Rubbish wagons, Penrhyn Quarry

Rubbish wagon double-flanged wheel


12 November 2011

Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda

SH 61531 65473; 53.16830°N, 4.07289°W


These rubbish wagons have been left abandoned in a gulley in the spoil heaps on the west of Penrhyn Quarry.

The four eyes (one in each corner above the wheel) allowed the wagon to be lifted by a Blondin (aerial ropeway). The wagons were open at the front so that when propelled along the track towards the end of the tip they would shed their loads of slate spoil when they hit the stop block at the end.

The spokes were curved to allow for differential cooling when the wheels were cast. As the spokes cooled more quickly than the hub and rim they would be under tension. This tended to cause straight spokes to crack, but curved ones could absorb the stress by bending slightly as the wheel cooled.

Abandoned wagons

Lifting eye

Wheel and axle

Double flanges and curved spokes

Broken axle box

Coupling hook


5 thoughts on “Rubbish wagons, Penrhyn Quarry

  1. I always wondered why the spokes on such wheels were curved. Now I know! Thank you. Some great shots too. I love how there is still slate dust mud between the spokes even after so many years of dereliction. The lifting eyes seem to be in an unusual and possibly awkward postion from a handling point of view. The only pictures I have of similar Penrhyn wagons have the lifting eyes in the more conventional position, projecting above the top of the body edges as extensions of straps riveted to the body.

  2. I love old iron like this. Just such interesting texture and beautiful color. Wonderful photos here. You’ve captured them in interesting ways. Nicely done, Graham. And thanks for the information you provide–always a good read.

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