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“Don't delay!”

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Porthmadog
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Ffestiniog Railway takes you on a 13 1/2-mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. We are recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest railway company in the world, being founded in 1832. We still build steam locomotives and carriages in our own workshops and the world's oldest steam engine, Prince, is still in regular use today - more than 150 years after it was built. Our historic trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round horseshoe bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain or tunnelling through it. The Welsh Highland is Snowdonia's newest railway. Trains start their spectacular 25 mile scenic journey from beneath the historic castle walls at Caernarfon. The trains - hauled by the world's most powerful narrow gauge steam locomotives - climb from sea level to over 650 feet on the foothills of Snowdon, before zig-zagging dramatically down the steep hillside to reach Beddgelert, nestling in the heart of the National Park, then through the magnificent Aberglaslyn Pass - voted the most beautiful spot in the UK by the National Trust - and on to Porthmadog.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Reviewed June 7, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I took our three daughters on the Porthmadog to Ffestiniog trip on the 4th June. It was fantastic, the staff were friendly and helpful and accomodating as we had a baby with us. We travelled first class going and third on the return it was wonderful thank you for a wonderful experience.

2  Thank Louise L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (2,232)
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1,891 - 1,895 of 2,232 reviews

Reviewed June 6, 2013

Simply awesome. Did the Porthmadog - Caernarfon run. The trip took about two and a half hours. We spent all the time looking out at the rolling North Wales hills. We took so many great pictures: vegetation, country farms, ( yup plenty of sheep) dry walls that patterned the hill side, ruins of old structures, lakes, more sheep, and bridges over creeks. We even had he occasional jet fighter screeching overhead. A very enjoyable day. We just did the one leg. People doing the return get one in Caernarfon before returning to Porthmadog. There are stops along the way so if you want to spend time in one of these locations and catch the train on the return...it is possible. There is a first class section but there is limited seating. We where very happy with our tickets; we roamed the train. There is an open car, bench seat car and several cars for groupings of two or four. The train itself is great, it shakes, rattles, squeaks, and you can smell the smoke a little .... It really is great. The cars are clean, nicely finished. There is a food cart serving drinks and snacks. The cart may take a while to get to you, depending which car you are in. Sandwiches and burgers can also be ordered so you might need to wait.. You can bring your our snacks and drinks on board. The Welsh beer is not cold but it was still good. We bought a standard class ticket for $20.40(one way) great value for what you get. Look into getting a family pass or other options ...they might work in your favour. We found all the 'staff' friendly and helpful; remember many of them are volunteers. Watch the video on their web site, then get a ticket and be ready to see spectacular sites. We will do this gain! One minor point; whistles are used but it would be nice to hear a booming voice yell 'All aboard!'

3  Thank Kevin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

We travelled from Caernarfon to Porthmadog and cycled back on National Cycle Route 8. The staff were helpful about taking the cycles, though the pay desks at Caernarfon are not well thought out. The shop had some nice "stuff" and not much tat.
The weather was fabulous, the scenery sublime and the train great fun. A wonderful day.

2  Thank Sidewinder4504
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day so decided to have a trip on the Ffestiniog railway and we were not disappointed - it was a wonderful experience. The steam train was gleaming the windows spotless, and the upholstered seating so comfortable. A waiter came round to take refreshment orders from beers, spirits and wines to soft drinks, tea and coffee and snacks.

The journey took over an hour and the scenery was spectacular. It arrived in Blaenau for a fifteen minute stop and then back down to Portmadog.

Most of the staff are volunteers and it really shows how proud they are of their railway.

Certainly worth a trip.

1  Thank Diane U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

In the 70’s I worked as a volunteer on the FFestiniog Railway which was working on extending the line from Ddault (a wooden hut miles from the nearest road) to Blaneau Ffestiniog and I read in the magazine that one day the Welsh Highland Railway would be reopened with powerful Garrett steam engines pulling 12 coach trains into the mountains. Thanks to the dedication of many staff and volunteers this dream has come true. Having not visited Porthmadog for nearly 20 years I had followed with interest the reopening of the Welsh Highland Railway and so now it is open from Caernarfon to Porthmadog it was time to plan a trip to Wales.
I definitely recommend booking First Class in advance as this allows you to reserve a seat. Travelling on a bank holiday Monday there was only one other couple in the Observation Carriage but with comfortable seats and 360° view of the beautiful mountain scenery it is definitely worth it. One risk with booking ahead is the Welsh weather, but whilst the rain prevented us seeing Snowdon the views from the train were spectacular especially as it snakes back and forth on the steep gradient north of Beddgelert followed running through the Aberglaslyn gorge with the torrent of the river below.
The staff were all enthusiastic and friendly providing a range of refreshments on the train. I would say the Welsh Highland Railway is now a World Class Tourist attraction. With 2 ½ hours between trains on a very rainy day, Porthmadog has some catching up to do but we enjoyed a meal at The Bakery and spent time looking around the small maritime museum.

2  Thank MauldenTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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