Welsh Highland Railways

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Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2019

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I did the “round trip”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/200650 on the Welsh highland Railway in October 2019. This is one of a series of short reviews with pictures of different parts of the line.

From Harbour Station, the train runs along the main street crossing over “Britannia Bridge”:https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/6279570 Even though the line has been reopen to Porthmadog for many years, this is still very much of a novelty for visitors to the town who stop in wonder as a massive Garrett and long train crosses the road.

The line then runs along the side of the River Glaslyn which has been tidied up with grass and picnic tables. The disused “Snowdon Mill”:https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2651013 was built as a steam powered flour mill in 1862. It was the home of the Porthmadog pottery for many years before becoming derelict. Although planning permission was granted over ten years ago to turn it into apartments, it is getting increasingly derelict and an eye sore.

The Welsh Highland Railway crosses the Cambrian Coast line on a flat crossing and runs along side of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (WHHR) for about half a mile to their terminus at Pen y Mount where it connects into the WHR.

A word of explanation is needed here as two railways with similar names often causes confusion among visitors. The WHHR was set up in 1964 following the successful reopening of the start of the Ffestiniog Railway. They leased a short section of track known as Beddgelert Sidings from British Rail and began to run trains. Grand plans to extend to Pont Croesor and ultimately Carnarfon hit difficulties as they did not own the trackbed and lacked the resources to buy it. The final straw was when John Prescott ruled in favour of the Ffestiniog Railway (who had by then aqcquired the trackbed) to rebuild the line.

The WHR line runs across Traeth Mawr, the large area of flat arable land reclaimed from the sea when the Cob was built. This is now used for grazing cows and sheep.

To the left are views across to the cliffs around Tremadog, which are popular with rock climbers. Ahead are the Moelwyns and the Matterhorn style peak of Cnicht. To the right is the mass of Moel Ysgyfarnogod.

Rail and road cross the River Aberglaslyn at Pont Croesor Halt. “Ospreys”:https://www.glaslynwildlife.co.uk/about-bggw/ have nested here for the last 15 years and there is an RSPB hide over looking the river.

Beyond Pont Croesor, the land becomes increasingly wet and poor with a lot of rushes with small wooded ‘islands’ of higher ground. Ahead is the Pass of Aberglaslyn.

The line approaches Nantmor along the bottom of the cliff face and runs through mixed deciduous woodland. At the end of October the trees were changing colour and glowed golden in the sunshine.


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