The Route page 3
Bachwen, actually the station for Clynnog Fawr a larger and more prosperous village than Bachwen, and the terminus for passenger services. On market days in Tal y Sarn & Caernarfon additional trains are run comprising stock wagons and a goods van. The village is trying to get into tourism with one hotel, owned by Connell Blogsby-Smith, and a number of the larger cottages offering accommodation. The village has a number of shops and small businesses including a general store, agricultural merchants and a joiner/furniture maker. From Bachwen the line is still in its ‘temporary’ state, laid with second hand rail obtained as surplus from a number of different quarries. Only workman’s trains, for the stone quarries, and freight traffic operate on this section.
The line from Bachwen meanders somewhat erratically until it reaches Cwngwared and the site of a sawmill recently much enlarged and fitted with a steam-powered frame saw. The mill converts local timber from the surrounding forest and, of late, that imported through Pont Llyfni to meet the demands of the new hotel building and tourist developments locally and, through the rail link, further a field. Shipment of timber is now almost entirely by rail, trains being provided as required. From Cwngwared the line continues to follow an erratic and at times tenuous route following the contours until it reaches the siding at the Tan-y-Graig & Tyddyn-Hywel stone quarries
The Tan-y-Graig & Tyddyn-Hywel quarries produce stone sets and kerbs, and recently installed a crusher to produce railway ballast and crushed stone for Macadam road building in the expanding towns of the north west of England. Prior to the extension of the railway all stone had been shipped, mainly to Liverpool, from the quarries own piers, which were served by aerial ropeways from Tan-y-graig. Access to the piers is often restricted by bad weather, this and an increasing demand for products locally has resulted in increasing quantities being sent by rail. The rail link provides a regular service for transport of quarry products for transhipment through Pont Llyfni harbour and by the LNWR from Tal y Sarn as well as to contractors in the locality. The quarries supply some ballast to the LNWR and all that required by the LVR, (The chief engineer of the LVR has a ‘beneficial arrangement’ with the quarry for the supply of rail ballast.) There are also regular workman’s trains, local labour being in short supply due to the higher wages paid at the Yr Eifl Quarry at Trefor. Wagons generally return empty but bring in supplies and equipment when required. The wagons are all owned by the quarry, freight traffic being charged by the ton/mile and workman carried at no cost to the quarries as the Workman’s Association through charges levied on the users funds them.
Journeys end, the last two miles have been less than luxurious, travelling in an open workman’s carriage on track that is uneven and laid for the most part in short lengths, however as we said at the beginning this section is not part of the normal passenger service. For the rest of the journey we managed to avoid mixed traffic and the shunting and shuffling that would have been entailed, so the majority of the journey has been quite comfortable in the new three compartment coach.