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Exploring The Great Little Trains of Wales: The Talyllyn Railway 

Published on 27 Jun 2024 by Amy Greenwood

When it comes to Wales’ steam railways the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog lines often get all the glory, but there are several other smaller heritage lines that form the Great Little Trains of Wales, a collection of 12 steam railways set in stunning surroundings across Wales. One of these is the Talyllyn Railway, the world’s first preserved railway, affectionately known as the ‘The Railway with a Heart of Gold’.  

The Talyllyn Railway has been steaming its way into Southern Eryri since 1865. The line begins at Tywyn Wharf on the Mid-Wales’ coast, a few miles north of Aberdyfi, and runs a little over seven miles into the Eryri mountains to its terminus at Nant Gwernol, above the village of Abergynolwyn.  

This charming line originally carried slate from nearby quarries, but today it whisks railway enthusiasts, history buffs and holidaying families on a picturesque ride through the stunning Fathew Valley, along a route that takes in scenic coastline, ancient woodlands, mountains, meadows, and waterfalls.

The trip takes approximately 1 hour and provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the surrounding landscape and wildlife. The vintage steam locomotives chug along at a leisurely pace, allowing passengers to soak in the breathtaking views, including the majestic Cadair Idris, and a wide variety of birdlife such as red kites and peregrine falcons.

Exploring The Great Little Trains of Wales: The Talyllyn Railway 

Each station along the way has a unique appeal. At Tywyn Wharf, visitors can explore the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the history of narrow-gauge railways. Further along, Dolgoch Falls station provides the perfect starting point for a scenic hike, with access to enchanting waterfalls and beautiful walking trails. Abergynolwyn, a picturesque village, is another delightful stop where visitors can enjoy a bite to eat or explore the nearby countryside.

The Talyllyn Railway runs regular services from March to October, with special events including steam galas, night-time rides, and vintage themed weekends throughout the season. Young Thomas the Tank Engine fans will be thrilled to know that the fictional Skarloey Railway is based on the Talyllyn, written into the Railway Series books by Thomas the Tank’s creator, the Rev W Awdry, who was one the earliest members of the Talyllyn Preservation Society. One of the railway’s most popular events is The Awdry Extravaganza, running over the weekend of July 20th-21st, this event includes special trains, evening events, exhibitions and plenty of photo opportunities for fans of all ages. Be sure to check the timetable and book in advance, especially during peak times.

For railway enthusiasts, history buffs, or anyone looking for a scenic adventure, a visit to the Talyllyn Railway is an enchanting experience, providing the opportunity to see beautifully restored historic locomotives in action, soak up the stunning Welsh landscape and momentarily escape into a bygone era.  

To stay nearby check out our holiday cottages in Aberdyfi

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