Author Topic: Talyllyn Ry featured Wikipedia homepage article  (Read 4076 times)

Stephen Hussar

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Talyllyn Ry featured Wikipedia homepage article
« on: July 13, 2009, 05:19:33 AM »
Happpend to go to the Wikipedia homepage this morning and was surprised to see the Talyllyn Ry as one of the featured articles. I do not know how long these articles stay on the front page, but here's the link (and I've copied the text below). Wonder how they decide which subject (of the ga-zillions of things to choose from) gets featured?!

The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge preserved railway running for 7.25 miles (11.67 km) from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn. The line was opened in 1866 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn, and was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain authorised by Act of Parliament to carry passengers using steam haulage. Despite severe under-investment, the line remained open, and in 1951 it became the first railway in the world to be preserved as a heritage railway by volunteers. Since preservation, the railway has operated as a tourist attraction, significantly expanding its rolling stock through acquisition and an engineering programme to build new locomotives and carriages. In 1976 an extension was opened along the former mineral line from Abergynolwyn to the new station at Nant Gwernol. In 2001 the preservation society celebrated its 50th anniversary, and in 2005 a major rebuilding and extension of Tywyn Wharf station took place, including a much expanded facility for the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum. The fictional Skarloey Railway, which formed part of the Railway Series of children's books by the Rev. W Awdry, was based on the Talyllyn Railway. The preservation of the line inspired the Ealing Comedy film The Titfield Thunderbolt.

John L Dobson

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Re: Talyllyn Ry featured Wikipedia homepage article
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 10:29:36 AM »
A nice piece - although the claim about passenger services is a bit odd, given that the Festiniog, just up the coast, had been running passenger trains since 1863...

Lets hope it generates some traffic for the TR this year - they are in dire straits if the following announcement is anything to go by:

[Posted on behalf of the Board. This announcement was made to staff at Wharf and Pendre this afternoon and displayed on notice-boards at both locations.]

The Board regrets to announce that as of today, 18th June, the post of General Manager has been made redundant (subject to appeal). As a result Larry Bridges has unfortunately left the Company's employment.

This action has been taken in view of the serious ongoing financial position in which the railway finds itself, as highlighted in the Notice of 20th March. It was stated then that given the worsening economic climate, there was great uncertainty and concern over the potential trading performance of the railway company in 2009 and 2010 and hence its continuing financial sustainability. The Notice went on to say that, with Council's full support, given at its meeting on 7th March, the Board would need to consider possible options for any re-organisation that might be necessary, and that further announcements would be made as decisions were taken.

A re-organisation of the catering department has since taken place which will result in cost savings hopefully leading to consistent profitability. However, cost saving measures elsewhere had to be considered concurrently. At its meeting on 30th May, Council reiterated its support for the Board to continue to take what actions it saw necessary to ensure acceptable financial performance in this year and beyond.

The draft accounts for 2008 which were produced by the end of March, showed that the railway again had a very disappointing year suffering another near £100,000 loss. The impact of the continuing very poor financial performance is that cash reserves are dangerously low. Indeed if it were not for long-standing members' loans and loans from Talyllyn Holdings the railway would have been close to running out of cash in the early part of this season. Holdings was able to make its loan because of an exceptionally generous legacy received in the latter part of last year.

The Board's overriding concern is that should 2009 prove to be another difficult year with continuing falls in revenue then there is a very strong likelihood that the railway would run out of cash or have to resort to external borrowing in the Spring of 2010. Figures up to 12th June show that combined revenues from ticket sales, the car park, the shop and catering are down on the same date last year by 0.6% despite a further fare increase. On this basis our experience so far in 2009 must now be regarded as an increasingly reliable indicator of the eventual outcome for 2009, following the very poor trading year in 2008.

Despite the savings made in 2008, the impact of which will only be seen in 2009, it is clear that, if revenue does not hold up, the losses in 2009 will again be large with the resulting impact on cash discussed above. This is why further action has had to be taken so that sufficient savings are made early enough in the year to ensure, as far as practicable, that the results for the year are within acceptable parameters, and cash reserves are adequate.

Until March 2007 the Railway had operated successfully for nearly 15 years without a General Manager, with volunteer Managing Directors fulfilling the Chief Executive role. This is why the Board has decided to revert to that structure for the time being. The previous MD, David Mitchell, has volunteered to step back into the role, albeit on a part-time basis, to be supported, particularly in his absence, by the Engineering Manager, Dave Scotson, who will act as Officer in Charge and provide an ongoing presence. The situation will be closely and continuously monitored and reviewed during the rest of this season and throughout 2010.

The Board is under no illusions that, to many, this announcement will come as a great shock. We would ask those who feel that way for understanding, and to appreciate the circumstances which the railway faces. We must all work together and support each other as we have always done.

This position is most regrettable but has been brought about by the exceptional times in which we found ourselves. The railway company had no option but to act responsibly by responding to this challenge - the TR has survived through hard times before by keeping the scale of its activities appropriate to the external climate and is determined that it will do so again.

The Board would like to thank Larry for all his hard work and efforts since his appointment through these recent difficult times.

Signed: Gareth Jones, Keith Theobald, Peter Austin, John Smallwood, Richard Hope 18th June, 2009
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 10:31:32 AM by John L Dobson »
John L Dobson
Editor, FR Magazine