Passenger numbers have risen by more than 10% and revenue has increased by 13% this year, Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society’s annual meeting was told at the weekend.
The railway company’s financial officer, Garry Mumford, reported the very encouraging figures, with revenue outstripping increased costs. Improved performances from catering and retail activities had contributed to increased revenue.
Whilst cautious about the remaining months of 2018, he said there was evidence to suggest that the railway’s operating deficit could be reduced significantly by the end of the year.
Many projects had been completed, including Locomotive No.3 ‘Sir Haydn’ returning to service along with brake third carriage No.22. Diesel locomotive No.11 had been fitted with air brakes for emergency use of passenger trains and was named ‘Trecwn’ by Sir Peter Hendy during the Anything Goes Gala in June.
The most commented event of the year was the repainting of No.6 ‘Douglas’ in RAF Traffic Blue to celebrate both the locomotive’s and the RAF’s centenary. Resulting opportunities for the railway had included taking the locomotive to RAF Cosford and displaying it at North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
General manager, Stuart Williams and engineering manager, Chris Smith, spoke about the investigation of a new works on a greenfield site on an industrial estate just east of Tywyn. This was followed by a lively discussion.
Mr Williams also spoke about the possible enlargement of Abergynolwyn Station to provide a heritage display, an enlarged café and terrace and a ground level access from the car park. There was an increasing effort to enhance the railway’s heritage, with several projects already in hand.
Changes to next year’s timetable were explained, with the peak timetable having an earlier start and finish than previously. Plans were progressing for the in-house construction of new open carriages and restoration of ex-Corris Coach No.17.
A brief presentation was made on possible changes to the railway’s governance and details were given of a volunteer long service recognition scheme. A collection taken at the meeting for new strimmers and leaf blowers raised £3,405.95.
Following the meeting, society chairman, Ian Drummond, said:
“There was a feeling that, in the last couple of years, the railway has made real progress. The improved finances, in particular, will enable us to prepare some definite proposals for projects that have long been talked about but had been stalled, although there is much discussion and thinking still to be done.
“Overall, there is a sense that the railway is able to look to the future with increasing confidence.”