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Talyllyn Railway 150th Anniversary

Updated on July 5, 2015
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Talyllyn Railway 150

Tal-y-Llyn Railway

The Tal-y-Llyn Railway is a well known narrow gauge railway running from the seaside town of Tywyn to the inland village of Abergynolwyn. The railway was initially created to move slate from the Bryn Eglwys quarry to the coast. Also to ferry passengers from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn and Quarrymen further up to Nant Gwernol. It is famous for being the first steam railway built for such purposes and coincidentally, the first railway of its kind to be preserved in the 1951. This year it celebrates its sesquicentenary or 150 years since the initial opening with all current locomotives in steam except Sir Haydn that made a cameo appearance.

Steam Party Weekend

Talyllyn Railway 150

The whole year has been geared up to celebrate to the 150th anniversary but in particular the weekend of July 3rd 4th and 5th. For this party weekend there are two renowned visitors to the railway and are present for a specific reason. Russell comes from the Welsh Highland Railway and the engine was present at Tywyn when the preservation society first started up. Judged too large for the railway the engine was subsequently sold on. Prince comes from the ffestiniog Railway and has a unique link to the two original engines of the Talyllyn, namely Tal-y-Llyn and Dolgoch. All three engines are the only 1860's engines remaining in steam on a narrow gauge railway.

Talyllyn memorabilia

Tal-y-Llyn No 1


Built in 1864 originally as an 0-4-0 but was deemed to be too unstable with too much weight on the back end. In 1866 a pony truck was added for stability and a cab to protect the crew and so Tal-y-Llyn came to be a 0-4-2 and is named for the Railway and the beautiful countryside through which the railway passes.

Dolgoch No 2


Built in 1866 like Tal-y-Llyn without a cab that was added later. This sturdy and reliable 0-4-0 is named after the Dolgoch falls just over two thirds up the railways trip to the quarries. Much loved for its reliability the original boiler gave out in 2011 and she underwent a major overhaul.

Sir Haydn No 3

Sir Haydn

Built in 1878 for the Corris Railway the engine was bought by the Tal-y-Llyn in 1951 following the closure of the Corris Railway. Renamed after Sir Henry Haydn Jones a former owner of the railway the engines boiler ticket expired in 2012 and she has only just started on a lengthy repair journey and thus the only engine not in steam at the Talyllyn Railway 150 party.

Edward Thomas No 4

Edward Thomas

Built 1921 again for the Corris Railway and like Sir Haydn was purchased by the Talyllyn Railway in 1951. She is named after a former manager of the railway whose tenure ensured the survival of the locomotives after the closer of the Corris Railway.

Douglas No 6


Built 1918 for the RAF Douglas was donated to the Talyllyn Railway in 1953. She was originally a 2 foot gauge and was rebuilt as 2 foot three inches to run on the Talyllyn. The locomotive was donated by Douglas Abelson after whom she is named.

Tom Rolt No 7

Tom Rolt

Originally built for the Bord na Mona in Ireland in 1949 the engine languished for many years at Wharf station where she was nicknamed Irish Pet. When work began she was essentially used as spare parts for a complete new engine in appearance and entered service in 1991 and named after the man who inspired the formation of the Talyllyn Preservation Society.

Talyllyn Railway 150 - Tywyn Wharf Station



Built in 1863, Prince is the oldest operable steam locomotive on the Ffestiniog Railway and as such bears a link with the original two from Talyllyn as being the oldest in operation anywhere today on narrow gauge. Prince visits the Talyllyn as a reminder of that link.



Built 1906 for the Welsh Highland Railway it is the only remaining original member of that company. Russell is the largest engine to attend the Talyllyn Railway 150 and has a 2-6-2 Prairie arrangement which gives it a massive compared to everything else. Russell now resides on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, a small line in Porthmadog.

Talyllyn Railway 150

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All star spectacular

Tywyn Wharf was a very busy place on the Saturday with every available engine in steam. The only absentee was Sir Haydn but while it could not be steamed, Sir Haydn was present as a static display. Most of the time Prince and Russell moved back and forth on their test beds. They could not be put into service as their gauge was 2 foot 11 inches not 2 foot three inches. As I was told by the driver of Russell, Russell doesn't do well on track beds where the one set of wheels bounce along the sleepers !! At the end of the day all six TalyLLyn engines lines up and pulled a special train out of Wharf Station as far as Pendre, Sir Haydn was pulled along to complete the scene.

Talyllyn Railway 150

The rest of the summer

As mentioned earlier, this party is just a piece of a year long celebration. Upcoming events include 1865 - 2015 gala August 7th - 9th, Heart of Gold Weekend on August 29th - 31st and a heritage weekend on September 25th - 27th. For more information follow the links to the railway below.


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