Bala and Festiniog Railway

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On 28th July 1873 the Bala & Festiniog Railway was formed by Act of Parliament, this permitting Samuel Holland and Henry Robertson to build a standard-gauge line from Llan Ffestiniog to Bala. It was built in co-operation with the GWR, and some of the money was in fact put forward by 3 other small lines which together later became "The Llangollen Line". The Chairman of this line was the GWR's Sir Daniel Gooch.

Holland became increasingly frustrated by the Festiniog Railway's monopoly on the carriage of slate, and was determined to find another way out, including his former scheme, the Merionethshire Railway.

Construction of the line involved 42 underbridges, 15 overbridges, and 16 viaducts, and it opened to Llan Ffestiniog on 1st November,1882.

The decision to convert of the Festiniog & Blaenau Railway to standard-gauge was only decided on in 1882, probably because of the perceived hassle of a change of gauge at Llan Ffestiniog for all traffic.

The relatively late completion of this line meant that financial returns were not huge, for soon afterwards the demand for slate started to decline.

The railway was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway Company in July 1910. Controlled ultimately by the GWR, operationally it was run by GWR on behalf of the B&FRC.


  • Southern, Dave W; Norman Jones (1995). Bala Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Romiley, Stockport, England: Foxline. ISBN 1-870119-34-7. OCLC 34618865.

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