|Surviving against all odds, with the barest minimum of men and only the original Victorian equipment, the Talyllyn Railway has a fascinating story. The author first became familiar with the line in 1940, and after the Second World War, when other highly individual narrow gauge systems elsewhere were being closed, he continued to visit Towyn.
For someone with little opportunity, limited funds and no influence whatever, the knowledge that so many such features of our national life were now unable to continue, was a most depressing one and left the author with the camera, the interview and long hours of research, to compensate for their loss.
The manuscript for this book has been in preparation for many years and, although the railway survives today, readers will find that the 'old line' was quite different. Anyone looking for an account of preservation society politics and achievements will not find them in this work which instead is concentrated entirely on the years up to and including 1950. Both railway and quarry are investigated in detail and related to the wider background of the slate industry in the area and the local community.
The men that ran railway and quarry in various capacities, the line itself, locomotives and stock, and the controversial operating rituals, are all examined and discussed, but above all this is a story of the human struggle to keep this impoverished and defiant little railway running against all odds.
Beautifully illustrated, this original, praiseworthy and thoroughly enjoyable pre-preservation account is all the richer and more endearing for its constant reference to and portraits of the characters and personalities who were the embodiment of the old line.
· Table of Annual Returns of the Board of Trade and Ministry of Transport
· Chapter 1 - The Railway Comes to Towyn
· Chapter 2 - The Saga of Bryneglwys
· Chapter 3 - Working the Bryneglwys Quarry
· Chapter 4 - The Talyllyn Railway
· Chapter 5 - The Route from Wharf to Quarry
· Chapter 6 - Operating the Railway
· Chapter 7 - Personalities
· Chapter 8 - Locomotives
· Chapter 9 - Carriage Stock
· Chapter 10 - Goods and Mineral Wagons
· Chapter 11 - Permanent Way
- Places and Shipping
· Acknowledgements and Sources
By J I C Boyd
Hardback. 225x280mm. 336 pages
282 black & white photographs