Trawsfynydd Branch II
In the 1980s, Sunday trains from Llandudno to Blaenau were sponsored by Gwynedd County Council and run under the title 'Super Sunday Shuttles'. In the summer of 1989, these trains were extended from Blaenau along the Trawsfynydd branch to a temporary platform at Maentwrog Road.
On the 20th August 1989 a 3 car DMU is seen at the temporary platform at Maentwrog Road. Although the original station here survived, it was a private dwelling, so a short scaffolding and wood platform was built on top of the disused siding next to the old goods shed (seen left). The intention behind this was that an additional bus tour was available to the nuclear power station and this was the only suitable location for a transfer to road vehicles. However, most passengers came to ride the branch, and so from the next year the trains did not stop at Maentwrog Road, but carried on to the end of the branch but were not allowed to alight.
The section of the Trawsfynydd branch between Blaenau and Llan Ffestiniog was originally constructed as a narrow gauge line, and this could certainly be seen by the way the line weaved around the hillside. Here the final trip of the day from Blaenau to Maentwrog Road heads towards Manod.
Returning towards Blaenau Ffestiniog, the 3 car DMU is seen approaching the site of Teigl Halt, with the remains of the old platform visible on the curve.
The following week, the promise of fine weather drew me back for another ride. Here the returning train passes the site of Tan-y-Manod sidings and engine shed. The constrained site of the GWR station at Blaenau meant that locomotive servicing facilities were not available there so a small loco shed and turntable were provided here at Tan-y-Manod. The shed and turntable were located at the end of 2 sidings, roughly straight ahead in this shot, right against the rough slope. The turntable (but not the engine shed) remained in use until the line from Bala closed. There were also sidings here for Craig Ddu Quarry. In narrow gauge days, there had been a passenger station here, on the right hand side of this curve.
This picture, taken on the approach to Tan-y-Manod viaduct, gives some indication of the character of the branch. Coming out of a left hand curve it is only a few yards before we are into a sharp right hand bend. Both curves are sharp enough for check rails to be required, and close enough for them to overlap.