Find out what’s been happening on the Talyllyn Railway recently.

Recognising the impact of the UNESCO World Heritage status!

Following recognition by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee designating the Slate Landscape of North-west Wales as the UK’s latest World Heritage Site, Cyngor Gwynedd Council has funded a memorial in Abergynolwyn village.

The successful bid was led by Cyngor Gwynedd Council in partnership with Cadw, the National Museum of Wales, Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales, Bangor University, The National Trust, the Slate Wales Partnership and Snowdonia National Park Authority. Bryneglwys Slate Quarry, Abergynolwyn village and the Talyllyn Railway formed an integral part of the bid as the central hub of the slate industry in the southern part of Snowdonia.

The picture shows the unveiling of the memorial, attended by Talyllyn Railway General Manager Mr Stuart Williams, local MP Liz Saville-Roberts, together with representatives of the Village and local councillors.

Llechi Cymru has now become the 32nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK and the fourth in Wales, along with the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, the Castles & Town Walls of King Edward at Gwynedd and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

 

A group of people stood round a slate memorial.
Liz Saville-Roberts MP, Stuart Williams, (General Manager) with members of the Abergynolwyn community.

 

Talyllyn Railway reports a strong recovery in 2021!

Trading in 2021 has been very healthy despite only really beginning in May. We’ve enjoyed extremely healthy visitor numbers and are close to matching 2019 revenue figures, which was in itself a record breaking year. 

Stuart Williams, General Manager, commented: 

“The COVID restrictions which were in force at the start of this year meant that we couldn’t open until May, so we had missed the early part of the season and Easter, which traditionally would have seen us take around 15% of our annual income. To be almost matching the 2019 turnover figure is better than we could have ever envisaged, even more so when we have been having to restrict numbers of passengers on our trains.

Initially, we put in place changes allowing customers to enjoy a steam train ride in their own compartment, maintaining a physical barrier between them and other groups of passengers. When the restrictions eased in August, mixed seating areas were re-introduced but the ability to book a private area was maintained.”

Stuart added:

“We’ve been inundated with positive comments about the way we managed the services to be COVID safe. It’s a testament to our staff and volunteers who have had to be very flexible with our planning. In previous years the Railway would shut after the October half term until the Santa Specials in December, but this year we’ve decided to run every weekend until the end of the year, as well as daily between Boxing Day and 5th January.”

Many local accommodation providers and hospitality owners have reported that they had lots of bookings for the autumn. We decided it would be worth continuing to run services and the Talyllyn has enjoyed passenger numbers more akin to May weekends! 

The extra revenue these weekends bring is making a big difference to the winter finances and is also bringing people to the town in what is usually a quiet season. Come along and find out for yourself how lovely the Fathew Valley and Cardigan Bay are over autumn and winter. There are plenty of walks in the area which are perfect for crisp, autumnal days! 

 

Talyllyn staff members receive their NVQ qualifications

We were delighted to welcome representatives from the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway (FWHR) to Tywyn on 10th November to award two of our staff with their NVQ qualifications in Permanent Way.

The presentation marked the completion of the apprenticeship of Oscar Hutchinson, the railway’s first ever apprentice. He now joins Chris Palmer, who also gained his NVQ qualification, on the permanent way staff.

The NVQ training and assessment was co-ordinated by Alex Spring, the FWHR Infrastructure Manager. Alex commented: 

“The Ffestiniog and Talyllyn Railways have worked together closely since the 1950s and it’s pleasing to be able to continue the collaboration.”

Talyllyn Engineering Manager Chris Smith added: 

“I’m delighted to see our first apprentice, Oscar, complete his studies, and for other staff to gain a vocational qualification. The Talyllyn is committed to bringing young people into the industry and we look forward to welcoming new apprentices in the future”

Talyllyn Director Keith Theobald presented the certificate of apprenticeship to Oscar on behalf of the Company and expressed his thanks for all the work that had taken place to get to this point.

 

Two men with certificates.
NVQ training and assessment co-ordinator by Alex Spring (left)
with newly qualified TR Apprentice Oscar Hutchinson.

 

The BIG November Update

Stuart and Chris’ latest update from Pendre – meet the new tamper, two new engineering staff members and find out what’s been going on in the works.

 

 


For further information about this press release please e-mail: [email protected] or phone 01654 710472.

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