The railway has six steam and four diesel locomotives, plus a number of other self-propelled permanent way vehicles. All passenger trains are normally steam-hauled, with the diesels used for works trains only.

Steam Locomotives

Diesel Locomotives

The Talyllyn has a small fleet of diesel locomotives for use on engineering trains and any odd jobs that are required.

There are three other self-propelled vehicles on the line:

‘Toby’ The Motor Trolley

“Toby” the motor trolley is a small four-wheeled personnel carrier and can pull a couple of wagons if required. It was built by John Bate and entered service in 1955.

Flail Mower

A self-propelled hedge-cutting machine (the “flail mower”) was built at Pendre workshops.

Idris’ The Tamper

Built in 2021, Idris The Tamper was bought thanks to the “Tamper Appeal”. With each donation someone made, they could put forward a name suggestion – when the appeal closed, each name was carefully considered and ‘Idris’ came out on top!

Before ‘Idris’ could enter service, a bit of remedial work on the body was needed to better fit the Railway’s loading gauge. At the same time, a purpose-made trailer with seat and tool box was adapted from a permanent way trolley.

The Talyllyn has recently come into possession of two BEV Battery Electric locomotives – the intention is to make one usable locomotive out of the two for use around the Pendre – Wharf area of the Railway, and dependant on their line speed and battery range perhaps engineering trains too.

In the very early pioneering days of the Preservation Society extra locomotive power was needed for odd jobs, but suitable steam locomotives of the right size and gauge were rare and expensive, as an answer to this there have been many self-propelled locomotives built for the Talyllyn Railway over the years – two of which are sadly no longer around:

No.5 ‘The Lawnmower’ or ‘Rolt’s Folly’

The first was No.5, often known as “The Lawnmower” or “Rolt’s Folly”. It was delivered in October 1952, powered by a third-hand Model T Ford engine from Tom Rolt’s Narrow Boat “Cressy”. It was withdrawn in 1953 when the engine seized up on a market day train, eventually the frame was converted to a flat wagon. This flat wagon still exists and is currently being restored back to it’s former glory as a self-propelled locomotive.
The number that was originally worn by this locomotive was passed on to ‘Midlander’.

No.7 ‘Charlie’s Ant’

The second was No.7, known as “Charlie’s Ant”. It was a 4-2-0 converted Mercury tractor. It entered service in 1954 and ran until 1957. Fitted with a jack to enable turning, it later carried a portable turntable. Front bogie wheels are now located under the railway’s portable machine hacksaw.
The number that was originally worn by this locomotive was passed on to ‘Tom Rolt’.

The Talyllyn Railway was visited by No.7 from the Corris Railway Society on 15th/16th October 2011.  The railway has also been visited by the Corris Railway Society‘s 4w Simplex diesel “Alan Meaden”. The lack of visitors is due to the unusual track gauge of 2’3″, which was used in this country on only three other public lines (the Corris Railway, the short-lived Plynlimon & Hafan Tramway, and the Campbeltown and Machrihanish Railway).

No.8 ‘Merseysider’

Maker Ruston & Hornsby
Year 1964
Works number 476108
Wheel arrangement 4w
Wheel diameter 19″
Wheelbase 3′ 6″
Engine 3YDA, air-cooled
Transmission Dowty hydrostatic transmission, chain drive
Power 50 bhp at 1600 rpm
Weight 7 tons
Livery Maroon, lined blue and edged black
Notes Incorporates parts of two locomotives; a major and protracted overhaul is now virtually complete. Sold in 2016.

No.10 ‘Bryn Eglwys’

‘Bryn Eglwys’ at it’s new home on the North Gloucestershire Railway
Maker Simplex
Year 1985
Works number 101T023
Wheel arrangement 4w
Wheel diameter 24″
Engine Dorman 6DA
Transmission 2-speed torque converter; final drive comprises drop box, right angle gearbox and chains to both axles.
Power 100bhp
Weight 9 tons
Livery Unlined Deep Bronze Green
Notes Arrived mid-September 1997. Ex-National Coal Board; fitted with TR-style side buffers and central coupling hooks. The name was decided upon by a ballot in September 1998. Was Sold, and left the Railway in 2014.

The Matisa Tamper

Maker John Bate
Year 1990
Wheel arrangement 4w
Livery Yellow
Notes Designed and built from parts of two ex-MOD standard gauge tampers by the one and only John Bate. It was put into service on the 26th June 1990. After years of dedicated service, it was sold in 2021.