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The Ffestiniog Railway Station in Porthmadog, North Wales is a haven train-enthusiasts with its collection of steam train locomotives chugging along the narrow gauge tracks. 

With departures set to resume in the spring or summer of 2021, visitors can enjoy a steam train ride in North Wales once again from Porthmadog on the coast to Tan-y-Bwlch in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. 

Related: A guide to visiting Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia

If you’re planning to visit North Wales by train* you’re spoilt for choice with scenic rail journeys. The Welsh Highland Railway route departs from Caernarfon or Porthmadog to the pretty village of Beddgelert, and the local national rail service was featured in the World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys television series. 

The train line crosses the famous Barmouth Viaduct (which is undergoing restoration works), hugs Wales’s breathtaking coastline and skims past the imposing fortress of Harlech Castle.

Harlech Castle, World's Most Scenic Rail Journeys

You can book your train tickets to Wales here* and be one step closer to a classic steam train ride in North Wales.

If you decide to drive instead there’s a dedicated parking area for Ffestiniog Railway station just a short walk away across the main road. At the time of publishing you must purchase your tickets in advance online as the booking office is closed. To book a carriage is £50 which includes 2 adult tickets, and each carriage holds a maximum of 6 people. 

For your convenience there’s a cafe for snacks and drinks, as well as restrooms inside the both stations. 

Inside Ffestiniog railway carriage

The train carriages are a throwback to the formative days of passenger rail services in Britain with overhead luggage baskets, upholstered seating and pin cushioned doors and arm rests. 

With the sound of the whistle blowing and the clatter of the train over the tracks, the steam train ride in North Wales begins by crossing a bridge between Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia’s majestic mountains. 

The Ffestiniog Railway route is a 2 hours and 45 minute round trip (approximately) to Tan-Y-Bwlch.

Check out these places to stay in and around Porthmadog.

The track then turns past Minffordd station and begins its ascent inland. The views across the river valley are terrific, and different times of year paint the landscape in various colours.

In September the trees were showing early signs of autumn colours, and the rocky floor was awash with purple heather and wild flowers.

Related: An afternoon exploring Conwy Castle and town

As mentioned, Tan-Y-Bwlch station contains a cafe and restroom which is ideal for picking up takeaway snacks and drinks for a leisurely walk down to the lakeside Llyn Mair picnic area. There’s two walking routes, a more strenuous route for those who enjoy a challenge, and a gentler sloped trail that takes around 15 minutes.

After the one hour stop over, the return journey takes the same route meaning you may be able to enjoy the views from the other side of the carriage if you’re able to swap with anyone you’re sharing it with.

For the latest information on timetables and services for the Ffestiniog Railway, visit: https://www.festrail.co.uk

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