Thanks to everyone who has supported our diesel running in September and October. All 3 machines have managed to see some use, with 1566 also joining in on the 3rd of October.
Due to work on GWR 2-8-0 No 3802 at Carnforth taking a little longer than expected, we have another impromptu diesel October diesel weekend ahead at the Llangollen Railway. This will see A1A Locomotives Limited’s superb Class 31 No 31271 in use on both Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October and LDG-owned 1959-built Sulzer Type 2 Class 26 5310 on Sunday. The 104/108 hybrid DMU will also be out on Saturday and Sunday.
08195 will also work a new Llan-Berwyn Shuttle on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st, hauling an LNER pigeon van brake, a covered, seated open wagon and a toad brake van for the crew. Shuttles depart Llan at 10:55, 12:25, 13:40 and 15:50, offering a shorter journey and the chance to sample something a little different. Day rover tickets are valid on this working and cheaper shuttle-only tickets are also available for those just after some rare(ish) rod haulage!
Traction for October 8th: 5310, 9th: 31271 & 10th: 5310. 29th October is 31271 – with two additional dates on 30th and 31st – see above.
Traction for Saturday 2nd October: 5310. Sunday 3rd October: 1566. It was a successful weekend with 1566 performing well and making a very welcome return.
Llangollen TMD is seen below on the evening of the 29th September, with all 3 machines present. 1566 received fuel (thankfully nobody panic fuelled all the others and the Gronk!) and a short proving run to Glyndyfrdwy and back. All should be well for 47 haulage on Sunday 3rd October. 5310 will be in use on Saturday 2nd October. 31271 will be out again in October – watch this space. YE 0-4-0 shunter Pilkington is also back in business following fuel pump failure. Photo by Matt Davies
31271 made a welcome return on Sunday 26th September. It was great to hear some EE noise around the valley again. 5310 worked Saturday’s services. A huge thanks to the team at A1A Locomotives Ltd, who attended to support both the operation and running day. One of their roadshow also kindly paid for the loco’s hire fee for the day. The hybrid 108/104 DMU was also in use on both days, with it’s blue and green cars and classic loud 104 exhaust rasp it also proved popular.
GEN UPDATE: 5310 will haul Saturday 25th September’s workings, 31271 will haul trains on Sunday 26th September. All services are expected to run with the LR’s superb suburban coaches. Diesel haulage is also scheduled for 2nd, 3rd, 8th 9th, 10th and 29th October. Traction for October dates to be confirmed.
5310 ran well with 5 suburban coaches on both Friday 10th and 17th September, the 10th marking the first scheduled diesel-hauled train under under LR Trust operation. A big thanks to everyone who supported us in getting there! She is seen in Wendy Bailey’s photo below arriving at Glyndyfrdwy on Friday 17th September and nicely framed by the signalling.
31271 was run up, tested and passed as fit for traffic on the 10th of September, taking a short freight train to Pentrefelin and back. 271 will be in use on Sunday 26th September.
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We are delighted to announce that diesel-hauled trains will be running at Llangollen in September. 5310 will work 3 trips Llangollen-Carrog on Friday 10th September.
Diesel-hauled trains are also expected to operate on Friday 17th September, Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th September, Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd October, Friday 8th-Sunday 10th October and Friday 29th October.
Each day should see 3 trips, with the diesel diagram leaving Llan at 10:30, 13:00 and 15:15 on weekends (with a DMU also out for 2 trips) and 11, 12:50 & 15:10 on weekdays (one train in service).
It’s certainly been a very challenging 6 months since the last update to our website. Without going into too much detail about what has gone on across the railway, which is well documented elsewhere, the good news is that the Llangollen Railway Trust have been successful in acquiring the necessary assets and permissions to to take over the railway and operate trains again. After a lot of hard and challenging work through the spring and early summer, a DMU shuttle service to Berwyn marked the start of LR Trust operations on 8th July. The railway reopened to Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog with steam operation restarting on the 21st of August.
With two of the most active members of our Group heavily involved in getting the railway back into operation (one has become Trust Chairman, another is managing the Permanent Way, both have put a lot of hours in to other areas. However there has still been regular work taking place on the diesel fleet, which both now benefit from being undercover in the shed following the winding up of the contract engineering business. Volunteers are now working as a combined Motive Power Depot team, supporting work on both steam and diesel locomotives. #
At the time of writing 5310, 31271 and 1566 are all fit for traffic. We are very grateful to A1A Locomotives for their continued support, 31271 is expected to remain with us for the foreseeable future. A new hire agreement with the Trust is being negotiated for 31271.
Saturday 4th September ended up as a landmark day, with the first diesel-hauled train under LR Trust operation taking place, when 5310 stood in for GWR 2-8-0 3802, which had developed a minor brake fault. The Type 2 performed well and the trip provided a good loaded proving run ahead of regular diesel-haulage returning later this month. Thanks to Rhys Lloyd for the photo. For those on Facebook, do please follow our Llangollen Diesel Group page, which is regularly updated.
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Many will have already seen that the Llangollen Railway PLC invited its bank to appoint a receiver on Monday 1st March. This has unfortunately been on the cards for some time, with mounting losses and liabilities based around the Engineering Business. The pandemic has compounded the situation. If you have a look at the full press release on the LR website: https://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/, this provides some clear reasoning behind why PLC receivership was regrettably unavoidable.
The recently (appointed October 2020) LR Board and LR Trust are hoping to be able to broker an agreement with The Receiver to continue to operate the railway in 2021. The LDG fully support to the Board and Trust in this endeavour and are providing all the support we can. We are ready to provide operational locomotives when and if required and one of our Group members joined the Board last year.
It is also worth confirming that both 5310 and 1566 are privately owned by the Llangollen Diesel Group and are not LR PLC property. We have also confirmed the position to A1A Locomotives Ltd and we are pleased that they also wish to continue to support the railway and continue to base 31271 in North Wales if at all possible.
Finally, I would also point any potential supporters to the link on the press release seeking donations to the LR Trust (here). The Trust is solvent and owns many key LR assets (including locomotives, stock and much of the track). There are however a number of PLC assets at risk, so the Trust would welcome additional funds in order to try and secure these, should this prove possible.
Thank you for everyone’s understanding and support at this very difficult time for the Llangollen Railway Family. A brief update about our locos:
5310 is now based undercover in Llangollen shed, following the departure of a number of locomotives and frames related to the failed LR Engineering contract business making room for the railway’s operational fleet.
1566 and 31271 are both stored in winterised condition and will be examined for reactivation in the coming weeks.
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With repairs to 5310 complete and light engine testing on the 18th of August so far proving successful, we are delighted to announce that our BRCW Type 2 should work her first public train service for over two years on the most appropriate date of Saturday 26th September 2020.
This will also be the 11th anniversary of 5310’s first train on the Llangollen Railway way back in 2009. The 26 will work two return trips leaving Llangollen at 11:50 & 14:20 to Carrog only. A day rover fare for both trips is available. All proceeds from the day will go to keeping our wonderful railway running after a very difficult season indeed. Bookings need to me made in advance through the LR website. https://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/timetables/?tt_month=09&tt_year=2020
A lot of work has been done to get 5310 ready and improve her general condition. Air leaks on the brake frame have been cured, a repaint and tidy up of both cabs and driver’s desks is underway and pipework to allow air to drain from the main reservoirs under the body rather than into the cabs has been reinstated. It’s nice to have the chance to attend to all these none-urgent tasks.
31271 – Sterling Service
31271 worked its last booked diagram for 2020 on the 26th of August. The loco has completed 6 full days in traffic in August, performing faultlessly throughout and continuing to be a credit to A1A Locomotives. She is seen below at a rather gloomy Carrog on the 19th of August, carrying a wreath in memorial to all those affected by the Stonehaven tragedy one week previously. 31271 remains available to cover for a steam locomotive failure if required, but with the onset of autumn and no further booked 2020 workings will soon be winterised again.
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Following a review of both loadings on operating days completed and advanced bookings for those remaining, all further weekend diesel running dates are regrettably cancelled. This leaves Wednesday 19th and 26th of August as our remaining 2 days of diesel operation this year. 31271 is currently rostered for both of these. Make the most of her while you can! Booking details can be found on the LR Facebook page and website.
31271 continues to perform well and is seen below approaching Glyndyfrdwy on Wednesday 12th August. Thanks to Craig Jolley for the photo.
A long overdue update from Llangollen! We hope all our supporters are safe and well following such a challenging few months. The good headline news is that services on the LR should resume on Saturday 1st August, with diesel-hauled trains playing a significant part of the operation. Diesel-haulage is currently scheduled for the 3rd, 8th, 12th & 16th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, 30th & 31st of August.
Taking things a few steps at a time, 31271 successfully worked the 3rd August is also scheduled for the 8th, 12th and 16th of August. She is seen below running round at Carrog during shakedown testing on 30th July. Please visit the LR website or Facebook page for details on travel arrangements and bookings. Advanced booking is required, but this can be done on the day if there are seats available and you arrive in good time before departure.
After a lengthy lockdown hiatus, 5310 returned from the GWSR on Monday 6th July and with volunteers now allowed back on site, work to complete the final stages of her traction motor overhaul has continued apace. The loco was successfully started and moved under her own power for the first time in over 2 years yesterday, July 23rd. Further work has been carried out on testing and adjusting the brake systems, with several minor leaks and valve gripes sorted. Making the most of ETB being in place between Llangollen station and Goods Junction during shakedown running. 5310 was able to make a series of light-engine test runs on the 30th of July. Iain Ross’s photo below shows her back in Llangollen station for the first time in over 2 years and preparing for another gentle trip up to Goods Junction and back.
There are still some jobs to attend to on the loco, along with some further careful light-engine running-in along the whole line. Particular care is being paid to the overhauled suspension bearing on the No 1 axle to make sure it is staying cool and oiling correctly. Provided all is well, we hope 5310 should be able to work a public train before the end of the summer.
The Llangollen Diesel Group are extremely grateful to all who have assisted us through a challenging job. We’ll start with the John Pepper and Ant Philp at the Northampton Type 2 Group for loan of their lifting beams. Next we have all at the GWSR for allowing us to use the railway’s lifting jacks and for all those who helped us to do the work. The photo below shows the loco just after lifting on Monday 2nd of March and the brilliant team from the GWR who supported us at short notice. L-2-R are Simon Townsend, Tim Leverton, Tez Pickthall (LDG), Andy Durham and Mark Stanley. Kev Jarvis also assisted and kindly took the photo. Thanks a lot gentlemen!
The Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group at the GWSR need a special mention too. Thank you to Simon Townsend, who got in touch shortly after the first motor failed with the offer to help us. Little did he know what he was letting himself in for! The CMDG have allowed us to use their 2 spare motors and provided much advice, encouragement and graft along the way. Andy Durham as both a CMDG member and Head of the GWSR Diesel Department has done much behind the scenes to help us at Toddington and also fitted the brackets with me for the second lift of the loco). We hope to be able to return the favour to Simon and Andy and assist them in getting D5343 back into traffic following its power unit problems. Dave Hesketh of EAMP has done a cracking job of overhauling all 4 motors and finally we have Ken Joy, Stuart Sellar and Ant Philp, who have all provided expert Sulzer Type 2 advice, encouragement and support with the numerous challenges we have dealt with along the way. The spirit of preservation is truly alive and well!
The dedicated team from A1A Locomotives were also with us on July 23rd, conducting an annual exam on 31271. The loco was started, moved under her own power and pronounced fit for traffic. Public trains are expected to recommence on the LR from Saturday 1st August. The loco seems to have suffered no real issues over the prolonged storage period other than some deterioration of the paintwork around the nameplates, which the A1A chaps were hoping to attend to before heading home. It goes without saying that their support is very much appreciated – they travel a long way to support us in far and now in far-from ideal circumstances
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Apologies for the long delay in updating the website. Some IT issues have made this more difficult and the site did go down for a few weeks. Our Facebook page (search for Llangollen Diesel Group) is however updated regularly. We would like to wish all our supporters a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020. As another interesting year for our Group draws to a close we’re looking forward to the start of another. 2020 should see an increase in the number of running days (see below), 5310 return to traffic, 1566 receive repairs to engine water leaks and A1A Locomotives Ltd’s superb 31271 continue to be a most welcome member of the fleet. We are also hopeful of seeing Corwen Central open for business – offering a new destination for diesel-electric traction. Although much remains to be done to commission the station, it is expected to open to the public some time towards the middle of the 2020 season.
A successful event with visiting Class 25 D7535 seeming very popular, along with out mixed train where passengers could ride in brake vans for the first time in a number of years. The timetable largely ran to time, with the only issue being a damaged fuse on 1566 causing a delay to the final train on the Sunday evening. This was repaired by the crew and the loco was able to get home under her own power. 31271 also performed faultlessly as usual. Thanks to all those who came out to support the event – both in tickets sales and in donations towards D7535’s transport costs. We were delighted to raise funds to cover the near-£3000 haulage costs. D7535 looked absolutely superb sat at Glyndyfrdwy whilst working the Saturday evening trains, it was proper shades of the last Cambrian stopper.
And both D7535 and 1566 made for a pleasing Sulzer 70’s timewarp at Llangollen on the Sunday morning
We were delighted to host the East Midlands Railway Photographic Society (EMRPS) on Saturday 12th October for another of their floodlit photo charters. This sold out event raised a significant contribution to the transport costs of D7535, which was joined by both 1566 and 31271. The locos were posed with two trains – a rake of ballast hoppers and a mixed freight. Thanks to Jason Cross for the photo.
2020 Running Days
We’re delighted to announce an increased number of B timetable running days in 2020, including 3 in August. Loco rosters will be confirmed next year but we hope to see both 5310 and 1566 running alongside 31271 and are working towards a further visiting locomotive for our diesel weekend.
Special Events: Classic Transport: 3rd & 4th July. 1960’s Weekend: 1st & 2nd August. DIESEL WEEKEND: 26th & 27th September
We are pleased to announce that the repair of 5310 is progressing steadily, with 4 traction motors now overhauled and ready to refit. A second lift of the loco is planned for February at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway, to whom we are extremely grateful for all their support and understanding during the loco’s extended stay. A traction motor suspension bearing has also required remetalling and machining. This work has been completed by Statfold Engineering Ltd. We are hopeful of having the loco ready for testing in early Spring and returning her to North Wales in time for the running season. It will be great to have her back
The loco has proved to be a godsend – working 14 days in service faultlessly. The team at A1A Locomotives Ltd have been extremely supportive and helpful, attending to perform routine maintenance and examinations but largely allowing us to operate the locomotive using 6 specially-trained drivers. Now sheeted over for winter, 31271 was used as late as mid-November for a guards training day. Due to stay for us for at least the 2020 season, we will be in no hurry to see this excellent locomotive leave us and are in discussion with A1A about the possibility of her staying on the LR for longer.
Water leaks from 3 cylinders on A bank have continued to provide troublesome through the season. These appeared to have worsened at the Diesel Weekend, so the decision has been taken to renew the liner seals on all 6 A Bank pistons. This is a big job, but not beyond us and work is already well under way, with the A side of the power unit stripped and big end nuts undone, ready for lifting. Liner seals and new transition rubbers are on order. We are hopeful of having the work completed in time for 1566 to operate in the 2020 season. Repairs to corrosion of the floor and conduit around the Battery Isolation Switch (BIS) have also been carried out, really smartening this area of the engine room up.
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Here is our diesel weekend timetable. Unfortunately it has not been possible to schedule the use of 08195 around the other workings without losing one of the visiting locomotive trips. A freight makes a welcome return, with around 30 spaces available for ticket-holders in the brake van and LNER pigeon van . Working timetables are available by email for a £5 donation to the D7535 transport fund by contacting email@example.com.