Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge line built in the 1860s to carry slate from Bryn Eglwys quarries, near Abergynolwyn, and winds through 7¼ miles of the beautiful Fathew valley at a sedate 9 miles per hour.
At its peak, Bryn Eglwys employed over 300 men and produced 300,000 tons of slate before the quarry was closed because of a serious collapse in 1946. The railway struggled on for a few more loss-making years until the line’s owner, Sir Henry Haydn Jones, died in 1950. The railways’ future was bleak and under serious threat of closure. It was saved by a collaboration between a group of railway enthusiasts, led by writer and engineer L.T.C. Rolt, and Lady Haydn Jones, who together formed the world’s first railway preservation society – the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society.
The railway is still largely staffed by volunteers who escape from the hum drum and get their hand’s dirty to run the six steam and four diesel locomotives together with other self-propelled permanent way vehicles. All passenger trains are steam driven – the diesel engines are used for works only. The trains stop at
- Rhydyronen` (request only)
- Nant Gwernol
However, don’t be too hasty and board immediately – spend some time exploring the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum. Here you will find a collection spanning nearly 200 years which includes complete locomotives and signalling equipment together with tickets and examples of the paperwork necessary to run a railway.
Younger members of your party may be particularly interested in the section devoted to the Reverend W. V. Awdry, creator of “Thomas the Tank Engine”. Awdry was an early volunteer on the Talyllyn Railway and this is sure to have inspired the creation of his “Skarloey Railway”. The collection includes a reconstruction of the Reverend’s study from his last home in Stroud, Gloustershire.
Admission to the museum is free, even if you decide not to travel, however, donation boxes are provided with all monies collected going towards the upkeep and expansion of the collection. At Tywyn you will also find the King’s Licensed Cafe and a well-stocked shop for those holiday souvenirs.
A round trip on the line takes around two and a half hours – about an hour each way with a refreshment break. However, your ticket allows you to hop off and on at each stop. Refreshments are available at the King’s Café in the terminus and at the Quarryman’s Tea Room in Abergynolwyn.
Dolgoch falls are three waterfalls forming part of the Nant Dol-góch stream, a source for the River Fathew. The waterfalls provide the backdrop to a popular walk of no more than one mile. Take a picnic and a towel as there are delightful pools at the top of the falls to cool your feet. Once you have enjoyed the spectacular scenery why not pop-in to the Dolgoch Falls hotel for a refreshing cup of tea?
Abergynolwyn is a former slate mining village. Take a walk through the forests to the south of Abergynolwyn passing waterfalls and old slate workings. Keep an eye out for the wind-up interpretive displays which you power yourself.
Again there are pleasant walks in and around Nant Gwernol – don’t forget to pick-up a free Forestry Commission walks leaflet is available from Wharf.
Talyllyn Railway is only a 15 minute walk from your holiday accommodation. The address is:
The railway operates daily June to September with selected days outside this period. As the railway is staffed by volunteers opening hours can vary. Please check their web-site before visiting.
Admission charges (2013)
|Full-Line Return & Day Rover – Valid for unlimited travel all day||Rate|
|Tywyn to Dolgoch Return||Rate|
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Telephone 01654 710472 or visit Talyllyn’s web-site