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From this month's featured article

The Maenofferen Wharf in Minffordd Yard

Minffordd Yard is located to the north of the FR main line just west of Minffordd station. In old company days, slate was transshipped from here on to the Cambrian Railways. Incoming traffic included coal, for the railway's locomotives and for local domestic use. The yard is now the headquarters of the Infrastructure Department and one of their main depots. It is also used to store heritage vehicles and artifacts.

The extensive slate wharves and exchange sidings with the Cambrian Railways were established in 1872. Having originally leased the land from the Huddart Family estate, the FR Co. eventually bought the land for £2500 in mid 1876.

Slate storage sheds were built at the FR main line end of the yard, adjacent to the Maeofferen wharf and continued in use, leased to Davies Bros., slate merchants, until the 1960s. They are now fully used for railway purposes. The last delivery to Minffordd Yard by BR was second hand rail for the FR from Tilbury power station on 30th May 1970.

The only rail access is from the bottom end of the Down line loop at Minffordd, originally the Mineral line. Trains leave the present loop and join a line which runs parallel to the FR main line, passing over the road access to the yard and in front of the former weigh house before reaching a set of weighted points that are normally set for the small fan of post-preservation sidings that comprise the Upper Yard. In order to gain access to the steep, sharply curved, line into the lower (main) yard the weighted points must be held over by the guard or second man of the train. Trains 'rushing the bank' in order to leave the yard simply trail through the weighted points so that their progress up the bank is not hindered.

The weighted points have considerable heritage significance as there has been a set on this location ever since the yard was established and they have been operated by the same method throughout that time! The only other set of points having a similar pedigree is at Boston Lodge, though their operating lever has been changed over time.

The steepness and curvature of the line down into the main yard places limits on the locomotives and stock that can use it; double engines are forbidden, as are some of the older bogie carriages. (more...)

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This month's featured picture

Gan y Mor Yard in June, 1964

Glan y Mor yard is the area to the south west of Boston Lodge works. At the very far end originally stood three gunpowder stores, which have now been demolished. The gunpowder was for quarry use and stored by Messrs. Curtiss & Harvey. The explosives were once brought by sea by ships which were not allowed to enter port and it was landed by a wooden barge flying a red flag in small quantities at Portmadoc Harbour and delivered to Glan-y-Mor in the gunpowder vans with the wrap-over steel roofs. There were regulations requiring the gun powder vans to be marshalled as far as possible away from the steam locomotives. Each store was roughly square in shape and separated by considerable distances, presumably meant to reduce the chance of one major explosion. As modern buildings were erected in Glan-y-Mor yard since the sixties these historic but redundant and ruined buildings have gradually all been demolished.

The picture shows Glan y Mor Yard in 1964 from near Pen Cob. The ruined gunpowder stores are on the right.

Photo credit: Ron Fisher

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