The Llangollen Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llangollen) is a preserved railway in Denbighshire, Wales, which runs from Llangollen to Carrog. It has plans to extend to Corwen.
The railway was originally opened in 1865, as a branch line off the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway at Ruabon, and by 1870 had extended to meet the Cambrian Railways at Barmouth. The Ruabon Barmouth Line was absorbed entirely by the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1896, which ran the line up until nationalisation.
It ran both passenger and freight trains until 1964, when it fell victim to the infamous Beeching Axe. The railway was originally marked for dieselisation, but was eventutally included in the report. The railway was steam-worked to the end. The four-year in-situ period (during which the line had to be left in case a decision was taken to re-open it) expired in 1968 and the trackway was lifted.
Set up in 1972, the Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society sought to preserve a standard gauge railway in North Wales. It eventually chose the Ruabon to Barmouth line, and chose Llangollen as a good starting base. Initially, proposed construction schemes on the line threatened rebuilding, but these never came into fruitition, and the railway was opened on a mile of track. From Llangollen, the railway could be rebuilt to Corwen, or even back to Ruabon (connecting to the national rail network).
The Llangollen Railway Society was set up in 1977, and the old Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society was closed down. Shell Oils donated one and a half miles of track, allowing tracklaying to begin in earnest.
In 1981, the Royal Inspectorate Of Railways announced the railway fit to carry passengers, and the first train carried passengers between Llangollen and Fford Junction.
Initially the railway extended to Berwyn, involving a �30,000 refurbishment of the Dee Bridge. In 1986, Berwyn was two miles away from the head of steel; again donations of track material from various companies (made possible by demolition or restructuring of their own railways) allowed the extension to be completed. The Welsh Tourist Board gave funds for the refurbishment of Berwyn Station building, a Tudor style building.
The extension to Glyndyfrdwy opened to the public in 1992 and project managed by John Stowell, with the first stage to Deeside halt opening in 1990 which involved rebuilding the track through the single bore Berwyn tunnel (at 683 yards, one of the longest tunnels in preservation). A signal box had been placed at Glyndyfrdwy some years previously (being relocated from the cambrian coast). The platforms required rebuilding and a restored station building being installed. Only the original station building remained at Glyndyfrdwy and it was privately owned.
The childrens playground which was located in the station area was moved to the old goods yard. This necessitated the knocking down of the original slate tramway wharf.
Carrog, the current terminus of the line was opened to public running in 1996, using new flat-bottomed rail on concrete sleepers. This extension took two years to complete, but even before any tracklaying had begun the station was put up for sale and bought by a member of the railway. A group called the Friends of Carrog was started to rebuild the station to its original GWR appearance.
Work on the extension to Corwen is proceeding slowly, as a colony of otters has been sighted near the trackbed, meaning the workers must take special care. It is planned to open a halt � mile away from Carrog, as an extension while the workers carry on towards Corwen. The Corwen extension requires a new station building, as the existing one is owned by a trailer company.
Locomotives and rolling stock
(This list is incomplete)
Operational Steam locomotives
- GWR 4-6-0 Manor Class no. 7822 Foxcote Manor
- GWR 2-8-0 Churchard 2-8-0 Class Locomotive no. 3802
- GWR 2-6-2T Collett 2-6-2T Class Locomotive no. 5199
- GWR 0-6-0PT 64XX Pannier Tank Class Locomotive no. 6430 (push/pull fitted)
- LMS 0-6-0T Fowler "Jinty" Class Locomotive no. 47298 - Thomas livery and often on tour
- Hunslet 0-6-0ST "Jessie" - often on loan to other railways
- Kitson 0-6-0T no. 5459 "Austin 1" or "Burtonwood Brewer" - currently based at the Lavender Line
- Hunslet 0-6-0ST "Darfield no. 1" - currently based at the Dartmoor Railway
- BR 0-6-0 Class 03 no. D2162
- BR 0-6-0 Class 03 no. D2162
- BR Bo-Bo Class 20 no. D8142
- BR Bo-Bo Class 25 no. 25313 Chirk Castle
- BR Co-Co Class 37 nos. 37240 and 37901
- BR Co-Co Class 47 no. D1566 Orion
Diesel multiple units
- BR Class 104 unit 50454+50528, plus spare vehicle 50447
- BR Class 108 unit 51907+54490
- BR Class 109 unit 50416+56171
- BR Class 127/105 hybrid unit 51618+56456