Snowdon Mountain Railway
Track detail at the Llanberis terminal of the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

The Snowdonia Mountain Railway is the only public rack and pinion railway in the UK and its double offset rack is the only one of its type in the world. Built to Swiss design in 1895 with a single rack centre rail an accident occurred on the opening day when an engine ran out of control on the descent. Before the engine left the track for a valley below, the driver and fireman jumped to safety. The carriages, which are never linked to the engine, had braked safely but before stopping, a passenger panicked and jumped from a carriage to his death.

An extra rack was installed offset as shown here to provide extra safety and doors are now locked throughout the journey. In over 100 years of operation since that opening day there have been no fatalities or runaway trains.




The image and caption on this page are © Denis Egan



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