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Festiniog Railway (Hardback)

From Slate Railway to Heritage Operation 1921 - 2014

Transport History Trains and Railways

By Peter Johnson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 353
ISBN: 9781473896253
Published: 3rd October 2017
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #1


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Opened in 1836 as a horse tramway using gravity to carry slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog, by the 1920s the Festiniog Railway had left its years of technical innovation and high profits long behind. After the First World War, the railway’s path led inexorably to closure, to passengers in 1939 and goods in 1946.

After years of abandonment, visionary enthusiasts found a way to take control of the railway and starting its restoration in 1955. Not only did they have to fight the undergrowth, they also had to fight a state-owned utility which had appropriated a part of the route. All problems were eventually overcome and a 2½ mile deviation saw services restored to Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1982.

Along the way, the railway found its old entrepreneurial magic, building new steam locomotives and carriages, and rebuilding the Welsh highland Railway, to become a leading 21st century tourist attraction.

Historian Peter Johnson, well known for his books on Welsh railways, has delved into the archives and previously untapped sources to produce this new history, a must-read for enthusiasts and visitors alike.

The Festiniog Railway’s pre-1921 history is covered in Peter Johnson’s book, Festiniog Railway the Spooner era and after 1830-1920, also published by Pen & Sword Transport.

Keenly anticipated and speedily following on the heels of the initial volume, this sequel takes up the narrative where the first book finished.
As in the previous volume, the photographs and illustrations are a tour de force; the period monochrome shots are powerfully evocative.

The two books should be seen as one and together they are a truly commendable effort.

Railway and Canal Historical Society

In precis this volume is of the ‘Company history’ genre. This reviewer found it to be well-researched, well-written, eminently readable and interesting. While not ‘perfect’ it is an excellent introduction to the Festiniog. When combined with its previously-mentioned sister volume, it forms a valuable resource on its subject.

Unsurprisingly, this volume will inevitably appeal to the ‘Festiniog enthusiast’ members of the railway fraternity. However, it is also likely to have a wider appeal, especially amongst holiday-makers seeking a souvenir of their visit to the railway. Railway historians and railway enthusiasts of a more ‘generalist’ nature may find it of interest. The volume’s photographs could also be useful to railway modellers interested in the Festiniog specifically, and Welsh narrow gauge railways in general.

NZ Crown Mines
 Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Now a retired local government officer, Peter Johnson was editor of the Ffestiniog Railway Societys quarterly magazine from 1974 until 2003 and a director of the society for eleven years. In 2003 he was appointed the Festiniog Railway Companys official photographer. Since his first book was published in 1984 he has added more than thirty titles to his list, specialising in Welsh and narrow gauge railways, but also including books on tramways and traveling post offices. In the last fifteen years he has researched original sources to write in-depth and readable histories on the Cambrian Railways, the Festiniog Railway, the Great Western narrow gauge, Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway, traveling post offices and the Welsh Highland Railway.

Perfect Partner

Festiniog Railway The Spooner Era and After 1830 - 1920 (Hardback)

Festiniog Railway 1836-2014 describes the history of the worlds first steam-operated narrow gauge railway to carry passengers. It covers the history of the railway from its beginnings as a horse-worked tramroad in 1836, through its technical developments with the introduction of steam locomotives, Fairlie articulated locomotives and bogie carriages through its twentieth-century decline, to closure in 1946, and then to the preservation era and its development as a major twenty-first-century tourist attraction. Built to serve the extensive slate industry in the Ffestiniog area of North Wales by…

By Peter Johnson

Click here to buy both titles for £62.00
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