Talyllyn Railway ran a special slate train on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the announcement of the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The railway is named as part of the new World Heritage Site because it was the first Welsh narrow gauge slate railway to be designed for steam haulage from the outset and the world’s first preserved railway.
Taking up the story of the special train, general manager Stuart Williams said: “When the agenda of the UNESCO meeting was published, it was realised that the announcement of success, or otherwise, of the Northwest Wales Slate Landscape bid would be made round midday on July 28.
“It was therefore suggested that we ought to celebrate any potential success by running a special train which included some of our original and replica slate wagons and also our original brake van, hauled by one of our original locomotives No.2 ‘Dolgoch’.
“The arrangements were made in secret in case it was thought we had any inside knowledge but, like everyone else, we had to wait for the announcement on the day.
“The tension in the office increased during the morning, particularly when the live stream of the meeting went down, but fortunately it was back up in time for the announcement.
“Then we could give the go ahead for the train and get out the bunting and balloons to celebrate. This has been a long road and we would like to pay tribute to the team at Gwynedd Council for all their hard work during the long bid process.”
UNESCO World Heritage Site status recognises the role of the Welsh slate industry in not only producing slate that has “roofed the world”, but also in developing innovative technologies, including narrow gauge railways, that have spread across the globe.
It also recognises the role of the slate industry in preserving Welsh culture and language. The Ffestiniog Railway was also one of the key elements of the successful bid.
Ian Drummond, Talyllyn Railway’s Heritage Working Group chair, said: “This inscription is the end of a long road for everyone involved in the bid process. We are already seeing benefits, not only on the railway but also in the local communities, as projects have been undertaken to emphasise, interpret and, in some cases, restore the heritage of the slate industry and its contribution to the history of the area.
“We are delighted to have played a role in the process so far, and the railway will now be one of the main ‘hubs’ of the Heritage Site, giving people the opportunity to understand more of the heritage and culture of this wonderful area.”
Anthony Coulls, senior curator of the Railway Museum in York and long-serving Talyllyn Railway volunteer, added: “The recognition of Talyllyn Railway’s role, both as a pioneer narrow gauge slate railway and as the world’s first preserved railway, is richly deserved.
“The railway now takes its place alongside the Darjeeling Railway in India and the Semmering Railway in Austria as railways recognised as having World Heritage Status, something that will also apply to the Ffestiniog Railway. This is therefore a day to be celebrated by all in the international Heritage Railway movement.”
The celebratory slate train ran from Tywyn Wharf Station to Brynglas and back, carrying a special headboard which had been produced for the occasion. Locomotive No.2 was driven by James Foster with Anthony Coulls as fireman and Ian Drummond as guard.
Talyllyn Railway’s general manager Stuart Williams (right) with the crew, ‘quarrymen’ and celebratory train at Tywyn Wharf Station.
(Photo: Barbara Fuller)
Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway has welcomed one of its original locomotives back to the line in a lvery it has not worn for more than 70 years.
Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T ‘The Earl’, built in Manchester in 1902, had been sent to the Vale of Rheidol Railway, Aberystwyth for a major overhaul in 2019, following the expiry of the locomotive’s 10-year ‘boiler ticket’.
The most extensive work carried out on the engine for many years, which included a complete dismantling, was due to be completed in 2020. However, it was delayed by the Covid pandemic which closed the Aberystwyth workshops for several months.
The pandemic also threatened to delay the overhaul for funding reasons, due to the significant loss of revenue suffered by the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) while the line was unable to run services through much of the 2020 operating season.
A ‘Keep The Earl on Track’ appeal launched by the railway attracted an enthusiastic response from supporters, raising £95,000 in just three months to complete the restoration.
The return of The Earl was not before time, with the boiler tickets on both sister Beyer Peacock ‘The Countess’ and 1927-built Kerr Stuart 0-6-2 ‘Joan’ expiring over the winter of 2020-‘21.
With the impact of the pandemic also delaying the restoration of the 1944-built France-Belge 0-8-0T ‘Sir Drefaldwyn’, services so far in 2021 have relied on 1900-built 0-6-2T ‘Zillertal’, on hire from the Zillertalbahn in Austria.
As soon as running-in turns and checks are completed, The Earl will take its place on the railway roster.
As part of the overhaul, The Earl’s British Railways-era black livery has been replaced by GWR green. This livery has, in recent years, been worn by The Countess. On Monday, they posed together in Llanfair yard this week, the first time in this livery for more than 70 years.
The date was significant, exactly 60 years since The Earl first returned to Llanfair in 1961 following six years of storage in Oswestry after British Railways closed the W&LLR in 1956.
The Countess will now spend a period on show in the W&LLR’s display sheds at Welshpool before its next overhaul. Part of the reason for this is to separate the boiler tickets of the two Beyer Peacocks, so that in future the railway will always have at least one of its original locomotives in service.
“We are absolutely delighted to have The Earl back with us,” said W&LLR chairman Steve Clews. “The Vale of Rheidol team has done a superb job on the overhaul and I’m sure all those who contributed to the appeal, to whom we are very grateful, will be impressed with the standard of the work and looking forward to seeing the loco back in action.”
Meanwhile, the Vale of Rheidol Railway transporter that delivered The Earl then loaded up the W&LLR’s former Sierra Leone Government Railway Hunslet 2-6-2T No.85, built in 1954 and repatriated by the railway in 1975.
While very popular with W&LLR footplate crews, this locomotive has not worked on the line since 2010, when its boiler ticket expired. A detailed condition assessment will be carried out on No.85 as part of a joint project between the W&LLR and the UK-based Friends of the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum.
The railway is officially affiliated with the museum and several members are involved with both organisations. The condition assessment, financed from a fund started by W&LLR members, will provide a detailed report on the feasibility and likely costs of restoration of the loco.
Assuming the project goes ahead, the aim is for the work to be completed by 2025, in time for No.85 to appear at the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the world’s first public railway opened in 1825.
The Earl will play a central role in the W&LLR’s ‘Transport Treats’ enthusiast event on September 4 and 5, held on what is traditionally the railway’s Steam Gala weekend.
The event will be to a smaller scale than the gala and the traditional accompanying Llanfair Garden Railway Show is not being held this year.
More details of Transport Treats will be posted on the railway’s website www.wllr.org.uk and social media feeds leading up to the event.
Pristine in green, ‘The Earl’ returns to Llanfair.
Photo: Andrew Charman.
‘The Earl’ and ‘The Countess’ pose together before one goes into service and the other on display.
Photo: Tim Abbott
Hunslet No.85 has departed for assessment at the Vale of Rheidol Railway workshops, with hopes of restoring the loco to operational condition.
Photo: William Bickers-Jones.
“It’s the perfect quest to get teams of adults, families, groups of friends or holidaymakers working together to solve puzzles whilst providing an immersive experience. Games last about two hours and players are provided with one iPad per team of six and a puzzle pack to solve all riddles.
“They navigate using maps and GPS to find the location of their next challenge. The cost is £60 per slot which is for up to six players and clients can run 10 games per day.”
All Lorna and Jo ask of clients is that they share the marketing by promoting the event on social media and their website. Contact Lorna and Jo on Tel: 01686 449172 or 07963 260373, or email email@example.com.
Beyond Breakout has been running the Magic Portal games for schools before now opening bookings for the Newtown area. To see how the games work, visit https://www.beyondbreakout.co.uk/outdoorgames.html
The company’s indoor escape rooms are located on the fourth floor of Newtown’s Royal Welsh Warehouse, Pryce Jones Building. It also hosts online digital games and live avatar games. For more information, visit https://www.beyondbreakout.co.uk .
Beyond Breakout is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Beyond Breakout creators Jo Woodall (left) and Lorna Morris.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail paid a visit to the popular Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway who laid on a special train for them on Friday.
The group saw stations and workshops and met staff and volunteers of the railway, which attracts many visitors to Mid Wales and has links with other railways around the world.
The VIP visitors included former Education Secretary Baroness Morgan of Cotes, who set up the group in 2011 and is a director of the Great Central Railway and Leader of Powys County Council, Cllr Rosemarie Harris.
The Heritage Railway Association (HRA) was represented by president Lord Faulkner of Worcester, chief executive Steve Oates and deputy chairman Chris Price.
Lord Faulkner presented the HRA award that he sponsors for Young Volunteer of the Year to Oliver Edwards, a trustee and volunteer on the Mid Wales line.
“The future of heritage railways lies in the hands of young volunteers like Oliver and they bring so much to their railways in terms of enthusiasm, drive and understanding of Britain’s unique railway heritage,” said Lord Faulkner.
The railway also received a highly commended certificate in the internal communications category of the HRA Awards, for its digital members’ newsletter ‘The Earl’. This newsletter proved vital during the Covid pandemic, keeping members in touch with the line while they were unable to visit.
Group chair Liz Saville Roberts, MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd, said: “The 12 Great Little Trains of Wales are a main attraction for visitors to Wales. They also provide valuable jobs and skills training for young people, so it is great to visit the railway today and hear at first hand how they have built this successful business and survived the Covid pandemic.”
Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams, who lives in Llanfair Caereinion, was proud to show fellow Parliamentarians the railway, a major tourist attraction in his constituency.
“The railway is much loved by the local community here and is a magnet for visitors to this very lovely part of Wales,” he said. “With so many holidaying in Britain, we all hope this will be a good year for our heritage railways and for tourism.”
Railway chairman Steve Clews said: “We are proud that for what was effectively its first visit post Covid, the group came to us, as we are not one of the larger lines in the UK heritage railway movement.
“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing railway preservation in today’s environment and to celebrate the many achievements of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway both locally and on the wider stage.”
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail chair Liz Saville-Roberts, MP, (left) and Heritage Railway Association president Lord Faulkner (right) were welcomed to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway by chairman Steve Clews (centre).
Photo: Andrew Charman.
Heritage Railway Association president Lord Faulkner present Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway trustee Oliver Edwards with the HRA’s Young Volunteer of the Year award.
Photo: Andrew Charman.
The railway is also accepting bookings, subject to volunteer staff availability, for its ‘Your Railway for the Day’ package. Groups of up to six people, or even individuals, can drive steam, diesel or battery electric locomotives, work with the guard and the signalman and enjoy exclusive use of the railway.
The Great Horses for Health Relay arrives in Wales on Sunday as it aims to raise money for equine welfare and mental health charities and increase awareness of road safety for horse riders and other vulnerable road users.
The relay, which began in Yorkshire on May 2 and is due to end in South West England on October 2, has been organised in celebration of horses and how they have helped many people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bringing the equine community together and enabling horse riders all over the UK to have fun, the relay comprises horse riders, horse-drawn carriage drivers, cyclists and walkers. People take part by registering with www.horses4health.co.uk .
The relay began life with an idea by Sophie Gifford over breakfast at the end of 2020 and has now blossomed into a nationwide event. She had equine welfare and rescue, mental health benefits through equines and vulnerable road safety and rural crime awareness when she founded the relay.
From July 11-24, the relay comes to Wales, starting with a handover to Helen Lacey from North Wales Horsewatch near Wrexham. It finishes with a handover from Wales regional co-ordinator Medina Brock to the West Midlands region on the Welsh border on July 24.
Medina, who runs Brandy House Farm at Felindre, near Knighton with her husband Richard, said a selection of amazing rides, some guided and others easily followed, had been set up across the beautiful Welsh countryside and coast.
She has had the gargantuan task of collating the rides that people have organised and passing them to the main H4H page for all registered riders to see and join if they wish. Book onto an accompanied ride by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Charities benefitting from the relay are HorseWorld, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Hope Pastures, Horseback UK, RDA, Bransby and North Wales Horsewatch. To donate to the charities, visit www.horses4health.co.uk .
The Welsh rides include: Lleyn Peninsula 14 miles with Diane South for a maximum of four riders on July 11, Anglesey beach ride of 15-16 miles with Vicky Long for up to five riders on July 14 and Criccieth (LL52 0BT) 9-10 mile ride with Denise Meldrum for up to six riders on July 15 at 6.30pm.
Overnighters may book via email@example.com. In the Brecon Beacons, Hannah is offering camping and corral with an eight mile accompanied loop ride on July 24. Up to three vehicles are allowed and the lanes are unsuitable for lorries
Medina is offering an overnight stay in Mid Wales at Brandy House for up to six horses on July 23, with camping, DIY livery and access to full route portfolio on the day before the baton is handed on to the West Midlands. The camping and livery fee will be donated to H4H.
Motorists and the general public are urged to look out for riders wearing the Horses4Health high viz waistcoat.
The relay progress can be followed on social media at:
Facebook : www.facebook.com/greathorses4healthrelay;
Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/1399636837047873
Great Horses for Health Relay riders arrive in Wales this weekend
A multi-award winning eco house with self-catering accommodation in Snowdonia is adding accolades to its growing list of honours.
Bryn Elltyd Eco House at Tanygrisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog has been shortlisted as a Green Infrastructure Project of the Year finalist in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2021. It has also been recommended in the inaugural Great Electrifying.com Getaway Awards which honour attractions in the UK with electric car charging facilities.
The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2021 will be held at The Brewery in London on September 22. The Green Infrastructure Project of the Year category is open to any infrastructure project that aims to curb environmental impacts while delivering state of the art services to the public.
Bryn Elltyd is competing against four national businesses in the category which covers smart grid, smart city, public transport, water infrastructure and or ecosystem services and natural capital initiatives.
The judges look for projects that have taken clear steps to prioritise environmental performance and deliver the green infrastructure projects that will be critical to the development of a genuinely sustainable, net zero emission economy.
John and Celia Whitehead, owners of Bryn Elltyd Eco House, were pioneers in Wales to install three electric vehicle charging points in 2012 as motorists began to invest in electric or hybrid cars. They are proud that Bryn Elltyd is one of the few places in the country where cars can recharge with green electricity.
Powered completely by renewable energy since 2013, Bryn Elltyd Eco House offers carbon neutral and Visit Wales graded self-catering, sleeping between five and 11 guests.
All electric used at the property is either made on site or from 100% UK renewables, with two hydro stations within 200 metres.
The Great Electrifying.com Getaway Awards recognise the best places to visit in the UK with excellent electric car charging facilities.
Bryn Elltyd Eco House is recommended in the Places to Stay or Eat category, while Aberystwyth is recognised in the Beside the Seaside category. Aberystwyth has three 50kW rapid chargers, a decent quota of 7kW points and a new six bay Tesla Supercharger site.
To qualify for the awards, each location must have at least two Type 2 charge connections and a rapid charger within striking distance. The awards pinpoint outstanding electric car friendly destinations, with five winners across five categories.
Bryn Elltyd Eco House has developed from a 1883 granite building, 700ft up in Snowdonia to become an example how businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.
The property offers three self-catering bedrooms rooms within the main house and two bedrooms in detached buildings.
“We have had solar panels since 1983 and a passion for greener, but still comfortable, living,” said John. “Running this unique business has helped us share our vision with others in a stunning Welsh landscape.
“Many organisations talk of climate change and reducing their carbon footprint, whereas we set a carbon neutral target for energy inputs and reached it. We are passionate about what we are trying to do here and embrace new technology.”
The Whiteheads, both qualified teachers, moved to Tanygrisiau from Coventry 15 years ago, drawn by their love of the great outdoors and the Welsh mountains.
Bryn Elltyd punches well above its weight with its Green credentials. The business was an early pioneering member of Green Tourism, has twice won Considerate Hotelier Awards and achieved the Green Tourism Gold Standard and Green Dragon Environment Standard.
The Whiteheads are long-standing members of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Visit Bryn Elltyd's website: www.accommodation-snowdonia.com
Bryn Elltyd Eco House with cars parked outside using the electric charging connections.
Corris and Talyllyn Railways in Mid Wales have rescheduled their 100th Anniversary Gala events for Kerr Stuart locomotive number 4 for September.
The Corris Railway’s Gala Weekend, originally planned for May, will now be held on September 4 and 5.
The gala weekend will see the return visit of the original Corris locomotive number 4 ‘Edward Thomas’ which will be heading passenger trains there for the first time since 1930.
‘Edward Thomas’ will work a mixture of passenger and freight trains over the two days of the event in company with Corris’ own number 7, a 2005 recreation of the 1921 design.
Following the gala, locomotives numbers 4 and 7 will make the short journey to Tywyn for a special birthday event on Talyllyn Railway on September 11 and 12.
The railways hope to be able to announce further dates when the locomotives will run before September 17 when number 4 is due to be taken out of traffic for statutory boiler week.
Ticketing arrangements will be dependent on pandemic restrictions. Announcements will be made via www.corris.co.uk and Corris Railway’s Facebook page.
Locomotive number 4 is a Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” 0-4-2ST built for the Corris in 1921 and it worked on the Machynlleth to Aberllefenni line until it was withdrawn in 1948. Shortly afterwards, Corris Railway Line closed in August of that year, apart from the horse worked Ratgoed Tramway.
Passenger services had ceased at the end of 1930 after Great Western had acquired the 2 foot 3 inch narrow gauge railway. Fortunately, the locomotive was not reduced to scrap after withdrawal.
After being stored in the yard at Machynlleth Station alongside the other extant Corris engine, Hughes 0-4-2ST number 3 of 1878, it was purchased and moved to Talyllyn Railway in 1951. Since 1952, it has been a mainstay of Talyllyn Railway’s operations.
As the revival of the Corris has progressed, number 4 has made one visit to its original haunts in 1996.
Locomotive Edward Thomas in steam on Talyllyn Railway this summer and at Abergynolwyn in 1952.
Mid Wales-based Talyllyn Railway has taken an important step on its journey to becoming carbon neutral by investing in planting trees.
The narrow-gauge heritage railway, which runs between Tywyn and Nant Gwernol, Abergynolwyn, is partnering with Forest Carbon, a company that develops nature-based climate projects in the UK.
The intent of this pioneering partnership is to offset emissions created from coal burnt by the railway’s steam locomotives.
Talyllyn Railway is investing in a carbon-financed woodland scheme based in Breckenhill, Northern Ireland, which has planted 1,688 trees on 1.1 hectares, and is also keen to invest in woodland or peatland restoration projects within Wales.
The railway, in a typical year, consumes 95 tonnes of coal which creates 210 tonnes of CO2e - the equivalent to 127 people on a return flight from London to Los Angeles - although that has been significantly reduced during the pandemic.
Investment in the Breckenhill project, which is validated under the UK’s Woodland Carbon Code, will lead to the sequestration of 322 tonnes of CO2 over the next 50 years.
In partnership with Forest Carbon, the railway is also actively looking for local Welsh-based landowners who might be interested in increasing woodland on their land or participating in peatland restoration projects.
In the shorter term, the railway has committed to offset its emissions annually through the purchase of verified carbon credits through the Carbon Neutral Britain Climate Fund scheme.
General manager Stuart Williams said: “As a heritage steam railway, for which coal burning steam locomotives are an integral part of the visitor experience, we are keen to make sure we minimise the impact of our operation wherever possible.
“We were attracted to working with Forest Carbon as they offered a long-term solution. The Talyllyn is looking to implement annual offsetting projects to complement this scheme, especially those based in Wales where possible.
“We will be offering our customers the chance to be able to pay a small premium on their ticket price to individually offset their journey and will be encouraging our membership to donate too. Any donations made will be reinvested in similar projects.”
Matthew Hay, from Forest Carbon, said: “We are delighted to be working with Talyllyn Railway to address their climate impact and welcome their investment into UK nature-based solutions by supporting woodland creation at Breckenhill.
“Planting trees, especially native species, delivers a whole host of environmental benefits beyond carbon sequestration, so we really value the contribution of committed organisations like Talyllyn, who are willing to step up and put their money where their mouth is, sustainability wise.”
The railway has already invested in several sustainability projects including a 13kw solar panel installation, electric car chargers at the two main stations and the removal of single use plastics.
It also recently adopted a new environmental policy which covers resource management, water, electricity and biodiversity. The railway appreciates how important it is to be carbon neutral and is constantly looking at ways to improve its environmental credentials.
Talyllyn Railway has invested in planting trees at Breckenhill in Northern Ireland to offset carbon emissions from steam trains.
Although best known for his striking political posters, a portion of his work is concerned with the literary world. He spent the last decade of his life in Porthcawl, where he continued to work and was deeply influenced by Welsh culture and the Welsh language.
This exhibition celebrates his contribution to visual art in Wales, as well as the writers he portrayed.
Photographer Nick Treharne's exhibition A Portrait of Wales features 20 images of modern Wales. Since 2018, Nick’s vision has been to build a comprehensive portfolio of life in Wales.
He’s a master of observation and has an ability to seek out and find engaging moments in the streets, the countryside and the many events that take place during each year.
From events and traditions that are an integral part of Welsh life, to portraits of the inspirational and interesting characters he meets on his journey, this “lover of the split second” transforms ordinary, everyday subjects into something extraordinary.
The library has an extensive collection of works of art on paper and the On Paper exhibition will showcase prints, watercolours, collages, sketchbooks and paintings by some of Wales's most prominent artists.
With topics ranging from explorations of political activism, racism and refugee life alongside more traditional subjects such as the human form and the natural world, this exhibition offers an insight into the diversity and richness of the works on paper in our collections.
Throughout the summer visitors will also have an opportunity to view the majestic Gregynog Gallery which has been recently refurbished.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said: “I am very much looking forward to being able to welcome the public back to visit our exhibitions.
“Although the library has remained digitally open throughout the lockdown periods and readers have been able to return to the building to work, I am well aware that people are keen to be able to return to enjoy this wonderful building and its special collections. Although the circumstances will have to be different for safety reasons, the welcome will be as warm as ever.”
The safety of visitors and staff is the library’s highest priority. To reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19, visitors will notice changes which may mean that their experience is slightly different to what is normally offered.
Limited numbers of visitors are able to enter the building and visits must be pre-booked with valid tickets presented at reception on arrival. The library shop and Pendinas Café will also be open as part of the visit on production of a valid ticket.
Full details of the other safety measures which will be in place can be viewed on the library’s website https://www.library.wales/visit/things-to-do/exhibitions
National Library of Wales.
July 2021 June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 April 2020 March 2020 November 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 January 2018 November 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017
- Marketing Benefits