Alpine Coffee Shop

Americano

Americano

Date

19 April 2015
Location

Betws-y-coed

SH 79515 56573; 53.09271°N, 3.80066°W

Information

The Alpine Coffee Shop in Betws-y-Coed is one of a complex of three ventures owned by Jacha and Gwyn Potgieter in the former railway station building (built in 1868 by local poet, historian and civil-engineering contractor Owen Gethin Jones (1816-1883) from Penmachno). The other two businesses, which both opened in 2014, are the Alpine Apartments self-catering accommodation and the Galeri Platform, which exhibits work by Jacha, a South African born artist and environmentalist. The Alpine Coffee Shop first opened in 1973 after Gwyn’s first husband purchased the station building. The Potgieters have developed it into an ethical café, which serves fair-trade, free-range and palm-oil-free fare and caters for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diets.

Further Reading

The Old Railway Station, Betws-y-Coed;
Alpine Coffee Shop

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Dduallt Station, Ffestiniog Railway

Dduallt Station

Dduallt Station

Date

1 December 2012
Location

Vale of Ffestiniog

SH 67883 42191; 52.96075°N, 3.96837°W

Information

Founded by Act of Parliament in 1832, the Ffestiniog Railway (originally with the anglicised spelling Festiniog) is the world’s oldest surviving railway company. The narrow-gauge line, which opened in 1836, was built to transport slate from the Blaenau Ffestiniog quarries the thirteen miles to the wharves at Porthmadog’s harbour. Originally, wagons laden with slate made the downhill journey to the port powered by gravity alone; empty wagons were hauled back up by draft horses on the return trip. Steam locomotives were introduced on the railway in 1863 and within two years the first official passenger services had started.

The decline in use of the railway culminated in 1946 with its closure to all traffic. The company was, however, taken over by enthusiasts in the 1950s with the aim of re-establishing the line as a heritage railway, an objective which was finally to be realised on the railway’s 150th anniversary in 1982 when its final section was re-opened.

Dduallt Station was open to passengers from around 1880, becoming an unstaffed halt in the 1930s and closing in 1939. With the restoration of the railway, the station opened again for passengers in 1968 and was to remain the upper terminus of the main service until 1977.

The original route north of Dduallt ran through what is now Llyn Ystradau, the lower reservoir of the Ffestiniog pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme. In 1956 the British Electricity Authority compulsorily purchased the section of railway there in order to create the reservoir. The Ffestiniog Railway was nevertheless determined to overcome this setback to completing the line and, after an extremely protracted legal battle, was awarded £106,000 in compensation in 1972. Meanwhile, work had been underway on the Deviation, a new alignment to take the railway from Dduallt to meet up again with the original route from Tanygrisiau. The new route passes just to the west of and above Ffestiniog Power Station and its construction, mainly by volunteer ‘deviationists’, involved driving a new tunnel and building a spiral loop around Dduallt Station in order to gain the 11m of extra height required to take the track above the level of the reservoir. Work started on the deviation in 1965; the Dduallt loop was completed in 1971; work on the new tunnel lasted from 1975 to 1977; and the section of line to Tanygrisiau Station opened in 1978.

Festiniog Railway (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Dduallt Station (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Dduallt Loop (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Temple Meads, Bristol

Temple Meads

Date

30 May 2011
Location

Temple Meads, Bristol

ST 59685 72440; 51.44949°N, 2.58153°W

Information

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Temple Meads station first opened in 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London. Later expansions to the station were added in the 1870s and 1930s. Brunel’s original building is no longer an active part of the station – more recently it has housed the Exploratory (the forerunner of At-Bristol) and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, the latter closing in 2008. The 1870s clock tower at the main entrance used to have a wooden spire, but this was destroyed when the station was bombed during World War II.

Bristol Temple Meads railway station (Wikipedia)

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