Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

£75,000 Raised in Six Weeks by Mid Wales Heritage Railway Appeal


It’s full steam ahead for the world’s first preserved railway in Mid Wales thanks to supporters who have hit an initial £75,000 appeal target to help the line through the Covid-19 lockdown.

The response to the appeal, which was launched just six  weeks ago, has amazed Talyllyn Railway’s general manager Stuart Williams and donations are continuing. He thanked generous supporters for their donations, which have ranged from £20 to £5,000.

The pandemic has meant that the seven-mile railway, based on the Mid Wales coast at Tywyn, is unable to run trains until further notice. It closed on March 20, has already missed the traditionally busy Easter period and is set to miss the first Bank Holiday weekend in May.

The £75,000 raised will cover fixed costs of £25,000 a month for three months. Online donations are still welcomed at

“The response to our appeal has been overwhelming and I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has donated,” said Mr Williams. “Exceeding our initial £75,000 target will help cover costs for longer, as we expect the virus to have an effect much further into the peak summer period than we had first thought.”

All but a skeleton staff has been furloughed under the Government’s scheme to support retained employees through the crisis. If the railway is closed until June, it will lose £250,000 in revenue, based on last year, which will impact future plans.

The railway is in its 155th year of operation and approaching the 70th anniversary of the formation of Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in October.  It provided the inspiration for the creation of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ by author the Rev W. V. Awdry, who was an early volunteer on the railway.

“The railway only makes money for five months of the year and we have the potential to lose three of those months,” added Mr Williams, who has applied for support from the Government’s Economic Resilience Fund.

He welcomes around 5,500 virtual visitors to a social media live stream every Wednesday at 10.30am when he and engineering manager Chris Smith walk around and talk about the railway for 10 minutes.

Talyllyn Railway is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.


Duncan Foulkes Public Relations Limited is a well established communications consultancy based in beautiful Mid Wales.

Incorporating public and media relations, the consultancy provides a range of services to businesses and organisations throughout Wales and the Marches.

A former newspaper journalist for 24 years, Duncan moved into PR in 1999 after editing the County Times & Express & Gazette newspapers – the main weekly titles in Mid Wales – for five years.

His main reason for leaving the newspaper industry was a desire for a new career challenge. His successful PR business predominantly focuses on companies based in Wales and Shropshire.

His motto is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid over-complicating what is a straightforward goal – to achieve media coverage for a client.

Duncan’s wide-ranging work entails media campaigns, researching and drafting press releases, media liaison, political lobbying, event management, organising photocalls, website content advice, social media and newsletters.

He has extensive PR experience of the food and drink, education and training, catering and hospitality, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, tourism, farming, property, fine art, lubricants and telematics sectors.

His contacts extend from local newspapers in Wales to the national print and broadcast media, trade publications and digital media.

Duncan Foulkes PR uses only the most creative photographers, ensuring that photography to support his work is of the highest quality.

He is passionate about issues relating to the countryside and enjoys fly fishing, watching sport and spending time with his family in his spare time.

Services provided:

Public Relations
Media Relations
Public Affairs
Crisis Communications
Event management


Related Articles