Station Name: FELIN HEN HALT

[Source: Les Fifoot, John Wilson & Paul Wright]


Date opened: 1.7.1884
Location: South side of the A4224 Felin Hen Road
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.12.1951
Date closed completely: 3.12.1951
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished.
County: Caernarvonshire
OS Grid Ref: SH590683
Date of visit: 30.1.2013

Notes: Felin Hen station (‘Halt’ from 1939) was situated on the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) Bethesda branch. The single-track branch was a 4-mile 26-chain line that linked the village of Bethesda to the Chester and Holyhead main line 52ch east of Bangor at Bethesda Junction. Between Bethesda Junction and Bethesda the line climbed by over 300ft which meant that there were steep gradients. The branch was authorised in 1880, engineered by Edward Walter Nealor Wood, C.E., and opened to passengers on 1 July 1884. Goods services were introduced on 1 September 1885. The branch closely followed the route of the Penrhyn Railway, a narrow gauge line that linked quarries in the Bethesda area to the coast. The Penrhyn Railway was owned by Lord Penrhyn and dated back to 1800. Originally horse-worked, steam operation was introduced in1877/8. The Bethesda branch crossed the Penryhn Railway three times (twice under and once over) and was built primarily to move slate from the quarries in the area.

coach further from the locomotive having a cab so the driver could control the train from that end via a pulley and bell system. When the driver was in the coach end of the train the fireman operated the locomotive alone. On the Bethesda branch the push-and-pull sets were arranged so that the locomotive was at the Bethesda end of the train. It pulled the train up to Bethesda and pushed it down to Bangor - although due to the gradients it would have had to do very little pushing.

By July 1922 the service operated by the push-and-pull trains had improved, there being eight departures and eight arrivals on Monday-to-Friday as shown in the table below.

Up Trains July 1922

Destination

Down Trains July 1922

Destination

8.14am

Bangor

7.44am

Bethesda

9.29am

Bangor

9.02am

Bethesda

10.34am

Bangor

10.07am

Bethesda

12.46pm (Saturday Only)

Bangor

1.17pm

Bethesda

1.44pm (Saturday Excepted)

Bangor

3.07pm

Bethesda

1.49pm (Saturday Only)

Bangor

4.30pm

Bethesda

3.39pm

Bangor

5.39pm

Bethesda

4.54pm

Bangor

7.09pm

Bethesda

6.04pm

Bangor

9.14pm (Wednesday and Saturday Only)

Bethesda

7.34pm

Bangor

10.09pm (Saturday Only)

Bethesda

9.39pm (Wednesday and Saturday Only)

Bangor

10.44pm (Saturday Only)

Bangor

On 1 January 1923 Felin Hen became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). The LMS summer timetable for 1932 showed Felin Hen as having sixteen trains in each direction on Monday-to- Friday with nineteen on Saturdays. There were even nine trains on Sundays. Reflecting its light use Felin Hen station was demoted to a halt in 1939. During the Second World War the Bethesda service was cut back dramatically, and when the war ended it was not restored to its former frequency.

The Bethesda branch became part of British Railways (London Midland Region) on 1 January 1948. The summer timetable for 1948 showed eight trains in each direction on Mondays-to-Fridays as shown in the table below.

Up Trains Summer 1948

Destination

Down Trains Summer 1948

Destination

7.52am

Menai Bridge

7.32am

Bethesda

8.49am

Bangor

8.31am

Bethesda

11.57am

Bangor

11.37am

Bethesda

1.19pm (Saturday Only)

Bangor

12.57pm (Saturday Only)

Bethesda

3.32pm

Bangor

3.07pm

Bethesda

4.52pm

Bangor

4.32pm

Bethesda

6.02pm

Bangor

5.42pm

Menai Bridge

8.17pm

Bangor

7.41pm

Bethesda

9.27pm

Bangor

9.07pm

Bethesda

Because of the poor service and the strong competition from local buses by 1950 the Bethesda branch had become unprofitable. Typically by this time the trains on the branch consisted of only one coach. Being in a remote location Felin Hen Halt was used by only a handful of people. British Railways proposed withdrawal of passenger services in 1951, but despite strong local opposition the last train ran on 1 December 1951. Felin Hen Halt and the other stations on the line formally closed to passengers on 3 December 1951.

Goods services continued to run up to Bethesda after closure to passengers, but as the years went by they became more sporadic. On 20 October 1963 the Stephenson Locomotive Society ‘Caernarvonshire Rail Tour’ passed through Felin Hen Halt on its way to and from Bethesda. It was the very last train ever to travel along the branch. After it had departed the line was
formally closed, and track-lifting by road vehicles began the following day.

The site of the station was demolished after closure, but the station house survived and became a private residence.

Timetable from Chris Totty, tickets from Michael Stewart, route map drawn by Alan Young

Sources:

To see the other stations on the Bethesda branch click on the station name: Bethesda and Tregarth

See also:

Bangor, Tregarth Tunnel and Bethesda Branch Features


Looking west across the station platform in 1905. Although the station building was a wooden structure, it was quite substantial, and provided good passenger facilities.
Copyright p
hoto from the John Alsop collection


Felin Hen shown on a 1914 map.

Taken in the early twentieth century, looking in the down direction, this photo shows the full length of the 400ft platform. Between the two station staff the covered passenger walkway from Felin Hen Road can be seen. A similar structure was also provided at Tregarth station.
Copyright photo from the John Mann collection


In 1953, nearly two years after the line closed to passengers, the platform is littered with old sleepers, and the original station building no longer exists. At some time it had been replaced with a small, simple structure. Felin Hen Road bridge can be seen at the far right of the view.
Copyright photo from the John Mann collection


Looking in the Bethesda direction from what remains of the station platform in April 1973.
Photo by John Mann

Taken from the same point as the previous photo, in January 2013.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Looking towards the station from the north side of Felin Hen Road bridge on 31 January 2013. No signs of the station are now evident, but the north end of the platform would have ended in the tall trees at the right hand side of the bridge abutment.
P
hoto by Les Fifoot


Two railway houses still survive just to the west of the remaining road bridge abutment. They are seen here in January 2013.
P
hoto by Les Fifoot


Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 10:52:29 BST
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