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Friday, August 26, 2022

Steam returns to Llangollen Railway for the holiday weekend

* Steam loco 68067 will run at the railway this weekend.

Llangollen Railway has announced that steam trains should be running again over the August Bank Holiday weekend, thanks to the help of another railway and an historic engine built during the Second World War.

The War Department (WD) "Austerity" saddle tank locomotive No 68067 arrived on Thursday from the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire. 

The historic engine was built in 1943 by Hudswell-Clarke in Leeds and will be staying while repairs are undertaken the railway's resident steam locos.

Running with the British Railways number of No 68067, the identity of a scrapped classmate, the loco carries shining black British Railways livery and has an interesting history. 

After being sold on by the War Department, 68067 spent 30 years with the National Coal Board at several collieries, ending up at Bold near St Helens for the final four years of its career and picking up the name Robert. 

Lasting in industrial service until 1982, 68067 was amongst the UK's last steam locomotives in use outside of preservation. 

* The 68067 will run alongside the GWR Observation saloon.

Whilst at Bold, 68067 also took part in the legendary Rocket 150 celebrations in 1980, which included a trip onto the mainline to Rainhill, site of the historic 1829 trials that saw Stephenson’s Rocket prove that steam locomotives were the best way to operate services on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the World’s first intercity railway.

LR Press Officer Terry Pickthall said: “We are very pleased to see 68067 arrive with us after a challenging season. 

"Repairs to our resident locomotives have encountered problems and taken longer than expected, leaving us without a steam loco at the height of our season. 

"Although our diesel railcars and locomotives have done a superb job of filling the void, steam traction is very much at the heart of what we do and is always very popular with our visitors. 

"We are very grateful to the loco’s owners and wider team at the Great Central Railway who have make 68067’s visit to us possible. Everyone has pulled out the stops to get the engine to us in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, which is always a busy one for us."  

After some checks and a test run 68067 is due to be put straight to work at the Llangollen Railway today (Friday), tomorrow (Saturday) alongside a diesel locomotive and Sunday alongside a diesel railcar and will be staying in North Wales for at least the next few weeks until repairs are complete on the line's resident GWR heavy freight locomotive No 3802.

Terry added: “I was born in 1976, some eight years after steam engines disappeared from Britain’s mainline railways. However this was not the end of the story as many think. 

"As well as the heritage railway movement, many steam locomotives stayed in use on industrial railways in places like power stations and coal mines way into the 1980s. 

"I can actually remember seeing 'Robert' as an excited four year old boy when my Mum and Dad took me to the Rocket 150 event at Rainhill. 

"It’s a great feeling to see the loco again some 42 years later and visiting the railway on which I have been a proud volunteer for nearly 16 years."

* Tickets can be bought on the day of travel and advanced booking is available online at

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