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

4 April 2020

Location

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

Information

Further Reading

Tynal Tywyll
All posts about Dinas Tunnel;
Lon Las Ogwen

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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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Now and then IV: Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

Date

21 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 60380 68039; 53.19104°N, 4.09121°W

Information

During the Great Strike of 1900-1903 at his slate quarry in Bethesda, the 2nd Baron Penrhyn built a row of houses in the nearby village of Tregarth as accommodation for strike-breaking quarrymen. Locally known as Stryd y Gynffon (Traitors’ Row), Tanrhiw Road was laid out next to the railway station on the Bethesda branch of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which had opened in 1884. Passenger traffic on this branch line ceased in 1951 and the track was completely closed in 1963, with the station being demolished in the 1980s. A community centre and recreation ground now occupy the site of the former railway and station.

 

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Now and then III: Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

Date

20 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 60123 67976; 53.19040°N, 4.09503°W

Information

With there having been a Methodist presence in the local area since the 18th century, Shiloh Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Tregarth was first built in 1829 and then rebuilt in 1896. The adjacent manse, which is now a B & B, was built in 1857. The chapel is a Grade II listed building and is still in use.

 

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Pandy, Tregarth

Waterwheel, Pandy, Tregarth

Waterwheel, Pandy, Tregarth

Date

26 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 59920 67655; 53.18747°N, 4.09792°W

Information

The pandy, or fulling mill, at Tregarth dates back to the 18th century. Fulling was a finishing process in the production of cloth in which woven cloth was cleansed, thickened and strengthened. This involved washing to remove dirt and grease and kneading with wooden hammers to mat together the wool fibres.

 

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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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Fferm Moelyci Rock Cannon

Fferm Moelyci Rock Cannon

Date

24 March 2012
Location

Fferm Moelyci, Tregarth

SH 59074 67735; 53.18796°N, 4.11061°W

Information

This 12-hole rock cannon near Moelyci Farm is very close to the route of the former Penrhyn Quarry Railway, presumably to salute visiting dignitaries as they passed by on the train.

Rock Cannon — history and method of operation; Other rock-cannon posts

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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Hendurnpike Signal Box

Hendurnpike Signal Box

Date

17 March 2012
Location

Hendurnpike, Tregarth

SH 61015 67626; 53.18750°N, 4.08153°W

Information

The 1801 horse tramway from Penrhyn Quarry to Port Penrhyn – later to become the Penrhyn Quarry Railway – crossed the 1803 Capel Curig turnpike road at Hendurnpike near Tregarth. The level crossing with its white painted gates was removed after the railway closed in the 1960s. Today all that remains to mark the spot is the little signal box.

Hendurnpike Signal Box, Penrhyn Railway
(Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Dark Places

Caban, Dinorwic Quarry · Fron-boeth Quarry Tunnel, Cwm Croesor · Llanberis Bomb Store · Moel Faban Quarry · Dinas Railway Tunnel, Tregarth · Braich Tunnel, Dinorwic Quarry

‘Dark Places’ on YouTube

Blaen-y-nant Molybdenum Mine
Braichmelyn
Coed y Dinas Copper Mine
Croesor Quarry
Cwm Ceunant Copper Mine
Dinorwic Quarry
Dorothea Quarry
Fron-boeth Quarry
Glyn Rhonwy Isaf Quarry
Caseg Valley
Moel Faban Quarry

Rhosydd Quarry
Tan-y-garth Arsenic Mine
Dinas Tunnel, Tregarth
Dolbadarn Castle
Roughcastle Tunnel, Falkirk
Llanberis Bomb Store
Llanddulas Jetty
Penrhyn Quarry
ROC Llangefni
Coast Artillery School, Great Orme

Coed y Dinas Copper Mine

Entrance of W bank adit

Date

21 May 2011
Location

Afon Ogwen, Coetmor, Tregarth

(W bank) SH 61054 67840; 53.18943°N, 4.08105°W
(E bank) SH 61064 67881; 53.18980°N, 4.08092°W

Information

The trial workings are on the banks of the Afon Ogwen close to Coetmor Bridge at Bryn Bella. The adit on the west bank extends some 20 metres and the one on the east bank around 6 metres.

In his 1802 Observations of the Snowdon Mountains, William Williams noted:

In the body of this hill [Dinas] there are branches, or, as they are termed by the miners, strings of fine copper, and some lead ores: trials have been made there at different times, but they did not answer the expence.

These veins cross the river to Coetmor Demesne, where spirited trial was made between the years 1760 and 1770, and a good deal of ore, both copper and lead, dug out of the place, but not so much as enabled the venturers to pocket any profit. However, as there are so many strings of ore to be seen entering the hill close to the river side, it is not improbable but that a large quantity is somewhere lodged in the bowels of it.

And David Bick (2003) has the following to say:

Another mine of doubtful whereabouts is COED Y DINAS, the scene of spirited trials between 1760 and 1770 for copper and lead. According to Williams a good deal of both ores were raised, but without profit. Another author, presumably referring to the same site, gives a similar account. ‘About 1760 and later, attempts were made in Coed y Dinas for copper by Cornish miners, where candles were not extinguished night and day for seven years. Levels were made from the Ogwen to go under Coetmor’s land. Pits were made from these, which are now full of water… About 1802 Lord Penrhyn made attempts from the bed of the Ogwen on the same vein, going under Pen Dinas, but with little success’.

A likely area for the operation is the wooded bank of the river below Coetmor Bridge where a level was reported about 1810.

William Williams, Observations of the Snowdon Mountains (Google Books)

David Bick, The Old Copper Mines of Snowdonia, 3rd Edition, 2003, Landmark Publishing (ISBN 1843060752), p. 120.

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