Ffestiniog Travel blog

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Dave Kent is a narrow gauge enthusiast and has been involved in the rebuilding and operating of the Welsh Highland Railway over the last 20 years. His first job, many years ago in finance was as a Bank Cashier for the National Provincial Bank. After many years in a career in finance and life assurance, he finished up as Marketing Manager for an...

Dave Kent is a narrow gauge enthusiast and has been involved in the rebuilding and operating of the Welsh Highland Railway over the last 20 years. His first job, many years ago in finance was as a Bank Cashier for the National Provincial Bank. After many years in a career in finance and life assurance, he finished up as Marketing Manager for an American Bank before early retirement. This change of circumstances allowed him to not only restore the 16th Century home he and his wife Gina bought over looking the Welsh Highland railway line but also allowed him to become, firstly a board member of the support society and its Treasurer and then to become Chairman for the entire rebuilding of the line over the next 14 years. He is now President of the Welsh Highland Railway Society.

During the rebuilding of the line he met many people who came to view construction progress including Mr Wilf Mole, owner of Sandstone Estates and patron of Sandstone Heritage Trust. Sandstone is twinned with the WHR and Dave has taken footplate staff from the FFR/WHR out to Sandstone on 3 occasions and helped them operate the museum line for their public festivals on the wide range of steam loco’s in the collection. On the fourth occasion the visit was a unique opportunity when the “crews” went out to help Reefsteamers of Germiston operate on the South African Main Line, a never to be forgotten experience with 4-8-2’s bigger that 9 F’s, and that’s on 3’6” gauge, one trip that can never be repeated as the rules have now changed.

The South African Adventure Ffestiniog travel are arranging gives travellers an opportunity to experience many of the places Dave has visited, but most importantly it will give members of our party the chance to experience Sandstone as a real hands on visit. The chance to be involved in the action takes this trip to a new level, so although overalls are not obligatory but you might like to find room at the bottom of your case, you never know what you might be offered a chance to get your hands on!

Dave is 72 and now lives on the west coast of Scotland where he and his wife Gina have built their eco friendly home.

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TOM CHESSHYRE is the author of six travel books that have taken him from Hull to Tripoli via assignments in North Korea, Nepal, India and Iceland. He writes for The Times and has contributed to the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement and the Mail on Sunday. His magazine work has been for Geographical and Condé Nast...

TOM CHESSHYRE is the author of six travel books that have taken him from Hull to Tripoli via assignments in North Korea, Nepal, India and Iceland. He writes for The Times and has contributed to the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement and the Mail on Sunday. His magazine work has been for Geographical and Condé Nast Traveller.

On his travels he has been hijacked in Africa, met tornado-chasers in America and followed in the footsteps of Graham Greene in Haiti. His books include Ticket to Ride: Around the World on 49 Unusual Train JourneysGatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real MaldivesA Tourist in the Arab Spring, Tales from the Fast Trains, How Low Can You Go and To Hull and Back: On Holiday in Unsung Britain.

He contributed a chapter about crossing the border into Libya to The Irresponsible Traveller: Tales of Scrapes and Narrow Escapes, a collection of travel stories published by Bradt in 2014.

His latest book, Ticket to Ride: Around the World in 49 Unusual Train Journeys was inspired by being fortunate enough to experience train rides in far-flung corners of the globe during his work as a travel journalist – and also simply by wondering: why do people seem to love trains so much?

His previous book Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives escribes the many troubles bubbling beneath the surface of one the most beautiful places on the planet . . . troubles that are often left unreported in the travel press. He picked up the idea for he book after an assignment to write about five-star hotels, during which he realised that the country’s more interesting stories lay elsewhere.

Chesshyre has worked on The Times since 1997. He helps edit the Saturday travel pages and writes a UK hotel column. He lives in London.

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Michael Whitehouse is a railway enthusiast, photographer, traveller and lawyer. He combines all his interests by travelling at least bi-monthly to some destination usually outside Europe and so is a seasoned traveller well used to tight schedules, airline travel and getting around in foreign countries. He has made over a dozen trips to Myanmar...

Michael Whitehouse is a railway enthusiast, photographer, traveller and lawyer. He combines all his interests by travelling at least bi-monthly to some destination usually outside Europe and so is a seasoned traveller well used to tight schedules, airline travel and getting around in foreign countries. He has made over a dozen trips to Myanmar and so knows the country well. Indeed, he has been to all the destinations on the Burma Adventure tour before except Golden Rock and both of the tour guides are personal friends. He has taken thousands of pictures in Myanmar and made six visits to the Burma Mines alone. There will be very little which surprises him on this tour! In his travelling and professional career as a lawyer, he is well used to dealing with people in different countries and will work with the local guides to get the best out of the trip and overcome any issues which may arise as we go along. He will usually know the best places to take pictures from and the sights to look out for and enquire about. He has a good background knowledge of Myanmar from its historical, political and geographical aspects

Michael is 62, married to Helen and together they have two sons. They live in Worcestershire. Michael has been Chairman of Vintage Trains for very many years and is the recent past Chairman of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, having spent much tim as part of the core Welsh Highland team developing the railway from inception

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Nigel has been a long term supporter of the Ffestiniog, and more recently the restored Welsh Highland Railway for more years than he cares to remember. He started volunteering as a fireman over forty years ago and is now a qualified driver. He is equally at home driving a double Fairlie on the Ffestiniog mainline or gently pottering about with...

Nigel has been a long term supporter of the Ffestiniog, and more recently the restored Welsh Highland Railway for more years than he cares to remember. He started volunteering as a fireman over forty years ago and is now a qualified driver. He is equally at home driving a double Fairlie on the Ffestiniog mainline or gently pottering about with Lilla, as a member of the Lilla Locomotive Group. About twelve years ago he was approached to join The Festiniog Railway Company board and is still its finance director. At the same time he joined the board of Ffestiniog Railway Holdings and is now its chairman. Over the years and his family have enjoyed several trips with Ffestiniog Travel, most recently to explore the beautiful Harz mountains and their enchanting medieval towns (as well as their fascinating narrow gauge railways!).

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UK & European Ticketing Supervisor Dan May is a dedicated and longstanding member of the team at Ffestiniog Travel having joined the company in 2002. He enjoys the challenge of finding a new routing or ticketing type to help his clients reach their destination. When he’s not at his desk Dan can be often found leading our tours, frequently to...

UK & European Ticketing Supervisor Dan May is a dedicated and longstanding member of the team at Ffestiniog Travel having joined the company in 2002. He enjoys the challenge of finding a new routing or ticketing type to help his clients reach their destination. When he’s not at his desk Dan can be often found leading our tours, frequently to Germany although he can be found venturing to any part of the world. Dan is a fond traveller and loves nothing better than whipping his passport out and experiencing new and varied cultures. When he’s not travelling Dan is a keen thespian and is involved with the local amateur dramatic group. He is no stranger to performance having appeared in many a pantomime or murder mystery in the local hotels, when he’s not on stage he can be found behind the scenes ensuring the show goes smoothly. Dan is fully qualified as a guard on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and can often be seen blowing his whistle on the station platform! Through an exchange scheme between the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen in Germany Dan has visited the Harz region many times and even guarded trains on their lines!

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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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