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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring gala steams into Llangollen

* The renovated Foxcote Manor will be a
star of this weekend's Steam Gala.
Llangollen Railway’s Spring Steam Gala will take place over three days from Friday to Sunday, April 8-10.

Headlining the event are two special guests, engine no. 7820 “Dinmore Manor” and the Small Prairie class No. 4566.

The gala should also feature the return of our resident No.7822 “Foxcote Manor” following a major overhaul, supplementing locos from the railway's home fleet: 5199, 6430 & 80072.

An intensive timetable will recall the sights and sounds of the Cambrian routes in the 1950s and 60s.

The route of the Llangollen Railway follows a 10-mile stretch of the former cross-country Ruabon to Barmouth line, which was once busy carrying holiday makers from the North West of England to the Cambrian Coast resorts of Pwllheli, Porthmadog and Barmouth.

"Dinmore Manor” will be joining sister "Foxcote Manor”, which has just returned to service after a lengthy overhaul which followed around two years of fundraising and work.

A special souvenir gala programme containing details about the loco fleet, attractions, timetable and photography locations, has been designed with a reproduction of the BR style timetable cover to make it blend in with the period.

This is available to download for free from the railway’s website and will be available for free in paper format from the station booking offices during the gala itself.

There will be recreations of a number of BR named trains from the 1950s and early 60s, with the most notable being the daily Cambrian Coast Express.

Gala visitors are encouraged to download and create their very own CCE luggage label from the railway’s website, which can then be attached to their rucksack, bag or other items for their journey.

On board the recreated ‘Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society AGM Special Train’, which ran annually over the Ruabon – Barmouth line on its way to Towyn until 1964, passengers will be given a complimentary copy of the 1962 souvenir eight-page booklet, reproduced from an original held in the Talyllyn Railway’s archive.

The Festiniog Railway Society railtour headboard will also be in use, as well as a recreation of the North Wales Radio Land Cruise, which once did a circular land cruise around North Wales via Bala, Barmouth, Porthmadog, Bangor and Denbigh.

Over the winter a dedicated group of volunteers have cleared the shrubs, trees and overhanging branches from both ends of Berwyn Tunnel, making the approaches to it much lighter and drier.

Footage taken during 7822 Foxcote Manor's comeback special on this stretch can be found at:

During the gala, the first departure from Llangollen will be the 9.20am double-headed express service, which will run non-stop through to Corwen.

Whilst the majority of the line will be representing the 1950s & early 1960s, Berwyn station will be remaining in its GWR 1930s guise.

The gala will be the first opportunity for the newly restored ticket office to be seen in use.

After Berwyn was downgraded to Halt status in the 1950s, the building was leased to the proprietors of the nearby Chain Bridge Hotel, who removed amongst other things all the ticket office furniture and fittings.

The partition wall was reinstated when the station reopened in 1985, but the counter unit remained absent.

A replica counter has been constructed by a specialist cabinet maker in Wallasey on the Wirral, based on the surviving counter at Carrog.

The ticket office will be fitted out for the gala as it would have been 80 years ago, complete with original GWR paperwork and furniture. 

The station's waiting room has also been fitted out with period GWR posters, including to Criccieth, a popular Cambrian Coast holiday resort.

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