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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Railway stages steam spectacular

llanblogger picture special
Llangollen Railway staged a steam spectacular over two days last weekend. 

A fabulous five of its resident steam engines delighted visitors as they ran through 

the sunlit Dee Valley on Saturday and Sunday. 
Railway spokesman George Jones said: “Whilst many rail fans at the gala may have wished for a visiting steam engine to add variety to the line-up, the expense of hiring in a special guest loco, and the cost of transporting it for a short stay, exceeded the budget for this occasion.
“In any event, right now there is something of a famine in operational steam locomotives available for hire on the UK heritage railways as many engines are undergoing heavy overhauls or waiting for finance to allow restoration to be completed.
“In putting on a steam gala with five of its own locally based engines, of some variety, Llangollen Railway offered a major event - something which few other preserved lines in Britain can achieve at this time.
“Aside from the rail fans’ expectations, for the ordinary visitor the frequent steam-powered train service operating out of Llangollen with an assortment of engines was a sight to behold and the subject of much favourable comment.”
The demonstration Queen Mary brake van No. S45302 freight train awaiting departure in Llangollen station. Larger than usual version of the type, it has been a single-handed restoration challenge by LR member Bob Gordon who acquired the burnt-out remains for rebuilding. It is known as a Queen Mary on account of its large size - unusually it is mounted on two four-wheel bogies. Its restoration to working condition is another notable achievement at Llangollen railway and adds an impressive freight vehicle to the fleet of historic items.
The single coach Auto train hauled by Pannier tank 6430 about to depart Llangollen for an extended run onto the line extension towards Plas Bonwm farm - the current end of the new track. This proved popular with visitors keen to see progress with the Corwen extension.

The British Railways Standard tank 80072 returned from its spell on North Yorkshire Moors Railway and was back in action. Here, the engine is ready to depart Llangollen at 3pm wearing the well-remembered 'Cambrian Radio Cruise' headboard - a tourist train which once made a daily trip around North Wales via connecting lines and provided an on-board "radio" commentary about the route. This was very advanced for its day, and only possible before Dr Beeching axed many of the connecting lines when Corwen was a centre point of the system.
 The Black 5 44806 awaits departure at Llangollen with The Mancunian train head board.

The Pannier Tank 6430 and single auto coach waits to pass the inbound train at Llangollen Goods Junction.
Foxcote Manor No.7822 runs into Berwyn a station. Trains passed at a near 10-minuite interval during much of the gala which saw an intensive half-hourly timetable of departures from Llangollen.

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