Preservation powerhouse Julian Birley has announced the final choice of the route of the planned green and brownfield extension of the Bala Lake Railway into the heart of the town.
Instead of using the former trackbed of the long-closed GWR route to Blaenau Ffestiniog, and building a new bridge to cross the River Dee, it is proposed to take the heritage line across the B4391 bridge tramway style, in a similar fashion to the West Highland Railway’s road crossing
Plans to extend the 2ft gauge line into the town centre would generate at least an extra £1.5 million a year for the local economy, by making it a must-stop tourist destination once more, it has been claimed.
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Julian, chairman of the Bala Railway Trust, and a pivotal figure in the North Norfolk Railway’s introduction of steam trains from Sheringham to Cromer following the reinstatement of the Station Road level crossing, has, as previously reported in Heritage Railway, been working on the £2 million extension plan for two years, in a bid to give the BLR a far more visible and meaningful destination.
Its present terminus half a mile away on the opposite side of the river has been long criticised as difficult to find and out of sight of tourists who pass through the town on the A494 heading to the coast, seeing no reason to break their journey there.
Read more in Issue 223 of Heritage Railway