Blaenau Ffestiniog Old Station
Prior to the construction of the new Central station in the 1980s, trains from Llandudno Junction terminated short of the town centre in a single platform station next to the freight yard. This station had only a small run-round loop in the sidings, so the arrival of a long loco-hauled excursion demanded at least two engines and a lot of shunting.
A typical scene at Blaenau on the 18th August 1976. A 4 car DMU awaits departure as the 15:34 service to Llandudno. To the left can be seen the line to Trawsfynydd Power Station. The opening of this connection in the early 1960s forced some changes to the track layout. The platform line had originally continued towards the camera, parallel to the sidings, which provided a run round loop. When the platform was cut back at this end, it was extended at the far end to compensate. The raised platforms in the yard to the right are relics of the time that slate was transferred here from narrow gauge wagons, a practice that finally ended in the 1960s. A final steam-age relic is the LNWR 'parachute' water tank at the far end of the layout.
40029 and 25323 wait in the station with the stock of an excursion on 30th April 1977. The water tank still survives - but only just as it was removed shortly afterwards. The siding in the foreground show another approach to providing a level transhipment surface - the standard gauge line is sunk into the ground. This siding and a number of others had just been disconnected as part of some minor rationalisation of the yard following the replacement of the road underbridge at yard throat.
24057 and 24073 start to shunt the empty stock of a 13-coach M&GNJRS excursion from London Euston on 25th June 1977. 24073 will reverse the stock out of the station to allow 24057 to follow it out and enter the sidings. 24073 will draw the stock back into the platform, 24057 will attach to the back and then pull the train out again to let 24073 into the sidings. 24057 will then reverse the train into the station again, 24073 will come out of the siding and attach to the front. Finally, the pair will pull the train out of the platform and reverse it into the sidings. Only then can the single-line token be given up for the service train to come up from Llanrwst. Visible in the background are a couple of freight wagons in the yard and the very large, disused goods shed. In the foreground, No 3 ground frame has been operated to allow 24057 to shunt onto the Trawsfynydd branch, to give more room for the shunt.
24082 is seen at Blaenau, having worked in from Crewe on a Festiniog Railway Society special with 25043. In the foreground is the sand drag, protecting the station from runaway vehicles on the Trawsfynydd branch.