The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the World - being founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832.
The railway was built as a gravity and horse drawn line to transport slate from the quarries in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog. As the slate industry flourished, so did the railway and the town of Porthmadog. Slates from Blaenau Ffestiniog were exported to ports all over the globe - many in ships built in Porthmadog.
The railway was extremely successful and introduced many innovative engineering solutions to cope with the rapid increase in output from the quarries and in the number of passengers it carried. Engineers from around the world came to study the Ffestiniog Railway and, as a result, it has influenced the design and construction of railways in many countries.
However, the slate industry - and then passenger numbers - slowly declined, until finally the railway closed to traffic in 1946. Luckily, pioneering railway enthusiasts were determined that the railway should survive and it was re-opened in 1954.
Over the last fifty years, the Ffestiniog Railway has become a leader in railway preservation and is now one of Wales’ top tourist attractions. Visitors to the railway can enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Snowdonia as they pass through areas inaccessible by road undisturbed by the sights and sounds of modern life.
Our trains provide ‘access for all’ to the spectacular countryside of North Wales - whether you prefer to sit back and relax in comfort or you are someone who can’t get enough of the ‘great outdoors’. We cater for both needs - and many in between!
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways,
Gwynedd, LL49 9NF
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