The Talking Train / Y Trên Siarad

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The Ffestiniog Railway has operated timetabled "Vintage Trains" on and off for a number of years, but these ceased after the 2002 season.  While the Vintage Train might have been sufficient to entertain the die-hard railway enthusiast, other passengers probably wondered what all the fuss was about as the guard locked them in a poky compartment, depriving them of the chance to sit at a seat with large windows to view the scenery and the at-seat buffet service that passengers on other trains benefited from!

The Victorian Talking Train passes Boston Lodge with ‘Taliesin’ in charge.   (03/05/2004)

A Fresh Take On The Ffestiniog Railway Vintage Train

For the 2004 season, the Vintage Train has been transformed into "The Talking Train", an experience that is much more than just a ride in an old train - the Talking Train is an opportunity for the traveller to learn about the Ffestiniog Railway's rich heritage with a unique travel experience.

The journey will be in one of two beautifully restored trains, the Victorian Train or the 1930s Train.

The Victorian Train

The Victorian Train is a rake of beautifully restored and recreated carriages from the heyday of the railway, displayed in the splendid 1870s gold-lined livery. You will have the chance to travel in the world's oldest bogie carriage restored with assistance from the Heritage Lottery fund to as near as is practical it's original 1872 condition.  At the front of the train is "Taliesin", the world's only working single-fairlie locomotive.

Ready for the off, The Talking Train at Porthmadog Harbour Station.   (03/05/2004)

‘Prince’ simmers with the Talking Train at Tanybwlch.   (02/05/2004)

The 1930s Train

While not displaying the opulent livery of the Victorian Train, the 1930s train is equally interesting.  The rake of carriages is adorned in "Kentish Green" typical of the inter-war years.  The twin of the Victorian train's 1872 bogie carriage is restored to the condition in which it operated during this period and is accompanied by other equally fascinating carriages.  At the head of the train is "Prince", the oldest working steam locomotive in the world which has been working on the Ffestiniog Railway for 140 years.

The Talking Train Experience

Before joining the train you will be handed an electronic audio guide and given a instructions on how to use it, together with a schematic map and guide to the recorded tales of the railway, many of which are related to points of interest along the line.  Once the train departs, the driver will tell you when to listen to particular stories by sounding a special coded whistle.  The train runs at a leisurely rate, giving time to listen to the various stories, eventually arriving at the peaceful wooded station of Tanybwlch where lunch or afternoon tea can be enjoyed.  The return journey allows you to listen to stories missed on the way up, or perhaps to look out for places learned about on the up journey that you missed the first time around.

Nearing journey's end, ‘Taliesin’ runs in to Tanybwlch with the Talking Train.   (01/05/2004)

The pages that follow were produced after I travelled on the Talking Train with my 10 year old son James during May 2004.  It does not claim to be an unbiased account of the experience, as a member of both the Festiniog Railway Society and the Festiniog Heritage Group I hope that once enough visitors experience the Talking Train it will grow from strength to strength.  However, bringing James along for the ride gave me the chance to see how it appeared to less familiar eyes.  Unlike the rest of my web site, it is aimed at a more general audience with the hope that a small number may be persuaded to try it for themselves.

For further details and the latest Talking Train schedule, visit the The Ffestiniog Railway Web Site

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