The first train to cover the whole 25 mile length of the Welsh Highland Railway will travel from Caernarfon to Porthmadog this Saturday, October 30th.
The train is one of two specials arranged for the sponsors who have contributed over £2 million to the project to rebuild the UK's longest heritage railway, linking Caernarfon with the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog, allowing narrow gauge trains to run for almost 40 miles through the Snowdonia National Park to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The first train leaves Caernarfon at 0900, crossing Britannia Bridge in Porthmadog at 1125. The second departs at 1100, arriving at Porthmadog at 1340. The trains return to Caernarfon at 1250 and 1455 respectively.
The following day, another special train, this time for the volunteer tracklayers who rebuilt the railway and their families, departs Porthmadog at 1315, hauled by the world's newest steam locomotive, Lyd, built in the railway's own workshops at a cost of over £350,000.
Both days offer the chance to see steam trains running down the tramway section in Porthmadog High Street for the first time since
the original railway closed over 70 years ago and crossing the Network Rail main line over the UK's only standard gauge / narrow gauge level crossing.
Of the sponsors who contributed to the rebuilding of the railway, the largest group by postcode come from the local LL area. The railway cost £28 million to complete and generates some £15 a year for the Gwynedd economy and creates an estimated 350 jobs in the area.
The railway is due to be opened officially on April 20th, 2011.