Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Welsh Highland Railway

The Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) is a narrow gauge line running between Caernarfon and Porthmadog, across the Llynn Penninsula in North Wales.  It is one of the most scenic routes in the UK, passing around Mount Snowdon.
Our starting point was at Porthmadog station where the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway both share a platform.
Rosie and I have a regular travellers discount keytag, which gives us a small reduction in price for both the WHR and the Ffestiniog.  We have used the Ffestiniog Railway and facilities, but this is our first trip on the WHR.
The journey starts with the train running out of the station and along the main street on the harbour bridge for a good few yards before turning onto the dedicated railway track.
Following the contours of the hills and mountains, the engine is easily seen if you choose a carriage towards the rear of the train.
Even on a dull and cloudy day, the scenery has a lot to offer.  Mount Snowdon was in cloud today, so was not visible.  The cloud did not lift until we had completed our return journey.
The third class carriages are basic, but being built to a Victorian standard, they are spacious and comfortable.  The staff on board are friendly and give a short talk in each carriage, hoping to sell the guide book - a very good one for any railway enthusiast. A refreshment trolley delivers tea coffee and sweet snacks.  Food from the menu can be ordered and delivered to your seat, or there is a restaurant car for more comfortable sit down meals.
With high rainfall, the Afon Glaslyn (River Glaslyn) is very high and turbulent.  The riverside footpaths were submerged and the water was flowing very close to the bottom of the bridges.
At Beddgelert (Bethgellert) station the two trains that run the service meet across the platform.
On reaching Caernarfon, we had to choose the option to return in 1 hour or take 3 hour break in line with the return timetable.  Having driven there earlier this year, we decided to take the shorter option and returned on the same train.

On the return, the train approached the station at Porthmadog along the road, and this time I took a picture from the window to show the train coming off of the harbour bridge to turn right into the station.  We spent a delightful day out of the wind and rain, watching the world go by.

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