The next location of major interest was Trawsfynydd station and formerly this was an important one. It was here the railway’s locomotives were stabled. There was a substantial goods yard and a passing loop. The station’s importance was all the more essential as army camps were numerous around this part of Wales. Many Troop specials trains used to come over the mountains and these served the area until about the 1950s when the camps were finally closed down and work commenced on building the new power station.
Trawsfynydd station lost its status somewhat early on because from 1911 onward another station known as Trawsfynydd Camp was opened a little further north and this became the main stopping point for the troop trains.
The small locomotive shed added as a lean to on the large goods shed at Trawsfynydd where the line’s locomotives were kept. These generally worked the line between Blaenau and Bala Junction. Additional locomotives as required had to be sourced from either Bala or Croes Newydd sheds. Source: RMWeb.
The Goods Shed at Trawsfynydd as seen today from the nearby minor road. As the picture shows it has a modern extension added onto the rear. Source: Google Streets.
Trawsfynydd with No. 3749 on a train for Bala during 1959. The road bridge in the background is still extant and the location from which the next scene is depicted. Source: Flickr
Although its not very clear to see at a point north of Trawsfynydd there’s a small overbridge to facilitate a footpath which goes up into the hills. This path goes to Castell Tomen y Mur which stands on the hillside adjacent to what was known as Sarn Helen, a medieval roadway that extended through Snowdonia often at a considerable elevation above the valleys. This very small underpass still exists and can be seen on Google Streets. The loading bay for the Trawysfynydd power station nuclear flasks that were brought by rail is just to the south of this spot and that has been the furthest extent of the line ever since it was cut back in the 1960s. The site is now very overgrown thus its not possible to view it on Google Streets.
The loading facility for the nuclear flasks trains. The year is 1987 with just four years of service left in terms of these special trains from Sellafield. The nuclear power station closed in 1991. The last train left here with materials carried away from the closed power station in 1997. Source: Pinterest
The rails northward to Blaenau Ffestiniog still exists in large and parts of it has been cleared for a preservation scheme. Practically all the former stations on this section has existed in various states of repair since the line closed in 1997. Much of the track has been left intact and its is why there’s still a rail link (the condition of the tracks vary) northward to Blaenau.
Tracks can be viewed extant to Maentwrog Road station, where this view can be seen from the A470, with the Moelwyns forming a nice backdrop. The site here is the base for the heritage railway project that has taken over the line.
The Cynfal viaduct. Source: Twitter
North of here there were stations at Ffestiniog, Teigl halt, Manod, Tan-y-Manod and finally Blaenau Ffestiniog central – not forgetting another spectacular viaduct at Cwm Cynfal. Despite threats of demolition, the route was in due course retained for possible re-use. One attempt to revive the line was a Velorail scheme. The Antur Stiniog project envisaged plans to introduce a Velorail (cycle powered train) along the line by 2016. Despite early promises it was not successful unfortunately.
How the velorail project would have looked. This picture shows trial runs on the line at Blaenau during 2011. Source: Antur Stiniog
The terminus of the line at Blaenau Ffestiniog Central. Source: BBC News
A nice photograph of Blaenau Ffestiniog Central – even though its actually a shot of the station with demolition underway. The page this image is featured on has some great shots of the various stations on the Bala-Ffestiniog line. Source: RMWeb
Ironically the present station at Blaenau Ffestiniog is where the former Bala-Blaenau station once stood. Even though a connection was built between the Conwy Valley line and the stump of the line in order to facilitate Trawsfynydd, it was to be sometime before the town’s station would be relocated here. Part of the reason for this was the site was perfect for the construction of an interchange station for both the Conwy line and the Ffestiniog Railway and the new station was ready for use in 1982.
Almost the same exact view as the 1963 one! The connection to the Conwy Valley Line was opened in April 1964 however passenger services continued to use the other Blaenau station until 1982 when the new one was opened. The narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway can be seen at left. Photograph credit Nigel Thompson. Source Geograph.
The line northwards from Trawsfynydd has a newer and ever changing history, thus the pace of change is quicker than on the remainder of the line from Bala. In a nutshell it is being restored and the work is ongoing. I would suggest the Bala & Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Trust site for further reading on this project. Not forgetting this excellent page at RMWeb showing many of the stations on the line.
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