"The Railroad" was the name given to a horse-worked plateway (early railway) running from Ward Fell to Balladwail. It was the predecessor to the Skarloey Railway.


This horse worked ”plate-way” was laid from Cros-ny-Cuirn to Balladwail in 1806. The Crovan's Gate Mining Company had a copper mine in the lower slopes of Ward Fell. The ore was brought to Cros-ny-Cuirn by pack-horses, and sent down in wagons to Balladwail for shipment. The Inn at Glennock was used as a staging point by the pack-horse boys on their upwards journey.

The Mining Company relaid this line in 1820 with ”fish-belly” edge rail, and extended it up the Benglas valley to the mine. It was called quite simply "The Railroad", for there was no other in the whole Island, and it was considered a marvel in its day. From Cros-ny-Cuirn a chain of five successive inclines strode boldly up to Ward Fell, and their remains, much overgrown, can still be seen from the road north of the level-crossing at Cros-ny-Cuirn.

Following the Ffestiniog Railway's lead in 1863, improvements were called for. It was decided to replace the pack-horses with steam locomotives and James Spooner was engaged to survey a new route suitably graded for them. It was initially intended for the line to be for minerals only like its predecessor, but following the rediscovery of the ancient hollow of Skarloey the Board's thinking underwent a change. The line was opened in 1865, renamed to the Skarloey Railway.

“Welcome to the Steamworks, my friend!”
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