Bala rail extension: Welsh Government urged to fund £2.5m project

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Image caption,
The track takes passengers past Llyn Tegid

A campaign has been launched calling for a new £2.5m stretch of railway to be funded by the Welsh Government.

Currently, the Bala Lake Railway Trust runs trains on a 4.5 mile-long track from Llanuwchllyn, along Llyn Tegid to the outskirts of Bala, Gwynedd.

It wants to extend the track about half a mile to a new station in Bala itself.

The Welsh Government said it was continuing to have "positive discussions" with the trust.

About 30,000 people use the railway annually and campaigners believe the extension would provide a massive economic boost for the area.

Julian Birley, chairman of Bala Lake Railway Trust, said they had bought a site just off the high street and an extension of the line would allow people to leave their cars in the town, then catch a train to Llanuwchllyn, enjoying the lake and scenery.

He believes it could mean 55,000 people visiting the town, adding: "This is a long-held wish of the railway and we've been working on it now six years.

Image caption,
The train leaves the station at Llanuwchllyn

"We've spent in excess of £1.2m already. We are applying for the full planning permission next month and we've set up a petition now requesting people to show their support.

"We want to be able to go to the government to say look, this is a one-off project… this is a leg up and never has there been a more urgent need for capital investment in this part of the (Snowdonia) national park, and once it's delivered it's done forever and it's completely sustainable."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We are continuing to have positive discussions with the Bala Lake Railway Trust as we see this as being a strategically important project for the area."

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