Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world - being founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832. It introduced the world’s first narrow gauge steam locomotives in 1863 and four of the original locos still remain.
The railway was built as a gravity and horse drawn line to transport slate from the quarries in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog. As the slate industry flourished, so did the railway and the town of Porthmadog. Slates from Blaenau Ffestiniog were exported to ports all over the globe - many in ships built in Porthmadog.
The line is perhaps best-known for its fleet of unique Double Fairlie locomotives, built by the railway’s own engineers in the oldest railway workshops in use anywhere in the world.
Over the last fifty years, the Ffestiniog Railway has become one of Wales’ top tourist attractions. Visitors to the railway can enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Snowdonia as they pass through areas inaccessible by road and undisturbed by the sights and sounds of modern life. At Porthmadog, the line connects with the Welsh Highland Railway and trains to Beddgelert and Caernarfon.
Welsh Highland Railway
Starting from the historic town of Caernarfon, the Welsh Highland Railway is North Wales’ newest narrow-gauge railway and the UK’s longest heritage line, operating the world’s most powerful narrow gauge steam locomotives.
The magnificent scenery of the Snowdonia National Park is best experienced from one of these trains as you sit back and enjoy the view during the 25 mile journey. The railway runs past the foot of Snowdon, to the picture postcard village of Beddgelert, through the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog.
Trains operate daily during July and August and most days of the week from April to June and in September and October. A full return trip takes around five hours, but shorter journeys to other stations are also available. Leave the car behind and experience a comfortable ride in high-quality carriages with on-train refreshments and freshly-cooked food served at your seat. All trains also offer luxury first class travel in Pullman carriages at a small supplement.
At Porthmadog, the railway shares its station with the world-famous Ffestiniog Railway with trains to Tan y Bwlch and Blaenau Ffestiniog, where connections can be made with the Conwy Valley line for onward travel to the North Wales coast.