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Steam trains & railways in North Wales

Things to do in the Snowdonia National Park - Steam trains & railways in North Wales
The Ffestiniog Railway in Snowdonia National Park.


Railway information

Just as Wales is dotted with castles, it seems also, that this land has more than her fair share of steam railways. A rich legacy of railways is maintained by armies of volunteers and enthusiasts with a passion for steam trains. There are no fewer than ten steam railways within an hour's drive from Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel. From Fairbourne Railway at the mouth of the Mawddach to the Snowdon Mountain Railway further north and the famous Ffestiniog snaking out of Porthmadog into the hills.

Many of the railways can also be reached very easily by the Cambrian Line mainline service.


Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Railway is North Wales' premier standard gauge line and is conveniently located with access via the A5 and A483. The line runs approximately 7½ miles through the beautiful Dee Valley. They mainly operate a steam service with occasional diesel & heritage railcar services.

Their hospitality includes, disabled facilities, tea rooms and shops, on board catering by prior arrangement, picnic areas, spectacular views all the way along the line, country walks from the station.

80072 travelling through the picturesque Dee Valley towards Carrog on the Llangollen Railway. (Photo: David Wilcock)

LocationAbbey Road
LL20 8SN
Phone01978 860979
Length7½ miles
Gauge4 feet 8½ inches
Journey Time1½ hours




Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways combines two unique narrow gauge railways.

The Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway takes you on a 13½-mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The historic trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round horseshoe bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain or tunnelling through it.

Full steam ahead! One of the Ffestiniog railway engines making the incline

LocationHarbour Station
LL49 9NF
Phone01766 516000
Ffestiniog Railway
Length13½ miles
Gauge1 foot 11½ inches
Journey Timeone hour
Welsh Highland Railway
Length25 miles
Gauge1 foot 11½ inches
Journey Timeabout 2½ hours







Bala Lake Railway

The Bala Lake Railway is a narrow gauge railway which operates from a small village near Bala Lake called Llanuwchllyn. It has over four miles of track along the eastern shore of the lake and makes a scenic return journey between the village terminus and Bala.

Taking stock. Rolling hills and glassy waters of Bala Lake provide first class views

LocationThe Station
LL23 7DD
Phone01678 540666
Length4½ miles
Gauge2 feet
Journey Timeone hour





Talyllyn Railway Company

The railway starts on the coast at Tywyn, snakes through the foothills of Cader Idris to Dolgoch falls, clinging to the hillside it continues to the village of Abergynolwyn, before turning south for the short trip to Nant Gwernol. Tickets allow for passengers to break the journey and take a country walk, explore wooded paths, discover waterfalls or visit the attractions of Tywyn.

Tywyn Wharf station is home to the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, telling the story of little railways across the Britain.

Steam trains run daily Easter to October and selected days in the winter at Talyllyn

LocationWharf Station
LL36 9EY
Phone01654 710472
Length7¼ miles
Gauge2 feet 3 inches
Journey Time2 hours (return)




Fairbourne Steam Railway

This two mile railway runs from the village of Fairbourne to Penrhyn Point, where it loops round a sandy peninsula that stands at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary.

The main Cambrian Line station is adjacent to the Fairbourne Railway terminus.

LocationBeach Road
LL38 2EX
Phone01341 250362
Length2 miles
Gauge2¼ feet
Journey Time-- hour

Vale of Rheidol Railway

The Vale of Rheidol Railway runs between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge in Ceredigion. The main terminus is at Aberystwyth which is shared with the standard gauge main line.

The narrow track gauge allows the railway to hug the contours of the hilly terrain with many sharp curves and steep gradients along the scenic route.

LocationPark Avenue
SY23 1PG
Phone01970 625819
Length11¾ miles
Gauge1 foot 11¾ inches
Journey Time1 hour

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Britain's highest rack and pinion railway was opened to tourists in 1896. The railway operates from Llanberis to the summit of mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales standing at 3,560ft (1,085m).

At the summit a multi-million pound visitor centre was opened in 2006.

Weather permitting trains go to the summit every day from mid March to the end of October. As with any mountain ascent, the usual weather checks should be made beforehand.

A rack and pinion engine climbs up to the summit of Snowdon. The railway operates both steam and diesel engines.

LocationSnowdon Mountain Railway
LL55 4TY
Phone0844 493 8120
Length4¾ miles
Gauge2 feet 7½ inches
Journey Timeone hour to the summit



Corris Railway

The narrow gauge Corris Railway is situated between Machynlleth and Dolgellau just off the A487 in the Dulas Valley. Passengers are taken for a steam train round trip along the re-opened section of the old line between Corris Station and Maespoeth Junction.

A museum run by the Corris Railway Company celebrates the history of the railway and is the hub of its continued revival. There is also a cafe and gift shop.

Engine Number 7, at Maespoeth Junction. Crew: Andrew Rawlins and Trefor Davies.

LocationStation Yard
SY20 9SH
Phone01654 761303
Length1 mile
Gauge2 feet 3 inches
Journey Time-- hour








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