22 July 2024

Talyllyn Railway to launch 75th anniversary appeal for £4m project

An appeal will be launched on Friday to support an exciting £4 million project to redevelop Talyllyn Railway, the world’s first preserved railway, at Tywyn in Mid Wales.

 

The ‘Preserving our Past, Building Our Future’ project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, proposes major redevelopment of facilities at Tywyn Pendre and Wharf stations to carry the railway into the future.

 

Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society (TRPS) is keen to educate visitors about the railway’s heritage and the story of slate in the region whilst also updating and increasing accommodation for volunteers.

 

New engineering facilities are also planned to train the next generation of engineers in heritage skills.

 

The proposals include:

  • a new engineering facility on the site of the north carriage shed
  • a new carriage shed on a new site
  • new carriage maintenance facilities and paint shop
  • additional volunteer accommodation
  • remodelling Wharf Station to make it more accessible with an enlarged café and shop
  • an all-weather heritage facility to tell the Talyllyn story.

 

Initial funding has already been secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop a full application for a grant exceeding £1m. Further grant funding from other sources is being sought.

 

On Friday, the railway will be officially launching The 75 Appeal with the target of raising at least £500,000 towards the £4m project over the next five to six years.

 

All money raised will go towards providing the railway with facilities needed for future decades. In addition, local links will be strengthened through  community engagement programme.

 

Every year, the fundraising appeal will focus on a particular aspect of the redevelopment. Initially, ‘Trefri’, a recently acquired property next door to Wharf Station, will be converted to volunteer accommodation and more carriage storage space will be provided at Pendre, the railway’s main working yards.

 

The whole development project is expected to take around five years to complete

 

Formed nearly 75 years ago to save the seven-mile narrow gauge railway, TRPS has  established a major tourist attraction which carries 50,000 passengers and generates around £4m for the local economy annually.

 

The railway is said to have inspired author and volunteer guard, the Rev W. V. Awdry, to create the series of Thomas the Tank Engine books.

 

The Talyllyn still retains much of its character and heritage, including regularly operating all of its Victorian locomotives and passenger stock. Three years ago, the railway became the southern hub of The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales UNESCO World Heritage Site..

 

Local politicians, grant awarding bodies, business people and members of the local community have been invited to attend the 75 Appeal Launch Day which will include a trip on the railway.

 

The railway is a member of MWT Cymru, which represents around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses and organisations across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.

 

Picture caption:

 

Talyllyn Railway in the springtime.