No1 Tal Y Llyn in blue livery at Wharf Station
Heritage Railways

Talyllyn Railway – The 75 Appeal

Recently I had a trip down to the Talyllyn Railway, not for a leisure trip but this time I was invited to attend the official launch of The 75 Appeal. I’ll explain more about the 75 Appeal shortly but I have to say that the launch day was great!

(For more info about The Talyllyn Railway please see this post)

75 Appeal Launch Day

No 1 Tal Y Llyn in blue livery at Wharf Station
No 1 Tal Y Llyn in blue livery at Wharf Station

It was a gathering of lots of people from the railway community as well as the local community. At Wharf Station recently refurbished engine No1 “Tal-Y-Llyn” was out in steam for the first time since 2018 – sporting her brand new blue BR livery. (I’ve heard numerous people comment dislike towards the colour but honestly I think it looks lovely!)

The day started with some refreshments at Wharf Station before local children from Ysgol Pen y Bryn performed two songs. This was then followed by a by the ever lovely Tim Dunn who emphasised the importance of the railway community (his words really spoke to me I must admit). After the welcomes various representatives from The Talyllyn Railway presented about the 75 Appeal and the ambitious project that they’re fundraising for.

Tom Bright of Steam Railway Magazine unveiling the award for the Ty Dwr project
Tom Bright of Steam Railway Magazine unveiling the award for the Ty Dwr project

Post speeches we all gathered on a train and I ended up in what seemed to be the media carriage with Tom Bright of Steam Railway Magazine, Tim Dunn, Lawrie and team from LMM and others. Apologies to whoever I’ve missed – it was a bit of a squeeze! On the way we stopped near Pendre works where Luke Ryan ran through the plans with us. Fascinating stuff!

At Abergynolwyn station where lunch was provided. Here there was also the unveiling of the Steam Railway Magazine Award for the Ty Dwr project (unveiled by Tom Bright, Deputy Editor of Steam Railway Magazine).

After this there were two trains up to Nant Gwernol which included a brief stop at the village incline to hear about a heritage project that’s going on there. The highlight of my journey was getting to ride in the Guard’s Van up to Nant Gwernol and back. It was a stunning day for it!

Thank you again to The Talyllyn Railway (and to Tim who wangled the invite for me) for inviting me! I had a great day with some friends I made via the railway community.

The 75 Appeal

Dolgoch passing Sir Haydn at Abergynolwyn Station
Dolgoch passing Sir Haydn at Abergynolwyn Station

The Talyllyn Railway will be celebrating 75 years next year and this appeal is to see the railway survive the next 75 years. Now this is not an appeal to save the railway – it’s on a strong financial footing – but rather to develop the railway so that it can be enjoyed by future generations of enthusiasts, locals and tourists alike.

The 75 Appeal has been launched to raise match funding towards an ambitious development project. A total of £500,000 needs to be raised over the next 5 years in order to be able to access equivalent funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Project Aims

Steam Railway Magazine Award for the Ty Dwr project
Steam Railway Magazine Award for the Ty Dwr project

There are currently 3 different set of plans – each one dependent on the level of funding achieved. However all 3 plans cover the same things:

  • New Engineering Works at Pendre – the works are original facilities are still there since 1865 and as you can imagine not up to current standards. Up to date workshops are required in order to garner, foster and preserve the necessary skills going forward. This would include a new carriage shed and a new paintshop which can be used all year round. Current layout of Pendre works means this isn’t currently possible.
  • Refurbishing the original works – the original facilities won’t be demolished and disregarded completely. As with any heritage project the aim is to refurbish historical assets and in this case the loco shed and workshop. In addition to provide visitor access which would focus on the history of railway engineering.
  • Re-modelling Wharf Station – to enhance the visitor experience by improving access to the station. In addition, improve the shop, museum (it’s a fantastic museum!) and cafe. I believe the plan includes extending the cafe to make space which can be used as meeting rooms and/or extra cafe seating as required.
  • Engaging with the local community – including schools (such as Ysgol Pen Y Bryn who performed at the Appeal Launch) and working with people to become an autism-friendly environment.
  • New volunteer accommodation – to provide additional and more accessible accommodation for the volunteers. Talyllyn Railway have already acquired Terfri house which is a stones throw from Wharf Station and the plan is to develop this into volunteer accommodation
  • Heritage Display – it is intended to display the original 155 year old passenger carriages and wagon fleet highlighting the ties to the local community and to the UNESCO Slate Landscape heritage.

For detailed information and concept artworks I highly recommend you visit this page for all the information.

How can you help?

My noble steed at Nant Gwernol station

Ok so you’re interested in the project (well who wouldn’t be, it sounds fab!), how can you help? Naturally you can make one off donations or purchase the 75 Appeal branded items (I myself bought a 75 Appeal mug).

Or if you want to become a regular donor then why not join the “75 Club”? To join the 75 Club sign up to a monthly £5 Direct Debit for the life of the redevelopment (estimated at 5 to 6 years). By joining the 75 Club you will receive:

  • An exclusive badge and certificate of membership.
  • Regular updates on the Redevelopment’s progress.
  • Access to exclusive videos about the Redevelopment.
  • Invitations to events where you can ‘Meet the Team’ and ask questions about what’s happening.

If you would like to know more then please visit the Talyllyn Railway’s page all about the appeal.

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