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LLANGOLLEN

STEAM RAILWAY

 

July 2014

by

Peter Bleasdale

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To visit the website

for the

 

 

click above logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view the

RVR Historical Rail Map

for the

Llangollen Steam Railway

 

click the image below

(or scroll down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view

GWR Timetables

(Summer 1938 & January 1902)

for the route

(Ruabon - Llangollen - Dolgellau - Barmouth)

of the

Llangollen Steam Railway

click the image below

 

 

 

 

The Llangollen Steam Railway 1960's Weekend

 

 

Llangollen Steam Railway is a heritage railway line

located beside the historic Dee Bridge ( built in 1345 ) in Llangollen.

 

The line follows the River Dee,

which, in its day, crossed Wales

from Ruabon to Dolgellau & Barmouth.



Over the weekend of 26/27th July 2014 the Llangollen Steam Railway

held a 1960's Weekend in glorious sunny weather.

 

Two steam locomotives, Ivatt 2-6-4 Tank no.80072,

specially 'weathered' for the occasion

 

and GWR 2-8-0 no.3802 representing the steam locomotives,

 

and BRCW Type 2 Sulzer Diesel no.D5310

plus two diesel railcars for the diesel fleet.

 


The 'Weekend' proved very popular with enthusiasts and families alike.

Music from the '60's was played all day on Llangollen Station

 

and on the Saturday night

a live music concert from that era entertained all the visitors.

 


In addition, classic vehicles from the 1950/60's

were on display at Glyndyfrdwy Station

 

and an open- air heritage Leyland Bus

ran trips between Llangollen and Carrog Stations,

which proved very popular.

 


An excellent 'must see' event to be added to the calendar for 2015

 

 

 

 

This is a general view of Llangollen Station

in its wonderfully picturesque setting

 

alongside the fast-flowing River Dee.

 

It exists in an area of outstanding natural beauty,

and the very sunny weather for the weekend

enhanced the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a closer view of the original station at Llangollen

which remained after closure in 1964

with all the track having been lifted.



The local councils had plans to provide a new road bypass on the trackbed,


but after much debate they eventually agreed to sell the station site

to the preservationists,

 

and after many years of fund raising and much hard work,


they have carried out the relaying of this marvellous railway

as far as Carrog Station,

which follows the route of the Dee Valley.

 


Note the GWR station footbridge, which is cantilevered out

from the retaining wall in this narrow area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivatt 2-6-4 tank no.80072

 

which has been 'weathered' using water soluble pastel paints

to simulate its running condition

in the final years of steam,

 

prepares to take out the 10.20 train,

bunker first, to Glyndyfrdwy Station

which has historical links with Owain Glyndwr of 1400 AD.



This lovely station was completely demolished

along with Carrog station and other infrastucture along the line

and has been completely rebuilt

from the ground up by mainly volunteer effort

 

and now enjoys tranquil picnic areas,

and is situated close to the river Dee.

 


On this particular weekend, a classic car show

was situated in the adjacent field

when memories of my youth came flooding back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking in the opposite direction from the station platform

at Llangollen

towards the road bridge over the river,

 

the fast flowing nature of the River Dee

can be seen here.

 

The water power was harnessed in two ways at this site.



On the right of the picture can be seen the old Corn Mill

which is now a pub and restaurant.

 

The old 'undershot' water wheel

which drove the original workings

is still in it's original position

under the mill building.



On the left, on the opposite side of the bridge,

a 'leet' was created by means of a sluice gate

and the fast flowing water drove an impeller,

which is still in position,

 

and then by means of a vertical shaft up to a turbine

mounted above in an arched building,

to provide one of the first electricity supplies to the area

 

- quite ingenious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking east from the station footbridge

the original line ran under the road bridge towards Ruabon

along an embankment protected from the river Dee

by a stone wall.

 

This area has been converted into a footpath and picnic site

alongside the river.

 

At the end of this short area

new buildings and a public car park have been erected

 

and there is no evidence of a railway line having ever been here,

which, to this writer, is very sad.

 



Further along, the original line ran

between the Llangollen Canal and the river.

 

The canal in this area was cut into the hillside

and the soil embankment was very unstable.

 

 

One night just after the Second World War,

the canal suffered a serious breach

and all the water ran down onto the railway,

washing away the embankment and the ballast,

leaving the track suspended in mid-air.

 


A freight train came along, and when it reached this section,

rolled down the steep hillside,

killing the driver and seriously injuring the fireman.

 


In the aftermath of the war, the line was desperately required to move goods

and so was quickly repaired.

 

But the train was in such a difficult position,

some smaller items were removed,

but the majority was left in situ.

 


When the canal and railway embankments were repaired

most of the train was covered on stones and soil,

and there it remains to this day.



The canal has since been converted into a concrete trough

along much of this section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The signal box at the eastern end of platform 1

at Llangollen.

 

All the points and station semaphore signals

are controlled from this position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shot taken from Platform 2 at Llangollen

shows the twin starter signals one for each platform.


The very rural nature of this delightful railway

can be seen from the wooded backdrop

which the railway follows

throughout its present 7½ mile westward route

 

to the present terminus at Carrog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving Llangollen

and passing the carriage and works sidings,

we cross the river Dee on a curved viaduct.

 

If this structure had not remained in situ

then it is likely that the line would never have re-opened.

 

This river is renowned

for its abundance of Atlantic Salmon

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This is a moving on-track view of the wonderful viaduct over the river,

shot through the rear windscreen of Wickham lightweight diesel railcar.

 


The trees on either side of the line displaying their foliage

at the height of the summer season

adds to the enchantment of this lovely line.

 

At the top of the photo,

coaching stock can be seen in the works yard,

which is not accessible to the general public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next stop on our journey is the delightful Berwyn country station,

set in magnificent surroundings alongside the river

 

 

and crossing over the very attractive viaduct-type road bridge.

 


This station on the line, with its Old World Tea Room

and excellent Welsh cakes

 

is a magnet for photographers,

 

standing, as it does,

across the river from the Chain Bridge Hotel

with its attendant chain bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A top-of-the-line view showing Berwyn Station,

the hotel and Chain link Bridge.



The original chain bridge was constructed in 1814

to facilitate the transfer of coal & lime

from the mines between the Llangollen Canal and the main A5 road.

 

 

In 1928, heavy floodwaters, combined with fallen trees

creating partial damming of the river,

 

caused the river to rise dramatically

and flow over the bridge to a depth of four feet!



There is a pathway from the station to the bridge

which crosses the river to the hotel,

 

but the decking is in a very dilapidated condition

and the bridge is closed.

 

However, it is due to be completely refurbished

within the next twelve months

thus restoring it to its former glory.

 

 

The bare escarpment, seen at the top of this picture,

is over 350 million years old

 

and was once covered in water!

 

There are many fossils to be found

in the rocks here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dilapidated Chain Link Bridge

across the river Dee

awaits early restoration

 

with Berwyn Station and Viaduct

standing proud in the background.

 

This is a railway feature like no other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.80072 arrives at Berwyn

with an afternoon train to Carrog.

 

This view from across the river at the Chain Bridge Hotel

 

must surely be a unique railway scene

to rival anything in this country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivatt 2-6-4 tank in weathered condition

arrives at Berwyn Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next journey commenced from Berwyn Station

behind GWR 2-8-0 no.3802

seen arriving here.

 

This is a magnificent example of these fine machines

with a wonderful, sharp, exhaust beat,

which echoes from the surrounding hills

 

A short distance from Berwyn Station

we pass through the aptly named Berwyn Tunnel

which, at 689 yards is the longest single bore tunnel

on any preserved line in the UK.

 

It is brick-lined on a slight reverse curve

and has no ventilation shafts.

 

It leaks water through the brickwork in the wet season

due to the legacy of lead and other ore mining pits

on the hillside above.



However, almost immediately on leaving the tunnel

we can observe a fine manor house,

partially hidden in the trees and very difficult to photograph.

 


This was the home of Charles Frederick Beyer (1813-1876 )

of Beyer/Peacock, the famous engine builders.

 

From 1855 to 1966, nearly 8,000 engines

were built at the Gorton Foundry,

including the well-known Beyer/Garratts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of Charles Beyer's Manor House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Situated just above the Chain Bridge Hotel at Berwyn,

and within short walking distance,

 

are the

Horseshoe Falls.

 

These are not visible from the railway line

due to the abundance of trees and the divergence of the line

through Berwyn Tunnel.



This is the

source of the Llangollen Canal.

 

 


The canal was never intended to operate commercially

( although it did eventually carry limestone and other materials )

 

but was created by Thomas Telford from this weir,

where water from the River Dee was channelled down,

 


thus forming the

Llangollen Canal

 

merely to supply the Shropshire Union Canal

over the Pontysyllte Aqueduct.

 



Such foresight and enterprise,

since, in places,

 

the route of the canal was through solid rock,

 

all moved by hand!

 

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After arrival at Glyndyfrdwy Station,

Ivatt tank no.8072 runs round the train for its return to Llangollen.


Note the display of vintage buses and cars in the field behind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The waiting photographers jostle for position

as no.80072 regains the exit platform

and runs over the level crossing,

 

while road vehicles wait patiently.

 

Twin starter signals are again in evidence

for departures from either platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the signal cabin

on the entrance to Glyndyfrdwy Station

controlling the crossing gates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the train has departed

the signalman closes the level-crossing gates


in an obvious pre-determined order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were several interesting heritage vehicles

on display at Glyndyfrdwy Station,

 

GW van, vintage open top Leyland bus

 

and for motor cycle enthusiasts,

left to right,

Matchless, Velocette and Sunbeam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the second signal box in the background

and the starter signal in the off position,

 

the fireman of no.3802

( GWR locos are right hand drive )

awaits the green flag from the guard.

 

The trees display their summer hues once more

to enhance the overall scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A general view of this lovely station at Carrog

taken from the overbridge


as Wickham diesel railcar set arrives

into platform 1

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Standing in the siding at Carrog

was this ex-private owner 7 plank coal wagon,

 

still sporting wooden chassis and buffer beams

and split spoke wheels.

 

It has been provided with a roof and opening side doors

presumably for the storage of tools etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRCW Sulzer Type 2 D5310 ( Class 26 )

 

built in Smethwick in 1958

arrives in Carrog

 

as a waiting photographer

snaps it from the end of platform 1,

 

and the assistant signalman steps down from his cabin

to collect the token from the driver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautifully refurbished Type 2 ( Class 26 ) Sulzer diesel

reverses onto its train at Carrog

 

as the driver leans from the cab

to ensure a gentle 'buffer up' to the carriage set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the spirit of the 1960's Weekend,

the driver of Sulzer D5310


acknowledges the 'right away' from the guard

as he prepares to leave Berwyn Station

 

for Llangollen

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A fine shot of refurbished GWR 2-8-0 no.3802

 

as she prepares to leave Glyndyfrdwy Station

running tender first.

 


Note the professional-looking track and ballast,

expertly laid by volunteers.



A tamping machine ( observed at the workshops ) has been hired-in

to complete the ballasting of the 2½ mile extension to Corwen

within the next five days.

 


A brand new Patriot class locomotive

is being built at the workshops at Pentrefelin

just outside Llangollen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the route is single line with passing loops,

this shot taken at Deeside Halt

 

shows the signalman from the 'box' here

exchanging tokens with the driver of Ivatt tank no.80072.

 


Again, the complete rural nature of this lovely line

can be appreciated,

 

literally in the middle of nowhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the plate on the signal box proclaims its position,

another token exchange takes place here

on the outskirts of Llangollen.



Note the token hanging on the apparatus

awaiting collection by the fireman


as 2-8-0 no.3802 approaches with a good head of steam

for the stiff climb ahead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival at our final destination at Carrog Station

 

the fireman transfers the warning lamp

to the rear of the tender

 

before the locomotive runs round its train

to return to Llangollen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The idyllic rural setting at Carrog Station

is enhanced by this scene.

 

GWR no.3802 awaits the departure of the diesel railcar

from platform 1

 

before being able to run round the train

to return to Llangollen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the station lamps on this preserved railway

contain the original paraffin burners,

 

which have had an electric halogen bulbs

cleverly inserted into the centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the weekend's events,

carriage sets were obviously in the wrong position

and had to be shunted on Monday morning.


This led to the late arrival ( 11.20 am! )

of the 10.20am departure from Llangollen.


Therefore 08 diesel shunter reversed into platform 1

coupled to 2-8-0 no.3802

 

before being detached to run into platform 2

to remove the carriage set standing there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my long-suffering wife sitting

on the station platform awaits the return of this amateur railway enthusiast,

 

and another couple take a photographic opportunity

on the opposite platform,

 

08 shunter reverses in to collect the carriage set in 1950's livery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.3802 makes a very late spirited start

with the first train of the day

 

from Platform 1

at Llangollen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A photographer leans from the first carriage

to obtain a good shot of no.3802

 

as she heads onto the single line section

towards Llangollen Goods Junction Signal Box

to exchange the first token for the next section.

 


Meanwhile, there appears to be a malfunction

of the right hand semaphore signal on the junction bracket,

which should be set at danger,

 

and an operative is investigating this problem

 

 

 

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GWR TIMETABLE Summer 1938

   
XXX

 

 

   

GWR TIMETABLE Jan - Mar 1902

   

 
     

 

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for the

 

 

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