25/26 July 2015


Peter Bleasdale




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




As the banner proclaims, this was the official opening, on 1st March 2015,

of the two mile extension to the temporary station at Corwen East.


Thanks once again to the hard work of the many enthusiastic volunteers

on this wonderful heritage railway.


Fifty years on, Corwen can once more experience

the delights of the hiss of steam and engine whistles.


It features the longest section of straight track on this heritage line

and will eventually reach a permanent station

three hundred yards further on

towards the town's car park ( Corwen Parkway?! ).


A turntable will also be built here,

replicating one from the original railway.













This is part of the temporary platform at Corwen East

looking towards the next station at Carrog.


Stretching away into the distance

is the wonderful re-laid trackwork,

which compares extremely well to the efforts of Network Rail,

and is a great credit to the enthusiasm and hard work

of the volunteer workforce.


The platform is mounted on scaffolding poles

and will be easily removable in due course.












Showing that every effort has been made

to welcome passengers to this new terminus,


no expense has been spared in the design and handcrafting

of this wonderful waiting bench


situated outside the temporary station building at Corwen East.












Recreating a scene, typical of the early 1960's,

a lightweight DMU departs from Corwen East.


Many different types of these diesel units were built

in order to alleviate falling passenger numbers

in competition with the roads,

but in many cases this was to no avail, unfortunately.


Obviously emissions, global warming and the environment

were much less of a concern in this era,

and I am sure that the EU would have been less than impressed












Large Prairie 2-6-2, no.5199,

arrives at Corwen.

Because there are no run-round facilities at the moment,

the trains are topped and tailed by two locomotives,

the one at the rear taking charge of the departure to Carrog.


Here the rear engine is detached

and will eventually become the leading engine

on the next train back to Llangollen from Carrog

having 'banked' it to Corwen East.

Quite efficient, but somewhat more expensive in fuel and engine wear.

These Large Prairies came from a very successful class of 209

originally built by the GWR,


20 having been built by BR in 1948/49

with high superheat boilers.


This is one of eight, which survived into preservation.












The fireman of GWR no.3802

changes the position of the headlamp

on arrival at Corwen East,


as the locomotive will now become the rear engine

on the trains return to Carrog,


where it will be uncoupled and attached to the rear

of the next service to Corwen.












At Carrog station, Class 37/6

or English Electric type 3 diesel electric locomotive no.6940

receives the clear signal to start its journey to Corwen East,

on a very damp and murky Sunday morning,

with Large Prairie 5199 attached to the rear of the train.

These EE type 3's were ordered as part of the BR Modernisation Plan

and became a familiar sight on the network

forming Intercity Services in East Anglia and within Scotland.


They performed well and were nicknamed 'Tractors'

due to the agricultural sound of their 1500hp diesel engines.

Many are still in use today, more recently returning

to the line between Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle,

carrying workers to the Sellafield Nuclear Facility.













Giving more of an impression of Clapham Junction

than a sleepy GWR station,

much activity is taking place during engine changeovers

at Carrog,


as GWR freight locomotive 2-8-0 no.3802

makes a spirited start on wet rail

toward Llangollen












Hardly recognizable as a late July summer's day,

Class 37/6 no. 6940 approaches Carrog,


as the duty signalman waits to exchange the single-line token

from 2-8-0 no.3802, standing at the platform,

running tender first to Llangollen.


The diesel driver leans from the cab to leave his token

from the previous section on the lineside apparatus at the trackside.

Note the point rodding and signal wires for the approach semaphores

in the "6ft".


There is a really long lever-pull for the outer home signals

at this location.












Exhibiting its superior accelerating performance,

EE type 3 rushes out of Carrog station

with a clear road ahead and covers the Welsh countryside

in an unwanted blue haze;


this is long before Diesel Particulate Filters

were ever dreamed of !'












As we return to Berwyn station

several white water rafters appear once more,


taking advantage of the raised river levels

and the challenge of the falls ahead.

Your writer much prefers the comfort

of a steam-heated suburban compartment












The Chain Link Bridge has now been magnificently refurbished,

thanks to a Lottery grant,


and provides easy access

from Berwyn Station to the Chain Bridge Hotel once more.

It also provides the opportunity to visit Telford's Horseshoe Falls

which is within a short walking distance.

The weight limit imposed on the new bridge is 10 persons or 1000kg,

although this was exceeded on a few occasions, I suspect,

on this warm and sunny afternoon.

Meanwhile, beyond the bridge, our intrepid Rafters

take a well-earned breather,

having reached the comparative safety of calmer waters.












This view taken from the Chain Bridge

shows the very active nature of the River Dee at this point,

whilst the wonderful Berwyn Viaduct on the left,

the Hotel on the right and Road Viaduct

crossing the river

complete the scene at this delightful location.


This is enhanced even more

by the sun-drenched backdrop of summer trees.












The tranquillity of the summer's afternoon

is suddenly disturbed by the throb

from the 1160bhp Sulzer engine of Class 26 D5310,

as it restarts its train from Berwyn.

This BR type 2 diesel was built in 1959 by

Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Ltd.

and is now owned by the Llangollen Railway diesel group.


The locomotive saw much service throughout Scotland

as diesel replaced steam during the BR modernisation plan.












Visitors to the area take in the delights of this picturesque location

from the repainted Chain Bridge.


This photo, taken from the verandah of the hotel

captures the wonderful peaceful nature of this delightful part of Wales.

Naturally, without the railway adding to the scene,

it would not have exactly the same attraction

to your humble writer!












Ex-GWR Autotrain, with Pannier tank No.6430 in the centre,

providing the motive power arrives at Glyndyfrdwy Station.

These units were introduced on lightly-loaded GWR branch lines

to avoid the chore of the locomotive having to run round the coaches

at the destination

and thus a single line would suffice, saving on maintenance.

The fireman would remain in charge of the engine to maintain steam pressure

and the driver would control the train from the front of either coach

with the regulator, which had linkages to the locomotive.


Note also the bell on the front of the leading coach.












By way of a contrast, the Autotrain preparing to leave Llangollen Station

on a soggy Sunday morning,

note the lack of passengers, very authentic ex -GWR branch line!

My long-suffering wife waits patiently once more,

sheltering from the drizzle,


I don't know how she puts up with it all!'












Swollen by the recent rains, the River Dee rushes past

The Old Corn Mill at Llangollen,


illustrating graphically why the site was chosen

for the factory driven by a water wheel.

Later in the day, the two White Water Rafters

successfully negotiated these falls,


but, unfortunately, your reviewer could not get his camera

from the case quickly enough!'












In the spirit of the 1960's weekend, these Zany characters

appeared on the station at Llngollen in the evening

and were only too pleased to pose for my camera.


They certainly livened up the proceedings.

They included Batman & Robin, Superman, Zorro, Darthvader

and several more unknown characters.


I dared not ask!'












Finally, as daylight faded into evening at Llangollen Station,

and with the DMU awaiting its last trip up the line,


the revellers danced the night away until late,

to the "sounds of the sixties" played by a live band

and sung by a excellent young Karaoke singer.


Absolutely brilliant!

Your photographer and his wife even joined in the proceedings,

dancing in front of the signalbox!

No sorry, I did not capture this moment in history on film!!'





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GWR TIMETABLE Jan - Mar 1902




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