Dr John Prideaux (FRCo Chairman) and Caerwyn Roberts (SNPA Chairman) hold the ceremonial banner at the opening of the latest extension of the railway on 21st May 2009.

Imagine a railway that runs 40 miles from the North Wales coast at Caernarfon through the heart of Snowdonia - linking Beddgelert, Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. A railway which starts under the walls of an ancient castle, runs past streams and woodlands, skirts pretty lakes and the foothills of Snowdon, swings around tight curves through forests, hugs the side of the magnificent Aberglaslyn Pass and races across the flatlands to Porthmadog. There joining up with the historic Ffestiniog Railway and its famously scenic route up to the dramatic slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog. An exciting prospect, isn’t it?

Even more exciting is the fact that you won’t need to dream for much longer as right now, work is underway on the last few miles of the link that will make it all possible.

Like many other national parks, Snowdonia is under great pressure from traffic and our railway can help to ease

The VIP ‘Opening Train’ arrives at Hafod y Llyn loop on 21st May 2009.

that congestion, linking major tourist centres and providing all the facilities you need to enjoy this fabulous area of the country. That means specially converted wagons to let you take your bike on the train too and connections to other railways and buses, making it easy to get to just about every corner of the National Park.

Progress so far.....

The first section of the Welsh Highland Railway, between Caernarfon and Dinas, opened to passenger trains in October 1997. Since then the line has been extended in stages - reaching Waunfawr in August 2000, Rhyd Ddu in August 2003 and Beddgelert in April 2009.

On the 22nd May 2009 the first public passenger train ran through the famous Aberglaslyn Pass to the scenic temporary

A taste of things to come (1) - The first stock movement over Cae Pawb crossing of the Cambrian Coast line was hauled by ‘Vale of Ffestiniog’ on 12th March 2009.

terminus at Hafod-y-Llyn. The regular service began the next day. Trains now run regularly from Caernarfon to Beddgelert and along the latest extension of the line through the Aberglaslyn Pass.

Of course, there’s still more to come…

A continuous line of track is now in place all the way to Harbour Station in Porthmadog - including the impressive section of railway running through the town. However, there are a considerable number of jobs to complete before a passenger service can run over the line and connect with the Ffestiniog Railway. These include:

• The newly-laid track has to be aligned, tamped and consolidated.
• Signalling and traffic control has to be installed at road and rail crossings.
• Signs have to be erected.
• Footplate crew and operating staff will need training on the route.
• Test trains have to run for the Railway Inspectorate.

A taste of things to come (2) - NG/G16 No.87 was the first steam locomotive to traverse the Cross-Town link through Porthmadog on 23rd March 2009.

It is anticipated that this work will be completed in time for a full passenger service to start running between Caernarfon and Porthmadog during 2011.

Even then that won’t be the end of the story. Future works will include:

• A number of alterations at Harbour station. Extra land will be created by ‘reclaiming’ a short piece from the sea and widening the Cob, then the curved FR tracks will be moved across to allow room for the new WHR platform, which will be parallel to the road. Signalling will then be completely altered at the station and a new cabin built.
• Beddgelert Station building construction and works for possible halts at Nantmor and Pont Croesor.
• Not forgetting, the ongoing maintenance of the 25-mile long railway - track, fencing, lineside vegetation, buildings, locomotives and carriages…

So there’s still a lot to do and plenty to keep our volunteers busy – why not volunteer yourself and be part of history in the making!

For more details, and to keep up with progress, click on the link below:


This is the official website of the Welsh Highland Railway Project, maintained by Dr Ben Fisher, kindly hosted by the University of Wales, Bangor.

Alternatively, you can click on:


This is an unofficial independent site, maintained by Barrie Hughes, one of the railway’s supporters.


©2006 - Ffestiniog Railway Co.