Gatws Bach

It was 1934 and I was about 8 years old. I went to stay with my grandmother in Llanfrothen (Garreg) for a holiday. I was sent to Gatws Bach to collect buttermilk from the farm, right by the Welsh Highland Railway track. I used to see the little trains go by but I never got to ride on them.

In those days Porthmadog was "dry" on Sundays. There was a Ffestiniog Railway train that did have a bar, to Blaenau on a Sunday so my father and I rode on that railway, all the way there and back for him to get a drink of beer.

After the war many visits to the area followed and I would see the Ffestiniog trains high on the hillside. But the Welsh Highland became just a boyhood memory.

It was not until 2010 that my daughter Ann and son-in-law Darien Goodwin finally were able to take me for a ride on the railway I had seen when I was a child, all the way from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. As we approached Gatws Bach, the place where I had stood as a boy watching the little train some 76 years earlier, we travelled on track Darien had helped lay with the Rest of the World gang.

John Rogers
Age 87

The Welsh Highland Railway under construction at Gatws Bach

John's son in-law Darien at work on the track gang

John Rogers (87) grew up on North Wales and often visited the area, watching the pre-war Welsh Highland Railway and travelling on the Ffestiniog Railway. His son in law Darien Goodwin (63) is a Welsh Highland Railway Society member and subscriber to the rolling stock fund. Darien regularly volunteers on Megabash and Gigabash on the Ffestiniog Railway.

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