Shropshire Star

Heritage railway chief chuffed to meet Michael Gove at Number 10 reception

A heritage railway boss has taken the chance to tell a Cabinet minister how chuffed he is with Levelling Up money.

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From left; Simon Baynes MP, Michael Gove MP and Phil Coles of the Llangollen Steam Railway

Llangollen Steam Railway has benefited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds from various pots of money, and the chairman of the organisation took the opportunity to say thank you at a reception at 10 Downing Street.

The railway chief thanked his local MP, Simon Baynes, and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove at the reception last month.

Mr Coles, the chairman of the Llangollen Steam Railway, said:  “I would like to thank Simon Baynes MP for the help he has given the Llangollen Railway Trust securing firstly the funding to build the canopy and open the new station in Corwen, then with the Shared Prosperity Fund administered by Denbighshire County Council to help make the organisation robust for its future.

"I thanked the Rt Hon Michael Gove for the grants the railway had received to help us rebuild the railways future for the benefit of Llangollen, Corwen and the Dee Valley.”

Simon Baynes, the Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, had welcomed Mr Coles to a reception at No 10 hosted by Mr Gove to celebrate the work of 'Levelling Up Champions' across the UK.

Mr Baynes has had a close relationship with the Llangollen Steam Railway since he was elected as the MP for Clwyd South four years ago.

During that time, Llangollen Railway has completed the line to and reopened the station at Corwen.

The £13.3 million Clwyd South Levelling Up Fund, which Mr Baynes says he secured from the UK government in 2021, has contributed £191,000 to construct and place a canopy over Corwen Station which was reopened in June of this year.

The UK government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, administered by Denbighshire County Council, has donated £375,000 to the Llangollen Steam Railway to develop a ‘package to strengthen the organisation’ enabling it to continue its restructuring process following several years of organisational change, particularly in the areas of volunteering, training, interpretation and conservation.

Mr Coles and Mr Gove discussed the way in which the Llangollen Railway has benefitted from Levelling Up Funding.

This has enabled it to improve the service it offers for residents and tourists on the railway in the Dee Valley and has complemented and expanded the Railway’s own fundraising and hard work, and that of their volunteers, in ensuring their success for the years to come.

Mr Baynes said: “Phil Coles and the Llangollen Steam Railway have done excellent work running and expanding the railway.

"I am proud to have had the opportunity to recognise the success of the railway at No 10 Downing Street with Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and I look forward to continuing to support the railway, their staff, and volunteers.

"The Llangollen Steam Railway is a beacon of excellence which, since the Downing Street Reception, has been recognised by them winning the Attraction of the Year at the Go North Wales Tourism Awards.”