The only rail access is via the bottom end of the Down line at Minffordd, originally the Mineral line. Trains leave the present loop and join a line which runs parallel to the FR main line, passing over the road access to the yard and in front of the former weigh house before reaching a set of weighted points that are normally set for the small fan of post-preservation sidings that comprise the Upper Yard. In order to gain access to the steep, sharply curved, line into the lower (main) yard the weighted points must be held over by the guard or second man of the train. Trains 'rushing the bank' in order to leave the yard simply trail through the weighted points so that their progress up the bank is not hindered.

The weighted points have considerable heritage significance as there has been a set on this location ever since the yard was established and they have been operated by the same method throughout that time! The only other set of points having a similar pedigree is at Boston Lodge, though their operating lever has been changed over time.

The steepness and curvature of the line down into the main yard places limits on the locomotives and stock that can use it; double engines are forbidden, as are some of the older bogie carriages. (more...)

Recently featured: Coed y BleiddiauCharles Easton SpoonerHorse operation

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Festipedia is dedicated to recording the history of the Festiniog Railway from the 19th Century to the present day. There is a user friendly index to help you find your way around the main categories. You will also find much detail on the Welsh Highland Railway

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This month's featured picture

The new trident signal on the Cob

There was a McKenzie & Holland trident signal which controlled the approach to the FR Duffws Station being sited to the South of the FR main line just below Queen's Bridge. The signals were removed from Duffws in 1923 but the Trident was not removed until 1929. It was erected on the Cob where it controlled the approach to Harbour Station and the WHR junction. The Trident signal featured in many photographs of early revival trains on the approach to Harbour Station until it was blown down in a storm in 1965(?). It was replaced with much less photogenic signals of the GNER somersault type in 1972 ("sourced", by Alan Garraway).

In early 2014 a new trident signal, based on the original but located further out on the Cob, was erected to control the approach to the revised Harbour Station layout. In June 2014 it was complete except for its finials and had yet to be commissioned. The temporary colour light signal was still controlling the trains.

Photo credit: User:MarkTemple

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