Telephone 01766 516000
Fax 01766 516005
Map Link: Here
Established by an Act of Parliament way back in 1832, the Ffestiniog Railway is truly a 'Great Little Railway' and is the oldest independent railway company in the World today. In May 2007 we proudly celebrated the 175th anniversary of the founding of the line, and in 2014, the 60th anniversary of the post-war opening of the first stage of the revived railway. With the rebuilding of the pre-war Welsh Highland Railway now complete, and a new £1.25 million two-platform layout at Harbour Station at Porthmadog (complete with a substantial semaphore signalling installation), it is now possible to connect with Caernarfon-bound trains and experience 40 unbroken miles of spectacular narrow gauge steam.
Originally built to serve the slate industry of Blaenau Ffestiniog, the line used to be operated by gravity. Wagons laden with slate, rumbled down the hillside, kept under control by intrepid brakesmen who leapt from wagon to wagon tightening or loosening the brakes while their colleague on the front wagon blew his horn to warn others of its passage. Steam locomotives were introduced in the 1860s and, today, some of those same little engines haul carriages of holidaymakers through the stunning scenery of the Snowdonia National Park.
Blaenau Ffestiniog, at the head of the valley still bears the scars of its industrial past with slate tips all around. One of these quarries is open to the public and makes an interesting addition to your day out. The station is situated in the centre of the town on the A470 and is shared with the Conwy Valley Line which runs from the North Wales coastal resort of Llandudno, connecting with the main line at Llandudno Junction.
Tan-y-Bwlch Station, half way along the line, is situated just off the main valley in the Merionydd Oakwoods. There are many nature trails starting at the station so it is a good place to break your journey and explore. The licensed café, open Easter to October, serves a tempting selection of hot and cold snacks. The café is licensed for weddings and makes an unusual setting for your special day.
Porthmadog's Harbour Station, the headquarters of the railway, is where most trains start and finish. The station is situated on the A487 at the eastern end of the town. Our main gift shop here offers a wide selection of gifts and souvenirs and also supplies the on-line shop www.festshop.co.uk. A visit to Spooner's Café and Bar in the old station goods shed is a must, with a wide selection of food and beverages on offer. Spooner's is justly proud to have won a CAMRA award for 'Local Pub of the Year' three times in the last four years.
We have special events throughout the year and also host a 'Guest Driver' programme.
The Ffestiniog is easily accessible by public transport with main line connections at Blaenau Ffestiniog and Minffordd stations and many stations on regular bus routes. For more information on how to find us, what is happening, and how to make the most of your visit, please visit our website www.festrail.co.uk
A visit to the Ffestiniog Railway is 'history on the move' and a whole lot more too!
Your GLTW Discount Card also entitles you to discounts at the following accommodation providers.
Please Note: You must disclose that you are a GLTW card holder at the time of booking and show your card on arrival.
Whilst you are in the area, why not visit some of the other nearby places of interest:-
- The closest beach to Porthmadog is at the sleepy, seaside village of Borth y Gest. This small resort is older than its neighbour, and two hundred years ago it was the regular haunt of smugglers. There was once a thriving boat building business here. A walk round the bay takes you to a clifftop path which leads, in a few minutes, to small, sandy coves. Borth y Gest is a short walk from Porthmadog harbour, but it also has its own car park. Two miles away in Morfa Bychan is Black Rock Sands, a popular wide sandy beach with a rocky headland at the western end of the beach and a backdrop of sand dunes that are a site of special scientific interest. When the tide recedes you can explore the rock pools and exposed caverns.
- Portmeirion, (reached from Minffordd station) stands on a rugged clifftop on its own private peninsula overlooking Cardigan Bay. It is surrounded by 145 acres of sub-tropical woodlands and miles of sandy beaches. Portmeirion was built by visionary Welsh architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who wanted to prove that development did not have to mean destruction of the natural environment. He started work in 1925 and completed the village during the early 1970's. He died in 1978, aged 95. Portmeirion is now acknowledged as a unique architectural work of art. Many know Portmeirion for its role as "The Village" in Patrick McGoohan's television series "The Prisoner". It is also known for the Portmeirion Pottery, designed by Clough's daughter Susan Williams-Ellis (1918-1997).
- Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog. Explore the heritage of the Victorian slate miner in caverns made while roofing the Industrial Revolution on every continent. Ride the 1846 Miners' Tramway or descend into the Deep Mine where Llechwedd slate was first discovered. With two spectacular underground tours it's Britain's steepest underground railway. There's an underground son-et-lumiere show and a dramatic lake. Above ground, a Victorian village with pub and shops depict life in a bygone age. With such a breathtaking setting it's easy to understand why it has been selected as the location for two Hollywood films.