A Welsh Government Minister has said his officials are “happy to talk” to the group fighting to rescue Llangollen Railway from its financial crisis subject to a number of conditions.
As llanblogger has been reporting, on March 1 the board of the railway’s public limited company (PLC) asked its bank to call in receivers after it became insolvent to the tune of about £350,000 and could not legally continue trading.
A firm of liquidators was called in which began the process of selling off the assets of the world-famous heritage attraction.
The Trust board, which remains completely solvent, has declared its intentions of buying as many of the railway's assets as possible and has already raised over £50,000 from a public appeal. https://llangollenrailway.enthuse.com/profile
The board also says in the statement it has meetings arranged with potential funding bodies.
Last month North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood wrote to Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism making him aware of the railway’s plight.
In his reply, of which llanblogger has seen a copy, the Minister says: “This is indeed a sad development as this historic line is an important part of the heritage of the area and an important element of regional tourism – it would also be a great loss to staff, volunteers and suppliers.
“My officials in Visit Wales would be happy to talk to the Trust when the way forward has been established with the receiver, and to participate in any investment discussion as matters progress subject to available funding streams.”
In response the letter, Mr Isherwood has told llanblogger: “I welcome the recognition in Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas’s response to me that Llangollen Railway is an important part of the heritage of the area and an important element of regional tourism, and that the railway’s demise would also be a great loss to staff, volunteers and suppliers.
“His statement that his ‘officials in Visit Wales would be happy to talk to the Trust when the way forward has been established with the receiver, and to participate in any investment discussion as matters progress subject to available funding streams’ also looks potentially helpful.
“This is especially the case given the recent statement by the Llangollen Railway Trust Board that they are considering their options for obtaining the intangible assets of Llangollen Railway PLC, to ease the transition from PLC to Trust, and preparing Business Plans and cashflow forecasts for a Trust-run railway, to be used in support of meetings with potential funding bodies.
“Assuming positive outcomes from these actions, however, Llangollen Railway should be a priority for the Deputy Minister’s Department.
“Further, whatever the outcome of the Welsh General Election on 6th May, Lord Elis-Thomas is not standing for re-election, and it is vital both that the Members of the Senedd representing Llangollen after the election, re-elected or newly elected, pick up the baton and that the next Welsh Government listens and delivers.”