Scribner’s Monthly: An Illustrated Magazine for the People was an illustrated American literary periodical published from 1870 until 1881. Following sale of the company which produced it in 1881, the magazine was relaunched as The Century Magazine.
This article describes in detail the Festiniog Railway at the height of its prosperity, before the arrival of standard gauge London & North Western and Great Western branches arrived to challenge its monopoly of the slate traffic. One of the first publications about the Festiniog aimed at a non-technical audience, author William H, Bishop visited the railway over the Christmas period in winter 1878, when there were some problems with snow on the line. Bishop gives a graphic description of one of the little George England locomotives, of the rails in an accumulation of snow in a cutting, being re-railed back on the track with the aid of “the Railway’s Strongest Man”, who put his back to the loco, and feet to the retaining wall and pushing! The writer illustrates this incident, with one of his pen and ink sketches. Other illustrations are by a variety of artists from contemporary photos.
Bishop is pretty accurate, although he fails to realise that the Festiniog & Blaenau is not a branch of the Festiniog proper, but a separate undertaking, which will soon become the Trojan Horse by which the Great Western will invade.
The author concludes with an English Translation of an awdl, or ode on the Festiniog Railway, by local bard, sail-maker William Roberts, known as Gwyllym Eryri (William of Snowdon).
“Thou art a monument to man’s ingenuity.
But more wonderful than man’s masterpieces are seen around us,
The towering mountains, the river and the valley.
To the courteous director, Spooner,
Also , deserved praise is hereby offered.
Without doubt he has been the occasion of great benefit
To this our native town”.