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National Transport Trust awards Red Wheel to Talyllyn Railway

Unveiling the Red Wheel plaque at Wharf Station are (from left) David Mitchell, Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society president, Stuart Wilkinson, National Transport Trust chairman, Councillor Elwyn Jones, Gwynedd Council chairman, Councillor Eileen Jones, Mayor of Tywyn and Tywyn Town Council chair, Mabon ap Gwynfor, Member of the Senedd, Stuart Williams, Talyllyn Railway’s general manager and David Ventry, Talyllyn Railway Company Board chairman. Image: Credit Luke Ryan.

Talyllyn Railway has been awarded a prestigious ‘Red Wheel’ plaque from the National Transport Trust.

The trust created the Red Wheel Scheme to recognise the most significant sites of historical importance to transport heritage in the United Kingdom. The Transport Heritage programme commemorates Britain’s rich and globally important legacy in the development of transport.

The most significant of these locations are marked by erecting a Red Wheel plaque on the site. There are now more than 120 Red Wheels around the UK.

Talyllyn Railway’s Red Wheel plaque was unveiled at Tywyn Wharf Station watched by representatives of Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society (TRPS), Gwynedd County Council, Tywyn Town Council, National Transport Trust and local Member of the Senedd Mabon ap Gwynfor.

Tom Rolt played a pioneering role in the canal and railway preservation movements.

In the summer of 1950, he wrote to the Birmingham Post newspaper suggesting the rescue of Talyllyn Railway . A meeting of interested enthusiasts followed on October 11, 1950, in Birmingham where a committee was formed to try and acquire the railway.

The committee met for the first time on October 23 and, following negotiations with Haydn Jones’ executors, the railway’s owners, the transfer took place on February 8, 1951, when the newly formed TRPS took control of the railway.

The railway re-opened on May 14 1951, with trains running between Wharf and Rhydyronen stations. Regular trains began to run on June 4 and continued through the summer.

Based at Tywyn, the railway runs for more than seven miles and has a workshop and museum, with the oldest working steam locomotive dating to 1875.

As part of TRPS’ 50th anniversary in 2001, a major new project was launched to extend and improve facilities at Tywyn Wharf station. The new station and museum were officially opened by the Prince of Wakes and The Duchess of Cornwall on July 13, 2005.

The railway has seen a steady increase in passengers since the turn of the millennium, with nearly 95,500 passenger journeys recorded in 2006, although this figure is still only around half the peak carried in 1973.