Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton
Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton
Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton

Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton

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Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton
 
Festiniog Railway in camera one hundred years 1871 to 1971 by M.J. Stretton
Softcover 96 pages
Copyright 1999

Introduction
We are lucky to be able to enjoy the Ffestiniog Railway. Going into the new Millennium, it is over 160 years since the railway first saw the light of day and it is by happy accident that it is still here. This is not to denigrate the Herculean efforts made by many hundreds of people over the past half century, but without such accidents they would have been thwarted.
The history of the FR is a long convoluted story and one of overcoming immense obstacles, both physical and otherwise. The actual story has been told in other places in great detail and it is not my intention in this volume to do other than to sketch in some pertinent and/or interesting pointers to the greater canvas. As will be seen from Chapter One, the story goes back nearly two hundred years to the vision and drive of one man. Without him, neither the railway nor the area of North Wales around Porthmadog, since enjoyed by millions of tourists, would have existed as we know them. The tale is a fascinating and engrossing one and I urge anyone who has visited even for one day, to explore further, both in text and on the ground.
In this book, I have attempted to put together a selection of views of the railway's history. These are not inclusive by any manner of means, but are merely signposts to what there was and is. The pictorial period covered is one hundred years, from 1871 to 1971. This might seem somewhat arbitrary, seeing that the railway was 'born' in 1836 and saw steam for the first time in 1863, but - again by happy accident! - 1871 is the date of the earliest photograph used, and 1971 neatly brings us to the end of a particularly frenetic period on the restored railway in the 1960s; to a period of some consolidation before the next leap forward, and to a harbinger of that progress with the fitting of oil-firing to BLANCHE in 1971. The railway was constructed to move slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Portmadoc and the first chapter of the book reflects this journey. Chapters Two and Three then move chronologically from 1951 to 1971, looking at two decades of restoration of the railway, from uncertain beginnings to substantial achievements.
The written text, likewise, offers pieces of the jigsaw, to both show some of the story and to whet the reader's appetite (hopefully!) to learn more, although I have gone back further than 1871 for completeness and continuity. Other books on the railway will repay investigation and past volumes of the Society's magazine can also be obtained from appropriate sources. These latter, especially, show some of the traumas endured in the magnificent and majestic progress northwards from Porthmadog in the mid-Fifties.


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