Last Saturday dawned bright and sunny and the day stayed perfect in every way throughout. I crept quietly out of Gladstone’s Library at 10 past 6 in the morning and arrived at Porthmadog Harbour Station Car Park at about 20 to 8. This was a day to remember! I was invited by two friends who are patrons of The Landmark Trust to ride the Ffestiniog Railway and view the ruined property which the Trust are about set to restore in partnership with the Railway.
Snowdonia from Porthmadog
My friends arrived shortly after me and we made for a cafe nearby for a welcome cup of tea. Assembly time at the station was 9.00-9.15 and here is the day’s programme with my photos and comments interspersed.
Coed y Bleiddiau and the Ffestiniog Railway : Saturday 23 April 2016
09.00-09.15 Arrive at Harbour Station, Porthmadog, and board the ‘new train’
“‘New Train’: Our new train is the result of an investment of over £600,000 in new carriages for the
Ffestiniog Railway. A further three carriages to the new design will be added to the train
during the coming years. The most striking feature of the new train is Carriage 150, the
brand new observation car with panoramic glazing, a ‘Celtic Deco’ interior, a modern style
inspired by art deco. All the carriages are hand built in our own workshops at Boston Lodge
using only the finest materials. Our objective is to create a train with an authentic period
feel and yet having all the benefits of modern features such as crystal clear double glazing
and efficient heating. As we will explain during your visit to us, our focus is the enjoyment of
the journey not the rush to the destination. The new train has been crafted around that
proposition and you will be the first group other than our own sponsors to travel on the train ahead of its entry into service on 1 May 2016.” [Notes sent to us before the day]
09.20 The ‘new train’ departs Harbour Station for Tanygrisiau Station. Coffee is served on the train.
Nothing But the Best!
10.25 Arrive at Tanygrisiau Station Guests alight, admire the view and board the waiting ‘Vintage train’
At Tanygrisiau Station between trains
10.30 The ‘vintage train’ departs Tanygrisiau for Dduallt Station”‘Vintage Train:’
“‘Vintage Train:’ The lovingly restored heritage train comprises of carriages that date back to our very first passenger services on the railway over 150 years ago. These amazing survivors are what you would expect to find at the heart of the National Railway Museum; however, after a lifetime of service on our railway, they have been restored to original condition through generous donations and grants to enable them to be experienced by those who will really appreciate them. Carriage No. 15 is the first bogie carriage ever used in the British Isles. They are in effect ‘Landmarks’ on wheels and will be hauled by a locomotive of similar vintage.”
Views from the Vintage Train
10.40 Arrive at Dduallt : Story of the railway’s deviation and watch the passing service train
From Dduallt Station we took a short walk to the viewpoint
11.10 Board the ‘vintage train’ and depart Dduallt for Coed y Bleiddiau
The 25 foot long platform at Coed Y Bleiddiau
11.25 Arrive at Coed y Bleiddiau Guests view Coed y Bleiddiau in small groups, guided by Landmark’s Project Manager, Richard Burton. When not in the cottage, guests view the garden and surroundings and hear the area’s history. [The subject of my next Post!]
12.35 Board the ‘new train’ and depart Coed y Bleiddiau for Tan y Bwlch Station
12.55 Arrive at Tan y Bwlch Station Buffet lunch at Tan y Bwlch Café in the Woods. Tony Russell, Garden Writer and Broadcaster, will talk about the story of the local forests. [I don’t recall this bit … perhaps I was too busy eating!]
What a spread!
Tan Y Bwlch Station
The Guard is as smart as the trains
14.15 Board the ‘new train’ and depart Tan y Bwlch for Boston Lodge Halt
14.50 Arrive at Boston Lodge Halt Tour of Boston Lodge, the oldest narrow gauge railway works in the world.
16.05 Guests board the service train and depart Boston Lodge Halt to return to Harbour Station Porthmadog
16.10 Guests arrive back at Harbour Station, Porthmadog]
Alternatively, guests can remain on the ‘new train’, arriving into Harbour Station, Porthmadog at 15:00.
In fact, with my long drive back to Gladstone’s Library, I decided to remain on the ‘new train’ (in First Class, of course) and arrived back at Porthmadog at 3 o’clock. What a day! My thanks to The Ffestiniog Railway, The Landmark Trust and most of all to Ann and Fred for inviting me to share this wonderful day.