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Llanberis Lake Railway


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 Link to top   Introduction to Llanberis

 Link to website The village of Llanberis (clan-bear-iss) lies on the northern border of Snowdonia National Park in the county of Gwynedd (gwin-ed) in the northern portion of Wales, United Kingdom. At least eighty-one percent of the local population speak Welsh fluently. Most signs found in the area are bi-lingual containing both Welsh and English.
 
The village itself lies on the southwest shore between two narrow lakes, Llyn Padarn to the north, and Llyn Peris to the south. A narrow gauge railway follows the northeast shore of Llyn Padarn which brings us to the following story.
 
 
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 Link to top   A Very Brief Llanberis History

The mountains on the northeast side of the lakes are covered by a huge scar created over many years by the mining operations of the Dinorwic slate quarry, the second largest in the whole of Wales.
 
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The main workshops for this quarry, named Gilfach Ddu (gil-vahck-thee), lies on the piece of land between the two lakes. In 1969 the quarry and workshops were closed and 350 men were laid off. Today the buildings and most equipment remain intact and are now the National Slate Museum of Wales.
 
 
 Link to top   Llanberis Railway History

Like most of the little railways in Wales, slate was their reason for existence. The Llanberis Lake Railway is also known as one of The Great Little Trains of Wales. Operating on a track gauge of 1 foot 11 1/2 inches (597mm) this quarry railway is now a heritage railway pulling passengers alongside Llyn Padarn a distance of 2 1/2 miles.
 
When the Dinorwic slate quarry closed in 1969 most of the equipment was auctioned off but 3 steam locomotives and 1 diesel were saved at that time. In 1970 Gwynedd County Council purchased the right-of-way alongside Llyn Padarn for the purpose of re-building a railway (the original quarry line, the Padarn Railway, was 4 foot gauge).
 
The Llanberis Lake Railway's first steam engine, a Hunslet named Dolbadarn, was restored and by 19 Jul 1971 the public were being transported. 30,000 riders were carried by the end of the 1971 season from a station named Cei Llydan next to the Gilfach Ddu workshops to end-of-track.
 
During the winter of 1971 track was extended north to its present terminus at Pen-Y-Llyn. A second locomotive was readied and named Eldir for service commencing in 1972. A third engine, Maid Marian, also came into operation that year.
 
In 2002 another track extension took the rails across the Afon Rhythallt, the river connecting Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris, to a new station just-across-the-street from the Snowden Mountain Railway base terminal. The original Cei Llydan station by Gilfach Ddu is now a through station between Llanberis and Pen-Y-Llyn.
 
Current information on the Llanberis Lake Railway shows they own, or owned, eight locomotives. Four were steam and four were diesel powered.

 
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Elidir
 
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Thomas Bach
 
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Dolbadarn
 
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Maid Marian
 
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Topsy
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Twll Coed
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Garrett
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Llanelli

 
 Link to top   Hunslet Engine Company
 

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 Link to external website One of the best known small locomotive manufacturers in Britain is the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds, in West Yorkshire, England. Since their inception in 1864 they have produced over 2,200 locomotives. Many of these were destined for use in the slate quarries of Wales. Hunslet was taken over by Telfos Holdings PLC in 1987 and the name changed to Hunslet-Barclay Ltd. Hunslet is currently owned by the LH Group of Companies which took over in 2004.
 
 
 Link to top   For Sale £130,000 Plus VAT  (Value Added Tax)

One narrow gauge quarry class 0-4-0ST saddle tank locomotive for sale. Track gauge 24 inches (610 mm), maximum working pressure 160 psi, tractive effort 2,205 pounds, weight in working order 6.6 tons, tank capacity 100 imperial gallons, and fuel capacity 170 pounds. Contact the Hunslet Engine Company Unit 2 Maple Park Lowfields Avenue Leeds UK LS12 6HH. Telephone:  +44 (0) 113 277 4007 Fax:  +44 (0) 113 277 3005
 
 
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Jack Lane is one of two quarry locomotives built by Hunslet Steam Company in 2005. The other is named Statfold.

 
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Jack Lane working at WHR Porthmadog
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Jack Lane at Statfold Barn Railway
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Jack Lane at Statfold Barn Railway

 Link to top   News Stories

9 Sep 2002 - Lake Railway Extension Work is Right on Track
 
18 Aug 2003 - Llanberis - Welsh Slate Museum
 
5 May 2008 - Hunslet Generations Gala Welsh Highland Railway
 
31 Aug 2009 - Big Boost for Narrow Gauge Trains in North Wales
 
 
 Link to top   Bibliography

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Hunslet Engine Works:  Over a Century and a Half of Locomotive Building
D.H. Townsley - 1998
320 pages - ? photos - ? drawings - ? maps - Hardcover
8 3/8 x 10 1/2 inches - 21.4 x 27.6 centimetres
Plateway Press UK
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Quarry Hunslets of North Wales
Cliff Thomas - 2001
256 pages - 200 photos - 6 drawings - ? maps - Hardcover
? x ? inches - ? x ? centimetres
Oakwood Press PO Box 13 Usk Mon UK NP15 1YS
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The Ruston Class 48DS & 88DS Locomotives
David Hall - ?
60 pages - 22 photos - 4 drawings - ? maps - Paperback
? x ? inches - ? x ? centimetres
Moseley Railway Trust Chesterton Newcastle-Under-Lyme North Staffordshire England UK

 Link to top   Associated Web Sites

Official Gateway to Wales
 
National Slate Museum
 
The Slate Industry of North and Mid Wales
 
Llanberis Lake Railway
 
LH Group
 
Hunslet Engine Company
 
The Quarry Hunslet Web Site
 
Great Little Trains of Wales
 
Statfold Barn Railway
 
Snowdon Mountain Railway
 
 
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