Walks from the Talyllyn Railway[978 1908748 59 1]

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Walks from the Talyllyn Railway[978 1908748 59 1]

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Have a great time using The Talyllyn Railway and exploring one of mid-Wales' most beautiful valleys. The Talyllyn Railway's history is inextricably linked to the quarry at Bryn Eglwys, where slate quarrying began in the 1840s, with at one point 300 men removing 300,000 tons of slate and slabs. The material was, at first, transported to Aberdyfi for shipment by sea using carts and pack animals, but a more efficient method was soon needed. In 1863 the quarry was leased to a group of mill owners, seeking to diversify, as cotton supplies were becoming difficult to obtain. Engineer James Swinton Spooner, who had upgraded the Ffestiniog Railway to steam operation, was commissioned as engineer to construct a narrow-gauge line to connect with the new coastal railway. After some initial difficulties, the Talyllyn Railway Company was formed, and the line was built as far as Abergynolwyn, including provision for passenger services. Lines and inclines continued to the quarry further up the valley, although these extensions were never used for passenger traffic. The Board of Trade Inspector, Captain Henry Tyler, finally approved the railway at the end of 1866. Clearances, as built, were very tight through the over-bridges, a problem which was overcome by sealing the carriage doors on the south side permanently shut, a feature which persists to this day. Two steam engines, built by Fletcher Jennings of Whitehaven, provided the motive power. There were three carriages and a guard's van. It is a tribute to their construction that these are still in daily use. During the late 1800s the quarry and railway experienced problems, and were offered for sale and purchased by William McConnel. They flourished for a while, but things finally came to a halt in 1909. Machinery was dismantled and the remaining slate stock sent down to Tywyn. In 1911 local MP Henry Haydn Jones bought the whole undertaking, but after a brief revival the quarry finally succumbed following a tunnel collapse in 1946. The Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society was formed by a group of enthusiasts in 1950, following the death of Sir Haydn Jones, who had vowed to keep the railway open during his lifetime. In 1951 the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society were handed the railway by Sir Haydn's widow. The first public trains to Rhydyronen ran on 14th of May 1952, with two trains Monday to Friday to Abergynolwyn starting on the 4th of June. The Nant Gwernol extension was opened in 1976 by Wynford Vaughan Thomas, following legal work by member George Tibbits. All the walks in this guide are based around the railway – starting from the stations, which can be reached from Tywyn.
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