Quirks and Curiosities 2010

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

Quirks and Curiosities will be the premier event of 2010 on the railway. Highlighting various aspects of the railway and narrow gauge, the event is to be held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. The preliminary information on this page is taken from the company promotional material, and it will be updated with additional info as the event nears

The FR is well known for having an incredible collection of unusual rolling stock and most of it is rarely seen in public. Items such as Spooner's Boat, which will be seen sailing along the rails across the Cob; the newly restored 4-wheel Open Observation carriage with leather aprons and canopy which will be marshalled into passenger trains; and Busta, the high speed World War I platelayers trolley with a vintage motorbike engine, will be in action. Visiting curiosities such as a rail-mounted Model T Ford car will be put through their paces too.


  • Spooner’s Boat sailings across the Cob each day (weather/wind permitting!) You Tube clip
  • Footplate rides on steam locomotives at Porthmadog Harbour Station You Tube clip
  • Rail-mounted Model T Ford car in operation
  • Heritage Trains running each day
  • Gravity trains every morning, including a run from the Summit round Dduallt spiral on Saturday You Tube clip

Early risers will be able to catch a recreation of a quarryman's train to travel to Dduallt, where they will be able to watch the spectacle of a gravity slate train rounding the only spiral on Britain's railways.

According to FR General Manager Paul Lewin, "This promises to be the fun event of the year. We are lining up a large number of special trains in the way that only the Ffestiniog can and having more unusual stock on site will really add to the fun.

"With the added attraction of the Porthmadog Model Railway Exhibition and special events also taking place at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (see below), this Bank Holiday promises to have something for everyone."

The event will also see the first public steaming of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway replica locomotive Lyd, built at Boston Lodge Works, and a farewell to Prince, as the oldest working steam locomotive in the world enters the works for its 10-year overhaul. Newly repatriated and rebuilt Quarry Hunslet locomotive Edward Sholto will be visiting the FR and will haul its first ever passenger train over the weekend.

The event will be open to members of the public but will be free to members of the Ffestiniog Railway Society (or those who join before 20th April). Joining in advance of the event is very welcome and membership is readily available online at www.ffestiniograilway.org.uk

FR Society members benefit from travel privileges on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways and also on the Talyllyn Railway, with accommodation discounts at the Society hostel when volunteering and a fully-illustrated quarterly magazine.

Alongside the rail mounted quirks & curiosities, the William Riley, a 100 year old rowing lifeboat, will be on display in the harbour. Weather permitting, trips will be available enabling members to head seaward for an hour or so whilst enjoying some healthy exercise.

On Saturday morning, there will be the opportunity for FR Society members to row around to the sea off the Cob to observe the trains passing at high tide. The height of the tide could allow paralleling the Cob and even racing the trains, along with the chance to take a few photos from a very unusual viewpoint.

The boat can carry up to ten people per trip and there will be no charge, although donations to cover transport costs would be welcomed. Prospective sailors should contact Harbour Station Booking Office (enquiries@festrail.co.uk or 01766 516024) for details. Background on the lifeboat can be found here.

Full details of the event and a list of the attractions visiting from other railways can be found on the special microsite at: www.ffestiniograilway.co.uk/qc

The Ffestiniog Railway Society's AGM occurs at 1500 on Saturday 1st May at Ysgol Eifionydd (map here). A special AGM train for members departs Harbour Station at 1915 that evening. A meal (Bangers n Mash plus a pudding) is available on this train at a cost of £7.50 per head which just covers costs. Please book your meal at Porthmadog Booking Office (01766 516024 or enquiries@festrail.co.uk) prior to the AGM, to allow the Catering Department to make vital preparations.

To get in touch with us about the event, please contact the Ffestiniog Railway on 01766 516000 or at: enquiries@festrail.co.uk

Coinciding with the event, are also various other rail related events, including, in the town, a Model Railway exhibition. On Saturday, the first scheduled train in over 70 years is scheduled to call at Tryfan Junction. The Welsh Highland Heritage Group AGM is also scheduled for Sunday in Beddgelert.

You Tube clips The Boat Busta Gravity Train Prince Simplex Summit Britomart Drive'n Engine Postcard