Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White
Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White
Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White
Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White

Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White

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Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White
Forty Years Of The Talyllyn Railway By Christopher White
Soft cover 48 pages
Copyright 1991

The Society
Warf Station
Carriages and Wagons
Locomotive Engines
Rhydyronen to Dolgoch
Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol
1990 Year of Celebration


This book is a personal view in words and pictures of the first forty years of the world's original railway preservation society. What was started in 1950 in the remoteness of rural Wales has become a world-wide movement for the preservation of many of the artefacts of the industrial revolution and the way of life that went with them. The success of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society paved the way for many other similar enterprises: but it would be a brave person who would claim that none of these others would have started without the example of the Talyllyn, for the preservation of vintage cars, boats, trains and aircraft was already established. What was different about the Talyllyn was the operation of a whole railway, albeit a small one, as a going concern by the co-operative efforts of volunteers.
No work of this kind is ever put together without the help and good will of many people. In an attempt to use mainly previously unpublished pictures I have been fortunate in being able to draw on several significant collections, some of which had never previously been printed from the original negatives. It will be apparent from the pages of the book that I have used much material from the collections of John Davis, Keith Walton, Graham Vincent and the late Keith Stretch and for more recent times have to particularly thank Michael Howard the Archives Officer and Eddie Castellan the Press Officer. Many others, both staff and volunteers, have contributed in one way or another - by commenting on the text, submitting pictures and even those left out have made their impact on the whole or by encouragement to start and complete the task. Thanks as well to Colin Huston and all the staff at AB Publishing with whom it has been a pleasure to work. Thanks too to all fellow workers on the Talyllyn who make the Railway such an enjoyable experience. Pick fault if you will for what is said or left unsaid, pictured or not, but accept this for what it is - a tribute to forty years of shared effort on the Talyllyn Railway.
On Friday afternoon 6 October 1950 the aged locomotive Dolgoch pushed a couple of equally old four wheel carriages into a decrepit shed and was itself driven into the little engine shed at Pendre station on the Talyllyn Railway. It could so easily have been the last public movement on yet another minor railway closed and sold for scrap.
Yet it was not to be. Instead of the scrap merchants came others whose purpose was to keep the line running - amateur enthusiasts who were prepared by voluntary effort to make sure that the trains continued to run on this unique narrow-gauge line. A year previously on the narrow boat Cressy, moored in the canal basin at Banbury, Bill Trinder, Jim Russell and Tom Rolt had met and resolved to do what they could to ensure that one of the last statutory railways to retain its independence should not slip into oblivion. They had met Sir Henry Haydn Jones, the line's major shareholder, and received his assurance that while he lived the railway would continue to operate but on 2 July 1950 Sir Haydn died. Although born in Ruthin on 27 December 1863 his grandparents lived in Tywyn and after the death of .his father in 1870, his mother moved back to Tywyn and Henry Haydn Jones made his main home there for the rest of his life.
He would have remembered the earliest days of the Talyllyn Railway and became its owner in 1911 when he bought the slate quarries at Bryn Eglwys which the Railway was built to service. He also had slate interests in the Corris area and by insisting that his slates were carried away by rail also helped to ensure the survival of the Corris Railway. It is not easy to assess the motives of the man - his political enemies said he ran the quarries and the railway to make political capital and yet he was no longer an MP after 1945. He said he did it from a sense of duty to the people of the area. Others said it was costing less to keep the trains running, however intermittently, than it would to abandon the line. Perhaps some childhood impression of the Talyllyn train gained on a visit to his grandparents had woven itself into his mind and he had come under the strange spell of the little trains. Whatever the motives, and although the Bryn Eglwys Quarries had closed in 1946 and the last slate removed in 1948, Sir Haydn kept the trains running at his own expense. His widow, twenty-one years his junior, maintained the service for the rest of the 1950 season, with day to day operation in the charge of Edward Thomas, the line's manager, although even he had officially retired at the end of 1949!

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