Frequently Asked Questions

Narrow Gauge Railways - the beginning

The horse-drawn Ffestiniog Railway opened in 1836 to connect the slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the coastal port of Porthmadog. The traffic on the line quickly grew to the point where the horses could no longer haul the empty slate wagons back to the quarries quickly enough to meet demand. In 1863 steam locomotives were introduced on the 1 ft 111/2 in (597 mm) gauge railway, with passenger services following in 1865. This was the first steam operated railway providing both freight and passenger services on such a small gauge, and it proved the model for the introduction of narrow gauge railways across the world.

Boom and Bust years

The success of the Ffestiniog Railway triggered a boom in the construction of narrow gauge railways, not just in Britain but around the world. There was a boom in narrow gauge railway construction from 1865-1925.

A total of nearly 1000 railways were constructed for various uses around the UK. After that the first World War all railways were suffering constant decline with the introduction of road vehicles being the main factor