Talyllyn Railway Co

The Talyllyn Railway claims to be world’s first preserved railway and it certainly set the pattern for the heritage railway movement in the United Kingdom. It owes its origin to the Bryn Eglwys slate quarry, once employed 300 people and produced 300,000 tons of slate and slabs between the 1840s and it closure. Entrepreneurs from Manchester invested in the quarry from 1863, building cottages for quarrymen in the village of Abergynolwyn, and a railway, with the unusual gauge of 686 mm (2 ft 3 in) linking the quarry with the village of Tywyn on the coast where a station on the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway opened in 1863. The line was built by James Swinton Spooner (1816-84), and opened in 1866. A public passenger service was unsuccessful, and in subsequent decades production at the quarry declined. The railway and quarry were bought in 1911 by Sir Henry Haydn Jones (1863-1950), newly-elected MP for the county of Merioneth. The quarry finally closed after a collapse in the workings on 26 December 1946, although the railway continued to operate in the summer. The Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1950, and a new company, supported by a voluntary body, was established to run the line after the death of Sir Henry Haydn Jones. The first public services ran in 1951 and are described in Railway Adventure (1953) by L T C Rolt, who managed the line in its first seasons. The line was extended from Abergynolwyn to Nant Gwernol in 1976, and in 2005 the terminus station at Tywyn Wharf was extending, creating more space for a museum of narrow gauge railways established in the early years of the preservation project in 1954. Two of the original locomotives remain active on the line, No 1, Talyllyn, an 0-4-2 saddle tank and No 2, Dolgoch, an 0-4-0 well tank, both products of Fletcher Jennings of Whitehaven, and the railway also has four other steam and two diesel locomotives. The railway is part of the Great Little Trains of Wales marketing scheme established in 1970.

Talyllyn Railway Co
Wharf Station
LL36 9EY Tywyn
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1654 - 710472
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