Operating base for line
|Narrow gauge closed
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- Not to be confused with Dinas, the original 1836 Dinas Branch terminal station of the Festiniog Railway, at Rhiwbryfdir near Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Dinas is a station on the Welsh Highland Railway at a route distance of approximately 35.24km (21.9 miles) from Porthmadog.[route 1][wikipedia 1] Originally the terminus of the railway, it is now a through station. It is the main operational and engineering base for the northern end of the line.
Dinas lies in the parish of Llanwnda, at a height of 51.6m (169.25 ft). Llanwnda parish church lies just to the west of the station bridge. The village is also sometimes referred to as Dinas Llanwnda, as the single word Dinas appears in many places in Wales. As there was another station called Llanwnda, half a mile south on the standard-gauge line, Dinas Junction was so named after the hill-fort some 400 yards north-west of the station. There is a house there called Plas Dinas, formerly owned by the Armstrong-Jones family but now a hotel. Antony Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret in 1960, who was thereafter locally known as Maggie Bont.
Dinas Junction was the original terminus of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways and later of the Welsh Highland Railway. The railway ended where it met the LNWR's standard gauge line form Caernarfon to Afon Wen. The narrow gauge tracks were at the the same heights as the standard gauge platforms, which were along the western side of the site. On the eastern side was an interchange yard including a large goods shed of c.1880 with sidings of both gauges. The station building of c.1877 was located on the eastern platform between the two gauges.
On the other side of the road from the station (behind the camera in photo to left) there was a carriage shed on the eastern side of the line and a locomotive shed on the west beside the standard gauge.
The closure years
The word "Junction" was dropped from the name of the station after the closure of the WHR, and the standard-gauge Afonwen branch which passed through also later closed. For a number of years much of the site was occupied by a local engineering firm and the Welsh water board.
The Modern Station
The rebuilt station has the new narrow gauge platforms on the site of the former standard gauge ones. This allowed the use of the former standard road bridge with its larger clearances. The original goods shed has been restored and is used for the annual 'Cwrw ar y Cledrau' (Beer on the Rails) festival and for exhibitions such as Garratt 50 in 2009. In the winter, rolling stock can be repaired in here.
The Station building was carefully restored in 1997-2000 and won a prize. The original waiting room is still available for passengers and is useful on wet days. On the walls are illustrations of the history of the line.
At the north end of the site is a large new Carriage Shed with two roads. There is only a small pit and it is an uncomfortable job to oil the axleboxes of the carriages. Although it has been extended since building, it isn't long enough for a full WHR train. The second road is used for general storage now that one set is kept at Porthmadog.
The current locomotive shed is converted from a building built by the water board on the site of the old carriage sheds. Originally part of the shed was still used by the water board but more recently the entire building has been turned over to railway use. The expansion of the facilities has allowed Dinas to become more of an outpost of Boston Lodge works with an increasing amount of work taking place here, recent examples include building the frame of Carriage 152.
Development of the facilities has proceeded slowly. In March 2009, two coal hoppers were installed for the coal fired engines on shed, in Dinas North Yard.
In keeping with FR tradition, trains normally pass on the right-hand side of the loop.
The station building in its previous guise as a Water Board office. Taken from where the main gate is now.
The restored station building.
The refurbished coal hoppers.
The loco shed
There is a small tarmac car park within the grounds of the station. Capacity about 30 cars, but impeded by temporary buildings and (2010) locomotive No.133 parked on a low loader trailer (Removed 2012).
For general details see here
To access the station and trains, it is necessary to negotiate a kerb. Once negotiated, the rest of the area including access to both platforms is level.