The railway between Bala and Dolgellau was built by the Bala & Dolgelley Railway Company (which used the English spelling for the latter place), and opened in 1868. The railway joined the Corwen and Bala Railway at Bala and with the Cambrian Railways at Dolgellau. The line was operated by the Great Western, which absorbed it in 1877. In 1896 the GWR enlarged Llanuwchllyn station, with an extended building and a new signal box. A long passing loop and second platform were also added. The signal box and its lever frame are still in use today.
After nationalisation in 1948, most of the railway’s traffic was diverted to the former Cambrian Railways line between Welshpool and Machynlleth. Passenger services through Bala ceased on 15 January 1965 and the line from Llangollen to Barmouth was closed.
Rebirth came in 1971. A local engineer, George Barnes, saw the potential of the lakeside section for both local and tourist traffic. With the help of the late Tom Jones CBE, then Chairman of Merioneth County Council’s Finance Committee, Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Cyf (Bala Lake Railway Ltd) became the first company to be registered in the Welsh language.
Bala Lake Railway Today
The station buildings still survive, the buffet being the former waiting room and the seating section was once a waiting room at Morfa Mawddach (Barmouth Junction). The main building has been extended on the site of the old toilets to provide a booking office and store room. The waiting room on platform two is now an office. The canopy supports were built for the Cambrian Railways station at Pwllheli, but were taken down when the station was moved in 1907. They were then used at Aberdovey until 1979 when they were moved to Llanuwchllyn. The cattle dock is now the picnic area, and the stone goods shed a woodwork shop.
Every effort is made to ensure visitors are made welcome, and where possible visitors are allowed to visit the signal box and
Further Information for Bala Lake Railway
Most of the site and trains are accessible by the disabled. For further information, location, directions, timetables and opening hours telephone 01678 540666