A cautionary tale for trespassers.

I remember one time when I was up at Buarth Melyn above the long tunnel with Griffith Griffiths the Permanent Way Inspector to look at some of the track. We we had finished we had to walk down to Tan y Bwlch and we were thinking we'd have to walk over the hill above the tunnel, but when we got to Moelwyn there was still smoke in the tunnel from the down train which had been a bit late. As the trains passed at Minffordd, we though it would be safe enough to walk through; it was a bit wet you know, but we were used to it. Well, when we were about half way through there was a sudden noise and it was black at the bottom end of the tunnel, and we realised that with the down train being late they'd passed at Tan y Bwlch and here was the up train.

We tried to shout to the stoker, but there was too much noise and he couldn't hear us, so I jumped in the only hole there was at the side of the tunnel, and Griffith Griffiths jumped in on top of me. I was thinner then, but I was never so nearly squashed in my life, and we both breathed out hard as the train came to us. I could feel Griffith Griffiths being pulled by all the door handles, and it was a long train with a double engine too. As soon as it was past we took breath and fell a-coughing for the the smoke from the engine. We were gasping all the way to the bottom of the tunnel, and when we got there, never did you see such a pair of chimney sweeps.

And Griffith Griffiths was a great fat man with round stomach, and look, all his waistcoat buttons were pulled off him.

Will Jones came from Waunfawr and was on the construction gang that built the WHR in 1922-23. He was appointed Porter in Charge of Tan y Bwlch station in 1924 and lived there with his wife Bessie (the 'girl station mistress'). Will became the leading expert on narrow gauge permanent way and taught many of the post-war revivalists how to lay and fettle track. He became a full-time employee at a weekly wage of 7. He died in 1981 and is buried alongside his wife at Bettws Garmon Church, close to the WHR.

Back to main page

Read The Adventures

Tell us your story...