Welsh Highland Heritage Railway

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Not to be confused with Welsh Highland Railway.
Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (Rheilffordd Ucheldir Cymru)
KCB 20070506 60Eryri IMGA0356.jpg
Lyd2 No. 60 awaits work in Gelerts Farm Works yard
Locale Wales
Terminus Porthmadog and Pen y Mount
Commercial operations
Name Welsh Highland Railway Ltd
Built by Welsh Highland Railway Ltd
Original gauge 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned by Welsh Highland Railway Ltd
Operated by Welsh Highland Heritage Railway
Stations 3
Length 1 mile (1.6 km)
Preserved gauge 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1980
Preservation history
1961 Welsh Highland Railway Society formed
1964 WHR Society reformed as Welsh Highland Light Railway (1964) Limited
1980 WHR Ltd opened for passenger service
1987 Original locomotive Russell restored
2003 Original locomotive Russell taken out of service for expensive major overhaul.
2005 Celebrates 25 years of passenger train service
2007 Extended to Traeth Mawr
2008 Last train to Traeth Mawr
2009 Operational name changed to Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. Terminus reverts to Pen y Mount.
2014 Original locomotive Russel back in service.


The origins of the WHHR lie in a small group of railway enthusiasts, including some disgruntled volunteers from the Festiniog Railway, forming the Welsh Highland Railway Society in 1961,[1] to preserve and rebuild the original WHR which had operated from 1922 to 1936. Construction of the line started in the 1970s following the acquisition of land from British Railways running alongside the Cambrian Coast line at a location known as Beddgelert Sidings. A substantial works and engineering facility has been constructed on the site of the former farm that was situated in the triangle of land between the Beddgelert Siding and the Cambrian Coast Railway. The works have been expanded with newly constructed shed accommodation in addition to the utilisation of some of the original farm buildings, which include one of the oldest buildings in Porthmadog. There has been, for some time, a museum part to the works tour and from 2009, with construction of a new building, this will be more than doubled in size and its nature.

The original Welsh Highland Railway has been reconstructed by the Festiniog Railway Company and the Welsh Highland Railway Limited. Both companies will have running rights over the WHR main line from Caernarfon to Porthmadog Harbour and the WHHR branch from Pen-y-Mount Junction to the existing WHR Ltd. station in Porthmadog. The precise terms of these running rights, however, is not yet settled.


The railway is now nearly entirely run by volunteers. There is a group for the young volunteers, known as 'The Young Highlanders'. The group was formed in 1996 by Mark Herbert (publicity manager), Tim Heeks (volunteer) and the late Gordon Roe (volunteer).

In 2014, 'Russell' returned to service after an expensive major overhaul. The cost was about £250,000. Russell had been out of service since 2003.


The railway currently operates a frequent service from March to November from their main station, which is located opposite the Network Rail station in Porthmadog on Tremadog Road. Trains run for 1-mile (1.6 km) to Pen-y-Mount Junction, where the railway connects with the WHR mainline. On the return journey, the train stops at Gelert's Farm halt, allowing passengers to visit a museum and a 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge miniature railway.

For 2007 and 2008, an additional short section of line was in use between Pen-y-Mount Junction and Traeth Mawr Loop. This line was built as part of an agreement signed in 1998 with the Ffestiniog Railway and allowed WHR Ltd. to run on the original Welsh Highland Railway trackbed for the first time. As part of the agreement, the section closed and became a construction site when the Ffestiniog Railway constructed WHR mainline from Caernarvon was connected in 2008.


Welsh Highland
Heritage Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
to Caernarfon
Traeth Mawr Loop
Connection removed 2008
Welsh Highland Railway
to Porthmadog Harbour
Pen-y-Mount Junction
Gelerts Farm Halt
Porthmadog(NR) Cambrian Line

Rolling stock[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hopkins, John (2003) [1999]. The Welsh Highland Railway 1991-2003. John Hopkins for WHR Society. OCLC 42445841. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Various, (1961–2008). The Journal. Welsh Highland Railway Ltd. 
  • Boyd, James I.C. (1988) [1972]. Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire - Volume 1. Headington, Oxford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-365-7. OCLC 20417464. 
  • Boyd, James I.C. (1989) [1972]. Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire - Volume 2: The Welsh Highland Railway. Headington, Oxford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-383-1. OCLC 145018679. 
  • Hopkins, John C. (2003). Rheilffordd Eryri/The Welsh Highland Railway: 1991 to 2003, 4th edition 388pp. The author. 
  • Johnson, Peter (1999). Portrait of the Welsh Highland Railway. Ian Allan Publishing Lts. 
  • Johnson, Peter (2003). An Illustrated History of the Welsh Highland Railway. Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-565-5. 
  • Turner, Alun (2003). The Welsh Highland Railway: a History, 4th edition. Stenlak Publishing. ISBN 1-84033-263-8. 

Coordinates: 52°55′54″N 4°07′37″W / 52.931656°N 4.126984°W / 52.931656; -4.126984 (Porthmadog, Welsh Highland Heritage Railway)


External links[edit]