A trip by Steam Train, a proper Welsh walk. 1

I got up early this morning to do a little blogging and download my images. Sterling fixed blueberry pancakes, then we were off to Blaenau Ffestiniog to ride the Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railroad.

The Railroad is a narrow gauge line founded in 1832 to carry slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to harbor at Porthmadog. While originally quite innovative, introducing technical advancements used elsewhere, it was hit hard by the decline of the slate mining industry and was closed in 1948. Reopened in 1954 it has survived largely as a tourist attraction.

The line runs for about 19 miles, stopping at 8 different stations in its short run. Another leg is nearing completion which will add 13 miles to the system.  The engines are mostly coal driven steam, some of a unique “double Fairlie” configuration, which is essentially two smaller engines built as one and connected at the back. Like this:



First class tickets are worth the few extra quid. If you get there early enough, you can even ride in the observation car.



The ride down to Porthmadog was nice, even if the weather wasn’t. The clouds were low, and it was hard to see down into the valley.


It drizzled on us as we walked around the town, so we stopped for a pint and some lunch. Note: the food at the station restaraunt in Porthmadog should be avoided.

Then, since the rain seemed to be lifting a bit, we rode back up to Tan-y-bwlch to take a walk down to the lake. This SEEMED like a good idea, but the rain closed in on us as we walked through the woods and we were pretty wet when we got back to the the station. The woods were beautiful, though, and the walk was worth it.




At the end of our walk, we re-boarded the train and headed back to Blaenau Ffestiniog. This is a video of the train pulling into Tan-y-Bwlch.


Here’s where we were today.

Center map
Google MapsGet Directions

Tomorrow: The island of Anglesey and Electric Mountain.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “A trip by Steam Train, a proper Welsh walk.

  • Mark S.

    Very cool train video footage. Something about a train and all the steam. Gets a person wanting to hop onboard for a ride. It does that to me.
    Nice photo of you & Sterling in the train car.