……. Our railways have a fascinating history The Welsh Highland Railway only came into existence in the 1920s. It was long seen as a dream to build a through railway between Porthmadog and Caernarfon. This route, through Beddgelert, was seen as avoiding the need to sail all the way round the Lleyn Peninsula, with its dangerous currents between the mainland and Ynys Enlli. A tramway already existed linking the quarries above the Croesor valley with Porthmadog and, originally, a tramway linked the quarries in the Nantlle valley with slate wharves at Caernarfon. Eventually a main line railway was built from Caernarfon south, through Dinas to Afon Wen, just outside Pwllheli. Much of this old railway line, now dismantled, forms the long distance footpath and cycle- way of Lon Eifion. The tunnel carrying the road underneath the Square, Y Maes, in Caernarfon, is a vestige of that railway. The NWNGR constructed a slate- carrying line between the quarries near Rhyd Ddu, at the foot of Snowdon, and Dinas to join up with the main line, where slate and other goods were transferred between the different sizes of railway. Latterly, in the early part of the 20th Century, a plan was evolved to build a railway from Porthmadog, through Beddgelert and on to Rhyd Ddu. Using part of the old Croesor Tramway it followed the Afon Glaslyn upstream to Beddgelert and then snaked its way through the forest to join up with the NWNGR at Rhyd Ddu in the early 1920s. Sadly this railway was not a huge success. Slate traffic had dwindled and other goods traffic could be handled much more efficiently by the emerging road transport. Peter Treloar Train in the Aberglaslyn Pass Passengers were inconvenienced by the change of trains at Dinas – and often by a change of train at Beddgelert as well. Unfortunately the 1930s were not a good time for the local economy and today's mass tourism had yet to develop. The Welsh Highland was reborn in 1997 after several attempts since 1964 and earlier, with the line now restored to its rightful position in Caernarfon. After operating for only half of its distance for several years, 2009 finally sees the re- opening of the throughout line between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. Trains will now be able to run the full distance between these two historic seaside towns, with the opportunity for people to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the National Park without needing to bring their motor cars into this sensitive environment. Walkers and cyclists can also enjoy full access to this delightful area, with Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass being easily reached by train from campsites along the route and from the coastal towns.
Roy Woods Cymerau Falls, near Dduallt Roy Woods David Lloyd George at Minffordd Station The spiral at Dduallt