Tag Archives: Conwy Valley Line

Some Early Lines Conwy Valley Line Llandudno Junction- Blaenau Festiniog Line

Some Early Lines

Conwy Valley Line

(Llandudno Junction- Blaenau Festiniog Line)

Manchester – Llandudno express approaching Llandudno Junction

View eastward, towards Colwyn Bay and Chester: ex-LNW Chester – Holyhead main line, with the branch to Blaenau Ffestiniog curving away to the right up the Conwy Valley. This is the 13.40 from Manchester Exchange via Chester, with No. 44687, one of the two later Ivatt-modified Stanier 5MT 4-6-0s with double-chimney, Caprotti valve gear and roller-bearings (built 6/51, withdrawn 1/66).  © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

  Conwy Valley Line

Bala and Festiniog Railway

The Conwy Valley Line (Welsh: Llinell Dyffryn Conwy) is a railway line in north Wales. It runs from Llandudno via Llandudno Junction (Welsh: Cyffordd Llandudno) to Blaenau Ffestiniog, and was originally part of the London and North Western Railway, being opened in stages to 1879. The primary purpose of the line was to carry slate from the Ffestiniog quarries to a specially built quay at Deganwy for export by sea. The line also provided goods facilities for the market town of Llanrwst, and via the extensive facilities at Betws-y-Coed on the London to Holyhead A5 turnpike road it served many isolated communities in Snowdonia and also the developing tourist industry. Although a little over 27 miles (43 km) between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog the journey takes over one hour. Most of the stations along the route are treated as a request stop.


The first section from Llandudno Junction to Llanrwst (now called North Llanrwst) was built as the Conway and Llanrwst Railway and opened in 1863. The LNWR took over in 1863 and opened the extension to Betws-y-Coed in 1868.

Goods train coming off the Conwy Valley branch at Llandudno Junction

View eastward, towards Colwyn Bay and Chester on the ex-LNW North Wales main line, Blaenau Ffestiniog on the branch. The locomotive (running bunker-first) is LMS Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T No. 41235 (built 9/49, withdrawn 11/62). A DMU recedes eastward on the main line.  © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 The next extension was to Blaenau Ffestiniog to access the output of the large slate quarries there. The LNWR first proposed a narrow gauge railway via the steeply graded Lledr Valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog. After construction began, it was decided that the extension would be built to standard gauge, allowing through running of trains. Between 1874 and 1879 the railway tunnel underneath Moel Dyrnogydd was bored, allowing the extension to open in 1881.

Steam has now virtually disappeared from the old LNWR branch from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Festiniog.  The last Surviving regular steam train is the daily goods, usually hauled by an ‘Ivatt’ Class 2  2-6-2 tank.  No.41228 approaches Llanrwst on 10th August, 1960. – Derek Cross

Blaenau Ffestiniog’s other standard gauge railway, the Bala and Festiniog Railway, was closed to all traffic in 1961, and a portion was flooded in the creation of the Llyn Celyn reservoir. A rail connection was desired for the nuclear power station under construction at Trawsfynydd, and a connecting line was built from Blaenau Ffestiniog North to the site of the demolished Blaenau Ffestiniog Central station for freight use. With the reconstruction of the Ffestiniog Railway, passenger services were relocated to a new joint station on the site of the old Central station in 1982. Regular freight traffic to Trawsfynydd ceased in the 1990s, and the power station is being decommissioned.

A railcar set from Llandudno to Blaenau Festiniog leaves Bettws-y-Coed on 10th August, 1960.  This branch was originally projected as a narrow gauge line to link up with the Festiniog Railway. – Derek Cross

Modern services

Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway Station

 On the left of the picture, Arriva Trains Wales British Rail Class 153 DMU 153327 stands at the standard gage platform for a Conwy Valley Line service. While on the right of the picture the narrow gage Ffestiniog Railway locomotive Linda is about to run-round the train in preparation for the journey to Porthmadog. Note also the different platform heights for the different gauges.

Date 18 June 2006  Source Own work  Author Chris McKenna (Thryduulf)

Chris McKenna (en:User:Thryduulf), the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following license:   This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

 The line from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau is single track, and includes the longest single track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom (over 2.5 miles / 4.02 kilometres). Between Llandudno Junction and Llandudno the service uses the double track branch line from the North Wales Coast Line. The fully signalled passing loop at North Llanrwst is the last remaining between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog and trains on the branch must stop at the signal box there to exchange tokens for the single line sections on either side.

North Llanrwst station platforms – railcar leaving for Blaenau Ffestiniog

Photo taken by  Noel Walley  Date 9 June 2006 (original upload date)

 Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

The train service is operated by Arriva Trains Wales and is being marketed as the Conwy Valley Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy). A feature of the service is the availability on Conwy Valley trains as well as on local buses in Snowdonia of the new “Tocyn Taith” day ticket. The services run every three hours on weekdays and Saturdays, with six departures per day each way in total. There is also a limited (three each way) summer Sunday service in operation from the beginning of the summer timetable in May until early September

From 20 May 2007, Concessionary Travel Pass holders resident in Conwy and Gwynedd have been able to travel free of charge on the Conwy Valley Railway line between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, as well as between Llandudno Junction and Llandudno on all Arriva Trains Wales services, as a result of funding provided by the Welsh Assembly Government. Also, there are plans to upgrade the line to take slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coast, sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government

150253 heading into the Lledr Valley in the Summer of 2007. This unit has now been repainted into Arriva’s standard livery.

Author Elganthomas

 Licensing:  I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following licenses: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

  The original line terminated at the North Western station (where there were extensive slate yards) to the west of Blaenau Ffestiniog town centre. However, following the closure and removal of a section of the former Great Western Railway line from Bala, a short section of new railway was built alongside the Ffestiniog Railway Company’s narrow gauge line in order to connect the Conwy Valley Line with the isolated section of the GWR line, which had been retained to serve the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd. Years later a new Blaenau Ffestiniog station was constructed in the centre of the town. Beyond the new station, the line was used only for goods traffic connected with Trawsfynydd, although occasional special passenger trains have been run at times. In recent years, the traffic from Trawsfynydd has ceased completely and the line has been disconnected from the Conwy Valley Line just outside Blaenau Ffestiniog station.

There are connections at Llandudno Junction with the North Wales Coast Line (the main line between London and Holyhead) and at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the Ffestiniog Railway to Porthmadog.

For her last few years ex LNWR superheated ‘Precursor’ class 4-4-0 No.25297 was stationed at Chester, often working over the branch to Denbigh and Corwen.  Prior to that, in 1947, she was at Llandudno Junction working the North Wales coast trains, sometimes loaded up to ten bogies.  An unusual duty was this turn on the Blaenau Festiniog branch, ‘Sirocco’ was the last of the LNWR 4-4-0s and at one time there was talk of preserving her, but she was withdrawn before the more enlightened era of locomotive preservation had begun. – C.F.H.Oldham