Bryn Tegid is an 009 spiral layout nominally located in the Berwyn mountains near Bala, part of the Rheillffodd Mynydd Berwyn. It represents a present day heritage railway which uses small locomotives and short trains on a steeply graded line which incorporates a deviation to avoid a recent road improvement scheme.
The layout has two stations, the upper station is the “original” station site, which was partially excavated in order to create the deviation spiral. This necessitated the construction of a new lower station which has more space for the facilities expected by 21st century customers. The upper station has been retained in a “reduced” form as temporary terminus prior to completion of the final section of the line and for easy access to the mining museum (represented by Chwarel Tegid). Located at the upper station is a model of a Dinorwig style transporter incline, similar to the restored “V1” incline in Llanberis, but with an underground drumhouse as found higher up in the main quarry.
The layout incorporates a “(not very) hidden link” which turns the central section of the spiral into a continuous circuit. The link is hidden by an engine shed both level crossings have been fully automated and will operate every time a train approaches. The layout has working street and building lights, as well as working illuminated F&WHR style ladybird signals.
Chwarel Tegid is intended to provide a representation of some aspects of slate quarry operation, it is not intended as an authentic recreation of a slate mine. The period of the layout is “indistinct”, it could either be an operating quarry nearing the end of it’s working life (approx 1950’s), or a “present day” mining museum with working exhibits demonstrating quarry operations and occasional slate extraction for the production of souvenirs.
Quarry Operations Modelled:
- The slate incline is used to bring large slate slabs down from the upper levels of the quarry for splitting in the cutting shed. The incline works by gravity, with loaded wagons at the top being used to haul empty wagons up from the bottom. The model uses two permanently attached and weighted slate waste wagons for operational reasons, but in reality this would not have been the case.
- The cutting shed (with an operational sliding door) where slates were processed into roof tiles. This features a working water wheel, which would have powered the machinery inside the cutting shed through a system of belts and pulleys. The actual slate splitting was carried out by hand.
- Waste slate from the cutting process is removed in slate waste wagons, which in this case are transported to the tips using a Blondin ropeway. The ropeway (named after the 19th century French tightrope walker Charles Blondin) was an alternative to the incline for transporting wagons between different levels of the quarry.
- Cut slates are loaded into wagons for transport out of the quarry to the wider world. The onward shipment of slates varied from quarry to quarry. For a quarry served by a narrow gauge line, loaded slate wagons would be removed from the quarry (often via a further incline) and assembled into longer trains which would then be taken down the “main line”.
- Workman’s trains bring in quarrymen from the local village, or museum visitors depending on the era!
- The small building close to the bottom of the Blondin ropeway is a gunpowder store, where the powder used for blasting slate would be stored prior to being taken to the quarry face.
- Loco shed with working doors where the engines are serviced.
You can find more pictures of these layouts and videos on https://www.my-place.org.uk/mymodels/