65 Years of Railway Volunteering


Railway Volunteering 65 years on!

Starting on the Talyllyn and now on the Volks Electric.

A pair of school chums interested in railways decided that the end of their last term would be the ideal time to visit the first preserved railway in the world and also the dormant Festiniog Railway. A trip to Wales with a tiny tent ensued.

They were welcomed by Mr Rolt, who set them to work on the mile of track devoid of fishplates. Wooden keys had to join the rails; these are illustrated in Talyllyn - 60 Years of Enterprise. Rolt reprimanded them for thinking about reviving the Festiniog Railway, but they still visited it! He also said that there was only room for one preserved railway in Britain - the Talyllyn.

The chums were Vic Mitchell and Alan French. Vic Mitchell is the sole surviving founding director of the Festiniog Railway Society Ltd. Alan French became more studious, but they still meet regularly on railway matters.

On Saturday 18th June 2016, they were on the Volk’s Electric Railway on the 65th anniversary of their first day of track work. The bottom photo was taken at Halfway Station with VERA Chairman, Ian Gledhill, in the position of Tom Rolt, on the right, next to Alan French. Author and founder of Middleton Press, Vic Mitchell, is on the left.

Talyllyn volunteering 1951

Vic Mitchell, Alan French and Tom Rolt (left to right) on 17th June 1951.


Volks volunteering June 2016

VERA Chairman, Ian Gledhill, takes the place of Tom Rolt on 18th June 2016.



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