The Brambles are FR volunteers from the Brambleton Model Railway Club who have been visiting the railway in groups for 58 years.
The first Brambles (from Brambleton in Harpenden) came to the Festiniog Railway in 1960. The regular visits started with a week long visit by three members in 1958. Their enthusiasm for the railway resulted in regular annual visits by club members. At first camping in the field behind Tan-y-Bwlch, in subsequent years the camp site was in the field above Boston Lodge Halt. There the waiting room served as a welcome retreat when the weather was inclement and tired and hungry Brambles arrived back from working parties soaked to the skin! In early days up to 25 spent the week working on every imaginable task. In later years the work included Deviation expeditions!
In the early days the club was run by the schoolboys but later, as they lost interest in railways and models, it morphed into a club for adult model railway enthusiasts. On the 50th anniversary of the first Brambles working expeditions in 2010 the weekend working visits to Ffestiniog re-started and have continued, albeit with reduced numbers, ever since.
A number of members have become familiar names on the railway including, Infrastructure Manager Alex Spring, Engine Drivers Nick Pinder and Tony Willmore, Guards Nigel Gray & Peter Rumbelow, Dan May from Ffestiniog Travel and Sarah van Lottum, Beddgelert Station Master (yes it was originally a boy's club but we even bent the rules in the end!). Many other Brambles are Ffestiniog Railway Society Members and visit regularly.
- John Heys "50 years of the Brambles", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 211
- Bevan P (2018) Post in FRS Bristol Group Facebook page on 18/6/2018.
- http://www.brambleton.org.uk - Brambleton Model Railway Club website