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Rhyd Ddu (English: Black Ford) is a station on the Welsh Highland Railway. It lies at a height of approximately 191m (626 ft), and a route distance of approx 20.28km (12.6 miles) from Porthmadog.[route 1][wikipedia 1] At approximately 12 route miles from Caernarfon, Rhyd Ddu is roughly half way between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. As such it is the principal passing point for WHR trains.
Formerly known at different dates as Snowdon or South Snowdon,, this station was for many years the terminus of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways. Opened in 1881, this preceded the opening of the Snowdon Mountain Railway (in 1896), and became a popular point for ascending Snowdon. The original station stood where the SNPA car park is now; there was a run round loop and a few sidings.
An attempt by the Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway between 1904-08 to link Rhyd Ddu with Porthmadog (via Beddgelert and Croesor Junction) was not completed. However for at least some of the period 1908-1923 the part completed line on the Beddgelert side of Rhyd Ddu was used to extract timber from Beddgelert Forest. It was not until 1923 (with the opening of the completed Welsh Highland Railway) that rest of the line was opened for passengers and Rhyd Ddu consequently really lost its status as a terminus.
The New Station
Rhyd Ddu was the temporary terminus for the early part of the reconstruction between 2003 and 2009.
The first train run all the way through from Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu was for an HMRI inspection on July 18th, 2003, comprising Harold and a DZ wagon. On the 28th the first test steam train ran as far as Rhyd Ddu with (Prince and Carriage 23, 24, and what was then Van 10), prior to a visit by Prince Charles for the official inauguration on the 30th. Opening Day was August 18th 2003.
The fourth stage of the reconstruction, took the line through to Porthmadog, commenced in 2005 and was completed in 2010.
The present station was built into the hillside behind the old one. The layout consists of an island platform with a passing loop 200 m long on either side. In keeping with FR tradition, trains normally pass on the right-hand side of the loop. There are water tanks at both ends of the platform; they are of traditional Braithwaite railway type but are not universally considered as an improvement to the landscape.
At the south end there is a set of sidings which were used for construction traffic in 2005-7, after which the major construction traffic moved to Hafod y Llyn Isaf. The sidings are unusual in that the the longest is bisected by the foot crossing giving access to the end of the platform. This gives rise to some special rules to ensure trains are stabled safely whilst maintaining the access route.
138 arriving at Rhyd Ddu. BWH
The car park here belongs to the Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) and is limited "pay and display"
For general details see here
The station is to the south of the village beside the A4085. The SNPA has an accessible toilet in the car park for RADAR key holders.
The platform is accessed via a tarmac ramp and level foot crossing. There is a waiting shelter, and also a small booking office which is open on busy days.
- see this comment
- Boyd, James I.C. (1972). Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire. Lingfield, Surrey, England: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 9780853611158. OCLC 707587.
- For more information on the area then visit the WHR Society's site