Penrhyndeudraeth is a small station between Harlech and Porthmadog. Adjacent to the station was a large explosives factory that provided much of the freight traffic for the Cambrian Coast line, until the Barmouth Bridge problems in 1980 ended the freight service. Even then, the traffic continued to be carried by rail through the 80s, from first Blaenau Ffestiniog, and then Maentwrog Road on the Trawsfynydd branch.
A very unusual visitor approaches Penrhyndeudraeth on the 18th June 1978, as 40004 hauls an F&W excursion from Bristol to Porthmadog. The background provides the unusual contrast of rocky landscape and industrial buildings. Class 40s were very rare on the Cambrian Coast, but a week later 40025 worked an excursion to Barmouth. On the same day 37223 worked through to Pwllheli on a charter from Crewe - a foretaste of things to come.
40004 continues, passing the station building. The signal box at Penrhyndeudraeth closed around 1974-5 - the remains of the passing loop are seen - but an intermediate token machine was retained allowing freight trains to be 'locked' into the sidings. Even when the loop was in use, the station only had one platform - out of sight behind the train.
Almost looking like a location in the industrialised South Wales valleys, 25188 and 25147 approach Penrhyndeudraeth station with another F&W excursion, this time from Exeter to Pwllheli, on 26th August 1979. The usual array of vans are seen in the sidings, and the explosives works itself is seen behind the train. This train was advertised as being hauled by 2 Class 20s, but more mundane motive power appeared.
The locos open up as they clear the 20mph speed restriction. Until 1980, Penrhyndeudraeth was served by a daily freight that ran to Porthmadog or Pwllheli. Explosives were carried for many years in short-wheelbase vans, seen here and the previous shot.