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The Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group was founded in 1997. Its purpose is to foster the heritage aspects of the Welsh Highland Railway and its predecessors.  It participates in heritage events on the railway, helps maintain heritage structures and records, and researches the history of the line.

This website records much of the work which has been undertaken along the line together with some of its history, and the Journal records the fruits of research by its members.

What is the Welsh Highland Railway?

The creation of the Welsh Highland Railway fulfilled an 1870s vision of linking the Bays of Caernarfon and Cardigan, via Beddgelert, with a narrow gauge railway.

Its history is a blend of contradictions and complex compromises:

  • It had been planned that its terminus would be Caernarfon, but that never happened.
  • It was to have been powered by electric traction, but that didn’t happen either.
  • It should have been completed in the first decade of the twentieth century and that too went awry.

It finally opened as a through route in 1923, running for just fourteen difficult years, before closing – seemingly for ever in 1937………..!

But 60 years later it began a new existence under the aegis of the Ffestiniog Railway Company and the entire length of the line has now been reconstructed with steam trains operating once again.

Join us now!

Join the Group now and support our activities (or even just make a donation). Members receive a free copy of the quarterly journal Welsh Highland Heritage.

For further details please click here

New publication

The Saints’ Way: A Failed Mission

Ffordd y Saint

by Stephen Murfitt

A printed and bound edition of Stephen Murfitt’s Centenary Prize winning essay

New additions to the website

By courtesy of Richard Maund we have been able to add fresh archive material to the site.  We now have details of the 1922 Contract to build the WHR, and the 1934 Lease to the Festiniog Railway.

Centenary  Competition  Winner

As part of the WHR Centenary celebrations, a prize competition was announced by the sponsoring organisations for research articles relating to the history of the railway. Here is the report of the outcome:

Stephen Murfitt receives his award from Lord Hendy

LIFELONG steam railway enthusiast Stephen Murfitt has been named winner of the prestigious Welsh Highland Railway research competition.  The contest, which carried a prize of £500 and was sponsored by Heritage Railway, was for the best piece of original research on the history of the 1ft 11½in gauge WHR and its predecessor, North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways.   A final list of three entries was selected by  two eminent judges who finally selected Stephen’s submission titled ‘The Saints’ Way: A failed mission – Ffordd y Saint.’

Click here to read the essay