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2017 August - Race the Train on the Talyllyn Railway

The 34th annual Tywyn Rotary Club Race the Train event took place on Saturday 19 August.


There was a slight element of drama before the race this year. The Friday evening engineering train had left Pendre around 6.30 to do some work up the line. By the time they returned, extremely heavy rains had caused the stream at Cynfal to overflow over the track, depositing debris and mud. The track was impassable and for the first time in many years, a steam engine was marooned east of Pendre and had to spend the night outdoors at Brynglas. The crew and gang members were rescued by road.

Early on Saturday morning a small gang headed to Cynfal to investigate. The stream had thankfully receded overnight. The gang had a lot of debris and mud to clear up in and around the streambed and track. Thanks to their efforts they were able to reopen the line in time for the first train of the day, the Quarry Challenge train.

No 6 Douglas’ crew also had a challenge – get to Brynglas to light up their engine in time to bring it down to Pendre for their train! Fortunately the Fireman drives a Land Rover so was happy to fill the back up with rags, wood and cleaning materials and head to Brynglas. Bringing No 6 down ‘light engine’ also gave them a chance to check the line out.

Happily all went well for the races on Saturday. Friday’s torrential rain had stopped and the weather was cool and cloudy. Around 1,500 competitors took part in the various races including 830 who ran in the main 14 mile Rotary Challenge race. Congratulations to everyone who competed – the course was very muddy in places and looked hard going.

Many thanks as always to the organisers and volunteers who work very hard to make this race happen. The atmosphere in Tywyn on Race the Train day is amazing, the town is buzzing and everyone involved seems to have a brilliant time.

Find out the winners, times and course information on the Race the Train website –

Photos courtesy of Barbara Fuller, Annette Knape and Karen Willans.

Flooding at Cynfal Friday 18 August
No 2 Dolgoch and the Race Train headboard get a final polish
Engines everywhere at Pendre
The Quarry Challenge train waiting at Wharf
Morning race runners heading back to Tywyn
Quarry Challenge and Dolgoch runners near Brynglas
Morning runners get closer to Tywyn
Cynfal Stream just lapping the rails - mud etc can be seen on the trackbed
Waiting to go to Wharf - the Race Train ready at Pendre
Rotary Challenge runners alongside the track
The Race Train and Rotary Challenge runners approaching Brynglas
Runners and the Race Train
The Race Train and runners alongside
Rotary Challenge runners on the way up at Dolgoch
The way down - fewer runners alongside the train nearing Brynglas
Approaching Tynllwynhen the runners head off up the hillside

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 21 August 2017

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