The world’s first preserved railway, which inspired Thomas the Tank Engine, is on the scent of a festive hit with its Christmas video starring Billy the Springer Spaniel.
The ‘The Railway Dog’ video, which was launched on Facebook on Friday night, has been created for Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn in Mid Wales to celebrate Christmas and is the result of a transatlantic effort.
The railway’s media creator Luke Ryan did the filming, along with volunteer friends Daniel Long and Mayoorhan Sevverlz. He then collaborated with a friend in America, Jake Darneille, who created the original sound track based on a 1950s film.
The star, however, is nine-year old Billy, whose owner is the railway’s general manager Stuart Williams. Billy saves the day when Santa’s train, laden with Christmas presents, breaks down. Watch the video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfi7yD5Sv6c .
“The response to the Christmas video has been amazing,” said Stuart today (Monday). “It was only launched on Friday night, yet already had more than 4,000 views by this morning.
“Our media creator Luke Ryan came up with the Christmas video idea and we spent a full day filming. He then spent another 10 days editing the video and his friend in the States, Jake, wrote the music for the soundtrack free of charge.
“Billy was chosen as the star of the video because he’s quite calm and responds well to a ball. It’s a nice Christmas video for and everyone associated with the railway.”
Stuart also revealed that Luke is working on another video for Christmas Eve, which this time will be a lecture based on The Railway Series of children’s books written by the Rev Wilbert Awdry, creator of the famous steam train character Thomas the Tank Engine. The lecture was written by Awdry in 1972 and will be read once more by Tim Dunn
The Rev Awdry became an enthusiastic member and volunteer guard on the Talyllyn Railway in 1952, a year after it became the world’s first preserved heritage railway. His experiences at Talyllyn inspired him to create the fictitious Skarloey Railway which became the subject of an additional series of children’s books within his ‘Railway Series’.
Talyllyn Railway is a member of MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Mid Wales.