Great Little Trains and other Railway Suggestions

Great Little Trains and other Railway Suggestions

Great Little Trains and other Railway Suggestions

Seven-day passes allow unlimited travel on the nine little trains in Wales. North Wales is particularly well served with little trains, which once transported lead, slate, zinc and other materials to and from the mines and quarries. The largest, the Ffestiniog Railway runs for 131/2 miles from towering tips at Blaenau to coast at Porthmadog. It was opened in 1836 when horses pulled it and now there is a connection with British Rail down the Conwy Valley this little railway is really part of the basic transport system. All trains have observation cars.

The Llanberis Lake Railway, Bala Lake Railway and the recently opened Welsh Highland Railway are in the area, whilst the famous Talyllyn from Tywyn is a bit further away and British Rail's own narrow-gauge steam line from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge is beyond a comfortable day trip. But then Aberystwyth, principle resort of the Cambrian coast, is worth its own trip or including on a circular one. Trains reach it from Shrewsbury along a splendid single-track semi-main line, and from Dovey Junction a branch runs never far from the sea through Tywyn and across a long viaduct over the mouth of a wide river estuary to Barmouth and so on to Porthmadog and Pwllheli. Nobody with a Britrajl or All-Britain ticket should miss this or indeed the North Wales Coast lines.

Why not go to Llandudno and after seeing what you want to on the North coast take the Blaenau Ffestiniog train and then the Ffestiniog Railway to Porthmadog. From there you can take in Barmouth, Tywyn and the Talyllyn Railway, Aberystwyth and the Devil's Bridge line, returning to England via Welshpool (start of another Little Railway). To make the most of British Rail's own still extensive rural lines in Wales, then (on reaching Shrewsbury) jump aboard the Central Wales line train for the long cross-country journey through wonderful scenery and fading Victorian resorts to the South Wales coast, and so home via Cardiff. It takes time but is truly unforgettable. Details from Narrow Gauge Railways of Wales Joint Marketing Panel, do Pant Station, Merthyr Tydfil, Mid-Glamorgan. Tel 0685 4854. Or Narrow Gauge Railways of Wales, Wharf Station, Tywyn, Gwynedd LL36 9EY.

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