Boston Lodge

Coordinates: 52°55′10″N 4°06′24″W / 52.9194°N 4.10663°W / 52.9194; -4.10663
From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
More pictures of the subject: Boston Lodge (Pictorial Views)
Boston Lodge
Panoramic View from above 1963
Type Engineering works and loco depot
Status In use, no public access
Latitude 52:55:09.83N
Longitude 04:06:23.43W
Grid reference SH584378
Wikipedia Boston Lodge
Route Navigator
← Prev Station Next Station →
Harbour Station Boston Lodge Halt
← Prev Location Next Location →
Pen Cob Halt
Glan y Mor yard
Boston Lodge Halt
Stations | Locations | Bridges | Tunnels | Map
52°55′10″N 4°06′24″W / 52.9194°N 4.10663°W / 52.9194; -4.10663

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]

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 enginesMerddin 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]

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 engineEarl 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]

See also Boston Lodge: Buildings, Boston Lodge Residences and Boston Lodge: Former buildings.
Boston Lodge plan 1955-1963 - Click here for a larger version of this image

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[1]. 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]


Boston Lodge works has built seven locomotives for the Ffestiniog Railway.

Date Name Type
1879 Merddin Emrys Double Fairlie
1886 Livingston Thompson Double Fairlie
1979 Earl of Merioneth Double Fairlie
1992 David Lloyd George Double Fairlie
1999 Taliesin Single Fairlie
2010 Lyd L&B Manning Wardle replica
2023 James Spooner Double Fairlie

Additionally Boston Lodge is to build Exe, a new locomotive for the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. It will be a replica Manning Wardle, similar to Lyd.


Carriages are built at Boston Lodge for both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and other railways.

Date Number/Name Railway Type
1964 104 FR Barn saloon
1965 100 FR Barn observation car
1967 105 FR Barn saloon
1968 103 FR Barn buffet car
1968 106 FR Barn saloon
1970 101 FR Barn observation car
1975 110 FR Prototype metal bodied carriage
1977 117 FR Tin car
1977 118 FR Tin car
1980 119 FR Tin car
1980 120 FR Tin car
1981 121 FR Tin car
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 107 FR Barn saloon
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
2007 2043 WHR Third saloon
2007 2044 WHR Third saloon
2007 2045 WHR Third saloon
2008 4154 Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway Pickering third replica
2009 103 FR Super Barn
2009 2100 Glaslyn WHR Pullman observation
2010 6338 Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway Pickering brake composite replica
2012 121 FR Super Barn
2012 12 FR Bug Box replica
2013 33 FR Type 2 quarrymen's replica
2013 108 FR Super Barn
2014 119 FR Super Barn
2014 V3 FR Sentry box brake van replica
2015 150 FR Pullman observation
2015 2046 WHR Third saloon
2016 117 FR Super Barn
2016 125 FR Super Barn Service Car
2017 118 FR Super Barn
2017 2047 WHR Third saloon
2018 152 FR Pullman observation
2018 120 FR Super Barn
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 2048 WHR Third saloon
2020 Van 8 WHHR NWNGR Pickering brake replica
2021 Ruth Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Events carriage
2022 808 FR Super Barn
2023 24 Talyllyn Railway Composite with disabled access
Under construction 25 Talyllyn Railway Third class
Under construction 26 Talyllyn Railway Third class

Visiting Boston Lodge[edit]

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]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "News from Portmadoc", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 24, page(s): 3