25th September 2015 - Talyllyn 150
Friday 25th September 2015
After travelling to far flung places such as Sweden and Denmark it was time for something a little closer to home; a couple of days in West Wales (though some people would view it as a foreign country!). Both the Talyllyn and Vale of Rheidol Railways were holding events this weekend which provided the perfect excuse for visit, starting with the Talyllyn as they were running on the Friday.
Virgin, Arriva and the Cambrian Line signalling all behaved themselves so there was plenty of time to meander down the road between the “mainline” and Wharf stations, purchase a ticket and grab some refreshments before the next train arrived with “Dolgoch” on the front. The loco ran round straight away and pushed the coaches back clear of the crossing making it possible to go over the other side and get a photo with the sun on the train. It was a beautiful day and the weather forecast was for the same all weekend so the waterproofs which are so often necessary in Wales would hopefully not be required
The Talyllyn Railway were running a special “Heritage Weekend” as part of their 150th year celebrations featuring different types of train that they had run during the preservation era. Todays trains were a “Day Rover”, “Winter Shoppers’ Special” and “Last, Last Pre-preservation” with four different locomotives in service so plenty of variety.
Dolgoch’s working was the "Last, Last Pre-preservation" train and this was taken to Abergynolwyn where “Tom Rolt” was waiting with the “Day Rover” train which was out all day doing various bits of line but not all at once, a few “rest breaks” being built in. “Tom Rolt” shunted its train into the loop once “Dolgoch” had departed for Nant Gwernol, then into the platform after “Dolgoch” had departed for Tywyn on the return journey before setting off to the end of the line at Nant Gwernol.
The “Day Rover” train only stayed long enough at Nant Gwernol to run round before setting off for Quarry Siding which was actually a loop with a halt though there did not appear to be any sort of platform for the latter. The handful of passengers were allowed out of the train whilst the loco ran round and it made a pleasant scene even though the train was in the tree shadows.
Once the loco had run round, the train returned to Abergynolwyn where we waited for the next train hauled by the lines no. 1 “Talyllyn” for another trip to the sylvan surroundings of Nant Gwernol. It looked like a good place to get off for a walk and to explore the area but there was no time for that today as there was one more loco to get before heading to Aberystwyth.
Tywyn Pendre station is at the far end of the town and is the location of the line’s main sheds and the starting point for the final type of re-created train, the “Winter Shoppers’ Special”. This was diesel hauled by an anonymous green loco with the only form of identification being the manufacturer’s name “Ruston” on the front though we were told by some knowledgeable fellow passengers that it was the lines no. 5 "Midlander". Further investigation later revealed that it had been rebuilt using parts from two similar engines over 35 years ago and originally looked very different to its current appearance.
The “Winter Shoppers’ Special” only went 2 ¾ miles to Brynglas where the passengers had to alight at the halt whilst the train was shunted back into the loop to run round though it was possible to walk the short distance to the loop to get some photos. After returning to Tywyn Pendre there were 15 minutes to walk through the town to get the 17:27 departure from the mainline station, an easily followed route which only took 10 minutes at a gentle stroll. There was a small bonus in that there was no need to change trains at Machynlleth, the same unit reversed and went to Aberystwyth where it was a short walk to the sea front and our hotel for the night.
Keywords: Talyllyn Railway
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