An exact model of the Ffestiniog Railway’s wooden Dandy Wagon.
This was the horse transporter which accompanied slate wagons to form a gravity train (see ‘History’ notes below).
Available as a kit or as a finished model, everything is included to finish (the kit doesn’t include paint and glue).
Sorry – but this model is only available in 32mm gauge. The body is too narrow for 45mm gauge.
Oh! The horse isn’t included, but is easily available from shops (details included).
From 1842 until the introduction of steam locomotives, the Festiniog (original spelling) Railway ran loaded slate wagons to the harbour under the power of nothing but gravity. The empty wagons were then taken back up the line to the quarries by horses.
Every ‘Gravity Train’ included one extra wagon, known as a Dandy. These were high-sided open wagons with a door at one end, designed to carry the horse on the downward journey. This allowed them to rest and feed on hay whilst riding the train. The earliest examples were wooden, but the later type were iron, built at the FR’s Boston Lodge works.
At first, short trains of 7 or 8 empty slate wagons could be hauled by just the one horse. As traffic grew and longer down trains of several rakes linked together became more popular, multiple Dandies would usually be coupled together at the rear of the Down train.
In the period immediately prior to the introduction of steam (1863), when horse haulage was at its peak, there were probably anything up to 16 Dandies in use on the line. When horses stopped riding the railway the Dandy wagons were used as coal wagons.
Unfortunately no original wooden Dandy wagons have survived, but it is assumed that they were roughly made and all slightly different. No plans exist, but working from photographs the FR constructed a replica in the 1980s.