Ffestiniog Railway, Wales

Train at station The railway runs from the coastal town of Porthmadog to the hill town of Ffestiniog, a climb of 700 ft. The route includes a causeway, a short tunnel and a complete spiral, passing forests, lakes and a dam. The narrow-gauge railway was established in the 1830’s for carrying slate downhill to the port, and in the 1860’s was converted to steam traction. It also carried passengers. The slate industry declined and the line closed in 1946. Volunteers and enthusiasts re-established the railway from 1955. By 1982, the track, including the Great Deviation to avoid a new hydro-electric dam, reached a new narrow gauge/standard gauge interchange station at Blainau Ffestiniog.
Today it is a popular tourist attraction, connecting with Conwy Valley Network Rail trains at Ffestiniog and with West Highland Railway narrow-gauge trains at Porthmadog.
The views from the train are often spectacular, and at the upper end of the route parts of the original trackbed can be seen. There are useful-looking stops en route.
Railway buffs can admire the unique double-ended steam engines and the period rolling stock.
Practical Notes: Parking in front of the Porthmadog station is extremely limited, but there is pay parking nearby, e.g behind the nearby supermarket. There is parking at Blainau Ffestiniog station. Hard-up families may note that there is a Porthmadog – Ffestiniog double-decker bus service, which presumably provides a scenic route at much lower cost. The Conwy Valley Network Rail route is said to be very scenic. You could make a railway-themed day out by starting from Porthmadog, taking the connecting Network Rail to Betws-y-Coed, visiting the miniature railway museum beside the station, etc, and then returning.

Lake near Ffestiniog
Lake near Ffestiniog
Water view from train
View near P'madog
Front of steam engine
From train, Porthmadog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *