CAERNARFON’S new £3m state of the art heritage railway station is on track to boost tourism, jobs and the economy.

The new Welsh Highland Railway station, a key part of the town’s £16m waterfront development project, is to be officially opened on Friday.

On the same day, a recreated, historic stone station building is being opened at Waunfawr, six miles up the line.

In a special ceremony Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the National Heritage Lottery Fund, will open the new Caernarfon station on Friday morning and the Rt Hon Lord Dafydd Wigley will open the Waunfawr station in the afternoon.

The modern two-storey Caernarfon station provides a permanent gateway for the Welsh Highland Railway which carries passengers along a 26-mile line through Snowdonia to Porthmadog.

It is hoped the terminus will increase visitors to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways by an estimated 5,000 passengers each year.

The new station has been developed as part of the Gwynedd Council led Caernarfon Waterfront and Town Centre Regeneration Initiative, which aims to promote the town’s historic quayside district and boost economic prospects. The project has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

When the WHR opened in 1997, it initially only ran three miles to Dinas. It was extended in stages, and is now the UK’s longest heritage railway, opening all the way to Porthmadog in 2011.

The station, which has created seven full time jobs features improved facilities for visitors, retail space, interpretation area and new cafe; Caffi De Winton.

The building was started in February 2017. The public got the first glimpse of it when it opened on a limited basis for the Santa Trains in December, 2018. It fully opened with daily services at the end of March, 2019.

Paul Lewin, Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways General Manager said: “The WHR is a huge anchor attraction for North Wales. We are really pleased that we have a station that in keeping with our ambitions for the future and we can play a bigger part in Caernarfon and the waterfront area.”

“The new station at Caernarfon will help to increase visitor numbers to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways by an estimated 5,000 passengers each year. The Ff&WHR already provides significant benefits to the wider local economy, generating an estimated £25m each year.”

Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “The developments in Caernarfon will enable this historic town to become the iconic destination it deserves to be while having the infrastructure and facilities in place to benefit both locals and visitors.”

Cllr Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “Visitors arriving on a train are now greeted with a station that is deserving of its location right beside a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

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