The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways are two narrow gauge railways. Additionally, the old railway link between Caernarfon and Porthmadog, a length of around 40 miles of narrow-gauge steam in which passengers can travel, has recently been reintroduced.
These railways provide passengers the opportunity to experience the beauty of Snowdonia at their leisure. Both the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland Railways each offer their own unique features of scenery, travel times, scenery, and more. The Welsh Highland Railway, the most recent one to be added to Snowdonia, is a longer ride. It is 25 miles of scenic beauty that begins at the castle walls in Caernarfon.
Beginning at sea level and climbing over 600 feet on the foothills, the trains – which are hauled by the most powerful narrow-gauge steam locomotives in the world – then fly back downhill, passing through Beddgelert, National Park, and Aberglaslyn Pass before stopping in Porthmadog. The Ffestiniog Railway begins at the Porthmadog harbour and stops in the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
This railway is just as much of a beautiful adventure for passengers as the Welsh Highland Railway as far as scenery goes, though the trains are historic rather than locomotive powerhouses, and goes upwards of 700 feet from sea level. Riders get to enjoy nearly 14 miles of viewing a variety of landscapes – mountains, pastures, forests, lakes, and magnificent waterfalls. The trek even includes a tight spiral hugging the side of the mountain. Additionally, passengers can partake in special events, such as the ever-popular Jazz Trains, featuring on board music by Dr. Jazz. In October, the railways dedicate a weekend to celebrating the late Alan Pegler, who was President of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways before his passing.
The trains make special stops at places such as favorite restaurants that he frequented in his life. Aside from special events, the railways offer Food On The Move Trains, which have a variety of dining options.