Following a lot of TLC; Berwyn Station Master’s house  is available as a holiday let:

View from the A5 road side

Views from the Platform Side

Above : Before and during renovation

Below After external renovation

Above - Internal work in progress 16th April 2008

L to R: The Lounge area. The fireplace will be moved into a bedroom and a more suitable lounge fireplace sourced; the bay window which overlooks the platform and the river; work to the upper floor and roofspace

The view from the bay window on the first floor.

Left - the view to the West over the platform extension, Berwyn Viaduct and the River Bridge, beyond which is the Horseshoe Falls

Right - the view to the East of the river, the Chain Bridge and Chain Bridge Hotel, and Berwyn Bank - the 1 in 80 slope which makes the locomotives work hard.

The completed conversion to a holiday let

Pictures above, Top Row, Left to Right: Bedroom 1 on the Ground Floor; Bedroom 2 on the first floor; The Master Bedroom on the second floor.the Kitchen on the ground floor;

Bottom Row Left to Right: The lounge on the first floor. The Bay Window, overlooking the platform; The comfortable seat in the bay window, specially for watching trains; What can be seen from the bay window.

All pictures - John Rutter

Photos around Berwyn Station over the Years

Santa Specials at Berwyn in 1989 before the line was extended to Deeside Loop

RH picture - Erecting the “Sherry Shed on the platform, that year disguised as a Castle. (After moving Santa on to the trains, this shed then did sterling service at Glyndyfrdwy Station as the gardener’s hut).  

Pictures - John Rutter

Activities at Berwyn - Left Deltic “Tulyar” makes a spirited departure from Berwyn Station.

Right - the reverse curves beyond the viaduct to the West of the station

For information on “How to Hire the Station Master’s House

Please follow this link

Track Maintenance in progress below Berwyn Station on Berwyn Bank (Slope 1 in 80)

Berwyn Station pre 1932 Ray Davies Collection

Berwyn Station perches on a ledge overlooking the  River Dee Gorge and the Chain Bridge Hotel Beyond Berwyn Station is Berwyn Viaduct and the  Horseshoe Falls on the River Dee

Berwyn Station on its ledge above the River Dee Gorge during the Steel Steam and Stars II Gala in April 2009

Picture - John Rutter

City of Truro 3440 runs up Berwyn Bank into the Station during the SSS2 gala in April 2009

Picture - John Rutter

The new toilet facilities on the public side of the station

The entrance to the holiday let down the steps from the specially created car parking space

Berwyn Station needs more friends. A great deal of work has been done to return the Station Building to its former glory, but there is always more needed.


Donation By Cash, Cheque, Credit or Debit Card can be sent to the “Berwyn Station Restoration Fund”, Llangollen Station, Abbey Road, Llangollen, LL20


For further information on Berwyn Station please contact Ben Jackson c/o Llangollen Station.

Pictures George Jones

The Refurbishment of Berwyn Station

The restoration of Berwyn Station buildings is complete. The Station Master’s cottage, built as the second and third floors of the station building has been converted into a holiday cottage for letting to holiday makers, enthusiasts, walkers or anyone wanting something a bit different - a station cottage on a working railway.


For information on hiring this stunning Holiday Let, please contact Llangollen Station office on 01978 860 979

Picture

John Rutter

Left to Right: The bay window in the lounge from the train. The view from the bay window to the left and right. The station building from the train.

All pictures - John Rutter

Pictures during the restoration: Left, the view into the loft with no ceiling. The fireplace in the lounge, the Bay window before reglazing

Pictures - John Rutter

Phase one of the work  concentrated  on the former station master’s house, particularly the exterior of the building, with a view to making the structure weatherproof again.

Work commenced with the erection of scaffolding around the exterior shortly after the Autumn Steam Gala 2007. The defective areas on the main roof were confined to two pitches. These were stripped, the defective roof structure caused by a leak in the valley gutter was repaired and new underfelt and battens installed. The original slates were reinstated together with new lead flashings to the valley and chimney stack.  

The opportunity was taken to install replacement chimney pots to the stack on the house, similar to those fitted when the station was open under British Railways’ ownership. The rainwater goods were stripped and replaced with metal gutters and down pipes. All replacement timberwork and metalwork was suitably decorated.

The western elevation timber framing and rendering was stripped off to the bare brickwork and renewed to match the original appearance. The other three elevations were overhauled and repaired as necessary. The windows were removed as necessary and repaired.

Phase two, the rebuilding of the interior of the Stationmaster’s House into a three bedroomed holiday let is now complete (March 09) - see pictures below.

Just Imagine - holidaying in the station house, taking tea on the platform in the afternoon sunshine just watching the view and the trains as they go by!


Original Text - Ben Jackson updated by J Rutter

LEFT: 6430 and the Autocoach no 163 leave Berwyn for Glyndyfrdwy. Photo John Rutter.

 The River Dee flows in the gorge to the north of the station and the road bridge leads to a car park and picnic area overlooking the station.

RIGHT: An unusual view of the Berwyn Bridges from River level. The Wickham Set is leaving Berwyn Station for Glyndyfrdwy. The Chain Bridge over the river is in the foreground. This structure is at present undergoing a full refurbishment to allow it ot open for walkers again. Photo Martin Gill

5322 at Berwyn on 4th April 2014 - Photos Martin Gill

46521 at Berwyn Photo Martin Gill


Branch Line Train loading during the Branch Line Weekend 4th April 2014 - Photos Martin Gill and David Wilcock

“Replacement Bus Services” pass Berwyn Station on the A5 - Photos Martin Gill

The GWR Railmotor at Berwyn Station on 19th April 2013 - Photos Martin Gill

BERWYN STATION
Situated in a prominent position beside the A5 road, Berwyn station is instantly recognisable because of its distinctive appearance. The half-timbered Tudor design of the station was designed to match the adjacent Chain Bridge Hotel at the request of the local landowner.

  There has been a station at Berwyn since the Llangollen & Corwen Railway opened in 1865. At first glance, there is little to indicate why a station was built here in the first place, but Berwyn was once a vibrant community. However, it was the influence of the local gentry that was the main reason for the station’s existence. The Chairman of the Llangollen & Corwen Railway, Lt. Colonel Charles Tottenham resided nearby at Plas Berwyn and in an agreement dated 26 August 1861, it was announced that “A station to be called The Berwyn Station shall be built in ornamental style and contain a first class waiting room in addition to the general waiting room. All passenger trains shall stop at Berwyn if and when required by the owner or occupier of or visitors to Plas Berwyn mansion”.

  The steep-sided Dee Valley around Berwyn proved to be a demanding site on which to build a station. The route of the pre-existing Holyhead road, designed by Thomas Telford (now the A5), and the course of the River Dee left little room for construction. Despite all this, the substantial station building was built on a ledge on the south side of the river.  The architect, Samuel Pountney Smith, headed his original drawings for the station in 1864 as a “design for 2nd class station”, but as can be seen, this was anything but!

  The station at Berwyn and its surroundings is described in detail in a Great Western Railway report on the line in 1924. By means of an introduction to the local area, the report records that:

“Berwyn station is 7 miles 6 chains from Llangollen Line Junction [on the Wrexham to Shrewsbury line] and serves the villages of Berwyn, Vivod, Llantysilio, Llandinan and Rhewl with a population of about 1,000. The scenery around Berwyn is most beautiful".

“The Shropshire Union Canal starts from the Horse Shoe Falls, an artificial construction made for the purpose of supplying the [Llangollen] canal with water.

“Bryntysilio Hall, formerly the residence of the late Sir Theodore and Lady Martin, is in close proximity. Sir Theodore was a noted literary man of the Victorian era and wrote the life of the Prince Consort at the command of Queen Victoria, much of the work being done at Bryntysilio. Lady Martin is best remembered as Helen Fawcett, one of the greatest Shakesperian actresses. The village church at Llantysilio, close by, contains a monument to Lady Martin; also a brass plate recording that Robert Browning, the Poet, worshipped there during his stay in the district in 1886.”

  The only member of staff employed at Berwyn in 1924 was the Station Master, who lived in the adjoining station house. This building was three-storeys high and cost the Station Master 7 shillings and sixpence a week to rent it from the GWR. It is now possible to stay in the Station Master’s House, as it is been tastefully restored by the Llangollen Railway as a holiday let.

One unusual feature was the cantilevered platform at the western end of the station. Originally the platform ended at the western end of the Station Master’s House, but an increase in summer traffic on the railway meant that this arrangement was inadequate. The platform was therefore extended across the viaduct with timber decking supported on wrought iron frames with spearhead railings. Photographs taken in 1905 clearly show the platform extension in use and it was dismantled in the late 1950s due to deterioration and a lack of passengers.

  By the late 1950s, the station had been relegated to an unstaffed halt, with the only comfort for passengers being a wooden waiting shelter on the platform. The station building remained locked. This general run-down echoed the changes that were going on elsewhere on the Ruabon to Barmouth route. The final passenger services between Llangollen and Bala Junction ran on 12th December 1964, as did services running throughout between Ruabon and Barmouth.

Passenger services from Ruabon to Llangollen and Bala to Morfa Mawddach lingered on until 16th January 1965, with goods traffic continuing to use the Ruabon to Llangollen Goods Junction section until 1968.                    

Revival

Passenger trains returned to Berwyn station on October 19th 1985, when a DMU arrived from Llangollen although passengers were unable to alight due to ongoing platform repairs. A run-round loop was installed west of the station and steam hauled services began operating to Berwyn in December that year. The station received a full passenger service in March 1986, with a formal opening ceremony being performed by His Grace the Duke of Westminster on June 13th 1986.

This was not to be the end of the story, because as the preserved Llangollen Railway continued to prosper, so too did the length of the trains. It was decided to extend the platform back across the viaduct at the west end, in order to restore the station to its original appearance.  The contract to restore the viaduct and rebuild the platform was awarded to contractors George Law Ltd and was completed in March 2004, at a cost of £353,000. The work received an Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers, Historic Bridges, with the judges leaving comments that “we could not help thinking how diabolically awkward the site was” and “the quality of workmanship is just terrific”.

The extension of the platform back to its original length means that Berwyn station can now comfortably accommodate 5-coach trains. The platform’s curvature means that there is a sighting issue for Guards, who are unable to see the locomotive crew from the brake compartment. Consequently a “Right Away” indicator has been installed at the western end of the station and is operated by the Guard, using switches on the platform.  

 

The Station Today

Trains call daily at Berwyn from March to October (see current timetable for details). The station is staffed by volunteers during weekends and public holidays. There is a small tearoom which is open most weekends during the operating season. Toilet facilities are available when the station is staffed. Due to the constrained nature of the site, Berwyn station is not wheelchair friendly at the present time.

Berwyn station remains a excellent starting point from which to explore the picturesque Dee Valley. The Horseshoe Falls, built by Thomas Telford to act as a feeder for the Llangollen Canal, is just a 15 minute walk from the station. Alternatively, walkers may decide to head in the opposite direction along the canal and return to Llangollen (30-40 minutes). Llangollen Motor Museum, Valle Crucis Abbey and Llantysilio Church are all within walking distance (see map).

Crossing the Dee

At the time of the railway’s opening in 1865, the only way of crossing the River Dee at Berwyn was by using a chain bridge. There have been three such bridges over the years, with the first being built by a mine owner called Exuperius Pickering, who needed to get his coal across the river so that he could deliver to Corwen and Bala. Permission for the bridge was granted in 1814 and it opened in 1817 or very soon afterwards. In the 1870s, a replacement bridge was built by Henry Robertson (the railway’s engineer) and this lasted until 16th February 1928, when an exceptionally heavy flood washed it away. The surviving Chain Bridge was built in the summer of 1929, with six metal chains supporting the bridge above and two chains below.

The Chain Bridge was still in use when the railway reopened to Berwyn in 1985, but closed for repairs shortly afterwards. However, a £350,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant application made jointly by Llangollen Town Council and neighbouring Llantysilio Community Council was approved in July 2013 and this meant that the bridge could be restored back to its former glory. This followed an earlier HLF grant for £28,900 to pay for the preparation of a detailed report on how the bridge could be restored, as well as a £50,000 grant from WREN, a not-for-profit business which awards cash to community, environmental and heritage projects. It was reopened in May 2015 and the Chain Bridge once again provides step-free access from the station to the hotel and canal.               

The road bridge that passes under the railway’s viaduct at Berwyn before crossing the River Dee was built as recently as 1901. The high, narrow, four arch bridge was built to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII and is known as the King’s Bridge. 


Peter Dickinson

June 2015


A short history of Berwyn Station  By Peter Dickinson