02 Jan The running of the Snowdon Mountain Railway – the moment of truth!
Following the excitement and delivery of the new Coaches for Snowdon Mountain Railway…
The moment of truth! As passengers lined up at LLanberis Station, a hustle and bustle of excitement filled the air as we waited in anticipation to climb aboard.
The maiden Journey commences full to capacity with guests the train gently pulls away on a mild but wet day, at this stage snow is reported up the mountain and an air of uncertainty exists about how far up the mountain we will get The coach left the station on time and moved onwards up the mountain. Moving off we listened to the full history of Snowdon Mountain Railway. There was a clear view at Hebron where we could see the small ruined chapel, many walkers and off course Snowdon would not be Snowdon without sheep.
Just past the half way point and the snow is amazing. Here we have these new waterproof carriages for everyone to enjoy yet the temptation to open the windows allowing the snow in was just too much. Still not enough for some passengers they disembarked at our finish point of Clogwyn and carried on to the Summit on foot!
On the official website, there’s a fabulous video of the train and carriages running to the summit. You can see that here.
The Journey to the Summit of Snowdon on the Mountain Railway
The railway opened back in 1896 and after a disastrous first day, has since carried over 12 million travellers. It is the only narrow gauge, public rack and pinion railway system in the UK.
The journey to the summit has to rank as one of the world’s most beautiful railway journeys. Despite only being 4.7 miles long, it winds through spectacular scenery to reach the 1085m summit of Snowdon.
When you leave the base at Llanberis, the train crosses the first of two viaducts which cross the Afon Hwch river, before passing through Waterfall Station, which gives you a perfect view of the Ceunant Mawr waterfall as it drops into the gorge below.
As the train moves on, the view changes into open countryside with the first view of the summit of Snowdon. There are abandoned stone houses dotted around the sides of the track, that use to house local families. It must have been a hard life, in such an exposed and remote location with little in the way of insulation, other than rough stone.
At the next station, the train passes the Hebron Chapel, built in 1833 and funded by donations from local families. It was still in use as recently as 1966, but is now being reclaimed by nature.
Halfway station is the next stop. The Heritage Steam engines stop here to refill their water tanks, ready for the final run to the summit. For some this is a chance to leave the train and return on foot to the bottom via the Llanberis Path which sits to the right.
The views begin to widen as the ascent continues with a view of the Llyn Peninsula emerging in the distance through the valley.
In winter, the trains can go no further than the next stop, Clogwyn Station, when ice and snow prevent trains from reaching the Summit. In summer months however when the train reaches the summit, you’re rewarded with one of the world’s most spectacular panoramas of the hills and valleys below, and the UK’s highest visitor centre. On a clear day, the views stretch as far as Ireland. To the locals, this is not just the summit however, it’s Eryri – the Land of the Eagles.
And our work as Garmendale is done.
Unless you want to hop back on and ride it all the way down again.
Thanks to Les Haines for the image