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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 10:46 GMT
Cambrian steam service expansion
Picture of the Cambrian Coast line
The Cambrian Coast line runs through mountainous countryside
A summer steam train service on the Cambrian Coast railway line is to be extended to Pwllheli in Gwynedd.

The service, which was restarted three years ago after a 14-year break, has proved a hit with holidaymakers.

Pwllheli mayor Alan Williams said the twice-weekly service was good news for the town.

Lancashire-based West Coast Railway Company said extending the service had the potential to reach tourists visiting the Lleyn peninsula.

The steam service will travel weekly from Machynlleth, Powys, to Porthmadog from Mondays to Fridays between 28 July - 29 August.

The service will extend to Pwllheli on Wednesdays and Fridays.

We've found that an awful lot of children have never been on a train
James Shuttleworth, West Coast Railway Company

Gwynedd county councillor Margaret Griffith said she had been pressing for the service to be extended.

"It is only fair that the passengers are able to choose between Pwllheli and Porthmadog," she said.

Porthmadog councillor Ieuan Roberts said the return of the steam service was welcome news for local businesses.

"There is no doubt that they benefit from the service, for many of the passengers have been seen walking along Porthmadog's main street during the train's stop in the town.

"Both the Ffestiniog Railway and the Welsh Highland Railway also benefit," he added.

Rail company commercial director James Shuttleworth said he hoped travelling to Pwllheli would "open up the potential of the Lleyn peninsula".

'Warming the market'

He said he had no figure for the number of passengers who travelled by steam last year, but it had been "a reasonable success, sufficient to give us confidence".

It was the combination of "nostalgia, history and a fabulous railway, resulting in a good day out", which was appealing, he said.

"Enthusiasts do come but the core market is the holiday market and families. We've found that an awful lot of children have never been on a train."

Travelling by steam train "warms the market" for other train travel, he added.

"It takes away from it being an endurance on the 0815 into Waterloo.

"We spend our lives trying to get there faster: this is slowing it down," he added.

The train will leave Machynlleth daily at 1005 BST returning at 1700, stopping at Dovey Junction, Tywyn, Barmouth, Harlech and Minffordd.

SEE ALSO
Summer steam trains are trebled
11 May 06 |  Mid Wales
Steam trains back on coastal line
22 Aug 05 |  North West Wales

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