Last weekend, I interviewed Chris Price from the Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, Wales. It was such a treat to hear more about one of my favorite tourist railways, and it took me back five years to my first visit with my mom.
The Talyllyn Railway operates at least one steam locomotive per day, although on certain summer days that can increase. When we visited, the locomotives in service were Sir Haydn (in red) and Edward Thomas (in green). Each pulled two round trips from Towyn Wharf station to Nant Gwernol. With your ticket, you can ride any of these trains to and from whichever stations you want along the line, including the halts.
Watching the crew prepare Sir Haydn (#3) and its train demonstrated how much these volunteers care about the equipment. The coaches were receiving a final polish, and everyone was very friendly. We boarded the train and rode the entire way to Nant Gwernol.
At Nant Gwernol, there are several footpaths for enjoying the beautiful forests of Snowdonia National Park. You can also see the remnants of the former slate mining that resulted in the construction of the Talyllyn Railway.
The second train arriving at Nant Gwernol that day was pulled by Edward Thomas (#4). The locomotive ran around its coaches and took us south.
We disembarked at Dolgoch Falls, easily my favorite location on the line. It’s peaceful, and the viaduct is a beautiful architectural reminder of the railway’s age. I’ve never found any other place quite like it.
We took one more trip up to Nant Gwernol before returning to Tywyn. The ride amongst the hills looking down into the valley was incredible, and you can admire plenty of what Chris described as Wales’ Number 1 industry (sheep!).
The last treat of the day was visiting the Narrow Gauge Museum. Several narrow gauge steam locomotives were on display, including one from a Guinness factory. As a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was special seeing the Rev. Awdry’s real study, complete with his Island of Sodor train layout.
I cannot recommend riding this railway and the adjoining museum highly enough. Both my mom and I had a fantastic day riding wonderful vintage equipment through scenery that only Wales could possibly offer.