GWR Exchange

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
GWR Exchange
Type Former station
Status Closed, site reused as Blaenau Ffestiniog Station
1884 Exchange station opened
1939 FR station closed
1960 GWR station closed
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For more information on the changing railways of Blaenau Ffestiniog see the Blaenau Ffestiniog page

The GWR Exchange Station was roughly where the FR/National Rail station is now located in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The GWR called it simply 'Blaenau Festiniog' (spelt thus) but under BR it was renamed 'Blaenau Ffestiniog Central' to distinguish it from the ex-LNWR station (and to correct the spelling). In FR timetables it appeared as 'Blaenau Festiniog (GWR)'.


Dolgarreg ddu, the location of this station, was originally the terminus (named Diphwys), of the Festiniog and Blaenau Railway, which was taken over by the Bala & Festiniog Railway (a puppet of the GWR) prior to gauge conversion in 1883.

Following the gauge conversion there was cross-platform interchange between the FR Co. and GWR and the opening to passengers is thought to have been in March 1884.[1] The narrow gauge lines ran along the northern side of the site, continuing across the present-day bus station and then onwards under the road bridge (now removed) to Duffws station close by. The standard gauge platform line was in the centre of the site with the platforms between the two gauges. On the south side there was a large interchange yard and goods shed for transshipment between GWR and FR. The station was closed to passengers from 1st November 1930 to 16th May 1932 when it reopened.[2] This temporary closure seems to have been caused by some embargo imposed on its use by the GWR - resolved by Whitsun 1932.

The FR passenger service ended on 16th September 1939 following the outbreak of war. This section of the FR main line from Duffws to the LNWR goods yard through this station remained under traffic when the railway closed in 1946. Slate traffic from Maenofferen Quarry was hauled over the FR by the quarry's diesel loco to the LNWR/LMS/LMR yard until 3rd November 1962.[3]

The standard gauge passenger service ended in 1960 and the BR line to Bala eventually closed in 1961 when it was permanently severed towards Bala by the creation of the Llyn Celyn reservoir in 1965.

However, in 1964, as part of arrangements for access to Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, and with agreement of the new FR Co. management, the remaining former GWR line to Trawsfynydd was joined to the former LNWR line to Llandudno and the national network, using the original FR Co. trackbed through Blaenau Ffestiniog. The track bed through the former station ran close to where the former platform lines were.

The site of this station was later used for the combined FR/BR new Blaenau Ffestiniog station.


The FR formation was double track through here and fully signalled with McKenzie & Holland semaphores. The two lines were operated as a passenger single line and mineral single line rather than the usual up and down lines. There was a signal box here that replaced a previous one that controlled the FR/F&BR junction. The new signal box was a joint FR/GWR box. Following the removal of the FR signalling the GWR built a new signal box.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard Maund "Blaenau Ffestiniog's Festiniog Railway passenger stations in the pre-preservation era", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 156, page(s): 43
  2. ^ Richard Maund "Blaenau Ffestiniog's Festiniog Railway passenger stations in the pre-preservation era", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 156, page(s): 45-46
  3. ^ Mitchell V, 2002, "Festiniog: 50 years of Enterprise" caption 107