Welsh Highland Railways

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October, 2019

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The “Welsh Highland Railway”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Highland_Railway#/media/File:Welsh_Highland_Railway.png runs through an area of disperse settlement and isolated farms. The only settlement of any size is Beddgelert and that is little more than a big village. It was hardly surprising there was insufficient traffic for the line to run at a profit. Even now, most of the stations are unmanned halts.

At Porthmadog, the Welsh Highland Railway shares a station with the Ffestiniog Railway and the station has been extended to allow cross platform connection. With around half a million passengers a year, this is one of the busiest stations in North Wales.

“Pont Croesor”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_Croesor_railway_station#/media/File:Pont_Croesor_railway_station,_Gwynedd_ is an unmanned halt with a passing loop and trains stop here to change tokens. The station is adjacent to the “Glaslyn Osprey Project”:https://www.glaslynwildlife.co.uk/about-bggw/ viewing site where the public can see the nesting place of a pair of ospreys which have successfully raised chicks every year since 2005.

“Nantmor Halt”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nantmor_railway_station#/media/File:Nantmor_Halt.jpg was built to serve the small settlement near the railway. It is the start of a popular “walk”:https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/craflwyn-and-beddgelert/trails/cwm-bychan-and-aberglaslyn-pass-walk through the Aberglaslyn Pass, Sygun copper mine and Cwm Buchan.

Beddgelert Station is used as a passing place for trains and is a popular tourist attraction with shops, cafes, “ice cream parlour”:https://www.glaslynices.co.uk/ and “Gelert’s Grave.”:https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/gelerts-grave

After Beddgelert, the line runs through Beddgelert Forest with the tiny halt at Meillionen serving the camp site. The “network”:http://www.isengard.co.uk/Forest.htm of forest roads makes this popular with both walkers and cyclists.

Rhyd Ddu Station serves the tiny hamlet of Rhyd Ddu. In the 1880s the station was advertised as the starting point for the “walk”:http://www.walkupsnowdon.co.uk/snowdonia-walks/walk-up-snowdon-via-the-rhyd-ddu-path/ up Snowdon. Walkers still use this route, but is less popular than the other routes. The station is also used for passing trains.

“Snowdon Ranger”:https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2562798 is an unmanned halt and the start of another “route”:http://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/visiting/walking/mountain-walks/snowdon-ranger up Snowdon.

“Plas y Nant”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plas-y-Nant_railway_station#/media/File:Mileniwm_approaching_Plas-y-Nant_station.jpg s a tiny halt and easily missed. Much of the funding for the halt was raised by visitors to Plas y Nant outdoor centre.

Waunfawr is one of the larger stations on the line with a water tank, stone station building and a footbridge. “Snowdonia Parc Brew Pub”:http://www.snowdonia-park.co.uk/ is next to the station and was originally the station master’s house.

Tryfan Junction Station was the junction with the former main line up to the Bryngwyn Quarries on the slopes of Moel Tryfan. This is now part of a “footpath”:http://www.mudandroutes.com/routes/the-bryngwyn-path-from-tryfan-junction-to-moel-tryfan-and-waunfawr/ from Tryfan Junction to Waunfawr. The original stone shelter has been carefully restored.

Dinas was the original terminus for the Welsh Highland Railway where it joined the standard gauge line from Pwllheli to Caernarfon. The new station has been built on the site of the standard gauge station. The former goods shed and the original station building have been carefully restored.The Welsh Highland Railway offices, carriage sheds and locomotive depot are here as well as the civil engineering works and sidings. It is the main operational and engineering base for the northern end of the line. Locos stop here to take on coal.

The ” Lôn Eifion cycle route”:http:///www.sustrans.org.uk/find-a-route-on-the-national-cycle-network/lon-las-menai-lon-eifion/ runs along side the Welsh Highland Railway from Dinas to Caernarfon. It continues south along the trackbed of the standard gauge railway to Bryncir.

“Bontnewydd Halt”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bontnewydd_railway_station#/media/File:Bontnewyddstationsept2015.jpg is a small unmanned halt which was built in response to a petition from the villagers.

The end of the line is Caernarfon where a splendid new station has recently been built on the site of the old slate quays alongside the Afon Seiont below the castle. The original main line continued through the tunnel to a station now beneath Morrison’s car park.


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