Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog (narrow gauge steam)
Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno (standard gauge DMU)
Departing from the Harbour Station at Porthmadog before the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland Railway, this is the Ffestiniog as we remember it.
The 13.5 mile narrow gauge line was originally built to carry slate and for many years was worked by gravity. We travel aboard one of the famous double Fairlie steam engines - "Merddin Emrys" for a ride that is typically rocky in places.
The terrain changes from the wide open "Cob" at Porthmadog, to the fertile wooded valley in the vale of Ffestiniog and the Snowdonia National Park, to the slate capital of Wales itself, Blaenau Ffestiniog.
While the Ffestiniog hasn’t changed much, that cannot be said of the Conwy Valley line, filmed even before privatisation on board a first generation class 101 DMU. Within the first mile of the former LNWR line we pass amongst the old mine and quarry workings and enter the 2¼ mile long Ffestiniog tunnel. At the end of the tunnel is the wild and remote Lledr valley.
After Betws-y-coed the line levels out and we dash along the Conwy Valley to Llandudno Junction, on the Holyhead main line.
Finally, we traverse the three mile long double track branch to Llandudno, in 1991 still block-worked with semaphore signals.
|Arfon Haines Davies