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Three Wonderful Welsh Railways

23 February 2021

Wales is host to some of the most amazing scenery in the UK - from stunning beaches to beautiful mountain ranges. What better way to experience the landscape than on a romantic steam-hauled locomotive? There are a number of steam railways throughout Wales, each with its own history and heritage.

Ffestiniog Mountain Railway

This pretty heritage line winds its way through Northern Wales and the heart of Snowdonia, from Portmadag to Bleanau Ffestiniog. Historically the line was used to transport slate from the Welsh Mountains to the coast, and today the line allows visitors experience the nostalgia and romance of the Victorian railways. Three of the original steam locomotives on the line use refurbished, original carriages. This is certainly one of the loveliest steam train trips in the UK.

The line begins at the coast, allowing spectacular views of the Welsh coastline. Continuing past ancient woodlands, castles, lakes and mountains, the Ffestiniog Mountain Railway is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of Wales. The 13 ½ mile journey runs on the oldest narrow gauge railway in the world - almost 200 years old. The line also includes a complete spiral as the train makes its way up into the mountains. When the line was opened engineers from all over the world came to learn for themselves how to successfully build a railway across a mountain range.

Llangollen Railway

This heritage railway travels through the Dee Valley from Llangollen to Corwen, following the path of the River Dee. It is the only heritage standard gauge railway in North Wales. Operating mostly steam locomotives, this journey gives travellers a taste of the golden age of rail travel. The Llangollen Railway is run by volunteers and railway enthusiasts, and is the best preserved standard gauge steam railway in Wales.

The line runs through the preserved 1950s branch line station of Carrog, perfect for those wishing to get a taste of the traditional rail travel experience.

The Welsh Highland Railway

This railway is owned and operated by the same company that runs the Ffestiniog Mountain Railway, and is the oldest railway company in the world still operating trains. The Welsh Highland Railway runs for 25 miles, making it the longest heritage railway in the UK. It passes the foot of Snowdon and runs through picturesque Welsh villages, passengers are also treated to wonderful views of the Aberglaslyn Pass.

Beginning in the pretty harbour town of Caernarfon, it travels through to Porthmadog where visitors can connect with the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. This journey takes just under an hour, but is a must for railway enthusiasts and those wanting to learn a little more about the history of steam locomotives.

Explore the beauty of Wales for yourself on rail tours in Wales, with Rail Discoveries.