Talyllyn Railway, the world’s first preserved railway, attracted the highest number of passengers for more than a decade and achieved record income last year.
The railway ran 93,822 journeys and carried 48,857 passengers, the highest number since 2007. Passenger numbers increased by 7.1% on 2017. In addition, the railway achieved an all-time record income, with a 13% increase on 2017. Cafés reported a 16% revenue increase.
Among the year’s highlights were celebrations centring around locomotive No.6 ‘Douglas’, which had its centenary in February. This was especially significant as the locomotive was built for the Air Admiralty, later to become the RAF which also celebrated its centenary in 2018.
The railway painted No.6 in RAF blue to mark the occasion and two special events were held in connection with the RAF to mark the occasion. The locomotive also visited RAF Cosford and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway during the year.
General manager, Stuart Williams, said:
“The performance this year has been very pleasing both in terms of passenger numbers and revenue. The combination of offering a unique journey to our customers, special events and creative marketing have seen strong performance all round.
“We have also engaged with our local community which has benefited the café sales in particular. The extra revenue has allowed us to purchase new equipment for the engineering works, take on our first two apprentices and invest in solar energy to help offset increasing energy costs.”
The railway is building on its 2018 success with a similar running schedule in 2019, operating on 251 days and running several special events throughout the year.