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Report - - Maenofferen Slate Mine. April 2017 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Maenofferen Slate Mine. April 2017



Degenatron

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
This is my second visit here. The first time I never got to see the main underground works. This time I did. 6 hours of practically non stop hiking underground with Trancentral really took it out of me but it was well worth it.

Breif history from Wikipedia

Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex.

In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following year.

During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear.

In 1908 the company leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there.

In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd quarry and reaching agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws.
Modern untopping operations at Maenofferen. The uncovered chambers of the Bowydd workings are clearly visible

In 1928 Maenofferen purchased the Rhiwbach quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953.

When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946, Maenofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962 slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in use until at least the 1980s.

The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.
We didn't waste much time in the sheds and headed quickly underground.

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Workshop looking a bit barer than it did 3 years ago

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More metal thievery.

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Notice all the miners boots in the water

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Brew time.

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Death slide

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Started struggling here with the humidity constantly steaming up the lens.

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Looks like an Anderson shelter. I think its to channel the fresh air through the tunnel and not out into the caven.

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Probably cant see it but thats a section of ladder towards the top of Trancentral's slightly knob shaped light painting.

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Back lit winch

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BTW If anyone finds a Tokina 16-28 Lens cap down there its mine. Thanks for reading.
 
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Kidney

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#3
Well thought it was finally about time I signed up to the forum!

Really well lit photo's considering how dark this place is! I think you were the guys I met up in the machine shop and then down in the mine briefly. I was the tall guy with the beard.
Bit peeved we missed the engine although we were winging it without any sort of map so didn't stray too far off the main incline.

I know where your lens cap is by the way, you left it by the large winch where we saw you. :(
 

Degenatron

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#7
Thanks for the good comments!.

Really well lit photo's considering how dark this place is! I think you were the guys I met up in the machine shop and then down in the mine briefly. I was the tall guy with the beard.
Bit peeved we missed the engine although we were winging it without any sort of map so didn't stray too far off the main incline.

I know where your lens cap is by the way, you left it by the large winch where we saw you. :(
I remember seeing you. We didnt have a map either. It would be interesting to actually see one. We tended to stick to the main routes until we reached a dead end then came back along the same way. We did go off the main routes a bit. At one point I thought we were lost but Trancentral lead the way out. He may have known where he was going or he was winging it and got lucky.
The lens cap was £20 for a new one as its not a standard type. Dammit.
 

Kidney

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#10
I remember seeing you. We didnt have a map either. It would be interesting to actually see one. We tended to stick to the main routes until we reached a dead end then came back along the same way. We did go off the main routes a bit. At one point I thought we were lost but Trancentral lead the way out. He may have known where he was going or he was winging it and got lucky.
The lens cap was £20 for a new one as its not a standard type. Dammit.
You were lucky you didn't see me ten minutes earlier, I was swing from the hoist wearing nothing but my pants :p:p:p

We did keep going off the main route but then started getting worried we'd get lost, you guy's looked like you knew where you were going!. This was our third explore of the weekend but think this one had arrow's sprayed on the wall, must have been that one as we got from the bottom level back up top fairly quickly! Yes I'd be interested to see a map, one must exist somewhere for the place, planning on going back at some point this year.

I'd actually picked up your lens cap at one point, usually collect trinkets I find but for some reason I put it back down again. Did check my kit, wish I had now as I could of posted it back to you. Know how annoying it is when you lose things, kind of puts a downer on a good explore. :(
 

RobSkyline

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#13
This is my second visit here. The first time I never got to see the main underground works. This time I did. 6 hours of practically non stop hiking underground with Trancentral really took it out of me but it was well worth it.



BTW If anyone finds a Tokina 16-28 Lens cap down there its mine. Thanks for reading.

Looks amazing, I will have to add this to the list for my next Wales trip!

Great photos too!!