The Talyllyn Railway runs for over 7 miles from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol, high above the nearby village of Abergynolwyn and at the base of the first incline which served the quarries at Bryn Eglwys The railway was built principally to carry slate from the quarry to the main line railway at the coast.
The Talyllyn was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain authorised by an Act of Parliament to carry passengers using steam. In 1951 it became the first preserved railway in the world, run by volunteers.
Tywyn Wharf station also hosts the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, which is well worth a visit to see historic narrow gauge locomotives, wagons and artifacts such as nameplates and signalling equipment.
The Corris Railway of 1859 originally ran from Machynlleth, to Corris and on to Aberllefenni with branches to serve a number of local slate quarries in the Dulas Valley.
The Corris closed in 1948, having become part of the Great Western alongside the Welshpool and Vale of Rheidol lines. A preservation society was formed in 1966, opening a museum and working to rebuild the line The short section of line between Corris and Maespoeth was reopened to passengers in 2002. A new tattoo steam locomotive (no.7) was built for the railway, delivered in 2005 and work is ongoing to produce a replica of another loco, this time a Hughes replica.
The Talyllyn is close to my heart as it was the line where I first volunteered – as a pw bodger, guard, stationmaster, control clerk etc. It is a very friendly line where I still have many friends and I am sure to be recognised when we visit.
Being an FR society member grants you free travel on the line too, an added bonus and one which we always reciprocate by eating and shopping on the railway as a kind of thanks.