The new  fundraising information board (updated)

Photo George Jones

The Phase One end of the line

Progress to date

Left: Corbelling out to form the edge of platform 2 nearing completion.

Below Left: Track laid to the Headshunt buffer stops at the end of the line

Below Right: The base of the signal box with the embankment reinstated and flooring for the box under construction October  2017

 Photos - George Jones

The headshunt and Buffer Stops at Green Lane Installed. This is the end of the Running Line and the completion of the 10 mile railway.

Photo George Jones


Work on the site by the volunteer workforce continued through the summer and into autumn tackling various aspects of the work as weather conditions allowed.

Starting at the western end of the site, the head shunt was extended out onto the end of the embankment at Green Lane, Corwen. This entailed building up the ground and the construction of a retaining wall to support the stop block/buffer stop, then laying one and a half panels of track from the end of the points for the loop line. The job was finished in early September when the Muscleman track lifting machine made several runs to bring the track into an initial alignment, pending top ballast and tamping when the track work is fully complete. The end result as seen from the road is a clear sign the railway has reached the end of the line, but the missing element is the Gap back at the former Welsh Water Access road and it will be a while before this is tackled as it remains the access point for the site.

Also tackled in August was the delivery of a redundant mobile classroom from St Asaph which was brought to site and installed adjacent to the subway access. It is currently receiving remedial attention to the roof and sides to make it water tight and will be refurbished as the station building once planning permission has been obtained from Denbighshire County Council. Meanwhile it is in store.

The main thrust of the work has been the creation of the signalbox base in a crater dug out from the northern side of the Embankment. Foundations were laid by the volunteers before contractors came in to build the base and sides using shuttering for a reinforced concrete structure the size of a mini-nuclear shelter, as some might visualise it. This took several weeks of activities as the project developed in stages but eventually the completed box was revealed in mid September.  After damp proofing the area around the front and sides, the void was in filled with some 800 tonnes of spoil to establish the widened embankment in the area where the points for the loop and siding will be eventually installed. The signalbox base has now gained a roof of concrete beams and blocks incorporating three RSJ beams which will provide the anchor points for the eventual installation of the signal lever frames. The result of all this effort is the provision of a basement room which will provide for locker space.

Costing some £30k, the base will be largely invisible to future train passengers as they enter the station but the back will remain obvious when viewed from the Water Treatment plant. To mark the completion of this challenging construction when the local Welsh Assembly member Mr Ken Skates visited on a tour of inspection he was encouraged to cut the tape to gain access to the new room which still needs fitting out. The actual signalbox remains in store at Carrog awaiting restoration if grant aid can be found to pay for the work.

Elsewhere the subway access up the platform level has received two flights of stairs with shuttering installed by contractors and concrete poured during early October. The question of providing disabled access is being assessed to allow for wheel chairs to be accommodated via the subway, an installation which will involve some added expense.

On platform 2 work has been progressing to lay the platform edging panels as recovered from redundant railway sites and about half the length is currently complete, whilst infilling of the area between the end wall at the western end has begun. Excavation of the footings for platform 1 is likely to be a task for the autumn. However the building of the water tower base at the eastern end of the site will be tackled next with the water connection from the borehole. A shelter for the borehole installation and pump is under construction utilising the recovered remains of a former lamp hut.

The challenge for the winter is to construct the island platform once the platform 1 wall is in place. This will involve the movement of upwards of 10k tonnes of spoilt as infill to create the platform area with provision for drains and cabling already being installed.

To continue all this work through to a completed terminal station requires resources – financial, materials and manpower and we continue to seek all three, although the financial aspect is the most relevant to a successful conclusion of the project in 2018. Support for the Llangollen Railway PLC’s Big Push share promotion will help; otherwise donations are gratefully received as detailed in the section below.

George Jones


Subway steps up to the platform cast

Photo - George Jones

Corwen Newsletter November 2017.pdf


PRESS RELEASE 21 November 2017

Heritage Rail Opportunities in the Dee Valley

A national railway magazine has highlighted the opportunities arising from the expansion of two heritage railways in the Dee Valley area.

Writing in the November 2017 edition of Heritage Railway magazine, a monthly journal reporting on the UK steam railway scene, the editor, Robin Jones, says that extensions to the Bala Lake Railway and the Llangollen Railway will offer a myriad of opportunities at Bala and Corwen, highlighting to local councils the multiple benefits to their economies that heritage railways can guarantee.

Reviewing the development of the heritage railway scene since the first volunteer-led preservation of the Talyllyn Railway in 1951, Robin Jones puts the spotlight on the former rail route between Ruabon and Barmouth, closed by Dr Beeching in 1965. He says, the two heritage railways on the former track bed in the corridor of the Dee Valley are now adding themselves to the list of lines that go somewhere to somewhere, offering so much more than a steam ride for its own sake in the middle of nowhere. And both of them richly deserve your support at this stage.

The Bala Lake Railway is now just 80 yards short of the land it needs to complete its extension on ‘virgin’ land into Bala town centre, and give passing tourists a big reason to stop off there and spend their money in local establishments. The scheme will benefit everyone – not least of all the railway, whose current out-of-the-way Bala terminus is by comparison ’finicky’ to find and misses out on much potential custom.

Then there is the Llangollen Railway’s big push into Corwen Central, which is making rapid strides each month. It will not only be railway passengers who will benefit, being able to alight and visit the town centre’s shops and pubs, but coach operators who will see the line as a way of getting their customers into Llangollen.

Indeed, coach tour operations will have a big part to play at both of these lines, being able to offer their passengers rides on two heritage railways which pass through some of the most beautiful scenery Britain has to offer, simply by turning off the main road into a car park.

Both lines, says Robin Jones, need further public support in terms of donations or share purchase, and this is the time and place to jump on board.

Llangollen Railway response

Commenting on the editorial, Liz McGuinness, Interim General Manager at Llangollen Railway said, “We entirely agree with Robin Jones’ comments as to the prospects for Corwen when our new terminus opens in 2019.

“Whilst the current temporary platform at Dwyrain Corwen East has become established as our western terminus over the past three years, it is not operationally convenient and lacks the immediacy of access to and from the town centre and car park. Terminating trains at a station central to the town, the bus interchange and the car park will open up a new market segment to attract passengers from North West Wales. With the Bala Lake Railway just ten miles away, visitors will be able to sample two contrasting lines using the Traws Cymru T3 bus as a connection.  

“There are not many places in Britain where a ride on a big standard gauge steam train can be readily contrasted with the smaller train of the narrow gauge in the midst of countryside that can boast an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a National Park.

“We are grateful to Robin Jones for promoting the need for support to assist the completion of our major development project. Businesses in the Corwen and Bala townships would do well to support the ambitions of either line in the expectation of increased economic activities arising from visitors to the railways at their new terminus stations.”

Heritage Railway, edition 235, is now on the shelves and includes progress reports for both the Bala Town station project and the Corwen Central development.


Note: The Corwen Central Railway Development project is promoted by the Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd, a registered charity, which seeks to build a new station at Corwen with facilities to allow trains to terminate adjacent to the town car park. The project is being undertaken by a volunteer work force, aided by contractors, and is costed at £500,000.  Welsh Government European Grant aid of £128,000 has been approved towards 80% of the cost of the new platform. The remainder of the funding is being raised through donations and share purchase in Llangollen Railway Plc by supporters and well-wishers.

George Jones

Press Officer for Corwen Central Railway Development