Station Name: PONTRHYTHALLT

[Source: Les Fifoot & Paul Wright]


Date opened: Oct 1869 (First in Timetable)
Location: On the south bank of the Afon Rhythallt, at the end of Station Road (Ffordd yr Orsaf), turn of the A4086 adjacent to LLanrug Post Office.
Company on opening: Carnarvon & Llanberis Railway
Date closed to passengers: 22.09.1930. (Used occasionally for excursion traffic after this date)
Date closed completely: 7.12.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state:

The main station buildings are extant, and are used as a private dwelling

County: Caernarvonshire
OS Grid Ref: SH544636
Date of visit: 25.5.2012

Notes: Pontrhythallt was located on the Carnarvon & Llanberis Railway (C&LR) which was authorised on 14 July 1864. The line initially ran from Carnarvon Morfa to Llanberis and was 9 miles in length. Although the first sod was cut on 15 September 1864 progress was slow as the C&LR struggled financially from the start. During the 1866 financial crisis work on the line stopped completely. The London & North Western Railway (LNWR) offered to buy and complete the line using the threat of an alternative Bill as leverage. A compromise was reached, the LNWR gaining 4½ miles of the line at the Llanberis end and running powers over the rest. Work began again, and on 13 December 1866 there was agreement that the line should be jointly C&LR and LNWR. The branch opened for goods and passenger services on 1 July 1869.

Approximately 5¾ miles from Caernarfon, Pontrythallt opened in October 1869. It was the intermediate token exchange point between Caernarvon and Llanberis, however, there was no passing point at the station. The platform was originally built 320ft in length and later extended across the adjacent bridge over the Afon Rhythallt to the road bridge.

The station building was similar in design to those at Llanberis and Cwm-y-Glo, constructed of dressed granite blocks and incorporating a stationmaster’s house. Facilities also included a booking office and hall, waiting room, and ladies’ waiting room. A small awning covered a waiting area recessed into the main building. There was a six-lever frame on the platform, and the token instruments were located in the office; this was for signal control only.

Other facilities at the site were three goods sidings, a goods shed, a loading stage, and a five-ton crane located to the south-east of the station on the south side of the line. The siding access and goods yard were controlled by two lever frames, which were mounted by the points and locked by a key on the train staff. The main freight activities were coal and livestock, but the yard was never busy.

From July 1870 the line had become wholly owned by the LNWR. The summer timetable for 1887 showed six trains in each direction between Caernarfon and Llanberis. Services were always sparser in the winter months: the December 1895 timetable showed four trains in each direction running between Caernarvon and Llanberis. In 1897 the Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) opened, which brought excursion trains to the line but they mostly ran fast through Pontrhythallt and served only Llanberis. Excursion trains did also run from the line, and they did serve the station.

The April 1910 timetable showed six scheduled trains in each direction, but by July 1922 this had increased to seven on Monday-to-Friday and eight on Saturdays.

On 1 January 1923 Pontrhythallt became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). By July 1929 the LMS was running ten trains in each direction on Monday-to-Friday and twelve on Saturdays. There had been strong competition from local bus services since the 1920s which adversely affected revenue. The LMS withdrew the Caernarvon and Llanberis passenger service on 22 September 1930.

Summer-only excursion trains ran between Caernarvon and Llanberis from 25 May 1931, and from 1934 they even ran on Sundays; Pontrhyhallt was not a scheduled stop. From 29 December 1934 an all-year-round Saturdays-only service was introduced between Caernarvon and Llanberis and it may have called at Pontrhythallt, but the station was not shown in the public timetable - it was in the working timetable. On Saturdays a market was held in Caernarfon and the service was operated for local people.

With the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939 an emergency timetable was introduced from 12 September. The market-day service ended, and it was not reintroduced at the end of hostilities. After the war the platform section on the river bridge was cut back, leaving a reduced length of only 180ft, which caused complications when 4-coach
excursions called at the station.

On 1 January 1948 Pontrhythallt became part of British Railways London Midland Region. Excursion services were reintroduced from the summer of 1948 but they did not serve Pontrhythallt.

The goods shed had been removed before 1952, and the crane had fallen into disrepair by that time.
During the 1950s Sunday School excursions ran from Pontrhythallt. There were daily goods services in the early 1950s. It was typical to carry out some shunting at Caernarfon before departing up the branch; then around half-an-hour was spent at Pontrhythallt followed by a further similar period at Cwm-y-glo. Llanberis was usually reached at 10:10 am, and on arrival at the yard shunting was completed before cleaning the fire. After a bite to eat the return working was at 11:05, arriving at Caernarfon at 12:50 with intermediate stops at Cwm-y -glo and Pontrhythallt, as on the down journey. After completing any further operations that were required at Caernarfon, the loco would then work ‘light engine’ back to Bangor.

By the late 1950s goods service had become less frequent. The last goods train ran on the line on 7 September 1964 after which it closed completely. It was lifted in the early months of 1965.

The station survived closure becoming a private dwelling.

Ticket from Michael Stewart, timetable from Chris Totty and route map by Alan Young.

Sources:

To see the other stations on the Llanberis branch click on the station name: Caernarvon, Carnarvon Morfa, Pont Rug, Cwm-y-glo, Padarn Halt & Llanberis


Looking south-east at Pontrhythallt in 1964. The bridge over the Afon Rhythallt is seen in the foreground. The station platform had extended onto the bridge for a period. Beyond the platform can be seen the station goods yard.
P
hoto by Ken Robinson


Pontrhythallt shown on a 1900 map

Pontrhythallt looking south-east in the early 1960s. The station had been closed to regular passenger services for over 30 years but was remarkably well kept. Beyond the platform a coal wagon can be seen in the goods yard.
Photo by J L Smith from the John Mann collection


Looking north-west along the platform at Pontrhythallt in the early 1960s.
Photo by J L Smith from the John Mann collection


Pontrhythallt station building in April 1973.
Photo by John Mann


Pontrhythallt station looking south from the north side of the Afon Rhythallt in 1973.
Photo by John Mann


Other than the lack of rails Pontrhythallt station looked much as it had done when the line was open in this view looking south-east in April 1973.
P
hoto by John Mann

Pontrhythallt station looking south in 1981.
P
hoto by Alan Young


Looking south-east towards Pontrhythallt station on 25 May 2012. For a period the platform had extended onto the bridge seen to the left. The wide piers show where the platform had been.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Pontrhythallt station looking south-east on 25 May 2012.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

 

2012

2012

 

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[Source: Les Fifoot & Paul Wright]




Last updated: Monday, 22-May-2017 10:46:46 BST
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