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Friday, May 24, 2024

Historic locos to go on show at railway's diesel weekend

* Class 26.

* Class 31.

Hot on the wheels of a very successful Spring Branchline Steam Gala, Llangollen & Corwen Railway will hold its second large gala event of 2024 early next month. 

The Diesel & Industrial Weekend takes place on the weekend of June 1 and 2 and will feature six diesel and steam locomotives along with an historic diesel railcar.

Volunteer gala organiser George Walker said: “This weekend is all about celebrating the evocative era of diesel-hauled trains on Britain’s eailways between the late 1950s and 1990s and the part that railways have played in industry. 

"We will be showcasing our fleet of historic and powerful mainline diesel locomotives, with three taking part. 

"We have our Class 26 No 5310, which was built in Smethwick in 1959 and spent most of her working life in Scotland and has been with us at Llangollen since 2009.

* Class 47.

"Then we have our Class 31, which carries 1980s Railfreight Construction Livery and worked the very last stone train out of Blodwel Quarry near Oswestry in May 1986, not too far away from our railway. 

"Finally, we have our Class 47 No 47449, the most powerful locomotive on the railway. Powered by a 2,580hp 12-cylinder Sulzer diesel engine, 512 of these locomotives were built for British Railways and a handful can still be found in mainline use today. 

* Pilkington shunter.

"Our locomotive was built in Crewe in 1964, so is celebrating her 60th birthday this year. She spent a lot of her BR life working around North Wales, so is very much at home on our railway. 

"At the other end of the scale, 350hp Class 08 shunter No 08202 will be hauling public trains on our railway for the first time after joining us on hire last month."

The heritage railway, which is speeding ahead with a spectacular recovery from the collapse of its PLC operating company in 2021, continues to welcome trains to its new Corwen Station, which opened in June 2023. 

Visitors can also enjoy a visit to our scenic countryside stations at Berwyn, Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog and a walk in the surrounding Dee Valley, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

* Plasser 12-ton crane.

The Horseshoe Falls beauty spot is just a 10-minute walk from Berwyn station, which nestles in the Dee Valley gorge and has spectacular views of the river and hills. 

George added: “We’re trying to offer visitors the chance to see something different at the railway this weekend. As well as a busy timetable of diesel-hauled trains and railcars, we will have a 12-ton rail crane carrying out lifting demonstrations at Carrog station. 

"An industrial steam locomotive from the old Austin car factory in Longbridge will also be giving short rides with brake vans. 

"These attractions will give a glimpse of what moving freight around the railways was like for well over 100 years before road transport took nearly all freight traffic away from rural branch lines, many of which then closed – like our railway did in 1964.

"Finally, there’s a rare chance to see Pilkington, a Yorkshire Engine Company locomotive that spent its working life shunting sand wagons at the world-famous Pilkington Brothers glass factory in St Helens. 

"This chunky-looking little loco can usually only be seen at work around our motive power depot, which is off limits to the public.

"We will also be running an evening Landcruise train on Saturday June 1, leaving Llangollen at 19:10 and 20:40, which runs to Carrog station and back with a real ale bar on board."

Tom Taylor, Llangollen Railway Trust manager, said: “Another busy event lies ahead for our beloved railway. George has done a brilliant job of planning this event, which should offer visitors the chance to reconnect with both our industrial past and the railway that many of us can remember from our childhoods in the 70s, 80s and 90s. 

"What is particularly inspirational here is that George is one of your younger volunteers and still only in his 20s. His passion for the railway and our diesel fleet is great to see and explodes the myth that heritage railways face a volunteer crisis due to younger folk not wanting to get involved. 

"The railway is always on the lookout for new volunteers in all areas and we are holding a recruitment open day on Saturday June 8."

* More details on the event and advanced tickets can be purchased from


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