Gwynedd Archives: Caernarfon Record Office

Ffestiniog Railway Company Archive

Reference code(s): GB 0219 XD/97

Held at:

Title: Ffestiniog Railway Company Archive

Short title: Ffestiniog Railway Company archive

Dates of creation: 1832-1965

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: Information to be supplied

Name of creator(s): Ffestiniog Railway Company


Administrative and 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.


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.


Language/script: English

System of arrangement: 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

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

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


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at Caernarfon Record Office have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected


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


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. The fonds contains some records of Ffestiniog Railway Trust post-dating the company.

Archivist's note: 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,, viewed 14 July 2004.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH

Date(s) of description: July 2004



Ffestiniog Railway | Archives

Railways | Wales | Gwynedd

Slate industry | Wales | Gwynedd | Archives

Personal names

Corporate names

Ffestiniog Railway


Blaenau Ffestiniog