A SPECIAL European guest is heading for Llangollen this weekend.

But rather than an early arrival for the town’s International Eisteddfod, it is a German-built railbus which will be making an appearance at Llangollen Railway Diesel Railcars Group’s annual gala on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the main attractions at the event will be the running of an intensive railcar service on the Dee Valley line.

The group's own fleet of railcars, dating from the 1950s, will be joined by their German counterpart, which is on short-term loan from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire.

Built in 1957 by the Waggon Und Maschinenbau company in Germany, it is a four-wheel, 56-seater vehicle designed for use on lightly trafficked branch lines in the hope that they would save costs and keep the lines open.

They were unable to do so and were retired while still relatively new.

The example visiting Llangollen, No 79964, is one of two resident at the Keighley line since 1968, but this is the first time the railbus has visited another heritage railway.

Also being prepared for the gala event is a newly-refurbished class 108 trailer car which group members have obtained from the East Anglia Railway Museum.

Four different types of former British Railways diesel multiple units will be on show at the gala, including the award-winning Wickham set which is a unique survivor from the modernisation era.

To contrast with the diesel units a steam service will run with the restored Great Western Railway's Auto Train of two coaches operating with the GWR Pannier tank, No 6430.

Evan Green-Hughes, of the Llangollen Railway Diesel Rail Cars Group, said: "With 14 trains operating each day between Llangollen and Carrog, a near half-hourly service will be running throughout each day providing plenty of action.

“There will be an additional shuttle service on Saturday to a barbecue event. The advent of the diesel railcar gave passengers the opportunity to sit behind the driver and see the route ahead.

“This facility is no longer available on the modern mainline trains but still possible to experience on the scenic line through the Dee Valley.

“We are expecting the event to attract rail fans from all over the country to come and sample this recreation of the recent past in terms of a travel experience.”

Trains services start at 9.30am on Saturday and run through to 5.30pm on Sunday.