This film is part of Free

Rails To Talsarn

Horse-drawn railway: 'Prince' and 'Corwen' pull slate wagons from Pen-yr-Orsedd quarry to Tal-y-sarn station, guided by Mr Oswald Jones, guard/driver.

Non-Fiction 1962 4 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


The horse-drawn railway from the station at Tal-y-sarn to Pen-yr-Orsedd quarry was part of a longer line - originally all horse-drawn - that ran from the quay at Caernarfon to the quarries of the Nantlle Valley. 'Prince' and 'Corwen' pull the wagons on this section that closed in 1963. They were probably the last horses used by British Rail. They are guided by Mr Oswald Jones who uses wooden sprags in the wheels as brakes. Oswald's father, aged 81, helps out at Tal-y-Sarn.

The Nantlle Railway was the first quarry railway to provide a passenger service also. The section from Tal-y-sarn to Pen-yr-Orsedd quarry continued until 1963, the only British Rail horse-drawn line. This footage was shot and is narrated by David E Sutcliffe, a Bull Bay-based BBC stringer (i.e. he would provide the BBC with newsworthy footage from his area) and local cinema operator, not long before the railway ceased operation altogether.