North Wales Railways
In addition to the mainline Conwy Valley line there are several heritage and narrow-gauge railways within an easy drive of The Crafty Kitten in Llanrwst.
Conwy Valley Line (Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy)
This still active, 27 mile long mainline runs from Llandudno via Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog and was opened in stages between 1863 and 1881. Its primary purpose when it was built was to carry slate from the quarries at Ffestiniog to a quay at Deganwy so that the slate could be exported by sea.
The line from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau is single track, and includes the longest single track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom (over 2.5 miles / 4.02 kilometres). Between Llandudno Junction and Llandudno the service uses the double track branch line from the North Wales Coast Line. The fully signalled passing loop at North Llanrwst is the last remaining between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog and trains on the branch must stop at the signal box there to exchange tokens for the single line sections on either side.
The nearest stations to the Crafty Kitten are the two stations in Llanrwst, you should remember that many of the stops on this line are request stops.
Although only 27 miles long the journey from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno Junction takes about an hour with the journey from Llanrwst to Blaenau Ffestiniog taking about half an hour. You should also note that during the week the trains run approximately once every 3 hours and that at the time of writing there are only 3 trains each way on a Sunday.
Ffestiniog Railway (Reilfford Ffestiniog)
Ask any railway buff in the UK and they will have heard of the Ffestiniog Railway. This narrow-guage railway was built almost 180 years ago (having been founded by an Act of Pariliament on 23rd May 1832 and thus being the oldest independent railway in the world) to carry slate from the quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog to the harbour at Porthmadog.
Operating over 13.5 miles the railway operates Double Fairlie locomotives which look like two engines back to back.
Timetables and details of fares are on the Ffestiniog Railway website or by phone on 01766 516024.
Welsh Highland Railway
The Welsh Highland Railway is North Wale's newest heritage railway and the UK's longest now that it is fully open between Porthmadog and Caernarfon. When combined with the Ffestiniog railway visitors can ride across Snowdonia for more than 40 miles.
Passing the foot of Snowdon, the beautiful village of Beddgelert and travelling the length of the Aberglaslyn Pass passengers can enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Snowdonia passing areas that are inaccessible by road.
Timetables and details of fares are on the Welsh Highland Railway website or by phone on 01766 516024 or 01286 677018.
Snowdon Mountain Railway
The Snowdon Mountain Railway goes from the station in Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, a total length of over 4.5 mile (7.53Km), although in bad weather the trains may terminate either at Rocky Vally (5/8th of the way up) or at Clogwyn (3/4s of the way up) if there is snow at the summit.
This is a rack and pinion railway. This system is used because of the gradients on the route (an average of 1 in 7.86 with the steepest gradient being 1 in 5.5) and is the only public rack and pinion railway in the British Isles.
Although this is a relatively expensive trip (adult return fares from Llaberis to the summit are £30-39 per person in 2019) it is a unique rail trip in the UK. Details of other fares and the timetable are on the Snowdon Mountain Railway website
Great Orme Tramway
The Great Orme Tramway (or funicular railway) was opened in 1902 and has been carrying passengers almost ever since (there was a short break after an accident in 1932) and is the only cable-hauled tramway still operating on British public roads.
Open from late March to late October the trams run from Victoria Station in Church Walks, Llandudno to the summit of the Great Orme every 20 minutes with the first tram starting at 10am. More information about the tram can be found on the tramway website.