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The Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway, built under the Caernarvon and Llanberis Railway Act 1864, was an eight-mile branch line from the Carnarvonshire Railway running from Caernarfon to Llanberis, Gwynedd via Pont Rhythallt (for Llanrug), Cwm y Glo, and Padarn Halt, and terminating at Llanberis.

Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway
Opened1 July 1869 (1869-07-01)
Closed20 October 1964 (1964-10-20)
Operator(s)London and North Western Railway 1869-1923
London Midland and Scottish Railway 1923-1948
British Railways 1948-1964
Line length8 mi (13 km)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Carnarvonshire Railway
Bangor and Carnarvon Railway
to Bangor
Quay Sidings
Caernarvon (Morfa)
Carnarvon (Pant)
Pont Rug
Llanberis Tunnel
Glynrhonwy Quarries
Padarn Halt
Llanberis enlarge…
Dinas Junction
Nantlle Branch Junction
Pant Glas
Afon Wen


The Carnarvon and Llanberis railway bill passed through parliament in 1864.[1] The estimated cost of construction of the line 8 miles (13 km) long was £110,000 (equivalent to £10,623,689 in 2018).[2]

Construction started on 15 September 1864 when the first sod was cut by the Hon. Emily Wynne of Glynllifon, daughter of Spencer Bulkeley Wynn, 3rd Baron Newborough. The event was marked with a procession of 700 children with the Llanrug Brass Band, and the Revd. W. Lloyd William, vicar of St Padarn's Church, Llanberis.[3] The plan was for the railway to be operated by the London and North Western Railway.[4]

The railway opened on 1 July 1869[5] but was overshadowed by a nitro-glycerine explosion at a quarry near Cwm-y-Glo railway station which resulted in 5 deaths and 12 severe injuries.

The line from Llanberis to Caernarfon was built from Llanberis towards Caernarfon. For a while the railway terminated at Caernarvon (Morfa) railway station. When the "Caernarfon Town Line"[6] was built through a tunnel under the centre to join the various routes. Morfa station was closed on 5 July 1870, though it appears that formal paperwork was not concluded until the following January.[7]

In 1870 the London and North Western Railway took full ownership of the line, and the Carnarvon and Llanberis railway company was dissolved.[8]

The railway was initially built as a local link between villages, serving the local population. However tourist traffic increased hugely after the Snowdon Mountain Railway opened in 1897.[9][page needed]


On 25 August 1872 the market train from Llanberis was approaching Carnarvon when it was run into by a ballast engine. A second class carriage received the full shock of the ballast engine and was knocked to pieces. The two passengers aboard were uninjured.[10]

Closure and traces of the railwayEdit

The station closed for regular passenger services in 1930 but was still used by summer excursion trains[11] until 7 September 1962 and freight services until 3 September 1964.[12][13]

The last fare-paying passenger service was an enthusiasts' special on 20 October 1964.[14][15] The line was lifted in 1965.[16]

Some evidence of the railbed still exists. The site of the track in Llanberis now carries the A4086 road where it by-passes the village along the lakeshore, and the former station is occupied by a craft centre. An area known locally as the Sidings on the shores of Llyn Padarn also shows some evidence of its past. The next section of railbed runs alongside the lake and is now the Lon Las Peris ("Peris Green Lane") cycle path., There is also evidence of the former railway on bridges and a tunnel near Cwm y Glo, near Llwyncoed Farm - mentioned in the song Tylluanod ("Owls") by the local band Hogia'r Wyddfa ("Snowdon Lads") in 1969. The railbed then follows the line of the A4086 through Cwm y Glo past Y Fricsan Inn, the site of Cwm-y-Glo railway station. It then follows the River Seiont downstream for the rest of its route to Caernarfon.


  1. ^ "Carnarvon & Llanberis Railway". North Wales Chronicle. Wales. 2 April 1864. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Cutting of the First Sod of the Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway". North Wales Chronicle. Wales. 17 September 1864. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway". Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, Glamorgan, Monmouth and Brecon Gazette. Wales. 29 September 1865. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "The Terrible Accident near Carnarvon". Bolton Evening News. England. 2 July 1869. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ Town line history, via Disused Stations
  7. ^ Quick 2009, p. 110.
  8. ^ "Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway". Aberystwyth Times. Wales. 21 May 1870. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ Baughan, Peter E. (1988). The North Wales Coast Railway. ISBN 0-9510302-9-9.
  10. ^ "Alarming railway accident near Carnarvon". South Wales Daily News. Wales. 27 August 1872. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ Johnson 1995, p. 71.
  12. ^ Shannon & Hillmer 1999, p. 18.
  13. ^ Kneale 1980, Plate 129.
  14. ^ 20 October 1963 railtour record, via Six Bells Junction
  15. ^ Rear 2012, p. 71.
  16. ^ Rear 1979, pp. 87 & 89.