[Source: Nick Catford]
A view eastwards over Fishguard & Goodwick station and what was to have been Fishguard Harbour in the first decade of the twentieth century. The houses in the right background are part of Fishguard itself, with Goodwick being to the left foreground. A number of houses had been constructed for railway workers. At the station can be seen a selection of typical period wagons. One, at the end of the easternmost siding, has either a pitched roof like a salt or loco sand wagon or is a tarpaulin wagon. At the bottom of the picture is a flat wagon loaded with what appear to be sections of pipe and with it are two GWR horseboxes. Of these two, that on the left looks like a Diagram N6 type. These were more 'boxy' and lacked the body tumblehome of the rather quaint-looking Diagram N5 types. The other horsebox is of a type (Diagram unknown) which had an open platform on one end. This platform is thought to have been for strapping on bundles of hay (horse fodder). These horseboxes would have been passenger-rated, meaning they could be attached to passenger trains, and thus would have been in brown livery. Further towards the right, and only partly in the picture, is what looks like a 4-wheel brake third. The most interesting part of this picture is the under-construction harbour and east (Parrog) breakwater, together with the railway seen crossing a bridge. What we are seeing is what would have been Fishguard Harbour, of which both it and the breakwater were never completed to their intended extent. Even from this picture and charts of the time it is fairly obvious that silting would be a problem. Indeed this was apparently obvious to everybody, including the local population, apart from the engineer who, it is said, was ultimately to hang himself. The problem of silting is said to have been made worse by construction of the breakwater and continual dredging could not win the battle against nature. The harbour and breakwater, of which the latter never reached its intended length, were ultimately abandoned and replaced by the present harbour and quay at Goodwick, the railway station there being opened in 1906. The scene resembles of modern Freightliner terminal. What looks like gantry cranes are in fact travelling gantries with conventional cranes mounted upon them while what looks like stacked containers are wooden crates; a common method of transporting goods at the time and the forerunners of today's container systems. Construction trains can be seen - just. There is one at the shoreline with a locomotive at its far end and another on the breakwater, far left. Of particular interest is the railway in the background, approaching on an embankment before crossing the road on a girder bridge and continuing onto the breakwater. This line was intended to counter severe gradients on the existing line to Fishguard and was known as the 'New Line'. The GWR, however, referred to it as the 'New Up Line', the implication being that the two routes from Letterston Junction were to be worked as up and down lines but, for reasons which will become clear, this has never been confirmed. The New Line had been authorised in 1903 with construction beginning sometime around 1906. The route ran to the east of the present line until Manorowen where it was to have entered two tunnels, of which one would have been quite long, which took the line beneath and west of the existing line before emerging again on its east side. The New Line would then have junctioned with the existing line just north of Letterston Junction. There was a connection with the existing line just south of Fishguard & Goodwick station, points facing in the up direction, apparently to allow delivery of construction materials. Track on the New Line was laid for about one mile and ended at a point near Dyffryn. The remainder of the line to Letterston Junction was never completed and the tunnels near Manorowen never constructed - or at least never completed. Of the track which was laid, this seems to have been lifted by the 1930s if not earlier. Today the breakwater remains but the port area seen above is now partly landscaped and partly used for car parking. It is known as The Parrog. An wooded patch of land on the north side of the road marks the site of the former railway embankment but there is no trace of the bridge while the embankment south of the bridge has been obliterated. From Dyffryn southwards, however, much of the course of the unfinished railway can still be traced while just south of Dyffryn a stone bridge carrying a minor road over the line still stands.
Photo from John Mann collection