Talyllyn Railway has announced the continuation of its 150th anniversary celebrations with two new gala weekends to be held in 2016.
Over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (April 30 – May 2) the railway will be holding the ‘Road to Adventure Gala’ to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the extension between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol along the former mineral line. The extension was dubbed ‘The Road to Adventure’ by L.T.C. Rolt.
The weekend, which will have a 1970s theme, will feature re-enactments of some of the key moments of the building of the extension, including a reunion of the ‘Gwerns’, the name given to volunteers and staff who worked on the project.
On April 30, the railway will work a modified version of the early 1970s peak service between Tywyn Wharf and Abergynowyn, with a shuttle service operating between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol. Then on May 1 the 1976 peak service will be operated including 10 daytime departures from Tywyn Wharf. In the evening there will also be a members’ barbecue.
May 2 will see the 25th anniversary of locomotive No.7 ‘Tom Rolt’ being celebrated with a ceremony at Abergynolwyn, having previously been the subject of an early morning photo train. This will also include the 75th anniversary of diesel locomotive No.5 ‘Midlander’, which will be in charge of the railway’s vintage set on the day.
In addition, throughout the weekend, there will be various 1970s themed activities for all the family, including some iconic children’s games from the period.
Then, to finish the railway’s 150th celebrations, there will be ‘The Grand Finale’ over the weekend of July 1-3. This will major on the 150th anniversary of the locomotive No.2 ‘Dolgoch’, which was delivered in the summer of 1866 and on May 14, 1951 became world famous for hauling the first train on a preserved railway anywhere in the world.
A spokesperson for the railway said: ‘Last year’s galas were an amazing success and, with a number of significant anniversaries in 2016, it seemed right to continue the celebrations into the new year.
“As we started the celebrations with the 150th anniversary of the completion of locomotive No.1 ‘Talyllyn’ in September 2014, it seemed appropriate that we should end them with a party to mark No.2 ‘Dolgoch’s’ 150th. It is probably one of the most iconic locomotives in the world and without its efforts in 1951 there might not be a world-wide heritage movement today.
“Much like last year’s ‘150th Party’ ‘The Grand Finale’ will feature some sights and sounds never seen on the Talyllyn before and will be a fitting end to the railway’s 150th celebrations.”
More details will be announced early in the new year.