CORWEN EXTENSION PROGRESS MARCH 2014

Interest in the progress with the extension project has been boosted by elected representatives visiting the work sites to see the progress made and the challenge which remains to complete the work to allow trains to operate to Corwen by the peak summer period.

On Thursday, 27th February, two Welsh Assembly Members, Ken Skates and Mark Isherwood, joined by Mabon ap Gwynfor representing Llyr Gruffydd, joined officers from Denbighshire County Council for a tour of the work sites near Corwen. Due to inclement weather on the day, the party went by the community bus along the A5 road to the gated access at Bonwm. En route their attention was directed to the 66 footings at the station site, the head of steel and the repaired over bridge 28A, as well as the length of track now in situ.  At Bonwm a briefing on work progress was given, whilst the timely arrival of the ballast train provided clear evidence of continued commitment to the extension works. The representatives were also made aware of the concern about the river bank erosion here and the need for this problem to be tackled sooner rather than later.

On return to Corwen the site engineer for the contractors working on the Flood Alleviation Scheme gave a briefing on progress with the prospects for the scheme being completed by May 2014. The countryside ranger explained that a high level footpath accessing the station site from the car park would be built along the bund created by the drainage works. This would avoid the path through the Corwen Common which is presently under flood water.

On Saturday, 1st March, St David’s Day, the Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, Susan Elan Jones, had an escorted visit to the work sites on the extension where she met with volunteers engaged in line side vegetation clearance. She also had a close look at the repairs undertaken on Bridge 28A before sampling the cab of the class 03 shunter.

For the occasion of Gŵyl Dewi Sant the locomotive was decorated with Welsh Flags and was carrying the Welsh train headboard “Y CYMRO” (The Welshman) which is normally used on special occasions with more prestigious passenger trains. The 03 then took the ballast train along the new track towards bridge 28 for a stone drop. In so doing it provided spectators with a foretaste of what the scene will be like on this straight section when train services operate later in 2014.

Commenting on her visit Susan Jones said, “I was delighted to be able to visit the railway extension works and to meet some of the volunteers who are tackling this project. Their achievement with the track laying is tremendous!

I recognise the challenge which remains to complete the work to the station at Dwyrain Corwen East, but I am sure they will be there later this year and will realise their dream. I will continue to follow the successful completion of the work with interest and look forward to the train arriving in Corwen”

For the moment the railhead remains just west of Bridge 28A. A limited supply of concrete sleepers has been delivered to site. More are awaited to allow track laying to resume and complete the 40 panels now needed to reach the phase 1 station site at Dwyrain Corwen East. In the meantime arrangements for the construction of the platform are in hand. With the advent of the bird nesting season further vegetation clearance will cease, although good work has been done along the route through to the approach to the station site.

There continues to be a good response to the Corwen Sleeper Appeal which remains open to fund the many materials which are required to complete the project.

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