Behind the Scenes in North Wales

Dinorwic Railway carriage shed - © Peter Johnson
Remains of the Gorseddau Railway - © Peter Johnson
Main building with Una - © Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru / National Slate Museum Llanberis
Llangollen Railway Loco LMS Patriot 5551 - © George Jones
Llangollen Railway Loco GWR 6880 Betton Grange - © George Jones
Llangollen Railway Loco 80072 - © Andrew Gardiner
National Slate Museum - © Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru / National Slate Museum Llanberis
Slate - © Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru / National Slate Museum Llanberis
Prince Edward of Wales - © Rhyl Miniature Railway
Vale of Rheidol Railway - © John R Jones
Vale of Rheidol railway workshops - © John R Jones
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Steve Sedgewick
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Steve Sedgewick
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Steve Sedgewick
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Steve Sedgewick
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Steve Sedgewick
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway - © Mike Heath

Holiday Highlights

  • Footplate rides on Ffestiniog, Rhyl Miniature, Llanberis Lake, Welsh Highland Heritage, Fairbourne, Talyllyn, Vale of Rheidol and Corris Railways
  • Visits to National Rail signal boxes in Machynlleth and Shrewsbury
  • Guided tours and insights from railway staff and volunteers
  • Steam hauled private charter trains on Ffestiniog, Vale of Rheidol, Corris and Talyllyn Railways
  • Scenic rail journey along the Cambrian Coast
  • Tours of remnants of former railways around Porthmadog and North Wales coast
  • Unique behind the scenes access
  • 14 Days from £2,610pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Saturday 30 March to Friday 12 April 2019

This tour offers an amazing opportunity to enjoy sights not normally seen by the average rail passenger. A chance to “access all areas” at many of the railways of North Wales from miniature to standard gauge. We ride on footplates and learn about the history of these fascinating railways.


Day 1 – Welcome Dinner Llandudno

Why not arrive early in the day and explore this Victorian town. We stay in Llandudno for 2 nights and dinner is included at our hotel.

Day 2 – Rhyl Miniature Railway & Great Orme

We visit the Great Orme Tramway, Britain's only cable-hauled public road tramway. We also take the train to Rhyl where we have an 'access all areas' visit to the Rhyl Miniature Railway including opportunities for footplate rides before returning to our hotel for dinner.

Day 3 – Penrhyn Castle

Peter Johnson, currently the Ffestiniog Railway's official photographer, joins us as we make a leisurely transfer from Llandudno to Caernarfon. We stop at Penrhyn Castle to visit the railway museum and its industrial locomotives. We also examine the remains of the Dinorwic Quarry Railway before continuing to Caernarfon for a 2-night stay.

Day 4 – Llanberis Lake Railway

By coach to Parc Padarn Country Park, home of the Llanberis Lake Railway. As well as a return trip on the train and an opportunity for a footplate ride there will be time to explore the slate museum, quarry hospital and craft shops. Lunch is included.

Day 5 – Welsh Highland Railway

From Caernarfon we travel to Dinas where we learn about the history of the Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) and enjoy a guided tour of the workshops and carriage shed. Our journey continues on the WHR through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Porthmadog for a 3-night stay. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 6 – Ffestiniog Railway – Special Train

Experience a rare insight into the Ffestiniog Railway with a special private train including visits to Boston Lodge, Minffordd Yard and the Slate Sheds, Rhiw Goch signalbox and loop. We also take our train along the original 'Dinas' branch to Glan y Pwll Sheds, Dduallt, with its spiral, and we go behind the scenes at Tan y Bwlch. Footplate rides will be available today to those wanting a unique view of the line. A sandwich lunch will be provided and dinner will be included at our hotel.

Day 7 – Cerdded y Cledrau - Walking the Tracks

Today we have an exclusive walking and coach tour led by Peter Johnson to view the remnants of some of the former railways and tramways in the area. Our day will include a talk at Porthmadog Maritime Museum. The day ends with an afterhours visit to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway where there will be opportunities for footplate rides, a buffet meal and a guided tour of the museum.

Day 8 – Cambrian Coast

Leaving Porthmadog we board a Cambrian Coast train to Machynlleth, a rail route that is varied and delivers beautiful scenery. A stop at the Fairbourne Railway allows time for footplate rides on one of the half size replica engines on a double headed train. We also have a workshop tour before continuing by train. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 9 – Talyllyn Railway

Enjoy a guided tour of the narrow gauge railway museum before our private train takes us to Pendre for a workshop tour and to Dolgoch, Brynglas and Nant Gwernol for photo opportunities. Footplate rides will be available to everyone wishing to take a turn. Morning coffee, lunch and dinner are included today.

Day 10 – Machynlleth

A visit to the Corris Railway for a ride on the line, facilities tour, photo run pasts and an opportunity for up to five people to have a cab ride. Morning coffee and bara brith is included and there will also be an opportunity to sample 'bacon butties' cooked on the fireman’s shovel. We move on to Machynlleth for lunch before a rare opportunity to visit the National Rail signal box. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 11 – Vale of Rheidol Railway

We transfer by train to the Vale of Rheidol Railway for a private charter train with 'behind the scenes' access, footplate rides and a member of railway staff acting as our guide. Our visit will include a guided tour of the new railway workshops and locomotive shed. Lunch and dinner are included today.

Day 12 – Bala Lake Railway and Welshpool & Llanfair Railway

Depart Machynlleth by coach to travel to the Bala Lake Railway for a return trip on the line as well as a ‘behind the scenes’ tour including the new interpretation centre. We continue to Welshpool for a return trip on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway. We have time for lunch at the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway and dinner will be at our hotel in Llangollen.

Day 13 – Llangollen Railway

Today we visit the Llangollen Railway for a 'behind the scenes' experience including a shed tour and a look around the carriage and wagon depot and signal box. We will have a ride on the train and a buffet lunch. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 14 – Shrewsbury Station and Signal Box Tour

Our tour ends with a coach transfer to Shrewsbury station where we are able to visit the signal box and take a fascinating tour of the station before saying our goodbyes.

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. The private charters are 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 timetables are yet to be published the days may be switched to accommodate our visits.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

St George’s Hotel, Llandudno

Celtic Royal , Caernarfon

Royal Sportsman Hotel, Porthmadog

Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth

White Waters Country Hotel, Llangollen

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Rail travel as mentioned in Standard class
  • Accommodation in good, quality hotels on a bed & breakfast basis
  • 7 lunches and 11 evening meals
  • Excursions as specified
  • All transfers as specified
  • Private charter trains as specified
  • Footplate rides as specified
  • Services of a tour leader from Llandudno and throughout the tour to Shrewsbury station

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,610
Single room supplement: £350
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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