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Map of the Rhiwbach Tramway.

The Rhiwbach Tramway was a narrow gauge railway connecting the remote slate quarries to the east of Blaenau Ffestiniog with the Festiniog Railway. Built to the same gauge as the FR and completed in March 1863, it ran from the FR's Duffws station, three miles east to to Rhiwbach Quarry, serving the Cwt-y-Bugail, and Blaen y Cwm quarries on the way. Just before Rhiwbach itself was reached, a branch led to Bwlch y Slaters (Manod) quarry, now operated by Rigcycle and known as Cwt y Bugail, the original quarry of that name having closed in the early 1960s.

The line was actually built by the FR but paid for by the Festiniog Slate Company. It was designed by Charles Easton Spooner, then Secretary and Engineer to the Festiniog Railway Company.

The quarries connected to the tramway had no practical road access as they lay at an altitude of around 1560' above sea level in a remote moorland.

The majority of the tramway was closed in 1961 and lifted in 1964. However, a short section remained in use until 1976 and some sleepers and a few lengths of rail are still in place. (more...)