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Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways Seeking Local Community’s Railway Stories

As part of a new interpretation project, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Britain’s longest preserved steam railway, is asking people living between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon, and beyond, to come forward with their railway stories.

These may include family history of ancestors who worked on the railways or how the railways impacted communities or lives.

The appeal is part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund project which will see a focus on new interpretation across both railways, as well as new building works at Boston Lodge, the Ffestiniog Railway works, where locomotives and carriages have been built and maintained for almost 200 years. An ultimate objective of the project is to open Boston Lodge for guided tours in 2024.

The railways have not tried this approach before; it is an interesting departure for them. They are keen to encourage people to come forward because there must be an enormous fund of stories considering that railway development started in the 1830’s and has continued to the present day with the preservation era that began in the 1950’s.

Can these stories help the railway? Jim Embrey, the project’s Interpretation Officer, is convinced of this and has said “We know that many people locally have had grandparents and great grandparents who worked on the railway. Our aim is to capture their stories and to use them to enhance our visitors’ experience by telling them these tales and hopefully encourage them to make return visits”.

If people are interested in contributing their stories to the project, they can contact the Interpretation Officer. Those who wish to have a deeper involvement in the project, further researching the stories that come forward using the railway’s considerable archives, are invited to volunteer and will be given training to help in this work.

Jim Embrey is very keen to hear from people with interesting stories as well as those wanting to do the more detailed research, his email address is jembrey@ffwhr.com.

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