Shropshire Star

Heritage railway steaming ahead with new station build

The Llangollen Railway celebrated another significant step towards returning heritage trains to Corwen, with the arrival of a giant 51-metre crane to erect the brand-new station’s canopy roof frames.

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The crane lifting on the new canopy. Photo Richard Walliliker.

It is the latest step in the £1.25 million project to extend the railway into the centre of Corwen. The railway says the station could be open to the public by the summer.

Malpas-based contractors Plant & Robinson Construction Limited are being supported by staff and volunteers. Before being lifted into position each of the frames is assembled from 11 sub-components by the contractors’ team.The next phase of the work will then be to fit the roof cladding.

The canopy has been funded by a £191,000 UK Government Levelling Up grant, arranged through Denbighshire County Council.

Tom Taylor, railway trust manager, said: “As a charitable trust, the Llangollen Railway is looking to build upon our successes in 2022 and grow our public offering. Being able to return trains to Corwen is pivotal to our plans and to do that we need to complete our superb new station.

"We are extremely grateful to the council for facilitating the distribution of this UK Government funded programme, which has enabled the canopy to be designed, built and now installed. It’s very pleasing to have been able to support local businesses too, with a company based just outside Wrexham supplying the steelwork.”

The crane lifting on the new canopy. Photo Richard Walliliker.

The station is on an embankment, overlooking the town and into the surrounding mountains, underlining Corwen as the gateway to Snowdonia. The canopy covers a significant proportion of the station platform and acts as a roof for the station building.

Mr Taylor said: "We have also been able to recycle some historic railway artefacts alongside the new steelwork. The ornate columns that support the canopy are from Blackfriars station in London and were donated to us by Network Rail. This theme of recycling and restoration continues across other parts of the station, with platform edging stones from Liverpool Lime Street and Bala Junction and the signalbox from Weston Rhyn."

Llangollen Railway Trust chairman Phil Coles said “This is another important step in the extension of the line to Corwen. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve faced many challenge but we are determined to realise the original vision of our founding members in getting the railway permanently back to Corwen.

"The total cost of extending the line from our original temporary station at Corwen East is expected to be £1.25m. What has been done so far is a marvellous achievement, especially when you consider that most of the station has been built by our small but dedicated team of Corwen Project volunteers. They have an average age of 67, with some of them in their late seventies, but show no signs of running out of steam.”

"We are hopeful that Corwen station will be open to the public by the second quarter of this year and the much-anticipated occasion will be celebrated with a special gala event."