The world’s first preserved railway, which has been closed by Covid-19 pandemic lockdown rules for most of past 12 months, has come up with a novel solution to reach people in their homes.

‘If you are unable to visit us, we will come to you’ is the message from Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn in Mid Wales, which is now providing live personal virtual tours for enthusiasts needing a ‘railway fix’.

The railway, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year, offers tours to suit all needs. There are museum tours, an in depth look at Thomas the Tank Engine creator Rev Wilbert Awdry’s study, a general tour which takes in Pendre engine sheds for a glimpse behind the scenes or a tour dedicated to the railway’s locomotives.

For 30 minutes, people can walk from the comfort of their armchair with their own personal tour guide. They can spend time at the exhibits and areas that they want to look at and ask questions along the way. The tour can be booked for a time that suits them, or they can purchase a unique gift for someone else. Customers can also mix and match your tours to suit their interests.”

One tour costs £25, two cost £17.50 each or three cost £15 each. There are individual tours for the Museum, General all areas, The Awdry Study and Locomotives.

Museum tours include one year’s Friends of the Museum Membership. Book the tours online on the Talyllyn virtual tours webpage.

Enthusiasts can also watch the railway live from the comfort of their armchair thanks to three webcams that have been set up. Those wishing to see even more of the railway can pay an annual subscription of £5 to access Talyllyn Control Centre offers an extra camera and the ability to track the live progress of the trains.

Stuart has developed his video and social media skills during lockdown to keep the public engaged with and informed about railway. A fundraising campaign last year was a great success, collecting more than £130,000 for the railway.He recently streamed a live video of a 70th anniversary re-enactment event on the railway. The event marked 70 years since two ex-Corris Railway locomotives – Locos 3 and 4 - arrived at Tywyn, having been purchased by Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society.

A steam train in an engine shed.
Three locomotives lined up on the track beside a railway station.

Locos 2, 3 and 4 at Wharf for the 70th anniversary at Talyllyn Railway

Talyllyn Railway are currently taking bookings from 1st May with a guaranteed full refund should circumstances change.

 

Published 30 March 2021

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