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Twenty or more years ago, when I was the editor of a specialist interest, small circulation, railway magazine distributed world-wide, I met and corresponded with very many interesting and knowledgeable persons connected with narrow gauge railways. One such person was Revd R W A Jones “Bob” who very kindly loaned me a collection of prints of Welsh narrow gauge subjects which he had taken during the early 1950s. Whilst most of the photographs are of derelict and overgrown lines only a few feature locomotives and even fewer have a human interest.

Boys at Tan-y-Grisiau goods shed in the 1950s

This is one of the latter, a group of scruffy, urchin-like lads pictured at Tan-y-Grisiau Station goods shed on the Ffestiniog Railway. The boys aged probably between 7 and 10 shown here would now be at least sixty five, does anyone recognise any of them? They are wearing clothes typical of the period, short trousers, slipovers (sleeveless pullovers), shirts and a variety of well-worn footwear; canvas shoes (we call them daps in South Wales), shoes without laces, only one is wearing socks and they have slouched down his legs to just above his ankles. The lads look as though they have been up to some mischief before the photographer posed them, wonder what they’d been doing with those sticks?

Tan-y-Grisiau station closed in 1939, but was still standing as shown here in the 1950s. A new reservoir built nearby prevented the Ffestiniog Railway from restoring the route to Blaenau Ffestiniog along the original alignment so a new station has been built at a higher level. The goods shed still survives.

Unfortunately I lost contact with the photographer when he moved away after his retirement, he was in his 70s when I met him in 1992, and I never was able to return his photos. They are still safe in my collection Bob!

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