The removal of the contractor’s scaffolding on completion of repairs to over bridge 28A opened up the track bed for further track laying during January. Within the limits of readily available stocks of sleepers, the p/way team laid four track panels to bring the head of steel up to the bridge. This work saw the arrival of the works train on site, propelled by the class 03 shunter 03162, now out stationed at Carrog, making another notable locomotive movement west of Plas Bonwm, the second to pass the site of the former Bonwm Halt.

Work clearing the vegetation in the cutting beyond over bridge 28A occupied the volunteer work force for much of January and continues during February, with a notable improvement to the view of the over bridge as seen from the A5 road and the track. This clearance work will continue westward towards the station site.

A fifth track panel was laid on 1 February which brought the railhead through the bridge arch, an operation seen by those who availed themselves of the escorted track viewing walk from Carrog to Corwen.

A further 40 panels of track are needed to reach the station site, but, for the moment, the railhead remains at this point whilst further supplies of concrete sleepers are sought for delivery. A good response to the Corwen Sleeper Appeal has provided the necessary cash, but finding them at the right price and grade is proving difficult, also bearing in mind the added costs of transport to the site from wherever they are available. Base ballast is being delivered to site for spreading on the track bed and further work is going on to attend to the many specific items of infrastructure which require completion, as with the provision of surfaces at level crossings, for example.

Top ballast delivered to Carrog yard has provided several loads of stone for the ballast train to bring out and deposit on the stretch leading up to Bonwm Halt, again propelled by the 03 shunter. Given the situation at locations on the mainline requiring repairs, it will come as no surprise to find that availability of ballast is currently at a premium.

Dwyrain Corwen East station

Contractors gained access to the station site on 15 January and marked out the location of the footings for the station platform along the embankment. Excavations quickly followed and, with concrete poured, the 66 footings were completed in seven days. They now clearly mark out the station site as seen from the A5 road, but the five coach platform will not be installed until the track is in place.

Reinstatement of the level at the location of the former bridge 30 has been undertaken and has allowed for vehicular access to the trackbed, although the contractor’s for the Corwen Flood Alleviation Scheme continued to require access to the riverside. However the high level of the water in the River Dee has frustrated their aim to complete the work on the drainage outflow which remains on hold. It is now expected that the works site for this major civil engineering project will be vacated and the area restored during May.

Meanwhile the area known as Corwen Common through which a public footpath will lead visitors from and to the station site remains underwater and completion of this facility must await better ground conditions.

Finally, within the station area, underpass bridge 29 has been rebuilt to allow pedestrian access to the riverside nature reserve and only awaits provision of the handrails.

No First Train on 1st March

Regrettably, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the current situation as regards outstanding works means that the ambition of running a first train to Corwen on St David’s Day will not be met. However, as an expression of good faith and future intent, it is planned to run a works train to the head of rail, wherever that may be, on Saturday 1 March and further details of this will be announced shortly.

The Llangollen Railway fully intends to operate trains to the phase 1 station at Dwyrain Corwen East during 2014. Although a specific date cannot be given at this time, the prospects are for trains to operate on the extension during the summer peak period and the Railway’s timetable for 2104 reflects the train times for this, although for the moment trains continue to terminate at Carrog.

Continued support needed

Thanks are due to all those who have contributed to this long drawn out railway restoration project which continues to require the provision of resources to see its completion. Those wishing to give their support to this final stage of the project are asked to donate to the Corwen Sleeper Appeal which remains open to receive funds c/o: Mr Paul Bailey, Dolwen, Bryneglwys, Corwen, Denbs, LL21 9LY, remittances payable Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd.

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