Ffestiniog Railway

now also featuring

The Welsh Highland Railway


The Ffestiniog is certainly one of the great little trains of Wales, and probably the most spectacular scenically, starting as it does on the Cob at Portmadoc and then climbing steadily through the mountains to the slate heaps of Blaenau Ffestiniog, including the splendid Dduallt loop built in the 1960s and 70s. The photos here are a mixture of summers in the 70s and a damp spring day in 1980, before the track relaying to Blaenau was completed.

More recently, the massive task of re-opening the Welsh Highland Railway has brought the possibility of travelling from Caernarfon to Portmadoc and then on to Blaenau, all by narrow gauge steam railway.  The Welsh Highland Photos are from summer 2018, though the Welsh weather was not at all summery.

The photo above is of the double Fairlie Merddin Emrys crossing the Cob at Portmadoc on a wonderful June day in 1972, the mountains of Snowdonia in the background across the bay.  By contrast, below. on a damp April day in 1980,  Linda attacks the gradient on the spiral at Dduallt, built to avoid the man-made lake which had blocked the former track-bed.

The line climbs from sea level to, eventually, Blaenau Ffestiniog.  In 1973 the station

there looked like this.

On the way up the valley, trains run from sea level, beside the road, and then up the mountainside. Linda, below.

Again, in 1980, the more recently built, oil-burning, Mountaineer.

Many years passed...  

in which the Welsh Highland Railway was resurrected. Here is one of its South African Garrets arriving at Caernarfon from Portmadoc in June 2018.

At Portmadoc. the Welsh Highland and the Ffestiniog share the station.  Here, the next morning, the Garrett moves out of the yard to run back to the far end of its train, while Fairlie David Lloyd George waits with the Blaenau Ffestionog train.

And, meanwhile the Ffestiniog Railway itself has progressed beyind Dduallt, where we left it in 1973, to a joint station with the standard gauge branch from Llandudno Junction at Blaenau Ffestionog.  On my visit in June 2018, this station was up in the clouds.

Prince arrrives in a cloud of its own steam and smoke, merging into the natural cloud layer and drizzle. Below, David LLoyd George leaves in parallel with the LLandudno train.
Earlier, David Lloyd George took water.
On the following day, the e appalling weather meant that photographic results from the return trip to Caernarfon on the Welsh Highland were unsatisfactory.