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PORTMADOC AND ITS PROSPECTS. A few years ago the late Mr S. P. Owen, one of the most active, far-seeing business men of Portmadoc, called together a few of likeminded men, and put before them the fact that something had to be done at once to protect the traffic and trade of the town in face of the serious danger that threatened them at the time. The result was that a general committee was formed, consisting of slate quarry proprietors, slate merchants, and tradesmen, with Mr J. E. Greaves, the lord lieutenant, as chairman; Mr Wm. I Jones, N. and S. Wales Bank, as treasurer; and Mr R. G. Humphreys as general secretary. The committee set to work. They had in view the improvement of the Barbour, reduction of harbour dues, tow- age and haulage charges, and everything else that had to do with the protection and development of the slate trade. Deputa- tions waited upon the Festiniog Railway Company, the Portmadoc Steam Tug Company, the Cambriau Railways Com- pany and the proprietor of the, Macoc estate, and a long correspondence was carried on between the committee and the parties mentioned. The Festiniog Railway Company met the requests of the com- mittee very well indeed, and reductions were made in the charges for haulage, &c.: and the Tug Boat Company also did what they could in the matter- The Cambrian Railways Company, represented by Mr J. Conacher, the general manager at the time, did not go any further than making promises. It was thought that if the station were removed to where the Croesor Rail- way intercepts the Cambrian Railway, or that a large siding were made there, the facilities for slate shipments, &c., would be greatly increased. It was further thought that a loop line could be made from the proposed new sta- tion or siding, to the Festiniog Railway Station. Nothing came of these projects. The committee failed to get any conces- sions from the Madoc estate, thcugh the prosperity of the port and town was of equal importance to all parties concerned, 1 A proposal was made by a firm of Iron- ] foiinders to build iron vessels or steamerj near the Festiniog Railway Station, but I nothing came of it. The proposers were ,handicapped by the difficulties put in their way by the Madoc estate. The negocia- tions revealed the fact that a heavy royalty was charged on every ton of slates con- veyed either way along the Cob (as the breakwater is locally named). Though the Railway Company and the Tug Boat Com- pany, all of whom were dependent upon the slate trade, reduced their charges, not a farthing was struck off the royalty, which would cease to exist altogether if the slate trade was diverted elsewhere. Under these circumstances the committee failed to remove the obstacles in the way of effectively protecting and properly de- veloping the slate trade of the place. The fault did not lie at the door of the com- mittee it lay elsewhere. Fortunately, however, the committee succeeded in con- tributing towards the means which preven- ted the slate trade from leaving Portmadoc, and it certainly deserved the thanks of the inhabitat ts. As nothing can be expected from the Madoc estate, all persons who have inves- ted their money in the place, and all tradesmen and merchants, must know by this that the salvation of the place is in their own hands. They need not look to other quarters for help. The truth in this form has at last dawned upon them. Last week an association was formed, having a far wider programme than the committee had. The leading men of the place have resolved npon, not only protecting the trade of Portmadoc, but also upon developing the splendid natural resources of the town. Mr R. Newell, Dr Jones-Morris, and Mr J. R. Prichard, who, we understand, are the initiators in the matter, are to be com- plimented upon the success that has already partly crowned the movement. It may be well that the executive committee of the association should have some suggestions to go upon in addition to what there is al- ready in their possession. Attention must be paid to the lack of proper train arrange- ments. There is no train for Pwllheli be. tween 7 and 10-50 a.m., and no train for Barmouth after 4-35 p.m. If a passenger loses the 11.20 a.m. train he will not get another till 4-35 p.m. and if he fails to get that, then he has no further chance to get home that day. Tradesmen have been complaining, and very much so lately, of the delay in the delivery of goods by the Cambrian Railways Company. This is owing to there being only one horse and one lorry, in charge of one man, doing all the work of delivering goods. The importance of Portmadoc demands a far better train service and despatch of goods. The Cambrian Railways Company's statistics show that more excursionists and tourists were booked to Portmadoc in the summer of 1893 than were booked to any other town along the whole of the system, excepting Aberystwyth and Barmouth. How was it that Portmadoc did not receive the same benefit from these vrsitors as Aberystwyth and Barmouth received from those who went there ? The only explanation is this that whereas the latter places catered for visitors, and so attracted and caused them to stay for a week or two, Portmadoc absolutely did nothing, though in natural beauty and local attractions it would hold its own against all Welsh watering places. There are no proper lodging houses, no suitable bathing conveniences, nor is there anything that can be said to have been specially made to meet the requirements of summer visitors. Practically, nothing have been done to develop the natural resources of the place. Ever since the town has undergone such a splendid sanitary trans- formation and street improvement as, the Urban Council has been able to accom- plish, it has also greatly increased in popularity and attractiveness for visitors. who, if there were suitable lodging houses, would come and stay every summer. Serious outbreaks of infectious diseases are entirely unknown there. Moel-y-Gest could be made a most attractive pleasure resort, if a footpath were made to the top, where a magnificent sea and landscape views can be had. Such as there are of speculators in the town speculate in works or quarries at Festiniog and elsewhere. It is strange that somebody does not re-open the setts quarry at Moel-y-Gest. The market held on Friday is not what it ought to be. There is a splendid market at Pwllheli. Why cannot something of the kind be effected at Portmadoc ? We believe that the Market's Act ought to be adopted, and so compel all strangers who come to the place to sell anything to pay toll. At present these people hawk their butter, fowls, or anything else they may have, without paying a penny towards the rates, and they take away thousands of oounds every year. It would only be fair towards the inhabitants that the various vendors should contribute something for the advantages Portmadoc gives to them. The fact that the Town and Market Hall do not belong to the ratepayers is a serious hindrance in the way of getting compulsory powers, compelling all country dealers in butter, poultry, vegetables, &c., to pay for stalls in the market place. I Though Portmadoc is the principal sea- port in North Wales there is no "slip" in the place to enable shipowners to have their vessels repaired, and there is no dry dock whereby vessels with damaged bottoms might he examined. To any thinking mind it is a wonder that Port- i madoc has achieved the success it has. All we say is that the success is all owing to the natural circumstances of the place, and not to any artificial means used to effect it. If the association will go the right way about the work it has in hand, the future of Portmadoc will be far more brilliant than the past. There are already signs of improvements in divers directions houses and shops are scarce, large buildIngs are soon to be erected; and busy times are anticipated in connection with the restart- ing of some of the local quarries.