Pentrefelyn Carriage & Wagon Workshops

Above L to R

The access Road to Pentrefelyn as City of Truro passes on the main line;

Pentrefelyn Yard Entrance; Pentrefelyn Yard; Pentrefelyn Shed

All Photos - John Rutter

Inside the Shed - work on wooden bodied vehicles: above Autocoach 167, Autocoach 173, Railmotor

Above L to R: Inside the Thompson Buffet Car - the seating area; The Thompson BSK under rebuild; Autocoach 167 and DMU 127 set inside the shed; Wagon rebuild to Thomas the Tank Engine Character “Rickerty” Wickham DMU

The Railway’s first C&W Shed was in an old Atcost concrete framed building in Green Lane Yard. Access to the shed was gained in 1980, however it took over 12 months to extend the shed by 20 ft to 70 ft to allow Mk1 coaches to be worked on.

Not an ideal situation as welding, chipping, grinding and paint work all had to go on in the same area as well as accomodating stores of paint, timber and steel. Maximum use of this building was made by Tommy Jones who started the Railway’s C&W Dept and subsequently by Terry Rogers. Shortly after in 1992, the first section of the Locomotive Shed was built. This required the demolition of the Atcost Buildings so, for the next 8 years, C&W worked in the locomotive shed. Space in this shed was at a premium, so a search was started for a more suitable site for a new C&W works in 1995.

Pentrefelyn was not the first possible location. Both Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog were considered but were found to be unsuitable, so Pentrefelyn it had to be.

Pentrefelyn has a long railway history. Originally, it was the terminus for a 4 ½ mile, 3ft gauge line which linked the Oernant Quarries on the Horseshoe Pass with the canal. This line was rebuilt in 1870 for steam working and continued in use transporting slate to Pentrefelyn Works and the wharf, which is still visible on the canal bank at the back of the shed.

With the building of the line to Corwen, a short line was built from Goods Junction ending next to the slate mill, now the Motor Museum, known as the “Wharf Branch”. The last ¼ mile of this branch was always worked by horse power since it was built over a marsh, which caused the track to “ripple” . This information came from the engine man who looked after the Crosseley Oil Engines which powered the works.

On absorption into the GWR in 1898, the yard site was levelled and 3 extra sidings were laid to the field boundary, principally to accomodate the excursion trains and wagon storage. Later  they were used for loading vans with seeds. On closure the track was lifted and the site again became a marsh, covered in saplings.

Around 1977 the Flint and Deeside Railway Society did some clearance in the yard. Some 2 years later the TA completed the task, including drainage, and laid some temporary track with one set of points. Later a large quantity of track arrived from ICI which provided the material to start work in 1995. Gradually the present layout was constructed, however the the surface only reached the edge of the present building after which there was a large hollow. This was filled in with selected hardcore, the surfaces drained and sidings 5,6 & 7 built.

Whilst this was happening the search was on for a for a suitable building. What arrived had been the pattern store from Swindon C&W works, obtained from the demolition contractors. This was dismantled by Paid Staff, transported to Pentrefellyn, modified and then erected by volunteers. The resulting building was 240 ft long and 74 ft wide.

All the site work was done by volunteers except the cladding and doors. These were funded by a grant which also helped to build the security fence encircling the site. This and the gates came from an industrial site clearance.

In total there is 1 ½ miles of track and covered accomodation for 9 coaches, 3 wagons and the C&W team under Harry Barber to work in.

The provision of this workshop has allowed the Railway to rebuild and maintain its fleet of Mk1 Carriages to a high standard, rebuild the wooden bodied coaches and wagons in a protected environment and take on high quality rebuilds as contractors to other railways and owners.

Text by Chris Pendlebury

Photos - Left; the Llangollen Canal Bank behind Pentrefelyn Shed, Middle; The yard throat with the shed in the background, Right; The Wickham Railcar in storage in the shed.                         All pics John Rutter