Talyllyn Lake

Nearly everyone knows of the Talyllyn narrow gauge railway, 2′ 3″ gauge, which runs from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol along the valley of the Afon Fathew. But did you know about the standard gauge conversion, with the extension to Talyllyn Lake and beyond? Well… don’t worry, this is fiction only.

Terrain and Alignment

The terrain is modelled as close as possible to real life, using the Rail3D Digitiser Tool to plot contours from maps. The fictional standard gauge line runs from the small town of Bryncrug, near Tywyn, crosses the valley floor to the south side and then follows more-or-less the narrow gauge alignment as far as mid-way between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol. The viaduct over Dolgoch Falls ravine is included, but additionally there is a much higher and longer viaduct to get the line across the Gwernol ravine and onwards to Talyllyn Pass. After that the line climbs steeply along the mountainside past Talyllyn lake, through the hamlet of Minffordd, and to its terminus at Talyllyn Pass.

Major work was needed to design the line beyond Abergynolwyn from scratch with a realistic mix of cut and fill, but I think it works quite well, following the instructions from the tutorial Laying Nice Curves. In addition the narrow gauge layout could not precisely be followed as it would result in curves too sharp for the standard gauge.

Quite a few hours spent creating the Afon Fathew or Fathew River, from 60 metres high up in Dolgoch ravine down to just 4 metres at Bryncrug. But the Rivers In Terrain section was invaluable, and the result, looking across the valley from the 60 metre point, can be seen below (the railway is just visible in mid-picture).


Causing problems at the moment as I use Windows Vista which is thought to be interfering with the transparency process, so that I get non-transparent black surrounds to shapes where I should get bushes (created with the Hedgerow Tool) or fences (with the Fence Creator). A screenshot will be shown below. Hopefully mrg will in the not-too-distant future be able to sort out this problem.

Talyllyn Lake is included and that displays fine, at the right level and the right shape. Creating Lakes is easy when you know how - I created an 85 metre edge contour (the actual elevation) and then an 84 metre contour just inside - then set the ‘Water’ elevation to 84 metres and laid it in blocks of 200 x 200 metres.

Trains and Stations

Will be a mixture of heritage diesel units and short steam trains, concentrating on gwr type. Stations could be anything but will attempt to keep it from looking too modern. Making room for run round facilities at two platforms means quite a large station at Bryncrug, but I can’t think of a better way of designing the layout… screenshot below.

Future Development Work

At some point a narrow gauge line will run down from Nant Gwernol station, joining the standard gauge halfway to Abergynolwyn and running as mixed gauge into Abergynolwyn station. Ultimately I hope to implement a lever frame box at Abergynolwyn, and at Bryncrug, possibly also at Talyllyn Pass.