Phase 3: Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu, 2000-3

Opening Day, August 18th 2003

Phase 3 pages:
Public Opening

The first train of the day, hauled by Millennium, brought invited guests including track sponsors; it is seen here arriving and standing at Rhyd Ddu.

After passengers had disembarked, the train set back out of the station to make a ceremonial re-entrance, breaking a banner.

Having crossed the return working at Waunfawr, the first public train followed, hauled by no. 143.

The pictures below show the third working of the day; by this time the trains were running virtually at capacity.

The scene at Waunfawr was suddenly much busier now that it had become a crossing place; the fourth return trip, with no. 143, is seen taking water and then departing for Rhyd Ddu; the right-hand picture shows the same train arriving there.

FR Company press release, August 12th 2003:

We are pleased to advise that the new section of the Rheilffordd Eryri / Welsh Highland Railway, from Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu, will be opening on Monday 18th August 2003.

The 'Special First Train', hauled by Garratt locomotive 'Millennium', will depart from Caernarfon at 10.30 at the commencement of the 12-mile run to Rhyd Ddu The arrival of the locomotive at Rhyd Ddu, breaking through the opening banner, is scheduled for 11.40.

This 'Special First Train' will be full of invited guests, many of whom have either contributed financially or been involved with the building of the railway. Members of the Ffestiniog Railway Trust, the Ffestiniog Railway Board, The Welsh Highland Light Railway Board, The Welsh Highland Railway Society and the Ffestiniog Railway Society will be present to join in the celebrations.

One special guest, Mr Richard Williams, is an elderly gentleman that travelled on the original Welsh Highland Railway opening train in 1923. Another gentleman, Mr John Pritchard, recalls all the original Welsh Highland Railway construction work and subsequently used the train to travel to school. Both gentlemen are bursting with interesting local stories to tell!

The first public train departs from Caernarfon for Rhyd Ddu at 11.50. (text copyright FR Co)

Phase 3 pages:
Public Opening

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Authored by Ben Fisher; last updated September 1st, 2003