The Consolidates Shales Heavy-Haul Railway is a true working heavy-haul railway operating on 45mm gauge tracks on the Island of Anglesey - The inspiration for the line was drawn from the operations of several different heavy-haul railways around the world, particularly on those which can be found in Queensland, Western Australia, South Africa, and Canada.

 

 

The Consolidated Shales Mining Company Pty came into being in the autumn of 2006, following the closure of the previous 'company' belonging its 'Chairman', the 'McMillan Iron Ore Mining Pty', - an 'O' scale affair, which had exhausted the iron-ore reserves at its Mount Armstrong mine on an island in the Dampier Archipelago off the north-west coast of Australia in the previous year....

With the ever increasing use of shale in the chemical and cement industries, and by using as much of the original infrastructure as possible, the new 'company' was formed, and it built a new heavy-haul 32mm gauge line from the port handling facility at Harrison Point to the new mine at Coolamusta.
After being erected in its second location, on the Isle of Anglesey in 2008 (its first location being in North Yorkshire), it was rebuilt in 2014, using the wider gauge of 45mm. This was because the old line was no longer able to cope with the increasing tonnages of ore that was being transported, or the nature of the extreme weather conditions that is regularly encountered locally.

The main line that is used for the ore-cycle is formed of an out-and-back configuration, with a balloon loop at the mine – The distance from the zero point under the lighthouse on the jetty at the port, to the extremity of the balloon loop is approximately 18 meters (59ft)

In the yard areas, at each end of the line, working by 'Line-of-Sight' applies at all times. However, the main lines between the port and mine and mine and port are strictly worked using a special block system, which controls the exit signals at each of the yard areas.

Trains are loaded through an overhead hopper at the mine loadout facility, with the wagons being automatically discharged through their side doors as they are fed through the unloading station after their arrival at the port.

The ore schedule is maintained by three sets of wagons, hauled usually by one of the 'company’s' three electric outline locomotives - One set of wagons is usually in transit between the mine and port, whilst the other two sets of wagons are being loaded or unloaded respectively - Additional traffic takes the form of supply and works trains, or inspection specials.

 

 

A general plan of the CONSOLIDATED SHALES HEAVY-HAUL RAILWAY

 

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Please note:

Visitors to the Consolidates Shales Heavy-Haul Railway will always be made most welcome by prior arrangement.

If you live in, or are simply just visiting North-West Wales, and would like to visit the railway in person, please email: lordblackburnofrhydwyn@gmail.com in advance to arrange a suitable date and time.