Llanfair line announces busy and varied 2016 season
22nd December 2015
Visitors to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in 2016 will discover more trains on offer and more special attractions following major changes to the line’s timetable.
The season is set to start earlier than in previous years, on 19th March, one week before the Easter weekend, and the regular timetable will include a new intensive service in August. On these days the first departure from the Welshpool end of the line will be at 9.45am, more than an hour earlier than in previous years, and the service will include heritage diesel trains at either end of the day.
Likely to be a major attraction to photographers are the return of the mixed trains which formed the majority of workings on the line in its early life. Five vintage weekends during the season will feature train sets made up of replicas of the W&LLR’s original Great Western liveried carriages, with goods wagons and brake van attached, and shunting taking place at each end of the line.
The railway’s traditional September Gala weekend is being expanded and in 2016 will take place on Friday to Sunday, 2nd- 4th September. Following the successful visit of Statfold Barn Mallet locomotive ‘Pakis Baru No. 5’ to the 2015 event, arrangements are currently being finalised for another visiting engine, along with further attractions.
The traditional and popular Gala menu of an intensive train service, steam road vehicles, model railways, trade stands, night photography will also feature. As in previous years the Gala will be held over the same weekend as the excellent Garden Railway Show at Llanfair High School.
Further new events in 2016 will include a Country Railway Weekend in June, during which the W&LLR will be demonstrating railway operations as they would have been in the 1920s-30s, and in September an all-diesel day. The line’s heritage diesels will be hauling passenger trains, the industrial diesels and internal combustion plant putting on demonstrations.
Also planned as part of the season are an evening fish and chips train, and an afternoon tea special train, featuring the restored carriages from the Sierra Leone Government Railway.
Popular family activities including the Easter Bunny and Teddy Bear weekends will again be held in 2016, together with further events currently being planned.
The W&LLR has also announced that standard travel fares are to remain unchanged from 2015 rates, though different fares will apply for some of the special events.
“We are planning a range of attractions which we hope will encourage visitors to come to us more than once”, said W&LLR General Manager Charles Spencer. “On a given weekend the goings-on could be completely different from the previous week – or the next one!”
The W&LLR’s 2016 timetable and special events are available on this website, while regular updates will also appear on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway and the Twitter feed, @LlanfairLine. Further information can also be obtained from 01938 810441.
2016 Driver Experience Dates
19th December 2015
Bookings are now being taken for our Driver Experience courses next season. See our Driver Experience page for more details.
New Christmas Card Available
5th October 2015
SALES OF OUR 2015 CHRISTMAS CARDS HAVE NOW CLOSED. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT OUR 2016 DESIGNS.
Our Christmas cards are now available from our shops, and by mail order (at a new address). Please visit our Christmas cards page for more details. (Link removed).
Race the Train - Sunday 20th September
14th September 2015
The Rotary Club of Welshpool's annual cyclist 'Race the Train' event will be taking place on Sunday 20th September. Further details can be found on the Rotary Club's Webpage.
Teddy Bear fun at Llanfair Line
11th September 2015
Furry friends of all shapes and sizes will be much in evidence on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway on 19th and 20th September when the railway stages a Teddy Bears' Weekend.
Younger visitors to the line will be encouraged to bring their favourite teddy with them, and every child that arrives with a bear and a paying grown-up will travel for free.
Along the line, meanwhile, there will be teddy bears to spot, while the railway’s own big ted will also be on hand to meet children and their teddies, and to pose for pictures.
“Having just organised a very successful Steam Gala for the enthusiasts at the start of the month, it’s nice to focus on the railway’s many family visitors,” said Llanfair Line spokesman Andrew Charman. “We are looking forward to seeing many young visitors to the line, with their teddy bears of course!”
Round trips depart from Welshpool station at 11.15am and 2.05pm on both days, and from Llanfair Caereinion at 10am, 1pm and 3.30pm. More details including ticket prices can be found on the railway’s website, www.wllr.org.uk, or by calling 01938 810441.
Steam Gala - Updated Timetable
4th September 2015
Final preparations for this weekend's Steam Gala are well underway and we have a slightly amended timetable.
Version 3 of the Public Timetable has just been published. Other than an addition of a light engine movement on Sunday evening the timetable remains the same as Version 2 published during August.
Further information about the weekend can be found on our 2015 Steam Gala page.
October Photographic Charters
10th August 2015
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is looking forward to welcoming back the popular photographic charters organised by David Williams. On the 5th and 6th October we are planning the popular combination of No.822 'The Earl' along with the period goods train. On 7th October we shall be using No.12 'Joan' and an assortment of ex Zillertalbahn carriages. Further details and contact details for bookings can be found here.
Powys Amateur Radio Club Visit - 8th & 9th August
6th August 2015
Powys Amateur Radio Club will be running a demonstration amateur radio station for visitors to Llanfair Caereinion station on the 8th and 9th August between 11.00am and 4.00pm. There will also be a demonstration of wartime equipment. There is no extra charge for this display.
In addition to our ordinary steam train service this weekend, we'll also be operating our 'Vintage Train' using our replica Pickering Carriages and one of our Beyer Peacock locomotives. For full details see our timetable page.
Dougal heads for the big Shrewsbury Rally
21st July 2015
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s smallest steam locomotive will be a big star over the August Bank Holiday weekend, appearing at the Shrewsbury Steam Rally and travelling there in a very heritage manner.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 tank locomotive ‘Dougal’ will be taken from Welshpool to the rally site at Onslow Park, Shrewsbury, on a trailer hauled by a steam traction engine. Then on 5th September it will return to make a grand entrance at the railway’s own Steam Gala event.
While highly unusual today, the occasion will replicate the manner in which such locomotives would have been delivered to work sites by road, in the days before the rise of the articulated lorry, a time when steam ruled the roads as well as the rails.
The plan is for Dougal to depart from the Llanfair Line’s Welshpool Raven Square station during the latter part of August, for the 15-mile trip to the rally site – the exact date and time of departure is still to be finalised but will be published on the railway’s website, Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Hauling the trailer will be no ordinary traction engine, but ‘Wolverhampton Wanderer’, a crane engine built in 1929 by the well-known manufacturer of steam locomotives for both road and rail, John Fowler. The engine is finished in the livery of its owner, freight transport specialist Leonard Crane of Wolverhampton, and has even been the subject of a Corgi Toys model.
Wolverhampton Wanderer will be driven by John Glaze, renowned in the railway industry as a designer and inspector of boilers, while among the support crew will be W&LLR volunteers Gareth Jones, John Travis and Sam Billmore. Together with fellow volunteer James Newby, they have masterminded the expedition to Shrewsbury.
Dougal will be on show throughout Sunday and Monday (30th-31st August) at the rally. This is one of Shropshire’s biggest events of the year with more than 1,000 exhibits and attractions for the whole family. The loco will be the centrepiece of a W&LLR stand, which will be promoting the railway’s Steam Gala which is being held on 5th-6th September.
Following the end of the rally Dougal will spend a week in secure storage near Welshpool, and then on the eve of the Gala, on the evening of Friday 4th September the loco will arrive back at Welshpool Raven Square. This time haulage will be provided by another Fowler steam road loco, ‘Foremost’, built in 1911 and recently restored to award-winning standard by Joe Walker.
The combination will spend the night at Raven Square and then at about 9am on Saturday morning they will set off to travel to the other end of the railway at Llanfair Caereinion. On arrival, a journey that is expected to take around two hours, Foremost and Dougal will form a major part of the yard displays at Llanfair as part of the Gala, these displays also including a Sentinel steam lorry and a steam car.
Dougal’s road adventure adds yet another aspect to the W&LLR’s Gala which already boasts a number of new attractions this year, including the visit of an articulated steam locomotive that formerly worked in Indonesia, ‘Pakis Baru No 5’.
“Dougal has been out of service for a while as the loco needs some boiler repairs,” said W&LLR spokesman Andrew Charman. “This excellent initiative by our members will both keep the loco in the public eye while promoting both the Shrewsbury Steam Rally and our own Gala, in an innovative and exciting way which is sure to attract the attention of many enthusiasts.”
More details of Shrewsbury Steam Rally, including advanced ticket booking facilities, can be found at www.shrewsburysteamrally.co.uk More details of our own Gala will be available on this website shortly.
Model railways at both ends of Llanfair Gala
15th July 2015
This year’s Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway annual Gala on 5th-6th September will for the first time feature a model railway exhibition at both ends of the mid-Wales line.
While the Llanfair Garden Railway Show is a long-established event in its own right alongside the Gala, the W&LLR will also be staging its first-ever ‘Little Layouts’ exihibition in the display shed at Welshpool Raven Square station.
Former Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway Meyer loco ‘Monarch’, that normally resides in the display shed, will move outside to be displayed in hopefully the sunshine, creating space for the free-to-enter exhibition which is being organised by W&LLR member and well-known modeller in 7mm scale narrow gauge Martin Rich.
The layouts on show will be ‘Snailbeach’ in 7mm scale narrow gauge, the also narrow gauge ‘Afon Adit’ in 09 scale and built by Martin, ‘Stoke City’ a OO scale modern image diesel depot, the OO gauge ‘Marks End’ and ‘Shelf Sidings’, which will be available for visitors to the event to operate. There will also be a 16mm scale layout featuring live steam.
“This year’s show is a bit of a toe-in-the-water exercise”, says Martin. “We hope it will be successful enough to build up into a major part of the Gala in future years.”
At the other end of the line the separate-entry garden railway show is held at Llanfair Caereinion leisure centre, just up the hill from the W&LLR station and with a free bus service running between the two throughout the Gala weekend.
This show is under new management this year, well-known railway bookseller and Welsh Highland Heritage Railway management team member Steve Currinn having taken on the event and promised to develop it following the untimely death in January of previous organiser Steve Warrington.
The garden railway show always features a number of layouts featuring live-steam, battery and electric motive power, supported by 40-plus traders offering everything needed to create one’s own garden line – stock, track and accessories.
Meanwhile the W&LLR Gala will feature a number of new attractions this year including a visiting locomotive, the Statfold Barn Railway’s Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-4-0T Mallet ‘Pakis Baru No. 5’.
Built in 1905 for an Indonesian sugar mill, this loco was brought to the UK by Statfold in 2004 and restored. It is set to work several demonstration trains and play a major part in the traditional Saturday evening photography session at Llanfair Caereinion.
Other attractions include an intensive timetable including freight and mixed trains, displays of stock not normally seen in action including the ex-MOD railcar ‘The Wasp’ and Hunslet mines loco ‘Ferret’, conducted tours of the line’s Tanllan yard and stock shed, a display at Raven Square by the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum’s UK support group and featuring the W&LLR’s Sierra Leone carriages, further displays and traders at both termini. A real ale bar and refreshments will be available throughout the weekend.
And there will be more models at Llanfair – a 16mm scale layout in the workshops and the famed 009 layout ‘Under Milk Wood’, built in the 1970s by the late Dave Rowe and inspired by the writings of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Site entry to Llanfair station will cost £3 per car – parking at Welshpool will be free. Entry to the Llanfair Garden Railway Show will be £6.50 per adult with accompanied under 16s free.
Full details of the Gala on the website shortly, where discounted online tickets will be able to be pre-booked. Updates will also appear on the W&LLR Facebook page www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway. For more information contact the railway on 01938 810441.