Toll house & railway depot

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Toll house and Boston Lodge railway works, near Porthmadog

This building, at the south-eastern end of the Cob, was built for collection of the tolls which were introduced when the long embankment opened in 1811. A tariff of toll charges from the 19th century is still to be seen on the front of the building. The Cob’s private operator was authorised by an 1807 Act of Parliament to levy tolls on road vehicles which crossed. In April 1978 the rights were purchased by a local body called the Rebecca Trust, which continued to levy a 5p toll per vehicle for 25 years. Surplus funds were distributed annually to local good causes. Tolls ended on 29 March 2003, after the Welsh Government bought the Cob from the trust.

Opposite the toll house lie the Ffestiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge workshops, on ground a little higher than the road. The site was developed when the railway became the first in the world to operate narrow-gauge steam locomotives.

In the First World War, more than 50 local women were employed at Boston Lodge to make cases for shells (bombs fired from artillery guns). They had to learn new skills quickly, including how to use lathes. Only boys had metalwork lessons in schools in that period. Many of the women had to walk along the Cob in darkness at the start or end of their shifts, until Ffestiniog Railway managers took pity and provided a 5.45am train for them. Parts for tanks were made here in the Second World War.

When the railway closed in 1946, most of the rolling stock was left at Boston Lodge works because there was no legal mechanism for disposing of it. Nine years later, rail enthusiasts reopened the railway and began restoring the vintage locos and coaches.

Today Boston Lodge is a centre of expertise whose activities include restoring vintage coaches for clients such as the London Transport Museum. It has built numerous coaches and several steam locomotives for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. For much of the year, Boston Lodge also services all the locos used on the FR and one loco for the WHR.

Postcode: LL49 9NF    View Location Map

Other RAILWAY HiPoints in this area:
Porthmadog Harbour station
Blaenau Ffestiniog rail station
Fairbourne Railway

Ffestiniog Railway on

Website of the Ffestiniog Railway

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