Wales

Llangollen railway: Funding bid to finish steam project

Llangollen railway
Image caption Volunteers have given labour estimated to be worth up to £1m over the last 45 years

After 45 years of building a railway line between two Denbighshire towns, volunteers say they need £10,000 to finish the last stretch.

Ten miles (16km) of the Llangollen steam railway line has been rebuilt between Llangollen and Corwen, with a platform created at the end.

But there remains a gap in the embankment between the new station and the rest of the line.

The gap was created to allow access to a sewage farm and must now be filled.

When this is done, steam trains will be able to travel down the full length of the track.

"The gap was put through as an expedient to access the sewage works back in the 1970s," explained George Jones of the railway's Corwen project.

"And, of course, now we come along with the railway project and we need to secure the gap, infill it, so we can make the rail connection through."

It is calculated 10,000 tonnes of spoil is needed to fill the hole in the embankment before track can be laid.

Image copyright Llangollen Railway
Image caption Despite the full length not yet being open, people can still take trips, such as on the Santa Special

A short distance from the new Corwen station lies the remains of an adjoining line which once connected Corwen to Rhyl.

The plan is to dig out part of that disused rail embankment and use the spoil to plug the gap on the Llangollen railway.

"We have access to quite a large section of the embankment," said Peter Neve, one of the project managers.

"We have already used some of the spoil to increase the width of the original embankment (in Corwen) so we know the spoil is of good quality.

"So it's just a matter of digging it out and transporting it."

Image caption The line is almost complete with volunteers looking for the final piece of the jigsaw

The new station development in Corwen is estimated to have cost more than £1m, most of which has come from volunteer labour.

And, if the funds can be raised to cover the cost of plugging the gap in the embankment, the volunteers who run the line say they are confident they can connect the last stretch of track in time for the new station at Corwen to come into service at some point this year.

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