The Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle's Railway Museum is dedicated to industrial locomotives, some of which were once used in the Penrhyn slate quarry of nearby Bethesda.

The Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle is dedicated to industrial locomotives, some of which were once used in the Penrhyn quarry just a few miles away in Bethesda.  The museum is now housed in the old stable block, which was once home to around 36 of the estate's horses at one time.

Today you can see a wide selection of engines, carriages, rolling stock and tools on display as well as a film that offers an insight into the previous lives of some of the engines on display.

The Fire Queen

The Fire Queen was one of the first two engines to be used on the Padarn Railway immediately after it opened in 1849.  It was replaced in the 1880s when it was then installed in a small stone shed at the quarry.  She was bought by a representative of the Manifold Trust and placed on loan to the museum with a saloon coach in 1969.

The Fire Queen seen in all its glory through the Railway museum windows
The Fire Queen sits inside the large windows of the Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle
The Fire Queen seen in all its glory through the Railway museum windows

Charles

Charles, a saddle tank locomotive, has close connections with Penrhyn.  Charles was one of the so called 'main line' engines used at Penrhyn Quarry. Built by Hunslet Engine Co in 1882, Charles worked until the 1950s and was later restored. Owing to the deterioration of the boiler, Charles was stored in the engine shed at Port Penrhyn from around 1958.  He was placed on permanent loan to the National Trust in 1963 by courtesy of Penrhyn Quarry.

Charles was once one of the main line engines used at Penrhyn Quarry
Charles, a saddle tank locomotive, in the Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle
Charles was once one of the main line engines used at Penrhyn Quarry

Vesta

Vesta was built in 1916 for John Summers & Sons Ltd and was employed all her working life on the borders of Cheshire and North Wales.  She was presented to the Trust in 1963 and was delivered to the Castle in December of that year.

Penrhyn Quarrymen’s open coach

This is one of the coaches that ran on the main line of the quarry in Bethesda.  It belonged to the Quarrymen’s Train, an institution arranged and financed by the men to move them to and from the quarry.  The train and coach made its last run on 9 February 1953 and the coach was placed on permanent loan to the Trust in 1963 by Penrhyn Quarries.

A selection of tools on display at the museum
Tools on display at the Industrial Railway Museum, Penrhyn Castle
A selection of tools on display at the museum

The Penrhyn saloon coach

This coach can now be seen with Charles and was built in around 1882, together with the new main line of Penrhyn Quarries Ltd and was used by Lord Penrhyn and his agent for journeys between their company headquarters at Port Penrhyn and the Quarry in Bethesda. 

Penrhyn Quarry officials' car

This quite ornate looking car or cart was used to transport officials and visitors around over 50 miles of tracks that once covered the Penrhyn Quarries in Bethesda.  It is thought to date from the late 19th century and could seat 6 people.

Hugh Napier

Hugh Napier at the Castle during Railway Month, September 2017
Hugh Napier, a restored saddle tank locomotive, sitting outside in front of the ice tower at Penrhyn Castle
Hugh Napier at the Castle during Railway Month, September 2017

Hugh Napier is a Saddle Tank locomotive built by the Hunslet Engine Company Ltd in Leeds in 1904 and spent its entire working life at Penrhyn Quarry.  It has been lovingly restored by the National Trust and the Ffestiniog Railway Company, where it now resides, coming back to visit us here at the Castle on special occasions.  The engine was named after the 4th Baron Penrhyn.