Ffestiniog Railway Company Archive

Scope and Content

Records of the Ffestiniog Railway Company, 1832-1965, including minute books, 1869-1937; shareholding records, 1832-1965; reports, 1844-1869; copy letter books, 1883-1919; property and legal records, 1853-1922; financial records, 1838-1947; employee records, 1891-1937; traffic and commercial records, 1836-1946; signal registers, 1924-1934; maintenance and store records, 1859-1962; diaries and notebooks of company officials, 1879-1937; and miscellaneous papers, 1915-1921.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Ffestiniog Railway Company (Festiniog and Blaenau Railway Company) was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1832. James Spooner of Worcestershire was responsible for the survey and construction of the railway, which ran between Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merionethshire, and Porthmadog, Caernarfonshire. The route allowed loaded slate trains to run downhill by gravity, while horses hauled empty wagons back up the line. In 1856, Charles Easton Spooner, son of James, took control of the railway, and he introduced steam locomotives in 1863. A passenger service began the following year. The limitations of a single line were becoming apparent, and a double line was introduced in 1869. The use of other railway lines to transport slate and decline of the slate industry in the early 20th century caused the decline of the Ffestiniog Railway, although passengers continued to use the line. Passenger services ceased in 1939 due to the outbreak of war, and in 1946 the Ffestiniog Railway was closed. The line was partially reopened by the Ffestiniog Railway Trust in 1955, although it did not extend from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog until 1982.


Arranged into the following: Company records; Records relating to legal and property matters; Accounting records; Employee records; Traffic and commercial records; Operational records; Maintenance and stores records; Official's working records; and Miscellaneous bound items.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, Archifau Cwmni Rheilffordd Ffestiniog/ Ffestiniog Railway Company Archive, catalogue; Rheilfford Ffestiniog Railway Homepage, http://www.festrail.co.uk/, viewed 14 July 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available in Caernarfon Record Office, the National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Caernarfon Record Office have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further records are Meirionnydd Record Office, Z/DDJ/51/1242-1243; The National Archives: The Public Record Office, RAIL 1057.

Corporate Names