Llangollen Railway
7th September 2000

 My first sight of Llangollen station was in 1975 on the day the Llangollen Railway took it over. It was in dreadful condition and rubbish had been dumped so that it was possible to walk across from one platform to the other without difficulty. Times have changed and visitors can see the effort that has gone in to making this a place to visit and remember. The town itself is worth visiting and my family have spent many happy days picnicking alongside the river. There are many cafes and restaurants around the town, one worth trying is situated opposite the station and provides a timber walkway out onto the river. Inside the building can be seen a huge rotating mill wheel actually powered by the river water and I suspect this was used to drive weaving looms but this needs checking. The line is part of the closed Ruabon to Dolgellau route and runs West from Llangollen to Carrog where it currently ceases, the plan, I understand, is to run further West to Corwen. The line originally left the Chester-Shrewsbury line at Ruabon and ran through to Bala junction where it branched North to Llandudno Junction. This line is now truncated at Blaenau Ffestiniog although there was an extension beyond Blaenau which fed the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd but I suspect that this is now disconnected and may already be lifted.

 Upon arrival at Llangollen station I saw ex-GWR 4-6-0 loco number 7822 "Foxcote Manor" on duty.

Llangollen station must have one of the most picturesque approaches of all preserved railways when viewed from the Dee bridge. The aspect is spoiled somewhat by the poor state of the footbridge which could be improved no end by a coat of paint.

 I caught "Foxcote Manor" approaching Llangollen station in reverse having taken the train out to Carrog, the line's Western extremity, and run round for the return journey. The line is former Great Western and would have looked much better with chocolate and cream stock. The maroon is reminiscent of the 60's and still quite pleasing.

 The Manor passed under the bridge and ran into the station. Here the loco runs round and couples on ready to take out the 14.15 to Carrog. On this occasion there was a pause during the run round in order to take on water from the crane.

 "Foxcote Manor" passing the locomotive shed area with the dumped GWR loco on the right - it really is in a dreadful state. However, so was the Manor at one time and look at it now!

 Having left Llangollen in bright, warm sunshine, we arrived at Carrog in a howling gale and driving rain. Such change in a few miles is probably typical of Wales and its weather! End of the line (at the moment) and time for another run round.

 The run round at Carrog.

 On the journey back to Lleyn we passed through Bala and I noticed a GWR signal in the car park. I know from a school trip in the days of steam that there was a loco shed on the site so I went to photograph the signal. A commemorative plate at the base explained that it had been erected by ex railwaymen from the area in memory of bygone days and was donated by the Llangollen Railway

 The former track bed looking towards Llangollen.

 A super day out and a train ride through the beautiful scenery that follows the River Dee, complete with fishermen and pheasants! Well recommended.