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Abandoned Railway at Porthmadog


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Maps of Porthmadog until as recently as the 1970s showed what was, to my eyes at any rate, unmistakeably the formation of a standard gauge railway that I have never seen mentioned in any book. I have walked the area in recent years and have found no trace of it on the ground.

Portmadoc.jpg.ec9d9e7d9ebcb5c43c9ef12b45b25943.jpg

 

It is present on the earliest map that I can find - a six-inch map of 1887. Does anyone know anything of its history? It rather looks as if it's heading towards the Ffestiniog's Harbour Station.

Edited by Andy Kirkham
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25 minutes ago, Andy Kirkham said:

Maps of Porthmadog until as recently as the 1970s showed what was, to my eyes at any rate, unmistakeably the formation of a standard gauge railway that I have never seen mentioned in any book. I have walked the area in recent years and have found no trace of it on the ground.

Portmadoc.jpg.ec9d9e7d9ebcb5c43c9ef12b45b25943.jpg

 

It is present on the earliest map that I can find - a six-inch map of 1887. Does anyone know anything of its history? It rather looks as if it's heading towards the Ffestiniog's Harbour Station.

 

... or it could be a strip of land set aside for an intended length of flood bank, to link up with the railway embankment. It would then have been possible to reclaim the land thus enclosed for development. Note the marked similarity of the width of the strip of land in question, to that of the existing flood bank enclosing the Llyn Bach.

 

Don't forget that William Madocks, (17 June 1773 – 15 September 1828), was responsible for the building of the Cob, and many other embankments in the area, with the principal intention of land reclamation rather than railway construction.

 

John Isherwood.

Edited by cctransuk
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Hi Andy,

 

I've had a look at a LIDAR scan of Porthmadog. There is a very minor earthwork following the curve of the proposed siding/branch alignment. I would hazard a guess that said earthwork was a low bank associated with a boundary fence line? It looks like land for a siding/branch was acquired and fenced (as shown on your map). However, it seems the proposed siding/branch was never built.

 

You might contact the Gwynedd County Record Office ([email protected])? They might have a Deposited Plan of the proposed siding/branch in their archive. They may have other info that may be of use to you. Worth a punt!

 

All the best,

 

Paul

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I'd go with the intended, purchased and fenced railway alignment, to get the Cambrian onto the quayside. If you look on Ynys Tywyn  at the back of Brittania Villas you can see a suspiciously aligned curving low "cliff", which I must have looked at a hundred times, which could be artificial, blasted, rather than natural, and would work to give a path for a railway onto the quay.

 

I'm not sure it works as a flood bank, because if that was what it was, why bother with a nice curve, when a shorter, cheaper straight line would do? And why ignore/avoid the sticky-up island, which would contribute nicely to a flood bank for free.

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I have a feeling it was a road (possibly once something like a tramway) for dumping stuff used in the construction of the railway. Maybe to create the flood defences.

 

These are the views on GE and looks like something was possibly there.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.9298797,-4.1259626,3a,75y,115.54h,87.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1saa4knV9esHLTKNFcOxjXjQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.9299865,-4.1258113,3a,75y,319.86h,80.13t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spGeiFT0dCXajyIKapKDS3w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

 

 

Jason

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I think it was part of one of the proposal to expand the port to rival the likes of Holyhead. Backing for the Festiniog railway was mainly from Ireland and the idea was to be able to shorten the route from London to Dublin.

 

I am sure there are better experts on the Festiniog on here who can answer this better.

 

Keith

Ps. for correctness I am using the original spelling of the name as per the setting up act nowadays the welsh spelling is used of Ffestininog

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There was indeed a proposal to expand the Harbour facilities at Portmadoc quite considerably - but strictly for freight, not passenger use as suggested by Keith.

JIC Boyds "The Festiniog Railway" shows a number of map extracts and plans. At lease two of these (dated 1845 and 1864) show the area north of the current small lake north of Britannia Bridge as "Site of New Inner Harbour," or similar. This development would have been a logical target for a Cambrian branch starting on the alignment that Andy's map suggests. In fact it would have pretty much blocked any continuation of that alignment to the Festiniog unless it could be achieved through dockside sidings - where transhipment of slate between Festiniog and Cambrian  sounds a bit unlikely.

 

Brian

PS: same comment as Keith re spellings!

 

 

Edited by 5982
word omitted.
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https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0860936449/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_NiNuFb08M4G71

There is a mention on pp115 of this book that the 'Croesor extension to Portmadoc Harbour' could be completed at a cost of £737 this being in 1871.

Looking further the origin of the proposed branch is in 1869 when a proposal was made to convert part of the Croesor tramway to mixed gauge so the Cambrian could get one third of the traffic off the tramway. No mention of Acts but the Cambrian had history where the building of railways without acts is concerned.

Edited by PenrithBeacon
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On 04/09/2020 at 08:17, KeithHC said:

I think it was part of one of the proposal to expand the port to rival the likes of Holyhead. Backing for the Festiniog railway was mainly from Ireland and the idea was to be able to shorten the route from London to Dublin.

 

I am sure there are better experts on the Festiniog on here who can answer this better.

 

Keith

Ps. for correctness I am using the original spelling of the name as per the setting up act nowadays the welsh spelling is used of Ffestininog

 

Ffestininog ???

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On 04/09/2020 at 15:52, Steamport Southport said:

I thought that was going to be at Porthdinllaen, but none of the proposals came to anything.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porthdinllaen

 

The problem with Portmadog was it wasn't suitable for large boats and ships. One of the reasons it never really prospered as a port.

 

 

 

Jason

I don’t think that’s fair; it was capable of taking schooners used in the slate trade, and home port of registry for many of them.  A world wide export trade was operated out of the port until at least the end of the 19th century, after which larger steamships put paid to it, and you would have been hard put to find a bigger slate port.  It prospered for many years performing the function it was designed and built for.  

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