Hendre-Ddu Tramway

The Hendre-Ddu Tramway was a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge industrial railway built in 1867 in Mid-Wales to connect the Hendre-Ddu slate quarry to Aberangell station on the Mawddwy Railway. It consisted of a main line 3+12 miles (5.6 km) long and several branch lines and spurs serving other quarries, local farms and the timber industry.

Hendre-Ddu Tramway
Map of the Hendre-Ddu tramway; not all lines shown existed at the same time
Dates of operation1867 (1867)–1954 (1954)
Track gauge2 ft (610 mm)
Length3+12 miles (5.6 km)


The remains of Hendre Ddu slate quarry in 2009

The Hendre Ddu slate quarry opened in the 1850s, located on the north slope of Mynydd Hendre-ddu. In 1864 the Hendre Ddu Slate and Slab Co. was established by Sir Edmund Buckley. The Company specialised in slate slabs for billiard table beds.

The standard gauge Mawddwy Railway, opened in 1867 connected the Cambrian Railway at Cemmaes Road to Dinas Mawddwy, passing through the small village of Aberangell. Sir Edmund Buckley built the Hendre Ddu Tramway to carry slate from his quarry down to Aberangell station. Several other quarries had branches and spurs onto the Tramway, as well as a brickworks, a sawmill and several local farms.

The slate slabs for billiard tables were carried on special trestle wagons similar to those on the nearby Corris Railway. Quarry workers rode in open cars which were occasionally also used for tourist excursions. During the First World War a branch was laid in lightweight portable "Jubilee track" from Cefn Gwyn along Cwm Caws for timber extraction.

When this work was finished in 1917 the track was lifted and re-laid on the trackbed of a long closed branch to Coed y Chwarel. Though some sources say that Baguley petrol locomotive No. 774 was used on this line,[1] more recent research has dispelled this.[2]

During 1940 the Cwm Caws branch was again re-laid using Jubilee track for further timber extraction. This line was not lifted until October 1954 although the Hendre Ddu Tramway itself was converted into a road in 1941 for the safer conveyance of munitions which were stored in the Hendre Ddu Quarries during the war and for some years afterwards.[1]

A number of wagons from the Gartheiniog quarry were sold for use on the Meirion Mill Railway at Dinas Mawddwy in 1975. The railway closed in 1977, but several of the wagons remain at Meirion Mill in 2016.[3]


The wagons descended by gravity and were hauled back by horses, later by a road tractor and then a Simplex petrol loco was used from 1922.


Builder Type Works


Built Notes
Motor Rail "Simplex" 4wPM 2059 Acquired for the tramway in 1922
Hendre-Ddu Tramway Lorry conversion n/a 1930 Unsuccessful and short-lived conversion of an Overland lorry


  1. ^ a b Boyd, James I.C. (1965). Narrow Gauge Railways in Mid Wales. The Oakwood Press.
  2. ^ Quine, Dan (March 2017). "Baguley 774 and the Pennal Tramway". Industrial Railway Record.
  3. ^ Quine, Dan (November 2016). "Trixie and the Meirion Mill Railway". Narrow Gauge World.
  • Richards, Alun John (2001). The Slate Railways of Wales. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch: Llanrwst. ISBN 0-86381-689-4.
  • Cozens, Lewis (1954). The Mawddwy Railway with the Hendre-Ddu Tramway. Lewis Cozens. - reprinted as The Mawddwy, Van & Kerry Branches, Oakwood Press, 2004

External linksEdit