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Two Wrens for the Gala

The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to confirm two more visiting locomotives for the 2017 railway gala at the Apedale Valley Light Railway.
Continuing the theme of the event – which is the Kerr, Stuart locomotive company of Stoke-on-Trent – is Kerr, Stuart 3128. This is one of the iconic “Wren” class locomotives. This locomotive has had a particularly interesting career, including crossing the Atlantic four times! It was built in 1918 for a factory at Avonmouth which supplied Mustard Gas to the British forces fighting in the First World War; after the end of hostilities, the factory became the National Smelting Company producing zinc products. In 1959, the loco was exported for preservation to Canada. The loco was returned to the UK in 2013 and was restored at the Statfold Barn Railway to full operating condition. It was returned to its owner in Canada; tragically, problems in Canada prevented its operation, and it returned to Statfold in 2016.
The visit to Apedale will be the first time that this locomotive has operated away from its Statfold base; the Trust wishes to thank Graham Lee, Henry Noon and the Statfold team for allowing the locomotive to attend the event.
The second locomotive is also a Wren – but a much more recent incarnation. The modern successor to the old Kerr, Stuart company is the Hunslet Engine Company, based at Statfold Barn Their number 3905 of 2005 is named “Jennie” and is now based at the Amerton Railway, near Stafford. Owned by the Gully family, the locomotive has previously visited a number of UK narrow gauge railways, but will be a first-time visitor to Apedale. The Trust is grateful to the Gully family for facilitating the loan of this fascinating locomotive.
Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “Having two Wren class locomotives on site at Apedale will be really exciting. This is the design of locomotive which most people associate with Kerr, Stuart. We think that having five Kerr, Stuart designed locomotives in operation is a record in preservation. It will be fascinating to compare two locos which are very similar in design, yet are 87 years apart in age. This must surely be another record – the longest production run of a product design!”
The “Stanhope Steam Gala” will be held on May 13 and 14. Admission will be £6 adults, £3 children.

More details of the Trust and the Apedale valley Light Railway can be found on Facebook or on the website here.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 21 March 2017

2017 February - Talyllyn's Spring Outdoor Week 2017 progress report

Tasks completed during Spring Outdoor Week


Nant Gwernol


Quarry Siding


Milepost 4-4 1/4



Investigating an issue with a joint in the crossing, this involved dismantling part of it.

Milepost 2 1/2

Digging out the blocked and choked drain east of milepost 2 1/2 (3 days of very muddy digging)


Resetting 3 platform edging slabs

Hendy Bridge

Ty Mawr Bridge

Rail Stacks


Wharf Cutting

Tree inspection


Keith would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to everyone who took part in Spring Outdoor Week 2017. The weather was less than ideal at times and it was suggested that there might be a trades description issue with the word “Spring” however there were plenty of daffodils, snowdrops and primroses to cheer the Gang up.

Thanks are also due to the support teams who facilitated the making and delivery of the gang’s sandwiches, produced an excellent meal for the gang on the Tuesday evening, the evening entertainment providers, and digger drivers.

Update by Keith Theobald.

Photos by Tony McIlwrick and Keith Theobald.


Brynglas re-laying - removing old track
Brynglas re-laying - down to the mud ready for new ballast, sleepers and rail
Brynglas re-laying - nearly done!
Abergynolwyn west end - turnout work
Rhydyronen platform edging
Hendy Bridge repointing work

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 19 March 2017

FR117 has an outing

It’s been a Big Weekend for the FR117 coach project. The bogies were fitted last weekend and the air connected up. The new electrical system has been tidied up to the extent that the coach could move; this involved the usual wrestling match with flexible conduits which seemed to take their inspiration from irate boa constrictors. With that done, it was time to summon an air-brake fitted diesel loco and Give It a Go. It’s fair to say that this was a bit of a nervy moment; however much measuring takes place, it’s always good to see things work in reality. The first step was to make sure that it would fit through the shed door – remember, it has changed a LOT since it was put in the shed. Then, careful checks were made as the coach traversed the sharper points in the yard, and onto the station. Measurements of stepping distances were made, and this needed a run down the mainline to Apedale Road platform. This also allowed a test of the new passenger emergency valve, which was found to be very effective. All seemed to go quite well, so the coach has now been returned to the shed. The electrical work is well advanced. Key stages now are the repaint and cleaning/refitting all the interior. However, we’re pretty confident that FR117 will now carry passengers at Apedale during the forthcoming operating season.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 19 March 2017

An anniversary

So, everyone, 17th March – what’s special about that? Apparently it some sort of Saints Day, popular in Bord Na Mona land. But the real significance of 17th March 2017 is that it is 10 years to the day since the first piece of track of the Apedale Valley Light Railway was laid. Looking back at the photos, it is remarkable how the site has changed in the intervening years. I could make a comment about changes to the people, but best not. What is encouraging is that, of the people in the photos, all are still Trust members and almost all are still regular volunteers at Apedale. You know who you are, chaps!

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 17 March 2017

Press Release - Talyllyn Railway Has Record Week Despite Doris

The Talyllyn Railway had a record February half-term week carrying nearly 33% more passengers than the same period last year.


Even Storm Doris failed to reduce the passenger numbers with trains able to keep running through the bad weather.

Under the branding ‘Love It Local’ the Railway encouraged residents in the area to come and take a ride on the train and discover the facilities on offer. In anticipation of additional passengers the Railway ran more trains than it had previously run during the February half term week. There was also a range of children’s activities at Tywyn Wharf station.

Saturday 25 February saw a ‘Try Your Hand’ day for those interested in volunteering for the many tasks that need to be done to keep the Railway running.

The following week a band of intrepid volunteers were involved in a week of outdoor maintenance carrying out jobs on the track and elsewhere. They too kept going in the face of what were often appalling weather conditions to get the work done.

General Manager, Tracey Parkinson, commented:

‘This is a tremendous start to the new season. We were worried when we saw the weather forecast for the week that passenger numbers might suffer, but thanks to our dedicated operating volunteers and those who maintain the infrastructure we kept the wheels turning. Our café was also busy serving food from breakfast time until the last train returned. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves. We also signed up many new members for the Preservation Society and had several new volunteers, so we count the week as a huge success’.

For further information about this press release please e-mail: pressoffice [at] talyllyn [dot] co [dot] uk or phone 01654 710472.


Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 9 March 2017

Talyllyn Railway Press Release - More Historic Milestones

 On 19th February 1867, two months after the first public passenger trains ran on the Talyllyn Railway a new timetable was issued.


This was significant because it makes the first mention of Rhydyronen station, two miles from Tywyn and the original intermediate station on the line.

The timetable also shows that now all trains originated from Tywyn and returned back from Abergynolwyn. Previously trains had started from Abergynolwyn and returned from Tywyn. It is believed that the reason for this was that work on the construction of the locomotive shed at Tywyn Pendre station had now been completed. This makes this probably the oldest continuously used narrow gauge locomotive shed in the world.

To mark this 150th anniversary a photo was organised at Tywyn Pendre station featuring the railway’s original locomotive No.1 Talyllyn, itself 152 years old, and the Railway’s current General Manager, Tracey Parkinson, who was dressed in suitable Victorian garb for the occasion.

In the photo Talyllyn Railway General Manager, Tracey Parkinson, is seen in conversation with Andy Crookell, the fireman of locomotive No.1 Talyllyn on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the locomotive shed at Tywyn Pendre seen in the background.

For further information about this press release please e-mail: pressoffice [at] talyllyn [dot] co [dot] uk (subject: Website%20query) or phone 01654 710472.

Photos by Barbara Fuller





Tracey Parkinson chats to the fireman of No 1 Talyllyn outside Pendre Shed
No 1 Talyllyn at Rhydyronen - marking 150 years since the station opened

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 20 February 2017

2017 February - Loco Working Party Update

Update from 4/5 Feb working party at Pendre


No 2 Dolgoch was the main focus of the working party. The plugs, blast pipe and blower ring were refitted. New gauge glasses were fitted, the ashpan overhauled and refitted, firebars replaced and new brake blocks put on. The smokebox and firebox got a fresh coat of paint. The loco was hydraulic tested to check the plugs don’t leak.

No 4 Edward Thomas has had the inside cab, buffer beams and running plates painted.

No 7 Tom Rolt’s safety valves were lapped, and the dome cover refitted.

Thanks all for your hard work.

Photos by Mike Morris.

Painting inside No 4 Edward Thomas' cab
Brake block replacement work on No 2 Dolgoch - why they need replacing!
Brake block replacement work on No 2 Dolgoch - new block

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 13 February 2017

Press Release - Talyllyn Railway is 'Loving It Local' over Half Term

We’re ‘Loving It Local’ during the half term week between 18 and 26 February 2017.


Twice as many trains will run, at half the usual fares, as part of the Railway’s annual thank you to the local community. Called ‘Love It Local’ there will also be children’s activities at Tywyn Wharf station during the week including a colouring competition.

Trains will depart for Nant Gwernol from Tywyn Wharf station at 10.30 am, 11.40 am, 2 pm and 3.10 pm and all fares are half price. In addition, Kings Café at Wharf station will be open all week serving hot and cold meals, and the Quarryman’s Caban at Abergynolwyn station will be open for snacks and light refreshments.

Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society Ian Drummond comments:

‘We deeply appreciate all the support given to the Railway by the local community during the past year, and one of our aims is to build more links into the future. This Railway has served the local community for 150 years, and we hope it will continue for many more. Therefore, this is our way of saying thank you and this year we’ve made it bigger and better than ever. We hope that many people will come along and join us during the week whether it’s to ride the train, have a meal or simply say ‘hello’, you will be more than welcome’.

On Saturday 25 February there will also be an opportunity for those interested in getting involved in volunteering on the Railway with their ‘Try Your Hand’ day.

For further information about this press release please e-mail: pressoffice [at] talyllyn [dot] co [dot] uk or phone 01654 710472.

Photo by Ian Drummond.


No 2 Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf station, complete with Welsh daffs

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 11 February 2017

Diana at May Gala

The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to confirm arrangements for the 2017 railway gala at the Apedale Valley Light Railway. This year’s gala, to be held on May 13 and 14, will mark the centenary of the Kerr, Stuart locomotive “Stanhope”. Kerr, Stuart were a Stoke-on-Trent based locomotive manufacturer – so “Stanhope” is now preserved less than five miles from where it was built. However, the intervening century saw it work in England, Scotland and Wales!
The gala will be themed around Kerr, Stuart products, and the visiting locomotive line-up will reflect this. The Trust looks forward to welcoming Phil Mason and his locomotive “Diana” to the railway. “Diana” will also mark its centenary in 2017, and is the only “Sirdar” class Kerr, Stuart loco in Europe; there is one other preserved in Namibia. “Diana” was used on the long-closed Kerry Tramway in Wales, and now operates on the Bala Lake Railway. The locomotive steamed again in 2015, 65 years after being taken out of traffic.
Further visiting locomotives are under negotiation and will be announced in due course; suffice to say that the Trust is aiming to have the largest-ever gathering of Kerr, Stuart locomotives in preservation at Apedale in May! There will be the usual supporting cast of model railways and trade stands, plus military re-enactors in the recreated World War One trench system.
The Trust will also be launching a new book telling the story of “Stanhope” and its’ astonishing survival – the loco owes its survival to an argument between two well-known personalities from the early years of narrow gauge preservation!
Phil Robison, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “We are all looking forward to bringing Diana home to Stoke-on-Trent; the Stanhope Steam Gala looks like being another really good weekend at Apedale. The MRT has developed a reputation for top-notch railway galas, and we are expecting this to be no exception!”
The “Stanhope Steam Gala” will be held on May 13 and 14. Admission will be £6 adults, £3 children.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 7 February 2017

Training on the Trains

We have had a Training and Assessment day at Apedale. This has focussed on re-assessing a group of mainline passenger drivers and Guards. We are required by law to have a training and assessment regime which is every bit as rigorous as a mainline operator. The days of “if the face fits, you can be a Guard” are long gone. Whilst this regime can be quite onerous, it does mean that both our volunteers and the management team know exactly who is authorised to do what job, and everyone is trained and assessed against a common set of standards – no favouritism and none of “clique problem” which afflicts some organisations. It also means that any of the volunteers can become part of the training process – but acheiving the necessary standard takes some time and commitment. A spin-off benefit is that we have documentation demonstrating the competence of our people, which is useful when Apedale locos visit other railways – we can demonstrate the competence of the crews which may accompany the loco. We are always looking for new volunteers, please get in touch here.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 5 February 2017

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