Llanberis Lake Railway

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Llanberis Lake Railway
Locale Wales
Dates of operation 1971 – present
Track gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Headquarters Llanberis
The loco “Dolbadarn” pulls into the Llanberis station which was opened in June 2003.

The Llanberis Lake Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llyn Padarn) is a narrow gauge heritage railway that runs for 2.5 miles along the northern shore of Llyn Padarn in north Wales in the Snowdonia National Park. The starting point is the town of Llanberis at the eastern end of the lake with the western terminus at Pen Llyn in the Padarn Country Park. The return journey takes around 45 minutes.


The Welsh Slate Museum, the original terminus of the Llanberis Lake Railway

The railway was built in 1971, specifically for the tourist market. It uses three steam locomotives (“Elidir“, “Dolbadarn” and “Thomas Bach”) all of which ran on the internal 2 ft (610 mm) gauge lines of the Dinorwic slate quarry. There is also a diesel loco “Twll Coed“, which is used when the steam locomotives are unavailable.

The railway runs along part of the trackbed of the defunct Padarn Railway, a 4 ft (1219 mm). gauge line which connected the quarry with Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwic) on the Menai Strait. The Padarn Railway was lifted in 1969 and the lakeside length was replaced by the current Llanberis Lake Railway, originally running from the Welsh Slate Museum at Gilfach Ddu to Pen Llyn. Gilfach Ddu was the main engineering workshop of the Dinorwic Quarry and provided repair facilities for all of the steam locomotives of the quarry system.

Llanberis Extension

Thomas Bach pulling onto the Llanberis Extension
Dolbadarn - Side elevation drawing

In June 2003 the railway was extended the town of Llanberis, with a new station close to the start of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The original terminus at Gilfach Ddu is now a through station serving both the Welsh Slate Museum and the nearby Dolbadarn Castle. On the return journey from Pen Llyn, passengers may stop off at the Cei Llydan station for a picnic and a chance to enjoy the magnificent views of the Snowdonian mountains above Llanberis Pass.


Number Name Builder Type Works number Date Notes
1 Elidir Hunslet 0-4-0ST 493 1899 Built for the Dinorwig quarry
1 Elidir Hunslet 0-4-0ST 493 1899 Built for the Dinorwig quarry
2 Thomas Bach Hunslet 0-4-0ST 894 1904 Built for the Dinorwig quarry; originally named Wild Aster
3 Dolbadarn Hunslet 0-4-0ST 1430 1922 Built for the Dinorwig quarry
7 Topsy Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 441427 1961 Built for Bestwood Colliery
8 Twll Coed Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 268878 1952 Worked at the Lodge Hill and Upnor Railway
11 Garrett Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 198286 1939
12 Llanelli Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 451901 1961

Historical Accuracy

Although some railway purists have dismissed the Llanberis Lake Railway as a historically inaccurate creation [citation needed], it gives the chance for people to see the steam engines of the Dinorwic Quarry in a historical setting and co-ordinates well with the Welsh Slate Museum. It is also a popular tourist destination in its own right, providing a pleasant trip through some of Wales' most spectacular mountain scenery.


  • Thomas, Cliff (2002). The Narrow Gauge in Britain & Ireland. Atlantic Publishers. ISBN 1-902827-05-8. 

See also

External links

Flag of Wales 2.svg Heritage railways in Wales

Amman Valley Railway - Bala Lake Railway - Brecon Mountain Railway - Bridgend Valleys Railway - Corris Railway Society
Fairbourne Railway - Ffestiniog Railway - Gwili Railway - Llanberis Lake Railway - Llangollen Railway - Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway - Rhyl Miniature Railway - Snowdon Mountain Railway - Swansea Vale Railway - Talyllyn Railway
Vale of Glamorgan Railway - Vale of Rheidol Railway - Welsh Highland Railway - Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
Heritage Railways: England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland - Isle of Man - Channel Islands