Talyllyn ‘Tracksiders’ Celebrate their own Jubilee13th Jun
While the nation was celebrating H.M. the Queen’s platinum jubilee, a group of volunteers on the Talyllyn Railway were also celebrating their own silver jubilee. Talyllyn Tracksiders is a group that allows family groups to work together on the line in mid Wales. Since the first working party in May 1997, over 4,200 individual shifts have been worked by under 14-year-olds.
The 25th anniversary edition included the usual mix of tasks – lineside vegetation management; fence painting; footpath maintenance and preparing the incline at Nant Gwernol for a forthcoming interpretive display. Tracksiders also spent one day helping our friends at the Corris railway and the Corris works at Maespoeth.
The programme also included the usual mix of social activities – a picnic; a beach night; the annual putting competition [won by Dylan] and culminating in a celebratory BBQ. The special train for the BBQ took water at the recently re-created water column at Ty Dwr before the gang recreated the iconic “road to adventure” picture [the original appeared as a frontispiece in L T C Rolt’s book “Railway Adventure”]
Ian Evans, Trackside Project Leader said “It has been a delight, for 25 years, to see our youngest volunteers flourish, learning new skills and building long term friendships. Many have progressed to operating duties on the Talyllyn Railway and it was great that a Tracksider alumnus was able to drive our BBQ special – one of 3 ex Tracksiders now qualified to drive steam locos on the railway. We thank the railway, its staff and fellow volunteers, for the support they give and for the opportunities they provide.”
Talyllyn General Manager, Stuart Williams commented: “The tracksider group has been the conduit to young people joining the Railway for 25 years, and the success is demonstrated by the number of people who began their volunteering careers in the scheme. We have recently expanded our young person’s volunteer schemes, and have developed a Training Programme for the 14–15-years-old which provides a springboard for young people to become full-fledged volunteers when they reach the age of 16.