A bustling and busy narrow gauge slate-carrying railway between Portmadoc and Blaenau Ffestiniog that pioneered narrow gauge steam and passenger services in the 19th Century and demonstrated the utility of such railways to the world. World War I conditions reduced the line to a very poor state by the 1920s. Stephens was appointed manager in 1923 and Chairman in 1925 until his death. Stephens and Austen bought in very necessary management skills and probably saved the railway from premature closure. They were however only partially successful in reversing decay. Austen resigned in 1936 in protest against the Board's unwise economies. Losing a promising tourist trade because of World War II the railway finally closed in 1946.
Resurrected in a pioneering effort by enthusiasts in the early 1950s, it has been refurbished and re-routed in part to become a highly successful preserved railway.
The Festiniog Railway, 2 Vols. J I C Boyd. Oakwood Press. Various editions.
An Illustrated History of the Festiniog Railway. Peter Johnson. OPC, 2007
See Also Topics articles
New Traction On The Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways