Snowdonia Coast Town Tour by Rail - Day 3

Wednesday - On our agenda for today is to travel north to Porthmadog and then ride on one of the oldest narrow gauge steam railways in the world!



We need to take our luggage with us and return again to the station at Barmouth; we take the same train as yesterday at 10.01 but stay on board for a fifty minute trip to Porthmadog.

For more journey notes on today’s trip - see Points of Interest Barmouth-Pwllheli.

The growth of Porthmadog followed the building of a sea wall in 1811 to reclaim land from the sea which also created a new harbour for boats to carry slate to markets in England and overseas. Coupled with this was the opening in 1836 of the Ffestiniog Railway and subsequently other tramways and within 40 years nearly 120,000 tons of slate were exported through Porthmadog in more than a thousand ships. Today the community has a population of 4,200; the harbour and the Ffestiniog are still important but for tourism rather than slate!

We leave the train at Porthmadog at 10.51. With over three hours before our steam train leaves at 13.35, we have time to walk into and look around the town, drop off our luggage and have some lunch.

A location tour of Porthmadog - the Queens Hotel is by the station or turn right out of the station for the town centre, other overnight accommodation, eating places, shops and the Ffestiniog Railway. We pass Tesco on right, the Royal Sportsman Hotel on left and we reach a crossroads with a mini roundabout. Penamser Road is on the right (this is the road to Criccieth and Pwllheli) with Tudor Lodge on the left; this road leads to the Travelodge - about half a mile.

Straight on is Stryd Fawr/High Street for more cafes and restaurants. For Yr Hen Fecws, right into Bank Place and left for Lombard Street. Continue along High Street for the harbour followed by the Ffestiniog Railway’s Porthmadog Harbour station.

Barmouth/Abermaw railway station is on the Cambrian Coast Line from Machynlleth to Pwllheli and is located by a level crossing just off the A496 which runs through the town.

Station Approach, Barmouth, LL42 1LS


Snowdonia Town Tour Journey Notes 2 - Barmouth to Pwllheli.

Barmouth Railway Station, Station Approach, Barmouth, LL42 1LS



Plenty of choice for lunch in Porthmadog or if you prefer to soak up the steam railway atmosphere, the Ffestiniog Railway’s Spooner's Grill, Café & Bar is located at their Harbour station. If you have lunch in the town, leave time to get to the station for the 13.35 departure; advance booking at peak times may be advisable.


This afternoon, we will be travelling with the oldest independent railway company in the World; the Ffestiniog Railway was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 (originally built as a gravity and horse drawn line) to transport slate from the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog to the harbour at Porthmadog. With the decline of the slate industry, the line closed in 1946 but rail enthusiasts enabled part of the line to re-open six years later. However, it was not until 25 May 1982 that the line finally re-opened all the way to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Many years had been spent re-aligning the track around a new reservoir (including constructing a new spiral, tunnel and bridges).

We leave Porthmadog at 13.35 and travel 13.5 miles whilst climbing 700 feet to arrive at Blaenau Ffestiniog at 14.45 - the station here is shared with the National Rail Conwy Valley Line. The exit from the station leads to the road through the town; refreshments and shops in either direction but mostly on the right.

For the return trip, there is a train back from Blaenau Ffestiniog leaving at 17.25 with arrival back at Porthmadog at 18.30.

If you fancy a walk when you get back to Porthmadog, you can walk back alongside the Ffestiniog line as it leaves the station along the Cob. At the far end of the Cob is Boston Lodge, the engineering works of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. The works is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest in the world and is unique in having built steam locomotives in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world, established in 1832.

Rail Route: Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9NF

Eat Out to Help OutVisit Britain Good to goVisit Wales VAQASFood Standards Hygiene (Very Good)


Blaenau Ffestiniog is famously known as the "slate capital of Wales" and the "town that roofed the world". Its industrial role has long since diminished, yet Blaenau Ffestiniog attracts many visitors because of its rich slate history.

Gwynedd, LL41 3HS



Porthmadog has a good selection of cafes and restaurants to provide an enjoyable evening meal; the Royal Sportsman has its own restaurant and Yr Hen Fecws a bistro.


Overnight stay suggestions (both for tonight and the following two nights) include the Royal Sportsman Hotel, constructed in 1862 as a staging post for coaches on the turnpike road, the Queens Hotel, the Tudor Lodge Guest House, Yr Hen Fecws Guest House & Bistro and Porthmadog’s Travelodge.

Other Itineraries

> Explore Mid Wales Days Out

> Heritage Railways

> Scenic Railway Day Trips

> Short Breaks by Train

> Short Breaks in Mid Wales

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