The Ffestiniog Railway is celebrating 150 years in what will be an event that gives a real insight and narrative to the beginning, past operations and arrival of the new machinery into the area. An event to celebrate the Ffestiniog’s anniversary would be spectacular enough, but the chance now to tell a much wider story of a big part of this special corner of Wales is an opportunity to not pass up. The global story of how narrow gauge locomotives went along to become widely used throughout the world begins here.
This event will be taking place over the days 3rd to 6th May 2013.
Go along and experience steam as you have never seen before, where you can also go and meet some of the characters from the past. Witness the wonder at the arrival of steam and watch as they help the story along. This event is perfect for absolutely everyone, not just the steam enthusiast! For anyone looking to visit this event and area from a significant distance, booking a holiday park in North Wales could be the perfect way to spend a few days.
The day’s events follow as stated:
Friday – Preparation Day
There will be three round trips taking place on the Friday, from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, including an additional 4pm train to connect with the late afternoon Conwy Valley Line service. Also to be included are an additional 11:40am train terminating at Baleanu Ffesiniog and a mid-afternoon vintage shuttle that goes to and from Tan-y-Bwlch. The evening shuttles are to and from Porthmadog and Minffordd shuttles, to view re-enactments of 1963s ‘Centenary of Steam’ gravity train between Rhiw Goch and Minffordd. There will be evening shunting as required in and around Harbour Station.
Welsh Highland Railway:
Standard ‘Blue’ timetable service of two round-trips from Porthmadog and Caernarfon is in operation – not included in ‘Steam 150’ Event and Friday Rover tickets.
Saturday – Horses to England Engines
The Saturday will bring a fantastic haulage demonstration and early morning dramatised re-enactment of the 1863 delivery of Princess – from 8am at Harbour Station. England locomotive to be hauled long stall slate empties train to and from Blaenau Ffestiniog. There will be four standard service trains between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. An additional train will be at 9:25am from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. The slate handover ceremony will take place from 11:50am, incorporating local dignitaries and organisations in conjunction with the Llechwedd Slate Caverns at Blaenau Ffestiniog station. Footplate rides with Hugh Napier at Blaeanu Ffestiong are to be organised, along with an array of additional vintage shuttles running to and from Tan-y-Bwlch.
An additional mid-afternoon vintage train to and from Blaenau Ffestiniog will be present, along with freight trains across the Cob hauled by all four England locomotives. The Boston Lodge Works are open from 8am until 6pm, to holders of ‘Steam 150’ tickets. There are evening shuttles on the Saturday between Porthmadog and Boston Lodge Halt from 7pm until 8pm as well as a nightglow photography event with various England locomotives posed outside the railways original Engine Shed. There will also be an additional AGM for the Ffestiniog Railway Society on an evening train to Tan-y-Bwlch, restricted only for FRS members.
Welsh Highland Railway
The ‘yellow’ timetable will run, with three trains in each direction between Poirthmadog and Caernarfon, which are not included in ‘Steam 150’ tickets. There will be an additional 17:45pm Porthmadog to Rhyd Ddu round-trip with a Double Fairlie and Ffestiniog Railway carriage-rake, which is included with tickets.
Sunday – Global Narrow-Gauge Expansion
The morning presents a line-up of all available England locomotives gathered at Harbour Station. There will be three standard round-trips from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, as well as a 16:20pm Minffordd to Blaenau Ffestiniog continuation train from Caernarfon to Portmadog as 17:45pm ex Blaenau Ffestiniog. There will be vintage shuttles running to and from Tan-y-Bwlch, as well as England locomotive hauled slate trains to and from Dduallt and Rhiw Goch. Gravity train from Dduallt – passing an England loco and long train of slate empties at Minffordd (a ‘Waggon Tracks’ scene). The footplate rides with Hugh Napier will be taking place at Blaenau Ffestiniog and the Boston Lodge Works opens from 8am until 6pm to holders of Steam 150 tickets.
Welsh Highland Railway
The yellow time table service will run between Portmadog and Caernarfon. The England hauled slate empties to and from Pont Croesor. An additional ‘Queens of the Hill’ train – double headed by Linda and Blanche, from Porthmadog to Caernarfon, returning via FR train from Minffordd will be in operation. This continues to Blaenau Ffestiniog, following a change of locomotives – before a return to Porthmadog, enabling a full round trip over the nearly eighty mile Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway system. This part of the journey requires a Steam 150 Event or Sunday Rover.
Monday – Ultimate Narrow Gauge – Grand Finale
On Monday, a variety of locomotive line ups will be showcasing themselves on the Harbour Station prior to service trains. There will be four standard service trains going between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
At 4pm a service train double-headed by England locos Prine and Palmerston will be in action. From mid-morning to and from Tan-y-Bwlch hauled by two small Hunslet locos. The afternoon vintage shuttle to and from Tan-y-Bwlch will also be in action, along with England locomotive hauled slate empties to and from Dduallt. The Boston Lodge Works is open on Monday from 8am to 6pm to Steam 150 ticket holders.
Welsh Highland Railway
The yellow timetable service runs with three trains in each direction between Porthmadog and Caernarfon. Early morning holds the Prince and Palemerston top’n’tail and extra 12 car. An additional ‘England to Beddgelert’ vintage with a single England loco – with the locomotive turned to a chimney first towards Beddgelert, with limited capacity on the train. A morning Garratt hauled heavy goods train from Dinas to Porthmadog. An afternoon trip working on wagons from Porthmadog to Pont Croesor are present, with two Garrat locos double heading the 15:40 Porthmadog to Caernarfon train. Wagons are added to 15:40pm ex Porthmadog at Pont Croesor – continuing heavy haul mixed train as far as Dinas, then passengers only to Caernarfon.
If you are hoping or planning on attending this fantastic milestone event, then you may need somewhere to stay. Whether you decide to go up for the weekend, or a short break, West Point Beach Resort Holiday Park in North Wales could be the perfect way to spend a few days in May. Whether you are a steam and train enthusiast, or simply want to enjoy an interesting, entertaining and cultured event perfect for all of the family, Steam 150 is perfect for you.