Back in ’02 during the formative years of the XJR Owner’s Club a fellow owner and steam train enthusiast (Borg) rode up from his home in London to spend a couple of nights with me in Shropshire where I was living at the time. We rode over the Berwyns to Bala and beyond to Portmadoc for our first look at their Steam Rail setup and were very impressed. Mostly manned by volunteers it was quite something.
We parked the bikes at the station and spent the rest of the day around the trains and rolling stock. We even took a ride by steam train up to Ffestiniog where the slate was mined that the railway had been built for in the first place. It carried the slate down to the harbour in Portmadoc from where it was shipped to London amongst other places. There was a time when the streets of London were said to be paved with gold – even for the welsh slate industry.
I remember cobbling a ditty together and sending it to my very young grandchildren at their home on the outskirts of London. It went something like this.
PORTMADOC STEAM FESTIVAL by grandpa Donald —
with slate from the quarries —
action from the workshops —
a bit of spit and polish —
and a good push from the back —
the little steam train puffed off down the track —
Portmadoc Steam Festival by grandpa Donald
While on the subject of Steam trains here two more photos borrowed from a friend.
The impressive Jacobite engine which pulls the train between Fort William and Mallaig —
one of these days I’ll make this trip on the train but the road to Mallaig was built for bikers.
Thanks for the Jacobite train pics Buttons – hope you like what I’ve done with ’em 🙂
Confession — I used a touch of poetic licence with the opening photo at the top of the page. It was taken in a railway carriage but nowhere near Port Madoc. That pic was taken on the wooden train that runs between Palma and Soler on the island of Majorca 🙂