Public rallies to support of debt-laden Llangollen Railway

News that the Llangollen Railway has called in the receiver has been met with overwhelming shock and calls for an appeal to help save it.

Llangollen Railway
Llangollen Railway

From politicians to the public, messages of support for the tourist attraction have come in from across the UK and beyond.

A donations page on the steam railway’s website has seen hundreds of pounds donated in 48 hours – and hundreds of more have said they plan to donate, many recalling wonderful memories of taking their families on the trains over the past decades.

The railway announced on Monday that its operating company, Llangollen Railway PLC, is insolvent to the tune of £350,000 and there is no prospect of meeting the liability.

However, it says it hopes to continue operations and that employees whose jobs are now under threat can be re-hired in the future.

News of the popular steam railway’s woes has come as another blow to Llangollen, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, decimated by the pandemic.

Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Town Council has pledged to do all it can to support the railway.

Town mayor, Councillor Austin Cheminais, said: “The potential loss of such a valued company would be tragic – a heritage railway which has been restored and run by the endeavours of so many volunteers.

"For years, the railway, as well as being a treasured tourism attraction has provided valuable employment through its engineering works and has also had a positive effect on the careers of local youngsters who have benefited from their apprenticeship scheme.

“The council itself has limited funds to be able to offer any direct assistance but will do whatever it can to ensure prosperity of the railway in the future and wishes the new board of directors well in their endeavours.”

A statement on its Facebook page said: “Llangollen Railway Trust would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have donated to our fundraising page over the last 11 months.

"Today we have reached a figure of almost £28,000 plus Gift Aid contributions.

“Every pound received by the Trust over the last 11 months has gone towards keeping Llangollen Railway going, whether it’s station upkeep, signalling, track maintenance, lineside vegetation clearance, or perhaps towards the upkeep of the Trust’s steam locomotives.

“Now your donations are appreciated all the more and will be put to good use to enable Llangollen Railway to continue into the future.”

The railway also said that work to restore the Dee Bridge was continuing despite the financial problems with new timbers being put in place.

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