Ray Elliott – a stalwart of the Ffestiniog Railway – tells his story for us
This past Monday, Ray Elliott – one of our long-standing volunteers – made a very special trip to the Ffestiniog Railway. We’ll let him explain why in his own words…
“In 1958 my parents decided on a holiday in Wales, and chose Llanbedrog as the base. I was slightly disappointed as I knew about the Talyllyn Railway, and thought that it would be too far away to visit. However, during the week as we were driving along the Cob my father noticed signs of a railway, and we duly parked up at Harbour station and explored. I was amazed and astonished at what greeted us; a Double Fairlie, Prince, and a rake of ancient carriages all new to this 12 year old. We decided to travel the next day on the 2-30pm, and the trip to Tan y Bwlch had me hooked for life. I bought the guide book (for one shilling and sixpence) and wrote the date of travel – 30th July 1958 – on the cover.”
“The thought of repeating the trip exactly 60 years later appealed to me, and I duly caught the 2-30pm. on 30th. July 2018. Sitting in the opulence of the observation car in a rake of modern saloons hauled by ‘Lyd’, I reflected on the changes from my first visit. The hard boarded Third Class seats in a Bowsider, feeling every dropped rail joint; the unobstructed views of the Vale of Ffestiniog, the bucolic charm of Tan y Bwlch with Bessie Jones dispensing tea, and the general air of faded glory is ingrained in my memory. Through membership of the [Ffestiniog Railway] Society I have seen the transformation into the magnificent railway we have today, and are rightly proud of, but there was a certain charm about it in 1958 which can never be recreated. I feel privileged to have known and ridden on the FR in those early pioneering days, and treasure the memories.”
We persuaded Ray to have his photo taken on the footplate of ‘Merddin Emrys’, but you’re more likely to see him helping out on our stand when we take a publicity display ‘on the road’ – and you can guarantee that he’ll do his best to pass on the youthful enthusiasm for the railway that he has maintained for the past 60 years.
So – ‘Thank You, Ray’ – and we look forward to sharing your enjoyment of the railway for many years to come..!
We must have many more stories like this that people will want to hear about – so come on everyone, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with pictures please