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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Penrhyn Quarry Railway

In a nutshell

Gauge:    1' 10¾"

Length:  Less than a mile (at present), potentially 6 miles

Opened: 1801 (horsedrawn) - 1876 (steam introduced)


Penrhyn Quarry Railway
Felin Fawr Cyf,
Felin Fawr Works,
Bethesda, Bangor,
LL57 4YY

View Penrhyn Quarry Railway in a larger map


Date of visit: 8 August 2012 (preliminary visit)


Key Facts

  • The railway was constructed to carry slate from the quarries at Bethesda to Port Penrhyn on the shore of the Menai Straits six miles away
  • Initially, the railway was horsedrawn, with three gravity inclines, but the route was amended and steam locomotives introduced in 1876
  • The railway closed in 1962.
  • Two former Penrhyn locomotives - Blanche and Linda - are presently owned by the Ffestiniog Railway. Other Penrhyn locos are preserved at other sites around the UK including Bressingham Steam & Gardens in Norfolk
  • There are more exhibits and information about the railway at Penrhyn Castle in Bangor, the former residence of Lord Penrhyn who was responsible for the quarry and the railway



The line extends from the yard at Felin Fawr Works (the former workshops for the railway) to St Anne's, approximately half a mile down the original route of the railway.


My Impressions

 There was no one in evidence when we visited the railway - but we did arrive unannounced. The workshops for the railway are situated in the Felin Fawr Works, in the shadow of the quarry tips. These were the workshops for the quarry railway when the line was in its heyday.

It is clear that the workshops are preparing for more extensive operation in the not too distant future.....

 ...... while at the rear of the workshop track has been laid on the former trackbed of the railway.

Image: Penryhn Quarry Railway -
 The Official Opening of the railway was held on 24th July 2012, exactly 50 years since the line closed. The former Penrhyn Quarry locomotive, George Sholto, made a special return visit from its present home in Bressingham Steam & Gardens to mark the occasion.

This first visit was a preliminary reconnoitre to find the exact location of the railway and check developments. A further visit will be made when the railway has its next Open Day.

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