Tynal Tywyll, Lon Las Ogwen – Dinas Railway Tunnel

Dinas Tunnel – the former branch-line railway tunnel between Tregarth and Bethesda, known informally as Tynal Tywyll (dark tunnel).

Date

14 May 2017

Location

Dinas Tunnel, Lon Las Ogwen, Tregarth
SH 60818 68185; 53.19247°N, 4.08473°W

Information

In 1884 a four-mile-long, single track branch line of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) from Bangor to Bethesda opened to passengers, linking to the Chester and Holyhead main line just outside Bangor. The route included Dinas Tunnel, a 297-yard-long (272 m), single-bore tunnel approached from the Bangor (northern) end through a sheer-faced rock cutting. On exiting the tunnel at the Bethesda (southern) end, the track crossed the Ogwen river over the Bryn Bella Viaduct. Increasing competition from buses led to the closing of passenger services on the branch line in 1951, with the line finally closing to all traffic in 1963.

In 2016 Gwynedd Council set aside £200,000 and secured an additional £230,000 from the Welsh Government in order to develop the disused tunnel so as to open a new section of the Lon Las Ogwen ‘multi-user’ path. This 11-mile-long cycle route follows parts of the trackbeds of the narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the standard-gauge LNWR branch line and has until now been interrupted by a mile-long detour around the tunnel by road.

The development work was carried out by Trawsfynydd-based contractor G H James and involved: securing the rockface in the cutting; lighting the tunnel; installing safety railings on the viaduct parapets; and clearing and surfacing the path. The new 800-metre-long section of the route opened in May 2017.

Further Reading

All posts about Dinas Tunnel;
Lon Las Ogwen

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Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella I

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Date

18 January 2014
Location

Bryn Bella, Bethesda

SH 61127 67831; 53.18937°N, 4.07995°W

Information

Work to extend the recreational route Lon Las Ogwen was started in March 2013. The new section, built on the trackbed of the former standard-gauge Bangor-to-Bethesda branch line, will connect Bethesda and Tregarth. The new underpass pictured here runs below a farm-track bridge and lies between Bryn Bella viaduct over the Afon Ogwen, which leads to the entrance of the Dinas tunnel, and the road bridge over the former railway. There are plans to open the 270m-long Dinas tunnel in order to complete the link between the two sections of Lon Las Ogwen. The last passenger service through the tunnel was in 1951 and the line closed to all traffic in 1963.

Further Reading

Gwynedd Recreational Routes (Visit Snowdonia);
Lôn Las Ogwen extended to Bethesda (Gwynedd Council);
Dinas Railway Tunnel

 

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Felin Hen Bridge

Felin Hen Bridge

Date

24 March 2012
Location

Felin Hen, Tregarth

SH 59007 68340; 53.19338°N, 4.11188°W

Information

The recreational route Lon Las Ogwen follows the path of the former narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway from Port Penrhyn to Glasinfryn, while the section from Glasinfryn to Tregarth is based on the track bed of the former LNWR branch line from Bangor to Bethesda. The latter operated goods and passenger services between 1884 and 1963. Until recently the Lon Las Ogwen path had to cross the A4244 at Felin Hen at road level as the railway bridge there had long since been demolished. In October 2011 a £400,000 steel bridge was completed to carry the cycle path over the road at that location. Once the initial construction had been finished, the bridge was then immediately modified to make it ‘horse friendly’ – the height of the parapets was raised and the deck laid with a rubberised surface lest the horses be frightened by the sound of their hooves.

Horse-friendly sound dampener on bridge near Tregarth (BBC News, 31 Oct 2011)

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