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'ALONG BRANCH LINES' GALA WEEKEND - Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September 2015

2015 marked three major anniversaries for the Llangollen Railway, being 150 years since the line between Llangollen and Corwen officially opened, 50 years since the line’s closure and 40 years since the preservation society was first formed. 
And to mark that fact, the Llangollen Railway’s Along Branch Lines weekend not only aimed to celebrate these major milestones, but also to stir up memories of the way the region’s railways once looked by running a mixture of unusual trains, ranging from short pick-up goods trains to four and five coach passenger trains in authentic liveries.
The three-day weekend event from Friday 11
th to Sunday 13th September was steam operated with an intensive timetable featuring a variety of different types of trains, including an ‘auto train’. The auto train is most often associated with Great Western branch line services and would usually consist of just one or two coaches worked in push-pull mode by a small steam engine.
Locomotives are as follows

 No.5542, GWR 'Small Prairie' 4575 Class 2-6-2T
Courtesy of Locomotive 5542 Limited and the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
No.47406, LMS 'Jinty' Class 3F 0-6-0T
Courtesy of Great Central Railway and Mr Roger Hibbert
No. 3802, GWR 'Heavy Freight' 2884 Class 2-8-0 - Making its final gala appearance before major overhaul
No. 3802 was one of a class of 83 2-8-0 tender locomotives built between 1938 and 1941. Their daily task was to haul heavy freight trains at modest speeds, particularly coal trains from the South Wales valleys.

No. 5199, GWR 'Large Prairie' 5101 Class 2-6-2T
No. 5199 was one of a class of 209 ‘Large Prairie’ locomotives built primarily for suburban and local passenger services all over the Great Western Railway system. Prairie refers to the locomotive’s wheel arrangement, with two leading wheels, six coupled driving wheels and two trailing wheels. No. 5199 was built at Swindon in 1934 and spent most of her GWR and BR working life based at several sheds, primarily around the Birmingham area.

 No. 6430, GWR 64XX Class Pannier Tank 0-6-0PT
No.6430 was built by the Great Western Railway at Swindon Works in 1937. It was one of a class of 40 locomotives built for use on auto train and light passenger workings. The class was ‘auto-fitted’, meaning that they were equipped with the remote control equipment needed for working auto trains. The small wheels of the 64XXs made them particularly suited for working in hillier locations.

Attractions Included:
Goods trains

Photographic displays celebrating the first 40 years in preservation

Cameos along the line, with  loading and unloading of parcels and milk churns at intermediate stations.

Locomotive support groups and sales stands at Llangollen

Experience the panoramic view of the line from the luxury of the 1948-built Hawksworth Inspection Saloon

Autotrains with 5542

New lineside viewing area at Berwyn Tunnel

 Along the Line:
At Llangollen station,
The Station Café Bar was open serving hot meals & snacks along with a wide selection of alcohol including Real Ale. Tea rooms were open at Berwyn, Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog stations throughout the weekend serving a variety of freshly made snacks and homemade cakes, as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks. A real ale bar was also available at Glyndyfrdwy station.

To mark the 6th anniversary of her first public working on the Llangollen Railway, heritage diesel locomotive D5310 was in operation on Saturday 26th September.
D5310 is a Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon (BRCW) Sulzer Type 2 locomotive built at Smethwick in 1958 and entered traffic in January 1959. It was designed as a mixed traffic diesel-electric locomotive as part of British Railway's Modernisation Plan. The loco was renumbered as 26010 in BR days and withdrawn in December 1992. Following extensive restoration and repairs, the Class 26 arrived at Llangollen on September 9th 2009 and has proved to be a very reliable performer.  
D5310 was in operation alongside one of the railway's DMU fleet on the day and worked the 10:40, 13:00 and 15:10 departures from Llangollen.

Phase One of the extension of the railway to Dwyrain Corwen East, the temporary platform on the edge of the town is fully operational.

Work on Phase Two - the completion of a further 300 yds of track into a new terminus station, CORWEN CENTRAL, with run around loop is well under way. Fundraising is still required

For more details - see the ‘Corwen Extension page

The auto train on the Corwen Extension during the Steel Steam and Stars III Mega Gala at the end of April 2012

Photo - Mike Martin

45337 in Dwyrain Corwen East platform with the first train into the station.

Photo - George Jones

5199 rolls along the extension to

Dwyrain Corwen East

Photo Martin Gill

Berwyn Chain Bridge  Restoration Project

Restoration of the Chain Bridge over the River Dee at Berwyn is now complete and the bridge is once again open to the public.  The railway have cleared and upgraded the path from the station through the tunnel under the line and down the slope to the bridge.

This now opens up the possibilities for a train ride to Berwyn and a leisurely walk back to Llangollen along the canal; or the other way round. Alternatively, a break of journey at Berwyn to visit the Horseshoe Falls, then back on the train.

Link to a video of Thomas and Goliath going back to the shed after a long and busy day

NEWS UPDATE - A4 Loco - Sir Nigel Gresley’s boiler is at Llangollen Loco Works for overhaul. The boiler arrived in mid November 2016.