The Bala Lake Railway
The Bala Lake Railway, also known as Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid, is a narrow gauge heritage railway located in Gwynedd, Wales. It runs along the shores of Bala Lake, or Llyn Tegid, which is the largest natural lake in Wales. The railway operates on a section of the former standard gauge Ruabon-Barmouth line, which closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts.
The railway currently has four narrow gauge steam locos running; “Alice”, “Holy War”, “Maid Marian” and “Winifred” (all built by the Hunslet Engine Co. of Leeds).
The Bala Lake Railway was established in 1972 and initially operated with a small collection of locomotives and rolling stock. Over the years, the railway expanded its operations and acquired additional equipment. Today, it offers visitors a charming and scenic journey through the stunning Welsh countryside.
The railway has a track gauge of 1 foot 11½ inches (597 mm), which is commonly referred to as narrow gauge. It runs for a total distance of 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) from its terminus at Llanuwchllyn to its current temporary terminus at Glan Llyn. Plans are underway to extend the line to Bala town, which would add an additional mile to the route, although this is currently having planning difficulties.
Passengers on the Bala Lake Railway can enjoy picturesque views of Bala Lake and the surrounding Snowdonia National Park. The route takes them through beautiful open countryside, woodlands, and alongside the lake’s shoreline. The railway provides a relaxing and nostalgic experience, allowing visitors to soak in the natural beauty of the area while enjoying a leisurely train ride.
The Bala Lake Railway operates a fleet of steam and diesel locomotives, some of which are historic and have been carefully restored. The line also has a selection of heritage carriages that offer comfortable seating for passengers. During the journey, the train stops at various stations, including Llanuwchllyn, where visitors can explore the railway’s facilities, including a museum, gift shop, and refreshment room.
The railway operates a regular timetable, with trains running on weekends and selected weekdays during the summer season. Special events, such as steam galas and themed train rides, are also organized throughout the year, attracting enthusiasts and families alike.
The Bala Lake Railway is a popular tourist attraction in the area, drawing visitors who have an interest in railway history, scenic landscapes, or simply a desire to experience a nostalgic train ride. It offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and enjoy the charm of steam travel while exploring the natural beauty of Wales.