Boston Lodge/Former buildings

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

There were several buildings at Boston Lodge which are no more.

Waggon Repair Shop[edit]

Alongside the old locomotive superintendent's office (Plas Smart) in the Top Yard and forming a continuous range with it was the original waggon shop of the FR Co, a stone building from 1842. At the eastern end the old quarry face was nearly vertical and was used instead of a separate rear wall which explains the ragged look of the roofline where the single-pitch roof meets the uneven cliff face. By 1955 this had become detached and partly collapsed (iBase 776). Buried in the floor there was some fish-bellied track on stone sleeper blocks. This had been excavated in 1956[1]. See iBase 762. In the roof was stored at that time the garden track for Topsy from Bron-y-Garth. The building later became a timber store[2] but was very decrepit and largely roofless by 1956, being demolished between then and 1961.[3] In 1970 further excavation unearthed a curious traversing turntable within the area of the building[4]. In 2015 excavations revealed more evidence of track, flooring and wall foundations, even down to the original quarry floor[5].

Although under the same roof the office and the waggon repair shop were separated by a gated passage through the building which carried a siding to the sand pit outside to the north. The new road access to the works passes through the site of this passage and the north-western end of the waggon shop site, but present plans propose a replica of the eastern part of the building, which would probably be used as Goods Inwards and Stores.[6]. It may also house the starting point and briefing area for the start of guided tours of the Works. [7]

The slate-slab piers forming part of the front wall were started in 2023 but the cliff face behind turned out to be crumbling and has required considerable consolidation work. It is still intended to join the single-pitch roof on to the cliff face as in the original building.

Office to left, then the gate over the sandpit siding, then the Waggon Repair shop. A jib crane can be seen outside.

The same buildings in 1959. The crane has now gone.

Waggon Shop East Wing[edit]

On the eastern side of the Top Yard was a second building of similar age to the above and probably similar function. An insurance plan of 1856 [8]shows it joined to the other forming one L-shaped building, running as far as the Blacksmith's shop. It was demolished in 1877. Archaeological investigations in 2015 did not reveal much evidence from this period due to subsequent developments on the site. No photograph of the building is known.

Smithy Extension[edit]

Immediately to the north of the Blacksmith's Shop (99) was an extension building partly on the site of the earlier East Wing building demolished in 1877. The function of the earlier building is not certain but probably waggon building and repairs. The smithy extension was not stone-built like the Blacksmith's Shop except for the back wall (which may have been from the previous building). The front and roof were corrugated iron[9]|. Archaeological investigations in 2015 showed evidence of the rebuilding of the walls c1915, and the installation of stone bases for new machines at the same date[10]. This was probably in connection with the use of part of the buildings as a National Shell Factory during the Great War[11].

It was demolished in 1962[12] (according to Boyd it 'just fell down'[13] during demolition of the Joiners' Shop) except for the back wall which was still standing until 2023, when it was demolished. It was in very poor condition and any useful material has been saved for re-use. For a picture shortly after demolition of the main building see here.

The site was later occupied by the Britomart Shed (1960s corrugated iron, built to house the engine of that name) and the S&T Workshop (former Tunnel Mess), both demolished in 2018. Future plans include reinstatement of this building, initially proposed to be used as storage and an electrical workshop[14]. Revised plans announced by the GM in Feb 2021 indicate that the likely use will be as a training, meeting and research room, and the area formerly occupied by the Britomart Shed will once again accommodate a small locomotive.

The new building will be named the NLHF Training and Research Centre[15]. The floor slab was laid in early 2023.By October 2023 the wooden framing and steel roof trusses were in place. It will have modern corrugated cladding.

Roof of smithy extension at bottom, Top Yard extension of Carpenters' Shop joined to it extreme R, Waggon Repair shop nearly roofless 1958.

Britomart Shed[edit]

A small shed was built in 1965 by and for the use of the consortium who acquired the loco Britomart. It was adjacent to the Blacksmiths Shop in the Top Yard and on part of the site of the Extension which had met its end in 1962. It was made of corrugated iron and of no architectural merit, though as at the time the FR could afford very little new material the sheets probably came from its predecessor in the site, or one of the other wrinkly-tin buildings of the 1877 development at Boston Lodge. It was demolished by 2018.

S&T Workshop[edit]

The former Signals and Telegraph Workshop was a wooden sectional building in the Top Yard at Boston Lodge, previously used as the Tunnel Mess at the southern end of the old Moelwyn Tunnel for the accommodation of volunteers on the Deviation. After completion of that project it was moved to the Top Yard and became the S&T Workshop. By 2015 it was considered life-expired and demolished for firewood. S&T work is now done at Minffordd.


Carpenters' (or Joiners') Shop[edit]

Another corrugated-iron building from c1877, this was behind the Smithy Extension and used the back wall of the latter for support, being otherwise wooden-framed, clad in corrugated iron, with light steel roof trusses. A small extension passed round the end of the shared wall and into the North Yard with its front alogside and adjacent to the Smithy Extension. Rail access to the main part was by way of the long siding curving across Glan-y-mor Yard to the Gunpowder Sheds, then by a backshunt in front of the old Carriage Sheds (crossing all four tracks on the level) thence behind the Erecting and Machine Shops. There was also rail access (at right angles) into the extension part from the Top Yard, probably for incoming materials. The building's condition was very poor and it was pulled down in 1962[16], literally so, using Moelwyn and a chain. Unfortunately due to their shared support on the common wall the Smithy Extension came down in sympathy.

Carpenters' Shop beyond rear of Blacksmiths' Shop (with leaning chimneys) 1961

iBase 776 shows the Top Yard side of this building.


A long building stretching from the Bottom Yard to the south side of the Brass Shop, and backing on to No 1 and part of No 2 Boston Lodge. Built 1847-8 as part of the first expansion of the Works, it was extended in the 1850s. In bad condition, it was cleared out in 1962[17] but not part-demolished until late 1970. Its front (South) wall was retained (but reduced in height) along with part of the East wall to make the present Oil Store adjacent to the Electrical workshop (Old Den) to which it is conjoined. The New Den building occupied most of the rest of its site until its removal in 2023.

Future plans include a new two-storey building to replicate the part of the Sawmill that faces the Bottom Yard. This will be joined on to the Old Den (more recently Electical Workshop) just as the Sawmill was, and the conjoined buildings will accommodate staff amenities.

Remains of Saw Mill (Rear of No 1 and 2 Boston Lodge on the extreme R, roof of Electrical workshop (Old Den) beyond.) Note line-shafting coming in from the old Engine House on the left. The door and window at the far end are in the wall facing out into the Bottom Yard which survives as the front wall of the present Oil Store. 1962

See also iBase 758.

(Old) New Den[edit]

A 1970s staff amenities building dedicated to the memory of Sir Ben Ball and Ron Garraway. It was in poor condition and the facilities were inadequate for present levels of activity. It was closed and about to be demolished when the Winter 2022/3 issue (No. 152) of Heritage Group Journal went to press. Demolition was completed in mid-February 2023. Portable amenity facilities have been brought in to replace it until completion of the new building.

Now it has disappeared it may be less confusing to refer to it as the Old 'New' Den.

A new building known as OPS12 has been erected on most of the site of the Old New Den and butting up to the Brass Shop. It has wooden framing and new corrugated cladding and is to be used as Stores, and possibly the Electrical Workshop.

Boiler and Engine House[edit]

Built in 1848, the stationary steam engine was between the Foundry and the future site of No 1 Machine Shop (to be built early 1850s), and the boiler house between that and the Sawmill. The boiler house was extended in c1877 in corrugated iron in front of the Machine Shop. In 1925 Col. Stephens purchased a Tangye 22hp oil engine, the FR to repay him in instalments from the money saved in coal [18]. Unfortunately in 1939 this engine was destroyed in a fire which also damaged the buildings including the sawmill, foundry and pattern loft. A Bolinder semi-diesel marine engine was obtained in replacement and installed in the Erecting Shop, but it had to be replaced by a Crossley oil engine when the Glaslyn Foundry took over part of the Works in 1942.[19]. The Crossley was restarted in 1955 but was eventually replaced by an electric motor in 1962[20]. By this date an increasing proportion of the machine tools were powered by individual motors, but it is not known when the line-shafting was finally taken out of use. (Parts are still in place in the Erecting Shop and Machine Shop). The remains of the building were removed later in 1962 to make a way though to the Top Yard[21]. The site of the original Engine House between the No 1 Machine Shop and the Foundry was used to extend the Machine Shop and offices above in 1979-80[22] following demolition of the Chimney.


This was located by the boiler and engine house just north of the old machine shop. Originally it was a round iron chimney erected before 1886 [23]. At some later date it was rebuilt in brick and became square. It is a prominent feature in old photographs of the works. It was demolished in Winter 1978-9 by erecting scaffolding and knocking the bricks inwards.[24]


The stables were a long narrow building which was a lean-to building along the north wall of the old Barracks Building (now Boston Lodge Cottages No. 1 and 2). The eastern half was a store room and the western half were the stables comprised of four loose boxes 2.3 m wide and 3 m deep. The floor was made of packed on edge slates with a drain along the external wall. This is typical of stables and shippons. There was a door half way along the north wall of the stables and the eastern half which seems to have been a store had a door in the end which faced the Top Yard. The eastern end of this store room was tapered to allow access to the Top Yard. The building was constructed in the 1830s/40s beside the access road to the Top Yard. The building was demolished in the late 1920s or early 30s with the exception of its eastern end which was retained as an outside WC until as late as the late 1950s. [25]

Long Shed[edit]

The Long Shed separated the Bottom Yard from Glan y Mor Yard. It was completed by 1888, in stone with slate roof. It had a single track, but there was a much shorter lean-to on the north side, originally wood or corrugated iron, but rebuilt in blocks about the time of the Great War. This also had one track and was sometimes called the Short Shed but usually considered part of the Long Shed.

Until 1939 the Long Shed was the paint shop[26]. After the revival it became the locomotive running shed in 1958[27] as it was considered essential to keep the locomotives in use close to the workshops. (The Old Engine Shed by Boston Lodge Halt became the carriage shed at this time, and the Fitting Shop at the far end of it which had been used before the closure for running repairs was not usable, and had been taken over as part of the carriage stabling space). A pit and wheel drop were installed in the Long Shed in 1958 and 1959 respectively[28] [29]. The Short Shed was used for diesels and also the lavatories.

It was demolished in early 1988 due to storm damage and serious structural decay[30]. The pit (but not the wheel drop) remains in regular use in the open air.

Long Shed centre, present Loco Shed below, Erecting Shop R, Carriage Works under construction L. 1976

Second Oil Store[edit]

There was an Oil Store attached to the south end of the Erecting Shop. It is not known when it was built but its ghostly outline may be seen here during its demolition in 1964 or just before. Its solid raised floor was a substantial obstacle but its removal enabled an additional road (now Road 5) in what is now the Loco Shed. It was stone-built and may be seen in iBase 940.

Demolition of the Oil Store beside the Erecting Shop, 1964

This oil store should not be confused with either the Old Oil Store (by the Brass Shop) or the present Oil Store (by the Electrical Workshop ).

South Carriage Shed[edit]

There were two two-road stone carriage sheds side-by-side in Glan-y-mor Yard just south-east of the Erecting Shop[31], built in 1875 and 1889. During the dereliction period the southern one was hit by rock falling from the cliff above and the roof partly collapsed, to the detriment of the carriages inside[32], nos 18 and 20[33]. It was demolished in 1956[34]. The other one was used as a Paint Shop for a while but in the mid 1960s what was to become the present Loco Shed was built in front, and it is now part of that shed.

Outline of oil store L, frame of present Loco Shed centre, old North Carriage Shed R. South shed was joined to the right side of this one. 1964

The two sheds together may be seen in iBase 930, 931, 940.

Boston Lodge Signal Box[edit]

For information and a picture of the signal box which was just beyond the head shunt at Pen Cob see the Signal Boxes page. In the period when it was manned it was officially called Boston Lodge Signal Box. The box had a wooden and glass front wall which had gone by the time of the FR revival leaving a shelter with three walls and a roof. In early revival days the Pen Cob point levers were on the other side of the track but later it provided shelter for the two lever frame which worked the Pen Cob points. For many years it had a FWA (Free Wales Army) graffito daubed on it. It was planned for demolition in 1979[35] to move the Pen Cob points further onto The Cob, but was still there in 1980[36]. More recent trackage changes have obliterated the site.

Gunpowder Stores[edit]

At the far end of Glan y Mor yard were three gunpowder stores used to store gunpowder for use in the slate quarries, built around 1860-70. They were used by Curtis's and Harvey Ltd, gunpowder manufacturers who delivered supplies by sea to Portmadoc. Ships bringing the gunpowder were not allowed to enter the port but the powder was brought off by a wooden barge which used to fly a red flag [37]. There were specialised Gun powder waggons on the Railway. There is more information and a picture on the Glan y Mor yard page. Archaeological excavations, photography and recording took place before the last remains were removed around 2015 as Glan y Mor was prepared for new buildings.

These were not the first gunpowder stores in the area. An undated plan in the FR Archives[38] probably dating from the 1830s recorded land at Boston Lodge acquired by the FR Co from the Madocks family. It included the original Boston Lodge, and the sites for the Top Yard, Old Engine Shed and further land beyond. On this plan is shown a 'Powder House' which is not in the area acquired, but in part of what would later become the Bottom Yard. Its position is approximately between the east end of the Long Shed and the front of the present Loco Shed, though not on the same orientation as either. It is presumed to have been used for the construction of the Cob, which involved quarrying the hillside that created the space now occupied by the Works. It does not appear on the insurance plan of 1854-6[39].

See also[edit]


Alexander, JLː A Very Short History of Boston Lodge, Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal 121 p26 on.

The Boston Lodge Interpretation and Development Project - A Briefing for members, supporters, employees and volunteers. (FR Co 2020, issued with FRM 248).

  1. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 23, page(s): 21
  2. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549. p266
  3. ^ Wilson D (1963) 1963 diagram of Boston Lodge Works showing changes since 1955. Festipedia: Boston Lodge Map
  4. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 121, page(s): 27
  5. ^ "Excavations at Boston Lodge", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 230, page(s): 99
  6. ^ "Boston Lodge Restoration and Redevelopment", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 239, page(s): 831
  7. ^ GM's briefing video on the Redevelpoment Project Feb 2021
  8. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 121, page(s): 29
  9. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 136, page(s): 17
  10. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 231, page(s): 176
  11. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 121, page(s): 31
  12. ^ "Excavations at Boston Lodge", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 230, page(s): 99
  13. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 2 Locomotive and Rolling Stock and Quarry Feeders. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. p. 501. ISBN 085361-168-8.
  14. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 246, page(s): 436
  15. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 260, page(s): 582
  16. ^ "Confessions of an Old LAG Pt 2", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 235, page(s): 541
  17. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 18, page(s): 7
  18. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. p. 222. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549.
  19. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. p. 241. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549.
  20. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 17, page(s): 4
  21. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 18, page(s): 7
  22. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 87, page(s): 7
  23. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549. plate 3H
  24. ^ "Boston Lodge", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 83, page(s): 6
  25. ^ Bob Zeepvat (2021) "Boston Lodge Stables.", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 146, page(s): 6
  26. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549. p264
  27. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 1, page(s): 10
  28. ^ "Nine Years of News from Portmadoc", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 20, page(s): 15
  29. ^ "News from Portmadoc", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 7, page(s): 3
  30. ^ "News from the Line: Mechanical", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 121, page(s): 010
  31. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 136, page(s): 16
  32. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 132, page(s): 10
  33. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 2 Locomotive and Rolling Stock and Quarry Feeders. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. p. 496. ISBN 085361-168-8.
  34. ^ "Nine Years of News from Portmadoc", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 20, page(s): 15
  35. ^ "Boston Lodge", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 85, page(s): 11
  36. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 91, page(s): 20
  37. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549. p265
  38. ^ Johnson, Peter (2017). Festiniog Railway: The Spooner Era and After 1830 - 1920 (Kindle ed.). Barnsley: Pen & Sword. pp. Location 283. ISBN 978-1-47382-728-8. OCLC 1003267038.
  39. ^ Johnson, Peter (2017). Festiniog Railway: The Spooner Era and After 1830 - 1920 (Kindle ed.). Barnsley: Pen & Sword. pp. Location 608. ISBN 978-1-47382-728-8. OCLC 1003267038.