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Ffestiniog Railway. Welsh Highlands Railyways



Ffestiniog Railway

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The world famous Ffestiniog Railway is one of the few remaining steam railways operating in the world today. Re-opened in 1982, the Ffestiniog Railway arrives and departs from the old slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The steam engines and carragies are a work of art and the sound of the steam engine as it prepares to depart is a magical experience that should not be missed. It travels through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, where nature has carved out its own art with beautiful landscape and natural flowing waterfalls.

It’s the thread that holds it all together – the downhill corridor for slate that now carries people in comfort. Not any old heritage railway but, together with the Welsh Highland, the longest with the most spectacular scenery. Combined with a visit to Llechwedd it brings the industrial revolution to life in a gritty yet uplifting way.

An extract from a guest book written by a mother reads: ‘..... none of us want to go home. The trains are a real treat - my 3 year old son and 40 year old husband were suddenly the same age!’

Most of us yearn for the ‘great outdoors’ but it’s not always possible to get out and into it – with the Welsh Highlands railway you can take young children, aged relatives or a gammy leg to all sorts of places and views. A moving armchair with a window on the landscape of Snowdonia complete with buffet car service to your seat.

For walkers a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway & Welsh Highlands trains expands horizons for longer walks. From the station at Tanygrisiau, across the Moelwyn peaks then catch a train at Tan y Bwlch. Look out for the wild goats. And for the rock cannon! For the less energetic a ride to Britain’s only railway loop at Dduallt, then downhill alongside the railway through Coed y Bleiddiau or ‘forest of the wolves’ - was the last wolf in Wales really shot here? Did Lord Haw-Haw really stay in this cottage? And onwards to a pub in Maentwrog or the café at Tan y Bwlch.

The railway unites people from all ages and walks of life. As for service, the staff on board the trains are highly trained and motivated volunteers – no question of a skin deep ‘have a nice day’ but real devotion to duty.

Written by Huw Jenkins