Panoramic View from above 1963
|Type||Engineering works and loco depot|
|Status||In use, no public access|
|Stations | Locations | Bridges | Tunnels | Map|
Coordinates: Boston Lodge is the site of the principal engineering works and locomotive depot of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. The site was originally the main quarry, workshop and barracks area during the construction of the Cob before being taken over by the Festiniog Railway. It is now the oldest railway workshops still in operation and serving its original railway.
Early years[edit source]
Boston Lodge Works is the principal workshop of the Festiniog Railway Company[route 1], and was built on the site of the main quarry for the stone used in building the Cob from 1808 to 1811. Boston Lodge (formerly known as Penrhyn Cottage) was renamed after Wm. Madocks's parliamentary constituency in Lincolnshire. From January 1809, during construction of the Cob, it served as office, stables and barracks. The Festiniog Railway Company Works was established there in 1842 for the repair of wagons and has expanded greatly around the original buildings. The site, in the pre steam era, was also a horse station.
On the occasion of the Open Days at Boston Lodge Works on 15th & 16th September 1979, for the Silver Jubilee of the Ffestiniog Railway Society, the then Works Manager, the late Paul Dukes, produced “An Introduction to Boston Lodge Works” for the benefit of visitors, from which this and following extracts are taken:
“In the years from 1847 to 1851 the Works was considerably developed from its humble origins by the construction of ferrous and non-ferrous foundries, a pattern making shop, a blacksmiths shop, a carpenters shop, and an engine house in which a steam engine provided power for machinery in a sawmill, pattern shop and machine shops. In the 1870s further construction provided a paint shop, joiners shop and erecting shop from which latter in 1879 and 1885 the Fairlie double engines “Merddin Emrys” and “Livingston Thompson” emerged as entirely own designed and own built machines. That the Works had the capability both in facilities and skill to produce such locomotives amply demonstrates the foresight and abilities of our predecessors.”
The closure years[edit source]
While the railway was closed the Rev Timmy Phillips, who occupied one of the cottages above Boston Lodge Halt and might be said to be the first volunteer of the preservation era, kept the Works almost secure by walking around with hammer and nails and thereby making sure that no scrap merchant, nor thieving souvenir hunter for that matter, could get in.
Paul Dukes again:
“Since the mid 1950s many of the original buildings have been extensively repaired and their usage altered. Machinery has been updated and modern materials and techniques have been introduced. Additional new buildings have been or are in course of construction and in July this year the cycle was again complete when from the new erecting shop emerged another own designed and own built Fairlie double engine “Earl of Merioneth”. We felt ourselves at last to be the equal of our predecessors of one hundred years ago!”
“The principal function of the works has altered little during its history although the permanent staff workforce today (1979) is at thirty but approximately one third of that of pre 1914 days. Departments today having staff based at or working in the Works are the Mechanical, Locomotive Operations, Carriage and Wagon, Building, Signals and Telecommunications, and Electrical. This nucleus, of mainly highly skilled personnel, is supplemented by volunteers.”
“A Works such as Boston Lodge, especially when geographically as remotely positioned and sustaining equipment of unusual type for which few proprietary spares are readily obtainable, has a need to be very self sufficient and in such we again emulate our predecessors. Whenever circumstances permitted, Boston Lodge inventiveness or pursuance of innovation has flourished and this trait is another which we trust you will note us to have emulated.”
Works layout and buildings[edit source]
The works was originally divided into three yards by the clusters of buildings. These were the top yard, bottom yard and Glan y mor yard. Subsequent demolition and building work has seen the division between the bottom yard and Glan y mor become less distinct.
At the front of the works as seen from the train is the large white building containing numbers 1 and 2 Boston Lodge. Originally built in 1808 as barracks for the Cob construction it later fell into disrepair but was refurbished as staff accommodation after the FR took over the works site. The building is still used as accommodation for FR staff. Behind this building was originally a sawmill but this has been demolished and replaced by a new building housing the works mess facilities. At the back of the site is a range of buildings containing the stores and machine shops with the works offices above.
To the north (left seen from the train) of the cluster of buildings described above is the top yard. To the south (right) is the bottom yard. The bottom yard is dominated by the stone built old erecting shop with its array of large wooden doors (Roads 1-4). This part of the building was built in 1900 to replace an earlier corrugated iron building. It is thought the pits inside may date from the earlier shed. At the back of the erecting shop is a modern extension.
To the right of the erecting shop is the present running shed (Roads 5-7). This is largely a modern steel building but the rear part makes use of the former paint shop, originally a carriage shed. The modern extension was acquired second-hand from a site in Leeds and erected from 1964 on. At the time it was intended to use it as a carriage shed (it would accommodate four more bogie carriages) but it later became the loco running shed. In front of the running shed is a pit used for locomotive preparation and disposal. This pit is on the site of the old "Long Shed" which once formed the boundary of the bottom yard. The Long Shed was originally a paint shop but was later used as a running shed in the post-revival years. It was demolished in 1988.
The southern-most area of the works is known as Glan y mor yard. It was originally an area of open sidings but the area is now dominated by the railways' modern carriage sheds and Carriage Works (not shown on the plan here). During 2017 major work was undertaken to extend the land available in this area by both cutting back the cliffs at the rear and filling in land adjacent to the sea behind a piled wall. This was to allow for the construction of a new significantly larger three-road carriage shed, extension of the present two-road carriage shed, addition of a new Heritage Carriage Shed and additional Loco Sheds. The first of the new sheds to be erected was the heritage carriage shed during 2017 and completed in 2018. The winter of 2018/19 saw the existing carriage shed extended in both length and height (to allow NGG16s to fit through it), and later in 2019 the additional three-road shed was added.
Locomotives and rolling stock built at Boston Lodge[edit source]
Boston Lodge works has built six locomotives for the Ffestiniog Railway, with a seventh under construction.
|1879||Merddin Emrys||Double Fairlie|
|1886||Livingston Thompson||Double Fairlie|
|1979||Earl of Merioneth||Double Fairlie|
|1992||David Lloyd George||Double Fairlie|
|2010||Lyd||L&B Manning Wardle replica|
|c.2020||James Spooner||Double Fairlie|
Carriages are built at Boston Lodge for both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and other railways.
|1965||100||FR||Barn observation car|
|1968||103||FR||Barn buffet car|
|1970||101||FR||Barn observation car|
|1975||110||FR||Prototype metal bodied carriage|
|1990||111||FR||Observation driving trailer|
|1997||1111||FR||Works mess car|
|1997||1||FR||Bug box replica|
|2002||24||WHR||Ashbury summer car replica|
|2003||122||FR||Prototype metal bodied carriage|
|2004||V1||FR||Curly roof brake van replica|
|2004||6466||Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway||Pickering brake composite replica|
|2005||102||FR||Barn observation car|
|2005||154||Beeches Light Railway||Darjeeling Himalayan Railway carriage replica|
|2005||73||Beeches Light Railway||Darjeeling Himalayan Railway carriage replica|
|2005||Carrabassett||Beeches Light Railway||Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes carriage replica|
|2006||100||FR||Barn observation car|
|2006||10||FR||Ashbury 4 wheeler replica|
|2007||124||FR||Barn Service Car|
|2008||4154||Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway||Pickering third replica|
|2009||2100 Glaslyn||WHR||Pullman observation|
|2010||6338||Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway||Pickering brake composite replica|
|2012||12||FR||Bug Box replica|
|2013||33||FR||Type 2 quarrymen's replica|
|2014||V3||FR||Sentry box brake van replica|
|2016||125||FR||Super Barn Service Car|
|2018||Joan||Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway||Observation car|
|2019||140||Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway||Third class|
|2019||2152 Gwyrfai||WHR||Observation car|
|2019||21||FR||Ashbury tourist/workmans replica|
|2020||Van 8||WHHR||NWNGR Pickering brake replica|
|2021||Ruth||Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway||Events carriage|
|2021-||Talyllyn Railway||Third class|
|2022-||Talyllyn Railway||Third class|
|2023-||Talyllyn Railway||Third class|
Visiting Boston Lodge[edit source]
Whilst interested visitors were previously welcome, in the light of modern Health & Safety regulations casual visits by enthusiasts are no longer possible. Those interested in seeing behind the scenes at the works can do so with organised tours available during various railway events such as Society AGM weekends or as part of the Snowdonian tour.
There is presently a programme of renovation, restoration and interpretation works to be carried out on the historic buildings, and it is intended that when that is complete there will be guided tours of those areas on a regular basis.
See also[edit source]
- "News from Portmadoc", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 24, page(s): 3