Talyllyn Railway: "The Railway with a Heart of Gold"

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TalyllynRailway.pngAmongst the cache of educational short-subject films available at the Internet Archive, I came across this documentary of a narrow-gauge railway in northwestern Wales, the Talyllyn Railway, being kept alive by preservationists. The documentary was released in 1965, but was filmed in the early 1950s.

The railway opened in 1866 mainly for the purpose of hauling slate seven miles from the mines to the sea, but also carrying passengers. The mines having closed, the railway was shut down in October 1950, but reopened by volunteers the following May 1951 and has been continuously operated by volunteers for the 60 years since.

I had read about the Talyllyn Railway in my then-little boy's single-volume collection of Thomas the Tank Engine books (aka The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry). When work brought me to Shropshire in May 1999, I took the opportunity for a day in north Wales, including a ride on the Talyllyn, from Dolgoch Falls to the top of the line at Nant Gwernol and back, followed by a drive to the seaside at Tywyn and the museum at the end of the line.

The melancholy harmonica of the documentary's theme brings to mind the theme of the long-running Yorkshire sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

MORE: The filmmaker, Carson "Kit" Davidson, has an interesting biography. He's still around, living near Rutland, Vermont, and editing submissions to medical journals.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 17, 2011 4:06 PM.

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