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LLANGOLLEN

STEAM RAILWAY

October 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

 

As winter approaches at Llangollen Station

the trees in their autumn colours

 

create a wonderful backdrop to this very atmospheric railway.

 

The rusty trackwork shows that we are now on weekend running only,

as the volunteer staff prepare the train for tomorrow's recommencement

 

and the special first train of the day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking across from above the signal box

on Platform One at Llangollen,

 

the River Dee, swollen by recent rainfall,

tumbles and cascades down towards the weir

at the old Corn Mill on the opposite bank,

 

as the autumn foliage creates a marvellous backdrop once again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viewed from the overbridge

GWR 2-8-0, no. 3802, is privileged to be in charge

of the first train of the weekend,

 

which is also a special charter for a wedding party

holding their reception in the rear carriage

and aptly named 'The Wedding Belle'.

 

Many photographs of the happy couple and guests

were taken at the front of the train,

 

but your reviewer decided to keep his nose ( and camera! )

out of the proceedings on this very special occasion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stationmaster is busy adding white ribbon

to the front of no.3802

 

in anticipation of the wedding photographers

 

( there appeared to be two of them! )

carrying out their duties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.3802, suitably adorned for her special duties,

awaits the 'right of way'


as the fireman cleans the cab windows

and polishes the surrounding brasswork,

having raised a good head of steam.

 

I assume that this does not form part

of his usual pre-departure routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our arrival, whilst strolling along the towpath

of the Llangollen Canal,


my wife and I were fortunate to observe

a 'Horse-Drawn Canal Boat'


approaching us in the afternoon sunshine.

 

The delightful colours of the surrounding foliage

add enchantment to the scene.

 

Taff, the horse, did not seem to appreciate

the intrusion on his workplace, however!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the locomotive draincocks working in full flow (!),

 

the driver leans from his cab

to attempt to check that the starter signal is in the clear position,

somewhat defeating his own object!

 

Meanwhile the ticket collector looks out from the front carriage

 

completely unperturbed by the proceedings ahead of him

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the starter signal clearly in the 'off ' position,

 

no.3802 makes a rapid start

towards Berwyn Station,

 

trying to dislodge some brickwork from the GWR overbridge

which was 'built to last' fortunately

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately after leaving the station

we arrive at Llangollen Goods Loop Signal Box

 

where the exchange of tokens takes place in busy periods.

 

Note the apparatus on the left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A short distance from the terminus,

on the right of the main line,

 

we approach the Llangollen Railway workshops,

where, in addition to the regular maintenance of the fleet,

two brand-new locomotive builds,

which managed to avoid the preservationists,

are taking place.

 


First is an LMS Patriot class 4-6-2 'The Unknown Warrior'

 

and secondly a GWR Class 4700 2-8-0 no.4709,

 

the last of a class of nine locomotives

built by G.J.Churchward in 1923

for the increasing fast overnight freight traffic.

 


These fine locomotives also proved very popular

for heavy passenger holiday trains in the 1950's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately on leaving the workshop site

 

our train negotiates a sharp left -hand turn

over the River Dee across the viaduct,

 

as the fireman checks the water overflow

from the steam injector.

 

The 10mph speed limit sign,

together with the necessary steam railway telegraph pole,

is clearly in evidence.

 

The many variable colours of the autumn foliage

enhance the railway scene once again .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took this opportunity to photograph

the road bridge over the River Dee

 

as our train stopped at Berwyn Station.

 

 

This angle is only obtainable from the train

 

and combined with the river and surrounding trees

 

is a delightful part of this area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We alight at Berwyn Station

to sample the delights of this magnificent location.

 

This view of the GWR viaduct alongside the River Dee

shows the lengths that our Victorian forefathers went to

in order to create a lasting memorial to their engineering prowess.

 

The warm autumn sunshine is a bonus

that we cannot lay claim to !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the recent heavy rainfall in the area,

water levels in the River Dee had risen considerably

since our last visit,

 

and a large team of rafters and canoeists

were making the most of the ideal conditions

 

on this warm and sunny afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The intrepid rafters now tackle the fast flowing waters

under the decrepit Chain Link Bridge,

 

although one of the boats appears to be confused

 

about their direction of travel !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the water journey was a challenge

for the occupants of the rafts

 

then it seemed to be even more precarious

for the brave canoeists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As our train returns to Berwyn

to allow us to resume our journey,

 

my ever-patient wife

manages to appear in the scene once more,

Alfred Hitchcock- like,

 

whilst waiting for the return of your enthusiastic photographer,

 

at least I think that is what she said !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst at Berwyn Station,

 

the previously unknown opportunity

to obtain a better photo

of the former residence of Mr. Beyer

 

was seized upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A view from the train

of the many and varied colours

of Mother Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have included this shot

to illustrate the very rural nature

of this peaceful railway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrive at Glyndyfrdwy Station

( try saying that after a Saturday night out! )

 

which replicates many memories of rural stations in days gone by.

 

The milk churns were a very real part of my early youth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second signal box at Glyndyfrdwy

 

proudly proclaims 'Barmouth South'


which is presumably from whence it was obtained

 

See below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The signalman opens the last level crossing gate

at Glyndyfrdwy Station


before pulling off the starter signal

to allow our train to proceed on its journey.


To the left of the main line stands the works ballast train

being used in the final track relaying on the 2 1/2 mile extension to Corwen.



It would appear that the GWR corrugated iron lineside shed

has reached its final resting place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing in the other loop at Glyndyfrwy Station

 

was Stanier Black 5 no.45337

which was on a special charter up and down the line.



The young boys on the adjacent platform

seem thrilled to see two trains arriving at once

at this remote rural station.



I was extremely pleased to observe this young family

as they are the heritage volunteers of the future

and must surely be given much encouragement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line approaches Carrog Station

on a long left hand curve

allowing a very early view of the site.

 

The outer home bracket signal is 'pulled off'

for our entry into the right hand platform.

 



Meanwhile, the black Welsh cattle

famous for their tasty beef in this area,


graze the fields above the station,

which nestles in the valley between the gorse covered hillsides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrive at lovely Carrog Station

to be greeted by another waiting group of passengers.

 

Features to be noted are

 

the 'Token' apparatus on the approach

 

and the very unusual tree

standing proudly at the end of the platform.

 

Tea, cakes ( Blueberry Muffins! ) and sandwiches

are available here

for your ever-hungry reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival at Carrog

 

the fireman removes the lamp from the front buffer-beam


to replace at the rear for the loco to run round its coaches.

 

In the distance, through the arch of the road bridge,

can be seen the advanced starter signal

 

for the extension line to Corwen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sylvan setting of the lovely station at Carrog

amidst the trees and hills of Mother Wales.

 


The passengers enjoying their packed lunch on the picnic table,

meanwhile oblivious to the beauty around them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding guests mingle with enthusiastic passengers

to watch GWR 2-8-0 couple to the 'Wedding Belle' charter

 

prior to departure from Carrog.


The fireman on this occasion was a most amenable fellow,

allowing as many people as possible

 

to climb onto the footplate

and have the working procedures

explained to them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amidst clouds of steam, no.3802

runs round her 'Wedding Belle' train

 

for the return to Llangollen

 

with her happy guests still on board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst approaching Berwyn Station

on the return journey

 

I managed to obtain a glimpse of the 'Horseshoe Falls'

through the ever-changing leaves of the trees.

 

In the background, the approaching canoe

fights against the strong current of the river at this point

 

to land safely on the opposite bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the return approach to Berwyn Station,

 

with the delightful backdrop of colourful trees once again,

the driver keeps a sharp look out on the road ahead.

 

Meanwhile, two photographers on the roadside

capture the enjoyable scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We cross the viaduct over the River Dee once more

on our return to Llangollen

 

and the trees pay silent homage to the enchanting view

 

afforded by this wonderful railway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another close up view of the

returning 'Wedding Belle'

 

as it crosses the viaduct

 

near the Llangollen workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In complete contrast, Llangollen Station at dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wedding Belle train returns to Llangollen

evoking many memories for the happy couple

on their special day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the obvious delight of the watchers on the bridge,

( and your reviewer! ),

 

Returning Wedding Belle, no.3802

 

returns from the dead-end at Llangollen

 

to take the former route through platform 2

to run round the train

 

in preparation for the

Evening Real Ale Train to Carrog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fully loaded ( in more ways than one! )

Evening Real Ale Train

 

awaits departure from Llangollen Station

 

as the moon,

filtering through the trees,


adds delight to the proceedings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last train has finally departed

 

and the station returns to peace and quiet once more

 

in the fading light of evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the lights of the Corn Mill Restaurant

shine out over the rushing torrents of water,

 

the river continues its endless progress

 

onwards to the sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The floodlit view of Llangollen Road Bridge

 

 

 

Return to Top of Page

 

 

 

GWR TIMETABLE Summer 1938

   
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GWR TIMETABLE Jan - Mar 1902

   

 
     

 

To visit the website

for the

 

 

click above logo