£110,000 grant boost for historic railway’s redevelopment plans
Plans for a major redevelopment of the Talyllyn Railway has moved a step closer thanks to an initial £110,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The funding will allow the heritage railway to develop a full application for more than £1 million towards the £3.5 million estimated cost of redeveloping Tywyn Pendre and Tywyn Wharf stations.
The project will also include the construction of a new engineering works, carriage maintenance and storage at Tywyn Pendre station.
A new heritage facility and interpretation centre will also be developed at Tywyn Wharf and the station building will be remodelled to provide a street level main entrance and an enlarged café and shop within the existing structure.
Increased engagement with different groups, particularly those with autism, is a major part of the bid, which will aim will be to provide a safe venue for autistic people and their families to experience a steam train journey.
General manager Stuart Williams said: “Now, the hard work really begins to develop the full bid and provide the railway with the people and facilities it needs for the future.”
The railway will be launching a major appeal to help raise the rest of the money required for the project. It’s hoped that the bulk of the work will be underway in time for the railway’s 75th anniversary as the world’s first preserved railway in 2026.
The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge railway, which opened for goods traffic in 1865 and, shortly after, for passenger services, which have operated every year since between Tywyn and Nant Gwernol, seven miles inland.
In 1951, operation of the line was taken over by Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society.
Operation of the line is primarily by volunteers, with a small paid staff. It is now a major tourist attraction in Mid Wales, contributing significantly to the area’s economy.
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