Travel back in time on this historic route
A beautifully preserved, narrow-gauge (1 ft 11½ in / 60 cm) railway, this runs for 13½ miles through the heart of Snowdonia from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog.
Founded in 1832 by an Act of Parliament, the Ffestiniog Railway Company, now merged with the nearby Welsh Highland Railway, is the oldest surviving railway company in the world; it has remained independent throughout its history. Built to transport slate from the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog to the port at Porthmadog, the wagons were originally horse-drawn. A continuous downhill gradient of 1 in 80 between the mountains and the coast meant that the loaded wagons could roll all the way, assisted by gravity and brakemen whose job it was to control the trains’ speed. A special 'dandy' wagon carried the horses who would haul the empty train back uphill.
In 1863 steam-powered locomotives of the 0–4–0 type were introduced, and in 1865 Ffestiniog became the first narrow-gauge railway in Britain to offer the same level of passenger service as the main lines. Shortly after, in 1869, the line's first double-ended Fairlie articulated locomotives were introduced. These machines have subsequently become one of the railway’s most distinctive features. Down trains continued to operate under gravity alone until the end of passenger services in 1939.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Info Point
- Buggy Access
- Family Walk
- Wheelchair Access
- Under 3s free
- Pensioners and Disabled
Blaenau Ffestiniog – Station next to main-line station
Blaenau Ffestiniog on mainline from Llandudno Junction
On bus route
Some trains and the main stations have wheelchair access. Dogs (£3.00 fare) and bicycles allowed
Grid Reference: SH 701459
OS Landranger map: 115
- Ffestiniog Railway, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3HE