FR Behind the Scenes

Bob Cable explains the hidden infrastructure - © Dan May
FT Group at Coed y Bleddiau, one of the UK's smallest platforms - © Dan May
Merddin Emrys at Boston Lodge - © Dan May
Taliesin at Penrhyn - © Dan May
Taliesin & special train in Minffordd yard - © Dan May

Holiday Highlights

  • Steam Hauled Private Charter
  • Footplate rides
  • 'Behind the scenes' access
  • New Porthmadog Signalbox
  • Guided tours from Active Staff & Volunteers
  • 3 course evening meal  Days 1 & 4
  • After dinner speech by General Manager Paul Lewin
  • Drive an engine in Porthmadog Harbour Station
  • 5 days from £795pp

Tour Dates:
Friday 2 October to Tuesday 6 October 2015

Tailor this tour for independent travel

A splendid opportunity to visit the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and enjoy the sights not normally seen by the average passenger. The Ffestiniog Railway is steeped in history and this holiday offers a unique “access all areas” tour of the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway as well as a trip on the UK’s longest and newest narrow gauge railway, the Welsh Highland Railway.


Day 1 – Arrive Porthmadog

Arrive in Porthmadog in time to check into the Royal Sportsman Hotel, our base for the next 4 nights. This evening we have a group welcome dinner served in the Railway's Restaurant, Spooners.

Day 2 – Ffestiniog Railway

This morning we have a coach transfer from our hotel to Boston Lodge where we take an in-depth behind the scenes tour of the works. The tour includes access to many areas that are not usually open to the public, even on guided tours. We will be able to view loco preparation and take a tour of the Erecting Shop, Drawing Office, Stores, Running Shed, Old Loco Shed, and Carriage Works. After this tour we board the train and make a return trip on the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog, returning back to Porthmadog where we have a tour of the newly developed Harbour Station including a visit to the recently commissioned signalbox with its miniature lever frame and have the chance to get our hands on the controls of a locomotive within Harbour Station. A sandwich lunch is included today.

Day 3 – Welsh Highland Railway

We take the Welsh Highland Railway from Porthmadog through the Aberglaslyn Pass climbing through the forest and over the railway's highest peak at Pitts Head. On arrival in Dinas there is the option of a guided tour of the locomotive workshops, including an opportunity to see the latest work on the railways NG15 locomotive 134, or continuing on to Caernarfon to explore the town. A sandwich lunch is included today.

Day 4 – Behind the Scenes – Special Train

Experience a rare insight into the Ffestiniog Railway with a special steam hauled two-coach train. Our private train includes stops at Minffordd Yard and the Slate Sheds, lonely Rhiw Goch signalbox and loop. We also take our train along the original 'Dinas' branch at Blaenau Ffestiniog and to Glan y Pwll Sheds, Dduallt with its spiral and we go behind the scenes at Tan y Bwlch. There will be several photo opportunities not usually available en route at Rhiw Goch and Dduallt. We return to Porthmadog after travelling over the 'Crosstown link', stopping at Snowdon Mill, the former junction of the Gorseddau Tramway and Pont Croesor, where there is a visitor centre for viewing ospreys. Footplate rides will be available today to those wanting a unique view of the line. A sandwich lunch will be provided and a farewell meal served in Spooners that evening. Joining us will be the General Manager of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Paul Lewin, who will give an after dinner speech.

Day 5 – Farewell

Travel home independently.

PLEASE NOTE – Operational difficulties or requirements and other restrictions may limit or curtail some of the places to be visited but we do undertake to provide a unique insight unavailable to normal passengers or Society members. The special on Day 4 is expected to be steam hauled however in certain circumstances a diesel may be used if steam traction is unavailable for any reason. Please note that as the Railway's timetables are yet to be published the days may be switched to accommodate our visit.


  • Accommodation in a good, quality hotel on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Guided tours as stated
  • Return journeys in 3rd class on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Special Train as detailed
  • Three sandwich lunches and two dinners
  • Transfers as stated
  • Services of a tour leader throughout the holiday
Price per person:  
Escorted holiday: £795
Single room supplement: £145
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

The Royal Sportsman, Porthmadog

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.