North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways

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In its time also known as the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway, which however in this wiki denotes something else.

This was the original precursor to the Welsh Highland Railway.


Formed to be part of a major network of narrow gauge railways throughout the North Wales mountains, the NWNGR built only the line from Dinas Junction to the quarries above Bryngwyn, with a branch to Rhyd Ddu (the original name being South Snowdon). After delays, the lines opened, in stages, over 4 years from 1877. Originally the Bryngwyn line was the main line. However, within a short space of time the roles of the lines were reversed, and the line to South Snowdon became the main line.

Rolling stock[edit]

At least some of the rolling stock was basically leased from the Moel Tryfan Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. because the company could not afford both to purchase it and build the line.


Due to financial difficulties, a receiver was appointed nearly as soon as it opened. The Bryngwyn line closed to passengers in 1913, and was eventually followed by the closure of the rest in 1916; goods traffic was carried on a 'as required basis' until 1922.

Planned extensions[edit]

Various extensions were planned.

The first were in 1885 when an extension to Caernarfon and a zig-zag line to replace the Bryngwyn incline were proposed. Neither was built but the Caernarfon part was resurrected again between 1904 & 1908 and again in 1922, as part of the new WHR. However, not until 1997 did the narrow gauge reach Caernarfon.

In 1897 approval was given for an extension to Beddgelert. This was eventually started around 1904, but probably by then as part of the Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway with changes on the approach to Beddgelert.

Takeover by Henry Joseph Jack and the Aluminium Corporation[edit]

With the company being in the hands of the receiver for much of its existence, and the loss of much trade that it had, it became prey for the Dolgarrog People, and the company was taken over in April 1920.


No complete list of officials exist, those known are recorded here.

  • Sir Llewelyn Turner, Chairman of the NWNGR company from 1872 until at least 1887.[1][2]
  • Henry Watts, Secretary of the NWNGR company from 1872 until at least 1876.[3]
  • R H Livesey General Manager around mid 1887 at least[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ North Wales Chronicle, 29th. May 1875.
  2. ^ North Wales Chronicle, 1st. October 1887
  3. ^ North Wales Chronicle, 15th. April 1876
  4. ^ Welsh Highland Heritage, Issue 046, page(s): 004
  • Also National Archives document MT 54/160, MT 54/435, MT 54/455, MT6/1367/11, MT 6/972/8
  • Further information can be found on Barrie Hughes's site [1].