Brine tank waggon

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

The brine tank wagon is a seawater carrying vehicle previously used on the Festiniog Railway. The original waggon is now in poor condition but a replica is under construction.

Original waggon[edit]


The original waggon was constructed to convey sea water from Portmadoc to a lineside slate tank above Plas Tan-y-Bwlch, the home of the Oakeley family. The water was piped down to the house as salt water baths were considered a health tonic in Victorian times.

The wagon, with wheels and axles removed and mounted on a sleeper-built tower, later served as a water tank at Pont Croesor on the Welsh Highland Railway. The tank was established to serve Palmerston while working on the construction of the WHR and the tank was fed by a self-acting hydraulic ram in the river below (see FRHGJ xx).

Recovery was organised as part of one of the Plas Tan-y-bwlch courses and led by Michael Seymour. Since being returned to Minffordd Yard the wagon has suffered further deterioration of the tank, due to rust, and of the chassis due to rot; one solebar has since become detached.


There is evidence of three outlets in the floor of the tank. On what would have presumably been the Porthmadog end of the tank, there is evidence of either a 4 bolt flange or a reinforcing plate riveted in place to allow threads to be tapped in to the base of the tank. It is difficult to identify if it was a thread or a flange attachment, due to the corrosion and the fact that they have been blanked off to fill the base of the tank with concrete. The third flange is about 6" further away from the end of the wagon on what could possibly have been the engine side.

Due to the lack of baffles on the inside of the tank, and the positioning of two blanked off outlets directly above one of the headstocks, it is reasonable to assume that the tank was not built for the wagon, rather a stationary tank, possibly a water tank, which was then fitted to a frame.

Though the opening in the top is an obvious means of loading the wagon, the mechanism for raising water in to the tank has never been established.

Replica waggon[edit]

In early 2018 plans to rebuild this vehicle using as much of the original as possible were well advanced.[1]

By early 2023 the new wooden frame had been constructed and mounted on axles using some original metalwork. CAD design was well advanced on a replacement tank body.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adrian Gray (2018) "Secretary's Notes", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 132, page(s): 6
  2. ^ Post on H Jones Engineering facebook bage 20 Jan 2023