Harlech Military Railway

The Harlech Military Railway was developed in 1941.

A Branch from the Main Line of the Great Western Railway was constructed just to the north of the Station. Its purpose was to serve a gunnery range to train soldiers for battles during the 2nd World War.

The line ran just north of the Harlech station, on the Great Western Railway, across ungated level crossings to a junction at grid reference 576324. Here the line reversed through an arc swinging southwest to northwest to its first terminal at Cefn Mine.

View showing the remains of the Military Branch Line.
View showing the remains of the Military Branch Line.
Another view of the Harlech Military Railway remains.
Another view of the Harlech Military Railway remains.

You can see the Branch Line peeling off to the West (left) of the Main Line just North of the Station.

From here there was a reversing junction to the workshop and locomotive shed at Grid reference 574315 (just north of Beach Road) where remnants can be seen to this day if you look carefully. The depot served a gunnery range, possibly connected to the Trawsfynydd camp.

There have been suggestions that John Mowlem & Co Ltd. (Contractors) built this railway using the locomotive 1529 Yeovil an 0-6-0 ST built by Hudswell Clarke. But proof is lacking, probably because there was a war on!

‘Yeovil’ was seen on the back of a lorry in Betws-y-Coed on the 23rd and 24th of April 1941, possibly en route to Llanberis where it is known to have been used to construct an Air Ministry Depot. It was there by July 1941. Previously Mowlem had used it (until at least the 16th of April 1941) at the Royal Ordinance Factory contract at Swynnerton, Staffordshire. At some time after August 1941 it was with the war department as WD69.

The line was closed in 1946 and finally scrapped in 1948.

Your Memories

Do you have memories and recollections you’d like to share with us, maybe you were stationed here in one of the various Military Camps or Llanbedr Airfield, trained with the Commando’s, came on holiday in the 50’s and 60’s and can remember some of the shops that were here. So put your thinking caps on, tell us what you can remember.

Harlech Military Railway