Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

The narrow gauge steam trains of Wales

September 2016

There are particular methods of travel that make the most of your surroundings. A journey on board one of the many narrow gauge steam trains of Wales is certainly the best way to enjoy the magnificent landscape of the country.


FFestioniog & WElsh Highland Railways

From the harbour at Porthmadog and the backdrop of Caernarfon Castle, to the slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog, these powerful trains make for a wonderful journey. See the sights from the comfort of a carriage, climbing more than 700 feet from the sea to the peaks of Snowdon.

More trains in Snowdonia

Vale of Rheidol Railway

Vale of Rheidol, Ceredigion

Let the restored vintage steam trains take the strain on an adventure through rolling, changing countryside to invigorate the senses. The 12 mile route between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge is a master class in engineering, which has been in use for 110 years – now it’s your turn to sample its delights.

More trains in Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay

Snowdon Mountain Railway, Gywnedd, Snowdonia by Marcher57

Heading along two major viaducts via a waterfall and an ancient forest, this journey to the peak of Snowdon takes on volcanic rock and sea, ending at a visitor centre with marvellous views across Snowdonia. Exorcise the ghosts of run-of-the-mill train trips on one of the most spectacular journeys you’ll take.

More attractions near Llanberis

Fairborne Railway at the Barmouth Ferry Terminus, Snowdonia by rowanC82

The roots of this locomotive service hark back to mid-19th century expertise, and the wonderfully relaxing two-mile ride takes in a beach and golf course along the way. The end of the line is notable for offering a connection to a pedestrian ferry bound for the seaside resort of Barmouth.

Talyllyn Railway's No. 3 'Sir Haydn' at Maespoeth Junction, Cardigan Bay
by babs_pix

Get away from it all with a journey slow on speed and fast on sights along the Cardigan Bay coast. Originally taken over during the early 1950s, the original steam trains are manned by a friendly team on the tracks, offering cream teas and excellent views of the Fathew Valley.

Gwili Steam Railway, Carmarthenshire by alunb

Iron mills and a river ride are in store on this picturesque tour, lasting about an hour but designed so you can hop on and off for refreshments or sightseeing. Fields, hills and gulls swooping along the water provide the scenery from locomotives once used for industrial or wartime service.

More trains and historic attractions in Carmarthenshire

Brecon Mountain Railway in the snow, Brecon Beacons by Griffin Guiding

Limestone quarries and the 13th century ruins of Morlais Castle give Brecon two of the most evocative gateways to a railway – and they’re just the start. The Mountain Railway winds through villages, the highest peak in South Wales and the vast, 85 year old Reservoir Dam. Hop off for stunning scenery.

More trains and historic attractions in Mid Wales

Welshpool to Llanfair Railway, Mid Wales by James - Leogem

Start in historic Welshpool and take in the Banwy Valley on an ancient locomotive – the two in use were supplied to the railway back in 1902. This is a great route if you feel like a walk along the riverbank, although your carriage is a choice position for spotting wildlife.

Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdonia by David ...

Glimpse the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle, twin lakes, the village of Llanberis and the historic Padarn Country Park on a vintage steam train rescued from local quarries. The five-mile trip offers enviable views of Snowdon, a chance to admire the fire-stoked engine and a lakeside picnic opportunity on the way back.

Bala Lake Railway, Snowdonia

Sit back and relax on a nine-mile breeze through the celebrated Snowdonia National Park, beginning in the pretty Llanuwchllyn Village, a place entwined with Arthurian legend. The lake itself is the largest natural body of water in Wales, and sites along the way include churches and a Norman Castle Motte.

For more articles on Wales click here


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti