Day Log/1889-12-21

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

On this day, John S Hughes responded to the notice issued by the Board of Trade, in respect of the Regulation of Railways Act, 1889.[1]

He wrote:

  • The up trains running up the gradient are mixed trains arranged with goods trucks in front of the passenger carriages and van and empty slate trucks behind the van.
  • These trains are composed generally of one double engine. four to eight goods wagons, two four-wheel carriages, two bogie carriages, one bogie van, and 50 to 80 slate wagons.
  • The engines and vans are supplied with powerful screw brakes.
  • It has been considered that having the loaded goods wagons in front has been conducive to safety more than otherwise. This arrangement gives also an advantage that the wagons can be detached at any of the stations and the train started without shunting the passenger carriages.
  • The slate wagons are attached and detached at different stations on the line.
  • The down passenger trains are worked separately from the minerals and goods, they run down by gravity, engine and van in front, but the down mineral train has no van attached ... and is controlled by two brakesmen.
  • The line is single and worked with the train staff. There is a single needle block between Boston Lodge and Minffordd, .. , as there is a good deal of shunting done on this portion; also from Dduallt to the top end of [the] tunnel ... and from Tanygrisiau to Duffws ... where there is a good deal of shunting going on.
  • There are speaking instruments at all the stations.
  • The signals between Portmadoc and Dinas Junction are wood semaphore for home signals and iron disc distant signals and the points are worked with a bolt by the same wire which works the signal.
  • There are point signals on all the points.
  • Between Dinas Junction and Duffws where there is much shunting there are home and distant signals with the points interlocked with rods and worked from cabins.
  • The trains stop at all the stations and run at a speed of from 15 to 17 miles an hour between stations and can be stopped in a distance about equal to their own length.
  • The brakes can be applied quickly and effectively, especially as the wheels are small in diameter.
  • Any arrangements of continuous automatic brakes would be very expensive and impracticable to work.

At the end of this, he transmitted some comments from the FR Co. Board of Directors

  • That the proposed requirements would entail a large expenditure to provide for which their company has no available funds and which in their present position could only be raised at a very serious disadvantage.
  • That the line is different in so many important respects from other railways.
  • That the trains are very limited in number.
  • That the train speed is quite unusually low.
  • That there is ample brake power at present provided to secure safety.
  • These facts, together with the safe and satisfactory working of the present arrangements, as shown in 25 years' experience, will, they trust, be sufficient reasons to induce the Board of Trade to exempt their company from having to carry out the requirements of the act.

When the FR Co. Board met later, in February 1890. it was decided that if exemption was given, then it would seek a delay in its implementation.


  1. ^ Johnson, Peter (2007). An Illustrated History of the Festiniog Railway. Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0-860936-03-1. OCLC 180463433. p68-9

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