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  • Accessibility of Welsh Narrow Gauge Trains

     weekender updated 7 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 5 Posts
  • weekender

    Member
    March 28, 2019 at 9:19 am

    The Great Little Trains of Wales

    The Great Little Trains of Wales are 11 narrow gauge steam railways mainly in north and mid Wales, with one in south Wales, that came together in 1970 for marketing purposes. They are the Bala Lake Railway in Llanuwchlyn (near Bala), the Brecon Mountain Railway in Merthyr Tydfil, the Fairbourne Railway in Fairbourne, the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog, the Llanberis Lake Railway in Llanberis, the Snowdon Mountain Railway also in Llanberis, the Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Aberystwyth, the Welsh Highland Railway in Caernarfon, the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog and the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway in Welshpool.

    The Welsh Highland Railway that runs from Caernarfon meets up with the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog where they share a station and by crossing the platform and changing trains it is possible to do a 40 mile run from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog or vice versa.

    Below you can find the wheelchair access information for each of these lines, I will add a detailed blog of each of the railways in the coming months as I visit (in some cases re-visit) each of them.

    Bala Lake Railway Ltd.
    The Station
    Llanuwchllyn
    Gwynedd
    LL23 7DD
    Tel: 01678 540666
    http://www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk

    The Bala Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a 2ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway running along part of the track bed of the former standard gauge Ruabon to Barmouth line. It currently runs for 4.5 miles (7.2 km) along the southern shore of Bala Lake between the stations at Llanuwchllyn and Bala with its headquarters at the Llanuwchllyn end. It has plans to extend the railway by 0.75 miles (1.2 km) in to Bala town centre.

    The railways website gives no information about wheelchair access but my research shows that the stations are accessible and each train can carry 2 wheelchairs.

    Brecon Mountain Railway
    Pant Station
    Merthyr Tydfil
    Mid Glamorgan
    CF48 2DD
    Tel: 01685 722988
    http://www.bmr.wales

    The Brecon Mountain Railway (Rheilffordd Mynydd Brycheiniog) is a 1 ft 11.75 in (603 mm) narrow gauge railway running along part of the track bed of the former standard gauge Brecon and Merthyr Railway. It runs for about 4.5 miles (7 km) between stations at Pant and Torpantau.

    The railway is wheelchair accessible and the details are on their website here.

    Fairbourne Railway
    Beach Road
    Fairbourne
    Gwynedd
    LL38 2EX
    Tel: 01341 250362
    http://www.fairbournerailway.com

    The Fairbourne Railway (Rheilffordd y Friog) is a 15 in (311 mm) narrow gauge railway running along the beach front. It runs for 2 miles (3.2 km) from Fairbourne to Penrhyn Point for the Barmouth Ferry across the Mawddach estuary to the seaside resort of Barmouth.

    The railway is wheelchair accessible and a wheelchair accessible carriage is available upon request, capable of holding a maximum of two wheelchairs (the area available for wheelchairs is 900 mm x 2800 mm).

    Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
    Harbour Station
    Porthmadog
    Gwynedd
    LL49 9NF
    Tel: 01766 516000
    http://www.festrail.co.uk

    The Ffestiniog Railway (Rheilffordd Ffestiniog) is a 1 ft 11.5 in (597 mm) narrow-gauge heritage railway. It runs for 13.5 miles (21.7 km) from the harbour at Porthmadog to the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

    The railway is wheelchair (but not mobility scooters on the trains) accessible and the details are on their website here.

    Llanberis Lake Railway
    Llanberis Lake Railway
    Gilfach Ddu
    Llanberis
    Caernarfon
    Gwynedd
    LL55 4TY
    Tel: 01268 870549
    http://www.lake-railway.co.uk

    The Llanberis Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Padarn) is a 1 ft 11.5 in (597 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway that runs along the northern shore of Llyn Padarn . It runs for 2.5 miles (4 km) between Llanberis and Pen Llyn in the Padarn Country Park.

    The railways website gives no information about wheelchair access but my research shows that the trains are accessible but there is limited space available.

    Snowdon Mountain Railway
    Llanberis
    Gwynedd
    LL55 4 TT
    Tel: 01286 870223
    http://www.snowdonrailway.co.uk

    The Snowdon Mountain Railway (Rheilffordd yr Wyddfa) is a 2 ft 7.5 in (800 mm) narrow gauge rack and pinion mountain railway that runs to the summit of Mount Snowdon. It is a tourist railway that travels for 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, though sometimes owing to weather conditions it doesn’t run the full length to the summit.

    The railway is wheelchair accessible and their website states “Snowdon Mountain Railway operates a disabled access policy. Wheelchair users and passengers with mobility issues are asked to call us to discuss any particular requirements prior to booking.”

    Talyllyn Railway
    Talyllyn Railway
    Wharf Station
    Tywyn
    Gwynedd
    LL36 9EY
    Tel: 01654 710472
    http://www.talyllyn.co.uk

    The Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn) is a 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) narrow gauge preserved railway. It runs for 7.25 miles (11.67 km) from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn.

    The railway is wheelchair (but not mobility scooters on the trains) accessible. When I last visited there were 3 wheelchairs in the carriage.

    Vale of Rheidol Railway
    Park Avenue
    Aberystwyth
    Ceredigion
    SY23 1PG
    Tel: 01970 625819
    http://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk

    The Vale of Rheidol Railway (Rheilffordd Cwm Rheidol) is a 1 ft 11.75 in (603 mm) narrow gauge preserved railway. It runs for 11.75 miles (18.9 km) from Aberystwyth on the Mid-Wales coast to Devil’s Bridge.

    It is wheelchair accessible but at the moment not all trains (until last year no trains were) are so it is best to call in advance. There is one accessible carriage but the railway runs a two train timetable in high season, there should be a second accessible carriage in service by the end of 2019 and four (two per train) by the end of 2020. Their access statement can be found here.

    Welsh Highland Railway
    Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
    Harbour Station
    Porthmadog
    Gwynedd
    LL49 9NF
    Tel: 01766 516000
    http://www.festrail.co.uk

    The Welsh Highland Railway (Rheilffordd Eryri) is a 1 ft 11.5 in (597 mm) narrow-gauge heritage railway. It runs for 25 miles (40.2 km) from Caernarfon to the harbour at Porthmadog.

    The railway is wheelchair (but not mobility scooters on the trains) accessible and the details are on their website here.

    Welsh Highland Heritage Railway
    Welsh Highland Railway Ltd.
    Tremadog Road
    Gwynedd
    Porthmadog
    LL49 9DY
    Tel: 01766 513402

    http://www.whr.co.uk/

    The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (Rheilffordd Ucheldir Cymru) is a short 1 ft 11.5 in (597 mm) narrow-gauge heritage railway. Its main station is at Porthmadog and it runs just 1 mile (1.6 km).

    The railway is wheelchair accessible and the details are on their website here.

    Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
    The Station
    Llanfair Caereinion
    Welshpool
    Powys
    SY21 0SF
    Tel: 01938 810441
    http://www.wllr.org.uk

    The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (Rheilffordd y Trallwng a Llanfair Caereinion) is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway. It runs for 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from the town of Welshpool via Castle Caereinion to the village of Llanfair Caereinion.

    The railway is wheelchair accessible at the stations at either end of the line (but not those between) and on the trains, their details can be found here.

    The blog post, with links that work, can be found at: https://www.weekender.blog/2019/03/26/the-great-little-trains-of-wales/

  • azaleeboy

    Member
    March 28, 2019 at 9:35 am

    That is so awesome, thank you for this!

    Which is your favourite?

  • weekender

    Member
    March 28, 2019 at 10:43 am

    [quote quote=8494]That is so awesome, thank you for this!

    Which is your favourite?

    [/quote]
    I have only been on 4 of the 11 so far, the Vale of Rheidol not for over 40 years when I was a child (it didn’t have wheelchair access until last summer, 40 years ago I was a child and my father could lift me from my wheelchair). The Talyllyn is nice and is the basis of the Thomas the Tank Engine books by the Rev W Audry.

    My favourites are equally the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland railways that link up at Porthmadog. Even though you can’t travel the whole 40 miles without changing trains at the linking station I really treat then as a single railway, indeed, if you check the web links above you will see that they are the same for both as they are owned by the same company.

  • azaleeboy

    Member
    March 28, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Didn’t know that about Thomas the Tank Engine!

    If I ever get to Wales, I’ll be sure to check them out. 🙂

  • weekender

    Member
    March 28, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    If you are familiar with the Thomas books (which I am not), the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the only rack-and-pinion railway in the UK, is the basis for the Culldee Fell Railway in the books.

    The Rev Audry worked as a volunteer guard or the Talyllyn in its early preservation days.

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