Rhiw Goch

Coordinates: 52°56′40″N 4°02′42″W / 52.94449°N 4.04493°W / 52.94449; -4.04493
From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
Rhiw Goch
Signal box at top end of loop.
Type Signal Box & Passing Loop
Status In use
Latitude 52:56:40.13N
Longitude 04:02:41.70W
Grid reference SH626405
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52°56′40″N 4°02′42″W / 52.94449°N 4.04493°W / 52.94449; -4.04493

Rhiw Goch (English: Red Bank) is a signal box and passing loop on the Ffestiniog Railway. It stands at a height of 225ft asl, and is 4 miles 16 chains from Porthmadog.[route 1] It was one of the original passing places in the horse traction period. In the early years of the Ffestiniog revival, Rhiw Goch was recognisable just by the wider space between the boundary walls and there was a stone platelayers hut with a slate roof. These can be seen in the first photograph below.

Over a century after its use as a horse station ceased, the Rhiw Goch area came alive again in 1973 when the site (seen in its overgrown state in the photo below) was cleared for the construction of a new passing loop. The plan had been to build the new loop at Gysgfa but it was realized that it would require a lot of excavation whereas very little was needed at Rhiw Goch.[1]

Being close to halfway between Minffordd and Tan y Bwlch, this location was better placed than Penrhyn in terms of the timetable, and could also accommodate the longer trains then being run. The signal box can be switched in or out depending on need. When switched out the section from Minffordd to Tan y Bwlch operates as a single section using miniature electric train staffs. When switched in the two resulting sections operate using large electric train staffs.

The new loop and signal box, complete with colour light signals, were brought into use with effect from May 14th 1975. An interesting feature of the signalling scheme was the use of depression bars which are operated by the flanges on wheels to detect the presence of vehicles at certain places in the layout. The design of the signalling is described in a Heritage Group Journal article.[2]

Rhiw Goch remains the only regularly manned signalbox on the FR away from Harbour Station and has a very loyal band of supporters. In 2006 an appeal was launched, through the FR Society, for funds to replace the life-expired signal box with a building of more traditional appearance. Fundraising went well and work was completed during the closed season of 2006/7.


Click on the following links for a look inside the boxes, both old and new, from Peter Matthews.

Inside Rhiw Goch Box (Old)

Inside Rhiw Goch Box (New)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Expansion through the seventies: 2 The Ten Year Plan", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 53, page(s): 9
  2. ^ David Josey "Rhiw Goch Signalling", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 154, page(s): 37-44