Work is in progress on the new station at Caernarfon. The initial phase involved diversion of the major sewer which ran under the site, in preparation for building works to commence later in 2017
Since the Welsh Highland opened in the town in 1997, when it ran just three miles to Dinas, the 25-mile line - the UK's longest heritage railway - has been extended in stages, finally opening to Porthmadog in 2011. Throughout that time,Caernarfon Station has been a temporary structure.
The new £2.2m station will form a key part of the £16m Waterfront Development Project, led by Gwynedd County Council, to give a major boost to this historic area. Funding arrangements for the work are well advanced for the new building which will offer much improved facilities for visitors arriving by road or by rail from Porthmadog, where a major station improvement project was completed in 2014.
The railway held a number of public consultation events in the town and has incorporated ideas and suggestions made by local residents and visitors into the new two-storey design, which will include retail, catering and a spacious modern interpretation area showcasing the history of the quayside area and the railway. Architects are finalising the details of the development.
The railway has been working closely with Caernarfon Harbour Trust, which has been extremely supportive of the project, and passengers who arrive at Caernarfon by road will be able to use their car park, as the new station building will occupy the space currently used as the railway's car park.
The development makes use of land already occupied by the railway's temporary station buildings and car park. Work began in November 2016 when contractors moved in to relocate a large sewer which runs under the site. Construction of the new station is scheduled for completion in Spring 2018.
Due to the works, this year's Welsh Highland Santa trains ran very successfully from Dinas rather than Caernarfon. During the summer season WHR service trains will operate from temporary rented premises across the road from on the Caernarfon site, using the building previouslt occupied by Age Concern.
The new station at Caernarfon is expected to increase visitor numbers to Caernarfon and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway by an estimated 5,000 passengers each year. The F&WHR already provides significant benefits to the wider local economy, generating an estimated £25m each year and creating more than 400 jobs.
Hi-res drawings of the proposed station can be found at the Festrail website in the Caernarfon Station Project folder.