Bala Lake Railway
The nominal 2’ gauge Bala Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a delightful little 4½ mile line running alongside Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The trains are hauled by historic Welsh steam locomotives.
The Bala Lake Railway was built on the trackbed of the former Ruabon to Barmouth Line, which was closed by British Railways in 1965. It was the first narrow gauge railway to be built on an abandoned British Railways trackbed.
The town of Bala and the village of Llanuwchllyn sit at either end of Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), the largest natural body of water in Wales. The British Railways Ruabon to Barmouth Line, which served them, ran along the southeast shore of the lake, offering stunning views across the water to the mountains of Snowdonia beyond.
It’s the perfect setting for the first narrow gauge Railway to be built on an abandoned British Railways trackbed. The nominal 2’ gauge Bala Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a delightful little 4½ mile line combining the beautiful location with historic Welsh steam locomotives.
Being built on a standard gauge trackbed, there are no sharp curves as generally found on narrow gauge lines.
The journey from Llanuwchllyn to Bala takes about 25 minutes, the train waits there for 10 minutes while the engine runs around for the return journey, so a round trip will take an hour if you don’t stay to visit Bala itself. Llanuwchllyn is the best starting point as parking near Bala (Penybont) station is restricted to narrow roads, whereas there is ample free parking at Llanuwchllyn. Llangower is also a good stopping point, the station is right alongside the lake and is an ideal place to stroll along the shore or have a picnic.
Bala Lake is in a fairly remote part of Wales which makes it all the more beautiful, but it is easily accessed from Dolgellau or Corwen by the A494. The Bala Lake Railway is different from many other Welsh narrow gauge lines as it is not climbing steep inclines and traversing sharp curves, but it has a charm all of its own.