A few more photos from norh Wales, starting with 1979-built double Fairlie “David Lloyd George” at Blaenau Ffestiniog, having just arrived on the morning train from Porthmadog. It’s still running in grey livery following an overhaul. Despite being one of the “new” locomotives build since preservation, it’s now 35 years old.
Blaenau Ffestiniog is a dual gauge station where the Ffestiniog Railways connects with the standard gauge Conwy Valley line. I can’t help feeling they could make better use of this line as part of the Snowdonian tourist infrastucture; using heritige rolling stock with big windows rather than a DMU more suited to Cardiff commuter runs, and a timetable that dovetails into that of the Ffestiniog. It’s a very spectacular scenic ride, expecially south of Bettws-y-Coed.
The combination of the Conwy Valley and the Ffestiniog Railway is the only way in to Porthmadog by rail, as the Cambrian line is still closed due to a combination of storm damage and bridge reconstruction. The tracks are currently looking a bit sad, having seen no trains for several months now. Best estimate for a resumption of services is some time in the autumn.
The Welsh Highland is the longest of Wales’ narrow gauge railways, and a return trip over the whole length of the line takes a full day. Here’s former South African Railways Beyer-Garratt No 138 at Rhyd Dhu, near the summit of the line, with the morning Caernarfon to Porthmadog service.
The most famous section of the WHR is the Aberglaslyn pass just south of Beddgelert. Here’s another ex-SAR Garratt, Belgian-built No 87 with the afternoon train from Porthmadog to Caernarfon.
Steam railways and real ale go together, and this is the beer they sell from the refreshment trolley on the train. Beats the warm Interbrew generic lager you get on most National Rail services.
Back to the Ffestiniog again, and “Linda” rounds the curve at Boston Lodge in the evening sunshine with the last train of the day.
A few minutes later, her work finished for the day, Linda runs light back across the Cob to the depot.