Railway & Canal Historical Society – Book of the Year Awards 2020

The Croesor Tramway nominated!

In 2004 the Railway & Canal Historical Society started an annual book award scheme to encourage the writing of well-researched, interesting and readable books on transport history. This is supported financially by a legacy from the estate of the late David St John Thomas, co-founder of the David & Charles publishing house. .

To be considered for the 2020 awards, books must have received a good review in the Society’s Journal during 2019 (and including the forthcoming March 2020 issue for which reviews are already prepared) and have met certain other eligibility criteria. The first round of judging consists of a formal assessment of each eligible book by the person who reviewed it for the Journal, taking in such criteria as quality of research, readability, presentation, and contribution to transport history. This stage has now been completed and The Croesor Tramway by Dave Southern with Adrian Barrell has been short-listed.

The winners of each category and the overall winner will be decided by a panel of three judges, drawn from the Society’s membership

The 2020 awards will be presented on the evening of Friday 1st May 2020 during the RCHS’s AGM weekend, this year to take place in Bradford.

Last year’s short list and winner are here https://rchs.org.uk/book-awards/2019-book-award-winners/

The Croesor Tramway has recently been reprinted

New Book – Croesor Tramway

Croesor Tramway – A History of the Tramways and Quarries of Cwm Croesor

by Dave Southern with Adrian Barrell

In the nineteenth century the slate quarries of Gwynedd in North Wales not only constituted the most important industry of the region, making a dramatic contribution to both the economy of North West Wales and its landscape, but they also supplied the bulk of the world’s roofing slate and architectural slate slabs.
This is the story of the Croesor Tramway and the slate quarries of the remote Croesor valley, that supplied some of that slate. The tramway, was conceived as a direct connection to the harbour at Porthmadog for its quarry customers. Unlike the pioneering Festiniog Railway, its close contemporary and neighbour, the tramway was horse worked throughout its life.
Built to the order of Hugh Beaver Roberts a successful solicitor and business man, from Bangor, no parliamentary powers were needed to build the tramway, as Roberts owned much of the land. Over four miles long and including two steep cable worked inclines it opened in 1864 to goods and mineral traffic and continued to carry slate along the valley until 1944, when the last wagons were sent down the Rhosydd incline. In the early 1920s, the lower part of the tramway became part of the now re-opened Welsh Highland Railway.
Based on significant original research, the building, operation and the route are described as well as the key
personalities involved such as Hugh Beaver Roberts, Charles Spooner and Moses Kellow, the entrepreneurial Croesor quarry manager. The book includes interviews with some of the people who latterly worked on the tramway and inclines.
Significant parts of the tramway and the above ground parts of some of the quarries are still accessible to the well equipped and sure footed walker. This book will therefore be of interest both to casual readers of social and industrial history as well as those wanting more detailed information on what can still be seen in the Croesor valley.
The book comprises approximately 120 pages of text and is well illustrated with maps and photographs in colour and black and white including several published for the first time.

Price £18 inc UK postage

To order go to our online shop  or download the order form to order by post

Croesor Tramway

Croesor Tramway – A History of the Tramways and Quarries of Cwm Croesor

by Dave Southern with Adrian Barrell

In the nineteenth century the slate quarries of Gwynedd in North Wales not only constituted the most important industry of the region, making a dramatic contribution to both the economy of North West Wales and its landscape, but they also supplied the bulk of the world’s roofing slate and architectural slate slabs.
This is the story of the Croesor Tramway and the slate quarries of the remote Croesor valley, that supplied some of that slate. The tramway, was conceived as a direct connection to the harbour at Porthmadog for its quarry customers. Unlike the pioneering Festiniog Railway, its close contemporary and neighbour, the tramway was horse worked throughout its life.
Built to the order of Hugh Beaver Roberts a successful solicitor and business man, from Bangor, no parliamentary powers were needed to build the tramway, as Roberts owned much of the land. Over four miles long and including two steep cable worked inclines it opened in 1864 to goods and mineral traffic and continued to carry slate along the valley until 1944, when the last wagons were sent down the Rhosydd incline. In the early 1920s, the lower part of the tramway became part of the now re-opened Welsh Highland Railway.
Based on significant original research, the building, operation and the route are described as well as the key
personalities involved such as Hugh Beaver Roberts, Charles Spooner and Moses Kellow, the entrepreneurial Croesor quarry manager. The book includes interviews with some of the people who latterly worked on the tramway and inclines.
Significant parts of the tramway and the above ground parts of some of the quarries are still accessible to the well equipped and sure footed walker. This book will therefore be of interest both to casual readers of social and industrial history as well as those wanting more detailed information on what can still be seen in the Croesor valley.
The book comprises approximately 120 pages of text and is well illustrated with maps and photographs in colour and black and white including several published for the first time.

Price £18 inc UK postage

To order go to our online shop  or download the order form to order by post

On the Welsh Highland Railway in 1936 – DVD

1936 was the last year of passenger train operation on the original Welsh Highland Railway and it closed to all traffic the following year.

Captured on this DVD is a short piece of rare amateur cine film shot in black & white showing a typical journey by a party of family and friends along the Aberglaslyn Pass in that last year of passenger operations.

£5 each,  post paid in UK.

To order visit the Sales page

“The Bryngwyn Branch” by Dave Southern & John Keylock

The Welsh Highland Heritage Group’s new book about the Bryngwyn Branch describes its history,  operation and closure, and its development into today’s slate trail.
£15 each,  post paid in UK.

To order visit the Sales page

ISBN: 978-0-9930821-0-8

Members’ Email addresses

A message from Michael Hadley,  Assistant Secretary to the Group:

Dear Members,

We have never asked for your email addresses but on a number of occasions a list would have been helpful. If you are willing to let the Group have your email address please send an email to

Mike Hadley:    mike@mandhhadley.co.uk

We give the following undertakings:

1) We will not sell, give away or otherwise dispose of your email address to anyone outside of the Group.
2) If we do send out emails to more than a few of you at any one time, we will send them ‘blind copy’ to reduce the likelihood of spam.

AGM 2014

The 17th AGM of the Group took place on Sunday 4th May 2014 in Prenteg Village Hall. The new Chairman Nick Booker reported on changes to the committee following the retirement of David Allan and the sad deaths of John Keylock and Gwynfor Pierce Jones – see the committee page. He also reports that the Cambrian  Crossing Box is finally nearing completion. Tryfan Junction building is almost complete and the intention is to move on to the signal box. Final plumbing of the Beddgelert Water Tower should be undertaken this year.

John Keylock

John KeylockIt is with great sadness that we report the death of John Keylock. John was a driving force in the establishment of the WHHG and in its various projects, most notably in recent times with the restoration of Tryfan Junction. He was for many years secretary of the Group and possessed an enormous fund of knowledge about the railway. The funeral was held on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in the village church at Childswickham, Broadway. The church was packed with over 200 people and standing room only. David Allan gave the eulogy,a warm appreciation of John’s life.

Scattering of John’s ashes:
John Keylock’s ashes are to be scattered on the water meadow below the site of Salem Halt on Saturday 5th April at 11.00am.   The field is owned by Lewis Esposito who has kindly agreed to this arrangement.

Everyone connected with John is invited to this simple ceremony in memory of a great servant of the Welsh Highland Railway.