Maenofferen Quarry

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The main Maenofferen mill level, seen from Rhiwbach Tramway No. 3 incline

The Maenofferen Quarry (colloquially pronounced 'Maen-offram') was one of the major slate quarries of the Blaenau Ffestiniog area.

History[edit]

The first recorded working of the Maenofferen site occurred around 1810, but not until J.W. Greaves acquired the rights in the 1850s did it achieve commercial success. The quarry became independent in the 1860s and continued to find success through the decades that followed. It began large-scale use of locomotive on its internal tramways from around 1900 and introduced hydro-electric power in 1918. [1]

Following the First World War, Maenofferen was the third largest slate producer in the Ffestiniog region. After the Second World War, fortunes declined and in 1975 the quarry was purchased again by the Greaves company [1].

Production ceased at Maenofferen in November 1998.

Tramways[edit]

The head of the back vein incline
Untopping operations at Maenofferen

Extensive internal tramways were employed by Maenofferen. Initially it was connected to the Festiniog Railway's Duffws terminal via the Duffws incline. After the opening of the Rhiwbach Tramway in 1863, Maenofferen used the lower two inclines of the tramway to send its product to the FR, thus avoiding having to use the inclines of the rival Votty And Bowydd Quarry [1].

This arrangement continued until 1920 when a new incline was opened across Votty and Bowydd, bypassing the No. 1 incline of the Rhiwbach Tramway. The Maenofferen company acquired the Rhiwbach quarry and tramway in 1928 and use of the No. 1 incline resumed. This arrangement continued until 1962, when the Rhiwbach Tramway was closed. However Maenofferen continued to operate the No. 2 incline until after 1975: it was the last self-acting incline used in the Welsh slate industry [1].

During the period from 7 October 1946 to November 1963, the track between Duffws and Blaenau Ffestiniog LNWR Yard was leased and operated by the Maenofferen and Votty and Bowydd Slate Quarries for slate and other freight traffic. These quarries used Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM locomotives and at least one was kept under the road bridge near the LNWR yard for working this traffic.

The company also had space in the yard at Minffordd where this picture of Kidbrooke, was taken in the mid sixties - see this external site (S.A Leleux)

Locomotives[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Sanford 0-4-0ST W.G.Bagnall 1571 1900 sold to Penrhyn Quarries 1929
Skinner 0-4-0ST W.G.Bagnall 1766 1906 sold to Penrhyn Quarries 1929
4wPM Motor Rail 1904 1920 scrapped 1965-6
4wPM Muir Hill ? 1925 ex Rhiwbach Quarry 1928; scrapped 1964-5
4wPM Ateliers de Bondy derelict by 1941; sold or scrapped by 1951
4wPM Motor Rail 5506 1929 scrapped 1953-4
4wPM F.C.Hibberd 1821 1933 scrapped 1965-6
4wBE Wingrove & Rogers 918 1936 at Llechwedd Quarry 1945-1981; in use 1987, on site 2007
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 174535 1936 to J Crosskey, Brockham, 1975
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 174536 1936 out of use 1989
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 177642 1936 to J Crosskey, Brockham, 1975
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 191674 1938 scrapped 1966
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 200762 1942 dismantled by 1960; scrapped 1974-5
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 175127 1935 ex Gardden Brickworks, Ruabon between 1939 and 1946; out of use 1989
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 174542 1935 ex Bergerat Dutry SA, Brussels, Belgium; to Llechwedd Quarry 1978
4wPM F.C.Hibberd 1929 1935 ex Whitley Brothers (contractors), Wrexham; noted off track by ex-GWR Goods Shed, Blaenau Ffestiniog, 1954 allegedly the property of Maenofferen Quarry; no further trace thereafter
4wDM Motor Rail 20073 1950 ex Birmingham Corporation, Knighton, Radnor, via Motor Rail, 1961; to J Crosskey, Brockham, 1975
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 175138 1935 ex Votty & Bowydd, 1963; ran away down incline No.2, 1965; remains scrapped c.1969
4wDM Ruston & Hornsby 177638 1936 ex Votty & Bowydd, 1963; dismantled afrom 1965; remains scrapped between 1969 and 1975
4wBE Clayton 5688/2 1969 ex Wheal Jane, Cornwall c.1980; in use 1987, on site 2007
4wBE Wingrove & Rogers ex Quarry Tours, Llechwedd Quarries, c.1987; on site 2007

Source: Bradley [2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Richards, Alun John (1999). The Slate Regions of North and Mid Wales. Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0863815529.
  2. ^ Bradley, V.J. (1992). Industrial Locomotives of North Wales. Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 0901096722.

See also[edit]