The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has made reopening the Bangor to Caernarfon railway one of its top priorities.
Reopening the line is primarily being considered for tourism and would complete a 90 mile circular route through Snowdonia, utilising the Conwy Valley line and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland narrow gauge railways.
The seven mile line from Bangor to Caernarfon is one of 33 sections of railway across the UK the CBT would like to see reopened.
The Reshaping of British Railways Report of 1963 (Beeching Report) recommended closing the line but it was kept open and used to bring VIP’s to Caernarfon for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969. The line was then kept open for freight traffic following the disastrous fire on the Britannia Bridge in 1970 and eventually closed in 1972.
The project would also involve rebuilding the former station at Caernarfon which has been demolished and redeveloped as a supermarket and a new station at Felinheli. A bridge at Felinheli, embankment at Caernarfon and a tunnel at Faenol would also need major repair work.
Costs for the project are thought to be in the region of £63–£117 million, equating to £9 million – £16.7 million per mile.
Part of the track has now been redeveloped as the popular Lon Las Menai cycle track between Bangor and Caernarfon and would be controversial if this was to be reopened as a railway.
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Darren Shirley said: “Expanding the railways would transform the opportunities for people living in some of the most deprived areas of the country, giving them greater access to employment and services and providing a much-needed boost to local economies.
“The Government should invest in a nationally led programme of expansion of the railway to help disadvantaged communities and tackle regional inequalities; reduce carbon emissions and air pollution; and create better and healthier places to live.”
If the projects were approved, they would be implemented in two phases, with the first between 2020 and 2025 and the more complex, longer term schemes in Phase 2, which includes the Bangor – Caernarfon link, between 2025 and 2035.
Main Photo: Bangor Station 1961