Padarn Railway

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Padarn Railway
Map of the Padarn Railway
The Padarn Railway locomotive shed at Penscoins in 2005
Locale Wales
Dates of operation 1842–1961
Successor Llanberis Lake Railway
Track gauge 4 ft (1,219 mm)
Headquarters Llanberis

The Padarn Railway was a narrow gauge railway line in Wales, built to the unusual gauge of 4 ft (1,219 mm).[1] It was built to carry slate from the Dinorwic Quarry (53°07′17″N 4°06′55″W / 53.1213°N 4.1152°W / 53.1213; -4.1152 (Padarn Railway, Gilfach Ddu terminus)) to Port Dinorwic (53°11′09″N 4°12′32″W / 53.1859°N 4.2090°W / 53.1859; -4.2090 (Padarn Railway, Port Dinorwic terminus)). It opened in 1842,[1] replacing the previous Dinorwic Railway. The Padarn Railway closed on the 3rd November 1961.[1]

Transporter wagons[edit]

An unusual feature of the railway were the transporter wagons. These 4 ft (1,219 mm) gauge vehicles were flat wagons with two parallel 1 ft 10 34 in (578 mm) gauge tracks on them. Loaded slate wagons of 1 ft 10 34 in (578 mm) gauge - the gauge used on the extensive internal system at the quarry - were wheeled onto the transporter wagons and carried four at a time down to their destination at Port Dinorwic where they were unloaded via a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge incline which led to the quayside.


Name Builder Type Date Works number Notes
Fire Queen Horlock and Company 0-4-0 tender 1848 Withdrawn 1886, now preserved at the Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle
Jenny Lind Horlock and Company 0-4-0 tender 1848 Withdrawn 1880s, scrapped.
Dinorwic Hunslet 0-6-0T 1882 302 Scrapped 1963
Pandora Hunslet 0-6-0T 1886 410 Renamed Amalthea in 1909. Scrapped 1963
Velinheli Hunslet 0-6-0T 1895 631 Dismantled for major overhaul 1953, majority of parts scrapped 1963[1]
Hardy Hardy Motors Ltd. 4wPM 1925 954 Scrapped 1963


The side tanks & funnel belonging to Velinheli

In 1963 Velinheli was in pieces in the railways workshops at Gilfach Ddu having been out of traffic since 1953 for major overhaul, a task which was never completed.[1] Whilst the majority of this locomotive was scrapped certain items survive & are now on display within the National Slate Museum at Gilfach Ddu. Surviving items include: side tanks (complete with nameplate Velinheli on one side only), chimney, sand boxes & ash-pan. The identity of all these remaining parts as belonging solely to Velinheli cannot be confirmed due to the swapping of locomotive parts, a common practice during the operation of the quarries various railway systems.[1]

Llanberis Lake Railway[edit]

Since closure, part of the route has been reopened as the 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm) narrow gauge[1] Llanberis Lake Railway.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Boyd, James I.C. (1986). Narrow Gauge Railways in North Caernarvonshire, Volume Three: The Dinorwic Quarry and Railways, The Great Orme Tramway and Other Rail Systems. The Oakwood Press. 

Coordinates: 53°08′44″N 4°10′14″W / 53.1455°N 4.1706°W / 53.1455; -4.1706