Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway Guide Book Soft Cover 28 Pages Date Unknown

Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway Guide Book Soft Cover 28 Pages Date Unknown

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Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway Guide Book Soft Cover 28 Pages Date Unknown
Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway Guide Book Soft Cover 28 Pages Date Unknown
In the eighteenth century, when Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog did not exist, this part of Wales was a remote mountain area. As far back as 1798 WA Madocks had acquired land and soon afterwards carried out reclamation projects, first on the shore of Traeth Mawr, which then extended several miles inland to Pont Aberglaslyn, and culminating in the great embankment, the Cob, right across the estuary The workmen for this project were housed in a building at the eastern end of the Cob, where the workshops of the Railway are now situated. Since Madocks was the Member of Parliament for Boston in Lincolnshire, he called the building Boston Lodge. At the other side of the estuary the Cob diverted the River Glaslyn, which scoured a channel to form the natural harbour that was to play a dominant role in the history of slate mining and the Ffestiniog Railway. This harbour was called Port Madoc, known today as Porthmadog.
Meanwhile, high up in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog, slate deposits were being exploited in small quantities and laboriously taken by pack animal and farm carts over rough roads down to the River Dwyryd. Here the slate was loaded into shallow-draft river boats for transport downstream where it was loaded yet again, this time into sea-going sailing ships. In 1830, shortly after Madocks's death, Samuel Holland, who was quarrying slate at Rhiw, joined Henry Archer, a young businessman from Dublin, to promote the Festiniog Railway, incorporated by Act of Parliament on 25 May 1832. James Spooner from Worcestershire was responsible for the survey and construction of the Railway. The route, whose final mile crossed the Cob, enabled loaded slate trains to run down by gravity while the horses that were used to haul the empty wagons back up the line could feed and rest in 'dandy' wagons. The 23 11/2inch (597mm) gauge, corresponding to that being used in the quarries, was wide enough to allow the horses to work efficiently when pulling the empty wagons and narrow enough to enable the Railway to negotiate the sharp curves made necessary by the mountainous terrain. The wagons were small enough to be loaded easily and man-handled in the quarry and at the port.

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