Full Steam Ahead Through Snowdonia, North Wales

Welsh Highland Railway Steam Train

During our recent visit to Anglesey we had a break from walking or sea fishing and took a rail journey, by steam, from Caernarfon to Porthmadoc on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway.

Welsh Mountain Steam TrainThe scenery was magnificent as the train wound its way through the mountain of Snowdonia, made more so by the fact that we’d upgraded our seats to first class (it’s unlikely we’ll do it again for some time so we splashed out) so we were in the observation carriage at the end of the train which had a huge curved glass window at the rear, giving great views of the mountains and hills of North Wales as we sped (or trundled) past.

The carriage was amazing, with beautiful woodwork and individual small armchairs and although the snacks and drinks were basic they were of good quality and the service was great, especially considering that most of the ‘staff’ were volunteers.

At the other end we had a fish and chip lunch at the award winning Spooner’s Café & Bar – in Harbour Station then spent a few hours exploring Porthmadog harbour and Borth-y-Gest before reversing the journey.

Our return train was pulled by a different engine and we travelled in a ‘Pullman’ coach which was exceptionally comfortable – made more so by the fine bottle of Madog’s Ale, brewed in Porthmadog, I consumed along the way.

If the weather forcaste looks good, and you’ve nothing planned, I thoroughly recommend it.

Steam Train Porthmadog


  1. Ahh this sound idyllic doesn’t it? -and so it is. You have probably just described the perfect day out for thousands of people. We live on the line- not literally of course- and still rush to the nearest window or run to the top of the garden in order to enjoy the image of
    a) the train itself
    b) relish the sense of excitement and anticipation that the lucky passengers would be experiencing.
    And yes the carriages are themselves a work of art. You of course visited when the trees are a beautiful fresh green, or even still bare depending on the species.
    Further on in the year you would find a different scene altogether with full bloom, blushing hedgerows and an abundance of various wildlife.
    Then the truly spectacular Autumn glory, it just has to be seen to be believed.
    The few winter trains that run-mainly ‘specials’ eg The Santa Train- little gifts,fresh mince pies and delicious hot toddies, are a delightfully nostalgic way to set off the festive season.
    So glad you enjoyed-but then again, who wouldn’t?

    May 21, 2012
  2. Stu said:

    Thanks for you comments Heledd, we really enjoyed it – we’ve been promising ourselves that we’d give it a go as soon as the line opened all the way through Snowdonia.

    May 21, 2012
  3. Mary said:

    Sound like my cup of tea. But how long does the return journey take?

    October 13, 2015
    • Stu said:

      Hi Mary, it was a while ago but I’m fairly sure it took a couple of hours both ways.

      October 13, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.