Shropshire Star

'Donkey work' under control at heritage railway

With most staff at a heritage railway having been furloughed, two new recruits have been brought in to do some of the 'donkey work'.

Hamish and Lady Maude doing the donkey work at Talyllyn Railway during the line’s closure

The team at Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, Mid Wales, have drafted in four-legged friends Hamish and Lady Maude to graze the grass around some of the line.

The pair of donkeys have been set to work on the land around Rhydyronen station, to keep some of the railway's trackside undergrowth in check.

The line’s temporary closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic may be bad news for the team running the railway, but Hamish and Lady Maude are enjoying the absence of trains and are filling their bellies.

Talyllyn Railway’s general manager Stuart Williams explained that it is the first spring that the railway has not run trains since its preservation in 1951.

“Usually a combination of regular steam trains and our army of outdoor volunteers who strim, flail and tend to the lineside keeps the vegetation under control,” he said.

“Without these people in place, the lineside is reversing quickly to nature and becoming akin to a closed railway.

“We were pleased to be asked about the possibility of allowing a couple of local donkeys to graze the lineside at Rhydyronen, so Hamish and Lady Maude moved in and have been given their own part of the railway to maintain.”

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