The Snowdon Mountain Railway
Imposingly situated in the heart of North Wales, the twisting, sprawling mass of rock that is Snowdon dominates the surrounding countryside in the face of strong opposition from its more immediate rivals.In an area of outstanding natural beauty, the highest mountain in England and Wales also lays claim to having the highest railway in the country.Not only is it the highest but it is also our only mountain rack railway.North Wales has a unique place in the history of narrow gauge railways in Britain and had many built from the 1860s onwards.The mountainous terrain and lack of traffic made standard gauge lines uneconomical to construct and operate and the cheaper narrow gauge lines came into their own.
'The Snowdon Mountain Railway' is the story of just one of these lines - the narrow gauge rack-and-pinion line built up Snowdon from Llanberis.Proposals for a railway up Snowdon had been suggested since the early 1870s but it wasn't until the 1890s that these proposals came to fruition.In 1894 the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad & Hotels Co. Ltd was registered and work started later that year.The Company was also to run a hotel at the top and one at the bottom of the mountain and its prime market was the many tourists who ascended Wales' highest mountain each year.
The trials and tribulations of building and operating this unique little railway are told here by Keith Turner, the acknowledged expert on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.Included are details of the construction, the locomotives, the hotels and the rolling stock.It isn't however just the story of a railway, but also the tale of an engineering triumph that has given pleasure to millions over the last hundred years.Without the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the splendour of Snowdonia wouldn't be complete, fewer people would ascend to the top of Snowdon and fewer would see the imposing views possible from its summit on a clear day.
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