The name of a Class 97 locomotive was unveiled at a ceremony hosted by Network Rail at Minffordd railway station on Friday, 12 April.

To celebrate Network Rail Wales and Borders’ partnership with the Welsh heritage railway community, the locomotive was named ‘Rheilffyrdd Ffestiniog ac Eryri/Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways’.

Ffestiniog Railway, which runs from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, is the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway and the Welsh Highland Railway, operating from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, is the UK’s longest heritage railway.

Representatives from Network Rail, Transport for Wales and other industry bodies attended the ceremony, with Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Assembly Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism unveiling the chosen name.

Minffordd railway station was chosen for the naming ceremony, due to its location on the Cambrian Coast Line and close proximity to Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway.

The newly-named locomotive is part of a special fleet of three Class 97 (Network Rail engineering trains), which are solely for work on the Cambrian line.

Paul Lewin, general manager of Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways said: “We really value the relationship between Network Rail and the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways.

“We both have a strong focus on skills that will be needed in future. Every apprentice that works for Network Rail in Wales and Borders spends some time with our team and we also look to help attract applicants from North Wales to join the training schemes offered by both our companies. Also, a number of Network Rail staff use their volunteering allowance to work on our railway, which is really appreciated.”

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