Welsh Highland Railway set for top event in 2019

Russell near Beddgelert
Credit: FRCo / Jon Whalley

2019 is being set up to be a top year at the Welsh Highland Railway, with the announcement of a very special event.

Following on from the popular ‘Hunslet 125’ gala in 2018, where examples of Hunslet locomotives headed for North Wales, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways are aiming to recreate this once again in 2019.

From June 21st-23rd, the two railways will be staging “Welsh Highland Railway – Past, Present and Future”. This is set to be a very special weekend indeed, celebrating the heritage of the Welsh Highland Railway, which was formed in 1922. It completed the two-foot gauge rail link between the Ffestiniog Railway, in Porthmadog, and the former North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway line between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu.

The gala weekend will feature an intensive timetable of historic trains, including locomotives that worked on the line prior to closure in 1937. This WILL include Hunslet 2-6-2T ‘Russell’ from the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.

They have also announced Hunslet 303 from the War Office Locomotive Trust – more information on that here.

Planning for the event is still at an early stage, but it is intended that heritage trains will be running in the section of line between Minffordd, Porthmadog, and Beddgelert.

Tickets will be available online early in the new year, and further details, including more visiting locomotives, will be announced soon.

What did the officials say?

Ian Hughes of the War office locomotive trust comments:

“The War Office Locomotive Trust are delighted to be invited to take part in the event, and even better that 303 can run alongside its close relative Russell, a visit to Porthmadog closes off some unfinished business from last year when delays in the final stages of 303’s restoration meant we missed the Hunslet 125 event.”

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways General Manager, Paul Lewin, comments:

“This will be THE narrow gauge event of the year. 2019 is looking like being an epic year for the Welsh Highland Railway, twenty-one years on from the first trains running out of Caernarfon. Not only will we see the opening of two new stations, we will also enjoy visiting locos that will go a long way toward recreating so many Welsh Highland heritage scenes of years gone by – and some fascinating additional visitors too.”

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  1. We need fewer special events, and more coordination between the FR and WHR, including revolutionary moves like producing a common timetable between both railways and the Conwy Valley line. It’s ridiculous how end-to-end journeys aren’t promoted.


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