"Snowdon Mountain Railway" Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa Tip by Balam

Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa, Gwynedd: 3 reviews and 7 photos

  Snowdon Mountain Railway
by Balam

For those who don't want or can't walk (or Climb) up Snowdon there is always the Option of the train.
It was in 1869 that a new branch line of the London and North Western Railway opened bringing people from Caernarfon to Llanberis and the foot of Snowdon then the only way to reach the summit was to walk or take a donkey ride, A proposition was then put forward to extend the railway up to the summit but a local landowner (George William Duff Assherton Smith) turned down every proposal as he thought that a railway would spoil the scenery, it was twenty years later that a rival plan to build a railway from Rhyd Ddu station on the other side of the mountain up to the summit brought fears that Llanberis would forever lose its tourist trade and with this in mind Assherton Smith changed his decision allowing his land to be used and so in November 1894 the 'Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Co. Ltd' was formed to build the railway.
In order to ensure that the trains were able to climb the steep and continual gradient of Snowdon the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Co. Ltd travelled to Switzerland to find the best mountain railway technology

The smooth constant operation when climbing the steep slopes has been achieved by a double racked rail used with a rotating toothed pinion. This pinion is mounted underneath the locomotive guaranteeing that the locomotive does not lose its grip on the track.
The pinion is the only source of traction for the locomotive with the wheels only supporting the weight of the engine. The main point that is unique to rack railways is that the locomotive always pushes the carriage up the mountain and due to safety reasons it is never coupled to the train. The carriage has its own set of brakes that will bring the carriage to a stop if it is disengaged from the Engine.

After some construction setbacks due to some very bad weather the first train reached the summit in January of 1896 and the railway was ready to open to the public in the Easter of 1896.


Llanberis to the Summit. Return £25:00 for Adults and a Single is £16:00
Children return £16.00 Single £13.00

Other discounts apply for students and the disabled or for the various stations along the way

Address: Llanberis, North Wales

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Oct 4, 2011
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse


Balam Visits Here Frequently!


“Take as Many Pictures As Possible”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 8 7
Forum Rank:
0 0 9 0 8

Have you been to Gwynedd?

  Share Your Travels