The Fairbourne Railway is a 12 ¹⁄4 in gauge miniature railway running for 2 miles from the village of Fairbourne on Cardigan Bay, alongside the beach to the end of a peninsula at Barmouth Ferry. The railway is popular with visitors to the larger seaside resort of Barmouth, across the River Mawddach.
The history of the Fairbourne Railway began with the arrival of the Cambrian Coast Railway in the district and the accompanying schemes to develop the area for tourism. There were several horse drawn construction tramways in the area, the tramway that was used to construct the village became the Fairbourne Railway.
Beginning life at 2 foot gauge, the line was converted to a 15 inch gauge steam railway in 1916 and played an important part in the development of the 15 inch gauge railways in the UK.
The railway had mixed fortunes during the inter war years (at one time it was leased to the ferrymen) and at another time it experimented with dual gauge track after trying to solve a motive power shortage by buying a locomotive of a different gauge (18 inch). The line closed in 1940 after operating its final year with a diesel locomotive.
The current owners bought the line in 1995. There has been a huge investment in the line and Rowen Nature Centre. The Directors do not receive any salary, share dividend, their motivation is to preserve the line. Any potential profit that could be generated would be ploughed back into the railway.
Review Fairbourne and Barmouth Railway.