|FR People | WHR People|
Of all the characters and personalities that have made up the Ffestiniog Railway over the years, few can be remembered with more affection than Lottie Edwards, crossing keeper at Quarry Lane Crossing, Minffordd. Her smoke blackened kettle was always on the go in the crossing house kitchen and tea was dispensed to the volunteers by the gallon!
Volunteers working in the Minffordd area were always welcome to drop in for a cuppa, and Lottie's was a regular meeting place for volunteers to congregate on a Saturday evening where the LAGs (London Area Group), Hansags (Hampshire & Sussex Group), S & T, plus many others, would crowd into Lottie's front parlour and talk trains.
Mrs Charlotte Olive Edwards (Lottie to everyone) was brought up in Barmouth where she worked on the GWR during the second world war, at first as a ticket collector, and then as assistant guard on passenger trains. Lottie left that job to get married to Dai Edwards and after a few years elsewhere in Minffordd moved into the crossing house at Quarry Lane Crossing in 1956 in time for the first trains on the newly opened section of line. Dai worked in the quarries at Blaenau but left them about 1961 to join the FR Permanent Way Department. He was tragically killed in a road accident in 1963. He was knocked down after alighting from a bus only a few yards from his home.
Prior to 1946, cars were few and the gates were left open to the railway and closed to the road. A car would toot to ask for the gates to be opened. Once the line reopened, cars were more frequent and the gates had to be left open to the road. By 1957 colour light signals to tell the engine driver if the gates were open had been installed and a treadle to warn of approaching up trains. This was replaced with track circuits to give warning in the crossing house. By 1979 the FR services were frequent which made opening the crossing tiring and Lottie was being helped three days a week by Wally Owens who had just retired from BR.
Although Quarry Lane Crossing is the official name for the level crossing where Lottie once worked (In past publications it has been referred to as Minffordd Crossing, presumably as it was the only one in the vicintity on a public road - the other two nearby crossings being on private land), it is generally known, to most connected to the railway, as Lottie's Crossing.
Lotties' cottage from the road. Photo: Keith Bradbury
Lottie's cottage from the train. Photo: Keith Bradbury