Porthmadog Maritime Museum, The Harbour, Porthmadog, LL49 9LU 01766 514581 / 07866633927 contact@portmm.org

Heavy Loads

Specialist Heavy Loads

The building of the nuclear power station twelve miles from Porthmadog up in the hills of Snowdonia at Trawsfynydd gave rise to an interesting problem – how to get the pieces of heavy equipment and machinery to this remote site.

Construction of the power station was undertaken by a consortium involving Crompton Parkinson, International Combustion, Fairey Engineering and Richardsons Westgarth.  The architectural consultant for the buildings was Sir Basil Spence and the landscape architect was Sylvia Crowe.  Construction began in July 1959, and both of the two reactors were in operation by March 1965, with the station opening fully in October 1968, at a cost of £103 million.

It was decided, early in the planning, that the only way to bring heavy loads from the point of manufacture was by sea to Porthmadog then by road to Trawsfynydd.  This required the laying of a concrete plinth at Maenofferen wharf, the erection of a heavy lift crane to unload the machinery from the ships and the widening and improving of sections of the road and strengthening bridges.  The crane was erected in 1960 and the heavy lifts brought in over the next two to three years.

During the twenty six year working life of the station other heavy lifts were delivered by barge and unloaded via a ramp on to Pen Cei.  In 1987 a large transformer, destined for the Ffestiniog Power Station, was brought in by a barge towed by two tugs, the North Stack and South Stack, owned by Holyhead Towing Co Ltd.