Bug Boxes

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"Small Birminghams", sometimes called "Bug Boxes". Small 4 wheeled carriages built by Brown, Marshall & Co of Birmingham, which are the earliest passenger carrying vehicles on the Festiniog Railway, dating from 1864-7. In old Company times, they were known as "Small Birminghams" to distinguish them from the bogie carriages built by the same company. The term "Bug Box" is thought to have been given to them c.1955 by an LNER driver, Bill Hoole as it was a term used for ancient four and six wheelers on the North Eastern Railway. The main square internal frames are thought to be original as well as the door handles. They share with the original Talyllyn carriages (of 1865-66) the distinction of being the oldest railway carriages still in regular use in the world (unless you know differently!). They are:-

  • Carriage 1 Third Class Open Observation Saloon "The Zoo Car" - a replica incorporating some original pieces formerly on Carriage 2.
  • Carriage 2 First Class
  • Carriage 3 Third Class
  • Carriage 4 Third Class
  • Carriage 5 Third Class
  • Carriage 6 Third Class (Scrapped 1931)
  • Carriage 11 First Class Open "The Flying Bench". Later with overall leather awning and aprons to pull over passengers' knees in wet or cold weather. In late c19 enclosed as a "Porthole Bugbox" but since reopening restored to original state, now complete with awning and aprons.
  • Carriage 12 Third Class Open Observation Saloon "Porthole Bugbox" - a replica incorporating some original pieces formerly on Carriage 11.
  • Carriage 13 Third Class Open (Scrapped 1950s)

All surviving carriages are serviceable in 2015.

There is controversy over the numbering of the bench. The current Rule Book has it numbered as 11 . However it has previously been allocated both the numbers 7 and 12 (until 12 was reallocated to the replica porthole coach), and the allocated number has not necessarily matched that painted on the side.

Bug Boxes at Harbour Station, 7th August 1966. With what was then New Van 1 and Carriage 8.

See also[edit]