£500,000 boost will help railway trust to realise a 40-year dream

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A HUGE injection of government cash is to help a group of railway enthusiasts realise a dream spanning nearly 40 years.

Since reviving the line in 1975, Llangollen Railway Trust has been aiming to run trains all the way from the tourist town to Corwen, 10 miles away.

But various problems along the way meant the route only stretched for about seven miles through the picturesque Dee Valley to Carrog.

The trust has been planning the extension to Corwen since 1996 and after official permission was granted last year, group members began seeking funding to help pay for the project.

The Welsh Assembly Government has now announced it is provide a £500,000 cash injection to help fund the project and trust officials say they are delighted with the announcement which is the culmination of a 36-year dream.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration Jocelyn Davies announced the funds have been approved for the next financial year but because of the considerable progress made by the trust, £370,000 of this will be made available this year to allow work to begin.

The trust will now be able to begin buying the necessary building materials and members have already been working closely with Denbighshire Council and the local community to prepare Corwen for the railway’s arrival.

Trust president Bill Shakespeare said: “This is the culmination of a dream going back to 1975 when we first reopened the line from Llangollen to Berwyn and we are very grateful for the help we are receiving from the Assembly Government.

“We can now lay track for another two-and-a-quarter miles from Carrog to Corwen, where we will put up a temporary halt until we can build a full station near the centre of town.

“As the line runs through a site of special scientific interest the Countryside Commission for Wales insists wildlife is preserved, so we currently have consultants preparing a study on this which should be concluded quite soon.”

Jocelyn Davies AM said: “I’m delighted that the project is running ahead of schedule and that work can begin much sooner than originally planned.

“The extension of the railway is a boost for the tourism industry and is part of the regeneration work being carried out which will benefit the people of the Dee Valley and in particular, Corwen.

“We have long supported the extension of the Llangollen Railway and this development will offer new and exciting opportunities for businesses and tourists alike.”

Clwyd South AM Karen Sinclair said: “The project is a huge boost for the local area and will allow this popular heritage line to become even more important in the future.”

Labour’s Assembly candidate for Clwyd South Ken Skates said: “Many people have worked really hard on this project over the last few years and news that a large chunk of the funding will be made available this year will allow work to begin earlier than anticipated.”

Conservative Assembly candidate for Clwyd South Paul Rogers said: “The Llangollen Railway is very important to tourism in the area which in turn benefits small businesses in the area.”

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