Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways - Behind the Scenes

Holiday Highlights

  • Unique behind the scenes access of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
  • Steam hauled private charter
  • Footplate ride on a section of the line
  • Run pasts for photographic opportunities
  • Guided tours and insights from active staff and volunteers
  • History tour of Caernarfon
  • Three course evening meal on last night
  • 5 days from £840pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Friday 22 April to Tuesday 26 April 2022
Friday 14 October to Tuesday 18 October 2022

An access all areas tour of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways! Explore nearly 40 miles of rail track from Caernarfon on the Menai Straits, through Snowdonia National Park, to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Step behind the scenes and visit sections of the line not normally seen by the average passenger.

Wales' Slate Landscape now a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Day 1 – Arrive Caernarfon

Arrive in Caernarfon in time to check into the Celtic Royal Hotel, our base for the next 4 nights.

Day 2 - Snowdonia Circular

After breakfast we head to the newly built Caernarfon Station and board the 10am Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) service train to Porthmadog. The line climbs through the foothills of Snowdon and passes rivers and streams, reaching the railway’s highest peak at Pitts Head, before descending dramatically through forests and the breathtaking Aberglaslyn Pass to the harbour town of Porthmadog. On arrival in Porthmadog enjoy lunch served in the station restaurant Spooners before boarding the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Our journey continues on the standard gauge Conwy Valley line which, after tunnelling under the Crimea pass, follows the route of the Conwy River down to the Irish Sea at Conwy. We make a change of train in Llandudno Junction and travel to Bangor where we finally alight for a coach transfer to our hotel.

Day 3 - History of Caernarfon

This morning we take a walking tour of Caernarfon which includes information about Caernarfon Castle from 1090 to the 21st Century, the town walls and Caernarfon’s slate and maritime history. We also learn about the Roman history of Caernarfon. Segontium was founded by Agricola the Roman governor of Britain in AD 77 and was home to 1,000 auxiliary soldiers. Segontium was occupied for over 300 years, until around AD 394 - no other fort in Wales was held for so long. After our tour we have lunch in Caffi De Winton, located in Caernarfon Station. This afternoon we enter Caernarfon Castle and take a guided tour of this medieval fortress-palace.

Day 4 – Behind the Scenes – Special Train

Today we experience a rare insight into the Welsh Highland Railway with a special steam hauled train. Our private train includes stops at Dinas, where we have the opportunity to explore the loco works, carriage storage and servicing facilities. Later, we travel towards Waunfawr stopping off at Tryfan Junction where the Bryngwyn branch once arched off to the slate quarries on the slopes of Moel Tryfan. Thought to be the oldest slate quarrying area of North Wales, the Tryfan district is suspected to be the source of the slate used in Segontium. We enjoy a buffet lunch in the Snowdonia Park pub in Waunfawr before pressing onwards towards Rhyd Ddu where there will be several photo opportunities, not usually available, including run pasts on the large Tro Ffridd curve. From Rhyd Ddu we decend through the forest towards Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass where we enjoy further run pasts. Finally we reach sea level and cross William Maddocks land reclamation towards Porthmadog and over the crosstown link, passing Harbour Station and over the Cob (Welsh for Embankment) to Boston Lodge Works where we enjoy a guided tour of the oldest railway workshop still in operation. Return to Caernarfon by road for a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 5 – Farewell

After a leisurely breakfast it’s time to check out and say farewell before travelling home independently.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Operational difficulties or requirements and other restrictions may limit or curtail some of the places to be visited but we do undertake to provide a unique insight unavailable to normal passengers or Society members. The special on Day 4 is expected to be steam hauled however in certain circumstances a diesel may be used if steam traction is unavailable for any reason. Please note that as the Railways' timetables are yet to be published the days maybe switched to accommodate our visit.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon

Please note - hotel can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in a good quality hotel on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Guided tours as stated
  • Travel in 3rd class on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Standard class travel from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bangor
  • Special Train as detailed
  • 3 lunches and 1 evening dinner
  • Transfers as stated
  • Services of a tour leader throughout the holiday

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £840
Single room supplement: £110
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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