Blanche at Stwlan Dam crossing. The Moelwyn mountains can be seen in the background
Eryri (Snowdonia) Heritage Railways

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways’ Bygones Weekend 2023

Can’t believe it’s already a whole week since the 2023 Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways Bygones Weekend! I say Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways’ Bygones Weekend but let’s face it, it’s really a Ffestiniog Railway event! All the action was happening on the Ffestiniog line (with the exception of a special charter with Lyd on Sunday).  It was my fourth Bygones Weekend event – I helped film one day at 2020 and then the following 3 years I’ve done the whole weekend. So let’s break it down day by day shall we?

Friday – Wet but Fun

Spooners Boat at Tan Y Bwlch
Spooners Boat at Tan Y Bwlch – photo courtesy of Chris Parry

The Friday was a rather wet day of filming random trains in random places. There was time spent at Tan Y Bwlch to see Spooners Boat and the gravity train pass through.

After that we spent some time in Minffordd where we visited the setup from Festiniog Heritage Society at Y Gweithdy. In the Gweithdy was all manner of artefacts as well as model railways. There was a mini scale Lilla with goods running around inside whilst outside the real Lilla and goods train was passing by.

The evening was of course spent at a very busy Harbour Station where the three Double Fairlie engines were on show – Merddin Emrys, David Lloyd George and the soon to be named James Spooner. When I say busy, I mean busy! Everyone was out to see the brand new Double Fairlie on its debut.

Saturday – Damp at Dduallt

The Saturday morning was spent at a damp Dduallt filming the gravity train where we got some good clips. This was despite my camera failing as Merddin Emrys and the slates arrived at Dduallt. Unfortunately due to its remoteness we got stuck there for an hour after the slate train because we had to wait for the service train to return from Blaenau!

We made our way down to Harbour Station where I managed to snag the last of the Kerr Stuart celebration cupcakes from CelEmmabrations Cake! Speaking of which the Kerr Stuart was on display together with James Spooner.

The Saturday evening saw us at Minffordd Station with the oldest (Merddin Emrys) and newest (James Spooner II) Double Fairlies for the evening photography session.

Sunday – Sunny Tanygrisiau

On Sunday, in typical Bygones style, the sun graced us with its presence. So seeing as I was staying in Blaenau for the weekend, I went to Tanygrisiau to see the first train come through. I had intended on being on it but I didn’t get up in time! So I saw Blanche come up and I got a lovely photo of her with the Moelwyns in the background. I then went back to the house to get a clip of her chuffing past the garden before heading up back to Tanygrisiau to await Merddin Emrys coming in after dropping off the gravity slate train at The Summit. After that I went to Blaenau station to see some action and managed to race the train back to Tanygrisiau station. So yes busy morning!

After all the Tanygrisiau action I went to join the team at Tan Y Bwlch. We watched a few trains before moving on to Boston Lodge Halt.

Once all the action calmed down I spent the rest of the day at Harbour Station mooching around watching the final trains of the day move around. And seeing as Spooners were serving up a curry night to end the weekend, it would’ve been rude not to right?

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Would you have expected anything else? (Oh and yes, there’s a fab video of the event if you want to see it)

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