|Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society|
Boarding the coach at Sale, I was really impressed with Andrew Macfarlane’s magical touch as tour organiser when I found myself allocated a seat on the coach next to a fellow BT pensioner and Pway volunteer who I hadn’t seen for years. We chatted all the way to Llangollen and the journey passed in the blink of an eye.
Our train awaiting us at Llangollen Station, viewed across the spectacular River Dee. What a magnificent setting. David Holt
Safely arrived in Llangollen, members of the party made their way to the railway station dramatically sited next to the River Dee and boarded the 10:40 train to Corwen headed by ex-GWR "Large Prairie" 2-6-2T no. 5199 which used to work passenger trains ion the Birmingham area and came to Llangollen via Dai Woodham’s at Barry. Our reserved seats were in the front coach, but I defected to an emptier part of the train for the freedom to change sides and make the most of the breathtaking scenery which unfolded as we made our way up the spectacular valley with the River Dee babbling alongside. It does have to be said, though, that the views are obscured for much of the way by lineside tress. In the old days there would have been no troublesome vegetation on railway property.
At Corwen, Andrew, Graham Stern and myself explored the town and visited the new Corwen Museum, not realising until later that we completely missed the upstairs section. We explored the old (and future) railway alignment beyond the temporary terminus, but to our frustration, Andrew’s especially, didn’t quite manage to find the site of the old station although we did find the site of the former junction with the line from Denbigh.
Highlights for me in Corwen were the rickety wooden British Legion HQ and the corrugated iron business premises on the town car park, not to mention the wonderful hardware store such as you only find these days in places remote from B&Q. My mind always goes blank as I gaze in wonder at the goodies on display, trying desperately to think what bits and pieces I need and wishing I carried a list for such occasions.
Back at the temporary “head of steel” wooden station we caught the 12:40 train to Carrog, formed of a D Wickham DMU, or railcar to give it its posh name. Decanting ourselves off the train into the glorious surroundings of the station, we were drawn as if by magnets to The Grouse Inn where we grabbed the prime table in a bay window with a magnificent unobstructed view of the trains complementing the lovely scenery across the river. The panorama was as delicious as the food and liquid refreshment.
The best part of the day for me was this convivial lunch with a magnificent view that complemented the food, drinks and good company. Group Leader Andrew Macfarlane nearest the camera, Graham Stern next to him. David Holt
After the meal, we transferred to a table outside where fresh air was added to the cocktail, and we encountered a really charming couple who might best have been labelled “post-punk”. They were good to talk to and we could have chatted with them all afternoon, but time pressed and we had a train to catch – the 15:10 from Carrog back to Llangollen. This was the railcar again, enabling us to sit near the driver and enjoy watching the staffs being exchanged at close quarters outside Deeside Loop signal box.
Back at Llangollen we made a bee-line for The Corn Mill pub situated by the river overlooking the station. A couple of pints agreeably passed the time until we had to make our way back to the coach for the return journey, during which I may have dozed off once or twice due to all that fresh air.
I don’t know what other participants did – made the most of their all-day railway tickets, indulged in lineside photography, did some walking, sampled the horse-drawn narrow-boat on the Llangollen Canal, sampled more pubs than we did – but I can say that I had a thoroughly good time with an ideal combination of steam, scenery, beer, food, country air and good company.
Thanks to the Llangollen Railway, to Andrew, the organiser of the trip on the day and to Michael Crawley for carrying out much of the organisation in advance of the trip.
Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society
Registered Charity (No. 1093098)
© September 2015