LLANGOLLEN RAILWAY Press release – 17 April 2012


Extension section to Bonwm ready for gala shuttle trains



Since ballasting of the new extension took place during March the line has been tamped to pack and align the track. The track was inspected for certification to passenger carrying standards and passed fit for use subject to a bit of tidying up which has taken place.

This involved further dropping of ballast on the new section, a task undertaken with Pannier Tank 6430 and Black 5 44806 working the trains as the first steam operation on this section of line since closure in 1965.

Since then the class 104 DMU has run down the extension on train crew route learning sessions.

The first passenger train down the extension will take place on Friday 20 April when the visiting Tornado locomotive will head the 11am departure from Llangollen; Foxcote Manor will be on the back to provide a top and tail operation when the train proceeds west of Carrog for Plas Bown stop sign.

The train will operate beyond Carrog for the benefit of the volunteers who have been involved in the extension work and invited guests. Passengers wishing to experience the extension may remain on this special working on purchase of a £5 special Edmondson style ticket available on the day.


Meanwhile the station yard at Carrog now features a section of dual gauge track which will allow visiting engines from the Talyllyn Railway and Ffestiniog Railway to make demonstration runs during the gala event.


At Glyndyfrdwy station access to platform 2 (the down side) has been revised to provide gated entrance onto a widened area of platform adjacent to the station house. The foot bridge has been removed pending a decision on its fate – repairs could be costly.


The events field at Glyndyfrdwy will feature an exhibition trailer promoting the Corwen Extension Project during the SSS3 gala and more information will be available about the second stage of Phase 1 west of Bonwm towards the temporary platform at Corwen.


George Jones

Llangollen Railway


Llangollen Railway Trust :  Press Release 20.3.12

Continued Progress with Corwen Extension Project


The nine day track laying exercise by the volunteer work force in February was successful in taking the rail head forward towards Plas Bonwm farm. The track reached the site of the occupational farm crossing in early March, 1500 metres west of the gate at Carrog. Here it was necessary to pause whilst drainage was put into contain farm yard slurry and prepare for the approach ramps for the crossing. A further four track panels have been laid since, but work is now stopped short of bridge 27 and a temporary stop block inserted in the location known as Bonwm.


On 15 February a party of local dignitaries, including the Member of Parliament, Welsh Assembly members and councillors, paid an escorted visit to the track side and were briefed on the progress and planned activity. All were very impressed with the achievement to date and the future prospects for reaching Corwen.


With deliveries of stone to the yard at Carrog activity shifted to the ballasting of the new track from 12 March. The 08 shunter 13265 worked the train of Trout hoppers with the Shark plough van through to the end of the track and dropped ballast working eastwards towards Carrog. Ballasting had reached Culvert 25 near the lay-by on the A5 as of the date of this report. On completion of the ballasting exercise arrangements are in hand for a hired in Tamper machine to work on the extension in preparation for the formal inspection of the section by the end of March. An independent inspection will be conducted for the issue of a licence to allow for the carriage of the public on this section during the SSS3 gala 21-29 April 2012 and at other special events during the year.


For the time being access is required via the gate near the former Bonwm Halt to allow for the delivery of materials. No further track laying will take place until the SSS3 gala is over. Preliminary work is underway on the section beyond Bonwm towards Corwen and the staff facilities at the former works site have been moved to a new location.


Much work has been done by the volunteer work force on the lineside fencing and vegetation clearance but, with the approach of the bird nesting season, the latter activity will now cease. There remains plenty of work for volunteers to undertake to assist this project, but those wishing to become involved must be paid up members of the Llangollen Railway Trust, possess a Llangollen Railway Personal Track Safety certificate and be registered as a volunteer.


The grant aid provided by the Welsh Assembly Government for the Phase 1 project has now been fully allocated to costs for the financial year ended 31 March 2012. The Llangollen Railway Trust will now review the costs of the remaining work to be done and examine the options for attracting donations to provide for the matched funding to complete the project.


Llangollen Railway Trust


LLANGOLLEN RAILWAY TRUST – PRESS RELEASE – 16 FEBRUARY 2012


LOCAL DIGNITARIES SEE RAIL EXTENSION PROGRESS


Members of the Corwen community, including business representatives, joined County Councillors, Assembly Members and the Member for Parliament to see progress with the extension of the Llangollen Railway on the section west of Carrog.


The escorted visit allowed the party to view the track extension now in place and to get a close look at the work going on at the rail head near to Plas Bonwm Farm. A briefing by Llangollen Railway Trust member Huw Parker reviewed the work undertaken so far and in progress during a week long track laying exercise, provided confirmation that the project is being delivered. In particular, the sight of the works train propelled by a diesel shunter locomotive on the new section of track offered a promise of things to come when train services to Corwen are resumed next year.


After the visit Susan Jones MP said, "I am absolutely delighted with the progress made on the track extension and the amazing efforts of the volunteers undertaking this work."

 

Welsh Assembly Member Ken Skates said,

"I am incredibly impressed by the progress made with the track extension. There are extra-ordinary levels of commitment to the project and the promise of rail returning to Corwen is very real and exciting. The volunteer workforce deserves full praise for their achievement."


Noting that the volunteer workforce hailed from all parts of the country, Steve Cardwell, for the Corwen Community Council, said, “I am blown away by the commitment of the volunteers. The community representatives wish to record their thanks for the heroic efforts being put into this project.”


Review of Progress with the Corwen Extension


During January Llangollen Railway volunteers rose to the occasion and began the task of laying track on the extension west of Carrog. This work was undertaken in a month when other essential maintenance tasks in Llangollen station also placed a call on volunteer resources, but an absence of train services during a month long shut down allowed for manpower to be directed to the project.


Aided by a spell of remarkably mild weather in the Dee Valley throughout the month, good progress was made every weekend such that 800 metres of track was in place beyond the gate at Carrog by the end of January. In addition, the trackbed west of bridge 26 had been levelled and ballasted ready to receive sleepers and rail during a 9 day exercise organised for 11 – 19 February aimed at doubling the length of track laid.


The recent acquisition of a road-rail vehicle has both eased and speeded the task with an average of 7 – 8 panels being laid each weekend. Whilst sleepers have been available at the trackside rail has been brought rail forward from the rail stack by the works train.


Permissions have been obtained for all the work needed on the section towards Bonwm and valuable work by the volunteer fencing and vegetation clearance teams has seen this trackside section secured and cleared.


Subject to ballasting and tamping the track work through to Plas Bonwm farm should be available for inspection to allow for a passenger trains to operate during the Steel, Steam and Stars 3 gala to be held 21-29 April 2012.


This good news has to be set against delay at the Corwen end with the schedule of works subject to revision. The design of the temporary station platform and ramp has now been agreed and the Railway expects to let a contract for its construction during the summer of 2012. Contracts are also to be let for remedial work on the underpasses and bridges, although the recent clearance of ivy from bridge 28 (on the outskirts of Corwen) has revealed a better than expected structure. Brickwork repairs are still necessary to the arch and the provision of a new concrete crown.


It is still the Railway’s intention to have track laid through to the Phase 1 station site by December 2012, with initial train services to operate from Corwen in the spring of 2013.


Commenting on the work so far, Jim Ritchie, chairman of Llangollen Railway Trust said,

“We are pleased with progress to date and the efforts of our volunteers to extend the rail head towards Bonwm.

“However, there remain on going environmental constraints within the Special Area of Conservation and the timely resolution of outstanding issues will provide permission to proceed with work on the section between Bonwm and Corwen during the new season.


Funding


Jim Ritchie continued, “Funding also remains a matter of concern for Llangollen Railway Trust. Additional requirements identified since work started are placing extra demands on cash received in support of the matched funding with the grant aid provided by the Welsh Assembly Government due to be concluded by 31 March 2012. The appeal for donations towards the Corwen extension will be renewed in the new operating season. We trust that the positive sight of track being laid will encourage our supporters and others to make significant donations towards the costs of completing the project.”


The attached photo shows the visiting party at the trackside after having had a briefing about the work in progress.


George Jones

Press Officer

Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd

 

 POST SCRIPT:

The total length of rail laid from the railhead as of 15th Feb was 1250 metres. Track has now been laid and aligned to the end of the current ballasted formation by the farm. We are now awaiting the rest of the drainage system to be installed to the rear of the farm. Upon completion of this work ballast will then laid up to the farm crossing. A further 600 metres needs to be laid before the site of the original Bonwm Halt is reached. Most of the sleepers have been laid out ready for this work. Bridge 27 has yet to be waterproofed and this work is expected to be done in the near future.



An exhibition promoting interest in the Corwen’s railway past and Llangollen Railway’s plans for the railway extension project opened at the Oriel Gallery, London Road, Corwen last Friday. Entitled “Corwen – a Railway Town”, the exhibition features railway photographs and documents, together with items of former railway artefacts from the local lines around Corwen.

Another feature is a display about the new build Patriot class locomotive “The Unknown Warrior”, as currently being erected at the Llangollen Railway’s engineering base.

The exhibition is organised by local author Paul Lawton and Martin Christie from Carrog station.

At the opening ceremony, Llangollen Railway Trust chairman Jim Ritchie was joined by Martin Christie from Carrog station in lifting the Welsh flag from the entrance photographic display.

Initial attendance was mainly by those who had played a role in setting up the displays, but by lunchtime other visitors began arriving to take in the exhibits and favourable comments were left by all of them about the quality and content of the exhibition.

Of particular appeal is the digital slide show comprising some 200 assorted views of Corwen and its railway over the past many decades which comes with steam age sound track accompaniment.

It is a notable collection of images shown to advantage through the modern medium of a large screen.

The display containing details of the Llangollen Railway's track extension project was well received and many questions were asked about progress and delivery of the trains back to the Corwen East station, pending provision of the ultimate terminal station.

Chris Magner, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, also attended to launch his new book, “Ruabon to Barmouth - A Tribute to a Welsh West Highland Line".

Opening dates for the exhibition are September 28– 30 and October 4 – 7, between 10am and 4pm. Admission is free.

 If you go by bus there is a stop on the eastern side of town by the old Crosville bus depot - the gallery is in the little chapel across the road on the corner of access to the car park at the rear.


George Jones via email

Tuesday 15th May

CORWEN EXTENSION PROJECT REVIEW

Llangollen Railway Trust is encouraged by the positive reaction from the several thousand visitors who sampled the first stage of the extension to Plas Bonwm during the recent mega steam gala Steam, Steel and Stars 3.

The official opening was conducted on 20 April when invited VIPs and volunteers saw music mogul and rail fan Pete Waterman cut the tape at Carrog and the first public train headed west hauled by the new build steam locomotive No.60163 Tornado with No.7822 Foxcote Manor on the rear. This was the first steam hauled passenger train west of Carrog since the line was closed in December 1964 and a notable occasion which received great applause.


Subsequent access to sample the extension was provided with shuttle workings by the GWR Auto train during the period of the gala, 21 -29 April, and additional trains ran topped and tailed by the visiting stars of the event, albeit at a sedate 10 mph. These trains allowed visitors to see most of the new track to a stop position just short of the Plas Bonwm farm crossing and offered the prospect of further rail travel in the near future.


The achievement in laying 1500 m of track between January & April to open it in time for the gala gained praise from those who visited the railway. Many viewed the Corwen Project's exhibition at Glyndyfrwdy for further details of future plans and made donations towards the cost of concluding the extension work or took away the Corwen Appeal leaflet which allows for gift aid donations to be made.

It is likely that further opportunities for visitors to sample the track extension will be offered when shuttle trains are operated west of Carrog on special occasions during the summer and autumn of 2012. A first opportunity will be during the forthcoming Heritage Railcar Weekend, 23/24 June, when diesel multiple units will allow passengers to have the ‘all round’ view of the new line in its riverside setting.

Future Progress

For the immediate future Llangollen Railway Trust now plans to continue to extend track beyond Plas Bonwm using materials already to hand to reach the site of the A5 road access point. This work will conclude the first stage of the current project.

Funding is available to allow for contractors to repair over bridge No.28 now that a bat licence is due to be issued for this work to commence. A contractor will also be employed to recover the trackbed west of Bonwm and this work will proceed during the spring and summer of 2012. However the work needed in the second stage to take track forward and the erection of the temporary platform at Corwen will require the purchase of additional materials and the employment of contractors to conclude aspects of Phase 1 of the project. These planned activities will proceed as and when finance is available to fund the additional costs which have to be met from the match funding that Llangollen Railway Trust needs to raise. The grant aid provided by the Welsh Assembly Government was allocated to materials purchased in the period ended 31 March 2012.

The question of riverbank erosion has been investigated and is the subject of an initial report by consultants, but further work is needed to identify a solution to this potential problem and the cost thereof.

Looking further ahead, work is underway in conjunction with Denbighshire County Council on the scope and funding of the Phase 2 terminal station which will require major civil engineering to develop the site adjacent to the town’s car park.
 
Llangollen Railway Trust is exploring means by which the financial challenge of completing Phase 2 of the project can be met. In the meantime, further support by way of donations is required towards achieving the 2013 target for train services to operate to the Corwen temporary platform.

Llangollen Railway Trust Chairman, Jim Ritchie, said, “ The superb quality of the new track as laid by our volunteer work force and staff, aided by the tamper contractor, was acknowledged during operations over the extension. We are all delighted with the interest taken by those who sampled the new track and look forward to offering the opportunity to others in due course. The positive response from visitors is essential in promoting interest in the project and encouraging further financial support to allow the work to continue.”



CORWEN RAILWAY EXHIBITION September 28– 30 and October 4 – 7,  between 10am and 4pm.  Admission is free.

LLANGOLLEN RAILWAY PRESS ITEM - STATION SIGN UNVEILED IN CORWEN – 17 December 2011


As part of the Corwen Christmas Festival event the recreation of the Corwen railway station sign was unveiled on Saturday, 17 December.


The sign, measuring ten feet by two feet, has been recreated to traditional Great Western Railway standards by the team of volunteers at Carrog station and has been erected on pillars in a prominent position alongside the pathway from the car park to the town square.

 

Invited guests and the townsfolk gathered to hear Llangollen Railway Chairman, Jim Ritchie, summarise the history of the railway's coming and ending in the 100 years between 1864 and 1964. He referred to the prospects for it coming back by the end of 2012 and pointed to the location of the Phase 1 temporary platform to the east of the car park.

Volunteers are already at work clearing the old trackbed and preparing to lay rails as part of the extension project.


Cllr. Bill Cowie, Chairman, Denbighshire County Council, was invited to unveil the sign which had been wrapped in the Corwen Reds Welsh flag. Cllr. Cowie paid tribute to the volunteer effort which made all these things possible before slipping the knot to reveal the name CORWEN to general applause.

 

The sign, known as a running-in board when displayed at the station, is already the subject of favourable comment by local people. Its erection confirms the Llangollen Railway's plans to complete the project, as defined back in 1975, to rebuild the railway between Llangollen and Corwen. An associated information notice explains the purpose of the sign and its ultimate incorporation within the new platform facility.

 

To allow Phase 1 of the project to be completed, the Chairman highlighted the need for to the Llangollen Railway Trust to obtain a further £40k in donations towards the matched funding requirement; any sum from £1 upwards will be gratefully received to further this aim.


Speaking on behalf of the Corwen Partnership, Chairman, Ruth Lee said, “We are delighted to see the Corwen station sign on display in the town as a statement of intent to complete the extension project. The return of the trains to Corwen is an essential part of the process for the town’s planned regeneration.”


Attached pic show the proceedings on the day. The efforts of the team at Carrog in recreating the board and the assistance of the Corwen Partnership in arranging for its installation are gratefully acknowledged.

 

George Jones

For Llangollen Railway Trust



CORWEN EXTENSION TRACKBED PROGRESS WALK

Saturday 13 October 2012

There is another opportunity for those interested in the progress with the Railway's extension to participate in a walk from Carrog to Corwen.

 

Departing Carrog station at 12.00 noon, the walk will proceed via the riverside footpath to the foot crossing over the railway and up on to the A5 road.

 

From the A5 road, several opportunities are available to view the new line and the work undertaken through to Plas Bonwm.

 

Access to the new rail head at Bonwm will then allow for walking on the next trackbed section which is being prepared for track laying after the over bridge 28 repairs are completed. The proposed site for a loop line to permit engines to run round the train outside of Corwen will be inspected and onwards to the site of the Phase 1 Corwen East platform. The walk concludes through the site of the proposed phase 2 terminal station along the embankment to Green Lane and the end of the walk in Corwen.

 

The party will be escorted by Philip Hebson along with George Jones. Information will be provided about the work undertaken so far and the further plans to complete the project.

 

The distance covered is 2.5 miles and from experience the walk will take approximately two hours, this will allow time for inspection and discussion of aspects of the extension.

 

On arrival in Corwen, there will be various opportunities for refreshment and use of these facilities by the party will encourage proprietors of businesses to be made aware of the traffic potential when the trains do finally arrive.

 

To return to Carrog the hourly bus route 5 (for Wrexham) departs the bus interchange in the town's car park at 8 minutes past the hour. Welsh concessionary passes only apply; the adult fare to Llidiart y Parc ( for Carrog station) is £1.40, subject to any recent revision.

 

Otherwise walkers may wish to return along the A5 or via the old road (B5437) on the north side of the River Dee; both routes provide for alternative views of the railway, but the old road is hilly in places.

Strong footwear is essential, as is adequate outdoor clothing. Hi-Vis vests are appropriate for use on the roadside section of the A5.

Note: the walk will take place in all weather conditions other than heavy, driving rain.

Participants are asked to support a cash collection made to support the Corwen Extension appeal.


 Those interested in this popular opportunity may indicated their support for the occasion by emailing : llangollen.railway@btinternet.com with ' Corwen Walk 13 October ' as the subject; confirmation of the details will be sent nearer the date. We look forward to your support.


Llangollen Railway press Item 1.1.12 - Corwen-Bonwm Trackbed walk.

 

Despite the inclement weather around Corwen at 1100 am on New Years Day sufficient supporters turned out to make the occasion of the last public access to the old trackbed from Corwen a success.

 

At 1000am the rain was so heavy as to doubt anyone would want to venture out, but a few brave souls appeared keen to take part in the occasion which had been promoted by the Corwen Partnership, the Corwen Business Association and tlc – Tourism and Leisure Corwen on behalf of the Llangollen Railway Trust.


 Others also arrived and by 11am some 40 people had assembled,  including the Llangollen Railway Trust chairman, Jim Ritchie, who provided a summary of the work in progress to extend the railway through to Corwen.

 

Not deterred by the weather the assembly set off along the path accessing the phase 1 temporary platform site via the gate which is now in-situ to mark the trackbed as a construction site.

 

Fortunately the rain stopped and a brief clearance of the clouds came through from the west which brightened up the occasion.

 

Although the turfed area was decidedly muddy in places the trackbed gave way to original ballast base where the grass had been cleared which made for easier walking. En route the various structures, fog man's hut, culverts and underpasses were all referred to and the volume of water noted flowing through into the river Dee which was already running high. The progress with tree and vegetation clearance was also noted and the new fencing and gates which have been installed along this section.

 

The condition of over bridge No.28 was discussed and the remains of the old platelayers' hut built of sleepers noted as worthy of renovation for future use. Continuing past the burnt out remains of the second hut near  Bonwm, which is marked by a pile of concrete sleepers next to the remains of the GWR platform which marked the site of the old Halt.

 

At Bonwm there is now gated access to the A5 road but permitted access was allowed a little further into the section towards Carrog to show evidence of work in progress.


At this point the rain came in again from the west as the party returned to Bonwm where some people left and others took to the A5 pavement, but the majority continued down the trackbed back to Corwen which was reached just after 1.00 pm. Here a trackbed walk certificate was handed out to participants which was much appreciated. Thanks to Geoff Williams at Digital Magic in Corwen for producing these at short notice.

 

George Jones, for Llangollen Railway Trust, said, “Despite the weather the occasion has a considerable success with the numbers finally totalling 46 - about as many as might have been expected on a fine day.

“In addition to support from the local community, others had come considerable distances with participants noted from Wirral, Chester, Tarporley, Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Harlech, Porthmadog and Wrexham such is the interest in the project.  

“The event allowed participants to see what has been achieved and what is still to be tackled if the time scale of December 2012 is to be met for the track being through to the temporary platform at Corwen and the need for further support towards the project.” 


George Jones

Llangollen Railway Trust




CORWEN EXTENSION PROJECT REVIEW – AUGUST 2013  


During August deliveries of recycled ballast brought in 200 tonnes of stone via the access at Bonwm. This has allowed the base ballasting of the trackbed to be brought forward towards the access gate and track laying by full time permanent way staff saw the rail head extended by six panels, with a further six to be installed shortly.


The stack of concrete sleepers at Bonwm has now been cleared thanks to a further period of hire for a JCB Load-all machine and sleepers have been dispersed along the track bed towards Corwen. A calculation of the short fall in sleepers can now be made for further a further quantity to be ordered.


Further deliveries of 1,000 tonnes of ballast will provide for the base towards over bridge 28a, with pegging out of this section to be undertaken during September. It is now envisaged that track laying during the autumn will begin at bridge 28a working backwards towards Bonwm, a stretch of approximately 900 metres.


Tenders for the repair of the under arch and abutments to bridge 28a are awaited from contractors who have expressed interest in this work, but, in the meantime, a volunteer team has started repairs to bridge 28, a fisherman’s access underpass.


The repairs to the road/railer machine have been completed and, following certification, the machine is now on site at Bonwm as the essential tool for further track laying. Two members of the full-time staff are passed competent to operate this machine and two volunteers will be similarly instructed. A volunteer work force is being assembled to undertake the track laying through to bridge 28a and beyond to the Corwen platform site.


Dwyrain Corwen East Station site


The complications with the under bridges within the area of the platform appear close to being resolved. We are advised that Denbighshire County Council has let a contract for the installation of the flood relief scheme outfall to the river which will involved the removal of bridge 30. Subject to confirmation, we can expect the contractor to be on site from September with construction work taking place during the next few months.


We are further advised by Denbighshire Countryside Services that the flood relief scheme also has implications for the route of the link foot path to bridge 29. This will provide access to the nature reserve and some grant aid may be in prospect for work on refurbishing this bridge, if it can be completed during September.


Elsewhere, within the wider context of Corwen, discussions are underway with the artists for the design of the access pathway from the Corwen car park to the station site. Wide ranging discussions are also taking place with regard to the opportunities to promote the new station at Corwen as a destination in 2014 and initial plans for the train timetable have started. Whilst it is intended that a first train will arrive at Dwyrain Corwen East on St David’s day, 1st March 2014, it is now likely that an official opening occasion will be held some weeks later to obtain maximum publicity, subject to all the work being completed, including the acquisition of the outstanding funding.


A promotional display for the Corwen Extension was provided during the period of the National Eisteddfod held at Denbigh during August with thanks to Denbighshire County Council for providing facilities.


Llangollen Railway Trust   31/8/2013