Betws-y-coed rail station

Betws-y-coed railway station, Station Approach Road

Passenger trains began serving Betws-y-coed on 6 April 1868. An Act of Parliament in 1865 had permitted the London & North Western Railway to extend the Conwy Valley line, which had opened to Llanrwst in 1863. The Betws-y-coed extension opened in 1867 for freight trains, primarily carrying slate out of Snowdonia. A further extension, to the thriving slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog, opened in 1879.

photo_of_betws_rail_stationThe station building at Betws-y-coed is large for a country branch line. It was constructed by local stonemason Owen Gethin Jones, who also built St Mary’s Church and other local buildings. He is commemorated by Pont Gethin, the elegant stone viaduct which carries the Conwy Valley railway over the A470 road and river Lledr south of Betws-y-coed.

For a while the railway was the principal means for tourists to reach the town, and there were ample station facilities and staff to cope with the crowds. There was also a large goods yard, since this was the railhead for a large swathe of surrounding countryside. Today a railway museum occupies the former goods yard, and the station building houses various tourism-related businesses. The ride on Arriva Trains Wales’ Conwy Valley services (Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog) is widely regarded as one of the most scenic in Britain.

In 1960 a Pullman coach, withdrawn from service, was shunted into a redundant siding at Betws-y-coed to provide camping accommodation for holidaymakers. Pullman was a luxury travel brand which originated in the USA. In the mid-1960s the camping coach was replaced with another Pullman vehicle, called Emerald, also for camping. This was built in 1910 for the South Eastern & Chatham Railway. It is now part of the railway museum, and can be glimpsed to the south of the station footbridge.

The photo, taken by Peter Clark in 1963, shows the station from the south, with the Pullman car in its siding. The footbridge had a roof at that time.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL24 0AE

Other RAILWAY HiPoints in this area:
Blaenau Ffestiniog railway station- narrow gauge and standard gauge at the same station
Llandudno Junction depot
– locos and coaches were serviced where cinema stands
The Dolgarrog Railway – originally built to serve aluminium factory

Thanks to Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales for hosting the QR codes at the station