County firm supports heritage railway

The world’s first preserved railway is one of 50 heritage and steam railways across the UK receiving support from a county firm.

Morris Lubricants’ executive chairman Andrew Goddard (second form left) and the company’s heritage account manager Keiron Thorogood hold one of the new signs watched by Talyllyn Railway’s general manager Stuart Williams (left) and engineering manager Chris Smith (right).
Morris Lubricants’ executive chairman Andrew Goddard (second form left) and the company’s heritage account manager Keiron Thorogood hold one of the new signs watched by Talyllyn Railway’s general manager Stuart Williams (left) and engineering manager Chris Smith (right).

The seven-mile Talyllyn Railway, which has been running for 155 years from Tywyn on the Mid Wales coast, is approaching the 70th anniversary of the formation of Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in October.

The railway provided the inspiration for the creation of the fictional character ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ by author the Rev W. V. Awdry, who was an early volunteer on the Talyllyn.

Like many other railways across the UK, train services on the Talyllyn closed for 20 weeks from March 20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To support the railways through the challenging time, Shrewsbury-based Morris Lubricants launched a Heritage Railway Support Scheme in April.

Railways were invited to apply to the scheme explaining why they needed support and how Morris Lubricants could help.

The response led to the company agreeing support packages, including discounted or free lubricants and promotional material, for 50 railways.

One of those to receive support is Talyllyn Railway.

Morris Lubricants’ executive chairman Andrew Goddard and rail and heritage account manager Keiron Thorogood paid a visit to Tywyn to present lubricants and promotional signs to the railway’s general manager, Stuart Williams and his team.

They were also treated to a train journey along the scenic line to Nant Gwernol, buried deep in the mountains above Abergynolwyn.

“It’s a delight to be working with a successful company that shares our enthusiasm and passion for heritage railways and is looking to support us in such challenging times,” said Mr Williams. “This support scheme has come at just the right time.”

He explained that the railway had been very busy since reopening to passengers last month. Trains, which are limited to 13 compartments due to social distancing to keep passengers safe, are running at more than 90% full, matching the same time last year, and advance bookings for September are very promising.

Due to passenger demand, the railway will continue running daily trains until the end of November and also run a tinsel and turkey service every Wednesday during December.

In 2021, trains resume the first week of February and run through to the end of March when a daily service returns.

“Morris Lubricants has a long tradition of supplying these railways with our top quality steam lubricants,” said Mr Goddard. “We particularly want to reward the loyalty of our existing heritage railway customers and I am pleased to report that the support scheme has attracted others, like Talyllyn Railway, to use our products.

“As Talyllyn is the world’s first preserved railway, it’s an honour to support such a well-run and managed establishment and we look forward to developing our relationship for many years to come.

“It is vitally important to the nation that we keep these heritage railways operational. You only have to stand on a station platform and watch children being mesmerised by the sight of a steam engine to understand just how special they are. If we don’t support them, they will be gone, never to return.”

Andrew, his brother Edward, managing director of sister company, Morris Leisure, and their parents, David and Diana Goddard, are avid steam enthusiasts, owning traction engines and steam vehicles, including a 1931 Sentinel Steam Waggon.

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