Part 9: The TR in the third millennium

1973 – Now

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Traffic had peaked in 1973 at about 100,000 passengers per year. After dipping for a few years it again reached the same level in 1978.  Since then traffic has dropped to around 45,000 passengers per year, though it has varied year-on-year.  Since the opening to Nant Gwernol the TR has continued the steady but unspectacular task of improving and maintaining its facilities and infrastructure.  Notable milestones have included the building of loco No.7 at Pendre, using key components from a 3ft gauge engine bought from Ireland and the major rebuilding of the Wharf Station in 2003/4.  This provided much improved catering and shop areas, better facilities for the operation of the railway and a two storey area for the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.

As the TR continues its seventh decade under volunteer operation it will continue to improve its facilities and the experience for its passengers in a world which has changed out of all recognition from 1951 when the first volunteers on a working party to lift rail on an incline appeared in suits and ties; when getting a telephone installed at Wharf took months and when Britain was still subject to some rationing.  It led the way for the preservation of railways in UK and world wide and no longer has the novelty value it had then. However the line still retains its Victorian charm and friendly atmosphere and passengers still enjoy a leisurely journey through superb scenery in well polished trains reflecting the pride that railways used to display.