Jan Woods The Ffestiniog journey Leaving Harbour Station, the train heads out across The Cob with marvellous views in all directions. To the left, the Moelwyns and Cnicht rise in the distance and Snowdon gradually appears on the extreme left. To the right one can look out towards Harlech Castle and the open sea beyond the Glaslyn estuary. The Cob was built in the 18th Century by William Maddocks to reclaim land from the sea and was then adopted by the railway as its route to the harbour at Porthmadog. At the end of The Cob is the railway's works at Boston Lodge. Here, most of our carriages have been built and where our engineering expertise has renovated and maintained our large fleet of steam and diesel engines. Carriages and engines have also been built under contract for other railways here. The railway turns sharp left here and follows the Glaslyn climbing steadily through Minffordd where the railway has its own hostel and training centre. The beautifully restored station sits above the old exchange sidings where slate was transferred from the Ffestiniog Railway waggons to those of the national rail system. There is a National Rail station here at a lower level, which serves the Cambrian coast with trains to Pwllheli and Barmouth. From here you can walk to Clough Williams Ellis' Italianate village of Portmeirion. The pastures become rougher as we climb away from the estuary and break through into our third river valley. The line is now high up above the village of Penrhyndeudraeth, served by our lovingly- restored station at Penrhyn. The train crosses the main road and heads back into the National Park, passing some old lead mines on the left. A sharp right curve takes the train on a high stone wall embankment called Cae Mawr. The views from here extend right down the Afon Dwyryd valley to Harlech Castle and Portmeirion. The train snakes through ancient woodland above Plas Tan y Bwlch and reaches our station of the same name, where the steam trains take water. Leaving here we are now high above the valley, looping round Llyn Mair, Mary's Lake, in the valley below, before we re- join the main valley and Garnedd Tunnel. Dduallt is a lonely outpost, its silence broken by the sound of the engine's exhaust as it climbs round the spiral constructed here in the 1960s to gain height. The scenery is now very rugged, with arable farmland left well behind us. Only sheep, buzzards and the occasional small herd of Bagot goats are seen up here. Emerging from the Moelwyn Tunnel we traverse the flooded valley with the old course of the railway below us. Passing the power station we head round to the new station at Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Roy Woods Portmeirion So what else is there to do if I come to North Wales? There are many other attractions in the area. Snowdonia has some of the most remarkable scenery in Britain. There are many footpaths and cycle- ways – and the beaches are some of the loveliest in the country. There are many places to visit within easy walking or cycling distance from one of our stations; Portmeirion, Harlech Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Sygun Copper Mine, Criccieth, Beddgelert, to name but a few. Most attractions have their own websites, but VisitWales and North Wales Tourism have websites that give an excellent overview of that there is to see and do in Snowdonia in all weathers. Roy Woods Tremadog and Porthmadog Roger Dimmick Caernarfon Castle