Welcome to the Penmorfa home page
Latest website: Irish railways in the 1990's
Blanche and Earl of Merioneth head a
Ffestiniog Railway train
near Tan y Bwlch, 6th May 2013.
There are 18 websites featured on Penmorfa and also a large number of photos on our Flickr site. To access a site directly click on the link in the table below. For a summary of the contents of that website scroll down the page.
We also have a Flickr photo site, now with over 5,000 photos covering some of our favourite subjects.
The Slate Industry of North and Mid Wales
On this website, which has now had over 180,000 visitors, you can read an outline history of the Welsh slate industry, discover details of quarrying methods, follow the routes of old railways and tramways, find out how inclines worked, see examples of remains and relics and read an overview of the industry as it is today. The website also contains over 450 photographs of recent and historical views. The latest additions to the site include over 100 photos of quarry tramways and railways taken in the 1960's.
For many years I have been fascinated by the old bricks one sees which have the maker's name stamped on. This website is a gallery of some of those i've come across or been sent. These humble relics provide possibly the only link to often long forgotten local industries. There are now over 2200 images on the website, which is actually only a tiny fraction of the named bricks produced. The website is frequently added to thanks to contributions from around the world. In many cases I have no knowledge of the history of the bricks depicted so if you can help, or if you have a photo of a brick that is not on the site, please get in touch.
Latest pages: Class 37's on ballast trains
This site originally went online over ten years ago as the North Wales railway archive. It's been expanded over the years and now has over 580 photos. Some of the themes covered so far are Classes 08, 20, 25, 31, 33, 37, 40, 45 and 47, Freightliners, D.M.U.'s, Crewe test trains, Amlwch branch, Cambrian coast, Mostyn docks, Point of Ayr colliery, flask trains, Speedlink and many more.
The Wrexham - Bidston line has always been one of my favourites. The line is one of contrasts and has a fascinating history. It has always been a bit of a backwater, almost isolated from the rest of the national network. My interest remains strong to this day - not least because it is the only railway in North Wales to have any significant freight traffic. The passenger service has been relaunched as the Borderlands line and a trip on the line is highly recommended.
The former state of Yugoslavia had a vast network of narrow gauge railway lines, most of which were laid to 76cm gauge, the same as the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway in the U.K. The origins of this huge network lay in the Austrian occupation in the 1870's and it reached its greatest extent in the 1930's. Much of the mountainous western side of the country was only accessible by the 76cm gauge railways particularly in Bosnia and Hercegovina. This website has accounts and photographs from several enthusiasts who ventured to Yugoslavia in the 1960's, 1970's and more recently to savour the last of the legendary Yugoslav narrow gauge. It has recently been enlarged and now contains over 300 photos of these wonderful railways plus timetables and other details.
The Conwy Valley line - Lein Dyffryn Conwy
The Conwy Valley railway is one of the most scenic railway lines in Britain. It is a pleasure to ride at any time of the year and offers superb views of estuary, mountain and moorland. In Blaenau Ffestiniog can be seen an industrial landscape of a unique quality while the views in the Lledr Valley surpass any from the nearby road. In this site I have tried to bring out the quality of the landscape whilst giving some idea of the variety of trains that the line has witnessed. The previous continuation to Trawsfynydd is featured as well as an armchair guide to the route. The website also contains a section which details what remains today of the former Great Western Railway line from Trawsfynydd through to Bala.
Woodhams of Barry
A selection of photographs taken at this legendary South Wales scrapyard, in both colour and black & white. The results of two visits made in the 1960's. Recently updated with larger scans and some new images
Rhosydd was by no means the largest of the Ffestiniog quarries, neither was it one of the smallest. It had a working life, as a major quarry, of approximately 80 years and its demise came about through the drop in demand for slate. The output of the quarry has been estimated at 220 million slates and its waste tips contain over 2 million tons of rock. What sets Rhosydd apart from most of the other quarries is its remoteness, its surface remains and its transport arrangements, added to which is its setting in superlative scenery.
Rhiwbach Quarry is situated about 3 miles East of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North West Wales. The tramway, which was built to link it to the Ffestiniog Railway, also served three other quarries. This site is intended to give an impression of what remains of the quarries and tramway today. The Rhiwbach Tramway was the longest feeder line in the industry and runs across bleak uninhabited moorland. Rhiwbach itself was so remote that it had its own schoolhouse. The whole undertaking gives some idea of just how important the Slate Industry was to this part of the world. This website has recently been updated with expanded coverage of Manod quarry.
Trains in the Mersey docks
A selection of 70 scanned transparencies taken up to 2003 of trains in Liverpool, Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port docks. Classes featured are 03, 31, 37, 47, 56, 57, 60 and 66.
Steam power on British Railways ended in 1968. In the years leading up to this, I was trying to photograph what I could of the steam railway scene. This site is a random selection of some of the photos I took. Now enlarged with newly scanned colour images.
Irish railways in the 1990's
This website features a selection of scanned transparencies of the railways of Ireland as they were in the 1990's. Following a massive investment programme in recent years, very few of these views are possible today. All the photos were taken on day trips by ferry from Holyhead.
Now updated for 2013 The circular trip of North Wales by rail - travelling on the North Wales coast line, Conwy Valley, Ffestiniog Railway, and Cambrian line is one of Wales's best kept secrets. On this website you will find timetable details, fare information and a route guide. So if you have ever contemplated doing the trip but were put off by its complexity, have a look at the site - Its much easier and cheaper than you may have thought! Be sure to read the comments page to get more out of your journey.
Lliwedd - A Snowdonia copper mine
An abandoned copper mine high on the slopes of Lliwedd, one of the mountains of the Snowdon horseshoe. Mining ceased in 1867 but the site still contains a wealth of industrial artifacts. In a wild and remote location, it's not the easiest place to get to, however a visit will repay the effort involved.
My wife is a better poet than she admits to and this is her contribution to cyberspace. Over 50 poems cover a number of topics but few are about pretty views or the world as seen through rose tinted spectacles.
Cwm Ciprwth is surely one of the industrial archaeology gems of North Wales. This little known location is hidden away in a side valley above Cwm Pennant in Snowdonia. This website gives directions to Cwm Ciprwth, a brief history of the mine and a selection of photographs.
On the north coast of Anglesey, a few miles west of Amlwch, are the remains of a brickworks. It was opened at the turn of the last century to make bricks for the steel industry. The bricks were exported by sea from its own wharf. The works closed down at the start of the first world war and most of it has slowly rusted away ever since. This website also has additional features on Llanlleiana porcelain works, Cemaes Bay brickworks and tramway and the navigation markers at Carmel Head.
This is my local club where I have been a member for over 20 years (and, for my sins, have now been appointed webmaster!). Take a look at the site and, if you are local, why not consider membership? We are always looking for keen modellers to join our ranks.
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