The Dinorwic Quarry and Railways, Great Orme Tramway and other Railway Systems.
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Away from boarding school on a half term outing, James Boyd persuaded his parents to visit the derelict Lynton and Barnstaple Railway; he had never appreciated that a railway could be abandoned and would disappear-for him such things were immortal. Ere long he had visited other similar systems such as the Manifold and Ashover lines where the writing was equally on the wall. Surely it heralded an apocalypse ? If not he, then who would put on record-before too late-this ending of a pattern of railway transport ?
With limited means at his disposal, research began on a broad canvas. Attempting something quite new in railway history, his NARROW GAUGE RAILS TO PORTMADOC of 1949 was not an encouraging start. The potential publishers decided not to publish the manuscript in full … ‘it is too long, but we will retain the anecdotes’. The Boyd family honour was now at stake (lNemo me impune lacessat’), and smarting under his son’s humiliation, James Boyd’s father proffered a loan of £100 to the publishers to have the work printed in full. It was accepted, the complete book appeared and the loan was repaid within a month!
James Boyd was now convinced there was a healthy appetite for more of the same thing but accepting that all such matters would never fall prey to his pen he set himself the target of those subjects which appeared (at the time) to be without friends. It was soon apparent that readers wanted more and yet more detail, with immediate effect on the rate at which research and writing progressed. The quick, cursory treatment of the 1930s was no longer acceptable and dreams of a vast subject-coverage-all achieved in spare time-were quickly dispelled. This book is the finest and most comprehensive account of narrow gauge railways in North Wales. The best detailed maps and engine plates ever produced.