The Vale of Rheidol Railway (Rheilffordd Cwm Rheidol) is a 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in narrow gauge heritage railway in Ceredigion, Wales, running a distancey of 11 3⁄4 miles between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge.
It opened in 1902, but was absorbed into the Cambrian railway in 1913 and thus came under the ownership of the Great Western railway (GWR) at the Grouping in 1923. From nationalisation in 1948 it was the responsibility of British Railways Western Region and from 1968 until 1989, it was the sole steam-operated line on the British Rail network. Therefore, unlike most other preserved railways in the United Kingdom, the Vale of Rheidol Railway did not have a period of closure,and so has operated a continuous service for residents and tourists.
When he line opened in 1902, lead mining in Ceredigion was in steep decline, which had been one of the expected main traffics to be carried.. However a significant growth in tourism was under way, and the carriage of passengers soon became the principal traffic of the railway. From the start trains were worked by two 2-6-2T steam locomotives built by Davies and Metcalf, assisted by a Bagnall built loco called RHEIDOL. Under GWR ownership the loco fleet was increased to three locos,all of which remain in use a century later.