TYWYN-BASED Talyllyn Railway has congratulated one of its supporters, The Right Rev Andy John, on his appointment as the new Archbishop of Wales.

Bishop Andy, as he likes to be known, has been a long-time supporter of the world’s first preserved railway which inspired Thomas the Tank Engine.

In 2009, he presented the first of what has now become an annual Easter event, the popular ‘Stations at Stations’, a journey around the traditional Christian ‘Stations of the Cross’ but each set up at the six main stations on the railway.

New Archbishop of Wales Andy John during his visit to open the railway’s Awdry Weekend. Credit: Jonathan Mann.

Stuart Williams, Talyllyn Railway’s general manager, said: “We are delighted that our good friend Bishop Andy has become the Archbishop of Wales. He has always supported the railway and we are pleased that he is committed to continuing this association.”

Bishop Andy has returned on numerous occasions to assist and take a leading part in many celebratory events including a blessing of the centenary of locomotive number six (Duncan), a former RAF loco. He also named the newly acquired diesel Loco No 12, St Cadfan in 2016.

Earlier this year, he opened the railway’s Awdry Weekend, a celebration of the link with the Rev W G Awdry, author of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine series, Previously, he shared a driver experience with his neighbouring Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Rt Rev Robert Paterson.

Vicar of Tywyn, the Rev Dr Ruth Hansford, herself an enthusiastic supporter of the railway said: ‘“Bishop Andy has always been very committed to supporting local churches and has certainly enjoyed being part of various events on the Talyllyn Railway over the years, something we hope will continue, despite the pressures of the new job.”