The Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway, located in Gwynedd, Wales. It is a major tourist attraction located mainly within the Snowdonia National Park.
The railway is roughly 131⁄2 miles (21.7 km) long and runs from the harbour at Porthmadog to the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, travelling through forested and mountainous scenery. The line is single track throughout with four intermediate passing places. The track gauge is 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) allowing trains to interwork through to the Welsh Highland Railway of 1922 (operated by the Ffestiniog). The first mile of the line out of Porthmadog runs atop an embankment locally called "the Cob", which is the dyke of the Traeth Mawr "polder".
Tourism And Heritage
One of the earliest references to tourism is in the LNWR Tourist Guide for 1876, which waxed lyrical about the Ffestiniog Railway, which it illustrated with a drawing of a lady in Welsh national dress (then still in regular local use) travelling on an FR up train (since many empty slate wagons – with two standing brakesmen – were attached at the rear) with the caption "On the Ffestiniog Railway". The guide uses the "double F" spelling throughout.It was, however, in the inter-war years from 1919 to 1939 that tourism, though always valued, came to acquire a major importance.
Recognition of the railway’s importance to tourism and heritage has been increasingly marked by financial assistance given to the company towards capital expenditure. Prior to September 1987, the FR had received £1,273,127 in gifts and grants. Of this: £450,476 was Gifts from the FR Society and FR Trust and other supporters; £379,335 from Wales Tourist Board; £134,320 from EEC Grants and £308,996 from other public sources.Major grants received subsequently have been: In 1989 a grant of £430,000 (£797,572 as of 2012), mainly from The EEC (National Programme of Community Interest for the promoting of tourism in Dyfed, Gwynedd and Powys);in 1995 a grant of £500,000 (£716,550 as of 2012), to promote work in Blaenau Ffestiniog and in 1998 a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £375,000 (£491,885 as of 2012), for the construction of workshops to facilitate the restoration of historic vehicles.
Today the railway is promoted as one of The Great Little Trains of Wales, a joint marketing scheme launched in 1970 that encompasses ten narrow gauge railways in the country, mostly found in north and Mid Wales.