Welsh Highland Railway

Gauge: 1ft 11½in (600mm)


Collection Objects

NumberRailwayObject TypeDescriptionImage
TYWRM:WHR001Welsh Highland Railwaygauge scaletrack gauge marked 23 1/2" from Welsh Highland Ry file WHR001.jpg
TYWRM:WHR002Welsh Highland Railwaynoticenotice; cast iron; 17" x 15"; marked "TRESMASU...TRWY ORCHMYN" file WHR002.jpg
TYWRM:WHR004Welsh Highland Railwaynoticenotice; 16" x 1'; marked "RHYBUDD....TRWY ORCHMYN" file WHR004.jpg
TYWRM:WHR005Welsh Highland RailwaynoticeCard carriage destination notice marked "BEDDGELERT" one side; "PORTMADOC" on reverse file WHR005A.jpg
TYWRM:WHR006Welsh Highland Railwaysignenamel sign; WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY file WHR006.jpg
TYWRM:WHR007Welsh Highland Railwayworks platebuilder's plate marked "ROBERT HUDSON LTD. GILDERSOME FOUNDRY NR. LEEDS ENGLAND file WHR007.jpg
TYWRM:WHR009Welsh Highland Railwaystafftrain staff and tickets marked "WAENFAWR TO TRYFAN MACKENZIE AND HOLLAND; ENGINEERS; WORCESTER" file WHR009.jpg
TYWRM:WHR010Welsh Highland Railwaystafftrain staff marked "BEDDGELERT AND S.SNOWDON" file WHR010.jpg
TYWRM:WHR012Welsh Highland Railwaysignenamel sign; marked "NORTH WALES NARROW GAUGE RLY" file WHR012.jpg
TYWRM:WHR013Welsh Highland Railwayboardcarriage roof board marked "BUFFET CAR"; painted over sign marked "GENTLEMEN" file WHR013.jpg
TYWRM:WHR014Welsh Highland Railwayboardstation nameboard "BRYNGWYN" file WHR014.jpg
TYWRM:WHR016Welsh Highland Railwaystencilstencil; BEWARE OF THE TRAINS file WHR016.jpg
TYWRM:WHR017Welsh Highland RailwayspikeSpike to carry wires on top of stone wall file WHR017.jpg
TYWRM:WHR018Welsh Highland Railwaynameplatelocomotive nameplate; engraved brass; "MOEL TRYFAN" file WHR018-1.jpg
TYWRM:WHR019Welsh Highland Railwayboardcarriage board from Observation Car; possibly used on "Gladstone Car" observation carrige of 1893; NWNGR 8; WHR/FR 29 file WHR019.jpg
TYWRM:WHR020Welsh Highland RailwayticketCollection of 33 Edmondson card tickets from WHR
TYWRM:WHR021Welsh Highland Railwayraillength of rail; flat bottomed 40lb/yd; Welsh Highland Railway c1923 track display section; comprising 2no. lengths of flat bottomed 40lb/yd rail spiked to replica wooden sleeper file TEMP008.jpg
TYWRM:WHR022Welsh Highland Railwaysingle line ticketSingle line tickets South Snowdon to Beddgelert and Portmadoc (New Station) to Portmadoc (old Station) file WHR022.jpg
TYWRM:WHR023Welsh Highland RailwayticketCollection of Welsh Hightland Railway Tickets file WHR023.jpg
TYWRM:WHR024Welsh Highland Railwayshipping noteConsignment Note Portmadoc Croesor and Beddgelert Tram-Railway issued at Portmadoc 19.01.1897
TYWRM:WHR025Welsh Highland RailwaynameplateReplica nameplate "Russell" file WHR025.jpg
TYWRM:WHR026Welsh Highland RailwayheadboardHeadboard carried by the first train from Caernarfon to Porthmadog 30.10.2010 file WHR026.jpg
TYWRM:WHR027Welsh Highland RailwayticketWelsh Highland Railway ticket : Dinas to South Snowden Day Excursion 6 AU 35. Severed half file WHR027.jpg
TYWRM:WHR028Welsh Highland RailwayleafletWelsh Highland Railway "Day Excursions" leaflet advertising train time and cheap day fares file WHR028.jpg
TYWRM:WHR029Welsh Highland RailwayticketWelsh Highland Railway ticket - First Public Passenger Train (Caernarfon - Porthmadog) Saturday 19.02.2011 file WHR029A.jpg
TYWRM:WHR030.1Welsh Highland RailwayticketMetal ticket number 0199 issued by the Welsh Highland Railway Ltd to mark the return to steam of locomotive Russell on 02 August 2014 file WHR030-1.jpg
TYWRM:WHR030.2Welsh Highland RailwayticketMetal ticket number 0243 issued by the Welsh Highland Railway Ltd to mark the return to steam of locomotive Russell on 02 August 2014 file WHR030-2.jpg
TYWRM:WHR031Welsh Highland Railwayticket2 Welsh Highland Railway tickets 25 August 1999
TYWRM:WHR032Welsh Highland Railwayticket20 Welsh Highland Railway tickets
TYWRM:WHR033Welsh Highland Railwayticket2 paper tickets from the Welsh Highland Railway
TYWRM:WHR034Welsh Highland RailwaywaybillWelsh Highland Railway waybill for conductor's ticket sales file WHR034.jpg

The Welsh Highland Railway opened from Dinas, three miles south of Caernarfon, where there was a junction with the LMS, to Porthmadog, where it linked up with the Festiniog Railway, in June 1923. Thereby a scheme first mooted in the 1870s was essentially brought to fruition. Engineers to the new line were Sir Douglas Fox & Partners and the contractors Sir Robert McAlpine. Not long after the line’s opening Col Stephens was appointed engineer and manager to both the WHR and the FR.

The WHR incorporated two older narrow gauge railways: part of the Croesor Tramway opened in 1864 using horse haulage to bring slate from the Croesor valley to Porthmadog harbour, and the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway from Dinas Junction to Rhyd Ddu/South Snowdon, some three and a half miles north of Beddgelert. Until the opening of the Snowdon Mountain Railway in 1896 the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway provided the best means of accessing Snowdon’s summit.

From Tryfan Junction, two miles south of Dinas, a branch line went to Bryngwyn for the purpose of tapping the traffic provided by slate quarried on Moel Tryfan. Authorised by Act of Parliament in 1872 this system was fully operational by 1881 albeit in receivership from 1878.

In 1901 the Portmadoc Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway was formed to complete the link between the NWNGR and the Festiniog using an electric railway. It ordered a new steam locomotive “Russell” for the NWNGR and a lot of construction was carried out, including cutting the Aberglaslyn Tunnels, before work was abandoned in 1908. The only part of the scheme that was completed was the hydro-electric power station at Cwm Dyli, which still feeds power into the National Grid.

Passenger traffic on the Bryngwyn Branch ceased in 1913 and on the main line in 1916. During WWI there was substantial traffic in pit props from Rhyd Ddu and iron ore from Betws Garmon.

But for the war the WHR may have been earlier on the scene. In the event it arrived too late; the slate industry was in terminal decline and the motor coach was becoming a strong competitor for tourist traffic. On top of this the carriages were old and uncomfortable, the season of most trains too short and the journey taking too long. Invariably one had to change at Beddgelert – and wait for the connection – if travelling the full length of the line.

In 1934 the Festiniog Railway leased the WHR in an attempt to save it. Locomotives and carriages were painted in ‘attractive’ colours but all to no avail. The last passengers were carried in September 1936 and freight traffic ceased the following year.

Between 1941 – 42 the track was lifted to aid the war effort. Fortunately all was not lost for “Russell” and three of the original carriages are still with us, albeit substantially rebuilt.

In 1961 the original Welsh Highland Society sowed the seed for re-opening, a task completed by the FR in 2010/2011.


11 Moel Tryfan Vulcan Foundry of 1877; 0-6-4 tank. Ex NWNGR. Scrapped 1954
12 Russell Hunslet Engine Co. No. 901 of 1906; 2-6-2 tank. Ex NWNGR.
Sold to Hook Norton Ironstone and now at Porthmadog Welsh Highland Railway.
590 Baldwin Locomotive Works No. 45172 of 1917; 4-6-0 tank. Scrapped 1940s
Stock incorporated with Festiniog Railway in 1936

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