Col. Holman Fred Stephens was a railway civil engineer, based at Tonbridge, who found himself almost by accident to be engineer, manager, sometimes chairman, and all too frequently Receiver in Bankruptcy of a small flock of impoverished railways, scattered throughout rural England and Wales. He was called in to the Festiniog and Welsh Highland after the failure of a complex hydro-electric power, quarry and railway electrification scheme to materialize. The Welsh Highland was ill-equipped with very old or second hand rolling stock and had been built “down to a price”. The Festiniog was better equipped and more efficient, but suffered from a sharp decline in the demand for Welsh Slate.
This pamphlet represents an attempt by Stephens from “Mission Control” at Tonbridge to get two of his connected “lame ducks” to work efficiently together, if the mixed metaphors can be excused, but it was like expecting a donkey and a shire horse to work in harness, partly because the Festinog staff resented the extra work and problems caused by the Welsh Highland. It was a marriage doomed to failure, and the Welsh Highland expired in 1936, almost dragging the Festiniog down with it.