The Snowdon Mountain Railway
The Snowdon Mountain Railway takes you on an unforgettable trip up to 3,560 feet (1,085 meters) and the top of the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon, “Yr Wyddfa” in Welsh. The trip takes you from the pretty town of Llanberis through beautiful scenery before reaching the summit and the panoramic views across Snowdonia and far beyond.
The opening of the Welsh Highland Railway and it’s station at Rhyd Ddu on the south-west of Snowdon led to a decrease in visitors at Llanberis, so it was decided to build a railway to claim back some of lost trade. After much debate and arguing, the “Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Ltd.” was formed and work started on the huge engineering project in 1894.
The work involved one hundred and fifty men, with only shovels, picks and dynamite. In the process, two viaducts and several bridges were built, plus a three-hundred foot cutting through the mountain rock. All-in-all, nearly five miles of track was laid with a one-in-seven gradient and all this was done in a mere fourteen months.
A patented rack-and-pinion system was already in use in the Swiss Alps and America. Locomotives were purchased from Switzerland (four of which are still in operation), with the loco “Enid” clocking up nearly two-million miles since she started in 1896.