Minffordd railway station
The upper (Ffestiniog Railway) level of Minffordd station
|Managed by||Ffestiniog Railway (upper level)|
Transport for Wales (lower level)
|Number of platforms||2 (narrow gauge)|
1 (standard gauge)
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Ffestiniog Railway (upper)|
Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway (lower)
|Pre-grouping||Cambrian Railways (lower)|
|March 1871||Festiniog station opened|
|1 August 1872||Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway platform opened|
|1887||Present station buildings constructed|
|15 September 1939||Festiniog Railway services withdrawn|
|19 May 1956||Festiniog Railway services resume|
|1964||Mainline station became unstaffed|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Minffordd from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
Minffordd railway station (translation Roadside, literally Lip of the Road) station, is actually two adjacent stations operated entirely independently of each other. The mainline station opened as Minfford Junction on 1 August 1872 at the point where the then newly built Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway line from Dovey Junction to Pwllheli (latterly to become part of the Cambrian Railways) passes under the existing narrow gauge Festiniog Railway built in 1836 to carry dressed slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog for export by sea, which had carried passengers from 1865 onwards. It was renamed Minffordd in 1890.
A short walk, advertised near the station, leads to Portmeirion.
- 1 Standard gauge facilities
- 2 Narrow gauge facilities
- 3 Passenger interchange
- 4 Other railway facilities at Minffordd
- 5 Services
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Standard gauge facilities
The standard gauge station consists of a single platform with a simple shelter linked to the narrow gauge station by way of an underbridge and a pedestrian ramp. Access to the Cambrian Line is thus by way of the Ffestiniog Railway "Up" platform. Passenger service on the Ffestiniog Railway was withdrawn on 15 September 1939, and reopened to Minffordd 19 May 1956, but easy pedestrian access to the Cambrian Line was maintained throughout the closed period. Mr Parry, GWR and BR stationmaster at Minffordd for 40 years, retired in 1964 and the BR station then became an unstaffed halt. At some point the facilities were replaced by the standard small halt "bus stop" shelter.
Narrow gauge facilities
The present substantial stone built Ffestiniog Railway station buildings, at a height of 85 metres (279 ft) above sea level and a distance of just over 2 miles (3.2 km) from Porthmadog Harbour, are on the "Up" platform and date from 1887, but there is as yet little evidence of earlier buildings. There was a small wooden building on the "Down" platform and this building (possibly dating from the 1870s) was in a derelict condition when it was demolished in 1956. A replica was completed in spring 2002 and was later shortlisted in the National Railway Heritage Awards (2002).
At the beginning of 2011 the line was temporarily severed at the north east end of the station between the end of the loop at Cae Ednyfed Cottage and Bron Turner crossing for the construction of the Porthmadog bypass. The new bridge is wide enough for the passing loop to be extended.
Passenger interchange between standard gauge and narrow gauge railways in the UK has never been common. The facility at Minffordd with the close proximity of lines is the earliest, 1872, and is still in regular use. There is no evidence of joint timetabling between the gauges here.
During the late 1950s and the 1960s the interchange saw much use by chartered trains bringing visitors to the Ffestiniog Railway but following the reopening of the joint Blaenau Ffestiniog railway station in 1982 most chartered trains now operate by that route.
There have been several notable visitors using Minffordd station. The first was on 27 August 1889 when Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg arrived from Barmouth by Cambrian Railways Royal Train. They were received at Minffordd Junction by Mr & Mrs Williams of Castell Deudraeth. A Guard of Honour was mounted by the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers and The Royal Party were conducted by Mr Williams to the Ffestiniog railway station where they joined a special train to Tan-y-Bwlch. They took tea at Plas Tan-y-Bwlch with Mr & Mrs Oakeley while the Oakeley Silver Band played on the terrace. Mr Oakeley afterwards drove the Prince and Princess to Maentwrog Road station, for their return by The Great Western Railway Royal Train to Llandderfel.
Dr Hastings Banda, President of Malawi accompanied by Lord Snowdon and the Secretary of State for Wales visited the railway on 23 May 1968. Seven years later, on 25 July 1975, The Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones travelled from Minffordd in a special train to view the Festiniog Railway Deviation. Lord Linley travelled on the footplate for part of the journey.
After first inspecting Barmouth Bridge, The Chairman of the British Railways Board, Sir Peter Parker, arrived at Minffordd on 17 June 1980 in an inspection saloon hauled by a motor parcels van, as locomotives were not at that time allowed over the Barmouth Bridge. On the Festiniog Railway, Sir Peter travelled on the footplate from Minffordd as far as Tan-y-Bwlch before continuing to Tanygrisiau and then by road to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Other railway facilities at Minffordd
To the railway historian and indeed the railway archaeologist the railways at Minffordd are of considerable interest with several unique features - at least in the UK.
Minffordd Junction Goods and Minerals Exchange Yard
The adjacent Minffordd Yard, the former exchange yard between standard gauge and narrow gauge railways, can only be accessed by rail from the down platform of Minffordd station. The exchange sidings laid out in 1872 to the design of Charles Easton Spooner the great advocate of narrow gauge railways, whose book "Narrow Gauge Railways" was published in 1871, were extensive and at first were heavily used primarily for the transshipment of coal and goods destined for Blaenau Ffestiniog. This traffic declined rapidly after the LNWR reached Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1879. Outwards slate traffic by rail from Minffordd did, however, develop and in time surpassed the sea bound traffic via Porthmadog as the volume being exported declined. This slate traffic by rail from Minffordd (ironically, after 1946, using slate brought by road from Blaenau Ffestiniog) lasted until the early 1960s. Minffordd yard is now used exclusively for Ffestiniog Railway purposes and the standard gauge connection was removed in 1973.
Minffordd volunteers' hostel
A new and purpose designed volunteers’ hostel was built between 1992 and 1998 in two stages on land between the railway and the exchange sidings. This hostel replaced a temporary hostel established in Minffordd Yard in 1978. The hostel provides residential accommodation for volunteer staff working on this heritage railway.
Minffordd – Lottie’s Cottage
This Grade 2 Listed building was the crossing keeper's house and was the home of the late Mrs Lottie Edwards, for many years the Quarry Lane Crossing Keeper, and of her late husband Dai Edwards, a railway ganger. It has been restored in their memory. The cottage adjoins the gate, which has now been replaced by an automated system.
English Translation - Ednyfed’s field
This farm provided stabling for some of the horses used on the railway prior to 1863. These horses operated between Boston Lodge and Rhiw Goch, hauling empty slate wagons up hill. Nos. 1, 2 & 3 Cae Ednyfed – The three terraced cottages behind the water tower at Minffordd station are thought to have been used originally in connection with horse traction, possibly as stables. Nos 1 and 2 Cae Ednyfed have recently been combined into a single dwelling.
A pair of railway wagon weighbridges existed side by side, outside the weigh bridge office (that still exists) next to the railway crossing at the road entrance to Minffordd exchange sidings and to the volunteers' hostel. The remains of these weighbridges rest in two slate wagons in the yard. The weighbridge office underwent a major refurbishment in 2007-08.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Porthmadog||Transport for Wales
Pwllheli - Machynlleth/Birmingham International
|Boston Lodge Halt||Ffestiniog Railway
Porthmadog - Blaenau Ffestiniog
Line and station open
|Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway
Line and station open
- Butt (1995), page 161
- John Harrison; Festiniog Railway Magazine (FR Society), No.126, Autumn 1989, (Visit of Prince Henry of Battenberg page 252)
- P.R. Pennington; Festiniog Railway Magazine (FR Society), No.43, Winter 1968 p16 (also No41 p4), (State Visit)
- News; Festiniog Railway Magazine (FR Society), No.70, Autumn 75 pp3-5, (Royal Visit)
- News; Festiniog Railway Magazine (FR Society), No.90, Winter 1968 p5, (Visit of BR Chairman)
- Boyd, James I.C. (1975) . The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. The British Narrow Gauge Railway. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-167-7. OCLC 2074549. B1A.
- Boyd, James I.C. (1975) . The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 2 - Locomotives and Rolling Stock; Quarries and Branches: Rebirth 1954-74. The British Narrow Gauge Railway. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-168-4. OCLC 874117875. B1B.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
- C.E.Spooner; Narrow Gauge Railways, 1871,
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
- Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 978-0-906899-99-1. OCLC 228266687.
- The Ffestiniog Railway Company's web site
- Ffestiniog Railway Timetables
- Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (1995). Porthmadog to Blaenau. West Sussex: Middleton Press. figs. 43-55. ISBN 9781873793503. OCLC 877269886.
Media related to Minffordd railway station at Wikimedia Commons