The 1950s and 1960s were decades of change for the narrow gauge railways of Wales.
In this programme we travel back to those years and witness life as it was on the narrow gauge lines in fascinating unseen or very rare colour film.
Heading from east to west, we start our journey at the Welshpool & Llanfair. This line was closed by British Railways in November 1956 when freight traffic ceased between the main-line at Welshpool and the branch terminus at Llanfair Caereinion. It became clear that the section through Welshpool town itself would not survive and this resulted in a decision to recover all of the remaining rolling stock from Welshpool in March 1962.
Onwards to Aberystwyth, where the Vale of Rheidol was destined to become British Railways’ final narrow gauge branch and the last route on which BR operated steam. The line, largely catering for holidaymakers, continued to operate from the main-line station up to Devil’s Bridge throughout the two decades covered in this programme.
Further West, the Talyllyn Railway by 1960 was approaching the end of its first decade as a preserved line, but when reopened by volunteers in 1951 – as Britain’s first preserved railway – the Talyllyn’s success was to engender the growth of the preservation movement over the next 50 years.
Further up the coast, the Fairbourne Railway had undergone major changes during the First World War when it was converted from the two-foot gauge to 15 inch. Closed in 1940, it was revived in 1947. Sadly, the early views recorded here will become even more historic, as the low-lying land on which the railway was built is amongst the areas that may well be lost in the unending battle again coastal erosion and sea level rise.
Finally to Porthmadog and the pioneering Ffestiniog Railway. Although never formally closed the railway was – by the late 1940s – effectively moribund. The line was eventually secured for preservation in 1954, with the first passenger trains operating the following year from Porthmadog to Boston Lodge. Over the next few years the line was progressively extended, reaching Tan-y-bwlch in 1958, at which time the railway operated over a distance of some seven miles
Welsh Narrow Gauge Railways in the 50s and 60s
Format: DVD PAL
Footage: Colour original archive
EAN No: 5 034028 00015 0
Duration: 60 minutes approx
Packaging: Standard DVD case shrink-wrapped
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