A brief history of the line

The Fiction:

The narrow gauge Moelwyn Valley Railway was built sometime in the late 1860's to transport slate from the quarries at Bryn Draig to the wharf at Ffenestr where it was transferred to the Cambrian Railway, and later on the Great Western Railway, for delivery to other parts of the country.

Originally there were two quarry branches. After the line emerged from the tunnel it divided into two routes, one went straight on into the east quarry while the other crossed a bridge over a small ravine and entered the west quarry. A passing loop was installed just before the line entered the quarry tunnel. Curiously, the company provided a platform on one side of the loop to serve the nearby small village of Bryn Draig thus providing the inhabitants with a train service to the town of Ffenics where the railway had its headquarters and loco depot so it was used by both slate and passenger trains.

The west quarry wasn't as profitable as the main workings in the east quarry and was abandoned after a major collapse in the quarry access tunnel. After the closure of the west quarry the company decided to retain the line as far as the tunnel entrance and the passing loop became solely a passenger station.

In the early 1900's the line was extended beyond Ffenestr to a point on the coast where there was a natural harbour. The railway constructed a wharf at this location to provide an additional shipment point for its slate. In time a small village developed around the wharf facility and became known as Glanfa Newyyd. At the same time a passenger station was built alongside the wharf facility. The station at Ffenestr, which was originally only for the use of quarry employees working at the wharf was opened to the public and a second platform added to serve trains going to the new station.

The railway now derives as much of its revenue from passenger traffic as it does from its traditional slate traffic.

The Fact:

The original Moelwyn Valley Railway was built sometime in the late 1960's and early 1970's following several holidays in North Wales. The layout had a fairly short existence due mainly to the fact that the only ready-to-run locos and stock available at the time were European outline and the appearance of the layout didn't match my memories of the Welsh narrow gauge lines that inspired me to build it, so that was the end of the line and it was eventually dismantled.

Then in January 2018 I found a tin containing my old 009 locos and stock, nothing would probably have come of this if it hadn't been for the fact that after many, many years I had managed to arrange a holiday in Porthmadog, so narrow gauge railways were much on my mind.

Was there, I wondered, space in the small box room for a 009 layout? A bit of measuring and research into track plans proved that yes there was space for quite a decent sized 009 layout, and even better British outline locos and stock were now available, so I could finally build my model Welsh narrow gauge railway. The Moelwyn Valley Railway was back, bigger and better than the original.

(This is of course a very brief outline of the situations and circumstances surrounding the building, demise and subsequent re-building of the MVR but the full story would fill many pages!)

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