|Itís cold, wet and dark. Halfway up a mountain with
aching limbs heaving half a ton of steel with a pair of outsize tongs.
This is fun. This is making friends for life. This is without doubt the
most worthwhile thing Iíve ever done. This is building a railway.
at last itís warm and comfortable. Youíre in the pub with your mates
talking about the dayís exploits. Who did something right; who did
something daft; who told the worst joke. Tracklayingís great in two ways
- while youíre doing it and when you stop.
It gets even better when you qualify to drive the trains carrying
materials to the head of steel and far less heavy lifting and a lot more
sitting down becomes the order of the day. Driving the first train for
70 years into the long tunnel at the south end of the Aberglaslyn Pass
brought a lump to even this cynical throat, despite it involving sitting
under a torrent of freezing water pouring from the roof.
Thereís only a small number of people who can lay claim to having
played a part in the reconstruction of a railway closed for the best
part of a century. The rebuilt Welsh Highland - the actual bits of
stone, wood and steel we put there with our own hands - will be there
for a hundred years or more, giving pleasure to literally millions of
There may be better legacies, but being part of the team that made
the Welsh Highland happen will do nicely for me, thanks.