Anopha Quarry (also known as Ffarquhar Quarry or Centre Island Quarry) is the quarry at the end of Thomas' Branch Line, owned by the Ffarquhar Quarry Company.
History and Operations
It was Jabez Croarie, principal landowner in Ffarquhar who, feeling the pinch after the First World War, floated the Ffarquhar Quarry Company in 1924 to mine the stone under his land on Anopha Fell and in furtherance of this, persuaded the North Western Railway to extend their branch line from Elsbridge to Ffarquhar. Money was short, and the railway would only extend if the Quarry would supply the stone for the required Viaduct free of charge. Jabez, wanting an attractive structure to show potential customers the quality of his stone, agreed.
The Elsbridge Viaduct was completed in 1925, and has since needed only minimal maintenance, thus giving excellent testimony to the qualities of Ffarquhar stone, which has since found a ready market both in Sodor and elsewhere. When first quarried it is easily worked, but after a curing period above ground it becomes very hard and impervious to weathering and air pollution. It is specified widely for municipal and other public buildings, also for bridge and harbour work.
In the 1960s, to cope with increasing production, the Quarry Co. bought a Drewry diesel named Mavis, who not only shunts the quarry sidings, but also from time to time ventures down to Ffarquhar Station. In 1987, the Quarry Co. employed some 400 people either underground or at the cutting and curing sheds.
The Quarry is 1½ miles from Ffarquhar, and some 250ft higher; it is reached by the Quarry Tramroad, which Toby is the only engine legally allowed to traverse. Toby, Henrietta and Bertie take the quarrymen to and from the quarry, but unfortunately Bertie can only go up to the quarry gates and the two had a hard time transporting the workmen. The problem was solved after Sir Topham Hatt renovated an old coach called Victoria and joined her with Henrietta and Toby. There are four passenger trains a day from Ffarquhar for workers at the quarry, while freight trains are run as required. There is only a platform and waiting shelter at the quarry.
In the Television Series
Mavis, Diesel, 'Arry and Bert work here most frequently. A magazine fact file also states that Jack and Alfie work here. Den once briefly worked here while Mavis was under repairs. Stepney also breifly worked here. As well as mining quarry rock, there is a section of the quarry which mines slate. In Calling All Engines!, Edward had to sleep here until Tidmouth Sheds was rebuilt.
While in the Railway Series, Toby is the only engine legally allowed to travel to the Quarry, in the television series, Thomas, Percy and even much bigger engines such as Henry and Hiro have been seen taking trains from the Quarry.
In the CGI series, Mavis, 'Arry and Bert permanently work here and Toby helps as well when he is not taking the quarry workers to and from the Quarry in Henrietta. Ryan and Daisy once had to help out during the busy summer months.
Television Series Only
- A magazine fact file says that the Sodor Slate Quarry is owned by the Ffarquhar Quarry Company.
- In the eighteenth season episode, Thomas the Quarry Engine, a clock was added above the two-road engine shed.
- In the fifth season, Anopha Quarry shared the same set as the Sodor China Clay Company.
- The design and layout of the quarry changed every season until the CGI crossover in the thirteenth season.
- In the television series, Sir Topham Hatt is in charge of the Ffarquhar Quarry.
- Thomas used to bring stone from the quarry until he was found to be breaking the law in the episode, "Thomas in Trouble" but has been seen at the quarry since then assuming that the rule has been abolished or a safer route has been opened.