Llangollen Railway revises spring timetable


Llangollen Railway - GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. GARETH EVANS
GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. GARETH EVANS

The Llangollen Railway is reacting to the ‘very challenging’ situation of low coal stocks and rising fuel prices by revising its spring timetable.

A statement issued by the line read: “The Llangollen Railway currently holds good reserves of coal which were delivered before the hostilities began in Ukraine. Further stocks of Russian steam coal are still available in the UK, however, we do not feel it would be ethical to purchase any more given the horrific situation unfolding in Ukraine.

“The situation is very challenging. As well as coal supply, diesel prices are also vastly inflated, making operation of our diesel railcars and diesel locomotives more expensive too. As a result, the current plan is to revise our timetable for at least the spring months, reducing both the number of trains we operate and how frequently we use steam locomotives.

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“We will be sure to publicise these changes well in advance so that customers hoping for a steam-hauled train can still travel on one. We do, however, expect demand to be high, so advanced booking is recommended, which can be made on our website or by calling 01978 860979. Our diesel-hauled and diesel railcar trains also offer the chance to enjoy the Dee Valley’s wonderful scenery.

“Alongside carefully managing our coal stocks, we are looking at alternative fuel sources, including a British-made processed coal known as ovoids, which may offer us a viable alternative. We are also looking into the very limited remaining coal supplies from South Wales and whether these may be able to offer us a supply. Clearly Welsh coal used to fire steam locomotives in Wales would be a great way of sourcing fuel from a more ethical supplier as well as having reduced transport miles which lowers the overall carbon impact.

“In a time where the use of fossil fuels is quite rightly being challenged, the Llangollen Railway is carefully considering the environmental impact alongside our objective of telling the very important story of our industrial and transport heritage, in which coal played such a huge part.

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“The 150 or so UK heritage railways would welcome the support of both the UK and Welsh Governments in being able to source a limited but sustainable supply of British coal. Our industry support body, the Heritage Railway Association, is actively involved in discussions as to how this may be facilitated.”

Meanwhile, a local security company has come to the aid of the LR after several of its historic items of rolling stock were vandalised.

During the incidents, in August last year, two 60-year-old railcars were daubed with graffiti and had windows broken. Parallel Security is a Welsh security provider based in Mold, who thrives to support local communities and businesses.  When Parallel directors realised that Llangollen Railway had been a victim, they quickly contacted Llangollen Railway to offer the company’s services.

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After several site surveys and discussions over potential issues with securing the very remote storage yard where the vandalism took place, a plan was put together and offered to Llangollen Railway free of charge to help protect its carriages and engines.

Parallel has provided the LR with state-of-the-art CCTV, which is now installed at the rail yard. The cameras are monitored 24 hours a day and use artificial intelligence and motion detection to secure the areas.  If required, a Parallel Response vehicle will also attend to police the areas should an alarm be activated. 

Senior management of the railway also have the facility to look at the cameras using mobile technology on their smart phones, giving additional operational and health and safety functions.

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