This is the second article about the tramroad and railways which served Penrhyn Quarries. The first provided a short history of the line and then followed the tramroad which was first used to replaced pack horses carrying slate and other goods between the quarries and Porth Penrhyn. That article can be found at:
The featured image at the top of this second article about the Penrhyn Quarry railways comes from the camera of K.H. Cribb and is included here with the kind permission of his son Russ Cribb.
The first picture is an embedded link to a photograph on Ernie’s Railway Archive on Flickr and is general view of Porth Penrhyn looking South towards the port headquarters.
The second image shows the port headquarters in 1961, a few years before final closure of the line. The photograph appears to have been taken from the bridge over the line and looks North into the port area.
The Penrhyn Quarry Railway (PQR) left Porth Penrhyn running alongside a standard-gauge LNWR branch which also served the port and linked it with the national rail network.
The older tramroad occupied the same formation area as the two later lines of the PQR. The standard-gauge line was built while the horse-drawn tramroad was operating.
The PQR and the standard-gauge line ran in close proximity for some distance after leaving the port. Both used the same bridges over the Afon Cegin.
The two railways ran on different gradients after a second crossing of the Cegin. The next photograph shows the two lines passing under the old A5. As illustrated, the Shrewsbury to Holyhead road (A5) crossed the PQR and the standard-gauge line. Each line had its own bore in a tall stone embankment. “The Penrhyn bore being 36ft long and of its basic loading gauge Viz. 15ft wide and 11ft 10in. height from rail to top of arch with 7ft horizontal clearance at the foot of the walls.” [29: p60]
The old structure shown above was later replaced by a more modern structure spanning only the PQR, as shown below. The structure now carries the A5 over the Lon Las Ogwen cycle-route.
After passing under the A5, the LNWR line rose to join the main Chester to Holyhead line west of Llandygai tunnel. The PQR ran on its own course as it travelled on from the A5 at Maesgierchen.
The old tramroad is covered in the first article in this short series:
This article follows the Penrhyn Quarry Railway which was operational from the 1870s. Motive power was given some consideration in the earlier article.
At a gradient of 1 in 209 the PQR left the Nant Maes-y-Geirchen gorge crossed the occupation crossing to Felin-Esgob and approached the fine spectacle of the Chester & Holyhead Railway’s Cegin Viaduct.
The Cegin Viaduct “has seven semi-circular arches each of 35ft span – it has masonry piers but the stone arches are faced in brick (Ref: Public Record Office, M.T. 27/49.).” [29: p60]
As an aside, The Bethesda Branch which runs along a similar route to the PQR was a 4.25mile (6.8 km) line between Bangor and Bethesda in Gwynedd, North Wales. Its primary purpose was to bring quarried slate down to the main line for onward transport. It existed in competition with the private PQR. It opened in July 1884, and a local passenger service was run as well as trains for the mineral traffic.
Competition with the PQR was healthy and the two lines managed to co-exist until increasing road competition led to the cessation of ordinary passenger services on the branch in 1951; goods traffic and occasional passenger excursion journeys kept the line going until its complete closure in July 1962. 
Wikipedia tells us that the line climbed all the way from the main line, rising for much of the way at 1 in 40. Major features on the branch included the Ogwen Viaduct and the Tregarth Tunnel which was 279yards (255metres) long. Apart from the terminus at Bethesda, there were two intermediate stations on the route – at Felin Hen and at Tregarth. 
The Bethesda Branch formation now provides a cycle and walking route to Bethesda from Porth Penrhyn – known as the Ogwen Trail, part of the Sustrans 82 cycle-route.
Continuing to look at the Penrhyn Quarry Railway …. we head South from the Cegin Viaduct.
At about 70ft above sea-level, there was a halt for the Workmen’s Train adjacent to Lon Cefn Ty. The bridge here (once just a footbridge) carried the road over the PQR. To the West of the bridge, the Lon Cefn Ty crossed the Afon Cegin by means of a ford (with a footbridge for pedestrians) and then passed under the Bethesda Branch which was on a steep falling grade from its junction with the mainline just to the East of Bangor Tunnel.
The PQR left the East side of the Afon Cegin and crossed the Glas-yn-Fryn embankment, passing Coed-Hywel-Uchaf Farm on its left then passed 15ft below the LNWR Bethesda Branch by means of an acutely-skewed bridge. Boyd tells us that the LNWR retrieved this bridge from another site and cut it down “to a 31ft span for re-use here; it formed a ‘tunnel’ almost 43 ft long for the narrow gauge and gave generous vertical clearance of 14 ft and 14 ft horizontal!” [29: p59]
As the satellite image above shows, to the South of the A55, the alignments of the PQR and the LNWR Bethesda branch converged and ran parallel to each other at different levels. Immediately South of the A55, the PQR formation ran across what is now an open field. before passing under the Bethesda branch. On the adjacent map extract, to the East of Glasinfryn. The Bethesda Branch is highlighted in purple and the PQR in pink.
The Bethesda branch Felin-hen station was Immediately to the South of this point. It appears at the top of the 6″ Ordnance Survey map extract below. The PQR can be seen drifting away to the Southwest alongside the A4244 (Felin Hen Road).
The line curved to the right and then to the left left and crossed the Felin-Hen Road on a 17ft lattice ironwork span and the Felin-Hen stopping point before passing through a heavily wooded area in cutting.
Continuing to curve to the left, trains passed a short siding alongside on the left which did not have a permanent connection to the PQR. This siding served “a small gravel pit and connection was made as required – and probably since 1881 – by a set of portable Spoon Points which were lifted off after use. On Mondays a wagon was manhandled down to here from Coed-y-Parc, pushed through the narrow curved cutting into the working and loaded up as required; output was small being only about 150 tons a year, with 1912-14 being the best period. An embarrassing accident occurred to the Up Workmen’s Train here one Monday morning, when, the Spoon Points having been inadvertently left in position, the train engine tried to enter the gravel pit and was derailed. The Engineer’s diary records the date, 3rd February, 1941, that the engine was CEGIN – an unusual choice – and that the train ‘Arrived Mill 10.30 a.m’.” [29: p59]
The PQR then continued to sweep round in a wide arc towards the East, gaining height as it travelled. Completing the curve to the left the PQR was then running West-northwest and to the North of Moel-y-ci Farm which is now, in the 21st century, the site of a Farm Shop (Blas Lon Las). The route of the PQR crosses the access road to the Farm Shop and gradually converges with the line of the Bethesda branch. There was an overbridge carrying the Moel-y-ci Farm lane.
James Boyd says that along this section of the PQR there was a long (250 yard) loop together with a long siding on the North side. “trains passed each other on the right. Unusually, iron railings fenced the route here, whereas elsewhere the ubiquitous estate fence made of slabs stuck into the ground on edge and wired together near the top, was (and is) a feature of the district.“[36: p58]
Clicking here will take you to an image of ‘Linda’ on a PQR main line up train a few years before closure in 1961 which includes the slate slab and wire fencing mentioned by Boyd. 
“Until the reduction in trade made the running of but one train (from 4th May, 1928) sufficient to move stocks, trains passed here regularly. There was a water tank used by Up trains which stopped if required. … There was no signalling. The loop, Pandy (or sometimes Tyn-y-Lon) was an original stopping point for the Workmen’s Train and boasted one of the four Waiting Huts, but a stone throwing incident during the Great strike so displeased His Lordship that the stop was removed.” [36: p58-59]
The two railways may be running very close together on the map or satellite image but the vertical separation was significant with the LNWR line in deep cutting.
The Workmen’s Train Halt in Tregarth was behind Shiloh Chapel, it was “linked with the nearby road by footpath and wicket gate. No trains ever seemed actually to stand there, for it was sufficient for the Workmen’s rake to run slowly past as the men jumped on or off!” [36: p58]
The PQR passed under the main road in Tregarth through what James Boyd describes as “the ‘standard’ form of road overbridge, stone with brick facings.” [36: p58]
The bridge was a skew single arch structure in brick and was funded by the LNWR.. the Bethesda Branch was 31ft below the PQR at this point. [36: p58] Details of the bridge over the lane can be found below. Immediately below are two pictures taken from road level of the 21st century remains of the bridge over the lane.
After crossing the LNWR, which was in deep cutting, the PQR ran along a very short embankment before bridging the Tal-y-Cae to Hen-Durnpike road which climbed steeply beneath it. The bridge was originally a 25ft timber span (which was replaced in steel) on stone abutments. Just beyond the bridge was the Corrig-Llwydion Workmen’s Train halt, then a shallow cutting followed by an equally shallow causeway. The line was now climbing at 1 in 93 and at approximately 400ft above sea level.
As both the 6″ OS map extract and the satellite image above show, the line turned very sharply to the right round the flanks of Pen-Dinas. Apparently, the tightest radius on the line was at this location (85ft) and the Baldwin locomotives purchased by the PQR were known to derail here on occasions. The line here was supported on low walls. Boyd tells us that the right of way of the PQR widens out at the head of the old Incline. There used to be stabling loops for the Incline at this point. [36: p58]
Between the old tramroad incline and Hen-Durnpike in Bron-Ogwen the newer PQR followed the line of the old Tramroad. Boyd describes this section: “the line was carried on a stone shelf. … Parallel and below, the old road to the Quarry kept company.” [36: p57]
Boyd describes this road crossing as: “a close-walled road and rail intersection with protective tall semaphore signal (its signal hut perched on the walling, the enceinte of successive Mrs. Parry – gatekeepers) and twin road gates, made all the more risky as several roads met hereabouts. The hut, wooden walled and slate roofed, survived the closure. Here the line was 420 ft above sea level, and there were ‘Whistle’ boards on each side of the gates; this was a most dangerous and narrow place, more especially for the road-user! The position of the approaching train could be determined quite exactly by long forewarning of its steam hooter, each main line engine having an individual tone.” [36: p57]
Behind the road crossing and running along the backs of the properties in Bron-Ogwen on the B4409, initially on a shallow grade, then climbing at a gradient of 1 in 36 the PQR reached open land. Here, at first, it ran on a causeway spanning a footpath, and then it passed through a series of rock cuttings, one being only 8ft wide at formation level. [36: p57]
Over open land to the West of the modern B4409 the PQR ran on a high embankment/causeway, 18ft high and 10ft wide. The outer walls of which were formed of stone slabs which were then back filled with earth/arisings from the Quarry.
After crossing St. Ann’s Hl the old Tramroad continued on to the South towards the Felin-Fawr Slate Works and the Quarry. The later PQR route and the Tramroad route meet once again just before a footbridge. Felin-Fawr House was just beyond the footbridge to the left and Mill Cottage was on the right. James Boyd notes that the footbridge was constructed by John Foulkes in 1823 and framed wooden gates to close off access along the line to the Slate Works.[36: p55]
A short distance beyond the footbridge the trains reach the summit of the line. At that point they had climbed 550ft from Porth Penrhyn. [36: p56]
The summit was close to a point where a standpipe was on the retaining wall which ran down the West side of the Slate Works site, to the right of the line. It was along this length of the line that loaded slate trains were prepared for their journey down to the port.
The mainline stayed close to the wall which can still be seen on site in 21st century. The photograph below shows a port-bound slate train being prepared to for the journey North with ‘Linda’ in charge.
To the East of the mainline there were three sidings between it and the original slate-slab mill. One of these sidings was increasingly used for locomotives which had been taken out of service. The mainline continued South beyond the slab mill and then, once it has been built in 1900, under an overbridge which, like the footbridge’ was gated to control access to the site of the Quarry. Beyond the overbridge were the main sidings where slate wagons were marshalled either for their journey to the coast (if they were full).
We finish this portion of our journey with a look at some of the locomotives which were stored at Felin-Fawr and some of the rolling stock in the immediate area.
Terry Dorrity writes of the photograph above: “This was the bitter-sweet sight that met visitors to the Coed y Parc Penrhyn Works at Bethesda in Snowdonia. The sad line of withdrawn locomotives resting and rusting, apparently beyond saving, in a sort of mini Barry scrapyard must have encouraged many a daydream but fortunately every one of them, except SKINNER, has been preserved.” 
The Locomotives are: “EIGIAU; STANHOPE; the de Winton, KATHLEEN; JUBILEE 1847; frames wheels and part of the cab of SKINNER; LILLA, and SGT MURPHY await their fate with LILLIAN, which was next in line but out of sight.” 
Terry Dorrity continues: “EIGIAU is an Orenstein and Koppel 0-4-0 well tank built in 1912 (works number 5668) which was originally supplied to C L Warren contractors in Cheshire and named SUNLIGHT. In 1916 it was sold to the Aluminium Corporation of Dolgarrog for use in building Cowlyd reservoir and renamed EIGIAU after a lake in Snowdonia. It became a Penrhyn locomotive in 1928. It was taken out of service in 1949 and was bought for preservation by Mr G J Mullis and removed in pieces to Droitwich in January and February 1963 and restored to working order. It ran at Bressingham Gardens for some time but it is now part of the Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway collection.” 
A number of photos taken by Barry Fitzpatrick, Ron Fisher and Ken Cribb, included here follow, all of locos on the line at Felin-Fawr. All pictures used by permission of the photographers or, in Ken’s case, with permission from his son Russ.
These next two pictures were taken inside the workshops.
A few further pictures of items of rolling stock at Felin-Fawr. These photographs were taken in 1962, 1963 and 1967.
A short history of the line is followed by some information about the locomotives used on the line. This first article then focusses primarily on the horse-powered tramroad which preceded the later Penrhyn Quarry Railway.
Penrhyn is the Welsh word for ‘promontory’.
“The history of Port Penrhyn can be traced back as early as 1713 when it was recorded that 14 shipments totalling 415,000 slates had been sent to Dublin. In 1720, another 8 shipments totalling 155,000 slates were sent to Dublin, two to Drogheda (20,000) and one to Belfast (35,000). Two years later, a shipment of 80,000 slates were sent to Dunkirk. After these few shipments only coastal traffic left from Aber-Cegin (Port Penrhyn) until Richard Pennant took over the ownership of Penrhyn Estates and appointed Benjamin Wyatt in 1786 as agent.” 
The Penrhyn Railway opened as a tramroad in 1801 which ran from quarries a few miles inland from Bangor in North Wales to the coast at Port Penrhyn. The gauge of the tramroad was 2ft 0.5in. It was constructed by Lord Penrhyn at a cost of around £175,000.  The alignment was as shown on the map immediately below.
It was thought that there was an earlier line which ran between Port Penrhyn and Llandegai. That tramway, if it existed, was constructed in 1798. Its route paralleled that of the northern end of Lord Penrhyn’s tramroad. One theory is that this earlier tramway was operational until 1831.  There appear to have been two inclines on the Llandegai Tramway, one close to the port and the other directly adjacent to Llandegai Penlan Mill at Llandegai at the Southern end of that line. Both are shown on the image below.
Research in 2021 suggests that the earlier tramway did not exist. . If it did, it is likely that it was subsumed into the tramroad built by Lord Penrhyn. There is also research, undertaken in 2019, which suggests that a tramway was probably constructed in 1798 in connection with the Penrhyn Mills on the lower Ogwen.  My thanks to David Elis-Williams for providing a link to this research by Barrie Lill.
Lill comments that the Penrhyn Mills at Llandegai had a part in the development of the tramway/tramroad which eventually served the Penhryn Quarry: “The mill had what David Gwyn believes to be part of the first iron-railed overland edge railway of any length in the world, and the first iron edge railway built for the mass movement of stone. However, whereas James Boyd conjectures that originally the Penlan railway only extended from Port Penrhyn to the mill at Llandegai, pre-dated the Penrhyn Quarry Railway by three years, and was only later extended to the Quarry,  Gwyn does not agree. Instead he believes that the Penlan line merely was an off-shoot from the Quarry Railway.  At present there is no available evidence to confirm either theory, although there is a belief that prior to publishing his book on the Penrhyn Quarry Railways, Boyd had obtained supporting documents which no longer are publicly available. Irrespective of the above it seems unlikely that the mill would have opened without an adequate transportation system such as some simple form of tramway being in place, and in this scenario it is likely that the problems encountered with the working of this system are what prompted Wyatt to adapt the system and introduce the iron-railed edge railway to which David Gwyn refers.” 
Lord Penrhyn was persuaded by William Jessop to build the tramroad. “Jessop and his partner Benjamin Outram were then constructing the Little Eaton Gangway in Derbyshire. Samuel Wyatt was also involved in the construction of the gangway, and his brother Benjamin was the Penrhyn estate manager.” 
“Benjamin Wyatt was put in charge of building the tramway. Construction started on 2 September 1800, with the first slate train travelling on 25 June 1801. … The track used oval rails designed by Benjamin Wyatt, and their quoted gauge of 2 ft 1⁄2 in (622 mm) was measured between the centres of the rails. The railroad was operated by horse power along with gravity and three balanced inclines – “Port” (sometimes called “Marchogion”), “Dinas” north east of Tregarth and “Cilgeraint” a short distance north of Coed-y-Parc workshops in Bethesda. The longest was 220 yards (200 m).” 
Before the tramroad was constructed, slate was transported to the port by horses along mountain paths. After the tramroad was brought into service the local costs of transport fell from 4 shillings/ton to 1 shilling/ton. [4: p42-43]
In 1832, “Wyatt’s oval rails were replaced with more conventional … rails. The gauge of this new track was 1ft 10.3⁄4in (578 mm), measured between the inner edges of the rails – the conventional way of measuring track gauge.” 
In 1876 the tramroad was “rebuilt on a new course with steel rails laid on wooden sleepers. Steam locomotives were introduced, supplied by De Winton & Co. Engineers of Caernarvon.” 
Thomas Middlemass tells us that De Winton supplied ten locomotives to the line. “Seven were to be used at the quarries, three were to work the ‘main line’ to the coast, and all* were vertical-boilered 0-4-0 tanks.” [6: p16] They had two cylinders secured below the running plate with direct drive to one axle. The total weight varied between 4 and 5 tons. 
* … It appears that Middlemass has overlooked the fact that 3 of the 10 locomotives were fitted with horizontal boilers and were 0-4-0ST locos. They were named ‘Edward Sholto’, ‘Hilda’ and ‘Violet’, and were supplied in 1876, 1878 and 1879 respectively. 
Between 1882 and 1909 the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds supplied sixteen four-wheeled locomotives for use in the quarry and on the line to Port Penrhyn.” 
One surviving Penrhyn locomotive is 0-4-0 vertical-boiler tank engine “George Henry,” which was built in 1877 and still looks good 140 years later at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn, Wales.
The new route to suit steam-power obviated the need for the inclined planes, maintaining the easiest possible gradients. “Between coast and quarry it rose 550 feet, and, allowing for a stretch of 1/4 mile at 1 in 37 and 3 miles at 1 in 40, the average gradient emerged as 1 in 91. Flat bottomed rails were laid at first, but these were replaced in 1894 by the 50 lb bullhead variety.” [6: p15-16]
“The first locomotives used on the new railway were three De Winton’s. … Although successful, these locomotives were not powerful enough for the substantial traffic that passed down the line.” 
In 1882 the railway ordered ‘Charles’, a large 0-4-0ST from Hunslet. Charles proved very successful and was followed by ‘Blanche’ and ‘Linda’ in 1893 to the same basic design. These locomotives were the mainstay of the railway for the rest of its life.
In 1882 Penrhyn switched to more conventional locomotion, ordering “‘Charles’, a large 0-4-0ST from Hunslet. Charles proved very successful and was followed by ‘Blanche’ and ‘Linda’ in 1893 to the same basic design. These locomotives were the mainstay of the railway for the rest of its life.” 
“Between then and 1909 a positive spate of tank locos flowed, new, from Hunslet Engine Co. All were 0-4-0 saddle tanks, with weight and power variations introduced to meet specific Penrhyn requirements. Three were designed to work the ‘main line’, three were employed shunting at Port Penrhyn. Four of the smallest were confined to quarry work, and these were supplemented a few years later when six larger tanks arrived. As it happened, the latter were the last new purchases by Penrhyn.” [6: p16]
Among the Hunslet locomotives were the Penrhyn Port Class of three locomotives “built for the Penrhyn Quarry Railway (PQR). These locomotives were built by the Hunslet Engine Company between 1883 and 1885 and supplied specifically to work at Port Penrhyn near Bangor, North Wales. They were a variant of the standard Dinorwic Alice Class design.” 
“The Penrhyn Main Line class was a class of three narrow gauge steam locomotives built for the Penrhyn Quarry Railway (PQR). These locomotives were built by the Hunslet Engine Company between 1882 and 1893 and supplied specifically to work the railway that connected the Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda in north Wales to Port Penrhyn on the Menai Strait.” 
“All three locomotives were preserved after the closure of the PQR. Charles was donated to the Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum. Linda was loaned to the nearby Ffestiniog Railway in July 1962. For the 1963 season the locomotive was re-gauged to the Ffestiniog’s 1 ft 11.5 in (597 mm) and purchased, along with Blanche at the end of the year. Both have since received extensive modifications including tenders, pony trucks and superheating.” 
The post-First World War years brought such economic instability that second-hand locos were not hard to find. Penrhyn bought 15 such from 1922 onwards. 
In 1923, three ex-US Army Baldwin 2-6-2Ts were also imported for ‘main line’ use, but, as happened elsewhere in Britain, they were never popular, and their working life was short.
The railway was private, providing no public service for either goods or passengers. Quarrymen’s trains were run, paid for by the quarrymen themselves.” 
“Today Porth Penrhyn in Bangor still serves the Penrhyn Quarry at Bethesda. Although today slate production and exports are not at 19th century levels it continues to be a key part of the business of slate. Exports of crushed slate (aggregate) by Penrhyn Quarry, through Porth Penrhyn currently to Rotterdam, or ports along the south coast of England, have grown to become a significant proportion of Welsh Slate sales in addition to several containers of roofing slates being shipped every month to Australia alone (taking approximately 45 days).” 
“Welsh slate is now covering the roofs of buildings as prestigious as the New South Wales Supreme Court and historic as Unwin’s Stores, both in Sydney Australia, as well as the Arts Centre in earthquake-hit Christchurch, New Zealand 2012. Europe also is a prime destination for Welsh slate with shipments of slate and decorative aggregate within Europe continuing to grow and evolve in particular.” 
All rail connections to the quarry disappeared in the mid-20th century under competition from road transport
The Post-1879 Route of the Railway
We start at the North end of the old railway at Porth Penrhyn. Porth Penrhyn) is a harbour located just east of Bangor in north Wales at the confluence of the River Cegin with the Menai Strait.
We follow the route on the Ordnance Survey 6″ Maps from around the turn of the 20th century as supplied by the National Library of Scotland (NLS). 
Before the future A5 was developed as a turnpike in 1820, the tramroad ran within the width of the old highway from this point for a few hundred yards. When the turnpike was created, the road level was lifted and the tramroad crossed beneath the renewed highway and ran along the Southwestern side. The sketch below shows this.
A. The old tramroad
Beyond this point, we first follow the line of the old Tramroad to Penrhyn Quarries. …..
“The Ddinas Incline was one of three gravity-worked inclines on the original line of the Penrhyn Railway, built 1800-1801 to transport slate from the Penrhyn quarries to Port Penrhyn. … About half-way up the incline was an overbridge carrying a minor road, now widened and straightened at this point. To the north a cutting can still be seen, but the lower part of the incline has been destroyed by construction of a sewage works. To the south the line is visible as a terrace in the field. A ruined wall constructed of large roughly squared stone blocks near the top of the incline may be a surviving fragment of the winding house.”  W J Crompton, RCAHMW, 5 November 2009.
From this point on, the old Tramroad and Penrhyn Quarry Railway followed approximately the same route. The second article about these lines will follow the Penrhyn Quarry Railway to this point at Tregarth.
This post is a short addendum to my post about the pre-railway age and the tramways of Pembrokeshire. In that post there was a section about the Porthgain to Abereiddi Tramway. In writing about that tramway, I failed to include details of the 3ft-gauge clifftop tramway which linked the slate quarry at Pen Clegyr Point with Porthgain.
I also failed to note the detail of the tramway tunnel between St. Bride’s Quarry and Porthgain Harbour. The original post can be found here:
Much of this current post about the Clifftop Tramway is summarised from a book by R.C. Jermy – “The Railways of Porthgain and Abereiddi,” which is an excellent study of the location. 
By 1906, lines which linked St. Bride’s Quarry with the harbour via two inclines had been removed. The later tramway tunnel was also redundant and the tramway rails had been lifted. “Traces of the earthworks and inclines, including the lines to the spoil tips, are the only remains on the 1906 map. There remained on the clifftop just the lines of the horse-drawn tramway fetching stone from the quarries at Pen Clegyr Point. From loading sidings in the quarry the line entered a shallow cutting passing a small smithy on the right, after which maps indicate a short passing loop. The line then climbed upwards towards the summit close to Pentop Gate at which point it curved right, passing the weighing machine which measured the wagon weights. The line then forked into two, one track leading to each of the stone crushers located above the storage hoppers. Small passing loops were located on each of these tracks.” [2: p17]
There is, for me, an interesting connection between this area and the Forest of Dean. In 1900, the Forest of Dean Stone Firms were registered in Bristol.”This concern took over the harbour and mining interest at Porthgain but after November 1909, and until it was finally wound up in 1922, its interests were managed by United Stone Firms, another Bristol-registered Company. This firm raised a mortgage of £200,000 on the Dean Forest and Porthgain interests in 1910 and indeed this was the time when the crushed stone demand was reaching its peak. Sailing ships and powered vessels called regularly, the quarry and harbour railway systems were well developed and the Company ran its own fleet of steam coasters, each of about 350 tons.” [2: p10]
However, by 1913, despite the success of its Porthgain operations the parent company passed into the hands of the receiver. It remained so until 1926 “when it was reorganised and taken out of receivership by Walter Bryant of Coleford, Gloucestershire, who formed United Stone Forms (1926) Limited.” [2: p10]
However,by July 1931, that company became insolvent and was closed by 31st August 1931.
Jermy notes that “by 1908 the demand for roadstone had increased and the Forest of Dean Stone Firms made the decision to invest in a steam locomotive for operating the clifftop system. … It was realised that with the arrival of a heavy locomotive complete relaying with heavier track would become a necessity. Accordingly 200 sleepers were ordered … and … between 20th and 22nd January, 1909 the tramway was [re-laid] with heavy rails and sleepers from Pentop Gate by the water tank to the winding engine house at the top of the incline leading from the lowest quarry levels. A new engine shed was constructed, the roof over the single road being completed just six days after the arrival of the first locomotive! An inspection pit was located between the rails in the shed. Later, in November 1909 a ten ton weighbridge was installed in a brick building close to the water tower.” [2: p18]
Later, two further locomotives arrived at Porthgain necessitating the addition of a second road to the engine shed.
Records appear to show that one of these locomotives, Singapore, was too heavy for the tramway rails in place when they arrived and as a result in some expenditure was necessary to upgrade the tramway. In fact, the prevailing weather conditions and the weight of the locomotives seem to have resulted in a significant regular maintenance programme being implemented.
Jermy shows two plans of the railway – the first shows it much as on the 1906 6″ Ordnance Survey. He dates his sketch plan to 1905. [2: p20]. The second is the result of a survey of the line by Jermy in the 1980s which seems to show the small network at its fullest extent in around 1925. [2: p21] This sketch plan shows the engine shed in its position on the Northeast side of the St. Bride’s Quarry, three roads serving the crushers and hoppers, a small Yard on the North side of St. Bride’s Quarry, a weighbridge and water tank to the Northwest of the Yard, a long straight length of line with two tracks, one known as ‘The Cutting’, the other as ‘Jerusalem Road’. These two line led to the Upper Level of Pen Clegyr Quarry and, via a cable-worked incline to the lower level of the quarry. [2: p21]
The first locomotive was named ‘Portgain‘. It was built in 1909 by Andrew Barclay in Kilmarnock. It was Works No. 1185. … No. 1185 was an 0-6-0T with 7″ x 13″ outside cylinders, 2ft 2½in wheels 3ft gauge. … Despatch Date: 26th July 1909. [2: p23] This locomotive was out of use by 1929 and was scrapped on site shortly after 1931. 
The second, ‘Charger‘ was built in 1891 by W.J. Bagnall in Stafford and had the Works No. 1381. It had a copper firebox, brass tubes and two 5½in x 10in outside cylinders. It passed through a number of ownerships before, in September 1912, it was moved to Porthgain. [2: p29-30] This locomotive was scrapped shortly after 1931. 
The third, ‘Singapore‘, was a 0-4-2 saddle tank built at the Kerr-Stuart works in Stoke-on-Trent and had Works No. 659. It had 9½in x 15in outside cylinders. It was built in 1899. It was first bought by the contractor G. Pauling and Co. It was shipped to Ireland and was used on the Burtonport Extension contract which Pauling’s were undertaking for the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway. Sold in 1903, it went to Scotland and remained there until 1912 when it was transferred to Porthgain. [2: p31-33] This locomotive was out of use by 1929 and was scrapped on site shortly after 1931. 
The fourth locomotive was ‘Newport‘, a 0-4-0T loco. It was built by Hudswell, Clarke and Company of Leeds. It was originally built as a 2ft 10in gauge loco with Works No. 311 in 1889. In 1900 it was owned by Kellett & Sons who worked on the Hagley to Frankley section of the Elan Valley Aqueduct. It went through a number of ownerships after this before entering service at Porthgain in May 1929 after an overhaul. [2: p33-36] This locomotive remained in the Porthgain Railway Locomotive Shed after closure until scrapped in 1953. 
A holiday in West Wales in the early Autumn of 2022 led to a little research on the railways in the area.
This is the sixth article about Pembrokeshire’s Railways. The first focussed on the pre-railway age, the second focussed on the mainline railways of the county. The third article focussed on the industrial railways in the vicinity of Milford Haven. The fourth and fifth on the Saundersfoot Railway in Pembrokeshire. The links to these posts are provided below. This article concentrates on the railways associated with RNAD Trecwn (the Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Trecwn).
TheRoyal Navy Armaments Depot at Trecwn (RNAD Trecwn)
RNAD Trecwn is, in the 21st century, a decommissioned Royal Navy Armaments Depot, south of Fishguard in the village of Trecwn, Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
It was built in 1938 to store and supply naval mines and munitions ordnance to the Royal Navy. The depot apparently came into its own during the cold war. During those times 400 permanent workers were employed at the site, housed in an MoD built small town. The site had an on-site, 2ft 6in (762mm) narrow gauge railway, built using copper to reduce sparks. Weapons were both delivered to the site and then distributed using standard gauge rail to Fishguard, Neyland for Milford Haven, and latterly Pembroke Dock. 
The Standard-gauge Branch Line and Sidings – Just south of the main entrance to RNAD Trecwm and the main security fence to the site was a single railway platform, for workers access to the depot. Within the security fence, a marshalling yard of 8 parallel loops existed, shunted by a dedicated MoD diesel hydraulic shunting locomotive. The line then extended on down the valley, through a gauge exchange shed for access to the narrow gauge network, and then provided direct access to the 58 cavern storage chambers via a series of herring-bone shaped sidings. 
Supply trains would run along the dedicated branch-line from the site: to Fishguard Harbour; to Neyland for Milford Haven; and Pembroke Dock. At Fishguard the line extended beyond the ferry terminal at Fishguard Harbour railway station, continuing along the breakwater to a single line spur, allowing for transfer of munitions to Royal Navy ships. 
These next few images show the Trecwn branch-line. The first shows its junction with what was the GWR line to Fishguard from which the branch runs Northeast towards Trecwn …
The depot was decommissioned in 1992. All 58 cavern storage bunkers and the extensive above ground network of storage sheds and other military buildings remain in place. Ownership of the site was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to Anglo-Irish consortium Omega Pacific in 1998, and then by court order to the Manhattan Loft Corporation in 2002. The site is being redeveloped as an industrial park. 
Three aerial photographs are provided by the Fishguard and Goodwick Local History Society. Posted by Ian Evans, they are used here by kind permission.
The first one shows the main entrance to the depot at it’s southern end. It can be dated to the mid-1950’s. “At the bottom right of the image can be seen the main railway line into the valley, leading to the railway sidings. The buildings to both sides of the railway sidings included a number of specialist workshops and storage facilities, there were no live explosives handled in this area.” 
The second “shows the workshops and stores buildings in more detail. The building at the bottom right with the tall chimneys was the southern boiler house which supplied steam to most of the buildings seen here. It was in this area that the narrow gauge railway system started, it extended right up the north end of the site.” 
Of interest, to me at least, is that when I load Google Earth onto my desktop I automatically get the railway tracks at Trecwn added. I am not sure how that happened, but it is useful for this article. ….
The third of three aerial images from the mid-1950s appears below. It “shows the red area where live explosives were handled and stored, everything from .303 Rifle bullets to 1 Thousand pound bombs were processed here and stored in 58 Magazines built into each side of the valley, If you zoom in you can see a number of the tunnel entrances quite clearly. A lot of the smaller buildings have blast walls surrounding them. The complex extended further north from this photo to the north end Boiler House and security gates.” 
The OpenRailwayMap  is also of great help in establishing what railways existed inside the Depot. It is clear that the standard-gauge line extended much further to the Northeast along the valley of the Afon Aer than the Ordnance Survey mapping records.
To complete this section on the Standard-gauge line, I have included a series of screen-dumps from the OpenRailwayMap . Having them at this point in the article should hopefully minimise scrolling when we look at the Narrow-Gauge network at the depot. The sequence of the map extracts runs from the Depot gates in the West, closest to the hamlet of Trecwn, eastwards to the point where the valley turns to the North and then follows the valley northwards.
This final image is the key/legend provided by the OpenRailwayMap  editors. The Trecwn branch as far as the depot gates is shown in yellow above. The standard-gauge lines within the Depot are deemed industrial lines and are therefore shown as thin brown lines. The length of these line inside the Depot is significantly longer that that shown on the Ordnance Survey maps. Abandoned standard gauge lines are shown as thick dashed brown lines (not grey as in the key).
The narrow gauge lines are shown as thin dashed brown lines. It is possible that by the time the mapping was undertaken these had been abandoned and are hence shown dashed. There are a very few lengths of narrow-gauge track shown solid brown.
The extent of the network of these lines is, for me, the most engaging element of this mapping. RNAD Trecwn had a very significant internal narrow-gauge network. …
The Narrow Gauge (2ft 6in) Lines – A 2ft 6in (762 mm) gauge network traverses the entire site, with direct access to the 58 cavern storage chambers. All rail infrastructure was built in copper to reduce the risk of sparks. Serviced via its own on-site locomotive shed and works, the line was equipped with a series of specially provided wooden enclosed wagons, with sliding roof covers. This allowed sea mines and other munitions to be directly placed within the wagons from overhead gantries, and transported over the entire site without access via any form of side door, hence enhancing safety. The narrow gauge line therefore became the main method of on-site distribution, with standard gauge rail or road the off site access method. 
The next few aerial images can be found on the Coflein website and show elements of the narrow-gauge system running along the site. In places the standard-gauge and narrow -gauge sit side-by-side.
In 2003, David Mansell, writing about the site commented: “About a mile into the site the narrow gauge railway facilities commence with maintenance sheds and a covered transfer building. There are a total of 58 storage chambers, each extending into the hillside for 200 feet, arranged in a herringbone formation along both sides of the valley. Each one has alarmed steel doors with its own siding off the narrow gauge railway.”  … His opinion at the time, was that RNAD Trecwn was “a railway enthusiasts dream with both standard and narrow (2ft 6in) gauge lines. The depot has its own branch off the Fishguard to Carmarthen line and after a small platform area outside the depot for staff the line enters the site via lockable steel gates into the main marshalling yard where the line splits into 8 parallel loops. The standard gauge line then travels the entire length of the valley alongside the narrow-gauge line which has points for the siding to each storage chamber.”  …
The narrow gauge rolling stock then consisted of the “well known ‘Trecwn’ wooden wagons with sliding roofs to enable mines to be lowered in and flatbed trucks for other munitions. Some of the stock can now be seen on the Welsh Highland and [Welshpool and] Llanfair light railways.” 
At the time Dave Mansell was writing, there was still a substantial amount on site. Locomotives included small diesel shunters and battery units; some derelict examples of which were still on the site in 2003. Points on both gauges were manually operated and still well greased. 
The next few photographs were all taken early in 2003 by Dave Mansell and are shared with his kind permission and that of Subterranea Britannica…..
Locomotives – a series of narrow-gauge locomotives were employed at the site. These are surviving examples:
Ruston & Hornsby 187069 – was a Class 25/30hp locomotive with a Ruston 3VSO engine and weighing 3.25 tons. It left the works on 28th October 1937. “It was one of forty of that type working on the Nuttall-Pauling Consortium contract to build the … Depot at Trecwn. … Construction was complete by 1941 but this locomotive was evidently still in the West of Wales in 1950, because a spares order was placed by Pauling on 26th May 1950 to be sent to Geo Bros Ltd., East Burrows Yard, Swansea, which may have been repairing it. In 1951 it was noted at Pauling’s Park Royal plant depot, Middlesex, numbered P250 in the Pauling list. It was later sold or scrapped at an unknown date. [229: p1-2]
Baguley-Drewry Locomotives – Baguley-Drewry of Burton-on-Trent built a number of locomotives for this narrow gauge network.
The Talyllyn railway purchased two of Trecwn’s narrow-gauge locomotives …. Diesel No.11 “Trecwn” & No.12 “St Cadfan” were purchased by Talyllyn volunteers from RNAD Trecwn in 2008. The names were decided by ballot in 2014 by the group that originally purchased the locomotives for the Talyllyn. Both Locomotives were re-gauged from 2ft 6in to the Talyllyn’s 2ft 3in Gauge. Talyllyn members also purchased over a mile of track from RNAD Trecwn complete with rail, sleepers, spikes and fishplates in June 2008. 
236. OpenRailwayMap (previously called “Bahnkarte”) is a detailed online map of the world’s railway infrastructure, built on OpenStreetMap data. It has been available since mid-2013 at openrailwaymap.org. This project was founded in December 2011 in order to create a world-wide, open, up-to-date and detailed map of the railway network, based on OpenStreetMap. The domain was registered on April 27th, 2013 and the corresponding website was launched in mid 2013. Since then it has received constant improvement. In February 2014 the project moved to a new server. In April 2014 a dedicated map for mobile phones was launched. 
The OpenRailwayMap includes all rail-mounted and automotive vehicles, e.g. railways, subways, trams, miniature railways and funiculars. The map does not include aerialways, monorails, and maglevs. The name OpenRailwayMap mostly refers to the online map, but the project also aims to support railroad-related data in OpenStreetMap. By developing a consistent data model, providing a mailing list for discussions, developing editor plugins, etc. the collection of these data is boosted and the data are made usable for other applications and developers. 
241. This statement needs a minot clarification. The Trecwn Branch used to leave the line between Fishguard and Clynderwen just South of where that line diverged from the route from Fishguard tthrough Clarbeston Road. The North Pembrokeshire line was lost many years before the Trecwn branch closed. The tracks visible in the image above led only to Trecwn.
The featured image above shows the Locomotive Bulldog which was used on the length of the line between the Inclined Plane and Reynalton Colliery.
This is a follow-up to the first article about the Saundersfoot Railway. The first article covered the history of the Railway and then went on to look at the route of the line from Saundersfoot Harbour via Wiseman’s Bridge to Stepaside. That is the arm of the Railway shown on the right-hand side of the image below.
The first article can be found by following this link:
These articles are part of a series looking at the railways of Pembrokeshire. Full details of that series can be found in the first article about the Saundersfoot Railway.
This article follows the line running West from Saundersfoot Harbour under Saundersfoot Railway Station to Reynalton at the left side of the map above.
Saudersfoot Harbour to Reynalton Via Saundersfoot Tunnel (Kingsmoor Tunnel)
We start this journey with some of the pictures from the first article of Saundersfoot Harbour. We begin with two very early views of the harbour and its tramroad.
This picture showing coal being loaded onto a vessel at Saundersfoot Harbour was shared on the Saundersfoot & District Historical Society’s Facebook Group on 25th May 2020 by Gillian Hibberd.
This small extract from the 1906 6″ Ordnance Survey shows the same are as appears in the satellite imagery immediately above. As can be seen, very close to this location the three rails of the incline separated into four to allow wagons to pass. 
The 1887 6″ Ordnance Survey shows the building at the head of the incline and a second loop closer to the highway which does not appear on the 1906 Survey. The existence of remains of the winding house in 2021 (see below) suggests that the building was missed off the 1906 survey. 
Coflein records the Inclined Plane as follows: “The main line of the Saundersfoot Railway … opened in 1832 between Saundersfoot Harbour … and Thomas Chapel. It was built to a gauge of 4ft 0 3/8in and originally worked by horses. A self-acting incline, some 300m long and on a gradient of 1 in 5, lay about 800m west of the harbour. At the foot was a siding and hut whilst at the summit was a winding house. The track on the incline was double with a shared inner rail, widening to a loop midway allowing wagons to pass.” 
The incline was 363 metres long. Ancient Monuments UK’s website records the site as follows: “The monument consists of the remains of a complete tramroad incline formation from an important horse-drawn tramroad built in 1832, including a former counterbalance drum housing and marshalling areas at top and bottom. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of 18th and 19th century industrial and transportation practices. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques. A drumhouse may be part of a larger cluster of monuments and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.” 
The tunnel under Saundersfoot Railway Station was constricted in size and as a result dictated the size of any locomotive which could be used. Bulldog was purchased in 1915. Full details of the loco can be found on the first post about the Saundersfoot Railway. There is a picture of it above at the entrance to Bonville’s Court Colliery. 
Coflein records the tunnel as follows: “The main line of the Saundersfoot Railway opened in 1832 between Saundersfoot Harbour and Thomas Chapel. It was built to a gauge of 4ft 0 3/8in and originally worked by horses. King’s Moor Tunnel carried the line under rising ground below the hamlet of Hill and the site of the 1866 Saundersfoot Station on the Whitland extension of the former Pembroke & Tenby Railway. The tunnel is 450m long, 2.44m wide and approximately 2.6m high with a semi-circular arch.”  The route of the tunnel appears most clearly on the 1948 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey. …
28dayslater comments that the tunnel “is very wet and very muddy in places due to the years of neglect and non-use but is a very important part of Welsh industrial history.” 
To the North of the tunnel the line was in cutting for 200metres or so. It then traversed open country until passing on an embankment and bridge over New Road (it’s present name).
The line continued across the fields before it approached Thomas Chapel. We do know that there was a short branch to Broom Colliery. Its existence is recorded by Coflein: “An earthwork linear feature, probably a relict tramway, runs for c.400m NE-SW from SN11220814, at Broom Pit, … to SN10900788, where it effects an apparent junction with the Saundersfoot Railway . … It is not depicted as a railway on Ordnance Survey County series 25inch mapping of 1889 as it was disused by this time. … Broom Colliery was re-constructed and re-opened in 1933 and improvements included a 600-yard electrically-hauled narrow-gauge tramway to carry coal to the Saunderfoot Railway.” 
That statement from Coflein is supported on their website by an Ordnance Survey extract which is reproduced here and annotated with the key features. 
The lane serving Honeywood Cottage and other deellings runs across the top-half of the map and satellite image above. Just left of, and above the centre of, the image it is crossed by the old railway. The location is marked with a red arrow. It is of interest because there appears to be a remnant of the Saudersfoot Railway just at this point. I am not entirely sure that this is the case. However, if it is then is fixes the route of the line beyond here to Reynalton. I’d be interested to know whether anyone can provide details of what it ia that appears in the photograph below.
Urbex tells us that the railway “was extended for about one and a half miles beyond Thomas Chapel to serve a new colliery at Reynalton. To avoid heavy expenditure on earthworks and bridges, the line followed a somewhat circuitous course through open country. The existing railway from Thomas Chapel to Saundersfoot was relaid.” Horse traction was finally abandoned, and all traffic between Reynalton and the head of the incline was worked by 0-4-0ST Bulldog. Bulldog was slightly larger than than Rosalind which worked the line between Stepaside and the harbour. “It had 9inch by 15inch outside cylinders, 2feet 6inch wheels, and weighed 12 and a half tons in working order. To enable it to pass through the tunnel under the Great Western Railway to Saundersfoot, the maximum height and width had to be restricted to six feet nine inches respectively.” 
Coflein comments that the colliery site at Reynalton was a former anthracite drift mine. “Reynalton Colliery was opened by 1906. It was rebuilt in 1914 under the New Reynolton Anthracite Colliery Co., and served by an extension of the Saundersfoot Railway. … The mine closed in 1921 and the site was cleared, the only survivors being a brick-built winding house, six houses in the village and some railway embankment. There are various shafts and pits shown on the 1948 OS 6inch map. A cinder and slag heap near the church was removed during the Second World War to assist with the construction of Templeton airfield, … 2km to the north. 
This last satellite image taken from Google Earth shows that my presumptions about the line of the railway close to the colliery may be right. The field which is centre-right on this image has an area of curved land which appears to have retained water differently to the rest of the field and which is as a result greener. [Google Maps, September 2022]
Writing about the Reynalton extension to the Saundersfoot Railway, Coflein says: “The main line was extended to serve Reynalton Colliery … in 1915. The colliery closed in 1921 and the extension was abandoned, the whole Saundersfoot Railway closing finally in 1939.”  Some detailed reasoning for my proposed alignment for the extension is given in the comments under the satellite image above. I am hoping that at some time I may be able to find further information on the alignments that I have shown and would be very happy for someone to correct my assumptions.
Making the assumption that I have the correct alignment a few more photos on the line of the old railway can be offered. …
It goes without saying that if anyone has photographs from along the routes shown, and is prepared to share them, I would be delighted to include them properly referenced in this article.
One final note: OpenRailwayMap  is usually an excellent source for following rail lines throughout the UK and abroad. Sadly the only length of the Saundersfoot Railway covered is a short length either side of Saundersfoot Railway Station. That length include the tunnel under that station. 
A holiday in West Wales in the early Autumn of 2022 led to a little research on the railways in the area.
This is the third article about Pembrokeshire’s Railways. The first focussed on the pre-railway age, the second focussed on the mainline railways of the county. The links to these two posts are provided below. This article looks specifically at some of the industrial railways in Pembrokeshire, particularly those in the vicinity of Milford Haven.
The Saundersfoot Railway (covered in a later article)
The Milford Haven Docks Railways
The Milford & St. Bride’s Bay Light Railway and proposals for expansion of the Docks at Milford Haven
The Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Newton Noyes (RNMD Milford Haven)
The Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Trecwn (RNAD Trecwn) (covered in a later article)
Milford Haven Oil Refineries
The Freystrop Colliery Railway.
The Hook Colliery Railway.
1. Milford Haven Docks Railways
In 1790 an Act of Parliament granted William Hamilton permission to: ‘make and provide Quays, Docks, Piers and other erections and establish a Market with proper Roads and Avenues’. Several plans were proposed for the construction of quays, piers and all weather docks in the first half of the 19th century, but nothing was done. In an attempt of kick start the town to life the Milford Improvement Bill of 1857 led to the construction of a pier and two wooden bridges: Black Bridge and Hakin Bridge, both now replaced by modern structures. 
Once construction of the Milford Junction Railway was completed in 1863, further work became essential to the docks. This was completed in the early 1870s and more railway track was laid towards the docks complex in 1875. A spur to Newton Noyes, known as the ‘Estate Line’, was completed in 1882. It connected with a cast-iron pier, which was reached via a lifting bridge at Castle Pill; the junction with the Milford line was opposite the station. 
The docks were finally opened in 1888, with dry-dock facilities in Castle Pill. The docks were intended for the transatlantic passenger trade, but were only very sparsely used for this purpose. 
The port development highlighted Milford station’s less than favorable location, although equidistant between the two major populations of Milford and Hakin, it was at a distance from the quayside and with no discernible pedestrian access. To rectify the issue, the short-lived Hakin Dock Station was constructed in 1889. 
Hakin Dock Station was ideally placed to be the alighting point for passengers embarking to North America. Wing Commander Ken McKay notes particularly the Gaspesia.  Hakin Station also welcomed passengers disembarking from New York, the inaugural voyage being the City of Rome in 1889. 
Ultimately, Hakin Dock Railway Station’s proximity to Milford Haven railway station, and the fact that transatlantic trade did not develop at the port, meant that the station was quickly dismantled and absorbed into the Milford Haven Docks complex.  The track was later used for freight traffic servicing the fishing industry. 
As the 20th century dawned, Milford Haven Docks became a significant fishing port and maintained this role throughout the first half of the 20th century. Sharp decline in the fishing industry occurred in the 1950s. 
The railway lines and facilities at Milford Haven are shown in a series of map extracts below. …
The next two aerial images are extracts from the same aerial image and show the western dock wall and the railway sidings which served them
Milford Haven Docks Co. Locomotives – this short section will need expanding as and when more details are available. …..
The images on the link are all protected by copyright and so cannot be reproduced. They show the following Milford Haven locomotives:
AJAX (2 photographs) – Fletcher NER Class 124 LNER Class J76 0-6-0T – built 1882 by Darlington Works as NER No.598 – 1926 sold to MDC and named AJAX – 1944 scrapped – seen at Milford Haven, 04/39.
NEPTUNE – Fletcher NER Class 964 0-6-0T – built 1875 by Robert Stephenson & Co. as NER No.973 – 1914 sold to Milford Dock Co. as NEPTUNE – seen at Milford Haven, 07/38.
A number of Peckett locomotives were based at Milford Haven. :
PARIS – 0-4-0ST Peckett Locomotive, built June 1938 under works number 1949 was sent to Milford Docks Company. 
Swansea Harbours’ 0-4-0ST Peckett No. 929 was loaned to Milford Haven Dock Co. It was recorded as present at the GWR engine shed to the North of the railway Station on 5th April 1947. 
Other locomotives are referred to in the sections below which relate to specific branch-lines.
2. The Milford & St. Bride’s Bay Light Railway and proposals for expansion of the Docks at Milford Haven
This railway was a proposed industrial line which would have brought coal from the St. Bride’s Bay area to Milford Haven Docks. Correspondence dated between 1911 and 1926 can be found in the Milford Docks Company Records and Correspondence which were deposited in the Pembrokeshire Records Office and are held by Pembrokeshire Archives and Local Studies. 
As early as 1865 proposals had been put forward for a link between pits on St. Bride’s Bay and the port of Milford Haven. The possibility was raised again in 1911 when colliery owners put forward a plan for a pontoon in the middle of Nolton Haven with an aerial ropeway carrying the coal to the pontoon for onward distribution by ships. [1: p141]
The Port Authority at Milford Haven saw the potential competition as a problem and put forward a railway of 11 miles in length and some significant improvements to the port facilities at Milford Haven. Connop-Price provides plans of the the proposed railway and the enlargement of the Docks. [1: p139-141]
Apparently, the Order for the Light Railway was obtained in 1916. Attention during the war years, was focussed on the operation of the existing docks. After the War ongoing objections from local landowners seem to have prevented further work on the proposal. [1: p141]
3. The Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Newton Noyes (RNMD Milford Haven)
RNMD Milford Haven is a decommissioned Royal Naval Armaments Depot located on the North shore of Milford Haven between Milford Haven and Llanstadwel in the County of Pembrokeshire, Wales. The area is known as Newton Noyes. 
The Newton Noyes area was previously occupied as a ship breakers yard. Known locally as Wards Yard, it was connected to the mainline railway via a spur from Milford Haven which crossed Castle Pill via a swing bridge. A cast iron pier was built in 1872 with the intention of encouraging transatlantic traffic to unload, allowed a rail / marine interchange.
With developing tensions in Europe in the 1930s, the Admiralty began preparations for possible conflict. In 1934, Thomas Ward’s ship breaking yard was purchased. Construction work began the following year and by the outbreak of war in 1939 the Depot was ready for action.
Wikipedia tells us that, “The site consisted of an extensive storage facility of six armament sheds, comprising tunnels built into the neighbouring valley. A reservoir was constructed on higher ground to the north in case of explosion or fire. All of the tunnels were connected by rail, which also extended to the pier. Housing for the naval officers was located near the former mansion of Castle Hall. At the height of World War II, it employed 1,000 people, and thereafter hundreds of people from the local area. By the 1970s its future was identified as being at risk.” 
“The tunnels that ran beneath the site were about 100 meters (328 feet) long and provided access to the underground storage. The mines were stored on a raised platform at the height of a railroad car. There was also an overhead crane with a lifting capacity of 10 tons that was used to load and unload the mines.” 
The site was closed in the 1980s. It was subsequently purchased by Gulf Oil, then considered as a potential large scale development site for a retail and residential complex. It was sold again in 2015 and then again in 2017. The most recent purchase was by the Port of Milford Haven. 
Some excellent pictures inside the depot and underground can be found on Flickr, taken by Newage, (Flickr @newage2). The following pictures are used by kind permission. 
There were a series of tunnels stretching back into the land behind the shore, each one secured against accidental ingress. In the 21st century the metal doors are not all secure and the site itself has been fenced off but not before a number of different people were able to make a photographic and video record of the site.
Coflein’s Maritime Officer (RCAHMW) described the site in May 2012. The previous use as a shipyard is recognised and their webpage continues: “The depot utilised the site of the Newton Noyes farmstead (NPRN 4176748) and the former Oil and Manure Works (NPRN 416749). It was served by the railway line and steamer pier built in 1872. Incoming deactivated mines were transferred from the standard gauge railway to a narrow gauge system linking the massive armament sheds and the six underground magazines (see NPRNs 270769-771). Each of these magazines was sealed off by ventilated blast door and thick concrete walls. The tunnels providing access to the underground magazine are some 100m in length which opens into a large storage bay with a raised platform to allow mines to be stored at the height of the railway wagon. An overhead 10 ton crane faciliated loading and unloading. A large reservoir (NPRN 416750) was constructed by damming the stream to provide a water supply in case of fire. During World War II, the depot was used to arm minefields in the Western Approaches. After 1943, when the U-boat threat diminished, the depot’s role change from activating mines to preparing them for shipping to the North Africa for use by the Mediterranean Fleet.” 
After decommissioning, the above-ground facilities which remained were recorded in a baseline aerial reconnaissance survey for the CHERISH Project. (Crown: CHERISH PROJECT 2017). Produced with EU funds through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme 2014-2020. All material made freely available through the Open Government Licence. 
28dayslater.co.uk paid a visit to the site in 2011 when access was relatively easy. Their site provides photographs of these buildings from ground-level and some internal photographs. 
A video of the site can be seen below. … 
4. Milford Haven Oil Refineries
Milford Haven Refinery(Robeston) began operating in 1973 under Amoco’s ownership, but in its final days it was owned by Murco Petroleum. It was on a 1200 acre site close to Milford Haven. 
The closure of the refinery was announced in November 2014. The site was sold to Puma Energy in 2015 for use as a petroleum storage and distribution terminal.  The branch-line which served the refinery remains open as of 2022. Regular movements along the branch continue.
The Gulf Refinery, Waterston was opened in August 1968 by Queen Elizabeth II. The plant, constructed at a cost of approximately £35 million, produced a range of petroleum products and occupied an area of 300 acres (121.4 ha). Up to 119,000 barrels (18,900 m3) of oil could be processed a day at the facility. 
Gulf Oil’s crude oil was principally obtained from Nigeria and Kuwait through joint ventures with BP. Crude was shipped to Bantry Bay in Ireland in 312,000 DWT (deadweight ton) ships. From there it was shipped in 100,000 DWT ships to Gulf’s refineries in Milford Haven, Denmark and Rotterdam. The Milford Haven refinery was integrated with a petro-chemical plant, using oil products from the refinery as feed-stock for the chemical plant. It employed about 280 people. About 23% of the refinery output was exported by train via a rail link to the national rail network. About 75% was exported by ship. 
The line ran roughly North-South from to the refinery which was sited to the East of Milford Haven just a short distance beyond the RNMD Milford Haven site referred to above.
The line ran roughly North-South from to the refinery which was sited to the East of Milford Haven just a short distance beyond the RNMD Milford Haven site referred to above. The pier and rail connection to that site at Newton Noyes can be seen on the left of the image above.
The video below comprehensively covers the design and construction of the 4 km long branch serving the oil refinery.  The refinery closed, eventually, in 1997.
The route of the old branch leaves the national network to the West of the A477 as can be seen on the satellite image below.
The Esso Refinery was opened in 1960 by the Duke of Edinburgh. Construction cost £18 million and the refinery had the initial capacity to process 4.5 million tons of crude oil a year. As originally conceived the refinery worked in conjunction with Esso’s older, larger refinery at Fawley on Southampton water. Milford Haven refinery supplied the west coast and Fawley the rest of the country. Milford Haven also supplemented Fawley’s fuel oil deliveries to the London area. The refinery shipped semi-refined heavy gas oil to Fawley for further refining. There were also shipments to Ireland and northern Europe. Most of the refinery’s crude came from the Persian Gulf shipped in tankers such as the Esso Scotia of 249,952 deadweight tons. 
Wikipedia tells us that most of the product from the refinery, about 95%, was sent out by ship. However, the refinery was connected to the national rail network. Trains carrying liquefied gas were sent to the Midlands and Scotland. The refinery closed down in March 1983. 
The rail link ran from the national network at Herbrandston Junction via the refinery at Robeston to the Esso Refinery. The picture below, at first sight (and in the light of the notes reproduced beneath the image), suggests that it is a picture of that link, but actually shows sidings at Milford Haven Station. The line to the Esso Oil Refinery was build much later than 1910!
The Pembroke Refinery is to be found at Rhoscrowther in the community of Hundleton on the South side of the Milford Haven opposite the town of Milford Haven. It first came on stream in 1964 and was Regent/Texaco’s only British refinery. The refinery occupies a prominent position on the south bank of the Milford Haven Waterway and can be seen for many miles. Around a quarter of the site is within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park which was created in 1952. 
The refinery came on stream in 1964. It was initially owned by the Regent Oil Company, a large domestic marketer of Trinidad-produced oils. Regent was fully acquired by Texaco in 1956 (although the brand name was only phased out in the UK in favour of Texaco in the late 1960s). When it first came on-stream, most of the crude oil for the refinery came from the Middle East with some from Libya, Venezuela and Trinidad. Products were shipped to all parts of Britain 96 per cent going by ship as there was no rail link to the national rail network.  Valero, who currently own the site say: “The refinery receives all of its feedstocks and delivers some of its products by ship and barge via deepwater docking facilities along the Milford Haven Waterway, with its remaining products being delivered through our Mainline pipeline system and by trucks.” 
Pembroke refinery also supplied fuel oil to the nearby oil-fired 2,000 MW Pembroke power station (commissioned in 1968). Chevron acquired Texaco in 2000. Valero Energy Corporation bought the refinery from Chevron in 2011. 
5. The Freystrop Colliery Railway
The Freystrop Colliery Company was formed in July 1900 to take over and redevelop the site of the former Cardmakers’ Pool at Freystrop. [1: p134, 136]
On 10th July 1901, the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph and General Weekly Reporter for the Counties of Pembroke Cardigan Carmarthen Glamorgan and the Rest of South Wales reported That works at Freystrop Colliery were in an advanced state and that prospects for the coal industry were promising. At the beginning of their article they wrote:
“The works at the newly-opened colliery at Freystrop are now in a very satisfactory state of progress. The company have laid down the latest machinery and have spared neither trouble nor expense in providing the best possible plant available. The main shaft, which has been sunk in the centre of their taking (extending from the Freystrop road to the railway line at Johnston) has now been brought down to a depth of over 50 yards. For 35 yards of this distance an excellent brick lining, with occasional patches of concrete where extra strengthening was required, has been laid on the sides, but, as the rock has now been reached, there is no necessity for continuing it further.” 
At that time, the Company still had a great deal of work to do before all the preliminaries were finished. The prospects were seen as very promising, and, as around £100 was already being expended on weekly wages, locally hopes were high for a great future. 
The reconstruction of the mine took time, “but it became obvious that the anticipated output would make the previous practice of carting coal and culm either to the quays on the river or to Johnston station quite impractical. As the colliery was only one and a half miles east of Johnston, the natural solution was the construction of a rail link.” [1: p136]
Much of the land between the colliery and the railway station was a marsh. Nevertheless the Pembroke Herald reported in the Autumn of 1901 that work would begin on the branch-line. 
Connop-Price tells us that the construction of the railway and ancillary works took the best part of two years. He tells us that the Pembrokeshire Herald reported that, ” now it is possible for the wagons belonging to the company to be filled under the huge screen, five at a time, with different qualities of coal.” At the time of this report the company output was around 400 tons of coal and culm per week and expected to rise significantly. [1: p136]
Connop-Price notes that directors of the Milford Docks Company were on the board of this venture and that as a result the connection to the mainline was laid facing south to Milford Haven. The venture encountered geological problems and output was intermittent. Eventually it was decided to abandon the enterprise and the branch-line was closed officially in 1911. Connop-Price goes on to state that, “In its brief career it had been worked at different times by two tank locomotives. The first cannot be identified now., but the second was an 0-4-0 saddle tank built in 1905 by Andrew Barclay and Co. of Kilmarnock.  The locomotive shed was situated about 300 yards from the junction at Johnston, facing towards Freystrop.” [1: p136]
Coflein describes the site of Johnston station as, “formerly Milford Road Station on the South Wales Railway, now merely site of a halt, with all buildings demolished.” Their site carries two photographs of the original station, these are shown below. 
6. The Hook Colliery Railway
The National Library of Wales holds the papers associated with Hook colliery. They tell us that “Hook Colliery, Llangwm, Pembrokshire, was opened in 1850, and operated until 1947. An attempt was made in the 1950s to re-open it as a private mine by Hook Colliery Co., under T. W. Harcourt Roberts., geologist and mining engineer, and General Manager and Managing Director of Hook Colliery, Pembrokeshire.” 
At its peak, over 40,000 tons of anthracite was mined at Hook colliery each year and employment provided for well over 100. Until the rail link was built in the early 1900’s to link the village with the main line at Johnston the vast majority of coal left by sea from Hook Quay. 
Connop-Price tells us that the “Margaret Pit was sunk at Hook in 1910, and initially coal was moved to Hook quay in small trams over the narrow-gauge railway built in 1888 to serve the older West Park colliery. This was an endless rope-worked tramway, driven by a stationary engine at the colliery. The side-tipping trams … were not grouped together as a train, but spaced out about thirty yards apart along the line. This space was needed to give time for the loaded trams to be knocked off when they reached the incline, and the empties hooked on. .. At the quay the coal had to be transferred to barges which were then worked down to Llangwm Pool for loading onto sea-going vessels. Later the river was dredged in the vicinity of Hook quay to allow small coasters to come alongside for loading, but this system of transport was still slow and labour-intensive, and a handicap to the colliery.” [1: p136]
The Colliery Company owned several sea-going vessels most of which traded to the French and London markets. The coal was in great demand for smelting and also heating the sophisticated homes of the capital city. It has been recorded that Queen Victoria had a distinct preference for the practically smokeless Hook anthracite and it was used extensively in the Royal palaces. 
Some detail of the operations of the various sea-going ships owned and used by the colliery can be found here. 
The Pembrokeshire Virtual Museum entry for Hook Colliery tells us that, “Hook Colliery Railway operated as a standard gauge mineral line and ran from Johnston station on the G.W.R. to Hook Colliery some 4 miles away. During the late 1920s the Pembrokeshire coal industry appeared to be on the verge of collapse with only the collieries at Hook and Bonvilles Court (closed in 1930) still in operation. It was clear that if Hook Colliery was to survive then new investment was necessary especially in moving coal to its markets. … It was decided in 1929 to build a railway line to move the coal instead.” 
Despite the need for a railway being recognised as early as 1919, nothing, however, was done until 1929 when the decision was taken to construct a railway. [1: p136/137] “The railway was built in 1930 and was completed by November of that year. It ran for part of its length along the route of a disused railway line to Freystrop Colliery (please see the section on this line above), which saved considerable engineering work.” 
Connop-Price tells us that the cost of the work was around £40,000, and “this time the junction at Johnston was laid facing North to allow direct running towards Haverfordwest and Carmarthen. … Pembrokeshire Council raised an objection to the level crossing over the main road near Johnston (one of five such crossings on the line0 but eventually the problem was resolved. A siding for the use of the nearby Johnston brickworks was also provided. a permanent connection with the GWR mainline was made on 13th November 1930, and the railway opened to traffic.” [1: p137]
“Once completed the railway enabled easy export of coal and production then rose until it peaked in 1934 when 40,000 tons were produced, the largest ever annual total from a Pembrokeshire colliery and some 35,000 tons were moved by the railway. From that point on, however, output declined and in 1945 only 20,000 tons were produced. The colliery and its railway were nationalised in January 1947 (Hook was the only Pembrokeshire colliery to be nationalised) but the pit flooded in that year and it was considered uneconomic to put it back into operation. In early 1948, the railway closed after moving the last of the stored coal.” 
“The railway operated two of its own 0-6-0 saddle tank locomotives, neither of which appear to have carried names. It also had its own private owner wagons which moved the coal on the railway and then via the G.W.R. to its markets. At Johnston station exchange sidings were built from where Hook wagons would be collected and deposited by G.W.R. freight trains.” 
Connop-Price mentions the two locomotives: “The contractors’ locomotive, D.M.D.Ltd No.10, an 0-6-0 saddle tank built by Peckett of Bristol, was retained, but another engine said to have been at Hook, an 0-4-0 saddle tank built by Hawthorne Leslie, was transferred to Davies, Middleton and Davies at Caerphilly.” [1: p137]
Later, by 1934, “the colliery railway had acquired an engine from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, an 0-6-0 saddle tank built by Avonside of Bristol in 1910.” [1: p137/138]
76. “I confess that, since the age of four, I have had a passion for steam locomotives, especially those of the former GWR. It all started when my mother took me to see one of the Milford Docks Company Peckett locomotives, which would have been driven by the late Mr Billy Pugsley. I was lifted onto the footplate and given a ride, and I was hooked!” … words from Gordon Vyne Adams quoted by Jack Riley; That reminds me of… railways, locomotives and their crews; in the Western Telegraph, 19th September 2021.