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From this month's featured article

Map of the Rhiwbach Tramway

The Rhiwbach Tramway was a narrow gauge railway connecting the remote slate quarries to the east of Blaenau Ffestiniog with the Festiniog Railway. Built to the same gauge as the FR and completed in March 1863, it ran from the FR's Duffws station, three miles east to to Rhiwbach Quarry, serving the Cwt-y-Bugail, and Blaen y Cwm quarries on the way. Just before Rhiwbach itself was reached, a branch lead to Bwlch y Slaters (Manod) quarry, now operated by Rigcycle and known as Cwt y Bugail, the original quarry of that name having closed in the early 1960s.

The line was actually built by the FR but paid for by the Festiniog Slate Company. It was designed by Charles Easton Spooner, then Secretary and Engineer to the Festiniog Railway Company.

The quarries connected to the tramway had no practical road access as they lay at an altitude of around 1560' above sea level in a remote moorland.

The majority of the tramway was closed in 1961 and lifted in 1964. However, a short section remained in use until 1976 and some sleepers and a few lengths of rail are still in place. (more...)

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This month's featured picture

Work on the roof of Plas Smart

Plas Smart was built approximately 1863 together with a range of 'lean to' buildings against a stone wall which has been partially demolished to make way for the present access into the Boston Lodge site. Materials and workmanship from this early phase are evident. Stone (slate); roof timbers (imported softwood rafters and ceiling joists); joinery (windows, doors and window shutters) are all original although the shutters may have been salvaged from another building and reused in this building. Lime squirling in existing mortar indicates that the mortar is of some age, probably original, and this should be conserved in any phase of external works. The photo shows the commencement of relaying the slate roof on new battens and underlay in 2014.

Photo credit: James Hamlin

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