Scenic Rail Routes in Europe

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Very nice site overall.

Some nigging here. The feauture descriped as "Mountain Spirit" would better go under the title "Ffestiniog Railway". The visitor would be more likely to find information googling that. The "Mountain spirit" being just one train among many plying that line. More niggling, the "cob" is at the Porthmadog end of the line, not anywhere near Blaneau. Rather than describing Blaneau as a "charming mountain village", I would have added that it was once the epicenter of the Welsh slate mining industry, and that there are still many remains of this that can be explored. Today the village is also the gateway to Snowdonia and thus very popular among ramblers and people seeking the outdoor life. Furthermore, Blaneau Ffestiniog is a stronghold of the beautiful and unique Welsh language, claiming one of the highest percentages of native speakers anywhere in Wales.
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Legend has it that Spooner was an early supporter of the metric system, purportedly being a secret sympathizer of Napoleon . He thus aimed for a gauge of 600 mm, but due to discrepancies in the way the gauge was measured, it ended up being 3mm short by the modern method of measurement (1' 11" working out at 597mm, 2' being 610 mm). If true, this would make it the world's first railroad to use a metrically defined gauge (besides a long list of other firsts that the Ffestiniog can claim). Other sources, however, suggest this is probably just an urban legend. One might observe, for example, that the dates don't align.
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I came across a reference last week (via a Tim Traveler video as a matter of fact) that a commission recommended that Britain adopt - as quickly as possible, iirc - the metric system way back in like the 19th C but they needless to say, never did.
The description of the Brocken ride omits some interesting details. For one, it's quite an engineering masterpiece in a subtle way -- it's so well laid out that there doesn't seem to be any dramatic point. The party line is that it was off-limits due to being near the Inter-German border during the Cold War. In reality, what was more important is that it was a radio monitoring site, similar to our Teufelsberg in West Berlin. A bonus for the Soviet and GDR monitoring services was that it could pick up some internal FRG cellphone conversations.

How this played out is in my website in non-technical English, at:

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MAR 05 266k HSB Brocken.jpg

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MAR 05 274k Mountain Climbers.jpg
The Brocken mountain was, according to various folk legends, the place where witches would gather on Walpurgis Night, and is referred to in numerous instances in German literature and art throughout the ages, especially during the period of Romanticism.

Add to this wealth of legends, that during the cold war period, most of the mountain was strictly inaccessible (even to citizens of East Germany) due to being in a restricted military area. People in East Germany were discouraged from even mentioning that the place existed and their school atlases would ambiguously omit labelling the mountain. Even among the military, very few were allowed to go there. This all added to the mystique of the location and augmented its ultimate popularity.
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