The Great Little of Trains of Wales (GLTW) consortium was runner up for a national award for taking a Welsh beach into the heart of Birmingham earlier this year.
GLTW, a marketing consortium of 11 narrow gauge railways in Wales, took second place for the best marketing or communications campaign at the Community Rail Awards in Glasgow.
Organised by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), the awards showcase the achievements of community rail partnerships around the country.
To promote the fact the Welsh coast is just a train ride away, GLTW designed and delivered an eye-catching display as part of a promotional event at Birmingham New Street Station to celebrate Community Rail in the City Day and Wales Tourism Week.
Wales and The Borders community rail officers joined GLTW to raise the profile of the constituent railways in Wales.
The build team could only get access to the station at 6am on a Sunday morning and the stand was ready to be manned from 8am. It was then staffed by volunteers from the 11 railways from 8am to 6pm for the next seven days – 55 staff slots being rostered.
The display came complete with a Welsh beach situated beside a small seaside narrow gauge railway halt. The background was the Mawddach estuary and an Arriva Trains Wales unit crossing the iconic Barmouth Bridge.
At the heart of the promotion was Visit Wales’ themed ‘Year of the Sea’ in 2018.
The project received funding through the Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Award judges praised GLTW for the event’s high engagement rate with the travelling public, many of them not realising that the beach was just a train journey away via the Cambrian Coast line.
GLTW spokesman Stuart Williams, general manager at Talyllyn Railway, said:
“We are delighted to be recognised with the award. The promotion was a real success and we certainly raised the profile of the railways and Wales as a whole.
“We were also pleased with the number of people who participated in our daily competition, with nearly 1,200 people entering to win a weekend away.”