Talyllyn Railway wins National Rail Heritage Award for watering point

December 2022

Talyllyn Railway has won a National Rail Heritage Award for the reconstruction of an original locomotive watering point on the line.

The railway was jointly awarded the Hendy and Pendle Trust Volunteers Award by The Duke of Gloucester at a ceremony held in London.

The Tŷ Dŵr watering point, originally installed when the railway was built in 1865, transferred water from a nearby waterfall to the first locomotive shed by a series of troughs supported on slate columns. The shed was situated on what was then the mineral extension between Abergynolwyn station, the original passenger terminus and what is now Nant Gwernol station.

After the railway was preserved in 1951, the watering point fell into disuse and was demolished in 1954 so that the slate could be used to help build a retaining wall following a landslip near Dolgoch. However, it was long-held ambition to see it rebuilt and the first steps were taken in 2019. Some archaeology was needed to dig out the remains before the new structure was designed.

Following a successful appeal and sponsorship from PTG Tours, local contractors were employed to rebuild the slate columns while volunteers constructed new water troughs from locally sourced larch. The new watering point was used for the first time in March this year by locomotive No.4 ‘Edward Thomas’, the last known locomotive to use the old one.

Ian Drummond, chair of the railway’s heritage working group, said: “To receive this award is a great honour and a fantastic reward for all those who worked so hard to make this possible.

“Particular credit must go to Mike Christensen who designed the reconstruction and supervised the building, as well to our contractors, Rhys and Tomos of Celtic Masonry.

“Thanks also to all those who contributed to the appeal and to PTG Tours for their sponsorship. It is great to know that a missing piece of our heritage has now been restored.”

Editor’s notes

Talyllyn Railway is a narrow gauge railway opened for goods traffic in 1865 and, shortly after, for passenger services, which have operated every year since between Tywyn on the coast and Nant Gwernol, just over seven miles inland.

In 1951, operation of the line was taken over by Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society and became the world’s first preserved railway.

Operation of the line is primarily by volunteers from all walks of life, with a small paid staff. It is now a major Mid Wales tourist attraction, contributing significantly to the area’s economy.

If you’re a lover of Talyllyn Railway, it’s located nearby to some of our 5-star holiday home parks, including Green Meadow and Morben Isaf Holiday Home & Touring Park. Learn more about our holiday parks and available caravans for sale in Wales.

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