Running for 25 miles through stunning scenery, the Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) takes you from Caernarfon to Porthmadog via the foot of Snowdon, Beddgelert and the amazing Aberglaslyn Pass. This is the longest heritage railway in the UK and boasts comfortable carriages together with First Class Pullman luxury. In 2014, the railway was boosted by the opening of the Porthmadog Harbour Station which offered improved passenger facilities.
This wonderful railway simply oozes history. Its origins can be traced back to a number of 19th century narrow gauge railways which were later connected to form the route that you can enjoy today. The Welsh Highland Railway opened in the 1920s only to cease operating in 1936. Efforts to revive the railway began in the 1960s but it wasn’t until the 1990s that work began to reconstruct the route.
To complete the project, it was necessary to restore bridges and create several road crossings. The WHR didn’t reach Caernarfon until 1997 when portions of the old Nantlle Tramway route were incorporated into the railway. The route was completed by reconstructing the line from Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog. This opened in 2009. It still isn’t possible for trains on the WHR and Ffestiniog railways to occupy Harbour Station at the same time. Work on these special railways continues as does the fund raising effort to support the required development.
It’s hard to imagine who wouldn’t enjoy a trip on the fabulous West Highland Railway. Dramatic changes of scenery, incredible views of Snowdon and the beauty of the Aberglaslyn Pass ensure that visitors experience unforgettable journeys. Trains stop at Beddgelert, Rhyd DDu and Waunfawr. There are also eight request stops. If you want to get off a train at one of the request stops, tell the guard before you get on the train, to ensure you are seated in the right carriage. If you want to get on a train at one of the request stops, please give a clear signal to the engine driver as the train comes into sight (hold out your arm).
The WHR is open for most of the year but services are limited outside of the peak periods. It is important to check the timetable before booking a stay in North Wales if you are keen to experience this impressive slice of history.