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Call for Gwynedd residents to back track their memories of historic heritage railways

Image from 1963 - the Ffestiniog Railway, Porthmadog (Pic: FFWR)

DID you know, until 1996 the Ffestiniog Railway’s beer trains were the only place to get a drink in Dwyfor when the area’s pubs were closed on a Sunday?

It is just one of the quirky memories that have been shared as part of a project to relive the past of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways.

As part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Interpretation and Porthmadog- based Boston Lodge Project, there is now an opportunity for locals and visitors to share their own fond memories and stories.

Where you one of the folks in Blaenau Ffestiniog who witnessed the first train arriving back in 1982?

Or do you have long treasure memories of visiting the newly revived railway,  during in the summer holidays?

Memories and anecdotes are  being collated as part of an ongoing railway project.

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It is all part an ambitious £5.2 million initiative to save and collect invaluable pieces of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways’ past.

The ongoing and ambitious endeavour  will tell the stories of the railway as well share it’s 200- year history, to thousands of visitors.

The project will also aim to involve more people in the railways and  to help people to develop skills within the industry.

The scheme will also see historic buildings being rescued, and some new buildings created.

The railway says its aim is  to help visitors “understand the area’s pioneering spirit and global impact”  whilst  explaining how the industry has shaped the landscape and its community over two centuries.

Boston Lodge Works itself  is the oldest continuously operating engineering works in the world.

The stories will also be kept in the company archives – one of the oldest railway archives in the world.

FFWHR General Manager Paul Lewin said  “We can feel our history slipping through our fingers.

“We must act now to save that history. Your stories must be recorded now before they’re lost forever.”

There will also be tours of Boston Lodge Works and a chance weave the collected stories with the established history of the railway.

It is hoped the memories will help to give a boost to how the history of the railway is told.

Anyone interested in telling their story is asked contact the Interpretation Team at [email protected]. Interviews can be conducted in-person or remotely.

There are also opportunities for anyone who wishes to get involved with the project more broadly.

Opportunities include attending workshops, behind the scenes tours, or even volunteering.

More details can be found on the project website: https://nlhfproject.festrail.co.uk.