Blaenau Ffestiniog Station
|Blaenau Ffestiniog Station|
Overview of the station showing the two gauges side by side, 2009
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- This article is about the current station in Blaenau Ffestiniog, for other historic stations see Stations in Blaenau
The current Blaenau Ffestiniog Station is the terminus of both the Ffestiniog Railway and Network Rail's Conwy Valley line. It lies at a height of 710ft (216.4m) and a distance of 13miles 50 chains (21.93km) from Porthmadog.[route 1][wikipedia 1]
- For more information on the changing railways of Blaenau Ffestiniog see the Blaenau Ffestiniog page
The present joint Station was built on the site of the GWR Exchange station of 1883. Prior to its opening, this new station was usually called Blaenau Ffestiniog Central by which name the former GWR Exchange station had been known from 1948 until its closure.
BR commenced operation to the new station on 22nd March 1982 and the FR passenger service was extended to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 25 May 1982, thus marking 150th Anniversary of Royal Assent of the Festiniog Railway Act.
The narrow and standard gauge lines at his station are now the other way round compared to the original station due to the connection of the old GWR and LNWR lines using a new section of track on the original FR formation. The standard gauge platform is on the northern side of the station whilst the Ffestiniog Railway has two platforms on an island at the centre of the site. Platform three on the southern side of the island is the predominately used FR platform whilst platform two on the northern side of the island is now little used.
The island platform has an elegant station canopy, erected in 1989-90, which tapers along its length, being narrower at the Porthmadog end. Under the canopy is a brick building containing the toilets and "Bunny Hutch" store room.
For the first 15 years of the new station the FR booking office was in the Victorian house "Isallt" which also housed the Tourist Information Centre. Isallt is beside the access to the footbridge from the street and an 'S' shaped path led down to the BR platform. The sales area at this time was operated from the Bunny Hutch. Isallt was no longer in railway use once the foot crossing from the car park to the FR platform was built in 1998 following the end of nuclear waste trains. Isallt is now (2017) a guest house and coffee shop.
From 1997 the FR booking office and shop was housed in part of the Queen's Hotel. When the lease ran out it was transferred to temporary buildings on the platform. The present building was previously used at Pont Croesor when that station was the temporary terminus of the WHR. There is a desire to create new station buildings here in order to enhance the appearance of the station.
There was briefly an automatic colour light system at Blaenau Ffestiniog using track circuits and relays (like at Tanybwlch and Minffordd). It was supposed to let a train into platform 3 and, if a second arrived let it in to platform 2. It was decommissioned after an accident on the 6th of May 2001 when it switched the points under a long (16 carriage) train that straddled multiple track circuits causing a derailment.  Blaenau no longer has any signalling. The decommissioned signals can be seen in one of the photos below. They were later dismantled and some of the components re-used in the re-signalling of Harbour Station.
Blanche, looking very smart, takes water at Blaenau after arriving with a morning train - but see Double Heading pictorial for the same date for news of a less satisfactory afternoon appearance!, June 2001
Earl of Merioneth arrives on a wet day in 2008. Note the by then decommissioned signals.
There is no station car park. There is a large council owned car park adjacent to the stations. This is located on your left when approaching from the north (adjacent to the Queen’s Hotel) and serves both the Ffestiniog and Conwy Valley Line stations. There are designated “Disabled” parking spaces beside the entrance to the platforms.
The car park is on the site of the FR's old Duffws station, the main building from which now serves as public toilets.
Access to the Ffestiniog platform is via a gentle ramp and a level crossing. Our booking office / shop is situated on the platform and can be accessed via a ramp. The toilets are situated in the main station building beyond the booking office. There is level access into the Ladies’ and the Gentlemen’s toilets. The accessible toilet has level access and also contains nappy changing facilities.
- Mitchell V & Smith K (1994) Branch Lines Around Porthmadog 1954 - 94, Middleton Press, captions 119 & 120.
- Mitchell V, 2002, "Festiniog: 50 years of Enterprise" captions 114 & 121
- http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6424&start=15 Comments on Signal Box forum