The Greaves Rotary slate dresser was invented by Greaves of Llechwedd quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog in the 1850's. After the slates were split to the required thickness they were then cut to size by this machine. In operation it works rather like a large upside down lawnmower. This type of machine is still in use today and it can be worked by hand, by foot treadle or, more commonly, by electricity. This example was made by Isaac Owen, Union Works, Portmadoc.
The Padarn Railway was a 4 foot gauge line built to connect the Dinorwig quarry near Llanberis to a purpose built port known as Port Dinorwic. The 2 foot gauge slate wagons were carried 4 to a wagon on specially constructed transporter vehicles. At the Port Dinorwic end of the line the smaller wagons were sent down an incline to the quayside. As well as slate traffic, the line operated a quarrymen's passenger service. This view shows the shed where the locos and carriages were kept at the Port Dinorwic end of the line. Note the slate water tank and small loco coaling stage. The Padarn Railway closed in 1961.
Port Dinorwic was the terminus of the railway described above. It was built by Dinorwic quarry as a base for their shipping fleet and its facilities included a tidal lock and a dry dock. It has now been redeveloped as a marina.
Some items in slate quarries proved to be too difficult to remove after closure. An example is this Cornish boiler built by Carmichael & Sons of Rochdale in the 19th Century. Nowadays it is marooned far from the nearest road.
A line of rubbish wagons, shorn of wheels, await an uncertain future.
Under these buttresses formerly ran the horse worked Nantlle Railway. Without these walls the tramway would have been engulfed by waste rock which is stacked up on both sides.
Moelwyn Quarry was situated high up on the eastern slopes of the Moelwyn Mountains near Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was closed in about 1900 having failed to realise the great hopes of its promoters. There was a small lake near the quarry called Llyn Stwlan and this was greatly expanded in the 1960's to become the top reservoir of the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage Scheme. This photograph was taken looking out of one of the old adits of the quarry towards the new dam. All entrances to this quarry have now been sealed because of the danger of collapse.
The worked out pit of this quarry above Llanberis.
This photograph shows the cast iron framing of a typical incline drum, the outer surface was covered in wood on which the two ropes, were wound. This example is somewhat the worse for wear as it is now some distance down the mountainside from the incline it once worked. Now whether it fell or was pushed, we shall never know.
A derelict stretch of quarry tramway above Blaenau Ffestiniog.
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