Snowdon Mountain Railway taking delivery of new carriages

The new carriages offer extra comfort and can carry more passengers.

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Snowdon Mountain Railway has started taking delivery of new carriages for the first time since the current ones were introduced in the 1920s.

The first arrived on Monday and three others will take their place before the railway - which takes passengers to the Snowdon summit - reopens in the spring.

General manager Alan Kendall said they offered extra comfort and enabled more passengers to be carried when required.

The Welsh government has provided funding towards the total £1.2m cost.

"The existing carriages have had lots of additions in terms of repairs and glass, and they date from around 1923," said Mr Kendall.

"They have been kept in service since that point.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Early photograph of Llanberis siding
  • The first train reached the summit of Snowdon in January 1896
  • After work on fencing and signals, the railway was ready to open to the public in Easter 1896
  • The original carriages were open above the middle and had canvas curtains, which provided little protection against the elements
  • Trains would push two carriages - the rear carriage was roofed with canvas curtains
  • Between 1951 and 1957 the structure of the original carriages was modified to enclose them

SOURCE: Snowdon Mountain Railway

"The four new ones carry 74 passengers instead of 56 and that will look after demand for the majority of the year.

"We can carry people in more comfort with better visibility and they can feel a bit warmer or cooler [depending on the temperature]."

He said the new carriages would be used with diesel locomotives, which power the majority of passengers to the summit.

However, he said the old carriages would continue to operate with the steam service.

Sunday was the last day that the railway will run this year as it closes for winter.

It will reopen, complete with the new Derbyshire-built carriages, in mid to late March depending on the weather.

"It's fantastic. It's a big thing for me personally because this has been a long time in the making," said Mr Kendall.

"I've been with the business for about 10 years. You come in and identify what needs to be done and with the age of the rolling stock, that was a big priority for me."

He said that along with the opening of the new visitor centre in June 2009, it would help give the business a "sustainable future".

"We're building a carriage for this century really but paying due respect to what's gone before. It's going to be in keeping with that," he said.

"Welsh tourism is about improving quality pretty much everywhere and that's what we're trying to do."

Early photograph of Llanberis station An early photograph of Llanberis station

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