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The Vale of Rheidol Railway (Hardback)

The Story of a Narrow Gauge Survivor

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trains and Railways

By Peter Johnson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Narrow Gauge Railways
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white illustrations, maps and track diagrams
ISBN: 9781526718051
Published: 6th April 2020

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Built to carry minerals from mines in the Rheidol valley, the 2ft gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway found its niche carrying tourists to the tourist attraction at Devil’s Bridge, 12 miles inland from the Cardigan coast resort of Aberystwyth. Taken over by the Cambrian Railways and then the Great Western Railway, it became the last steam railway operated by British Rail. In 1989 it became the first part of the national network to be privatised.

Now under the control of a charitable trust it is undergoing a revival that will see it become one of the leading tourist attractions in Mid-Wales.

Built to transport minerals from mines in the Rheidol Valley, this 2-foot-wide railway found its niche leading tourists to the Demon Bridge tourist attraction, 12 miles inland from the Cardigan coastal resort of Aberystwyth. It became the last steam railway operated by British Rail and in 1989 in the first part of the network to be privatized. Now, under a charitable trust, he's experiencing a renaissance that will make him one of Mid-Wales' top tourist attractions.

A great book about a small railway with a lot of history that has managed to adapt to the new times and become a tourist attraction without losing its charm. A history similar to the one we have in Spain with the Steam Train of the Basque Railway Museum or the Utrillas Mining Train. The most noteworthy thing, as in many books of this publishing house, is the large number of good photographs it contains and how complete its information is.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unos Cuantos Trenes

It is a complete story of the line to date, an enjoyable read and a good pictorial record of this attractive railway. So a good way to spend some time in lock-down!

Read the full review here

Michael's Model Railways
 Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is an historian specialising in North Wales’s railways, particularly its many narrow gauge lines. Writing nearly 40 books since 1984, he brings together threads from many original sources to produce informed and readable accounts of their histories and development.


A retired local government officer, he was editor of the Ffestiniog Railway Society’s quarterly magazine from 1974 until 2003 and a director of the society for 11 years. In 2003 he was appointed the Festiniog Railway Company’s official photographer. From 1991-2019 he contributed a narrow-gauge railway news column to one of the national railway magazines. This is his sixth title for Pen & Sword Transport, following books on the Festiniog (two), Welsh Highland, Corris Railway and Vale of Rheidol Railways.

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