It’s 70 years since Corris locos No 3 and No 4 arrived at the Talyllyn Railway – the first ‘new’ engines to run on Talyllyn rails since the original locos arrived. On 17 March, we ran a re-enactment’ train between Wharf and Pendre.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first trains to be run in 1951 by the then newly formed Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, the world’s first Preserved Railway.
The newly formed Preservation Society had just two locomotives, No 1 Talyllyn – in poor condition and stored in a barn at Pendre, and No 2, Dolgoch, which in 1950 was the only loco able to continue to provide a regular service. The Society was fortunate in being able to acquire two locomotives that had originally been in service on the Corris Railway, co-incidentally the only other railway in the UK operating on the same gauge of 2ft 3 inches.
Following flood damage to the embankment across the Dyfi flood plain, the Corris Railway had sadly closed in August 1948. The two remaining locomotives, only one of which was workable, were stored behind the Corris station at Machynlleth. The exact story of why they were still there in March 1951 is not entirely clear, but it seems that the Station Master, Mr Campbell Thomas, and the shedmaster saw they might be of use on TR and had indeed offered them previously to Sir Haydn who declined the offer.
The engines were originally offered for sale by British Railways at the price of £85 each, but the negotiated price was for £25 each and the eventual bill of sale to the TRPS showed a final price of thirty pounds, twelve shillings and ninepence for the sale of both engines.
They were transported to Tywyn via the mainline, then off-loaded onto the Talyllyn tracks by crane from the original BR slate transfer siding which runs alongside the TR slate offload siding at Wharf station.
The two locos, which were to become our No 3 and No 4, were coupled up to No 2 Dolgoch, the only TR loco in service at that time, to be taken up to their new home in the engine shed at Pendre.
No 3, named ‘Sir Hadyn’, was built in 1878 by Hughes’ Loco & Tramway Engineering Works Ltd of Loughborough. It was able to make it’s first trip in July 1951. Owing to the precarious state of the track, and it’s habit of falling between the tracks due to narrow wheel tyres, it was little used on the Talyllyn in that first year until modifications could be made to enable it to run securely.
No 4, named ‘Edward Thomas,’ after the TR’s former manager, was built in 1921 by Kerr, Stuart & Co. Ltd. for use on the Corris Railway. After essential repairs had been carried out by the Hunslet Engine Company, the engine entered service on the Talyllyn in 1952 and has proved most successful.
On Wednesday March 17th, the day of the 70th anniversary of the arrival of these two locos, the Talyllyn Railway celebrated the occasion with a re-enactment of the arrival of No 3 and No 4 at Tywyn Wharf and their being taken up to Pendre works behind Loco No 2, Dolgoch. Although Covid 19 lockdown restrictions prevented this being open to the public, we felt it was an important part of our 70th anniversary year and should be marked with an appropriate remembrance. The re-enactment was arranged as a live Facebook stream, and you can watch it on the Talyllyn Railway’s YouTube channel.
Currently, we will remain closed until the Coronavirus (Covid 19) restrictions are lifted. If all goes to plan, we are aiming to re-open in May. To celebrate the 100th birthday of Loco No. 4 in September, it will be returning to Corris as a guest loco as part of a joint venture with the Corris Railway, returning to Tywyn for its own birthday celebration over the weekend of 11th /12th September.
For further information about this press release please e-mail us or phone 01654 710472.