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Major announcement for Llanfair railway

Created on 23/05/2016 @ 11:18
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Plans by the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway to significantly improve its facilities have been boosted by an agreement to purchase industrial units adjoining Llanfair Caereinion station.

At the preservation company’s Annual General Meeting, the trustees announced that contracts had been exchanged for the site owned by Colinette Yarns. This consists of five industrial units, located next to the railway’s Keyse Cottage volunteer block and running alongside its existing running shed, plus a small car park.

On this site it is intended to construct a new and larger mechanical engineering workshop, which will incorporate the railway’s carriage and wagon shop. It will release space at the Tanllan sidings facility to provide extra carriage accommodation, and crucially release the space at Llanfair currently occupied by the workshop on which to build a new visitor centre.

The Colinette purchase is the most significant progress so far of the W&LLR’s Major Developments Programme, which was launched at the 2015 AGM and has as its goal to improve the railway’s operations, enhance volunteer enjoyment and improve the visitor experience. This project has already produced recommendations for both termini, the intermediate stations and the lineside.

Central to the recommendations was the need for expanded visitor facilities at Llanfair Caereinion station, including more hospitality space, a museum, and a site entrance closer to the car park, whilst retaining the existing heritage buildings in their current and original locations. To provide these expanded facilities would require relocating or redeveloping the present workshop, which no longer meets the railway’s needs.

Renewal of the Llanfair workshop was first considered in 2006, and some funding was allocated.

“Trustees now consider that this renewal has become the priority project in order to provide the space to unlock the major development proposals at Llanfair,” said W&LLR chairman Steve Clews.

In November 2015 the railway learned that the Colinette site might be placed on the market. “Our feasibility group working on possible sites for a combined workshop, woodwork shop and paint shop added the Colinette site to the options and it was judged the best solution  – providing the space needed, located at the station site and allowing an increase in storage space at Tanllan carriage sheds,”  Steve added.

In early 2016 the Colinette site was put up for sale and the W&LLR trustees entered negotiations for purchase. These negotiations resulted in Friday’s exchange of contracts.

A project team will now be set up to produce a detailed design for the site and construction is scheduled to start late in 2016.

Some capital for this first phase of the Major Developments Programme has already been provided thanks to generous donations and legacies. The W&LLR will shortly be launching a major appeal aiming to complete the funding, and details of this appeal will be released in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, an agreement has been reached for the sale of the W&LLR’s Resita 0-8-0T locomotive No. 764.425 to Handel mit Eisenbahnmaterial Georg Hocevar, based in Graz, Austria.

The locomotive, built in 1957, was purchased from Romania and arrived on the W&LLR in 2007. However it suffered a number of reliability issues on the challenging Welsh line and was withdrawn from service in 2013 following a major motion failure.

The railway understands that the locomotive is to be restored to working order. The sale also includes the chassis of sister locomotive No. 764.423, which the W&LLR also currently owns, and both locomotives are expected to leave the line before the end of June. 


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