“For 30 minutes, people can walk from the comfort of their armchair with their own personal tour guide,” explained Stuart Williams, Talyllyn Railway’s general manager.
“They can spend time at the exhibits and areas that they want to look at and ask questions along the way.
“The tour can be booked for a time that suits them, or they can purchase a unique gift for someone else. Customers can also mix and match your tours to suit their interests.”
One tour costs £25, two cost £17.50 each or three cost £15 each. There are individual tours for the Museum, General all areas, The Awdry Study and Locomotives.
Museum tours include one year’s Friends of the Museum Membership. Book the tours online at https://bit.ly/TRmuseumtours
Enthusiasts can also watch the railway live from the comfort of their armchair thanks to three webcams that have been set up. Those wishing to see even more of the railway can pay an annual subscription of £5 to access Talyllyn Control Centre offers an extra camera and the ability to track the live progress of the trains.
Stuart has developed his video and social media skills during lockdown to keep the public engaged with and informed about railway. A fundraising campaign last year was a great success, collecting more than £130,000 for the railway.
He recently streamed a live video of a 70th anniversary re-enactment event on the railway via Facebook. The event marked 70 years since two ex-Corris Railway locomotives – Locos 3 and 4 - arrived at Tywyn, having been purchased by Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society. The video can be watched on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/TalyllynRail.
Talyllyn Railway Museum.
One of the railway’s locomotives waiting to escape lockdown and return to action.
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The world’s first preserved railway celebrated a significant milestone last week when the 70th anniversary of the first two locomotives purchased by Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society was re-enacted.
The society was formed in 1950 to take over the railway following the death of its owner, Sir Henry Haydn Jones. The railway had just two locomotives - No 1 (Talyllyn) was not in good running order, leaving No 2 (Dolgoch) to provide a regular service.
Therefore Loco 3, later named Sir Haydn and Loco 4, named Edward Thomas after Talyllyn Railway’s former manager, were bought from Corris Railway, which closed in 1948.
Corris Railway, co-incidentally the only other railway in the UK operating on the same gauge - 2ft 3 ins - as Talyllyn, had put its two locomotives in storage at Machynlleth.
They were transported to Tywyn on the mainline and off-loaded onto the Talyllyn tracks by a crane from the original BR slate transfer siding near to what is now Wharf station. The locos were then coupled to No 2 and taken to their new base in the engine shed at Pendre.
Supporters, who were unable to be there due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, watched the re-enactment live on Facebook and it is now also available on Talyllyn Railway’s YouTube channel httnps://www.youtube.com/user/TalyllynRail .
Loco No. 3, built in 1878 by Hughes’ Loco & Tramway Engineering Works Ltd of Loughborough, made its first trip on Talyllyn Railway in July 1951 but, owing to the precarious state of the track, it was little used in the first year.
Loco No. 4, built in 1921 by Kerr, Stuart & Co. Ltd for use on Corris Railway, entered service in 1952 after essential repairs had been carried out by Hunslet Engine Company.
Talyllyn Railway was built in 1865 to transport slate from Bryn Eglwys slate quarry at Abergynolwyn, but also provided a passenger service from Abergynolwyn, where quarry workers and their families lived, to Tywyn, more than six miles away.
Following the quarry’s closure in 1946, Sir Haydn announced his intention to keep the railway open during his lifetime. Following his death in 1950, Mr L. T. C. Rolt and the newly formed preservation society reached an agreement with Sir Haydn’s widow to run the railway.
The railway hopes to re-open soon, with bookings being accepted from May 1 onwards. To celebrate its 100th birthday later this year, Loco No. 4 will be returning to Corris Railway as a guest loco but will be back in Tywyn for another celebration weekend on September 11 and 12.
Locos 2, 3 and 4 at Wharf for the 70th anniversary at Talyllyn Railway.
Photo credit to Barbara Fuller
Locos 3 and 4 at Wharf with Talyllyn Railway and British Rail crew in 1951.
Building a strong inclusivity and diversity policy in the workplace will be the topic for speaker Andrea Wallbank at Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub’s second Digital No Limits session on Friday, March 26.
Business in Focus senior HR manager Andrea will be advising attendees on improving workplace culture and building an inclusive business.
At the end of 2020, the hub teamed up with Celf-Able, a diverse group of artists in Powys, to launch the series that aims to promote accessibility and inclusion. The second session will focus on promoting inclusivity, diversity and empowerment within the workplace.
The hub will be welcoming Andrea to discuss equality and diversity from a HR perspective. She is an experienced HR manager and consultant, supporting SMEs across Wales in all aspects of people management and employment issues.
She advises businesses on how to develop workplace culture and implement people practices for business change and growth.
“It’s so important to have a strong inclusivity and diversity policy, and I’ll be showing how to actively become a more inclusive employer, as well as strategies for creating a more inclusive workplace,” said Andrea.
Celf-Able, a group of disabled and non-disabled artists, will also be joining the session. Celf-Able provides opportunities for people to get together, reduce isolation and celebrate disability culture.
Director and chair, Sue Patch, will be delivering an informative presentation on ‘Disability Equality’, which will cover everything from the Social Model of Disability to actions to promote inclusion in society and the workplace.
“We’re really excited to be continuing this series in 2021. It’s set to be a really insightful morning with interesting conversation, valuable learning and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people,” said Holly Jones, hub manager for Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub.
An innovative space to incubate and accelerate new and growing businesses based at Royal Welsh Warehouse, Newtown, the hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Spaces on this session are fully funded and to register online search ‘Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub’ on Business Wales Event Finder.
The prestigious British Rally Championship (BRC) is set to return with a revised calendar of events. The iconic Oulton Park Circuit will provide the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship with a history-making opening round of the 2021 season as the series commences with the Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors on 31st May.
Despite announcing its six-round calendar of events just last week (16th March), British Rally Championship organisers have since been offered the opportunity to open the season at the Cheshire circuit in May, bringing an additional asphalt event to the schedule.
Opening the series during the past two years, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally switches to October 30, providing imposing forest stages made famous by Wales Rally GB from its base in Llandudno.
BRC manager Iain Campbell said: “It’s been an extremely tough time for all forms of motorsport over the past 12 months or so and the British Rally Championship hasn’t escaped the challenges caused by the pandemic.
“But we have been working very hard behind the scenes to create a calendar worthy of the British Championship title and I truly believe we have come up with an exciting, challenging yet cost-effective offering for our BRC top-flight, Juniors and National competitors.
“I’d like to thank all of the events in the calendar that have worked with us and it goes without saying that we are all looking forward to finally getting the season underway.”
Regulations and registrations for the eagerly anticipated new season will be available soon. All the latest championship news can be found at www.britishrallychampionship.co.uk
Aberdovey-based Tom Cave in action in the British Rally Championship in 2019.
Following an exceptional period of growth, Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub has achieved record figures in February, highlighting the increase in demand for business support for new and existing businesses.
In 28 days, the hub team welcomed more than 450 virtual event attendees with 179 of those being new, completed 21.5 hours of workshops over 10 events, 23 hours of one-to-one support with their business advisor and achieved 100 sign-ups on just one event.
“February was a fantastic month full of inspiring events for the hub. We welcomed new faces and supported so many new businesses,” commented hub manager, Holly Jones.
“We’ve also held our first virtual conference, She Can Start, with over 100 sign-ups, which is a personal best for a single hub event in Newtown. As well as this, we’ve completed a three-day online masterclass dedicated to building websites, launched a five-week Instagram workshop that is seeing 80 plus attendees sign up each week, and we’re getting ready to reopen the hub for co-working as soon as government restrictions ease.”
However, it’s not just February that’s been successful for the hub. Over the last 12 months, three new members of staff have been employed to support the increased demand for hub services.
Lucie Andrews has joined as the new Enterprise Hub engagement coordinator. She is responsible for co-ordinating and promoting a comprehensive engagement programme for the hub, as well as engaging with the community and establishing key relationships.
Co-ordinators. Their role is to be the first point of contact to new clients and to signpost them to the various services the Hub offers.
Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub is an innovative space to incubate and accelerate new and growing businesses based at Royal Welsh Warehouse, Newtown. The hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
The ‘She Can Start’ virtual conference held by Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub.
The deadline for the Next Tourism Generation Competition has been extended until Friday 30 April 2021 to enable as many people as possible to take part.
What should the future of tourism in Wales look like? What skills and training will the next generation of tourism professionals need to support this sustainable development? If you can answer these questions you could be a winner in 2021!
The Next Tourism Generation competition is open to students enrolled in Wales on courses that have a component relating to tourism or hospitality AND to young people who work in the industry including 16-25 year olds who have been furloughed or recently been made redundant.
There are four categories, and entrants should make reference to one area in their response:
Julian was senior partner in Wales Holidays, a letting agency for more than 500 self-catering cottages, from 1978 to 2013, recognising tourism’s wider value and benefit to Wales.
He was volunteer chair of the WTA for eight years from 2002-‘10, a role he relished and was able to represent the industry in the Senedd and Westminster. He was tireless in championing the value and wider economic benefits of tourism.
One of Julian’s most memorable experiences as WTA chair was having afternoon tea and a discussion about tourism with the Prince of Wales on board the Royal train between Carmarthen and Cardiff.
Amongst his many roles, he was a member of the Wales Advisory Tourism Panel from 2007-’11, advising ministers for tourism within the Welsh Government and was also a founder member of the Wales Association of Self Catering Operators (WASCO).
Julian remained active in his retirement, using his vast knowledge to provide content and itineraries for MWT Cymru and the Visit Mid Wales website.
WTA’s current volunteer chair, Andrew Campbell said: “Julian’s passing is a very sad loss to tourism in Wales. He was a most influential figure who strove to make a difference and succeeded.
“When I became WTA chair, he reached out to wish me well, a gesture fully in keeping with his gentlemanly approach to life... courteous and thoughtful at all times, qualities that define our industry.”
Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, who worked closely with Julian for decades, said: “The tourism sector in Wales has benefited greatly from Julian’s wisdom and passion for more than 40 years.
“He was a Life Member of Mid Wales Tourism and we were all delighted when he was awarded an OBE in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to tourism and. We shall all miss Julian.”
Jonathan Jones, CBE, former Visit Wales tourism and marketing director and chief executive of the former Wales Tourist Board, said: “Julian was so influential in the world of self-catering and also the wider tourism field.
“Although very softly spoken, he had an iron will and a great business brain. Wales tourism is a poorer place without him.”
Picture caption: The late Julian Burrell.
Menter Mon’s Wage Subsidy Scheme is restarting on the 1st of April 2021.
This scheme is to help with taking on new staff age 25+ in Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, and Anglesey (who meet the qualifying criteria) Please see links below to more information about the scheme.
Based on the Living Wage rate, Menter Mon will pay 50% of their wage for up to 26 weeks.
Certain conditions apply, including the person must be 25 + and currently unemployed.
If you would like to discuss the scheme further please contact Rachel on 07881 873 087 or email Rachel@mentermon.com
From March 27, when the ‘stay local’ travel restrictions will also be lifted by the Welsh Government, people living within Wales will be able to enjoy a holiday break within the country. Only one household from within Wales can book to stay in accommodation.
Visitors from other UK nations will still have to abide by their restrictions, meaning that non-essential travel to Wales and overnight stays are not allowed until April 12 at the earliest.
Val Hawkins, MWT’s chief executive, said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s announcement which will allow our members with self-contained accommodation, including caravan parks, to reopen to visitors from within Wales in time for Easter.
“Wales is the first country in the UK to relax the Covid-19 restrictions in this way and that is due to the hard work and discipline of local communities within Wales to drive down the infection rate.
“Some of our members with self-contained accommodation have been gearing up to reopen in time for Easter, but not all will be reopening, as there are still significant restrictions in place.
“Our advice to people who plan to visit Mid Wales after March 27 is to ensure that you book directly with self-contained accommodation that has Covid-secure measures in place and has ‘Good to go’ accreditation.
“The safety of local communities is the first priority for all our members. Self-contained accommodation will only be allowed to take bookings from a single household until the restrictions are further relaxed.
“Whilst there will still be significant restrictions in place, it’s a long-awaited opportunity for people living within Wales, who have been in the current lockdown for three months, to escape to the outdoors and there is nowhere better than Mid Wales to boost your health and wellbeing.
“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Mid Wales from other parts of the UK when it’s safe to do so.”
Picture caption: Val Hawkins welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement.
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