The horse worked Deeside Tramway route near Glyndyfrdwy. It was of 2' 6" gauge and partly laid with wooden rails covered by an iron sheath. The rails were kept to gauge by using tie bars and not conventional sleepers. The tramway closed in the 1950's.
The tramway to Moel Tryfan Quarry featured horseshoe curves and steep gradients.
Two views of part of the route of the Rhiwbach Tramway above Blaenau Ffestiniog. This tramway ran for nearly 3 miles to isolated quarries to the east of Blaenau. It was laid out for gravity working towards Blaenau, a horse being used for the returning empty wagons. In its later days a light petrol powered tractor was used. The last use of this tramway was in the early fifties and although all rails have been removed, much of the trackbed is in excellent condition. Llyn Bowydd, in the view above, was created to supply water to Votty and Bowydd Quarry where it was used to generate power using water wheels and later hydro electricity. It is still used as a source of power today and the water leaves the reservoir along a slate lined leat. Further views and a history of the tramway can be seen on my Rhiwbach Slate Quarry website.
Porthmadog was at one time terminus of three narrow gauge lines - the Ffestiniog, Croesor Tramway and Gorseddau Tramway. This gives some idea of its then importance as a port. The last named of these had a brief but chequered life. Opened in 1857 as a 3 foot gauge line it ran for 8 miles to Gorseddau Quarry. A few years later Gorseddau closed as a disastrous failure and the line was regauged to two foot and further extended to Prince of Wales Quarry - another hopeless undertaking. The whole line closed for good in 1886 although much of it is traceable to this day.
Two views of the route of the 3 foot gauge tramway to Gorseddau Quarry.
motorists on the A542 road over the Horseshoe Pass are aware of the trackbed
of the Oernant Tramway just
a few yards away. This horse worked line ran from Pentre Felin near
Llangollen to quarries on Moel y Faen. It
closed in the 1920's.
Standard Gauge lines were also attracted to the quarrying areas. Branches were built to Llanberis, Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog (two lines), Nantlle, along the Tanat Valley and to Dinas Mawddwy. The Cambrian Railway was extended along the western coastline to Pwllheli interchanging with the Ffestiniog and Talyllyn along the way. A journey today along the Conwy Valley line from Llandudno to Blaenau shows just what investment was thought worthy to tap the slate traffic, the Great Western had an equally expensive and tortuous line to Blaenau from the other direction.
A level stretch of the Hafod y Llan tramway between two inclines.
Track bed of the tramway to Pant Mawr quarry on the side of Moelwyn Mawr. The tramway attained this height after ascending two long inclines from the Croesor valley.
The level trackbed of the 2 foot gauge horse worked Croesor Tramway is seen in the valley floor. This served the Croesor and Rhosydd slate quarries. More views of this tramway are on my Rhosydd slate quarry website.
The embankment of the Croesor Tramway with Cnicht on the left.
The track bed of the Gorseddau Junction & Portmadoc Railway which led to Prince of Wales quarry, visible in the right background.
The tramway to Conglog Quarry ran up Cwmorthin. Its route can be seen to the left of the pine trees.
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