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2017 September - End of peak events and fishplate oiling

It was an intense but enjoyable last week or so of peak service in the Fathew Valley.


Peter Sam held his last party of the year – a very busy day up at Abergynolwyn. Unfortunately Rusty wasn’t very well, so his friend Alf joined the party instead.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Saturday trains were packed with people heading to the annual Abergynolwyn Show held in the field below the station. As usual there was plenty to see and do, including entertainment by the Dysynni Male Voice Choir and Abergynolwyn Silver Band, line dancing, dog shows and traditional fun and games.

During the evening late night trains ran up the valley where Abergynolwyn was the place to be.  Beer, barbeque and live music on a lovely summer’s eve… a perfect way to end the day.  As the night drew in, Chris Cade (an actor and storyteller from York), held performances of the ‘The Signalman’ by Charles Dickens (1866), a twenty minute spine-chilling railway ghost story!

The annual Land Rover Rally also took place, with several beautifully restored Series Ones on display at the Show and at Wharf on Sunday.

We pride ourselves on being a family railway – we’ve had several married couples and father-daughter/mother-son combinations on the footplate and trains. We were very pleased to see a train crewed by members of the Parrott family – guarded by Holly with her husband Ed firing to his uncle Chris. Certain folk were very keen to point out that a group of parrots is known as a ‘pandemonium’. Luckily, all went well for their trip and everyone returned safely.


Keith’s Fishplate oiling round up

236… is the number of lengths of fishplate oiling we achieved over the extended holiday weekend. 23 people gave the equivalent of 47 days worth of effort over the 4 days. This unglamorous but essential work helps reduce the risk of the track buckling during periods of temperature extremes, so a very big thank you to everyone who came along to help its much appreciated.

On the Friday we started at Nant Gwernol and worked our way along to a few lengths on the Abergynolwyn side of milepost 7. On Saturday we took the opportunity to oil all the fishplates in the station area at Abergynolwyn before the train service started. During the afternoon, the oiling worked its way back up the extension to Forestry Crossing. Sunday morning saw the completion of the work on the extension before we moved the entire operation to Pendre and set off in the direction of Wharf. By the close of play we were about 6 lengths west of School Bridge. Monday dawned dry again and we continued towards Wharf and Wharf bridge where we called it a day. During the afternoon we cleaned and put all the gear away.

The new oiling compound seemed to work well during the application stage, it just remains to be seen how long it lasts before reapplication is required. We hope to oil the 12 or so lengths east of milepost 6 on AGM Sunday, 1 October. Many thanks once again to all who took part.

Keith Theobald

Photos by Max Birchenough, Barbara Fuller and Karen Willans


Peter Sam's Party - Peter Sam at Abergynolwyn
Duncan and a feathery friend at Abergynolwyn
Some of the vintage cars on display at the Abergynolwyn Show
The crowds watch the wheely bin race at the Abergynolwyn Show
Abergynolwn Show - Tug of War!
No 7 Tom Rolt at Wharf ready to head off into the dark
Series One Land Rovers at Wharf, Bank Holiday Sunday
Ed, Chris and Holly Parrott pose in front of No 1 Talyllyn
No 1 Talyllyn simmers in the sun while No 6 Douglas passes through Pendre

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 12 September 2017

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Bord Na Mona loco LM11 and a Ruston.


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