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From this month's featured article

Type 1b and 2 quarrymen's carriages.

Special quarrymen's carriages first appeared on the FR in 1867. Their primary use was in special trains that carried men to work in the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog, with a single fare of 6d, any distance. Though many quarrymen lived in the various communities along the FR others came from further afield, having walked from home to join the train. Initially the trains ran only on Monday mornings and Saturday afternoons as most men stayed at the quarry barracks during the week. The Saturday train was usually added to the midday Down departure from Blaenau, with spectacular results. During the period when only a weekly service operated the carriages were stabled in an open, lean-to, carriage shed at Duffws during the week. A regular, daily, service was introduced in 1881.

Over the years, a number of different designs of carriage were used. The earliest were little better than low-sided, unsprung, wooden wagons with planks for seats; photographs appear to show that these overhung the sides and some passengers' legs hung outside! There was no protection from the elements. In order to simplify the story this type was designated (by Boyd) Type 1a.

The first improvements to quarrymen's carriages involved the erection of crude, shed-like, covers with zinc roofs, but lacking both doors and windows, over Type 1 vehicles. These have been designated Type 1b.

Type 2 carriages appear very similar to Type 1b, but were built as covered vehicles from new. In later years they acquired doors with small windows (Type 2b). Their running gear was not improved, however, and they remained unsprung.

Closed carriages with glazed windows and springs, Type 3, were not introduced until 1885. (more...)

Recently featured: Croesor JunctionBeddgelertAshover


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This month's featured picture

Linda running on ex-Penrhyn Quarry Railway bullhead rails at Dduallt Tank Curve

The purchase of five miles of Penrhyn Quarry Rail was announced in Magazine No. 24 in Spring of 1964, and it was with this in mind that a financial appeal had been made in the Winter 1961 - 62 Magazine. Negotiations for purchase of PQR rail were opened when the PQR mainline closed in 1961 leading up to the 1964 announcement. Penrhyn Quarry Rail became the new standard for relaid FR permanent way from the time of its purchase. The first deliveries to Minffordd were in early 1965. In the Autumn 1966 FR Magazine it is mentioned that 75% had been received and stacked at Minffordd and the remainder was due to arrive during September 1966. The bulk of the rails were 24 feet long bull head of approximately 50 lb per yard when new and there were two patterns of chairs with two or four holes in roughly equal quantities. The most modern rail was rolled in 1909.

By the end of winter 2015/16 PQR rail (and thus all bullhead rail) was eliminated from the FR running line after the last remaining sections at Penrhyn and Boston Lodge were relaid with modern flat bottom rails.

Photo credit: Graham Bond

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