The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway (FfWHR) has won the Peter Manisty Award for Excellence.

For almost 40 years the Ffestiniog Team have been working to preserve north Wales’ slate heritage alongside running an enormously popular tourist railway. The Heritage Railway Association has awarded its most prestigious award - the Peter Manisty Award for Excellence - to the Ffestiniog Team that has rescued, restores and operates theunique gravity slate train.

Based at the railway’s Boston Lodge Works the team has rescued over 200 waggons; thought to be the largest collection of heritage waggons indigenous to a particular railway. These are available for public viewing during special events held at the railway throughout the year. As part of the National Lottery funded project, new volunteers will be invited to join special workshops to learn the skills associated with the collection and to get involved themselves.

The Peter Manisty Award is not granted every year, and is only awarded for exceptional achievements in the heritage railway world. The team’s submission not only included preservation work on the train, but also their success in constructing a building to house the 200 waggons, the creation of a workshop in the original forge building at Boston Lodge and all the work needed to operate the train safely in the 21st Century. Paul Lewin, FfWHR director and general manager said: “The award could not come at a better time. The efforts of this team over more than 30 years are truly outstanding and it is more than overdue that their contribution to railway conservation should come into focus. The team involved are one of the longest standing and most committed in the world of railway preservation.

“We are working hard to tell our story of the Ffestiniog Railway’s part in the slate industry world heritage site. The gravity train really brings that alive and shortly visitors will be able to hear the full story, learn new skills and get involved, but for now we will be taking a little time to celebrate this award and the achievements of over three decades work.”

The railway team with the Manisty Award
The railway team with the Manisty Award (Chris Parry)