Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog community railway company

M7R

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Does anyone know if the Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog community railway company have a hope or reopening the line?

After a quick google it seems that in 2016 their was plans, and some clearance took place, then it all went wrong but as of early 2019 it is possibly back on... but does anyone have any clue as to just how serious the plans are?

Walking round Blaenau Ffestiniog The bits of line I have seen do look in pretty good condition really if a bit over grown, and it would make for a nice ride though the town if it ever comes true.
 
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Llanigraham

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I suspect that NR will be wary following the debacle from the previous group.
Personally I think it is a wasted effort.
 

Maybach

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The latest Ffestiniog Railway Society Magazine contains a brief update on the project, courtesy of 'Min y Trac':

"The Bala & Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Trust continues to make progress with its plans prior to approaching Network Rail to negotiate access to the Trawsfynydd to Blaenau Ffestiniog line. Their committee is extremely anxious to ensure that a professional approach is followed, given the history of the project under the previous Society, which caused upset by prematurely starting track clearance before receiving full permission. The new Trust had planned an AGM on 28 March and was able to achieve this, despite Covid-19, on an online basis. Accounts were then filed with Companies House for the first time in the project's previously rather troubled history. The project is making progress, but needs to secure more funding and additional members to be able to move forward. There is a Facebook page sharing news and pictures from the line."
Interestingly, 'Min y Trac' also reports that:

"Plans by a consortium headed by Rolls-Royce to build a Small Module Reactor at Trawsfynydd have gained more political backing, with the Senedd Cymru Minister for Economy and Transport saying it has huge potential and is fully recognised and supported by the Senedd. One stated advantage of the site is its dedicated rail connection."
 
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bishdunster

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Looking at their website appeals section I see an appeal "Timber for a tenner". I am sure that all other railways would be delighted if the group would share the details of their supplier of sleepers at this bargain price !
 

Llanigraham

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I would suggest that if there is the likelihood of building a small reactor at Traws and having it rail fed then the possiblility of a voluntary group running the line is extremely thin.
 

Dave P

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I would suggest that if there is the likelihood of building a small reactor at Traws and having it rail fed then the possiblility of a voluntary group running the line is extremely thin.
From what I can find on the web, the type of reactor proposed for Trawsfynydd will use less fuel and produce less nuclear waste than the old reactors, so it may well need less rail traffic than previously, which would allow plenty of capacity for a heritage/tourist service. I do think the infrastructure would need to remain in network rail hands because of safety, but if this new group can prove they can run trains over NR on a similar basis as the NYMR do, then why not? I do hope they can get somewhere with this, as it is a lovely bit of line and it would compliment the Ffestiniog Railway nicely. Best of luck to them I say.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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I seem to recall that Antur Stiniog the not-for-profit that run a number of local attractions in Blaenau had plans to use the track for a Velorail project. Nothing seems to have come of it.
 

swanhill41

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Covid will stop this blue sky project dead...Festiniog will have a very hard job getting back to some level of prosperity,so what chance will they have...That is my realistic assessment..
 

Bevan Price

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Covid will stop this blue sky project dead...Festiniog will have a very hard job getting back to some level of prosperity,so what chance will they have...That is my realistic assessment..
Even without Covid, I think they would struggle. Apart from funds, they would need volunteers to maintain stock, track, etc., and to operate the trains -- but with several other "heritage" / "tourist" lines in the area, will a newcomer ever be able to attract enough volunteers???
 

alexl92

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The old group were a shambles, full of in-fighting and acting very cockily over the accusation from NR over their conduct and use unathorised use of plant machinery that cause damage to a culvert. I have little hope that the current group will actually achieve anything because I think many of them are members of the old group.
 

Cowley

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The old group were a shambles, full of in-fighting and acting very cockily over the accusation from NR over their conduct and use unathorised use of plant machinery that cause damage to a culvert. I have little hope that the current group will actually achieve anything because I think many of them are members of the old group.
There are also plenty of other long standing heritage railways in the area which could no doubt do with support in the current crisis, and thinning out the pool of volunteers and money in the area just seems like exactly the wrong thing to do at the moment.
 

alex17595

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The area is very saturated with heritage railways already. Within an hours drive you have:
- Ffestiniog
- Welsh Highland
- Welsh Highland Heritage
- Snowdon mountain
- Llanberis Lake
- Bala Lake
- Corris
- Talyllyn
- Welshpool & Llanfair

I personally think the project would be better off as an extension to the Ffestiniog Railway - All the resources to build the line are already available there, you don't have to ship in massive amount of materials and rolling stock in. In fact part of the route (as far as Ffestiniog) was orignally narrow gauge when it was first built before conversion by the GWR. If the standard gauge has to be kept maybe it could be dual gauge.

I personally don't think the freight traffic will ever materialise.
 

Llanigraham

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The area is very saturated with heritage railways already. Within an hours drive you have:
- Ffestiniog
- Welsh Highland
- Welsh Highland Heritage
- Snowdon mountain
- Llanberis Lake
- Bala Lake
- Corris
- Talyllyn
- Welshpool & Llanfair

I personally think the project would be better off as an extension to the Ffestiniog Railway - All the resources to build the line are already available there, you don't have to ship in massive amount of materials and rolling stock in. In fact part of the route (as far as Ffestiniog) was orignally narrow gauge when it was first built before conversion by the GWR. If the standard gauge has to be kept maybe it could be dual gauge.

I personally don't think the freight traffic will ever materialise.
You missed the Fairbourne Railway off your list!
The Ffest have already said that they aren't interested in an extension, due to cost and the lack of anything to do easily at the Traws end. The Lake and the village is a fair walk from where the Power station loading area is, and there is the wide and quite busy A470 to cross first.
Frankly this is a scheme that needs burying.
 

Cowley

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You missed the Fairbourne Railway off your list!
The Ffest have already said that they aren't interested in an extension, due to cost and the lack of anything to do easily at the Traws end. The Lake and the village is a fair walk from where the Power station loading area is, and there is the wide and quite busy A470 to cross first.
Frankly this is a scheme that needs burying.
And the (struggling at the moment) Llangollen Railway (which is showing as 56 minutes away from BF by car). But yes I agree with what you say @Llanigraham.
 

alex17595

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You missed the Fairbourne Railway off your list!
The Ffest have already said that they aren't interested in an extension, due to cost and the lack of anything to do easily at the Traws end. The Lake and the village is a fair walk from where the Power station loading area is, and there is the wide and quite busy A470 to cross first.
Frankly this is a scheme that needs burying.
It pretty much sums the scheme up if the Ffestiniog - a railway with experience in this sort of project, doesn't think it's worth doing. Theres a strange obsession with reopening the line that seems to happen with other lines 'because the track is still there.' If I could get my crayons out I would get one of the Slate Inclines restored and have some trackage in a quarry setting.

There is also much nice lakes in Snowdonia with better facilities.

I didn't forget the Llangollen Railway, I even searched the travel time but forgot to put it down
 

Maybach

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I've just checked the Trust's website and an appeal has recently been launched "to cover legal fees for taking on the lease for the line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Lake Halt as well as funds for initial works on the ground."

Interestingly, a working party has been arranged for September 19th/20th (assuming COVID-19 restrictions have been eased) for "Vegetation clearance, securing of site and examination & analysis of Site."
 

Doctor Fegg

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A cycleway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd and on to Llyn Celyn would have ten times the tourist draw that a railway to Trawsfynydd would. The FfR/WHR has the tourist railway market in the area sewn up.

The viaducts and other structures beyond Trawsfynydd are quite special - improving public access to them by means of a cycle/walking path would be a great result.
 

Llanigraham

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A cycleway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Trawsfynydd and on to Llyn Celyn would have ten times the tourist draw that a railway to Trawsfynydd would. The FfR/WHR has the tourist railway market in the area sewn up.

The viaducts and other structures beyond Trawsfynydd are quite special - improving public access to them by means of a cycle/walking path would be a great result.
Agreed, and it would fit in with all the mountain bikers that go to Coed y Brenin
 

ChiefPlanner

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Agreed, and it would fit in with all the mountain bikers that go to Coed y Brenin
Sounds like an excellent idea and gives real synergy to develop further cycling attractions.

Was there not an idea for Velo-Rail up there before , has that idea died ?

In passing - I have a large pile of ancient Ffestiniog magazines from the 1970's and 1980's , (acquired for nothing) , and there are various ideas contained within for further "good idea" extensions using the long gone Dinas and Duffws branch / extensions. All discounted for the reasons they would abstract from the "core" railway and costs / potential revenue would be challenging to say the least.
 

the sniper

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Can anybody describe what the signalling arrangements are/were at Blaenau Ffestiniog for operation of the branch to Trawsfynydd please?

I think that this line could be/have been a valuable addition to the scene/area if done right, sustainable too, but I feel the window of opportunity has probably already passed. Were this the late 90s/early 2000s, all the infrastructure still readily usable, Railtrack open to providing access to the platform at Blaenau Ffestiniog (such as later happened with Whitby), with the driving force of a sensible outfit, the line would be a characterful one to preserve for a relatively low price. Keep it simple, One Engine in Steam beyond BF, one or two GWR pannier tanks, three or four carriages, a Diesel for backup. An eventual extension to Trawsfynydd old station. Keep it simple. It'd make far more sense than many other set ups. I could see a modest, realistic operation complementing the FR, tapping into its supply of passengers, rather than drawing people away from it. It'd be something to do at the 'other end' of the FR anyway!

Surely now though the Pway isn't in a usable condition? Conversion to narrow gauge as an FR extension doesn't make sense to me. It'd be costly and wouldn't make it much more of an attraction, beyond initial novelty, just more of the same. Unless a new Power Station reuses the branch and someone else picks up the tab for restoration of the line, it probably isn't worth the attempting a revival.

It pretty much sums the scheme up if the Ffestiniog - a railway with experience in this sort of project, doesn't think it's worth doing.
I love the F&WHR, but I wouldn't value the Ffestiniog's opinion on whether it's 'worth doing' that highly. Elements of the Ffestiniog are solely enthused by its traditional core product, the FR itself. They rather had their hand forced into rebuilding the WHR. They built something brilliant, yet there are still some Ffestiniog faithful who believe that should have been prevented, or at least, the FR shouldn't have been involved.

Agreed, and it would fit in with all the mountain bikers that go to Coed y Brenin
I think that's a different market of cyclist isn't it? If not, they can have Blaenau - Trawsfynydd if we can have Coed y Brenin back for rallying. ;)

But seriously, having held onto the route for this long, any idea that it should be turned over by NR now for cycling should probably be held off for a few more years until it can be determined whether it will or won't serve any use for future developments on the site of Trawsfynydd power station.
 

headshot119

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Can anybody describe what the signalling arrangements are/were at Blaenau Ffestiniog for operation of the branch to Trawsfynydd please?
One Train Working Staff plated Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd which was kept in Llanrwst signalbox and given to the train while there. The train crew would surrender the Llanrwst - Blaenau Ffestiniog token into the remote instrument to allow other trains to operate as far as Blaenau Ffestiniog while being "shut in" on the branch.

The OTW staff allowed the train crew to operate Blaenau Ffestiniog No 4 Ground Frame to give access on and off the branch through a set of trap points to the south side of Blaenau Ffestingiong station.
 

Doctor Fegg

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But seriously, having held onto the route for this long, any idea that it should be turned over by NR now for cycling should probably be held off for a few more years until it can be determined whether it will or won't serve any use for future developments on the site of Trawsfynydd power station.
Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that. I'd also suggest that Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd on its own would be a pleasant cycle path but nothing more; it's the extension to Cwm Prysor and Llyn Celyn that would make it really something, possibly approaching the levels of popularity of the Camel Trail. Much of the old trackbed on the latter section is already a permissive path for walkers.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that. I'd also suggest that Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd on its own would be a pleasant cycle path but nothing more; it's the extension to Cwm Prysor and Llyn Celyn that would make it really something, possibly approaching the levels of popularity of the Camel Trail. Much of the old trackbed on the latter section is already a permissive path for walkers.
I think I'm right in saying that some of the original trackbed is now under Llyn Celyn. A new diversion for a footpath should be possible though as Liverpool Corporation had included a new route for the railway in the original plans for the resevoir.

It almost goes without saying though that any proposals involving Cwm Tryweryn require the utmost sensitivity and maximum consultation. Due to its place in modern Welsh history it's regarded by many people in Wales as almost hallowed ground.
 

the sniper

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One Train Working Staff plated Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd which was kept in Llanrwst signalbox and given to the train while there. The train crew would surrender the Llanrwst - Blaenau Ffestiniog token into the remote instrument to allow other trains to operate as far as Blaenau Ffestiniog while being "shut in" on the branch.

The OTW staff allowed the train crew to operate Blaenau Ffestiniog No 4 Ground Frame to give access on and off the branch through a set of trap points to the south side of Blaenau Ffestingiong station.
Thanks for that.

Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that. I'd also suggest that Blaenau Ffestiniog - Trawsfynydd on its own would be a pleasant cycle path but nothing more; it's the extension to Cwm Prysor and Llyn Celyn that would make it really something, possibly approaching the levels of popularity of the Camel Trail. Much of the old trackbed on the latter section is already a permissive path for walkers.
I've got to be honest, I'd really prefer to keep that section as it naturally is. It's a fantastic route to walk. I dread to think what a Camel Trail equivalent with a gradient like that would be like, you know some people would treat it like a descent on a Grand Tour... The width of the adjacent A4212 means it's already reasonably accommodating to cyclists.
 

Doctor Fegg

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The A4212's ok for road cyclists but it's not exactly a safe family cycling experience. Personally I prefer the parallelish road to the south (Bronaber to the southern end of Bala Lake) but then I like hills. ;)
 

Spagnoletti

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Looking at the documentation the new group have published it appears considerably more professional, but they don't appear to have much collective experience of preserved or mainline railway work. Given the focus by ORR on competence in operational and technical matters they might have a nasty shock when they start putting together their SMS.
I can never quite work out why people with no experience try to start up in preservation from scratch these days - it's a very different world from when many of the well established railways began and the regulatory oversight alone is a massive hill to climb. Surely it would be better to get some experience at an already operating railway?
 

NBC Soap Oper

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The area is very saturated with heritage railways already. Within an hours drive you have:
- Ffestiniog
- Welsh Highland
- Welsh Highland Heritage
- Snowdon mountain
- Llanberis Lake
- Bala Lake
- Corris
- Talyllyn
- Welshpool & Llanfair

I personally think the project would be better off as an extension to the Ffestiniog Railway - All the resources to build the line are already available there, you don't have to ship in massive amount of materials and rolling stock in. In fact part of the route (as far as Ffestiniog) was orignally narrow gauge when it was first built before conversion by the GWR. If the standard gauge has to be kept maybe it could be dual gauge.

I personally don't think the freight traffic will ever materialise.
This is true - until i can get around and about properly (as can others) to Tourist Info Centres and the like , and new Leaflets are out (as i am certain these Operators and Attractions may want to do), who knows 100% I say as as in-particular they are so many around this area as has been said

I still pick Leaflets up on occasion mind and have recentley got some "new old ones" Aka 2020 from a Private Independent Tourist info, but they are more than probably in-correct njow - due to everything Corona chucked at us and how we are trying to recover/go back to normal througgh it

I can not see it happening ina way - though i do go to events like Haworth 1940s and grassngton in the Autum and Hawaorth is nr the Keighley and Worth Valley Light railway - so if events are taking place there and everything is nearer normal (or at least scaled down) I can see them "may-be running that then ... "may-be"!!
 

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