Klausrl’s Weblog

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

Wales without a rental car.

Just a quick taste of Wales.  This particular photo from Arriva Trains Wales web site.

I’m working up a sample trip from Manchester to Llandudno Junction, then to Blaenau Ffestiniog. There transfer to the Ffestiniog Narrow gauge to Porthmadog.  In Porthmadog a person could ride the Welsh Highland round trip to Caernarfon, taking a few hours to see the huge castle at that end of the line. Remember that also in Porthmadog there is the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway a short ride with a stop at the shops working to restore some of the old engines. Very nice “Tea Room” as well.

Back on the standard gauge line south to the Talyllyn Railway. This little railway is a great ride, well worth the time.

The Talyllyn also hosts a very nice museum.

On to  Aberystwyth and the Vale of Rheidol. A first rate operation although lacking in some of the personality of the Ffestiniog or Talyllyn, the Vale of Rheidol runs deep into dense forest, clinging to hillsides, up to Devils Bridge.

Back at Aberystwyth, it’s an easy connection back to Manchester.

This trip could be made without the use of a rental car or bus transfers. The airport at Manchester has a train station in the terminal, that has frequent service to Manchester Piccadilly (that’s the main train station).

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April 6, 2010 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland this summer?

I’ll let the links speak for themselves.

http://www.festrail2009.co.uk/ebrochures/steam-scenery-snowdonia.htm

http://www.oakeleyarms.co.uk/

And, if you decide on a trip to the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland check out the Oakeley Arms Hotel. Large rooms for the U.K., and great food. In the Pub, on cool nights they have a coal fire going in the fireplace. The coal warms you to the bones.

New this year to Porthmadog  a Travelodge. Provides the equivalent of US turnpike, motel service.  For those on a budget, this could make the difference.

Remember also Port Merion is just nest door, for you Patrick McGoohan fans, Port Merion is the Hotel/Town that served as the setting for “The Prisoner” BBC TV Show.

For those of you that are “Bucks UP” The Village is operated as a Hotel, although the tariffs are breath taking.

The grounds are however open to us commoners for a small fee. It’s worth an afternoon walkaround.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tal-y-Llyn Railway troubles

DSCN0572 Small Web view

Just getting the word out. Not sure how to help, but the Tal-y-Llyn railway on the coast of Wales would seem to be suffering from the slack economy. Word is that the operation lost about 100,000 pounds, roughly $180,000 last year.
The Tal-y-Llin is one of the oldest restored railways in the U.K., but suffers from being some distance off the be beatin track. About halfway between Porthmadog, and Aberystwth Wales, this wonderful little railway is passed by on the way to other destinations.
Check them out at http://www.talyllin.co.uk.. it’s worth the look, and if you happen to get to the U.K. a trip through Wales is worth the time. You don’t really need a rental car as the train service is good. The only notable gap in transportation, being that the west and north coast railways have no direct connection. If you have the time, one can take the Ffestiniog from Porthmadog to Ffestiniog, and catch the Conwy Valley standard gauge line to the coast.
The Cambrian Coast route stops right at the west end of the Tal-y-Llin railway, a 1/2 block walk to the narrow gauge station and museum.
Anyway here’s the question for you. Any ideas on how to get the word out about the trains of Wales. I know there are sites out there (Great Little Trains of Wales) and other, but their visibility seems low. I’m not in the travel industry, but it seems like that might be the key to helping out these small railways. It would be a shame to lose some of them.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welsh Highland Golden Spike

Saturday, February 2009 the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways will be linked in a golden spike ceremony, in Porthmadog, Wales. Actually a golden clip, they do things a little different over there.

Now the work begins for those of us in the U.S.  Time to spread the word, with the world economy going in the tank, it would be a shame for the Welsh railways to fail after all they have done to restore the lines.

I know that not everybody can afford to take off every other year or so, but, for a relatively inexpensive trip Wales works.

Give it a thought. Castles, little trains, mountains,sea,and great people.

I’ve been to London several times (big city) and York (old city) great trains museum there.  But if you would like to visit an area that lets you turn your mental clock back 50 years, it’s got to be Wales, OK Scotland was pretty cool to.

I’m going to work on a trip plan next time I get home, but I’m thinking there’s a loop from Manchester west along the north coast, then south to Aberystwyth (ask Avrila) then back to Manchester.  Train travel is very reasonable, and fast.  If you rent a car, try Avis, avoid National.  Someday I’ll have to tell about the Vaxhaul, $1600 for two weeks (OUCH).

Might be a good year to go if you can afford it. Lots of people are going to stay home and there might be some good deals to be had.

February 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Wales | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Save the Wales.

Ok, silliest title I’ve come up with in a long time.
Want to turn your mental clock back 50 years or so?
From London or Manchester, grab a train and head west to Wales. For those of you that follow science fiction, Cardiff is the new center of the Si.Fi. world. Dr. Who and Torchwood are produced in Wales in and around Cardiff.
A few hours north near Porthmadog, on the coast is Port Merion. This first class hotel is “The Village” from “The Prisoner”. Port Merion is worth a day on it’s own, but be advised, that the hotel grounds are on a very steep hillside, on the coast. Lot of up and down walking, and night be a bit much for some people.
Of course Wales has more little railways than you have the time to see, on any one vacation. Rather that repeat my work, I ask you to check out my post “Narrow gauge railways in Wales” under the trains category, on my blog.
One little gem I found is the Oakeley Arms, in Maentwrog, about ten miles east of Porthmadog.
The Oakeley, an old hotel, resturant, and local pup, is mostly stone construction, the rooms are large by U.K. standards, and the food is first rate. A good cook and local produce make for great dinners. The halls in the hotel will make you wonder why you have never seen a mystery movie made here. Lots of turns, and nearly hidden stairs, make this a most interesting building.
From the Oakeley it’s a short drive to Ffestiniog and the slate mines, the other direction and 15 minutes brings you to Porthmadog, and to the south a half hour sits Harlech Castle. A bit beyond Harlech is the town of Tywyn and the Talyllyn Railway. This little known railway, smaller than the Ffestiniog, is a gem. Great museum and a nice ride into the hills. Have tea at the end of the line, while the crew gets ready for the return trip.
Wales is great for unwinding, get away from the job. The only problem, is that if you spend a week with the Welsh people, you might start thinking silly things, like “Is there some way I could make a living out there”.
If somebody offered me a driving job, and it could be done. Too many problems, being a U.S. commercial driver. Well if it could happen, I’d be there as fast as I could get there.

April 30, 2008 Posted by | Wales | , , , , , | Leave a comment