A PIECE of history was made as the first steam train in almost 60 years pulled into Corwen Station this afternoon (Friday, June 17).

Llangollen Railway’s new Corwen station took a further step closer to opening to the public when a steam-hauled Officer’s special arrived just after lunchtime.

True to the line’s heritage, the train consisted of two pieces of Great Western Railway history; a 1923-built steam tank locomotive and an Inspection Coach, both of which were built at the GWR’s legendary Swindon works.

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The train was run to conduct further testing of the platforms and station facilities and allowed Llangollen Railway Trust Founding Member and President Bill Shakespeare MBE to be one of the first to use the station. 

Bill has been involved in the railway from its creation as the Deeside and Flintshire Railway Preservation Society in the late 1970’s.

He has given a lifetime’s dedicated service to the railway as a volunteer and served as Chairman of the LR Trust between 1976 and 1998.

He was awarded an MBE for services to the railway upon his retirement as Chairman in 1998 and continues to support the Trust in an honorary role as President.

Current LR Trust Chairman Phil Coles said. “What an honour it is to be travelling with Bill in this wonderful Inspection Coach on our first Officer’s special to Corwen.

The Leader:

PIC: It is hoped that the new-look Corwen Station can open early next year.

"If anyone deserves to be the first into the new station then it’s Bill. His contribution to the railway has been incredible, with many years of hard work and inspirational leadership.

"We have all worked very hard to make this happen are looking forward to seeing the station completed”.

Richard Dixon-Gough, the Project Manager for the Corwen Station Project adeed: "Seeing the Officer’s special roll in with Bill on board is something me and the small team of volunteers who have built the station from nothing have been looking forward to for a very long time.

"Whilst this is still part of the testing phase of getting the station ready to open to the public, it’s another big step forward.

"We’ve got a fair bit more work to do in order to complete the platform buildings – with the roof to finish and the canopy to erect. We’ve been delighted to receive a “Levelling Up” Government Grant to help us fund the canopy and are about to place the order with a local steelwork supplier for it. All being well the station will open for passengers early next year”.