Welsh Highland Railway
c/o Harbour Station,
Telephone 01766 516000
Fax 01766 516005
Satnav Postcode: LL55 2YD
Map Link: Here
The Welsh Highland Railway - train travel as it used to be
Taking a trip on the new Welsh Highland Railway has to be one of the most spectacular ways to see the awe-inspiring scenery of the Snowdonia National Park.
Sitting in the comfort of one of the first class Pullman carriages is surely one of the finest experiences in North Wales, as is the excitement of riding in one of the open carriages behind the world's most powerful narrow gauge steam locomotives, the Beyer Garratt NG/G16.
Weighing in at over 60 tons, these magnificent locos are more powerful than many standard gauge steam engines and the sound of them working hard up the toughest railway in the UK is an experience to be savoured by any steam enthusiast - a solid six miles of 1 in 40 gradient is as tough as it gets.
Starting from beneath the castle walls in historic Caernarfon, the railway climbs to the foot of Snowdon before dropping again to sea level at the harbour in Porthmadog. The original railway closed in 1936, but has now been completely rebuilt by volunteers at a cost of £28 million.
With the 25 mile line now complete, together with a new £1.25 million two-platform layout at Harbour Station at Porthmadog (complete with a substantial semaphore signalling installation), it is now possible to connect with the world-famous Ffestiniog Railway and experience 40 unbroken miles of spectacular narrow gauge steam .
The trip though the Aberglaslyn Pass - voted the most beautiful place in the UK by members of the National Trust - is nothing short of magical and the views of Snowdonia from the wide flatlands of the Traeth Mawr - reclaimed from the sea with the building of William Madocks' mile-long Cob embankment 200 years ago are simply stunning.
The railway offers a variety of other fantastic trips -the line allows passengers to gain easy access to some of the most popular walks up Snowdon, such as the Snowdon Ranger from Rhyd Ddu and paths up Mynydd Mawr or the Nantlle Ridge.
The area is renowned for a selection of excellent real-ale pubs, such as those found at Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu, and the Lôn Eifon cycleway runs alongside the line from Caernarfon to Dinas with special wagons available to transport bikes.
The railway also has stations at Beddgelert - a magical centre of Welsh culture - and Pont Croesor, right alongside the RSPB's Glaslyn Osprey Centre, before running through the streets of Porthmadog to connect up with the Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest independent railway company in the World, founded by Act of Parliament in 1832.
Today the thousands of tons of slate have been replaced by thousands of tourists who now enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Snowdonia as they pass through areas untouched by roads and undisturbed by the sights and sounds of modern life.
Both the Welsh Highland and the Ffestiniog railways cater for all, with carriages featuring extra-wide doors and special accommodation for wheelchair users.
More details at www.festrail.co.uk or from the booking office on 01766 516024.
Your GLTW Discount Card also entitles you to discounts at the following accommodation providers. Please Note: You must disclose that you are a GLTW card holder at the time of booking and show your card on arrival.
Whilst you are in the area, why not visit some of the other nearby places of interest:-
- Mighty Caernarfon is possibly the most famous of Wales's many castles. Its sheer scale and commanding presence easily set it apart from the rest-and, to this day, still trumpet in no uncertain terms the intentions of its builder, Edward I. Begun in 1283 as the definitive chapter in his conquest of Wales, Caernarfon was constructed not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of government and royal place. The castle's majestic persona is no architectural accident; it was designed to echo the walls of Constantinople, the imperial power of Rome and the dream-castle, 'the fairest that ever man saw', of Welsh myth and legend. After all these years, Caernarfon's immense strength remains undimmed.
- The Fun Centre in Caernarfon is North Wales biggest indoor adventure play centre! While the kids are wearing themselves out on the giant drop slides, ball pools, tubes, bridges, maze, climbing walls, net and ropes..... The adults can relax in the fully licensed restaurant, enjoy the outside patio area or have a look around our interactive museum.
- Bicycles can be hired in Caernarfon. There are a number of good safe cycle ways and bicycles can be taken on the train if you fancy a one way trip. Dinas Dinlle beach is a few miles from Dinas station and has vast areas of sand from mid-tide level. The foreshore consists of natural pebble banks. The beach offers exceptional views towards the Llyn Peninsula (Penrhyn Llyn) and towards Ynys Llanddwyn (Llanddwyn Island) on Anglesey.
- Rhyd Ddu is well known as a popular starting point for walks up Snowdon (via the Rhyd Ddu Path), Moel Hebog, Yr Aran and the Nantlle Ridge.
- The Glaslyn Osprey Centre is situated next to Pont Croesor Station and is operated by the RSPB and is open from March until the end of August.