Visiting Locomotives confirmed for "WHR - Past, Present and Future"

December 23rd 2018

Following on from our hugely successful ‘Hunslet 125’ event last June, when examples of Hunslet locomotives came to North Wales from across the United Kingdom to star alongside our resident fleet, we are once again aiming to make June a special month in the 2019 calendar…

From June 21st-23rd we will stage “Welsh Highland Railway – Past, Present and Future”.

This will be a very special weekend celebrating the rich heritage of the Welsh Highland Railway - formed in 1922 and which (in 1923) completed the two-foot gauge rail link between the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog and the former North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway line between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu.

The weekend will feature a varied timetable of historic trains, including locomotives and carriages that worked on the railway prior to its closure in 1937 - most notably, Hunslet 2-6-2T ‘Russell’, the sole surviving locomotive built for the original line. We’re happy to be working closely with our friends at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway to make this dream a reality.

We are also excited to welcome Hunslet 303 by kind permission of the War Office Locomotive Trust. One hundred and fifty-five Locomotives were built by Hunslet for the war effort in a period of just over three years making them one of the most numerous narrow gauge types. After the war they saw further service all over the world. A few of the locomotives were used in the UK, none of which survived. Following the repatriation of locomotive No1215 from Australia, the War Office Locomotive Trust team have painstakingly rebuilt the locomotive including building a new boiler.

Ian Hughes of the War office locomotive trust comments:

“The War Office Locomotive Trust are delighted to be invited to take part in the event, and even better that 303 can run alongside its close relative Russell, a visit to Porthmadog closes off some unfinished business from last year when delays in the final stages of 303's restoration meant we missed the Hunslet 125 event.”

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways General Manager, Paul Lewin, comments:

"This will be THE narrow gauge event of the year. 2019 is looking like being an epic year for the Welsh Highland Railway, twenty-one years on from the first trains running out of Caernarfon. Not only will we see the opening of two new stations, we will also enjoy visiting locos that will go a long way toward recreating so many Welsh Highland heritage scenes of years gone by - and some fascinating additional visitors too."

Planning for the event is still at an early stage, but it is intended that heritage trains will be running in the section of line between Minffordd, Porthmadog and Beddgelert, during the intervals between our regular passenger trains - providing an opportunity to experience the development of narrow-gauge railways over the past century.

Tickets will be available online early in the new year, and further details (including additional visiting locomotives) will be published as soon as they are finalised.