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The 72nd Annual General Meeting of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society took place on Saturday 27 September, in person for the first time since 2019.

The 90 or so attendees were joined by another 50+ people watching on a live stream, a first for an AGM. Online attendees couldn’t vote, but could interact via a Q&A system.

Opening the meeting, the outgoing president, David Mitchell, welcomed everyone to the room and confirmed his retirement from the role.  The TRPS council had already nominated long-standing volunteer and previous General Manager Chris Price for the role of President, and that position was ratified by the meeting. Chris took his place to Chair the AGM.

Chris commented after the meeting:

‘It is with great pride that I take up my new role as president of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society. My 41 years in railway preservation started at the Talyllyn, and I had little idea at the time that the journey within the sector it would take me on when I started. There is no doubt in my mind that the grounding the Talyllyn gave me has been the major factor in my personal and professional development, and I thank the people who have been part of that along the way. To be voted into this role by the members of the Society is indeed humbling, but also an honour I take seriously. Like the rest of the sector the Talyllyn will have challenges in the future, but I am confident the people of the Talyllyn will be the key to its continued success.’

Thanks were given to David Mitchell for his seven decades of service to the Railway, and the Chairman of the Society, Jon Mann, presented him with a specially commissioned painting by Eric Bottomley, showing loco No. 4 Edward Thomas at Tŷ Dŵr, and including David himself with his camera.

Two men holding an oil painting of a steam train next to a slate water column.
Society Chairman Jon Mann presenting David Mitchell with his painting. Photo: Lawrence Garvey.

The meeting went on to report the positive financial position the railway enjoyed and how it would mean it could progress with a number of significant projects that are planned.  Our membership secretary, Peter Featherstone, also reported the current membership numbers as being the second highest on record.

General Manager, Stuart Williams, gave a presentation of the year’s highlights and a glimpse towards the future, including revealing that loco No. 1 ‘Talyllyn’ would be returning to service in a new livery, Great Eastern blue.

Our AGM appeal this year is to purchase three defibrillators, so that all passenger trains can be equipped with lifesaving equipment.  The fund quickly reached £2,400 and anyone wishing to donate may do so to via our Donate page.

Chairman Jon Mann said:

‘After two years it was really good to meet physically once again, in the familiar setting of Neuadd Pendre.  For the first time, using experience gained from the lockdown, we were able to live stream the meeting for members who were not able to attend in person, and the result was very professional.  This is a positive step towards ensuring maximum accessibility for our members.  Once again, our members responded with great generosity to our special AGM appeal, and I would like to thank them sincerely for their support.  Having quick access to defibrillators makes a huge difference to the chances of survival, and whilst we hope we never need to use them, having these on our trains is a major enhancement.

‘Having a thriving membership and being in a good financial position will help us to face the new challenges that lie ahead.  Whilst they may be serious, we must remember the courage and faith of our Founders who took over a railway in an advanced state of decrepitude, and battled against the odds simply because they believed the Talyllyn was worth saving for its own sake.  The positive atmosphere at the AGM confirms that this spirit is still alive and guiding us through our next decade.’

For further information about this press release please e-mail: [email protected] or phone 01654 710472.