Swindon and Cricklade Railway
The Swindon & Cricklade Railway is a heritage railway in Wiltshire, that operates on a short section of the old Midland and South Western Junction Railway line between Swindon and Cricklade. Swindon and Cricklade Railway is a registered charity; the Swindon & Cricklade Railway Preservation Society was formed by a group of enthusiasts in November 1978 to reconstruct and preserve a section of the Midland & South Western Junction Railway that ran from Andover, Hampshire, to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The volunteer-operated railway has reopened three stations: Hayes Knoll, Taw Valley Halt and Blunsdon, the headquarters of the line. Hayes Knoll features a restored signalbox, operational during special events and a running/restoration shed; the length of the restored line is a little under 2.5 miles. The line extends north to South Meadow Lane near Cricklade, south to Taw Valley Halt on the outskirts of Swindon, near Mouldon Hill Country Park. A southern terminus, Mouldon Hill, is proposed within the park.
BR Class 03 0-6-0DM – D2022. Awaiting major overhaul. BR Class 03 0-6-0DM – D2152 – cut-down cab variant. Major overhaul complete. Intermittent service. BR Class 97/6 0-6-0DE – PWM651. Arrived from Strathspey Railway in August 2015. Operational. BR Class 08 0-6-0DE – D3261. Restored to service in October 2010. BR Class 09 0-6-0DE – 09004. Undergoing overhaul. Intermittent service. BR Class 73 Bo-Bo electro-diesel Sir Herbert Walker No E6003. In service. Fowler 0-4-0DM Woodbine No 21442. In service. Fowler 0-4-0DM No 7342. In regular use on works trains. Fowler 0-4-0DM No 422003. In service. BR Class 119 unit 119021. Undergoing a complete overhaul. BR Class 207 unit 207203. In service until destroyed in a fire on 20 May 2016. TASC 45 No. 98504, built by Plasser & Theurer for British Rail. A four-wheel vehicle with side-tipping dropside rear body, crew cab with mess facilities and a HIAB crane on the rear. Used on works trains and on galas. Wickham Railcar No 9031, a small four-wheeled vehicle for departmental use. Crew cab seating five.
Smaller than normal railway vehicles to standard loading gauge, as it is 6 feet tall. Has no external couplings/drawbar or buffers. Undergoing overhaul, engine being replaced with that of a Peugeot 106. Official website
Severn Valley Railway
The Severn Valley Railway is a heritage railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire, England. The 16-mile heritage line runs along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, crossing the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, following the course of the River Severn for much of its route. Train services are hauled predominantly by steam locomotives, plus one diesel hauled train, making two round trips a day, on most days. Diesel locomotives are used for engineering trains, to replace failed steam locomotives at short notice, during periods of high fire risk; the railway is one of the most popular heritage railways in the country as well as being the sixth-longest standard gauge heritage line in the United Kingdom. It hosts numerous special events throughout the year, including diesel galas; the Severn Valley Railway was built between 1858 and 1862, linked Hartlebury, near Droitwich Spa, with Shrewsbury, a distance of 40 miles. Important stations on the line were Stourport-on-Severn and Arley within Worcestershire, Highley, Hampton Loade, Coalport and Broseley, Buildwas and Berrington in Shropshire.
Although the railway was built by the original Severn Valley Railway Company, it was operated from opening on 1 February 1862 by the West Midland Railway, absorbed into the Great Western Railway on 1 August 1863. As one of the many branch lines on the GWR’s extensive network, it was subsequently referred to in GWR timetables as the Severn Valley Branch. In 1878 the GWR opened a link line between Kidderminster; this meant. Most Kidderminster to Bewdley trains continued through the Wyre Forest line to Tenbury Wells or Woofferton. At Buildwas Junction Severn Valley trains connected with services from Wellington to Much Wenlock and Craven Arms; the line was planned as double-track but was built and operated as a single-track railway. Prior to preservation, the Severn Valley line was never financially successful. Freight traffic agricultural, coal traffic from the collieries of Alveley and Highley were the principal sources of revenue; the line was strategically useful in the Second World War as an alternative diversionary route around the West Midlands.
After nationalisation in 1948, passenger traffic started to dwindle. Although the Severn Valley Branch was closed during the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, it was scheduled for closure prior to the publication of Beeching's report'The Reshaping of British Railways' on 27 March 1963. British Railways had announced in January 1962 that the Severn Valley Branch was under review, the B. T. C. Published closure proposal notices on 1 October 1962 in advance of a meeting of the West Midlands Transport Users Consultative Committee which took place at Bridgnorth Town Hall on 8 November 1962. Objections to the proposed closure were unsuccessful and the line was closed to through passenger services on 9 September 1963 and to through freight services on 30 November 1963. Following closure, the track north of Bridgnorth was dismantled. After 1963, coal traffic survived south of Alveley until 1969, while a sparse passenger service continued to link Bewdley with Kidderminster and Hartlebury, until this too ceased in January 1970.
Freight traffic between the British Sugar Corporation’s Foley Park factory and Kidderminster continued until 1982. For much of its working life the Severn Valley line was operated by the Great Western Railway and subsequently the Western Region of British Railways. Today the Severn Valley Railway operates as a heritage railway; the Severn Valley Railway Society was formed in July 1965 by a group of members who wished to preserve a section of the line which had closed in 1963. To achieve this, a new Severn Valley Railway Company was incorporated in May 1967. At that early date, the objective of the company was to ‘preserve and restore the standard-gauge railway extending from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster via Bewdley’; the SVR acquired 5½ miles of the line between Bridgnorth and Alveley Colliery from BR at a cost of £25,000. In May 1970 a Light Railway Order was granted allowing services to begin between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade; the end of coal trains from the colliery in 1969 allowed SVR to acquire a further 8½ miles of the line as far as Foley Park in 1972, the purchase price of £74,000 being raised by the flotation of a public company under the chairmanship of Sir Gerald Nabarro.
In 1973 a dispute between Nabarro and the volunteer workforce led to the threat of a strike, resolved when he was succeeded as Chairman by Viscount Garnock in March and resigned from the Board two months later. Services were extended to Bewdley in May 1974. Following the end of freight traffic from BSC at Foley Park in 1982, the SVR purchased the final section of the line to Kidderminster at a cost of £75,000; the SVR rented the former Comberton Hill goods yard at Kidderminster from BR, on which a new station would be built. This was achieved in time for services to Kidderminster to begin on 30 July 1984. Major developments on the SVR since 1984 have included the commissioning of a newly constructed signal box at Kidderminster in 1987, the opening of a new boiler shop at Bridgnorth in 1990, the purchase of the freehold of Kidderminster Town station in 1994, the opening of a new carriage shed at Kidderminster in 2003, the completion of the east wing and canopy of Kidderminster Station in 2006, the opening of the Engine House Museum at Highley in 2008.
2010 marked the Severn Valley railway's 40th anniversary since opening in 1970 and the 175th anniversary of
Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
Barry is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, on the north coast of the Bristol Channel 9 miles south-southwest of Cardiff. Barry is a seaside resort, with attractions including several beaches the resurrected Barry Island Pleasure Park. According to Office for National Statistics 2016 estimate data, the population of Barry was 54,673, making it the third largest town in Wales, after Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil. Once a small village, Barry has absorbed its larger neighbouring villages of Cadoxton and Barry Island, now, Sully, it grew from the 1880s with the development of Barry Docks, which in 1913 was the largest coal port in the world. The place was named after Saint Baruc; the area now occupied. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age microlith flint tools have been found at Friars Point on Barry Island and near Wenvoe and Neolithic or New Stone Age polished stone axe-heads were discovered in St. Andrews Major. A cinerary urn was found on Barry Island during excavations of Bronze Age barrows and two more were found in a barrow at Cold Knap Point.
A large defended enclosure or Iron Age promontory hillfort was located at the Bulwarks at Porthkerry and there was evidence of the existence of an early Iron Age farmstead during construction of Barry College off Colcot Road. In Roman times farmsteads existed on the site of Barry Castle and Biglis and there were verbal reports of discovery of a cemetery including lead coffins with scallop-shell decoration. Both St. Baruc's Chapel and St. Nicholas Church have re-used Roman bricks and tiles incorpoarated in their building fabric and a Roman villa was discovered in Llandough. In 1980 a Roman building consisting of 22 rooms and cellars in four ranges around a central courtyard was excavated at Glan-y-môr and is believed to be a third-century building associated with naval activity, maybe a supply depot; the Vikings launched raids in the area and Barry Island was known to be a raider base in 1087. Flat Holm and Steep Holm islands in the Bristol Channel have their name Holm name derived from a Scandinavian word for an island in an estuary.
The excavation of the Glan-y-môr site revealed the site had been reused in the 6th and 7th century and between AD 830 and 950 as a dry stone sub-rectangular building with a turf or thatched roof. The main feature of the area at this time was the island in the Bristol Channel, separated from the mainland by a tidal estuary, it is described in Giraldus Gerald of Wales' Itinerarium Cambriae. He states that Barry derives its name from St. Baruc whose remains are deposited in a chapel on the island; the local noble family who owned the island and the adjoining estates took the name of de Barri from the island. Following the Norman conquest of England the area was divided into manors with the Barry area split into two large lordships and Dinas Powys. Penmark was split into the sub-manors of West Penmark and Barry. Dinas Powys was split into the sub-manors of Uchelolau; the sub-manor of Barry was granted by the de Umfraville family to the de Barri family and the seat of the manor was Barry Castle, located on high ground overlooking the Bristol Channel, a site occupied in Roman times by a native homestead.
The castle was a small fortified manor house, built to replace an earlier earthwork. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard. Early in the 14th century the castle was strengthened by the addition of a large hall and gatehouse on its south side, the ruins of which are all that survive today. By now Barry had grown into a village and port with its own church and watermill but in the 14th century its population was drastically reduced by the Black Death and the consequences of the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, it took the population some 300 years to recover and once more hold the title of village a sparsely populated area with a few scattered farms and much of the land a marsh that a small river flowed through. By 1622 the pattern of fields, where enclosure was complete, around Barry village was pretty much as it was to remain until the growth of the modern town. According to the 1673 Hearth-Tax list the parish contained thirteen houses.
Whitehouse Cottage, the oldest existing inhabited house in modern Barry, dates from the late 1500s with the east end of the building added in around 1600. It overlooks the sea at Cold Knap. By 1871 the population of Barry was over 100, with 21 buildings, the new estate-owning Romilly family being involved in the buildup of the village but it remained a agricultural community, it grew. The coal trade was growing faster than the facilities at Tiger Bay in Cardiff could and so a group of colliery owners formed the Barry Railway Company and chose to build the docks at Barry. Work commenced in 1884 and the first dock basin was opened in 1889 to be followed by two other docks and extensive port installations; the Barry Railway brought coal down from the South Wales Valleys to the new docks whose trade grew from one million tons in the first year, to over nine million tons by 1903. The port was crowded with ships and had flourishing ship repair yards, cold stores, flour mills and an ice factory. By 1913, Barry was the largest coal exporting port in the world.
Behind the docks rose the terraced houses of Barry which, with Cadoxton, soon formed a sizeable town. The railways which had played a major part in the development of the dock helped make Barry Island a popular resort. Barry Memorial Hall on Gladstone Road was inaugurated in November 1932, obtained its name to honour those loca
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England, the Midlands, most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament on 31 August 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838, it was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who chose a broad gauge of 7 ft —later widened to 7 ft 1⁄4 in —but, from 1854, a series of amalgamations saw it operate 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard-gauge trains. The GWR was the only company to keep its identity through the Railways Act 1921, which amalgamated it with the remaining independent railways within its territory, it was merged at the end of 1947 when it was nationalised and became the Western Region of British Railways; the GWR was called by some "God's Wonderful Railway" and by others the "Great Way Round" but it was famed as the "Holiday Line", taking many people to English and Bristol Channel resorts in the West Country as well as the far south-west of England such as Torquay in Devon, Minehead in Somerset, Newquay and St Ives in Cornwall.
The company's locomotives, many of which were built in the company's workshops at Swindon, were painted a Brunswick green colour while, for most of its existence, it used a two-tone "chocolate and cream" livery for its passenger coaches. Goods wagons were painted red but this was changed to mid-grey. Great Western trains included long-distance express services such as the Flying Dutchman, the Cornish Riviera Express and the Cheltenham Spa Express, it operated many suburban and rural services, some operated by steam railmotors or autotrains. The company pioneered the use of more economic goods wagons than were usual in Britain, it operated a network of road motor routes, was a part of the Railway Air Services, owned ships and hotels. The Great Western Railway originated from the desire of Bristol merchants to maintain their city as the second port of the country and the chief one for American trade; the increase in the size of ships and the gradual silting of the River Avon had made Liverpool an attractive port, with a Liverpool to London rail line under construction in the 1830s Bristol's status was threatened.
The answer for Bristol was, with the co-operation of London interests. The company was founded at a public meeting in Bristol in 1833 and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835. Isambard Kingdom Brunel aged twenty-nine, was appointed engineer; this was by far Brunel's largest contract to date. He made two controversial decisions. Firstly, he chose to use a broad gauge of 7 ft to allow for the possibility of large wheels outside the bodies of the rolling stock which could give smoother running at high speeds. Secondly, he selected a route, north of the Marlborough Downs, which had no significant towns but which offered potential connections to Oxford and Gloucester; this meant. From Reading heading west, the line would curve in a northerly sweep back to Bath. Brunel surveyed the entire length of the route between London and Bristol himself, with the help of many, including his solicitor Jeremiah Osborne of Bristol law firm Osborne Clarke who on one occasion rowed Brunel down the River Avon himself to survey the bank of the river for the route.
George Thomas Clark played an important role as an engineer on the project, reputedly taking the management of two divisions of the route including bridges over the River Thames at Lower Basildon and Moulsford and of Paddington Station. Involvement in major earth-moving works seems to have fed Clark's interest in geology and archaeology and he, authored two guidebooks on the railway: one illustrated with lithographs by John Cooke Bourne; the first 22 1⁄2 miles of line, from Paddington station in London to Maidenhead Bridge station, opened on 4 June 1838. When Maidenhead Railway Bridge was ready the line was extended to Twyford on 1 July 1839 and through the deep Sonning Cutting to Reading on 30 March 1840; the cutting was the scene of a railway disaster two years when a goods train ran into a landslip. This accident prompted Parliament to pass the 1844 Railway Regulation Act requiring railway companies to provide better carriages for passengers; the next section, from Reading to Steventon crossed the Thames twice and opened for traffic on 1 June 1840.
A 7 1⁄4-mile extension took the line to Faringdon Road on 20 July 1840. Meanwhile, work had started at the Bristol end of the line, where the 11 1⁄2-mile section to Bath opened on 31 August 1840. On 17 December 1840, the line from London reached a temporary terminus at Wootton Bassett Road west of Swindon and 80.25 miles from Paddington. The section from Wootton Bassett Road to Chippenham was opened on 31 May 1841, as was Swindon Junction station where the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway to Cirencester connected; that was an independent line worked by the GWR, as was the Bristol and Exeter Railway, the first section of which from Bristol to Bridgwater was opened on 14 June 1841. The GWR main line remained incomplete during the construction of the 1-mile-1,452-yard Box Tunnel, ready for trains on 30 June 1841, after which trains ran the 152 miles from Paddington through to Bridgwater. In 1851, the GWR purchased the Kennet and Avon Canal, a competing carrier between London, Reading and Bristol.
Woodham Brothers Ltd is a trading business, based around activities and premises located within Barry Docks, in Barry, South Wales. It is noted globally for its 1960s activity as a scrapyard, where 297 withdrawn British Railways steam locomotives were sent, from which 213 were rescued for the developing railway preservation movement. Established in 1892 as Woodham & Sons by Albert Woodham, the company was based at Thomson Street, Barry; the company bought old rope, dunnage wood and scrap metal from the ships and marine businesses which used the newly created Barry Docks, which it resold or scrapped. Albert retired in 1947, when his youngest son, was demobbed from the British Army after World War II. Dai renamed the business Woodham Brothers Ltd in 1953, creating four lines of business under four separate companies, which between them employed 200 people: Woodham Brothers, Woodham Transport, Woodham Marine and Woodham Metals; as a result of the 1955 Modernisation Plan the decision was made by the British Railways Board in the late 1950s to: accelerate the move to diesel- and electric-powered trains leading to the scrapping of 16,000 steam locomotives reduce the wagon fleet from 1¼ million to 600,000The strategy chosen to replace the steam locomotive fleet involved the replacement of steam shunting and branch line locomotives with diesel-electric traction, the movement of the replaced small steam locomotives to the major railway works for scrapping.
In 1958 the British Transport Commission reappraised the speed of the programme, the decision was taken to accelerate the disposal of the steam fleet. Although the capacity of the locomotive works was considerable, as a result of the 1958 acceleration the amount of storage and technical scrapping capability of the works became stretched; the British Railways Board decided to out-source via tender to selected scrap merchants the work of scrapping the steam locomotives. By the mid-1950s, Woodham Brothers was trading as a scrap metal merchants, producing high quality scrap metal for the newly nationalised steel industry. Dai Woodham, as a result of the British Rail decision, negotiated a contract in 1957 to scrap metal from the Western Region, covering like other scrap merchants the handled railway line and rolling stock; as none of the many South Wales-based scrap merchants knew how long the work from scrapping the short-wheelbase coal wagons from the former South Wales coalfield would last, they all chose to scrap these first.
Each lot of metal was bought at an auction as a piece of rolling stock or infrastructure, with each lot having a priority for scrapping as detailed by British Railways. Woodham's premises which were based at Barry Docks, agreed an extended lease with the British Transport Docks Board, over the former marshalling yards of the redundant Barry Docks, close to what were the locomotives works of the former Barry Railway Company close to Barry Island; this allowed them to store large quantities of rolling stock that they had bought from British Railways, before they were scrapped. The 1958 decision resulted in Woodham Brothers winning a tender to scrap locomotives, in 1959 Dai Woodham went to Swindon Works for a week to learn how to scrap steam locomotives: "It was a different job from what we were used to." On 25 March 1959, the first batch of engines was despatched from Swindon to Barry: GWR 2-6-0's numbers 5312/60/92/97 and a single 2-6-2T Prairie tank, 3170 a week later. However, on delivery of both scrap rail and rolling stock, Woodham's found that commercially it was easier to both comply with the contract terms and conditions and turn a profit if they concentrated on the easier to scrap rail profile and rolling stock.
There was at least ten times the volume of wagons, which took up more space and reduced Woodham's capacity to bid on more contracts. Hence it was agreed internally to leave the more difficult locomotives until perhaps picking up the work when the volume of rolling stock and railway line abated. From mid-1964, Woodham Brothers won additional contracts to scrap Southern Region stock, as a result expanded their Barry Docks yard leases to cover more of the former marshalling yards. In 1965, 65 locomotives had arrived at the scrapyard, of which 28 were scrapped, but the additional volume of Southern rail and brake vans meant that the autumn of 1965 was the last year that mass-scrapping of steam locomotives occurred at Woodham Brothers. Dai Woodham continued to purchase steam locomotives until the end of steam, bringing total purchases by August 1968 to 297 locomotives, of which 217 remained at the Barry scrapyard; the rows of redundant steam locomotives were a picturesque sight for holidaymakers travelling to Barry Island, became a centre for pilgrimage for steam enthusiasts from the emerging steam railway preservation movement.
While there was still a significant number of steam locomotives in the yard, railway preservationists began buying the better examples from the late 1960s in order to restore them to working order. The first locomotive to be the subject of a rescue appeal was GWR 4300 Class 5322, but the first to be bought and moved from the yard was Midland Railway Midland Railway 3835 Class No. 43924 in September 1968. The engine was taken on by the 4F Locomotive Society, the engine now resides at the Worth Valley Railway. However, this did not stop engines from being scrapped, as in 1972, 4MT Mogul No. 76080 was scrapped and the following year, 2884 class No. 3817 was scrapped. Under the terms of the contract from British Rail, Woodhams could not sell complete locomotives onwards, sold to them for scrap, unless payment of
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway which runs along the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border of the Cotswolds, England. The GWSR restored and reopened around 14 miles of track, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway; the company had raised £1.38 million to extend northwards to Broadway, completed the project in 2017–18. In the foreseeable future, the GWSR will begin working on plans to extend a further 6 miles to Honeybourne. In mid 2018, the railway was offering a round trip of 28 miles on steam and heritage diesel trains between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway; the line was part of the Great Western Railway's Cheltenham–Stratford-upon-Avon–Birmingham line, known as the Honeybourne Line, built in 1900–1906, runs through the Cotswold towns of Winchcombe and Bishop's Cleeve. The line was run down over the years and closed after a derailment damaged a stretch of track in 1976, with the double track being lifted from 1979; the preservation group rehabilitated the line, starting steam train operations at Toddington in 1984 over 700 yards of re-laid track.
In 1987 the line was restored as far as Winchcombe where the station was reconstructed using the former Monmouth Troy station building. The railway continued to re-lay track west of Winchcombe, through the 693-yard long Greet Tunnel, past the villages of Gretton and Bishops Cleeve; the line to Cheltenham Racecourse was re-opened by Princess Anne in 2003. The latest extension of the line, to Broadway, opened in March 2018; the GWSR runs trains from March to the end of December, with the line closing during January and February as well as November for line and locomotive maintenance. The GWSR runs regular train services every weekend plus most weekdays from Easter to the end of October, some weekends are used to host special events including steam and diesel galas, Wartime in the Cotswolds, Easter Eggspress and Santa Specials; the railway operates a wide variety of both steam and heritage diesel locomotives, as well as heritage DMUs. These have included the world-famous locomotive 4472 "Flying Scotsman" and famous 3440 "City of Truro", which in 1904 was the first engine to reach 100 mph.
In 2016 the resident steam locomotives on the line were 7820 "Dinmore Manor", 28xx class 2807, 42xx class 4270, 7903 "Foremarke Hall" and 35006 "Peninsular & Oriental SN Co". To complement the running stock a collection of over 210 carriages and wagons of various origins has been compiled, many of which are still being restored; the GWsR opened its extension to Broadway, Worcestershire to the public on 30th March 2018. The route consists of single line sections with passing places at the major stations. All stations and loops are signalled using GWR Lower Quadrant Semaphore Signals; the signalling on the line is a mixture of Electric Key Token and One Train Staff working, depending on operational requirements. Current sections are: Broadway–Toddington - will be Track-circuit block when Broadway box opens Toddington–Winchcombe Winchcombe-Gotherington Gotherington-Cheltenham Race Course Winchcombe–Cheltenham Race Course Toddington–Cheltenham Race Course There are four signal boxes along the line, a new-built platform mounted one at Broadway, with the frame parts all acquired and assembled: Broadway – set to be operational by 2019 Toddington – operational Winchcombe – operational Gotherington – operational Cheltenham Racecourse – operational Encouraged by support from Cheltenham Borough Council, who have given both the railway direct funds as well as placing protected status on the former lines trackbed south from Cheltenham Racecourse to Cheltenham Spa, the railway could at some point connect to Network Rail in the south.
The Council have backed the long term scheme, as this would allow the railway to: be reinstated as an access point for race goers from all across the UK to access meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse, reduce resultant current traffic congestion build a new halt in the Wyman's Brook area of Cheltenham itself, to serve an adjacent Prince of Wales sports stadium run tourist and excursion trains to access the railway and the townAlthough the GWSR have extended track to Hunting Butts tunnel, a few hundred yards beyond Cheltenham racecourse station, it owns the trackbed as far as the Prince of Wales stadium at Wyman's Brook. It is that after completion of its extension to Broadway, laying track further into Cheltenham will happen to this point. However, beyond here major and costly engineering works would be required to extend the trackbed further south; the primary impediments are a bowstring bridge, built in 2002 to allow continued access by bicycle along the old track bed alignment to Cheltenham Leisure Centre when planning permission was given for the redevelopment of the former Cheltenham Spa St. James station site as a Waitrose supermarket in 2002.
And the reduced height pedestrian specification bridge carrying the footpath -- rail bed beneath the busy St Georges Road, which would have to be replaced - at great inconvenience to road traffic - to allow trains to pass beneath the road
The Llangollen Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway in Denbighshire, North Wales, which operates between Llangollen and Corwen. The standard gauge line, 10 miles long, runs on part of the former Ruabon - Barmouth GWR route that closed in 1965, it operates daily services in the summer as well as weekends throughout the winter months, using a variety of ex-GWR steam locomotives as well as several diesel engines and diesel multiple units. A 2 1⁄2 miles extension of the railway has been built to complete the line to Corwen. Llangollen was a popular place for tourists by the 1840s. Travel up to this point had been by horse-drawn carriage, but by the 1840s the Shrewsbury to Chester line had been completed, allowing passengers to alight at Llangollen Road, take a coach towards Holyhead. However, the commercial development of the local mining industry meant that the development of a railway became essential to the region's economic development. A number of schemes were proposed, including one by the LNWR, but it was not until 1 August 1859 that scheme engineered by Henry Robertson received Royal Assent.
The 5 1⁄4 miles Vale of Llangollen Railway left the Shrewsbury to Chester main line 1⁄2 mile south of Ruabon, proceeded as a single track line on a double track route via Acrefair to the new station at Llangollen. The line opened to freight on 1 December 1861, to passengers on 2 June 1862 at a temporary terminus on the town's eastern outskirts; the extension to Corwen was undertaken by the associated but separate Llangollen and Corwen Railway company, involved constructing a long tunnel under the Berwyn Mountains. It, together with the new centrally positioned and larger station in Llangollen, opened for service on 1 May 1865. Designated for closure under the Beeching cuts, the railway closed to passenger services on Monday 18 January 1965; the section between Ruabon and Llangollen Goods Yard remained open for freight traffic until April 1968, but after the cessation of operations the track was removed from the whole line between Ruabon and Barmouth. After the Beeching Axe, the Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving one of the "axed" railways.
The society was interested in preserving the Dyserth to Prestatyn line. The society refocused its attention on the Llangollen to Corwen section of the Ruabon to Barmouth line; the local council granted a lease of the Llangollen railway station building and 3 miles of track to the society, with the hope that the railway would improve the local economy and bring more tourists to Llangollen. The station reopened on 13 September 1975, with just 60 feet of track. Early progress was slow due to a lack of funding, though in 1977 Shell Oil donated a mile of unused track. Volunteers started laying the track with the aim of reaching 3⁄4 mile from Llangollen. Work finished in July 1981 with the remaining quarter mile of track used to lay sidings at the old Llangollen Goods Junction to house the railway's growing fleet of rolling stock; the working railway attracted the interest of many private companies, as well as the local council who renewed the lease of the land to the railway for a further 21 years.
The Llangollen Railway Trust was donated significant amounts of track, allowing the next extension of the line to Berwyn. This involved a £30,000 refurbishment by the local council of the Dee Bridge, which had fallen into disrepair since the commercial closure of the line; the first trains operated over the newly extended 1.75 mile line to Berwyn in March 1986. As rebuilding work progressed train services were extended to Deeside Halt and into Carrog on 2 May 1996. In 2011, work started on the 2 1⁄2 miles section of track past the site of the closed Bonwm Halt to Corwen; as the former Corwen railway station site has been in private use as an Ifor Williams Trailers showroom since 1990, the track bed in between sub-divided, a new temporary station was built on the eastern side of the town. The first stage of the project was completed in late 2014, with special trains running on 22 October 2014 to the new station at Corwen East for those who had contributed to the project. Regular passenger services to Corwen East started on 27 October 2014.
The official opening, on 1 March 2015, was marked by a special train. The section marks the full operational length of the preserved line; the trust cannot extend eastwards towards Ruabon, or westwards to Cynwyd as the trackbed was not safeguarded against modern development. The final stage is Corwen Central, with permanent facilities and a run round loop. Most trains are steam-hauled; the railway's workshops are the national focus of four major independent projects to rebuild steam locomotive types rendered extinct by scrapping in the 1960s: an ex-GWR'Grange' Class 4-6-0. Bala Lake Railway Ruabon to Barmouth Line Heritage railway Official website Llangollen Diesel Group 6880 project New website for Corwen Town and the extension LMS Patriot Project - The Unknown Warrior Ruabon to Barmouth