This film is part of Free

The Ffestiniog Railway

It’s all go to get the Ffestiniog Railway back on track after its 8 year closure (1946-1954). The Ffestiniog Railway Company, the new owner, is undertaking its restoration.

Amateur film 1957 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


The oldest narrow gauge railway in the world, closed in 1946, is being restored by the Ffestiniog Railway Company who have owned it since 1954. Here stalwart volunteers with a variety of skills refurbish delapidated coaches (Fred Boughey, woodwork teacher), set up telecommunications networks (Norman Pearce, tannery manager), clear the track (John Alexander, chemical engineer) and drive the engines (Allan Garraway, British Rail/army; Keith Catchpole, teacher).

The Ffestiniog Railway started life as a horse tramway in 1830, to bring slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the sea at Porthmadog, steam engines replacing horses from 1863 onwards. Passengers were catered for as well as slate but this service finished in 1939 and the line was closed completely in 1946. From 1954, the railway was in the hands of the Ffestiniog Railway Company, Allan Garraway its full-time manager/engineer from 1955-1983. Much work was done, as can be seen in this film, and by 1968 the line was open as far as Dduallt, at which point an alternative route – a ‘deviation’ (opened 1982) - had to be created to connect Blaenau Ffestiniog as a hydro-electric power station was being built on the original line.