Gorseddau Tramway

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Gorseddau Tramway
Locale Wales
Dates of operation 1857–1872
Successor Gorseddau Junction and Portmadoc Railway
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Headquarters Porthmadog

The Gorseddau Tramway was a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railway built in 1856 to link the slate quarries around Gorseddau with the wharves at Porthmadog. It was an early forerunner of the Gorseddau Junction and Portmadoc Railway and subsequently the Welsh Highland Railway.

Tremadoc Tramway[edit]

The Tremadoc tramway (sometimes known as the Llidiartyspytty Railway) was built by William Madocks sometime before 1842, and possibly as early as the 1830s. It connected the ironstone mine at Llidiart Yspytty to the harbour at Porthmadog. Little is known about the operation of the railway, though it is believed to have been horse worked with similar track and rolling stock to the nearby Nantlle Railway. The ironstone mine was not successful and the tramway was extended to serve a nearby slate quarry owned by the Bangor & Portmadoc Slate & Slab Co. Ltd.

In 1856 the Bangor & Portmadoc Slate & Slab company requested tenders to extend the line 2¼ miles to the Gorsedda Quarry at Glan Bwll.[1] The engineer was Manchester-based James Brunlees.[2] The extended railway, completed in 1857, was known as the Gorsedda Tramway; the correct Welsh form is Gorseddau.

Route and operation[edit]

From the wharves at Porthmadog harbor the line curved through the town and ran alongside the Y Cyt canal to Tremadog. From there a reversing neck marked the beginning of the extension towards Gorseddau. The route headed west through the village of Penmorfa where it passed under the main road in a short tunnel. Along this stretch gradients reached a maximum of 1 in 23. At Henefail the line turned north past Ynys-y-Pandy and on to Gorseddau where a short incline lead into the quarry. The line ran a total distance of just over 8 miles and rose 900 feet in that distance. Down loads were worked by gravity.[3]

The line was horse operated using wagons and a passenger carriage supplied by the Boston Lodge works of the Ffestiniog Railway.

Takeover[edit]

In 1863 the Croesor Tramway was built, connecting the slate quarries of the Croesor valley with Porthmadog. This 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge tramway crossed the Gorseddau on the level on the edge of Porthmadog and served the same wharves.

In 1871 notice was given by the owners of the Gorseddau Tramway that they intended to replace the tramway with a new railway between Gorseddau and Porthmadog of 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge. This would allow common rolling stock to be used between the Croesor and Gorseddau tramways and the Ffestiniog railway, all of which delivered slate to Porthmadog harbour. An Act of Parliament was authorized on 25th. July 1872 and the Gorseddau Junction and Portmadoc Railway was created, replacing the Gorseddau Tramway.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The North Wales Chronicle 12th. April 1856
  2. ^ Captain Henry Whatley Tyler; On the Festiniog Railway for Passengers: as a 2-feet gauge, with sharp curves, and worked by locomotive engines; Institution of Civil Engineers; 11 April 1865 - post-presentation discussion
  3. ^ Captain Henry Whatley Tyler; On the Festiniog Railway for Passengers: as a 2-feet gauge, with sharp curves, and worked by locomotive engines; Institution of Civil Engineers; 11 April 1865 - post-presentation discussion

Further reading[edit]

  • Boyd, James I.C. (1988). Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire, Volume 1 (2nd edition ed.). The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-365-6. 

External links[edit]