The Llangollen Railway's History

Project Y: Glyndyfrdwy

4422 and Freight at Glyndyfrdwy

Above: Visiting '1F' no 4422 at Glyndyfrdwy with a demonstration freight train during 1996.

 (John Rutter)

There was hardly a pause for breath before 'Project X' restarted, perhaps better called 'Project Y' or even 'Project XI'; the next target being Glyndyfrdwy. In early 1990, reconnaissance began, and it was decided that it was time the signalbox (recovered from Leaton some time previously) had track outside it again. Tree cutting and trackbed clearance took a long time, and various members of the team were involved in the signalling in Llangollen Station at the time. The signalling at Llangollen Station was approved by Major Olver on 3rd May 1991, enabling trains to pass at both Llangollen Station and at Goods Junction. Twelve months of hard work had seen a 17-lever Dutton's Cambrian Railway frame installed, with GWR lower quadrant signals. It was commissioned on 30th June.

Glyndyfrdwy before the railway
returned  The line reaches Glyndyfrdwy

Above: (left) The site of Glyndyfrdwy sidings in 1988. On the right, the rough grassy area is the trackbed, which runs to the left of the signalbox. The original station building is the prominent slate-roofed building on the left. (right) 1991, and the line has reached the site of Glyndyfrdwy sidings.

(Dave Southern and John Rutter)

The platforms had been demolished on closure, and the site grassed over as a childrens' playing field. Excavation revealed the base of the original platforms, onto which the new platforms were built - the remains of the original ones can still be seen. In late 1990 a very dilapidated building was dismantled and recovered from Northwich, where it had been in use as the engine drivers' mess until it became derelict. This was re-erected on the new Up platform in 1992 to serve as the station building; the original station building being in private hands.

Excavations at Glyndyfrdwy station  Station building under construction  Level Crossing

Above: (left) Excavations underway in the station revealed the bases of the original platforms. Again the original station building can be seen on the left. (middle) A pause for breath during tracklaying. In the background, the skeleton of the 'new' station building can be seen. (right) The new level crossing which had to be built. (Bill Shakespeare and John Rutter)

Track laying began in March 1991, and moved on at high speed, with all the materials being available. Sleepers had been stockpiled at Glyndyfrdwy, from where they were loaded onto a lorry with a 'Hiab' and taken to the rail head. Rails were taken by rail from Llangollen to the rail head, where they were unloaded and towed by a tractor to the site. By 24th May 1991, track was laid to within half a mile of Glyndyfrdwy village; 100 60-foot panels were laid in 9 weeks. The first works train arrived on Sunday 21st July, although of course much work remained to be completed. A few weekends later the level crossing was laid.

Tamping the extension  First train on the extension

Above: (left) Tamping the ballast on the Glyndyfrdwy extension. How much the methods have changed since the late 1970s! (right) First train on the extension - the LMS inspection saloon is hauled by the Jinty. (John Rutter)

The first public passenger train to Glyndyfrdwy since 1964 arrived on 17th April 1992, headed by Foxcote Manor. Subsequent work included the installation of the rest of the signalling and a footbridge, and completion of platform two. The station and signalbox received the an Ian Allan National Railway Heritage Award in 1995, the "Keighley and Worth Valley Railway" award for the best project carried out by volunteers. A plaque was unveiled in the station building on 27th December 1995 by Graham Mitchell, chairman of the KWVR.

Glyndyfrdwy in 1998

Above: Glyndyfrdwy in 1998, with rebuilt platforms, completed signalling, station building brought from Northwich, and footbridge from Welshpool. Resident pannier 7754, owned by Llangollen Railway Trust, heads West towards Carrog. (Dave Southern)

Llangollen Railway History


Carrog station before restoration  Restoration underway

Above: (left) Carrog station before restoration got underway. Note the lack of buildings on platform two (on the left) or signalbox on platform one. (right) Track between the platforms once more. (LRT archives and John Rutter)

Before the Carrog extension was even started, the station building came up for sale, and was bought by a member of the Railway. A group called 'Friends of Carrog' was set up to organise the restoration of the station itself, and this got underway before the actual tracklaying began. (see separate Friends of Carrog site) GWR materials were recovered from sites around the country, and restoration of the buildings got underway.

Restoration underway

Above: Another general view of the station with restoration underway. (John Rutter)

In 1993, ICI at Runcorn came up with an offer to donate track, due to a new plant being built on the site of some of their sidings. This included around ¾ mile of track, plus points and buffer stops. Recovery continued through the latter half of the year, some of the materials being used to replace life-expired track laid when the line reopened to Berwyn in 1985. A diversion for the P-way department was the upgrading of the line to a 22-ton axle loading to allow for the visit of Flying Scotsman that year.

The railhead just West of Glyndyfrdwy Looking West from the railhead

Above: The railhead just West of Glyndyfrdwy, (left) looking East towards Glyndyfrdwy station, and (right) looking West along the Dee, the trackbed being on the left. (LRT archives)

Work began in mid-July 1994 on the Carrog extension, the first mile being constructed with new flatbottom rail on concrete sleepers, these being purchased. Ballasting of this section was helped out by 30 members of Customs & Excise staff as a team-building exercise over one weekend in September! However, continuing grant problems meant that donated bullhead rail from ICI was used for the second mile instead. Tracklaying was halted on 25th June 1995 due to problems with the supply of rails from ICI, as building work on their site blocked access for removal of the rails, the next load not arriving until 18th October.

Loading sleepers onto the Scania Unloading sleepers

Above: Laying sleepers on the extension; loading at Carrog and unloading at the railhead. (John Rutter)

In the meantime, the first mile of track was inspected by HMRI, also on 18th October, and passed to enable a DMU train to work along it for the October 1995 diesel gala. This first train left Glyndyfrdwy heading West on 22nd October, and tracklaying resumed the following day.

By late January 1996, the passing loop in Carrog station was progressing well, with only 100 yards of track missing between the track laid in the station and the railhead of the single line back to Glyndyfrdwy. The gap was bridged on 4th February.

View from the road bridge View from the road bridge 1998

Above: Looking from the road bridge over the Railway at Carrog. (left) rebuilding underway and (right) freight train at Carrog during Transport Extravaganza 1998. (John Rutter)

The final inspection on 28th April saw Colin Law, HMRI Inspecting Officer, approve the extension, shortly followed by the official re-opening on 2nd May. This despite the 1995 leaflet having Carrog as our Western terminus! A train for Trust members and plc shareholders, consisting of the two suburban coaches and standard 4MT 76079, departed at 10am. This was followed by a train for VIPs at 11am, consisting of the Belle stock hauled by Foxcote Manor and 5080 Defiant.

Llangollen Railway History

Beyond Carrog, Corwen was the next town served by the Ruabon to Barmouth line, and is the target for the Llangollen Railway's next extension. The trackbed is largely intact, with only relatively minor work required to clear the way through. A small halt was also provided to serve Bonwm, a tiny village between Carrog and Corwen.

Infill at Bonwm  Towards Corwen

Above: (left) The trackbed just before Bonwm, looking East towards Carrog. A cutting has been filled in, hence the steep gradient. The sign shows that the A5 is close by to the right. (right) Looking towards Corwen. The River Dee is close by on the right, and the A5 is behind the trees on the left. (George Jones)

Hedging at Bonwm  Hedging at Bonwm

Above: Hedge laying near the site of Bonwm Halt. (Graham Ross)

Tracklaying  Shunting

Above: (left) The track gang in action, laying track Westwards from Carrog. (right) 25313 shunts wagons onto the new section of track for storage before heading for ballasting duties on Berwyn viaduct. (Barney Barnfield and Pete Sheridan)

Updated 11th October 2017 by John Rutter - email

Back To Page One


The extension to Corwen is progressing well. The Transport and Works Order is in place and the project split into Phase 1 and Phase 2, due mainly to funding requirements.

Phase one is complete. The running line to a temporary single platform, approximately 300 yards east of the location for the new Corwen Station is fully operational. No run-around loop is be possible due to the width of the embankment at this point, so push pull, DMU or Autotrain operation will be required. Phase 2, the creation from scratch of a new station; Corwen Central; still requires significant fundraising. The construction of the new station and associated works is well advanced (Oct 2017). SEE CORWEN CENTRAL PAGES

If you would like to get involved in this important project, either as an existing member of Llangollen Railway Trust, or as a new member, you will need to have a PTS certificate to make sure you are safe working trackside, and abide by all the safety rules applying to a ‘Construction Site.’ All time spent volunteering needs to be recorded as it is counted towards the ‘matched funding’ for the project.

For more detailed infomation please contact the Railway Office at Llangollen, telephone No 01978 860 979