The Secretary of State was shown around the Ffestiniog Railway locomotive, Palmerston, which has returned to London for the first time since she was built there in 1864.
The ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ are at the London terminus promoting ‘Big Train meets Little Train’ - The recently published free guide to Welsh narrow gauge railways and how to visit them by rail. The guide has been funded by the Department of Transport from its Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Competition.
Approximately ten million people visit a heritage railway in Britain every year, and the sector contributes an estimated £250m to the UK economy.
Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:
“Seeing the locomotive Palmerston at first hand reminds you what a fantastic heritage our Welsh railways have – this is an engine which has travelled thousands upon thousands of miles in its 150-plus year history.
“Visitors to Wales have the chance to see some fantastic scenery by sampling our narrow gauge railways. You can travel to the summit of Snowdon, visit the Talyllyn Railway where Thomas the Tank Engine began or travel on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, the world’s oldest independent railway company and the longest heritage railway in Britain.
“The UK Government was glad to be able to help fund the Great Little Trains of Wales initiative. The new travel guide and website give an excellent overview of what is on offer, and I hope lots of travellers will be inspired to see Wales by train.”