Tag Archives: narrow gauge

Railways in West Wales Part 1D – Porthgain Clifftop Tramway

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:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/13/railways-in-west-wales-part-1a-pembrokeshire-mines-quarries-and-their-railways-before-the-railway-age

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. [2]

The 1906 6″ OS Map shows the clifftop tramway. [1]
By the time the 1906 survey was undertaken the tramway tunnel and St. Bride’s Quarry were abandoned and the tramway rails through the tunnel had been lifted. The two short branches of the clifftop tramway can be seen to good effect on this map extract. [1]

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.

The 1948 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey was published in 1953. As far as the map extract is concerned all remnants of the clifftop railway have disappeared. This seems to be an over simplification of the situation as a number of remnants were still present even if not recorded. [5] The line of the track can still be traced as a levelled strip on the clifftop, adjacent to the path to Porthgain harbour. [4] R. C. Jermy includes a number of photographs, taken in 1951 by H. Townley, which show the engine shed (with ‘Newport’ gently rotting away on one of the roads) and the remains of two traction engines, ‘Daisy’ and ‘Dinah’. Dinah was sited at Pen Clegyr and was used as a winding engine. Daisy sat on the clifftop. [2: centre-pages]

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]

Locomotives

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][3] This locomotive was out of use by 1929 and was scrapped on site shortly after 1931. [4]

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. [4]

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. [4]

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. [4]

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.6&lat=51.94963&lon=-5.18788&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 28th October 2022.
  2. R.C. Jermy; The Railways of Porthgain and Abereiddi; The Oakwood Press, Oxford, 1986.
  3. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.industrial-loco.org.uk/Barclays_List_1100.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwigzb7drIP7AhWgR0EAHVYTBAMQFnoECBMQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1yWPftV1gbG5KyHi_9Oszk, accessed on 28th October 2022.
  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porthgain_Railway, accessed on 29th October 2022.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188088, accessed on 31st October 2022.

2018-2022: Railway News from Kenya

This post includes a selection of news items about Kenya Railways in the period from 2018 to the Autumn of 2022. The items included are by no means exhaustive but they might be of interest! ……..

The Birth of a Nation: preserving records on the Kenya-Uganda railway line (EAP1143)

In 2018 the British Library funded a small pilot project undertaken in Nairobi Railway Museum’s archive. This was a low cost 6 month pilot which identified the condition of the archived documents and photographs and improved storage and access to them.

The photographs which were digitised all seem to predate the construction of the railway and document the life and times of people who lived on its route. [1]

The Standard-Gauge Line

In 2018, NPR reported that the “Standard Gauge Railway station in Nairobi is easily the most impressive public building in Kenya.” [8] The station is “adventurous. It’s all gray and modern. Geometric shapes form an abstract locomotive, and red neon announces the “Nairobi Terminus.”” [8]

The Standard-gauge Railway Station at Nairobi. [8]

NPR continues: “The train runs 293 miles from Kenya’s capital city to the port of Mombasa and back twice a day and represents the biggest infrastructure project since Kenya’s independence 54 years ago. The Chinese financed it; a Chinese company built it; and the Chinese will operate it for many years to come. … The project, which launched in the summer of 2017, has not only come to signify Kenya’s ambitions, but also China’s ambitions on the African continent. In the past decade, China has become the biggest lender to governments in Africa. The money has helped build ports, roads, bridges, airports and trains. But critics warn the loans are full of traps that could leave African countries in the lurch. Kenya alone owes $5.3 billion to China.” [8]

On 16th October 2019, VOA News reported that Kenya opened the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway Project: “Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened on Wednesday the second phase of his flagship infrastructure project: a Chinese-funded and built railway that will eventually link the port of Mombasa to Uganda. … The latest stretch of track cost $1.5 billion and runs from Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha.” [9]

After the official opening, the president then joined the first ride along the line. … “The train stopped at every station, where a cheering crowd awaited the president. He promised them that the new railway will bring prosperity. … Kenyatta said that if the railway comes here, development also comes here.” [9]

The new track is 120 kilometers (75 miles) long and has 12 stations. Passengers can ride the trains, but the railway is mainly for cargo. The track will eventually lead to an inland container depot, (see below) from where containers will be distributed to Uganda and Rwanda, and to South Sudan. [9]

On 20th August 2021 the Ugandan newspaper, ‘The Independent’ reported that Kenya’s Standard-gauge railway line transported 2.31 million tons of cargo between January and the end of May that year: “an increase of about 45 percent from the similar period in 2020, according to data released on Thursday from the Kenya Railways Corporation.” [10]

“The rise in cargo volumes saw an increase in revenue generated during the months to 6.2 billion shillings (about 57 million U.S. dollars), up from 41.4 million dollars generated from January to May in 2020, it said. … The number of passengers using the train during the first five months of 2021 nearly doubled amid COVID-19 pandemic. … Some 601,201 passengers were ferried between the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa during the period, up from 330,232 in 2020 when the country grappled with COVID-19 pandemic, the corporation said. … This generated revenue of 5.9 million dollars, up from 3.3 million dollars generated between January and May in 2020.” [10]

Refurbishment of Nairobi Central Station

Major renovations at Nairobi Central Station began on 27th July 2020. By January 2021, the work was well-advanced. Kenya Railways reported that the work would facilitate the use of the new DMUs due to arrive in the country.

Renovation work at Nairobi Central Station in January 2021. [5]

Kenya Railways stated on 13th January 2021 that, “as the rehabilitation works continue[d], stringent measures [were] put in place to safeguard daily commuters as they access[ed] the station.” [5]

Designated boarding points were set for various trains to facilitate safe movement of passengers within the Nairobi Central Station. For instance, Kikuyu and Ruiru trains, the boarding point was designated on the Western end of the Nairobi Central Station and it was to be accessed from Railways Police station. While passengers boarding Syokimau & SGR Link trains boarded the trains from the Eastern end of the station with the access point being adjacent to Guava restaurant.

Kenya Railways stated that, “The rehabilitation of Nairobi Central Station will not only give it a new face but also show KR is dedicated in making transportation better.” [5]

Plans for the full renewal of Nairobi Central Station were published in May 2022. The project has been sponsored by both the British and Kenyan Governments.

Design office view of the proposed renewed Central Station. [6]

THE British and Kenyan governments unveiled the final design of Nairobi’s new Central Railway Station and surrounding public area, which has been developed as part of the Nairobi Railway City redevelopment programme. [6]

The IRJ reported that, “The design was developed by SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Atkins and submitted to Kenya Railways and the Ministry of Transport. … The station is designed to accommodate up to 30,000 passengers per hour at peak periods, and will have 6000m2 of concourse space. The station will offer a new covered public space for the city with retail outlets and other amenities …. It features separate entrance and exit routes to avoid conflicting flows and ensure passengers can get to and from the platforms efficiently. … Three existing platforms will be joined by six additional passenger platforms, and four dedicated freight lines will be built. Two platform bridges will be built, with one for passengers entering the station and one for passengers exiting.” [6]

A few design office perspective views are shown below:

The SGR to MGR link at Naivasha

In July 2022, President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the Standard Gauge Railway – Metre Gauge Railway Passenger Rail Link at the Kenya Railways Mai Mahiu Station in Naivasha, Nakuru County. The ceremony took place on Tuesday, 26th July 2022.

The 5km link will enable passengers traveling to Western Kenya by train to switch from the standard-gauge service to that of the metre-gauge and vice versa. Kenya Railways reported that it would as a result be possible to travel exclusively by rail from Mombasa through Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Machakos, Kijiado and Nairobi onwards to Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale, Nyahururu, Nanyuki, Malaba and Bungoma. [2]

Naivasha Inland Container Depot

On the same day (26th July 2022) the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) was officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Naivasha ICD facility which incorporates both the Standard Gauge Railway and the Metre Gauge Railway line will handle mainly transit cargo to the Great Lakes Region including Uganda, South Sudan, DR Congo, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, which account for around 30% of imports and exports through the Port of Mombasa.

The SGR/MGR Link referred to above will greatly facilitate the transshipment process. All Transit cargo can now be delivered to the facility straight from the Port of Mombasa as either Through Bill of Lading (TBL) or merchant haulage (Non-TBL), while exports and empty containers can also be consolidated at the Naivasha ICD and railed to the Port of Mombasa for onward shipping.

Kenya Railways reported that, “The depot is linked to the Mombasa Port container terminal by a rail-tainer service on the Mombasa to Suswa Standard Gauge Railway line. It will serve to bring port services closer to customers and reduce congestion at the Port of Mombasa, Nairobi Inland Container Depot and on the roads. It is convenient for East African partner states who will not have to cover an entire 572 kilometres by road between Mombasa and Naivasha. From Naivasha ICD to Malaba Railway Yard, cargo will be transported over 36 hours and it will cost $860.”

Kenya Railways also affirmed that, “The Naivasha ICD includes a one-stop centre for ease of operations and efficient service delivery. The port houses all the Government agencies involved in handling of cargo namely Kenya Railways, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Port Health (Public Health) and Revenue Authority officers from partner states of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.” [3]

Nakuru Railway Station

President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the revitalized 217km Nakuru-Kisumu Metre-Gauge Railway (MGR) and the 465km Longonot–Malaba segment as well as the refurbished Nakuru Railway Station.

Kenya Railways reported on 28th July 2022 that the re-commissioning had taken place: “The iconic Nakuru Railway Station is a key transit station for cargo and passenger train services to and from Western Kenya, and is the aggregation hub for farm produce from the agriculturally rich Central Rift region for onward freight to the Coast for export.” [4]

“Nakuru town started as a railway station on Kenyan-Uganda railway line at the turn of 20th century. It was built in 1900 and later expanded in 1957. It sits on the east side of the centre of Nakuru. The town is part of the famous ‘White Highlands settlement’ areas established by the British during the colonial era. The areas surrounding Nakuru town are mainly known for their vast agricultural potential especially cash-crop farming i.e wheat, barley, pyrethrum, sisal, maize and beans. Nakuru Railway Station was built in order to serve the rapidly growing economy of the town.” [4]

Refurbished Nakuru Railway Station [7]

“Later branch lines were built to link the station to farming areas. Among these was the line linking the station to the sisal producing Solai area. Just 6.9 kilometres from Nakuru town lies Nakuru Junction station. This is the point at which the lines to Malaba and Kisumu diverge.” [4]

Suburban Services in Nairobi

Nairobi Commuter Rail Services now run regularly to Ruiru, Embakasi Village, Limuru, Syokimau and Lukenya in Kitengela. There is also a Madaraka Express Commuter Service that operates between Nairobi Terminus and Ngong station and a link service between Nairobi Central Station and the Standard-gauge Station runs at 0630hrs, 1200hrs and 2010hrs each day. [11]

References

1. https://eap.bl.uk/project/EAP1143, accessed on 9th September 2022.

2. https://krc.co.ke/sgr-mgr-passenger-rail-link-officially-opened, accessed on 12th October 2022.

3. https://krc.co.ke/h-e-president-uhuru-kenyatta-commissions-the-standard-gauge-railway-metre-gauge-railway-lines-passenger-rail-link, accessed on 12th October 2022.

4. https://krc.co.ke/rehabilitated-nakuru-railway-station-officially-open, accessed on 12th October 2022.

5. https://krc.co.ke/nairobi-central-station-gets-a-face-lift, accessed on 11th October 2022.

6. https://www.railjournal.com/passenger/main-line/design-unveiled-for-new-nairobi-central-railway-station, accessed on 11th October 2022.

7. https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2021/09/kenya-railways-to-commence-mgr-passengers-operations-to-kisumu-in-december, accessed on 12th October 2022.

8. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/08/641625157/a-new-chinese-funded-railway-in-kenya-sparks-debt-trap-fears, 12th October 2022.

9. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.voanews.com/amp/africa_kenya-opens-second-phase-massive-railway-project/6177699.html, accessed on 12th October 2022.

10. https://www.independent.co.ug/kenyas-modern-railway-transports-2-31-mln-tons-of-cargo-between-january-and-may, accessed on 12th October 2022.

11. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0eJvJuK7FVebaLxcuouXFSBviZhHu5yAE5ySPC4kRDoimGvyx5BG5QtGkVLN87KjQl&id=100064281415632, 12th October 2022.

Railways in West Wales Part 1C – Pembrokeshire Industrial Railways – Section C – RNAD Trecwn

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).

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/13/railways-in-west-wales-part-1a-pembrokeshire-mines-quarries-and-their-railways-before-the-railway-age

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/13/railways-in-west-wales-part-1b-pembrokeshire-mines-quarries-and-their-railways-the-mainline-railways

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/20/__trashed-3/

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/26/railways-in-west-wales-part-1c-pembrokeshire-industrial-railways-section-b-the-saundersfoot-railway-first-part/

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/28/railways-in-west-wales-part-1c-pembrokeshire-industrial-railways-section-b-the-saundersfoot-railway-second-part/

The Royal 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. [56]

Trecwn as shown on the 1948 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey published in 1953. A series of three sidings are shown to the South of the main RNAD site. [57]

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. [59]

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. [59]

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 Trecwn branch-line junction with the old GWR as shown on the 1951 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey. [60]
The ESRI satellite image from the National Library of Scotland has the route of the Trecwn Branch-line imposed on it. [80]
The view at the junction from a train window in 9th August 2007, (c) Ceridwen, authorised for use under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [238]
A little to the South of the junction, a lane crosses the branch. This photograph looks along the line to the accommodation crossing on 5th May 2010, (c) Ceridwen, authorised for use under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [239]
The view East along the line on 23rd July 2006. (c) Stephen McKay, authorised for use under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). Stephen comments: “Taken from an accommodation level crossing looking along what was once a meandering branch to Clunderwen. [241] That route was abandoned in the 1940s, but a stub was retained to give access to the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Trecwn.” [240]
The view from the North along the A40 of the bridge carrying the branch over the road. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The view of the same bridge from the South [Google Streetview, March 2022]
After a short distance running Northeast, the standard-gauge line runs adjacent to the main gates of Trecwm on an East-West axis before turning South and the East again. [60]

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. [56]

Dashed-red lines show the approximate route of the old standard-gauge line which was lifted in the early 21st century. [82]
The remaining length of the Trecwm branch-line as shown on the 1951 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey. [60]

The same area as shown in the OS Map above[230]
Coflein provides this map of the main site in 2021.  Careful inspection will show that the standard-gauge branch-line has been lifted by the date of this Ordnance Survey edition. [61]
The 1906 6″ Ordnance Survey shows no sign of either the standard-gauge branch nor the infrastructure that made up RNAD Trecwn. [231]
The same area on modern satellite imagery shows much of the infrastructure of the Depot remaining after closure. The standard-gauge sidings remain at the date this image was produced. [231]
Just before reaching Trecwm, the line passed under the lane which can be seen at the left side of the satellite image above. The bridge parapets have been extended upwards for safety reasons using galvanised metal fencing. [Google Streetview, October 2021]
The concrete bridge carrying the standard-gauge branch-line over a local road just prior to its entry into the Depot. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The same structure viewed from the North. [Google Streetview, October 2021]
Google Maps in 2022 still shows the sidings in place in RNAD Trecwn. No doubt this will get updated in due course. [Google Maps, 29th September 2022]
The site extends across the join between two OS Maps. This 1948 revision of the 6″ OS Mapping shows the West end of the Depot. The map was published in 1953. [232]
At approximately the same scale, the next OS Sheet shows only the standard-gauge line and not the internal narrow-gauge lines. It is shown terminating at the same location as the mapping further above. [233]
The fan of standard-gauge sidings just inside the Depot fencing, (c) Dave Mansell, taken in 2003. This image is used with the kind permission of the Subterranea Britannica website. [234]

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.” [247]

This aerial photograph looks from the West along the valley of the Afon Aer. To the right of centre, the fan of standard-gauge sidings can be made out. An enlarged image taken from this picture follows below. The picture was taken in 1955 and is used with the kind permission of Ian Evans and the Fishguard & Goodwick Local History Society. [247]
An enlarged section of the photograph above which shows the bridge which carries the line over a minor road close to the Depot gates, in the bottom-right. The fan of sidings feature prominently towards the top of this extract. The branch beyond the sidings first curves away to the South  [247]

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.” [247]

This aerial photograph looks from the Southwest across the same fan of sidings. Enlarged images taken from this picture follow below. Again, the picture was taken in 1955 and is used with the kind permission of Ian Evans and the Fishguard & Goodwick Local History Society. [247]
There is some good detail in this extract from the aerial image above. The types of wagons used to supply the Depot can be seen but so also can part of the narrow-gauge network be discerned running between the buildings towards the top of the extract. [247]
The standard-gauge yard at Trecwn. This is an enlarged extract from the same aerial image. Note the bridge carrying the standard-gauge line across the narrow-gauge line. [247]
From beyond the sidings in the last few photos, looking back West over the Depot with the fan of standard-gauge sidings evident at the top of the image, © (Coflein) RCAHMW. [61]
Taken a little further to the East, this shows the buildings at the Western end if the Depot along with the fan of sidings and the standard-gauge buildings on the left. This image was used by RD Wales to advertise the Depot site for sale. The standard-gauge extends eastward from the sidings within the trees on the left of this image. [250]

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. ….

A Google Earth extract with the network of lines in the valley of the Aer shown in black. This is the first length inside the Depot. [Google Earth, 29th September 2022.
The remaining length of the Depot in the Aer Valley. [Google Earth, 29th September 2022]

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.” [247]

The remaining length of the Depot taken from the air looking North along the valley of the Aer. Again, the picture was taken in 1955 and is used with the kind permission of Ian Evans and the Fishguard & Goodwick Local History Society. These images can be found at http://www.hanesabergwaun.org.uk/ [247]
These two images are enlarged extracts from the last of the three aerial images above. It is possible to see something of the network of lines which existed in the valley. [247]

The OpenRailwayMap [235] 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 [235][236]. 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.

Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 1. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 2. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 3. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 4. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 5. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 6. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 7. [235]
Rail network inside Trecwn – Image 8. [235]

This final image is the key/legend provided by the OpenRailwayMap [235][236] 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. [56]

Storage Chamber  No. 20 © Marc Thomas, 19th August 2014. This image shows one of the storage chambers’ entrance doors. This is typical of other entrances to the storage chambers on site. A remnant of the narrow-gauge rail system can be seen in the rails which protrude beyond the chamber’s doors. [243]

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.

This next aerial image comes from before the narrow-gauge tracks were lifted. The most obvious lines are standard-gauge lines but careful inspection will show the narrow-gauge network as well. This photograph was taken in 2006. [61]
Turning through 180° this next aerial image from 2009 comes from the time when large parts of the narrow-gauge system had been lifted but before the narrow-gauge tracks at locations crossing site roads or standard-gauge lines were lifted. Careful inspection will identify a number of such locations. [61]
View from the North in 2006 looking down on the upper area of the Depot with both standard-gauge and narrow-gauge lines visible. [61]
Also taken in 2006 from the North, this view shows a number of the storage bunkers on site and the rail system. [61]
Again taken in 2006, this photograph looks from the Southeast showing more of the bunkers in the northern length of the Depot. [61]

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.” [234] … 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.” [234] …

The wooden wagons used for the transport of munitions within the Depot had sliding roofs to allow top-loading © Dave Mansell, 2003 and used by kind permission of the Subterranea Britannica. [234]

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.” [234]

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. [234]

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…..

The entrance to Storage Cavern No. 25 with the narrow-gauge rails still in place, © Dave Mansell [234]
The narrow-gauge point probably leading to Storage Cavern No. 25, © Dave Mansell [234]
The transfer shed with both standard-gauge and narrow-gauge rails still in place, © Dave Mansell [234]
Narrow-gauge locomotives and rolling-stock sitting in storage and no longer on the rails. © Dave Mansell [234]

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.

Statfold Barn Railway – RNAD Trecwn A10. This is a 4wDH locomotive built in 1984 by Baguley-Drewry of Burton-on-Trent for the Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Trecwn near Fishguard. As built it was 2′ 6″ gauge but has now been re-gauged to 2′, © Chris Allen/Statfold Barn Railway – RNAD Trecwn A10 (CC BY-SA 2.0), 13th September 2014. This locomotive was transferred from the Statfold Barn Railway to the Amerton Railway in 2017. It is not in regular use on passenger trains, it requires some engine work to improve starting and emissions, and requires air brake modifications to make it compatible with the railway’s existing stock. You will however see A10 out in force at their Everything Goes Gala events, where it hauls passenger and freight trains using a braking system adapter. It is also used fairly regularly on engineering trains as it is far more powerful than any of the other diesel locomotives in the fleet. [58][248][249]
Talyllyn Railway No. 11 Trecwn on 16th June 2018, © Voice of Clam, made available as Public Domain. [
The body of former RNAD Trecwn narrow gauge Baguley-Drewry diesel hydraulic locomotive T 009 00 NZ 35 (works number 3781) at Tywyn Wharf on the Talyllyn Railway. [56]

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. [251]

The Talyllyn’s Facebook Page provided photographs of these locomotives. These two images were included. [251]

References

1. M.R. Connop-Price; Pembrokeshire: the Forgotten Coalfield; Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, 2004

32. D S M Barrie, revised Peter Baughan; A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: volume 12: South Wales; David St John Thomas, Nairn, 1994.

36. Wing Commander Ken McKay; A Vision of Greatness: The History of Milford 1790-1990; Brace Harvatt Associates, 1989.

56. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNAD_Trecwn, accessed on 13th September 2022.

57. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188136, accessed on 13th September 2022.

58. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statfold_Barn_Railway_-RNAD_Trecwn_A10(geograph_4220678).jpg, accessed on 13th September 2022.

59. https://alchetron.com/RNAD-Trecwn, accessed on 14th September 2022.

60. https://maps.nls.uk/view/91857083, accessed on 14th September 2022.

61. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/96059, accessed on 14th September 2022.

229. Martin Shill; Number 250; in the Industrial Railway Record, Industrial Railway Society Volume 250 September 2022, p1-6.

230. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.0&lat=51.95523&lon=-4.93724&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 29th September 2022.

231. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.0&lat=51.95468&lon=-4.95372&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 29th September 2022.

232. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188136, accessed on 29th September 2022.

233. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188163, accessed on 29th September 2022.

234. https://www.subbrit.org.uk/sites/trecwn-royal-naval-armaments-depot, accessed on 29th September 2022.

235. https://www.openrailwaymap.org, accessed on 29th September 2022.

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. [237]

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. [237]

OpenRailwayMap is Open Source software and is freely available for download under the GPL version 3. It is runs on Linux and services its contents via Apache web server, PHP and Javascript. It is furthermore based on LeafletKothicJSNodeJSnode-tileserverosmfilterosmconvertosmupdateosm2pgsqlPostgreSQL and PostGIS. There is also a changelog.

237. https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OpenRailwayMap, accessed on 29th September 2022.

238. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_branch_line_to_Trecwn_-geograph.org.uk-_520836.jpg, accessed on 29th September 2022.

239. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Level_crossing_on_dead_railway_-geograph.org.uk-_1855840.jpg, accessed on 29th September 2022.

240. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Branch_to_Trecwn_-geograph.org.uk-_208673.jpg, accessed on 29th September 2022.

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.

This plan appears at the head of the article on the Disused Stations website about the Fishguard to Clynderwen route – a.k.a the North Pembroke shire and Fishguard Railway. it shows the Trecwn branch leaving this railway just South if its junction with the line through Clarbeston Road. [242]

242. http://disused-stations.org.uk/features/north_pembrokeshire_and_fishguard_railway/index.shtml, accessed on 29th September 2022.

243. https://m.facebook.com/groups/trulypembrokeshire/permalink/755957217781489, accessed on 30th September 2022.

244. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rocketron7/albums/72157647842795154, accessed on 30th September 2022.

245. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100065502640813 … Ron Weatherall 17th. August 2017, accessed on 30th September 2022.

246. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Talyllyn_Railway_No_11_Trecwn_-_2018-06-16.jpg, accessed on 2nd October 2022.

247. https://www.hanesabergwaun.org.uk/places/industry-businesses/trecwn-aerial-views-rnad-trecwn, accessed on 2nd October 2022.

248. https://amertonrailway.co.uk/locomotives/diesel/a10, accessed on 10th October 2022.

249. https://amertonrailway.co.uk/events/everything-goes-gala, accessed on 10th October 2022.

250. http://www.rdwales.co.uk/trecwn-valley.htm, accessed on 2nd October 2022.

251. https://www.facebook.com/167680895449/posts/pfbid0wU9efHT2NErDUrXJpn7cf1nf9v8aXwQZBU7WR1qCEpwcpDTgM4bKhMNxJV8N8JD3l/?app=fbl, accessed on 10th October 2022.

Railways in West Wales Part 1C – Pembrokeshire Industrial Railways – Section B – The Saundersfoot Railway (Second Part)

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:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/26/railways-in-west-wales-part-1c-pembrokeshire-industrial-railways-section-b-the-saundersfoot-railway-first-part/

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 map of the Saundersfoot Railway was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Mark Davies on 26th November 2015.  [148]

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.

As we noted earlier in this enlarged extract from the 1906 6″ Ordnance Survey which was published in 1908 there were two main tramroad lines. One heading immediately West along Milford Street and off the map extract centre-left. The other heading along what was then called Railway Street and leave the map extract centre-top. There were also a series of short lines which served both the North and the South quay walls of the harbour. When we leave the harbour on this occasion we will travel along the line to the West. [131]
An early 20th century view of the harbour which shows the North harbour wall. Careful inspection reveals trams and track on the wall adjacent to the crane, © reproduced by kind permission of Pembrokeshire Archives. [182]
Coal Staithes and loaded trams on the Southside of the harbour, © Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. [181]

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.[141]

This picture showing Saundersfoot Harbour was shared on the Saundersfoot & District Historical Society’s Facebook Group by Gillian Hibberd on 24th May 2020. Note the railway tracks leading onto the North Harbour Wall. [225]
A 1936 image of Saundersfoot Harbour looking Southeast from the North wall with the railway in the foreground. This image was shared by Gary Davies on 15th September 2019 on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group. Gary Davies writes that there appears to only be “one coal wharf operating to fill the hold of this steamer the industrial era of the Harbour is coming to an end. As Bonvilles Court Colliery had closed in 1929 and the screens there were washing coal from Broom and Kilgetty Collieries. It wasn’t to long before the coal was sent out on the mainline branch of the GWR via the siding at Bonvilles Court Colliery. This would have been one of the last few coal steamers to come into the Harbour to load coal as by 1939/40 the export of coal from the Harbour had ceased.” [159]
This image shows Rosalind heading away from the South quay at Saundersfoot Harbour. She is heading for Railway Street (The Strand) with the Miner’s Express. If she were to be travelling on Milford Street she would be turning left just behind where we are standing. [187]
1906 6″ Ordnance Survey [199]
Modern satellite imagery of the same area with the railway alignment shown as a red line. [199]
Looking West along Milford Street, Saundersfoot in the 21st century. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
Looking West along Milford Street, Saundersfoot in the 21st century. The railway ran approximately on the red line, heading off Milford Street (which turns to the right) down what is now called Brookland Place. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
Looking back East along Milford Street from Brooklands Place. The railway ran approximately on the red line. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
Looking West along Brookland Place. The road has been laid over the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
The view West from the end of Brookland Place looking along what is in the 21st century known as ‘The Incline’. The footpath follows the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
Looking back East along ‘The Incline’ towards Saudersfoot Harbour. [Google Earth, August 2021]
Looking West along ‘The Incline’. The footpath continues to follow the line of the Saundersfoot Railway. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
The route of the old railway crosses Westfield Road. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
This enlarged view of the 6″ OS Map of 1906 shows the area around the bottom of the Inclined Plane. [199]
The key buildings on the map above are highlighted on this NLS supplied satellite image of the same area. All of the buildings have been adapted for modern living. One, Incline Villa, is identified as a holiday let in the 21st century. [199]
Incline Villa as advertised as a holiday let. The two storey element of the building has been expanded by the single storey extension. [205]
The photograph was taken at approximately the point where the railway crossed what is now Westfield Road. It was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Mark Davies on 26th November 2015. [151]
Beyond Westfield Road the footpath follows the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
Looking back towards Saundersfoot Harbour towards the line of the old railway from the East end of Incline Way. This footpath links to the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The east end of Incline Way almost meets the line of the old railway which is shown in red and which continues to be a footpath in 21st century. At this point the incline is carrying the railway up onto the escarpment behind Saunderfoot. [199]

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. [199]

This extract from the 6″ Ordnance Survey shows the full length of the Incline. As can be seen there was a passing loop at half-height, referred to above, and a passing loop at the head of the incline. The building at the head of the incline shown below does not appear on the 1906 Survey, but does appear on the 1887 Map. [199]

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. [201]

The photograph was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Mark Davies on 26th November 2015.  It shows the passing loop at the head of the Incline. The photograph was taken facing Southeast towards Saundersfoot Harbour. [151]
The remains of the winding house in November 2021. This photograph was taken by Jonathan Kedward and shared by him on the Ancient Monuments UK website. [204]
The excellent information board at the Winding House pictured above. [206]
The photograph was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Mark Davies on 26th November 2015. It shows the top of the Incline, facing Southeast, after closure and was probably taken from the location of the winding house shown in the picture above. [151]

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.” [203]

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.” [204]

Looking back Southeast towards the Incline from ‘The Fan Road’, the modern road which follows the line of the old railway. Valley Road enters from the right in this image. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
Looking Northwest, The Fan Road follows the line of the Saundersfoot Railway. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The Saundersfoot Railway’s branch into the Bonville’s Court Colliery. [Google Streetview, August 2018]
[201]
The 1906 Ordnance Survey shows the branch-line from the Great Western Railway which was installed around the turn of the 20th century after a long campaign by Boneville’s Court Colliery’s owner. It finally superseded the Saundersfoot Railway and its access to the mainline at Saundersfoot Railway Station, see below. [202]
The modern satellite image has the key features mark in red and ochre. [202]
The Locomotive Bulldog sits taking water close to the entrance to the colliery. This image was shared by Gary Davies on the Saundersfoot and District Historical Society Facebook Group on 10th November 2018. [180]
Bonvilles Court Colliery, which was active between 1842 and 1930; it was served first by the Saundersfoot Railway (and then from 1896 by a branch from the Pembroke & Tenby Railway (GWR). Following closure, part of the site was converted into a screening plant and storage yard. This picture was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Kenneth Townsend on 12th July 2019. [156]
The photograph was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Mark Davies on 26th November 2015. [151]
Looking North-northwest along The Fan Road, beyond Bonville’s Court Colliery, which follows the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The 1906 6″ Survey shows the Saunders foot Railway snaking across the fields towards Saundersfoot Station. [200]
Modern satellite imagery confirms that The Fan Road follows the alignment of the old railway to reach the B4316. The trees on the North side of the B-road hide the alignment of the old railway as it approached Saundersfoot Station along an alignment separate from but parallel to the B4316. [200]
Saundersfoot Railway Station as shown on the 1906 6″ Ordnance Survey provided by the NLS. Both the transshipment siding and the line down to the tunnel have been added as red-lines. [210]
The same area on the modern ESRI satellite imagery provided by the NLS. The area of the siding as theaccess to the tunnel are shown heavily wooded. In around 2018 the undergrowth was cutback to reveal the man-made embankment and rail routes. Please see the photograph below. [210]
The same location on the 1887 6″ Ordnance Survey. By this time, the tunnel already appears dis-used. However, at a later date, 1915 or so, the line was opened up again and the locomotive Bulldog was purchased to supply the colliery at Reynalton. Sadly that period of operation is not picked up by the Ordnance Survey as the next revision took place in 1948 after closure of the line. [211]
from the site of Saundersfoot Railway Station in 2018, this view shows the alignment of the Saundersfoot Railway. The B4316 is on the right of the image. This photograph was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Gary Davies on 15th April 2018. He commented at the time: “Now the trees have been cut its … possible to see the route of the Saundersfoot railway. On the left side is the route to the Kingsmoor tunnel and on the right is the embankment siding for discharging coal from the Saundersfoot railway onto coal wagons of the Main Pembroke Dock to Whitland Railway via the exchange siding which came in behind Saundersfoot Station.” [164]
Saudersfoot Railway Station. This picture was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by John Stoot on 16th December 2017. [162]
Saundersfoot Railway Station in 1914. This photograph was shared on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Penny Brace on 13th February 2020. [163]
Saundersfoot Railway Station. This photograph was share by Sarah Whiddett on the Saundersfoot & District Historical Society’s Facebook Group on 3rd March 2020. [207]
Saundersfoot Station Bridge. Mark Davies shared this image on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group on 26th November 2015. [165]

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. [213]

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.” [214] The route of the tunnel appears most clearly on the 1948 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey. …

The Kingsmoor or Saundersfoot Railway Station Tunnel alignment is most clearly seen on this 1948 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey. The South Portal is adjacent to Saundersfoot Station. The Northwest portal can be made out at the top of this map extract just Northwest of Little Killawen Farm. [216]
This picture of the South portal of the tunnel appears on the geograph website and was taken on 3rd October 2010 © Copyright Alistair Hare and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0) [184]
Kingsmoor Tunnel or Saundersfoot Station Tunnel. Mark Davies shared a series of about 30 photographs of the tunnel on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group on 26th November 2015. This is one of those photographs, the full series of photographs is excellent! [165]
The Northwest portal of the tunnel. This picture was taken on 27th April 2011 (cc-by-sa/2.0) – © Alistair Hare. [212]

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.” [167]

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 6″ 1906 Ordnance Survey shows the line continuing in a generally northwesterly direction [215]
A thind red line shows the route of the old railway on this ESRI satellite image. Modern roads seem to make the most impact on the landscape although there is a caravan site sitting over the line of the railway in the bottom right quadrant of the satellite image (Kingsmoor Caravan Site). [215]
Looking East along the A477 at the approximate location where the old railway route crosses the main road. It appears that it enters the caravan site (on the left) just at the Eastern edge of the entrance road. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
As we have just noted, it appears that the route of the old railway enters the caravan site just at the Eastern edge of the entrance road and then runs roughly parallel to the road through the site but perhaps 50 to 100 metres to the Northeast. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
[215]
The point at which the Saundersfoot railway crossed New Road, Begelly. Note the relatively large bungalow with its wall running parallel to the old railway. It would seem that the property boundary followed the line of the embankment![215]
The location of the old railway in relation to New Road can be fixed by the bungalow shown to the left of this image, of which part seems to straddle the route of the old railway. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
Begelly Railway Bridge over what is now New Road. This picture looks through the bridge to the West. The photograph was share on the Tenby and Saundersfoot Through Time Facebook Group by Ron Powell on 24th January 2017. [166]
North of New Road a public footpath follows the old railway line as far as the West end of Parsonage Lane. [Google Streetview, March 2022]
The route of the Miner’s Walk Path is shown here in mauve. It follows the old railway which is now a bridleway. [218]
The path as it approaches Parsonage Lane, (c0 Two Dogs and an Awning. [217]
The view West from the end of Parsonage Lane. The gated track is met by the old railway route coming in from the left and the track then follows the Saundersfoot Railway formation. [Google Streetview, March 2022]

Bulldog at the head of a train of wagons North of Kingsmoor Tunnel. This picture was shared by Gavin Thomas on the Saundersfoot & District Historical Society Facebook Group on 17th October 2018. I am not sure of the location of this photograph but it is possible that is in the length that we are currently looking at. If so, Parsonage Lane runs just to the left and the buildings visible beyond the train are at Parsonage Green. [140]
This extract from the 6″ OS Map published in 1889 is of what I consider to be the likely location of the photograph above. The rectangle shows the suggested location, with the train facing East towards the bridge at what is now called New Road. If I am right, the original building in the photograph no longer exists, it has been replaced by a bungalow. [219]

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.” [228]

That statement from Coflein is supported on their website by an Ordnance Survey extract which is reproduced here and annotated with the key features. [228]

Thomas Chapel on the 62 Ordnance Survey of 1906. The Saundersfoot Railway can be seen approaching from the South. [220]
Approximately the same are as on the map extract above. The red line on the satellite image shows the route of the old railway. [220]

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.

The location of the Reynalton Cooliery and the New Reynalton Colliery as indicated by Coflein. [221]

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.” [227]

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. [217]

Reynalton Bridge Abutments. This photograph was taken and shared by Dewi H. Davies on 7th October 2015 (c) People’s Collection Wales and used here under the Creative Archive Licence. [222]
[223]
We know that the Reynalton extension was constructed with frugality in mind, that it sought to follow the contours as much as possible and avoided building embankments, cuttings or structures as much as possible. With these factors in mind the red line shown on this satellite image is an estimation of the likely route which roughly follows the contours of the land and picks up on features that exit in the 21st century. A solid red line has been used where I have reasonable confidence over the alignment of the railway, the red-dotted line where I have a greater uncertainty but feel that showing the probable line is warranted.

We have already identified the two bridge abutments alongside the road South of Reynalton and it is possible (see below) to pick out the line of the railway either side of that for a couple of hundred yards at most. Closer to the line to Thomas Chapel there is a linear section of woodland which is in the shape of an upturned ‘U’ which closely follows the contours of the land. Between these two lengths the presumed route does approximately follow the contours and existing features, specifically, a lane to the East of the modern tarmacked road running North-South at the centre of the picture and an obvious lane running to the West of that road which does not appear on any of the revisions of the OS mapping carried by the NLS.

This leaves us with a question about the line’s approach to Reynalton colliery. The blue flag on the Coflein map above locates the colliery with reasonable accuracy. That position is shown again below and is marked on this satellite image as an ochre-coloured circle. At the moment the line approaching the colliery is shown in ochre as well and dashed because I have little certainty over its exact line. I hope to be able to clarify this further as time goes by. [223]
Coflein provides two aerial photographs looking from the North across Reynalton to the most visible remains of the Saundersfoot Railway extension to Reynalton Colliery. The remains can be picked out towards the top of this image. A tree-lined curve runs from the West to two bridge abutments and the line can then be seen as a straight line running East through the first two fields East of the highway. The photograph was taken taken on 11 January 2006 by Toby Driver. [224]
The location of Reynalton Colliery. An enlarged version of the map as shown by Coflein. [221]

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.” [226] 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. …

A telephoto image looking along the line of the railway to the East from the lane at the centre of the satellite image above. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
A wider view of the probable line of the old railway taken from the same lane, looking East. [Google Streetview, August 2021]
This time looking ahead along the probable line of the Saundersfoot Railway Extension. [Google Streetview]

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 [235] 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. [235]

References

131. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17.0&lat=51.71103&lon=-4.69706&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 22nd September 2022.

140. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10156977603767859&set=gm.2078153078876132&cft%5B0%5D=AZWT7bn815NyzpCpBBLC2HZvBTrfrxDyTo-ZvOW9NTUxLpk3TjiNa54DbuGtyhLpS3hgQViJFmWLBpFi2Tie16dxvjB9orVLUAD2e2hghR1hQjPoDihdOY7KRozUvMoaoQ65Ej7zh5wOYf-1S__QUXk4TJYKhtTxc8aGAMBCATtpLQ&tn=EH-y-R, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

141. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10222629753755569&set=gm.3342246502501338, accessed on 28th September 2022.

148. https://scontent-lcy1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.18172-8/12239217_10153292740546220_1364977808131440036_o.jpg?_nc_cat=110&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=T1j6evBs-qUAX-qTyVf&_nc_ht=scontent-lcy1-1.xx&oh=00_AT99_FCh-C8qMzKvptVV7M45ErozbSBljfm6La4_WuxP-w&oe=6354DACD, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

151. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10153292740386220&set=pcb.2488352051304047, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

156. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2645549072131811&set=gm.3230563843749527, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

158. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1300990836642576&set=pcb.2667192270086690, and https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1300991336642526&set=pcb.2667192270086690, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

159. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2929529600408275&set=gm.3279183382220906, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

162. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10214777776135221&set=gm.2842611899211392, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

163. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10163222482380387&set=gm.3100220613370596, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

164. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2068424579852119&set=pcb.2907099849429263, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

165. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10153292770086220&set=pcb.2488356474636938, accessed on 23rd September 2022.

166. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1318537364887923&set=pcb.2675460549259862, accessed on 28th September 2022.

167. https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/kingsmoor-hill-tunnel-saundersfoot-west-wales-september-2021.130226, accessed on 28th September 2022.

180. https://www.facebook.com/groups/saundersfootdistricthistorialsoc/permalink/2161261967266470, accessed on 25th September 2022.

181. https://museum.wales/collections/online/object/0a0dad7c-06d6-3d40-8eb0-88b2777f3350/Coal-Staithes-at-Saundersfoot-Harbour-postcard, accessed on 25th September 2022.

182. https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/381602, accessed on 25th September 2022.

184. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2095041, accessed on 28th September 2022.

199. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.0&lat=51.71351&lon=-4.70532&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 27th September 2022.

200. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.2&lat=51.71977&lon=-4.71862&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 27th September 2022.

201. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188916, accessed on 27th September 2022.

202. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.2&lat=51.71579&lon=-4.71964&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 27th September 2022.

203. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/308430, accessed on 27th September 2022.

204. https://ancientmonuments.uk/131820-tramroad-incline-at-saundersfoot-saundersfoot#.YzL3dnbMKUk, accessed on 27th September 2022.

205. https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/incline-villa.en-gb.html?activeTab=photosGallery, accessed on 27th September 2022.

206. http://www.industrialgwent.co.uk/w-b12-pembroke/index.htm#saundersfoot, accessed on 27th September 2022.

207. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10163322666785387&set=gm.3141496132576377, accessed on 27th September 2022.

208. http://www.welshcoalmines.co.uk/pembroke/Bonvilles_Court.htm, accessed on 27th September 2022.

209. This picture appeared on a Google search as being available on the aditnow.co.uk. That site now seems to be unavailable.

210. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17.3&lat=51.72204&lon=-4.71834&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 28th September 2022.

211. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188916, accessed on 28th September 2022.

212. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2380636, accessed on 28th September 2022.

213. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2022/09/26/railways-in-west-wales-part-1c-pembrokeshire-industrial-railways-section-b-the-saundersfoot-railway-first-part/

214. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/308433, accessed on 28th September 2022.

215. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.0&lat=51.73323&lon=-4.73637&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 28th September 2022.

216. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188910, accessed on 28th September 2022.

217. https://twodogsandanawning.co.uk/on-the-miners-trail-a-circular-walk-from-kilgetty, accessed on 28th September 2022.

218. https://www.facebook.com/PembrokeshireCoastPath/photos/p.2239833496135297/2239833496135297/?type=3, accessed on 28th September 2022.

219. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102188907, accessed on 28th September 2022.

220. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.0&lat=51.74323&lon=-4.75060&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 28th September 2022.

221. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/91716, accessed on 28th September 2022.

222. https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/475105, accessed on 28th September 2022.

223. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.0&lat=51.74485&lon=-4.75803&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 28th September 2022.

224. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/408319/images, accessed on 28th September 2022.

225. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10222618406991907&set=gm.3339455612780427, accessed on 28th September 2022.

226. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/408319, accessed on 28th September 2022.

227. http://www.urbexforums.com/showthread.php/2136-Saundersfoot-Coal-Mine-Railway-Pembrokeshire, accessed on 28th September 2022.

228. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/400202, accessed on 29th September 2022.

235. https://www.openrailwaymap.org, accessed on 29th September 2022.

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – An Addendum

Since posting about the Town Section of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway I have received some pictures from people who visited the railway in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and I have identified a few other items worth including in this addendum.

The featured image above is one taken by K.H. Cribb and used by kind permission of his son Russ.

The original article about the W&LLR Town Section can be found here:

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – Part 1 – The Abandoned Town Section

Most of the images included in this article are shared with the kind permission of the photographers. My thanks to all who have been willing to let me share their photographs. The author of an image is credited in the text under that image and, as appropriate, the source is provided in the ‘References’ at the end of the article. There are a number of images for which it has not been possible to determine or to contact the original photographer to seek permission to share the image. Any help in identifying a copyright holder, if one exists, would be appreciated.

1. A set of three photographs sent to me by Tony Jervis are included in the photographs below. All were taken in 1977. One shows the remaining dual-gauge track as it existed in 1977. Another shows the location of the Seven Stars Halt, the third shows the Bron-y-Buckley length of the line after the lifting of the track.

2. Three pictures were sent to me by Malcolm Peakman.

The first to mention was from the abandoned section of the narrow-gauge line in the town and particularly the dual-gauge track alongside the Smithfield livestock market and mirrors Tony Jervis’ photograph of the same location. This photo is included in the series of pictures following the route of the town section of the line below.

The other two are from further along the line and show some of the stock purchased by the preservation society when it took over the line. I have included these here for their historical interest, even though they do not relate directly to the Town Section of the line.

This image shows purchased stock in storage Malcolm comments: “I honestly don’t remember where these were, perhaps Heniarth?  I do remember derailing there in the sidings due to the track spreading.”  ©Malcolm Peakman, dated between 1962 and 1964.
This photo was probably taken in 1963 at Sylfaen when it was the terminus of the passenger service.Malcolm comments: “No. 3 ‘Raven’ is standing in front of one of the original Brake Vans used as the “station office”. My mother is looking at the loco and I am on the other side explaining how it was driven,” © Malcolm Peakman, 1963.

Malcolm Peakman also shared some memories of the early preservation period:

“As a volunteer on the W&L between 1962 to 1964 I travelled the town section many times, despite the failure to obtain long term permission we were allowed to use the line to recover spent ballast from BR to spread further up the line, so a typical weekend would see 2 or 3 trips with empty wagons down and loaded back up and then off loaded.  As I was a teenage apprentice in a Locomotive Works I was a lot fitter than I am now and this part of the job certainly helped keep me in shape!

The worst part of the run was at Raven Square where we perforce ran wrong direction in the road due to the island.  This caused several near misses where motorists ignored the red flags and tried to proceed in the face a steam loco.  I only saw one collision, that was outside the Seven Stars where an irate local who had parked on the tracks despite knowing it would be used at the week end, chose to deliberately drive into the locomotive, he burst his radiator and scratched the paint on the loco.  The police were not very sympathetic towards him.

I was there when the pannier tank and The Earl stood side by side.”

3. An image of the W&LLR is used by the Lightmoor Press on their website to advertise one of their publications, Michael Whitehouse’s, ‘Narrow Gauge Album 1950-1965 In Colour’. [1] The photograph was taken by Patrick Whitehouse and is covered by copyright so cannot be reproduced in this article. It can be seen by clicking here. [2]

The picture shows the view from the main W&LLR yard adjacent to Welshpool Railway Station towards the town centre. It shows No. 822 idling gently in the yard whilst the day’s goods train awaits its journey to Llanfair Caereinion having already been assembled. The passenger platform was behind the photographer to the left, behind the waiting goods train. Although no regular passenger services were offered at the time that Patrick Whitehouse took the photograph, having been withdrawn by the GER in the early 1930s. Beyond the engine to the right a second goods brake van can be seen. Behind that is the dual-gauge Smithfield Siding and the Smithfield livestock market. [2]

(On its webpage, Lightmoor Press writes: “Patrick Whitehouse (PBW)… travelled far and wide to photograph many … narrow gauge lines and systems before they were lost. In 1957, he compiled his seminal Narrow Gauge Album, which brought many of these wonderful but obscure railways to the attention of thousands of other enthusiasts, some of whom followed in his footsteps with their cameras. Now, PBW’s son Michael has delved in to the family and other archives to compile a similar album for the 21st century, accompanied by essays from a variety of well known names and sources.”) [2]

4. Then and Now Images. Tim Abbot has posted two images on Flickr with permission to use under a Creative Commons Licence. These are included in the series of photographs following the route of the line. Both appear early in that series of pictures as they show the length close to the mainline railway station.

5. Ken Cribb (K.H. Cribb) took around 1000 photographs of a series of different railways. All his photos come from the 1950s and 1960s. These photographs are very recently uncovered and mostly unseen by others. His son Russ is at present cataloguing those photographs and hopes one day that publication may be possible. Russ has very kindly allowed me to include a number of his dad’s photographs in this article.

Russ has been sharing a few of the photos on a number of Facebook Groups “to gain a bit more knowledge from people or railway groups that could help. This has been a bit of an eye opener as to some of the photos, not realising what historical importance some of them are.” [22]

He writes: “Dad was great friends with Richard Blenkinsop and many photographic locations were done together, Dick taking loads of notes and then publishing so many fantastic books over the years, with Dad showing up in a few. Sadly we lost dad in 1995 after Alzheimer’s set in very early at the age of 56, passing away at 64. There was never enough time to go through all the photos with him at the time as I had just started my own family and time was centred around the children. Then it was sadly too late and the recollection were very mixed and distorted so now left with the enormous task of trying to make as good a job as I can with the information available.” [22]

Russ would be delighted if there are people who might want to assist in understanding the pictures he has. He has kindly watermarked the photographs included here and would love to hear from anyone who can add to his knowledge. For the purposes of this blog, I have to remember to keep photograph file sizes relatively small, so please don’t judge the quality of the photographs on the basis of what appears here. In my view Ken Cribb’s photos are a great asset and they need to be shared more widely, If you have something significant to offer, please get in touch with me and I will pass your details on to Russ.

Ken Cribb took 26 photographs of the W&LLR, many on the last SLS special. Russ again: “His friend Pat Webber was with him that day, (who he cycled with for two weeks around Ireland and at Letterkenny) also sent one of his photos as a Christmas card.
The photos are along the route, so he didn’t travel on the train on this occasion.” [22]

Russ continues: “Any publication is miles away yet, have to get the spreadsheet finished first and proper inventory of what photos there are before proper scanning. … [Dad] spent most of his spare weekends and holidays helping out on the Ffestiniog Railway and photographing Welsh narrow gauge along with the 1950’s steam on standard gauge across the UK and Ireland.” [22]

9 of Ken’s photographs are included below.

Photographs taken along the Town Section of the W&LLR

The photos which follow illustrate the Town Section of the line throughout its history. They begin close to the mainline station in Welshpool and end at Raven Square.

Welshpool now has a town trail which follows the line of the Town Section of the W&LLR. This is one of the information boards along the route. Each has a map which fills the centre of the board with illustrations and photographs surrounding the map. Text is in both Welsh and English. This is Board No. 2 which can be found the wall at the southwestern edge of the Tesco car park. The board explains: “Having crossed Smithfield Road the line entered the narrow gauge yard with the running line passing between a loop and warehouse siding. The warehouse, again a timber framed building, had a double pitch roof clad in corrugated iron sheets. Supported on pillars a canopy protected the rail-side entrance of the warehouse, whilst the yard-side entrance was protected by a canopy cantilevered out from the roof. … This area was an extremely busy one as not only did the standard and narrow gauge lines run side by side but also a busy cattle market was held adjacent. After the railway had closed the town section and the track removed the area was taken over and incorporated into the Smithfield until it moved to its present location on the outskirts of town in 2009.” [My photograph, 2nd September 2022]
A plan of the yard at Welshpool which was shared by Rob Bishop on the Narrow Gauge Railway Enthusiast’s Facebook Group on 20th January 2017. It shows: the triangle formed by the dual-gauge length of line on the East side of the triangle, adjacent to the Smithfield market; the transshipment line extended across the bottom of the triangle; and the curving sidings of the goods yard. This image was shared by Rob Bishop on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 20th January 2017. [21]

The following photographs are, as far as possible, shown in sequence along the line through Welshpool starting at the mainline station and the W&LLR yard.

The first is a ‘then and now’ photograph created by Tim Abbot.

Opening day
Tim Abbott comments: “The first train on the newly opened Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway stands in the Smithfield Road outside the Cambrian Railway station in Welshpool on 4th April 1903.
Where once stood the proud directors of the company, road improvements and a mini roundabout now lead intending passengers through Welshpool to the preserved railway’s new station on the western edge of the town.”  (c) Tim Abbott, licenced for use under a Creative Commons Licence, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [3]

The second shows the view from Smithfield Road in front of the mainline station car park in the year s after the W&LLR rails had been lifted.

The site of the terminus of the W&LLR on in front of Welshpool Railway Station on 14th July 1978. Smithfield Road is in the foreground and extends down the left side of this photograph. The passenger terminus was to the right of this image, the goods yard was off to the left. The transshipment facilities were through the gateway at the centre of the photograph. The image was taken by Keith Spencer and shared by him on the Disused Railway Lines of Britain Facebook Group on 30th December 2019. [17]
Smithfield Road, then and now
Tim Abbott comments: “Smithfield Road, then and now: The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway started from a siding beside the road outside the main line station. Trains, passenger up to 1931 and freight until closure in 1956, were made up here before departure for Llanfair. Road improvements have since wiped out all memory of the original line and the main line goods yard adjacent to it. (c) Tim Abbott, licenced for use under a Creative Commons Licence, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [4]
This is the first of 9 photographs taken by Ken Cribb which are included in this article. Chronologically, it is not the first, but it is correctly placed geographically for the purposes of this article. This is a SLS Special being readied for a trip on the W&LLR in November 1956. The headboard has yet to be put in place. The locomotive is No. 822, The Earl. The train is made up of brake vans and open wagons for what will inevitably be a steady run along the line to Llanfair, (c) Ken Cribb. [23]
No. *22 The Earl again, just a little later in the morning. The Locomotive’s headboard has now been fixed and the crowd of enthusiats have arrived of the train in Welshpool Railway Station. It looks as though it will be quite a tight fit to get everyone on board, (c) Ken Cribb. [23]
This is a photograph from an earlier visit to the W&LLR. Ken Cribbs visited the W&LLR twice in the 1950s. This is from the first visit in 1955 and shows No 823 Countess leaving the W&LLR platform on the forecourt of Welshpool Mainline Railway Station and taking the curve through the W&LLR goods yard in July 1955. The route appears on the picture below curving round to the left, (c) Copyright Ken Cribb. All of Ken’s photographs are used by kind permission of his son, Russ Cribb. [23]
An extract from an aerial image showing a train of horseboxes sitting in the Smithfield siding in 1939. The cattle market is beyond and the W&LLR good yard is in front of the horseboxes, (c) Historic England and sources from the Britain from Above website, Image No. WPW061716, authorised for non-commercial use. [8]
The third side of the triangle looking Northeast the narrow-gauge would have crossed the standard-gauge approximately where the cattle wagons stand in the distance beyond the shed. There was apparently a length of narrow gauge track which was placed across the standard-gauge when it was needed. The length of track concerned is shown dotted on the plan above. Again, the photographer is not known. The image was shared by Rob Bishop on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 20th January 2017. [21]
This photograph shows the point close to the Cambrian Mainline where the narrow-gauge separated from the standard-gauge. The timber yard which it served was off to the left of the picture. The photographer’s identity is not known. The image was shared on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 20th January 2017 by Rob Bishop. [21]

The Smithfield Siding ran alongside the Smithfield livestock market and over part of its length was dual-gauge.

It is worth noting that the provision of the narrow gauge as part of this dual-gauge track was not to allow loading and unloading at the cattle dock but to provide access for W&LLR wagons to a sawmill farther down next to the standard gauge lines. The goods and cattle were unloaded from the narrow gauge in a different part of the yard. [11]

Oswestry allocated 2251 class 0-6-0 No 2214 at Welshpool, photographed in the Smithfield market area. The diagram this engine was working probably formed part of the 9.30 am Oswestry to Moat Lane Junction freight which up until the late 1950s incorporated the thrice-weekly trip up the Kerry branch, half an hour was given to knock in and take out at Welshpool. Although the railway lines were approximately 80 yards apart, trains both standard and narrow gauge trains accessed the Smithfield by crossing Smithfield Road, each crossing was protected by gates which did not close across the public road and for this purpose the gates were kept closed across the railway except when the required to be opened for shunting operations. Normal rules applied when any movements were made over the crossings. Loose shunting over the crossings was prohibited. (Original colour transparency unknown photographer) © Andrew Dyke. [6]

In 2003, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust recorded the site of the dual-gauge siding on its website [5] in 2003 as follows: “PRN 85212 – Welshpool, Smithfield Road, railway transfer dock (multiple site) Scheduled Ancient Monument MG254(POW): NGR:- SJ22980734 (SJ20NW); Unitary authority:- Powys; Community:- Welshpool; Preferred site type:- 20th Century – Cattle docks (Multiple – Intact) … A rare surviving interchange facility between narrow and broad gauge railways. Built 1903 to provide a connection between the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway (narrow gauge) and the Cambrian Railways (later Great Western) (standard gauge), it remained in use until 1956. Three parallel rails in the transfer dock allowed access for both standard and narrow gauge rolling stock to the same platforms. The site is well documented in the papers of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway in the National Library of Wales. A triangular island platform of stone, brick and concrete survives with mixed gauge track on both sides, laid into concrete without sleepers. The island platform has two rows of cattle pens with concrete and iron fencing and timber gates, and a single-storey brick office. Of national importance as a rare surviving railway transfer dock, believed to be the last surviving example in Wales, and possibly Britain (Cadw, 2003).” [5]

A 1950s view of the siding and cattle dock at Smithfield, discovered on RMWeb. It was posted there by user ‘corneliuslundie’ on 1st March 2018. [9]
This view shows the same siding alongside Smithfield Cattle Market. This time the photograph is taken facing away from the mainline. These two pictures give a very clear indication of the difference in gauge between the two railways © Malcolm Peakman, dated between 1962 and 1964.
This photograph shows the siding alongside the Smithfield Cattle Market with mixed-gauge track still in evidence in the 1970s. The photograph looks along the siding towards the mainline © Tony Jervis, 25th June 1977.
A similar view to Malcolm Peakman’s 1960s photo for the loading dock and dual gauge track at Smithfield Cattle Market in 2018, (c) Andy York and posted by him on RMWeb. [10]
This image shows cattle wagons in the Smithfield Siding and the narrow gauge line which made up the dual-gauge disappearing under the wagons. The Cambrian Mainline is ahead beyond the immediate buildings. The photographer is not known. The image was shared by Rob Bishop on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 20th January 2017. [21]
The consensus regarding this image is that it shows Smithfield Siding after the W&LLR no longer required the dual-gauge section and the relevant rails had been removed. The remaining dual-gauge section must therefore be beyond the car on the extreme left of the picture. The picture provides an excellent view of the W&LLR goods yard. The identity of the photographer is not known. The image was shared by Rob Bishop on the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 20th January 2017. [21]
A view of Countess looking across the W&LLR yard towards the cattle market with the W&LLR loco shed behind the engine. Alfred Fisher who took this photograph comments: “One of my earliest photos on a Box Brownie in August 1948.  Have removed an obnoxious telegraph pole which appeared from the top of the chimney uninvited.  The locos were well kept even in B.R. days.  Note the ‘W’ under the number, before the line was transferred to Euston.  Wouldn’t have believed that ‘Countess’ would still be running more than seventy years later.” Alfred Fisher shared this image on the Narrow Gauge Railways Facebook group on 12th April 2021. [12]

An interesting aside to the photograph above is the content of a short discussion on the Narrow Gauge Railways Facebook group. This discussion started with a comment from the photographer about the fact that the locomotive was facing towards Llanfair and a recollection that on another visit it was seen in the loco shed with its bunker facing towards Llanfair.

In response to Alfred Fisher, Tim Abbott commented that “Countess worked bunker first towards Llanfair in the 1920s. But your experience suggests this might not have been the only time. Until 1937 it was theoretically possible to turn locos on a triangle at Welshpool, but the connecting sidings were removed after this date.” [12]

The triangle Tim Abbot refers to was probably formed from the narrow gauge line which was part of the dual-gauge Smithfield Siding and a line which connected to the transshipment siding in the mainline goods yard at Welshpool.

A 21st century view along the route of the old railway looking towards the canal bridge and Welshpool town centre from the old W&LLR goods yard. This image was taken and then shared on the Narrow Gauge Railways Facebook group by David Knott on 28th May 2018. [13]
The climb to the Canal bridge, also taken and shared by David Knott on 28th May 2018. [13]
Loco 823 on Welshpool and Llanfair Railway before preservation  June 1951 by Derek Chaplin - Peter Brabham collection
Loco No. 823 on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway before preservation, dated June 1951. The canal bridge is one of a very small number of surviving elements of the town section of the W&LLR to the East of Raven Square. It now forms part of a footpath from Smithfield Road car park to Church Street. (c) Derek Chaplin – Peter Brabham collection. [7] (NB when a link to a Flickr image is pasted into an article, the link automatically produces an image which when clicked on leads directly to the image on Flickr. This process is called ’embedding’.)
A canal towpath view of the W&LLR bridge. The photograph is taken from the towpath on the Southwest side of the bridge. The railway gradient required, either side of the bridge, to raise track levels sufficiently to cross the canal was around 1 in 30. The photograph was taken by and then shared by John Firth on the Narrow Gauge Railway Facebook Group on 24th February 2018. [14]
The view back across the Canal bridge towards Welshpool Railway Station, also taken and shared by David Knott on 28th May 2018. [13]
Looking ahead along the route of the old line towards Church Street, also taken and shared by David Knott on 28th May 2018. [13]
The view across the line of Church Street towards what was ‘The Narrows’, also taken and shared by David Knott on 28th May 2018. [13]
No 822 The Earl running thorough the Narrows on 3rd November 1956. The next few photos show the Narrows without a train and hopefully give a really good impression of just how tightly the buildings crowded the line. Most of the buildings in these few pictures have long-gone, (c) Ken Cribb. [23]
This photograph is taken facing Northwest along The Narrows from a point to the West of Church Street, © Frank Stamford and shared by him on the
This is the first of a few photographs that Dave Willis has agreed that I can share here. They were all taken in September 1964 by Dave’s father. He shared them on the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Facebook Group on 6th July 2015. This picture shows ‘The Narrows’ and looks back towards Church Street, © Dave Willis [20]
Taken from the same location in ‘The Narrows’ but this time looking towards Seven Stars. Both of these photographs show clearly the way in which the rails were laid on longitudinal girders. Check rails were provided as along this section the rails followed the Lledan Brook. The girder carrying the track were supported by transverse beams hidden underneath timber decking. Image shared on the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Facebook Group on 6th July 2015, © Dave Willis [20]
No. 822 The Earl leaving the Narrows in November 1956. The SLS Special will then cross in front of H. Ballard & Son’s Garage as shown in the earlier image immediately below, (c) Ken Cribb. [23]
No 823 Countess again, passing in front of H. Ballard & Son’s Garage in 1955, approaching the location Seven Stars Halt, (c) K.H. Cribb. [23]
A sequence of three photographs taken in the early 1960s which show one of the infrequent works trains run by the W&LLR. These pictures were shared by Matt Palmer on the Disused Railway Lines of Britain Facebook Group on 3rd December 2020. [18]
The location of Seven Stars Halt at the bottom of Brook Street opposite Seven Stars Road – Union Street is straight ahead © Tony Jervis, 25th June 1977.
This photograph was taken by Chris Tigwell and is at a very similar location to the picture sent to me by Tony Jervis and which appears close above. Of very particular interest is the series of girders shown in this image which supported the W&LLR as it ran along the line of the Lledan Brook at Steven Stars. The Hillman Imp in the distance is at approximately the location of the old Seven Stars Halt. Quite a bit of the old line through the town centre ran along the line of the Brook was was supported by transverse girders in this way. Chris took the photo himself in the early 1980s and shared it in the Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Facebook Group on 14th April 2020. [15]
At Seven Stars and the location of the halt. A similar position as the last of the three photographs above shared by Matt Palmer. This image was shared by Steve Sharman on the Disused Railway Lines of Britain Facebook Group on 29th December 2020. [19]
Beyond Seven Stars Halt heading West out of Welshpool the W&LLR left the verge of Brook Street and ran between houses on the   housing estate. This 1960s image was shared by Ian Huselbee on the Disused Railway Lines of Britain Facebook Group on 4th December 2016,  © Ian Huselbee. [16]
This photograph was taken from a point close to where the woman is walking in the image mediately above. It shows the line heading towards the Bron-y- Buckley housing estate. The picture was taken in September 1964 by Dave Willis’ father and was shared by Dave Willis on the Narrow Gauge Society Facebook Group on on 6th July 2015, © Dave Willis [20]
The picture shows the old track-bed and the remains of the 0½ mile-post near the start of the track through the Bron-y-Buckley housing estate looking approximately south-east towards Seven Stars © Tony Jervis, 25th June 1977.
Also from 1955, this photograph of Ken Cribb’s shows No. 823 Countess running along the straight section through the Bron-y-Buckley housing estate and heading towards Raven Square, (c) K.H. Cribb. [23]
No. 823 Countess again running alongside Brook Street and approaching Raven Square in July 1955, (c) K.H. Cribb. [23]
Just a little closer to Raven Square, in 1956, No. 822 the Earl prepares to leave Welshpool behind and head along the line to Llanfair. Just the small matter of crossing the roundabout at Raven Square before heading into open country! (c) Ken Cribb. [23]
The view across Raven Square towards the centre of Welshpool. The road directly ahead of the photographer is Brook Street. In September 1964 the railway seems to delve into the tall grass on the North side of Brook Street. The picture was taken in September 1964 by Dave Willis’ father and was shared by Dave Willis on the Narrow Gauge Society Facebook Group on on 6th July 2015, © Dave Willis [20]
No. 823 Countess again, crossing the roundabout at Raven Square. The photograph was taken from a very similar position to the one immediately above, just a little to the left, (c) K.H. Cribb. [23]

References

  1. Michael Whitehouse; ‘Narrow Gauge Album 1950-1965 In Colour’; Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Gloucutestershire, 2018.
  2. https://lightmoor.co.uk/books/narrow-gauge-album-1950-1965-in-colour/L8498, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  3. https://flic.kr/p/2hAimRL, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  4. https://flic.kr/p/2ivkyHW, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  5. https://www.cpat.org.uk/ycom/wpool/85212.htm, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  6. https://flic.kr/p/2irGxrP, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  7. https://flic.kr/p/2n2Pnv3, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  8. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/WPW061716, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  9. https://content-eu.invisioncic.com/y320084/monthly_03_2018/post-13650-0-85080100-1519920057.png, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  10. https://content-eu.invisioncic.com/y320084/monthly_02_2018/post-1-0-79717700-1519664607.jpg, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  11. https://www.rmweb.co.uk/topic/131684-uks-last-mixed-standard-and-narrow-gauge-welshpool-cattle-docks, accessed on 26th August 2022.
  12. https://m.facebook.com/groups/336825973067151/permalink/3947295658686813, accessed on 29th August 2022.
  13. https://www.facebook.com/groups/336825973067151/permalink/1725761384173596, accessed on 29th August 2022.
  14. https://m.facebook.com/groups/336825973067151/permalink/1616763448406724, accessed on 29th August 2022.
  15. https://m.facebook.com/groups/narrowgauge/permalink/3952789851399680, accessed on 29th August 2022.
  16. https://m.facebook.com/groups/DisusedRailwayLines/permalink/1235506563205289, accessed on 39th August 2022.
  17. https://m.facebook.com/groups/DisusedRailwayLines/permalink/2693724534050144, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  18. https://m.facebook.com/groups/DisusedRailwayLines/permalink/3544735658949023, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  19. https://m.facebook.com/groups/DisusedRailwayLines/permalink/3608952409194014, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  20. https://m.facebook.com/groups/NGRSoc/permalink/488603584642177, accessed on 2nd September 2022.
  21. https://m.facebook.com/groups/narrowgauge/permalink/1532137573464932, accessed on 4th September 2022.
  22. These quotes come from private messages which Russ has sent me. He has kindly given permission for these to be shared here along with some of his father’s photographs.
  23. All Ken Cribb’s photographs are included with permission from his son Russ. Rus would be interested in hearing from anyone with information to share about his father’s photographs. Please get in touch with me, if this is the case, and I will pass your details on to Russ.