Festiniog Railway: The Spooner Era and After 1830 - 1920
Opened in 1836 as a horse tramway using gravity to carry slate from Blaenau Festiniog to Porthmadog, the Festiniog Railway was in the forefront of railway technical innovation in the 1860s and 1870s, introducing steam locomotives, becoming the first narrow gauge railway to carry passengers and adopting bogie locomotives and carriages. Under the management of James Spooner, who surveyed the route, and his son, Charles Easton Spooner, resp[onsible for the technical developments, the railway became so successful that it was able to build two of its own steam locomotives.
The innovations, and the high dividends paid to the shareholders because the railway had cost relatively little to build and had a monopoly on the traffic, attracted world-wide attention and completion from standard gauge railways. The glory days were soon over. Profits declined from the 1880s and vanished during the early years of the 20th century. By the end of the First World War the company was in debt and the directors lacked a vision for the railway's future.
Historian Peter Johnson, well known for his books on Welsh railways, has delved into the archives and many previously untapped sources to produce this new history, a must-read for enthusiasts and visitors alike.
A second volume, bringing the Festiniog Railway's story up to date, is in preparation.
Hardback with dust jacket. 208 pages numerous illustrations, drawings, maps and plans.
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Updated: 29 December 2021