Clearance work on disused Trawsfynydd railway line to start
Work to clear a Gwynedd railway line that has been unused for 18 years is set to start, with a view to the line eventually reopening.
The eight-mile stretch between Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog was last used in 1998.
A group of volunteers will start clearing the 148-year-old line on Saturday.
Network Rail said it was "pleased to be working with the collective aim of regenerating the disused railway land".
Colin Dale, of the Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog community railway company, said: "What we have got is a licence so that we can go in there and clear it and survey the state of the bridges and viaducts.
"We know that the line is in quite good condition."
The railway was originally part of the branch line from Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog Central.
The line closed to all traffic in 1961 but the section between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd reopened in 1964 for freight traffic to serve the nuclear power station. It finally closed in 1998.
In 2012, trials with a pedal-powered 'velo-train' took place on the line.
Mr Dale, who lives in Colchester, said the project was "part passion and part business" and hoped the clearance project could be done within six to eight months.
He said: "I just thought it was a rescue that should happen. It was just sitting there, rotting away.
"There's been so much interest. People really, really want to see it open. The line has arguably got the best scenery in the world."
Network Rail said it was "pleased to be working with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group with the collective aim of regenerating the disused railway land in Blaenau Ffestiniog."
They added: "This first step is to clear approximately 275 metres of the line and complete a survey along this stretch of the railway.
"We will be working closely with the Trawsfynydd Railway Group and the local community with regards to the possible next steps once the initial clearance work and survey have been completed."