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The Talyllyn Railway is thrilled to have won a National Rail Heritage Award for the reconstruction of the original locomotive watering point at Tŷ Dŵr. The Railway was jointly awarded the Hendy and Pendle Trust Volunteers Award by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at a ceremony held in London on 6 December 2022.

The Tŷ Dŵr watering point was originally installed when the Railway was built in 1865 and transferred water from a nearby waterfall to the site of the Railway’s first locomotive shed by a series of troughs supported on slate columns. This was situated on what was then the mineral extension between Abergynolwyn station, our original passenger terminus, and what is now Nant Gwernol station. 

After the Railway was preserved in 1951 the watering point feel into disuse. 1954 it was demolished so that the slate could be used to help build a retaining wall following a landslip near Dolgoch. However, it has been long-held ambition to see it rebuilt.

In 2019 the first steps were taken for the reconstruction. Unfortunately there are few photographs of much of the structure, and some of the remains had been obliterated when passenger services were extended along this portion of the line. Therefore, some archaeology was necessary to dig out what remains had survived after which the new recreation could be designed. 

Following a successful appeal, and sponsorship from PTG Tours, local contractors were employed to rebuild the slate columns while volunteers constructed the new water troughs from locally sourced larch. The reconstructed watering point was then ready for use in March 2022 when locomotive No. 4 ‘Edward Thomas’, the last known locomotive to use the old watering point, became the first locomotive to use the recreation.

A narrow guage steam engine taking water from a slate water column.
No 4 Edward Thomas takes water at Tŷ Dŵr in March 2022. Photo D.J. Mitchell

Ian Drummond chair of the Railway’s Heritage Working Group commented:

 ‘To receive this award is a great honour and a fantastic reward for all those who worked so hard to make this possible. Particular credit must go to Mike Christensen who designed the reconstruction and supervised the building, as well to our contractors, Rhys and Tomos of Celtic Masonry. Thanks also to all those who contributed to the appeal and to PTG Tours for their sponsorship. It is great to know that a missing piece of our heritage has now been restored.’

It is not intended that regular passenger trains will use the reconstructed watering point, but it will be available for special trains and charters.

Find out more about the Tŷ Dŵr watering point project.

The other joint winner of the Hendy and Pendle Trust Volunteers Award was the Amerton Railway in Staffordshire for their rescue, restoration and installation of the former signal box from Waterhouses station.   

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