143 arriving at Pont Croesor, 2011.
Crossings and bridge in use
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Pont Croesor is a request halt and token station on the Welsh Highland Railway. The station takes its name from the adjacent bridge which is the second of three railway crossing points of the Afon Glaslyn.
It lies at a height of approximately 2m (6½ ft), and a route distance of approx 3.862km (2.4 miles) from Porthmadog. It is almost the lowest place on the railway. The invert of the bridge lies below mean sea level (O.S. datum). [route 1][wikipedia 1]
The Station[edit source]
The station has a 200m loop and a platform on either side of the loop, rather than an island platform as favoured at most other stations on the line. This is because the embankment on which the station stands is made of sand, and it was thought inadvisable to put the weight of the trains too close to the edges; passengers are lighter. Keeping in with FR tradition, trains normally pass on the right-hand side of the loop. There is a corrugated iron shelter on the Up (Porthmadog-bound) platform which was designed by the Welsh Highland Heritage Group in the style of the economical structures set up by the Old WHR in the 1920s. A ticket office, shop and the usual facilities were provided for the 2010-1 seasons, when most trains turned back here, but in March 2012 the transportable building housing the ticket office and shop was moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog where the need for improved commercial facilities was greater. Now that all normal services run through to Porthmadog there is little demand at PC.
The station is adjacent to the Glaslyn Osprey Project viewing site, from which the public can see the nest of a pair of ospreys which have successfully raised chicks every year since 2005. The greater part of the WHR construction in this area was carried out whilst the birds are abroad in the winter months, to keep disturbance to a minimum.
The Level Crossings[edit source]
On the Caernarfon side of the station are two adjacent level crossings: the first leads to the Glaslyn Osprey site and the second takes the B4410 over the railway. There is also a farm crossing, rarely used because the Osprey access is easier. The road level crossing flashing lights on the east side have the foible that they are both on the same side of the road. The corner has for years been notorious for road vehicles running out of road; one such hit the signal cabinets, doing much damage.
The Bridge[edit source]
The station site is adjacent to Pont Croesor, which crosses the River Glaslyn, and is a hybrid road/rail bridge carrying the railway and the B4410 which makes a right angle turn between the level crossing and bridge. Both road and rail bridges use the same piers. The stonework of the combined bridge, with a substantial invert to prevent scouring, has the style of the works of the P.B. & S.S.R, in which case it should date from 1904-08. After the closure of the old WHR the original railway spans were removed, probably in 1949 when the last part of the WHR was lifted. The road bridge was later widened slightly, and extensively modified in appearance around 2000 to include standard road safety barriers. Fortunately neither of these works encroached too much on to the site of the railway spans, so the new eight-span railway bridge was designed by John Sreeves and built by Brunswick Ironworks at Caernarfon, being erected in one day in early January 2008.
Originally, as part of the Croesor Tramway there was a siding here, but no station.
Boyd writes that in pre-WHR times the river-crossing here was known as Pont Reuddyn, the name "Pont Croesor" arriving with the WHR. Prior to this, "Pont Croesor" was the local name given to the bridge below Garreg-hylldrem. A local farm is known as Portreuddyn and lies some 56 chains towards Porthmadog. It was the location of a passing loop in pre-WHR days.
When the WHR was built in 1923, Pont Croesor became a Halt, and the siding was lengthened at the northern end. All trace of this was removed when the line was lifted.
Reconstruction works approached from the north, and rails were relaid across Pont Croesor in April 2008, and the road crossing built in August 2008. Works were delayed for three months because of the collapse of a bridge on the A498 and the need to use Pont Croesor as a diversion.
The new loop was finally completed on 13 March 2010. The station was officially opened on the 26 May 2010 and was the WHR's temporary terminus until April 2011, having previously opened to passengers on 22 May 2010. The previous terminus at Hafod y Llyn was closed on its opening.
Between here and Traeth Mawr was the last section to be relaid (excepting the CTRL). The line from Pont Croesor to Porthmadog Harbour has been connected since early 2009, but use for public passenger operations did not begin until January 2011. The postponement was due to problems with financing, the complex signalling of the Porthmadog cross town link, delays with completion of the ERTMS signalling completion on Network Rail, and construction of the Porthmadog Bypass.
The first ECS move on the line approaching Pont Croesor
See the WHR Ltd, Pont Croesor Extension, site for some location photos
Car Park[edit source]
From reopening the railway had a temporary car park but since 2013 this has been closed and reverted to its owner. The Glaslyn Osprey Project (not now part of the RSPB) has parking space for its visitors but this may not be available to railway passengers or even open.
For general details see here
(Amended) This station was the temporary terminus of the line and is situated on the B4410 between Prenteg and Llanfrothen villages beside the Glaslyn Osprey Project. There is a slope up to the station and facilities but there is also a more gently sloping access via the farm crossing directly beside the station building. A tarmacked path across this vehicular access leads to a small gate. If arriving with an able bodied car driver, it is possible to drop off at this point and from this gate there is almost level tarmacked access to the station building, and platform. The station building is accessed via a short ramp. There are now no toilets.
The RSPB site is over the level crossing roadway but there is a cattle grid onto their site making access difficult for those with impaired mobility or wheelchair.