Template:Featured article/February 2021
Special quarrymen's carriages first appeared on the FR in 1867. Their primary use was in special trains that carried men to work in the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog, with a single fare of 6d, any distance. Though many quarrymen lived in the various communities along the FR others came from further afield, having walked from home to join the train. Initially the trains ran only on Monday mornings and Saturday afternoons as most men stayed at the quarry barracks during the week. The Saturday train was usually added to the midday Down departure from Blaenau, with spectacular results.
The introduction of steam traction in 1863 extended opportunities for men residing along the course of the FR, and even beyond, to take employment in the slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Special quarrymen's trains with primitive passenger vehicles were introduced in 1867. It seems likely that before then some men had ridden on the slate trucks, but the Board of Trade would not sanction this. Barrack accommodation was made available at the quarries during the week so initially the Up train ran on Monday mornings and the Down train on Saturday afternoons. During this period when only a weekly service operated the carriages were stabled in an open, lean-to, carriage shed at Duffws during the week. In 1881, a daily service was introduced, allowing many of the men to return home daily.
Over the years, a number of different designs of carriage were used. The earliest were little better than low-sided, unsprung, wooden wagons with planks for seats; photographs appear to show that these overhung the sides and some passengers' legs hung outside! There was no protection from the elements. In order to simplify the story this type was designated (by Boyd) Type 1a. (more...)