The Talyllyn Railway and its Royal connections

Spectacular scenery from the mountains to the coast and an abundance of things to see and do. Travel editor, David Powell visits The Talyllyn Railway in Snowdonia.

Covering approximately 840 square miles, the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales is truly an area of outstanding natural beauty. There are unsurpassed views, mountain ranges, with Snowdon peaking at 1085m, mountain railways, historic castles, beautiful coastal towns and villages, wonderfully restored ‘Little Trains of Wales’, woodland parks and the slate heritage of days gone by. For the more adventurous there are pursuits such as rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking. There’s great locally sourced food and a wide variety of accommodation choice.

On my recent visit to Snowdonia I was able to experience some of the excellent attractions this region has to offer, including a day at the Talyllyn Railway.

Talyllyn Railway

Talyllyn Railway I travelled from my base at the Portmeirion Village and Hotel down the coast to Tywyn. It was here I found the historic, steam operated railway and met the friendly volunteer staff.

A ride from Tywyn Wharf station into the Snowdonia countryside was a fantastic day out, and highly recommended! The railway was originally built by the Victorians to carry passengers and slate from the slate quarry, and opened in 1865. However, like many narrow gauge railways after the demise of the slate industry, the Talyllyn Railway fell into serious disrepair in the 1940’s. Luckily a group of enthusiasts got together in 1950 and the Talyllyn Railway became the first railway in the world to be preserved, a fact that the Talyllyn team are very proud of.

Tadpole cutting!

Imagine this – wonderful steam locomotives pulling beautifully restored carriages that take you on a leisurely steam journey through unspoilt Snowdonia with the chance to stop for a lovely walk and picnic.

Talyllyn Railway From Wharf Station I caught the 11am train, right on time. Sitting in an expertly restored first class Pullman Coach I now definitely felt as if I had travelled back in time! My journey took me through spectacular scenery and places with wonderful sounding names like Tadpole Cutting, Six Bends, Broadwater and Dolgoch Falls, where the mountain peak of Cader Idris can be briefly viewed. Not as high as Snowdon, but a wonderful sight nevertheless. The Dolgoch Falls are in fact three sets of waterfalls and it’s here the train takes on mountain water for its onward journey into the beautiful Nant Gwernol Valley.

Since the 1950’s its many volunteers who come from all walks of life have put a remarkable amount of hard work into the railway. No special skills are required, just interest and enthusiasm, as full training is given for the tasks that members choose. The dedication of the volunteers and the raising of necessary funds over the years have resulted in a wonderful preserved railway experience.

Extensive renovations completed

In 2005 extensive building work was finally completed. Buildings had been renovated, new platforms and a refreshment room constructed. A narrow gauge museum was also built at the end of the platform and this now houses some amazing exhibits and modern interpretive displays telling the story of Talyllyn and many other railways. The museum has a special section dedicated to Thomas The Tank Engine, whose creator Rev. W. Awdry was one of the pioneer Talyllyn volunteers. The new buildings were officially opened by HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in July 2005.

In total the railway has an astounding 23 carriages, 6 steam locomotives and 4 diesels and operate a daily service. All the passenger trains are steam hauled and every aspect of this fascinating railway, together with timetables, can be seen on their website www.talyllyn.co.uk

Riding the footplate!

Talyllyn Railway During my journey I was privileged to ride part of the way on the locomotive footplate – a sensational experience! I was also able to view one of the secure signal boxes where all train movements on the single-track line are safely monitored. The Talyllyn Railway offers members of the public the opportunity to drive one of its historic steam locomotives, which would make a great gift for a special occasion. Contact one of the Talyllyn team for more information on this.

When visiting Snowdonia I would urge you to experience the sights, sounds and all the dedication and professionalism this preserved railway has to offer. Perhaps you could keep a lookout for the Corris Railway Coach, which Diana, Princess of Wales travelled in during a visit to the railway in 1982.

For further information on the attractions of Snowdonia you can have a look at the following websites:

www.visitsnowdonia.info

www.attractionsofsnowdonia.com

244 people found this helpful
18606

Share Article:

David Powell

Travel editor

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.