By George Jones

Llangollen Railway’s new station at Corwen takes shape

Published: 27th September 2016

Trains to return to Corwen again by spring 2018 – if the cash can be raised

Dwyrain Corwen East station was officially opened on March 1 2015 but was only ever intended to be a temporary terminus for the Llangollen Railway’s Corwen extension.

Construction of the permanent station, a few hundred yards closer to the town along the old trackbed from Dwyrain Corwen East, will provide immediate access off the platform into the car park and a bus interchange, just a short walk to Corwen’s shops.

It will also provide terminal facilities enabling locomotives to run-round the train, take water and remain for a stop-over at Corwen before returning to Carrog and Llangollen, none of which are options currently available at the temporary platform.

Crucial access road under construction

Work is now in progress on construction of a new access road with an entry point from Green Lane, at the western end of the station site, to Corwen’s Waste Water Treatment plant. Completion of this project by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru will remove a major obstacle to extending the railway into the Corwen terminal station by enabling recovery of the breach in the railway embankment at the eastern end presently utilised to access the water plant.

The 200metre length of new road will be graded to climb up and over the old Ruthin branch embankment into the treatment works, also providing improved access for service vehicles.

They said:

“This is a major step forward in the creation of the Corwen terminal station and we are working in co-operation with Welsh Water and their contractors in bringing this new road alongside the railway’s boundary,” commented the railway’s Corwen Central Project Leader, Richard Dixon-Gough.

Making the earth move

A subway entrance from the town car park to the planned new island platform has been completed, a task which involved excavation of 120 cubic metres of spoil. The completed structure, with the elevated exit standing a metre above the trackbed giving an idea of the height at which the platform will be created, represents a volume of 50 cubic metres of concrete, creating an internal area of 61 cubic metres. Post-construction back filling has restored the embankment profile.

The railway is progressing widening of the 1863 embankment to provide for a double track layout. A volunteer team assisted by contractors have so far moved over 6,000 tons of spoil to create an expanded surface area of 4,000 square metres. Work on developing the new station thus far represents an investment by Llangollen Railway Trust of some £120,000 - plus hours of volunteer input by the project team members calculated to be worth another £100,000 of contribution, as calculated by Welsh Government guidelines.

Island platform

The next major phase, when funding allows, is building the new island platform. Grant aid for this project is being sought. The 160 metres long platform, with a surface area of 900 square metres, has been designed to accommodate a locomotive and up to eight coaches. Excavation of footings followed by infill for the platform itself is estimated to require moving over 1,000 tons of spoil.

The centre line for the platform has been pegged out, positioning of the terminal loop being based on the headshunt and a set of points now in position at the western end of the site. A start has been made on pouring the concrete footings for the new platform. Track requirements for the loop are 50 lengths of rail, 600 concrete sleepers, several thousand ancillary items and 220 tons of stone ballast. A length of siding will also be provided to allow for locomotive/carriage stabling.

Efforts are being made to raise funds to provide a water tank with bore hole and restoration of ex-Weston Rhyn signalbox (presently stored at Carrog) which will be installed within the station area. Foundations for the ‘box within the embankment will require further excavation of 76 tons of spoil and construction of a retaining wall.

MP’s visit project site

Susan Elan Jones MP (Clwyd South) recently made a five-hour visit to the Llangollen Railway encompassing a ride over the railway and a tour of the site at Corwen in her role as a member of the All-Party Heritage Railway Group. She was accompanied by Lilian Greenwood MP (South Nottingham), former Labour spokesperson on Transport.

They said:

“I was delighted to visit the Llangollen Railway and show my colleague what has been achieved by the volunteers,” commented Susan Elan Jones MP. “It is terrific to see the wonderful developments that are taking place. These continue to be of massive importance to our local economy. Llangollen Railway plays a pivotal role in growing tourism in North Wales and is key to our economic development in the Dee Valley. I am delighted, as ever, to see the expansion of their work.”

Development Project Leader, Richard Dixon-Gough, said, "There is obviously still a lot to do, but with adequate resources to complete the task, our trains could be running into the new Corwen station by 2018. Financial donations from well-wishers towards completion of this project will be gratefully received by the Llangollen Railway Trust for the Corwen Central Development Project."

Station plans released

The architect’s drawing for the new Corwen terminal station layout has been made available to and appears as an associated image. To assist interpretation, this is a plan view from the north to the south (upside down some might say) with the railway running in from left to right, ending at Green Lane.

It shows:

How the present track access to the sewage works will be recovered (off sheet to the left) to bring the line in from Corwen East.

A new road access to the sewage works to be built to the north of the station coming in off Green Lane - on the right.

Widening of the embankment to two tracks and an island platform including the ‘disappearance’ of bridge 31, the original sewage works access.

The new subway access to the platform from an entrance off the car park.

Provision for a kick-back siding and eventual headshunt extension.

Location of a signal box at the east end of the loop and site of a water tank.

Disabled access by graded slope off the western end of the platform.

Slimming down of the Ruthin branch embankment, which has provided infill for the widened station area

Also shown is an outline of the shape of a canopy which will be added when finances allow.

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