Llangollen Railway - GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. GARETH EVANS

Llangollen Railway: Plea to save Welsh heritage line

Llangollen Railway - GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. GARETH EVANS
Llangollen Railway – GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. Photo: Gareth Evans

The Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd directors have provided an update on their position following news this month that the Railway invited the bank to appoint receivers.

A statement on March 1 sent shockwaves through the heritage sector when the Llangollen Railway PLC said it was insolvent to the extent of £350,000 and could no longer continue to trade legally.

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It is a major blow to the area around Llangollen, which would benefit from the tourists the line attracts during usual seasons.

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In a bid to help the Llangollen Railway survive, the PLC has received support from local MP, Simon Baynes and AM, Mark Isherwood, Denbighshire County Council and Llangollen Town Council.

In a statement, the Railway said whilst the PLC will go into administration or liquidation shortly, the Trust remains fully solvent and debt-free, and the directors will be considering the options over the next few days and weeks. 

The first task for the Trust is to preserve the line and then to bid for such assets of the PLC as limited resources will permit.  Directors and key volunteers are compiling a list of assets they consider essential for the continued running of the railway.

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The Trust currently owns three locomotives as well as passenger rolling stock which, together with the Railcar and Diesel Groups, will be able to operate after regulatory, legal and licensing matters have been resolved.

The assets of the PLC are now available for sale to the highest bidder. Here’s how you could help:

Purchase rolling stock from Langollen Railway

The Railway is giving supporters the opportunity to acquire heritage assets – by bidding for the assets, such as rolling stock, individuals or groups have a unique opportunity to acquire heritage coaches and other items. It is hoped that, following sale, the items would remain on the Railway.

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Also, you could purchase one or more of the Trust’s steam locomotives – the Trust does not have the income or resources to own and maintain them. Sale of one or more, if completed quickly, would enable the Trust to be a more competitive bidder for the assets of the PLC. 

Again, it is hoped that the locomotives would remain on the Railway.

A statement said: “We hope to be able to run trains again later this year but placing a timescale on that would be purely speculative at the moment.

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“The volunteers building Corwen station have made excellent progress, albeit necessarily slowed by lockdown, and we do anticipate being able to run to Corwen when the Railway reopens.”

Pete Edwards, chairmen of the Llangollen Railway, said: “It is the aim of the directors to refocus the Trust as an outward looking organisation centred on delivery of a high quality visitor experience, and strengthen partnerships with external agencies to help develop our business plan and articulate what is unique about our railway, its situation and how it complements Llangollen, Corwen and the Dee Valley.

“This will require a significant culture change at board level as well as elsewhere, as we look at how we tie in with the cultural life of of the Dee Valley and how we can enhance the events and locations for which Llangollen and the surrounding area are already well known.”

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Sam Hewitt

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