As you know I am a verrrrrrrry big fan of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was not the year they had intended. After a few months of being closed, they reopened with post Covid-19 services mid July 2020. Further lockdowns happened during Winter seeing the Santa trains being called off. Well it’s now a new year full of hope…
So what can you expect from the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways in 2021? Here’s the basics that you need to know:
Booking and Prices
- pre booking is essential! You need to book tickets in advance via the website.
- you can also book tickets by phoning Harbour Station which is open weekdays 10am-4pm
- due to ongoing Covid restrictions you have to book a compartment which costs £50-£80 (journey dependant) and includes 2 adult tickets. Each compartment holds around 6 people and any additional adult tickets are £25
- children cost £1 each currently
So as an example, for our family of four it will cost £52 for an epic day out on the trains. Not a bad deal of you ask me! 😉
A little bird tells me that there are 4 planned journeys for this year:
- Mountain Prince – a 3 hour round trip from Porthmadog to Dduallt – Services from 1/5/2021 and available to BOOK NOW! *
- Gelert Explorer – a 6 hour return journey from Caernarfon to Beddgelert – Services from 1/5/2021 and available to BOOK NOW!
- Glaslyn Venturer – a 3 hour round trip from Porthmadog to Beddgelert
- Woodland Wanderer – a 2.5 hour return journey from Porthmadog to Tan Y Bwlch
(* yep you can bet your bottom I got mine booked!)
For journeys to Tan Y Bwlch and Dduallt there will be a layover at Tan Y Bwlch which give you time for a panad and cake. Both Spooner’s a Tan Y Bwlch Cafe will reopen for a takeaway service initially. Keep an eye on the social media pages for further news – it all depends on Welsh Government Covid restrictions!
The journeys to Beddgelert there will be a layover in Beddgelert giving you enough time to explore the village. My personal recommendation would be a pizza and ice cream at Glaslyn. I’m also told there’s a First Class service going to be available on the Beddgelert services so why not treat yourself to a hamper and sit in one of the amazing Pullman Observation Carriages?
During our Summer visit our noble steed was Linda, an ex Penrhyn Quarry Hunslet engine. Unfortunately it’s unlikely that Linda will be out and about once the trains are back in service as her boiler ticket expires at the end of March. So unless her boiler gets a restoration in the next few months then Linda will be parked up in the engine sheds awaiting restoration. Shame really because I’ve become quite partial to old Linda (she’s over 125 years old remember!). Her and her sister Blanche are both stunners in my opinion.
Likelihood is that Welsh Pony will be out and about come the return of train services. The latest (or newest?) engine to be restored on the Ffestiniog Railway. The return of Welsh Pony was definitely a highlight for the Railway last year so no doubt that she will be getting a lot of use this coming year. On the Welsh Highland Railway, the latest Garratt 130 engine has successfully completed it’s trail runs and will no doubt be operating some of the Beddgelert services.
Personally I can’t wait to see those beautiful Double Fairlies again. Maybe they won’t be out until the Blaenau services return as they’re a bit big to be only doing half distance. However you never know, might just catch a glimpse of Merddin Emrys puffing about the place. Or even… a new Double Fairlie?? Who knows! Can’t wait to find out though.
If you want to keep up to date with the latest goings-on at the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways or be the first to find out about the return of services then head on over to their website and sign up to the newsletter. Alternatively give them a follow on their social media pages (Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube).
(Or just follow my social media because once I find out about the return of trains you can bet that I will be shouting about it!!)
Anyone else really excited about the return of steam trains?