It is still a little over a month before passenger trains start running again on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, but the staff and volunteers of the popular mid-Wales line have been very busy over the winter.
The railway has recently concluded its traditional February Workshop Week, which sees a number of volunteers descend upon Llanfair Caereinion to boost the winter maintenance on the locomotives. This year they came from near and far, the closest from Llanfair itself, the furthest from Canada, and some spent just a day in the workshops, others the whole week.
Highlights amongst a great deal of work carried out included making a replacement chimney for original 1902-built locomotive No. 1 ‘The Earl’, a new ashpan for No. 12 ‘Joan’ built in 1927, and continuing the restoration of No. 10 ‘Sir Drefaldwyn’, which it is hoped will return to steam later in 2015 after 15 years out of service.
Meanwhile the railway’s dedicated track gang has been busy on essential renewals which can only be carried out in the winter months while the railway is closed – despite the less than helpful weather prevalent at this time of year. This winter major track relaying has taken place close to Cyfronydd station and around the roadside halt of Sylfaen.
The operations department has not been relaxing too much either – a small group of members spending a weekend giving the carriages a deep clean ready to welcome the first customers of the new season at Easter.
W&LLR acting general manager Kevin Heywood said; “Our volunteers are looking forward to showing our passengers everything we have achieved during the winter months. Cold and damp conditions are never the most pleasant to work in, yet they continue to give valuable time to ensure that all is ready for the new season.”
The railway opens for its 2015 season on Saturday 28th March and over the Easter weekend, 3rd-6th April, will stage ‘The Great Easter Eggspress’. The Easter Bunny will be much in evidence and children travelling on the train will be encouraged to spot the Easter Eggs placed en route, while enjoying the free chocolate egg given to them with their train tickets.
Full details of the 2015 timetable and the Easter special trains can be obtained from our timetable page, or by calling 01938 810441.