New leader to look after 150-year-old train operated by first railway preservation group in world

Richard Hope OBE (left) and new president David Mitchell at the Wharf Station Tywyn on the Talyllyn Railway, with Locomotive No 1 Talyllyn.  Photo by Darren Turner
Richard Hope OBE (left) and new president David Mitchell at the Wharf Station Tywyn on the Talyllyn Railway, with Locomotive No 1 Talyllyn. Photo by Darren Turner

The president of a steam locomotive preservation group welcomed guests to celebrations for a train’s 150th birthday before handing over the leadership to another man from his town.

Berkhamsted’s David Mitchell will take over the reins as head of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society from Richard Hope OBE, who has held the post for seven years.

Built in 1864 for the Welsh slate railway, Talyllyn is believed to be the oldest locomotive in the world still working.

The train takes tourists along the scenic line from Tywyn on Cardigan Bay in mid-Wales to Nant Gwernol in the foothills of Cader Idris.

The character of Skarloey in the famous Thomas the Tank Engine books is based on the engine.

Many of the incidents in the early books are based on actual events on the Talyllyn Railway.

After the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1950 by famous author LTC Rolt, the Talyllyn became the first railway in the world to be owned and operated by volunteers, pioneering the Heritage Railway movement.