As seen in Railway Modeller – December 2022 edition
This 009 layout 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.
- Some narrow gauge railways were built on a continuous falling gradient, allowing full slate trains to descend by gravity. A gravity slate train can be simulated in model form, but it would not normally have operated within the bounds of the quarry due to the lack of a consistent falling gradient.
Chwarel Tegid “borrows” locos from Bryn Tegid and usually operates with a subset of the full Bryn Tegid fleet, typically these locos can be seen:
- Alice, Dinorwig Alice class quarry Hunslet (Brian Madge Kit)
- Winifred, Penrhyn Port class quarry Hunslet (Brian Madge Kit)
- Maid Marian, cabbed Alice class quarry Hunslet (Brian Madge Kit). Note, Maid Marian’s cab was fitted in preservation, so this loco dates the layout to a “museum period”. Or perhaps it doesn’t…
- Lola, medium quarry Hunslet (Based on Lilla, Robex 3D print on a Minitrains chassis)
- Tafwys, Ruston 48DL (Brian Madge Kit)
- Peris, DeWinton Vertical Boiler (RT Models Kit)
- Teryn, Ruston LB (Brian Madge Kit)
- Gwyryd, Freelance battery electric (Similar to types used in some quarries, TeBee 3D print)
The Chwarel Tegid build is fully documented on the NGRM Online forum (user tim1mw), please visit to find out more (login required)!
During 2022, Chwarel Tegid has undergone a partial re-build in order to improve it’s appearance prior to going to the Warley show, so some pictures show the “original” form of the layout, while others show the 2022 improvements. The main improvements are:
- The incline has been rebuilt with a fully working winding house
- The area behind the incline has been opened out to form a cutting, increasing the visual length of the run.
- Two very short extensions have been added to the corner section
- The corner now has a full “quarry gallery” backscene” with a bridge inspired by
- The top of the incline now has a (static) shunting area.
- The headshunt at the bottom of the incline has been converted to a through line into the fiddle yard.
Chwarel Tegid has made a number of appearances in 009 News in the photo pages, as well as a detailed article on the construction of the incline and ropeway.
This video (filmed prior to the 2022 upgrade) shows a range of operations on Chwarel Tegid, including the incline and Blondin Ropeway.
This video shows the 2022 upgrade to the Ropeway being tested
Chwarel Tegid is available for occasional exhibition appearances. Past and present exhibition dates are listed below:
- Warley National Model Show, 26-27th November 2022
- Craven Arms & District Model Railway Circle Model Railway Exhibition, 14th May 2022, Ludlow Racecourse, Bromfield, SY8 2BT
- Sutton Coldfield Model Railway Exhibition, 27th/28th April 2019 at Bishop Walsh School, Wylde Green Road, Sutton Coldfield B76 1QT
- Norfolk and Suffolk 009 Society open day, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 9TF. 2nd March 2019. (yes, that is the day after Llanberis…)
- Welsh National Slate Museum, Llanberis, 27th February to 1st March 2019.
- Telford Railway Modellers Group Exhibition, Charlton School, Wellington, TF1 3DY, 6th October 2018.
- 009 Society East Midlands Members day, Mansfield, 14th July 2018.
- Great Little Trains Model Show, Bala N. Wales, 26th – 28th May 2018.
- Bloxwich St Johns Model Show, 12th May 2018 (10am -4.30pm at St John’s Methodist Church, Victoria Ave., Bloxwich. WS3 3HS.)
- Statfold Barn Railway, 9th September 2017 (on the 009 society stand)
- The Little Byg Show, Borth y Gest, 10-11th June 2017
- Narrow Gauge West Midlands, 13th August 2016 (incline section only)
Chwarel Tegid – Blondin Complete Run
The videos below were filmed at an earlier stage of Chwarel Tegid’s construction and are retained for reference.
Chwarel Tegid – Incline
This video shows the Chwarel Tegid incline, shunted by Ruston 48DL “Tafwys”. It was filmed prior to my acquisition of suitable Car Cyrn.
Chwarel Tegid – Blondin Ropeway
The video shows the Blondin Ropeway in operation, shunted by Quarry Hunslet “Alice”.