Partnership working has led to the Great Little Trains of North Wales winning the Steam Railway magazine award from the Heritage Railway Association.
The award was presented jointly to Bala Lake, Corris, Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland, Welsh Highland Heritage, Talyllyn, Vale of Rheidol and Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railways at a ceremony in Wolverhampton.
The award citation “honoured a fresh spirit of partnership that in 2015 blossomed into the staging of a series of spectacular narrow gauge anniversary galas. Beyond this, the new co-operation extends to joint engineering expertise, overhaul contracts, sharing advice, and even swapping locomotives.”
A group of young Talyllyn volunteers was among those who received the award on behalf of the railways. The award was presented by Howard Johnston, editor of Steam Railway magazine, while the guest of honour at the event was Mark Garnier, MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Railways.
Jane Garvey, Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society’s chairman, said: “The narrow gauge railways of Wales have a long history of partnership, having formed the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ joint marketing group as far back as 1970.
“In recent year, even stronger links have been built as seen by our locomotive No.1 ‘Talyllyn’ going to the Ffestiniog Railway for emergency repairs at their Boston Lodge works in 2013. Currently our locomotive No.3 ‘Sir Haydn’ is being overhauled at the Vale of Rheidol workshops in Aberystwyth.
“However, perhaps the most visible demonstration of this partnership was our 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015, particularly the 150th party gala in July. Then we were delighted to welcome the locomotives ‘Prince’ from the Ffestiniog Railway and ‘Russell’ from the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, which were in steam at Tywyn Wharf station for the event.
“I am delighted too that some of our young people were sponsored to go to the event and be part of the group that received the award.”
The Heritage Railway Association represents the heritage railway movement all over United Kingdom which, according to a recent Parliamentary Report, is worth around £250m to the British economy.