I’ve always been obsessed with the slate quarry at Dinorwic and its associated narrow gauge railways. As we’re on the cusp of 2019, that means that it’ll be 50 years ago next summer that the quarry closed for good. While I don’t condone trespassing, those intrepid explorers who have gone the ‘wrong side of the fence’ into the old quarry workings have returned with simply fascinating images of abandoned buildings, full of decaying equipment, and with boots and coats still in the cabans where the men left them half a century ago. Dinorwic quarry is one of those places that makes me wish I’d been born earlier. I’d love to have seen it in its heyday. Or would I? Would I have actually wanted to see the mountainside alive with men, dumping slate waste on to the Welsh landscape, the air thick with dangerous slate dust and the ever-present risk of death? Is it the fact that everything’s been abandoned and left to rot that actually gives the quarry its allure? Either way, Julian Birley’s 7mm layout manages, in a comparatively small space, to give us a small glimpse into this long-forgotten world. It’s easy to forget that thousands of men were employed in such hazardous occupations, from coal mines in Scotland to digging out tin from under the sea, miles away from the Cornish coast. Their work contributes to the story of our railways, but their efforts and sacrifice deserve our respect and admiration.