Wow 2016 has been quite a year for Snowdon Mountain Railway
It was a year which saw us celebrate our 120th anniversary in style and we’re now planning how we’re going to be able to top it all next season.
This historic season began back in March when snows started to lift from Snowdon’s higher slopes, allowing trains to go as far as Clogywn Station, three quarters of the way up the mountain.
In May, we reached the summit again and this significant summer season began in earnest with a number of special events.It was a busy first month at the summit starting with a performance by the Happy Choir of North Wales’ Minority Ethnic Elders Association before the Royal Artillery Regiment woke up Wales with a bang as they celebrated an anniversary of their own – 300 years of the regiment – by firing a 105mm artillery gun from the mountain’s summit at dawn. We helped by transporting the huge gun to the summit and back.
Another special visitor was legendary BBC TV presenter John Craven who brought the Countryfile cameras to Snowdon for a special episode in which John took the train and tried to beat a hill runner in a memorable race to the peak.
As the summer got into full swing, rock singer Mike Peters of 80s group The Alarm played a fantastic charity gig at the summit, kick-starting a series of fun events all building up to the 120th celebrations in autumn.
In June, pupils from Ysgol Dolbadarn in Llanberis were invited to experience a trip on the mountain railway to see the views from the top of Snowdon, many experiencing the trip for the very first time. We assisted both the Snowdon Race and Twilight Race, were entertained by pop-up theatre group 7aith and supported Disability Wales Skiing carry a sit ski up the mountain for charity.
Which brings us to the 120th weekend in September…
120 years of taking passengers to the top of Wales’ highest mountain is certainly something to celebrate, so we invited passengers, businesses and people from Llanberis and across the country to come along and enjoy food, drink, fun and games in our station forecourt. Staff dressed up in traditional Victorian clothing and we enjoyed three days of toasting our remarkable mountain railway.
You’d think we wouldn’t be able to fit anything else into the season but our steam and diesel locomotives carried on climbing the mountain into October. In that time BBC Gardeners’ Question Time recorded a show on the summit; Liverpool’s Hung Gar Kung Fu school carried a Chinese dragon to the peak in aid of Llanberis Mountain Rescue and Snowdonia National Park Authority; before Pudsey came to Snowdon.
Fittingly, we ended the season with the Last Post being played at the summit to remember the fallen in all wars for the Poppy Appeal.
It really was quite a year… and with North Wales being named in Lonely Planet’s top five places to visit next year, we just can’t wait for 2017! Watch this space to find out what we have in store…