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Welsh Scenic Railways

Derek’s Alfa Holiday

A drivers

Alfa Driver Derek Chivers

If you love steam trains and want to take in some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain then our Welsh Scenic Railways tour is a must! But don’t just take our word for it… in this article Alfa Driver, Derek Chivers, talks us through his experience as an Alfa passenger rather than being the one in the driving seat!

Derek has worked for Alfa for four years and the Welsh Scenic Railways is a tour he regularly drives for us. However, when he is working he has to stay with the coach so doesn’t get to experience the three railway journeys Alfa include in tour cost; Llanberis Lake Railway, Talyllyn Railway and Welsh Highland Railway.

We asked Derek what he likes most about working for Alfa and why he chose to take this tour for his holiday…

Derek added: “The people I meet every week without a doubt plus the fact I get to see so many scenic and historic places as well as share the country I am so proud of with my passengers. I like trains, especially steam, and so decided to take the Welsh Scenic Railways tour to experience them and I was not disappointed!”

Tour Highlights

Welsh Scenic Railways

Full Day to Llanberis Lake Railway and Welsh Slate Museum. Llanberis Lake lies at the foot of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales with majestic views (rail fare included in the tour cost). We then spend time at Llanberis National Slate Museum (free entrance to museum). We return via Swallow Falls.

Full Day to Talyllyn Railway. This historic, steam-operated railway runs for seven and a quarter miles through the beautiful Fathew Valley from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn (rail fare included in the tour cost). Opened in 1865, the railway once served the workers of Bryn Eglwys slate quarry but today the passenger trains give access to stunning views.

Full Day Welsh Highland Railway. We visit Porthmadog which is arguably Britain’s narrow gauge railway capital with stations on two railways! We take a spectacular 25 mile scenic journey to beneath the castle walls in Caernarfon on the Welsh Highland Railway (rail fare included in the tour cost).

Derek adds: “The highlight of the tour for me was the Welsh Highland Railway. The lovely Garrett Locomotive with the spectacular Snowdonia scenery made the two and a quarter hour journey an absolute delight. At no more than 25 miles per hour, the ride is comfortable and relaxed, allowing for the views to be savoured.”

The resort of Criccieth

Customers on the Welsh Scenic Railways tour stay at the George IV Hotel owned by Alfa’s sister company, Leisureplex Hotels. This AA 3 Star Hotel is situated in the centre of Criccieth with magnificent views towards the sea and castle from many bedrooms.

Derek commented: “Criccieth is a small, quiet Welsh town. It has two nice beaches and of course its historic castle. There are a few nice pubs and a range of eateries from cracking fish and chips to restaurants with various culinary tastes. The fact that this tour stays at one of my favourite Leisureplex Hotels was an added bonus.”

The overall holiday experience

We asked Derek how he found the whole experience of being a customer instead of driving the tour and his response was…

“It was difficult at first with another driver running my usual tour but overall it was a very relaxed five days. The hotel was excellent and my fellow travelling companions were a nice bunch that I got along with very well. The weather helped, everything always looks even nicer when the sun is shining and the scenery in Wales is always spectacular in the sun.”

Derek enjoyed his holiday as an Alfa passenger so much that he is planning another trip in early October but is currently spoilt for choice on which destination to choose!