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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...)

Recently featured: Merddin EmrysQuarrymen's carriagesCroesor Junction


Festipedia is dedicated to recording the history of the Festiniog Railway from the 19th Century to the present day. There is a user friendly index to help you find your way around the main categories. You will also find much detail on the Welsh Highland Railway

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This month's featured picture

Princess at the end of the seaward siding at Harbour Station in April 1965

Princess was the second locomotive to be delivered to the Festiniog Railway. This engine was carried by the LNWR from London to Caernarfon and then brought (around 22 July 1863) by road to Portmadoc on Job and Harry Williams' specially built cart or wain drawn by ten horses. This was the first locomotive to run on the railway and was first steamed on 4 August 1863. Princess was numbered 1 in the earliest of photographs as in the photograph, however Charles Spooner referred to her as No.2 in 1879, perhaps remembering the order of delivery. The Princess was named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925), who had married Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII, 1840-1910) in March 1863.

Princess has not been restored to working order but remains as she was left by the old company in 1946. For a year or two in the mid 1960s, as shown in the photo, she was on display at Porthmadog Harbour Station at the end of the siding nearest the sea with a notice which read "No 1 Princess, This locomotive was the first engine in steam on the railway, 4th August 1863. and also hauled the last slate train 1st August 1946, It now awaits restoration."

Photo credit: John Lloyd Temple

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