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Corwen Station

April 2022

A timeline of the planning, designing and construction of the subway at Corwen Station including photographs before, during and after.

The planning commenced in early 2014 when the go ahead was secured from the then Board.

Funding was secured and  a suitable designer identified for this element of the project within the overall project.

The design was produced and passed off by resident civil engineer of the day, namely, Steve Jones.

Contractors were sought and after following the railway procurement policy contractors based in St Asaph were instructed to build the subway from scratch to the completed article, but without the steps. (These were added later).


The overgrown train line to Corwen Muddy track following clearance works

The first photograph shows what the contractors and a small band of volunteers were initially faced with prior to taking up the task of returning the railway connection to Corwen.

The second illustrates the clearance work carried out and the typical conditions the volunteers have had to contend with throughout 9 years on site.  Dry, sunny days were, and are, a rarity!


Embankment at Corwen prior to the subway Cleared embankment prior to subway excavation
These photographs show the embankment prior to the subway and having been cleared prior to construction commencing.

3.10.2015  The final design for the subway was produced by the designer and passed off by Steve.

10.11.2015  Excavations commenced for the new subway using a large 360 excavator.

23.01.2016 Contractors recommenced on site after the completion of the digging out and finding solid base of material to build on.

11.03.2016 Started to lay the foundations on the crushed slate infill used to enhance the solid base material.

16.03.2016 1st lorry load of ready mix arrived for the walkway into the subway.

16.03.2016 arrived on the same day the steel reinforcing bars (rebar) arrived on site.

Between 16.03.2016 and 23.03.2016 – 7.5 tonnes of rebar were installed to form the cage as seen from the photographs.

Between 23.03.2016 and 31.03.2016 the shuttering for the walls was built and the ready mix poured, agitated, and allowed to cure.

The shuttering was removed, and the walls coated with a black bitumen to keep water away from the concrete.

01.04.2016 the 1st lorry load of crushed slate arrived to commence the infilling stage with the crushed slate being deposited next to the new walls and the infill material to improve drainage.

April 2016 –  the roof of the subway was formed and installed using reinforced concrete thus forming the now to be seem entrance access tunnel.

16.05.2016 infilling around the new concrete structure was being completed thus covering the walls up to the height of the track bed.

23.05.2016 Tarmacadam was added the top of the subway tunnel underneath where the track bed crosses the subway.

28.05.2016 the new subway less the steps is completed with just the earth works around it to be brought back to track bed level.

09.06.2016 Contractors completed on site.

16.06.2016 New handrail on the top of the subway and over the entrance tunnel installed.

It was a long drawn-out process with a very satisfying result and an expression of intent that Llangollen Railway had finally arrived in the centre of Corwen.

Here we have a sequence of photos showing the development of the subway at Corwen, from a cleared embankment (after the removal of the trees and thick undergrowth), to when the contractors left the site.

The whole structure was designed by a local architect and is the same standard as it would be if installed on network rail.


Carpark showing area of proposed subway Excavator digging foundations Crushed slate being used for foundations at Corwen First concrete layer for Corwen subway

1. Looking from the cleared embankment into the car park, the yellow lines indicate the edges of the proposed subway

2. Shows the extent of the excavation to reach solid ground for the foundations

3. Many tonnes of crushed slate provided a solid base for the foundations

4. After much preparation works the first of the concrete layers is installed and the first of the shuttering is in evidence


Reinforcing bar being installed for Corwen subway Mass of rebar awaiting concrete pour Shuttering completed ready for concrete pour Concrete pump on site at Corwen

5. The first of the 7.5 tonnes of reinforcing bar being installed to add strength to the mass fill concrete

6. The mass of rebar can be seen from this photo and the shuttering being added prior to the concrete being pumped in to form the walls

7. The shuttering complete and ready for the concrete to be poured

8. The concrete pump on site and being fed by many lorryloads of ready mixed concrete. Vibrating pockers are used to ensure the concrete fills all the voids


Shuttering removed after allowing concrete to set Outside of the concrete subway is painted Entrance to the subway at Corwen Station The subway is backfilled

9. With the shuttering removed after many days of allowing the concrete to set. The top of the walls is the ground level and illustrates just how much infill is required to reach ground level before the track can be installed

10. The bare concrete is painted in waterproof bitumen where the new structure will be below ground level

11. The entrance to the car park with the sloping walls is revealed for all to see and ready for the backfilling to commence

12. Back filling underway and this requires to be layered and compressed to ensure it doesn’t sink as the trains pass over it


Photograph to illustrate how much infill is needed Photograph showing track level and platform level Photograph showing handrail in situ to prevent falls Photograph of the carpark but standing on the concrete tunnel

13. This further illustrates how much infill is required prior to reaching ground level and the platform will be/is built on top of that

14. The tarmac strip shows track level, and the top of the black ‘wall’ will be/is platform level

15. The handrail is in place to prevent anyone falling into the new subway entrance from track bed level but also shows the area where the ticket office now stands, i.e. the field left of the car park

16. The edge of the tarmac shows where the yellows lines appeared on photo 1. taken from a similar location but now standing on the concrete tunnel of the newly constructed subway


The following photograph shows the results of many years of planning, construction and hard work.  Class 26 delivering resources to site on the railway, the reason many railways were initially built.

Class 26 delivering goods to Corwen

This is not the final result as there is still work to be completed before trains can bring in fare paying passengers.

Any donations to the CCRD Fund would be gratefully received and cheques can be forwarded to Llangollen Railway, Abbey Road, Llangollen, LL20 8SN made payable to CCRD Fund.

February 2022

Just a quick update on the progress being made at Corwen Station.

The door and window frames are bespoke constructions curtesy of a local carpenter/joiner who has provided his service and considerable expertise at no cost.  The volunteers but the timber and the frames arrive as you see them in the photos.  Fantastic support from a locally based member of the Corwen Community.

  • Pic 1.  North facing wall looking towards Bala.
  • Pic 2.  North wall other part) looking towards Llangollen, volunteer bricklayer Peter Robinson.
  • Pic 3.  South facing wall looking towards Llangollen with the water tower and signal box in the background.  This is how the window frames looked before the arches were built over them as need on the north side of the building.
  • Pic 4.  Illustrates the internal walls and the layout of the toilet area within the platform building in the early construction of the internal partition walls.
  • Pic 5.  Shows the west end of the platform building and in the background is the temporary ticket office.  It illustrates how close the walls are to enclosing the steel framework (brown) of the building and the cream girders will be where the canopy is anchored affording shelter for passengers and staff alike.

More updates on Corwen Station will follow in due course.

Platform building at Corwen Station looking towards Bala North Wall of Corwen Station platform building looking towards Llangollen South facing wall of Corwen Platform building looking towards Llangollen Internal walls of platform building at Corwen Station West end of the platform building at Corwen Station

Links to previous editions of the Corwen News can be found here.