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Friday, July 16, 2021

Railway bosses encouraged by support for re-opening

* The diesel railcar as seen in the station at Llangollen. Photo: LRT

Llangollen Railway Trust (LRT) says it is encouraged by the support given to the resumption of train services last Friday. 

And that included a donation of £153 from the town's Oggie Shop & Fine Foods where customers have been making donations into a collection box in the shop.

Llangollen Railway Trust (LRT) finance director Phil Freeth said: "We really are appreciative of support like this from a business in the town,

"All donations are gratefully received and effectively fed back into the local economy. 

"We're all in this together. Thank you very much Llangollen Oggie Shop & Fine Foods and to their customers."

Last weekend a limited service of diesel railcars operated from Llangollen to Berwyn in what was seen as a ‘shakedown exercise’ to ensure the operational arrangements went to plan.

The number of passengers carried on this initial, hourly shuttle service exceeded 450.

Passengers were comfortably accommodated within the social distancing needs of the heritage diesel railcar and produced fares revenue in excess of £3,000 as a useful contribution towards the LRT’s overheads. 

Many of the passengers also made contributions to the revival find.

LRT chairman Peter Edwards said: “Given the short notice available to announce the railway was able to reopen, we are pleased to have welcomed so many people to Llangollen. 

"Many came from within our 50-mile radius catchment area, but others from further afield, all anxious to show their support."

He added: "The ride to Berwyn reminded many passengers of the early years of the restoration of the Llangollen Railway and some had memories of childhood visits on Santa Specials when his grotto was at Berwyn.

“Many recognised the shuttle service as a first step in the reopening of the line through to Glyndyfrwdy when various essential engineering works are completed, hopefully during August when steam engines may return.

“An interesting analysis of the ticket sales indicates that a number of passengers took advantage of Berwyn station to start or end their walks around the area of the Dee Valley Gorge. 

"It is this ability of the Llangollen Railway to provide access to the Dee Valley’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that we wish to encourage people to use when the line is fully open to the new terminus at Corwen.”

Trains continue Fridays to Sundays from today (Friday) with an hourly service from Llangollen starting at 11am through to 4pm.  

Revised Welsh Government Covid restrictions will apply and masks must be worn on the trains. 

A 15-minute stop over at Berwyn allows for a visit to the historic Chain Bridge or  time to ntake a longer walk to the Horseshoe Falls and return on later train.

LRT operations director Mike Williams said: “The success of the first weekend is down to the railway’s team of volunteers. They have pulled out all the stops and made great efforts in all departments to return the stations, trains and track to operational condition after so long a shunt down period.”

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