Festiniog Railway (Hardback)
From Slate Railway to Heritage Operation 1921 - 2014
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.Railway and Canal Historical Society
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.
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.NZ Crown Mines
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.
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