WORK to extend Bala Lake Railway is underway as the first phase of construction reaches completion and the first sections of rail arrive.

The existing route of the Bala Lake Railway, built in 1972, runs for more than four miles from Llanuwchllyn to Pen-y-Bont station, roughly half a mile outside of Bala. The extension will diverge from the existing line at Pen-y-Bont station, crossing the B4403 and the River Dee, then curving left following the foreshore of the lake and into the town.

The railway extension is projected to cost around £2.5 million

The first phase of construction involved in the removal of an old asbestos clad commercial building on Aran Street, which has been cleared, with the old concrete foundations now being broken down and removed. The first sections of rail began to arrive on Tuesday March 6, to be stored until the Railway Trust has been granted formal planning permission.

Julian Birley, chairman of the Railway Trust, said: “We have purchased the site and, while we are yet to receive formal planning permission, local support has been phenomenal, with businesses, residents and councillors all on board.”

It is projected that the railway extension will be hugely beneficial to the Bala economy, more than doubling tourism and directly providing 12 full-time jobs for the town.

Mr Birley said: “Our hope is that the project will bring 60,000 tourists in the area every year—a 35,000 increase on current figures. We will also see three-quarters to one million pounds coming into the Bala economy annually.”

The project is in discussion with the government over a grant, but so far it has been funded entirely by private and public donations from across the UK.

The project will allow the town to develop further key facilities such as a lake path, to extend tourist season beyond current levels, and will create a wider appeal to those with mobility issues.

Cllr Dilwyn Morgan, chairman of Gwynedd County Council, has said of the project: "The benefit of a new railway to the town of Bala is regarded as one of the most important economic enhancement and regeneration projects gifted to the Community in living memory."

A completion date for the project is dependent on funding, but it is hoped to be before 2021.

For more information visit the Bala Lake Railway Trust's website at