Llanberis Lake Railway
14th AUGUST 2008

 My first visit to The Llanberis Lake Railway and what a pleasant surprise. A nice cafe and sales shop and beautiful surroundings. Our train was waiting to set off for Llanberis, the cafe etc being at Gilfach Ddu. It's a curious run because the journey begins in the centre of the line, setting off for Llanberis and then retracing its route before heading North for the rest of the trip.

 In charge of our train today was N0.1 "Elidir".

 En route for Llanberis and crossing the river looking towards Llyn Peris and Snowdon. Llyn Peris forms the lower part of the pumped storage scheme.

 Llanberis Lake or Llyn Padarn, looking North.

 The route North takes the train through heavily wooded county.

 One of the stops on the way.

 Llyn Padarn from the train looking South.

 A 10 minute break is taken on the return trip, presumably to balance the timetable. Picturesque to say the least.

 While "Elidir" stood in the loop, the second train ex Llanberis, hauled by "Thomas Bach" (in suitable livery), ran straight past as it headed North. No1 then started its journey to Llanberis and so the service repeated itself throughout the day.

 "Elidir" crossing the waterway en route for Llanberis station. This waterway might be Afon Seiont I'm not sure but it connects Llyn Padarn to Llyn Peris. Certainly Afon Seiont leaves the North end of Llyn Padarn and emerges into the sea at Caernarfon harbour.

 One thing I wanted to see was the train crossing the road, not a common sight in the UK, and here it is. Quite impressive I think.

 "Thomas Bach" taking a drink.

 Ready for the off.

 Heading for Llanberis.

 Llanberis is also, of course, the home of The Snowdon Mountain Railway and I arrived at the station just in time to see Hunslet diesel "Ninian" arriving from its trip up the mountain.

 Soon afterwards steam locomotive "Wyddfa" headed out for the climb. The railway is rack and pinion operated because the mountain is too steep for normal adhesion to work and the engine and single carriage are not coupled together. In this way the coach can be stopped should anything happen to the locomotive. When on level ground the boiler points downwards so that it becomes level while on the mountain.

 Well covered in the press is the reconstruction of the passenger facilities at the summit of the mountain. On the day of my visit a helicopter was constantly shuttling materials to the construction site.

 I just managed to get the train and the returning helicopter in the same shot. The train can be seen just above the shed roof.

 A view of the massive workings on the mountain side, this is across the valley from Snowdon. How on earth did the workmen get up there and back each day?

 "Thomas Bach" on its return from Llanberis.

 Crossing the road at the end of the pedestrian bridge.

 In and around the station at Gilfach Ddu it is an industrial archaeologist's dream. This is an inclined plane, presumably from off the mountain and working on the gravity principle. The shot doesn't really portray the steepness of the incline but the wall on the left, which is horizontal, gives some idea.

 These are more inclined planes seen from the car park.

 While walking around I noticed an archway in the cliff side and with rails leading through it, I just couldn't resist.

 Through the archway was a most magical place. It was an old quarry working that was now overgrown with trees and filled with water. There was no air movement inside and not a sound to be heard. As this shot shows there was barely a ripple on the water. Suspended from what I guess was an aerial ropeway was a 4 wheeled tub.


 At the far end of the quarry were some climbers practising their art - not for me I'm afraid!

 Note the third member of the team top right in the undergrowth.

 The water was a green colour but very clear, similar to that seen in Swiss rivers.

 There are rails at every turn, such is the fascination of Wales, well for me anyway.

 Old buildings were disappearing into the undergrowth as nature reclaimed its own.

 You could almost see the ghosts of long disappeared workmen as they went about what must have been very hard work, and dangerous too.

 One of the scars left by the workings.

 A tunnel, the reasons for which were not clear but it now houses electricity cables.

I didn't have time to explore the whole area but I will certainly be returning to discover what further delights there are at Llanberis. There is, for instance, the Dinorwig Power Station that operates on the pumped storage system thus allowing almost instant power when everyone switches on their kettles at half time. I have been into the caverns of this mammoth undertaking but that was many years ago and I really would like to see it again. I fully recommend a visit to this intriguing part of wonderful Snowdonia.

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