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Route Map and Information
This page describes the course of the Talyllyn Railway from Tywyn Wharf to Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol; for further information on our stations and the facilities for passengers, see the Stations and Facilities page.
Wharf Station, the main terminus of the Talyllyn Railway, was originally built as slate transhipment point rather than as a passenger station. It began to be used by passenger trains around the turn of the century, at which time it was known as King's Station. The station has changed greatly since the Preservation Society took over in 1951. A platform was built in 1952, and in 1965 the present track arrangement was created. The red-brick station building incorporates the original structure, which houses the shop. The two storey extension features the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum on two floors, with the King's Licensed Café alongside the platform, above which are found the administration offices, public toilets and a meeting and education room. All are fully accessible. There is a lift available. These facilities, made possible by very generous donations from members of the TRPS and significant grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Gwynedd Council, Welsh Development Agency, Wales Tourist Board and the Welsh Assembly, were opened in 2005 by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Additional toilet facilities are located next to the station building, adjacent to the road bridge. The bungalow opposite the platform, Llechfan, is a hostel for volunteers working on the railway.
Leaving Wharf we pass an open ground frame controlling the points and pass under the main road to Aberdyfi. The line now climbs steeply (although the gradient has been eased) through Wharf cutting before reaching a summit and dropping gently through School Bridge (Ffordd Cadfan Bridge) and entering Pendre.
Pendre, the original passenger station in Tywyn, is in many ways the hub of the Talyllyn Railway. As we arrive we pass the West Carriage Shed on the right, and the Blockpost cabin which controls the points here. Further on, to the left is the North Carriage Shed and workshop annexe, while to the right is a slate building containing the locomotive shed and the workshop, with the South Carriage Shed (nowadays used as a store) protruding. Opposite the loco shed is the station, which is a request stop. The original building on the platform has been rebuilt in recent years.
Passing over a gated level crossing the line runs across a low embankment to Ty Mawr bridge, then climbs towards Hendy, where there is another overbridge and a halt. Presently we pass Fach Goch halt, and soon are on the long, straight climb to Cynfal Bridge and halt. (Cynfal is unique among the halts in possessing a short platform.) Still climbing we come to Rhydyronen station.
Rhydyronen station, opened in 1867, is located in a pleasant wooded station area, with the original slate building nestling next to a road over-bridge. The station is conveniently located for Tynllwyn caravan park. Rhydyronen is a request stop.
The line leaves Rhydyronen on a steep gradient combined with a sharp curve and overhanging trees, providing difficult conditions for trains starting from here on a wet day. Once past Braich-y-Rhiw bridge we drop briefly before resuming the climb, past Tynllwyn Hen halt and along a stretch of line with excellent views up the valley as we approach Brynglas.
Actually located in the hamlet of Pandy, Brynglas has a passing loop in the single line controlled from a small cabin adjacent to an ungated level crossing, beyond which is the station, another request stop.
The line passes through a short cutting and passes under Brynglas Farm overbridge, then assumes a position on the hillside which it retains for most of the rest of the journey. Presently we traverse a series of reverse curves known as the 'six bends'. Soon we enter the oak woodlands at Dolgoch, pass over a three arch viaduct and enter Dolgoch station.
Dolgoch station is a popular stopping-off place for passengers to visit the adjacent falls, which have convenient access from the station via a footbridge. At Dolgoch the engine takes water from a modern tank at the end of the platform - the old wooden tank on a slate pillar opposite the station building, which appears on old photographs, has recently been renewed and is sometimes used by shorter trains. A new toilet block was built here in 1998.
Shortly beyond Dolgoch we pass Quarry Siding halt and passing loop, where at one time ballast for the railway was dug. A section of line characterised by long straight sections of mountain ledge leads us into Forestry Commission land and we enter Abergynolwyn station.
Abergynolwyn station, the upper terminus of the line until 1976, has been extensively remodelled in recent years. A new but traditionally-styled station building contains a well-stocked refreshment room. The passing loop is controlled by a signal box at the east end of the platform.
The line beyond Abergynolwyn was opened in 1976 after considerable work to bring it up to the standards required for passenger trains, having previously only been used for freight traffic. After a level crossing across a Forestry Commission road protected by modern flashing lights, the line begins to curve severely, giving good views of Abergynolwyn village below. An old winding drum from an incline down into the village can be seen on the left. The line now turns into the beautiful Nant Gwernol ravine and a final sharp bend takes us to Nant Gwernol station.
Nant Gwernol station is located in an isolated but very beautiful spot with no road access. There are extensive footpaths from here, leading into the forest or to Abergynolwyn village. At the end of the platform is a footpath up a steep incline which formerly carried the slate wagons to a tramway leading eventually to Bryn Eglwys quarry, further up in the hills. The train, however, stops here and soon returns to Abergynolwyn for refreshments before proceeding back to Tywyn.