Who's who?

WHR Organisations

There seem to be so many organisations using the name "Welsh Highland Railway". Which is which and who is who? It is confusing. So here's a potted summary.


Festiniog Railway Ltd

Constructed from 1832, the Festiniog Railway

Welsh Highland Railway (Light Railway) Ltd

In the beginning (1922) was the Welsh Highland Railway (Light Railway) Ltd, formed from prior companies which existed before the beginning (see the detailed history). It closed in 1937.


WHRL(1964) Ltd; WHR Ltd; Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog); Welsh Highland Heritage Railway

In 1964, the Welsh Highland Light Railway (1964) Co. Ltd was formed from an earlier society as a not-for-profit company. This name later changed formally to Welsh Highland Railway Ltd (WHRL). This Company is a registered charity; it owns most of the heritage assets and has operated trains in Porthmadog on 3/4 mile railway since 1980. After forming an agreement with the Festiniog Railway (FR) in January 1997, this operated under the trading name Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog), although the WHR Ltd continues to own the trademark for the Welsh Highland Railway name. Following the completion of the line from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, the trading name was changed to Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.

Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd; Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon); Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd; Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways

In 1988, the FR had tried to prevent the WHR from ever being rebuilt. But that failed, so they tried to take it over instead. The 1993 Public Enquiry rejected their bid, but the Minister of Transport overturned the Inspector's recommendation. The FR formed the Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd (WHLR) as a construction company, based in Dinas, and started building the old standard guage line into Caernarfon. This 12 mile railway from Caernarfon via Dinas and Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu is officially known as the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon) , a name which is now widely used. Phase 1 to Dinas was opened in late 1997, Phase 2 to Waunfawr in summer 2000, Phase 3 to Rhyd Ddu in summer 2003.

The WHLR was replaced by the Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd, a subsidiary of the FR formed specifically to build from Rhyd-Ddu to Porthmadog. The FR adopted the trading name Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.


In 1961, the Welsh Highland Railway Society was formed. This soon became the WHLR (1964) Co. Ltd (limited by guarantee), described above, now known as the WHR Ltd. (membership)

In 1993, another Welsh Highland Railway Society was formed. This was formed by the FR, at that stage as a rival to the 1964 Company. The WHRS continues as the supporters' club for the FR's WHR project. It is registered as a charity in the name Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri (Snowdonia Railway Soc). more

The Welsh Highland Heritage Group exists to focus on the heritage aspects of the WHR in particular, including all the associated lines and quarries with which it worked. (membership)

The Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Company has recently been formed to look after the FR's heritage assets. It will own some assets, and have what's called "an overview" of others.

The Welsh Highland Railways Association

A more lengthy summary is given in the historical milestones page.

And finally, Which Website is Which?

WHR Ltd website (www.whr.co.uk) describes
  • the WHHR, a.k.a. WHR (Porthmadog)
  • the restoration of heritage artefacts,
  • the rolling stock and other equipment,
  • various civil engineering projects.
The Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri website (www.whrsoc.org.uk) describes
  • the operation of the WHR (Caernarfon), plus
  • the southward construction project, started in 1999.
Barrie Hughes' website (www.isengard.co.uk ) describes
  • the southward construction project in detail - now almost complete.
Andy Goodwin's website (www.pont-croesor.co.uk) describes
  • the northward construction project in detail - now complete.