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The Vale of Rheidol Railway opens new museum and events space

The Vale of Rheidol Railway, a scenic heritage railway in mid-Wales, has opened a new museum and events space at its station site in Aberystwyth.

20240319_135332_-_Copy.jpgInside the new Vale of Rheidol Railway Museum

The Vale of Rheidol Railway owns an extensive collection of historical narrow-gauge locomotives and rolling stock, many of which date back to the 19th century and are now on public display for the first time. The museum building also doubles as an events space and there are many special events planned for 2024.

20240322_094113_-_Copy.jpgInside the new Vale of Rheidol Railway Museum

Described as one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the United Kingdom, The Vale of Rheidol Railway runs through 12 miles of glorious Welsh countryside, from the seaside town of Aberystwyth to the village of Devil’s Bridge, home to the famous waterfalls, nestled in the Cambrian Mountains.

Since the railway opened in 1902, millions of people have enjoyed the scenic trip through ancient Welsh woodlands and, today, visitors can experience the Edwardian spirit of adventure on one of the restored steam trains.

Rheidol-Railway-Mid-Wales-Steam-Railway-Images-by-John-R-Jones-20.jpgThe Vale of Rheidol Railway (photo by John R Jones)

A day of shunting took place ahead of the opening of the museum on 23rd March 2024, as locomotives and rolling stock were carefully positioned inside the refurbished building, which was originally constructed in 1938 and used as a locomotive shed.

In addition to rolling stock from The Vale of Rheidol Railway’s collection, the museum exhibits engines on loan from other railways. This includes the 1848-built Fire Queen, one of the oldest narrow-gauge locomotives in the world, as well as standard gauge Dukedog No.9017, on loan from the Bluebell Railway in Sussex and back in Aberystwyth for the first time in over sixty years. Also on display will be ‘Palmerston’, visiting from the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways.

Rheidol-Railway-Mid-Wales-Steam-Railway-Images-by-John-R-Jones-7.jpgThe Vale of Rheidol Railway (photo by John R Jones)

The new events space is set to host an exciting programme of events in 2024. This includes lunchtime concerts on selected Saturdays in the summer months, and events for children, such as storytelling and craft activities. There are also larger evening concerts planned (Welsh Chamber Orchestra on 21st June, Sinfonia Cymru & Philomusica orchestra on 21st July), as well as a model rail exhibition on 26th October.

New for 2024, the railway is also offering guided tours in both English and Welsh. Rheidol Heritage Tours offer a guided tour of the railway, plus a look behind the scenes in the museum and workshops, and Aberystwyth Railway Heritage Tours offer walking tours of the town. The centrepiece of the year is the three-day Rheidol Steam Festival from 24th – 26th August, which will feature a packed timetable and a visiting locomotive.

Rheidol-Railway-Mid-Wales-Steam-Railway-Images-by-John-R-Jones-3.jpgThe Vale of Rheidol Railway (photo by John R Jones)

The railway runs daily from March to November, with at least two steam trains a day to Devil's Bridge. Entry to the museum is free to those who travel on the train, with a small charge for those visiting the museum only. Both the railway and the museum are open daily until 3rd November.

If you or your group would like to enjoy a ride on the Vale of Rheidol Railway and a visit to the new museum as part of a tailor-made tour of Wales, please do contact our friendly team today. Or perhaps you would like to enjoy a Heritage Railway Tour of the United Kingdom, visiting some of the country’s best-preserved historical railways? If so, we can help!

All photos courtesy of The Vale of Rheidol Railway.

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