This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
O
n a chilly spring morning, in the shadow of work was carried out by unpaid volunteers, such as Elwyn Jones
Caernarfon Castle, two shiny locomotives who has been giving up his weekends to work on the railway since
arrive in a cloud of steam, while the 1995. Sitting in a comfortable passenger seat, looking out as the
expectant crowd waits eagerly to board the first ever train enters stunning Welsh countryside, today’s journey offers an
passenger train to the pretty village of Beddgelert. altogether more relaxing experience of the scenery he’s used to.
It’s also the first time for more than 70 years that the village’s “My job is to manhandle steel sleepers and lay the rails,” says
station will be used, as previously trains could only travel as far Elwyn. “It takes on average 10 men two weeks to lay quarter of a
as Rhyd Ddu at the foot of Snowdon. mile. There are three groups; the Black Hand Gang, the Rest of the
The sound, smell and sight of the steam trains transports World Gang and the Tuesday Gang. I’m part of the Black Hand
everyone back to a golden age when travel was not a chore to be Gang and we work every other weekend. The name comes from the
endured, but a pleasure to be enjoyed. fact our hands get so black and greasy.”
After a short wait, a whistle blows and passengers, including It’s extremely hard work, but Elwyn doesn’t begrudge a single
TV crews and numerous photographers, begin to board the minute. “We do it to bring prosperity to the area. It’s good to give
pristine carriages for an historic journey. Today’s celebrations are something back,” he says. “This day means a huge amount to me
part of a grand plan to link Caernarfon through Snowdonia to and I have been waiting since I was 14 years old. Now I can say
Porthmadog, making this, at 40 miles, the longest steam railway I’ve helped lay these tracks. It’s like a dream.
in England and Wales. “Steam trains are like living things. All the parts are visible,
The Welsh Highland Railway, which is owned and operated unlike a diesel engine. They also take you back to another era.”
by the Ffestiniog Railway Company, is famous for transporting
passengers through some of the most breathtaking, unspoilt
scenery in the country and now it promises to be even better.
As the grandly named ‘Special First Train’ pulls out of the station
at Caernarfon on a blustery April day, right on cue a rainbow
stretches over the Menai Strait and the sun illuminates the green
fields stretching down to the glistening sea in the distance. This
puts the passengers in high spirits and the significance of the
moment is not lost on anyone, particularly as most have played
an integral part in reaching this pinnacle.
Dedicated volunteers
It’s the culmination of 15 years hard work, including fund-raising,
dealing with legal disputes and sheer hard graft, such as building
work, preparing the ground and laying tracks. Much of the manual
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com