Development works at Boston Lodge

November 15th 2017

The next phase of works is underway in redeveloping the railway works at Boston Lodge. 

Boston Lodge is the engineering works of the Festiniog Railway Company, the oldest independent railway company in the world. The present workforce is continuing a long established tradition of innovation and quality stretching back more than 150 years, however the very fabric of the works is tired and run down. We face the challenge of restoring and rebuilding the works whilst the day to day work continues.

Although an exhaustive search for alternative local locations has been made with a view to creating a replacement facility, a suitable site with both rail and road connections within operating distance of Harbour Station could not be found. Thus the railway company faces the challenge of refreshing and rebuilding the workshops whilst they remain operational.

The first area for attention has been the land and facilities underpinning the operation. Road access has already been improved. It has to be remembered that historically the works was not connected to the road in any way.

The second step has been to ensure that the interface with the surrounding area has been given proper consideration, bearing in mind that this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Work to manage the flow from sewage, surface water and rainwater has already been completed requiring significant investment.

The third step was the construction of the new Heritage Carriage Store, which provides undercover accommodation for rolling stock and equipment whilst other buildings receive attention. This was completed in September this year.

The fourth step is to improve the sea defences at the eastern end of The Cob in keeping with similar work undertaken in Porthmadog. This offers the site enhanced protection making it possible to use the land on the seaward side of the current carriage sheds which was previously exposed to the actions of the sea. The new defences will be completed by Christmas 2017.

The next phases of the construction will most likely include improved carriage storage facilities before attention turns to the main workshops and conservation of the historic parts of the works.

F&WHR General Manager Paul Lewin says: 

“There has long been a desire to see the deeply historic Boston Lodge works effectively secured for future generations. This programme, which will see modern buildings taking the brunt of the daily work and providing better facilities for our staff, will also release the very old buildings to be restored and used for purposes aligned with heritage.