Shropshire Star

Llangollen heritage railway steams back from the brink to win major tourism award

Volunteers at a railway that came back from the brink of collapse, have been hailed as tourism heroes in North Wales.

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Llangollen Railway

The popular Llangollen Railway was among the big winners at the prestigious Go North Wales Tourism Awards.

Organised by North Wales Tourism with headline sponsor Harlech Foodservice, the awards celebrated the dedication, skill and achievements of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Llangollen Railway was named Go Attraction of the Year after staging a remarkable comeback.

The heritage railway is back on track after mounting debts caused by Covid disruptions forced its operating arm into receivership.

It steamed forward thanks to the dedication of the volunteers of the Llangollen Railways Trust who took over the railway’s operation.

Earlier this year the organisation achieved a long-held ambition to open the new £1.25 million station in Corwen, enabling passenger-carrying trains to return to the Denbighshire town first time in four years.

Llangollen Railway chair Phil Coles said: “It’s been a lot of very hard work over two-and-a-half years, with an awful lot of input from visitors and staff.

“Very many people have gone over and above in their dedication to the railway and this award is the icing on the cake for us after going bust in the pandemic.”

General manager Tom Taylor added: “We had to work with the rest of the tourism industry just to survive but we have taken the railway out to Corwen now and we’re already making a big difference to the town there.

“We need to stabilise, recover and build for the future and the staff have been key to that and this award is for them.”

Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said: “The sheer volume and quality of entries this year has underlined why North Wales is a truly world class destination. All the nominees are playing a vital role in championing what we have to offer visitors from home and abroad. They do an exceptional job in putting North Wales on the map.

“The priority now is to try to get back up to where we were in 2019 and to increase the spend of the visitors who come here by raising the quality of what we are doing.”

Other category winners in and near Llangollen included:

  • B&B/Inn and Guest House of the Year 2023 won by Riversdale House, Llangollen

  • Go Marketing and Media Recognition Award 2023 won by Bearded Men Adventures, Llangollen

  • Go Pet Friendly Award 2023 won by Rivercatcher.