Panoramic View from above 1963
|Type||Engineering works and loco depot|
|Status||In use, no public access|
|Stations | Locations | Bridges | Tunnels | Map|
- See also Boston Lodge: Buildings.
Boston Lodge is the site of the principal engineering works and locomotive depot of the Ffestinog and Welsh Highland Railways.
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 1847 for the repair of wagons and has expanded greatly around the original buildings. It is now the oldest railway workshops still in operation and serving its original railway. The site, in the pre steam era, was also a horse station.
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.
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 the 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.
“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.”[video 1]
Visiting Boston Lodge
Whilst interested visitors were previously welcome, in the light of Health & Safety regulations, the following has to be considered:
- The safety risk to the visitor (slips, trips, falls etc.) for which we (the company) are liable.
- The possibility that the individual might touch, dislodge or interfere with a vital piece of work.
- The potential distraction / disruption to staff.
From the 1st of January 2007, the company has a new policy in place. Broadly speaking this will mean:
- Casual visits will be forbidden (including by members of supporting Societies or groups).
- Organised tours will be arranged for the public (see below).
- Trade Representatives will be asked to attend by appointment only.