On St. David’s Day – The Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru)

Or two of them at least!

2013 saw me pay visits to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) and the Talyllyn Railway (TR), two of the eleven ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’.

Opened in 1903 the 2ft 6in gauge W&LLR has its headquarters at Llanfair Caereinion in Powys and still operates services with the original locomotives built by Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd in 1902.

BP 0-6-0T No.823 (works no.3497 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.823 COUNTESS
Llanfair Caereinion, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

Great Western Railway-liveried No.823 COUNTESS is seen taking on coal at Llanfair Caereinion, in the background are the three replica R.Y. Pickering & Co Ltd carriages built by the Ffestiniog Railway‘s Boston Lodge works between 2004 and 2010, the original W&LLR carriages having been scrapped in 1931.

BP 0-6-0T No.822 (works no.3496 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.822 THE EARL
Sylfaen Halt, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

no.822 THE EARL is seen approaching Sylfaen Halt with a Welshpool Raven Square-Llanfair Caereinion service. The locomotives were named in honour of The Earl and Countess of Powys as the Earl supported the building of the railway. THE COUNTESS had its name shortened to just COUNTESS by the Great Western Railway (GWR) who absorbed the W&LLR in 1923.


The 2ft 3in gauge Talyllyn Railway was opened in 1865 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn on the coast and despite becoming incredibly run-down was never closed, becoming the first heritage railway in the world in 1951.

The TR also uses its original locomotives (amongst others) and on the day I visited No.1 TALYLLYN (built by Fletcher Jennings & Co in 1865) was photographed running round the 12:45 service to Tywyn Wharf at Nant Gwernol at the eastern end of the line.

FJ 0-4-2ST No.1 (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co 0-4-2ST No.1 TALYLLYN
Nant Gwernol, TR, 16 August 2013

Also in operation was Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS (works no.1431 of 1918). The ‘Modified E Class’ locomotive was built for the railway serving RAF Calshot in Hampshire. The locomotive was donated to the Talyllyn Railway in 1953, regauged from 2ft gauge and named after Douglas Abelson, who donated it.

AB 0-4-0WT No.1 (works no.1431 of 1918)-20130816Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS
Tywyn, TR, 16 August 2013

Both railways are on my ‘to be revisited’ list and both are accepting donations to help them survive COVID-19 enforced shut-downs, please support them if you can…

On the Narrow Gauge – Talyllyn Railway Anniversary

A very quick post today…

On 14 May 1951, the Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn) re-opened under the control of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society with trains running between Wharf and Rhydyronen stations.

FJ 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co. 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)
Tywyn Wharf station, Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn), August 2013

The 2ft 3in gauge railway is currently closed due to the Covid-19 situation and like many heritage lines they are appealing for funds to help the railway survive. If you can, please make a donation here.

The Talyllyn Railway is one of 11 heritage lines that make up the Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru).