© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
It is perhaps a good thing that my wife has
little or no sense of direction. A sunny Sunday
meant a trip into Wales, a run along the
shores of Lake Vyrnwy (in the car, that is...)
and a picnic at Bwlch-y-Groes, high above
Dinas Mawddwy. "Let's take the road down to
The road in question leads unerringly to
Llanuwchllyn, headquarters of the railway.
"What a surprise." There was a little time
to kill before the train, so we had a look
around the site, checking out the
residents of the shed and one or two other
locomotives. "Holy War", almost 100 years
old, and due for celebrations shortly, was undergoing some light
maintenance, while Peckett "Triassic", a mere 91-year-old, sat in
need of some TLC. Meanwhile, out on the line was "Maid Marian",
whose centenary will be next year. Maid Marian and Holy War
both saw service in the slate quarries of North Wales in their
The line was built on the trackbed of the
former Ruabon - Morfa Mawddach line - same
route as the Llangollen Railway, some miles to
the east. The run beside the lake was very
pleasant - there was much activity on the water
of Wales' biggest natural lake, while buzzards
wheeled in the air above, and herons stalked
the streams beside the lake. The 4¼ mile line
ends at Bala station, at the opposite side of the
valley to the town of the same name.
This is not one of those "keep off, out-of-
bounds" railways. The fine signalbox is open to
visitors, and there were no objections to my
requests to visit the shed, and to cross the line
to get to the "right side for the light" ("don't
cross while the train is moving though"). The
friendly staff at the station and on the loco
were happy to chat for a minute or two.
Altogether a very enjoyable couple of hours,
rounded off by tea and home baked cakes in the station buffet.
Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid is recommended!
Bala Lake Railway