Trawsfynydd Branch I

From Blaenau Ffestiniog, a freight-only branch line continued for about 5 miles to serve Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. This line had originally been the GWR branchline from Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog Central. When the course of this line was flooded by the Llyn Celyn reservoir, a new link was created at Blaenau in 1964 to join the Central and North stations and to permit nuclear waste traffic to be sent from the power station.

25032 at Manod 19/04/82 (s82006.jpg)

On a glorious 19th April 1982, 25032 is seen working Trip 47, the 10:52 from Trawsfynydd Power Station to Llandudno Junction, with 1 nuclear flask and a brake van. It is between Ffestiniog and Manod, with the bulk of Manod Bach behind.

25032 at Manod 19/04/82 (s82007.jpg)

The train is again seen crossing the old Porthmadog road on the outskirts of Manod, now regarded as part of Blaenau Ffestiniog. This part of the branch had originally been constructed as the 2 ft gauge Ffestiniog and Blaenau railway and opened in 1868. In 1883 it was converted to standard gauge by the GWR backed Bala and Ffestiniog railway. The line closed to all traffic in 1961, but the section between Blaenau and Trawfynydd Power Station reopened in 1964 for freight traffic. It finally closed in 1998.

25032 at Tan-y-Manod 19/04/82 (s82008.jpg)

One of the best known locations on the branch is the viaduct at Tan-y-Manod on the immediate approach to Blaenau. Originally a timber trestle, it was converted to stone when the line became standard gauge. Interestingly, traces remain of the original constructor's line which ran to the right of the viaduct. Although stone has been tipped over it, there is a small ridge visible in the bottom right of the picture.

Trawsfynydd 27/08/89 (s89138.jpg)

The branch ended at Trawsfynydd CEGB Siding, a single short siding sloping down towards the main road, and equipped with an overhead crane for transferring the nuclear flasks to road transport for the last short journey to the power station. A wagon and flask are present. The original line to Trawsfynydd and Bala curves to the left and ends at the site of Trawsfynydd Lake Halt in the trees. The track layout here (with no loop) made the branch workings awkward, with the train having to be propelled from Blaenau. It seems strange that no loop was provided, especially as funding should have been available from Liverpool Corporation (who financed the cross-Blaenau link) or the CEGB, and the traffic was obviously going to continue for the life of the power station. One possible explanation could be that the original intention was to retain the line to Trawsfynydd station, a couple of miles further on, retaining the goods yard and loop there. Track was still in place at Trawsfynydd in 1965, after the nuclear traffic had started. 27th August 1989.

Ffestiniog 18/08/76 (s0679.jpg)

Many artefacts survived rundown and closure on the ex-GWR branches in North Wales. Here, the signal box at Ffestiniog is seen in 1976, 15 years after it closed in 1961. To the right, the old cattle loading dock gates and fencing are still in place. The platforms and several old signal posts also survived at this time. 18th August 1976.