This film is part of Free

Destination Blaenau - Rhoslyn Spiral

Exciting new works at the Ffestiniog Railway, involving the Chair, the Colonel and the Earl of Merioneth.

Amateur film 1966 28 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


The history of the Ffestiniog Railway is inextricably bound up with the history of the slate industry and this film commences by showing how both declined. However, the railway line has been rejuvenated as a major tourist attraction for Wales and although the link between Porthmadog and Blaenau was broken - through flooding of a certain section for the Tanygrisiau Hydro Electric Power Station - a new stretch of line is being laid to re-establish the connection.

The work on this new section of line – a ‘deviation' - was undertaken between 1965 and 1978 and involved volunteers and 3 Cornish tin mining engineers, the latter involved in the construction of a tunnel. As part of the works, Dduallt Station and the line running from it to Tan-y-Bwlch, were re-opened in June 1968, those present and seen on film including Alan Pegler (Chair, Festiniog Railway Co.), Colonel Campbell (of Dduallt Manor) and the Earl of Merioneth (a locomotive). Plans show the spiral formation at the Duallt end of the deviation, an innovation in Britain but fairly common in mountainous countries such as Switzerland.