Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

A birthday surprise

marketing narrow-gauge welsh-highland-railway

Yesterday, the family trooped down to Porthmadog to visit the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. My parents are sharing the cottage with us, and either by accident or design we had contrived to book a week coinciding with my dad’s birthday. So it seemed appropriate to book him on a driver experience trip on the WHHR – after all what 60-something ex-schoolboy wouldn’t want to have a go on a steam engine? Somehow between all of us we managed to keep it a secret until the return journey from Pen-y-Mount.

The railway has a great way of doing a driver experience on Saturday afternoons. Rather than the expense of a full day course (which I’m sure would be brilliant if you had the spare money), you can join the crew on the footplate of the 4pm departure to observe what goes on and then, once the public are out of the way, try your hand first with a light engine and finally with the loco coupled to the carriages. As the line is short the whole thing takes about an hour and half so you can still be home in time for dinner!

Dad at the controls
Dad gets a briefing on how to drive Gelert, a Bagnall 0-4-2T.

Gelert approaching Porthmadog
Returning to Porthmadog light engine after a trip down the line.

Coupling 'Gelert' at Porthmadog
Coupling up to the train at Porthmadog. By all accounts he did pretty well!

The final journey with full train is available to family members, so I got to enjoy a quiet ride in the “toast-rack” coach in the late afternoon sun.