Archive for August 9th, 2008

Come back for lost narrow gauge railway?

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Glyn Valley Tramway coach on the Talyllyn Railway,
photo Wikipedia Commons

(click to see photo in original context and details of licensing)

From the Glyn Valley Tramway website.

Just beyond Chirk lies the Ceiriog Valley, ‘A little bit of Heaven on Earth’ according to Lloyd George, and visitors to this now idyllic valley may be surprised to discover the area’s rich industrial heritage based on its rock and mineral deposits.

Initially slate was moved by packhorse from Glyn Ceiriog across the hills to Llangollen, and there loaded onto barges for onward carriage, a system that was at best slow and very uneconomical. In 1873 a narrow gauge railway was built, and pack horses gave way to horse power. Industry created the tramway and because the tramway existed it in turn gave birth to other industries. From out of the valley poured a steady stream of slate, to which in the following years was added granite, china stone, tarmacadam and even gunpowder. From the mills came cloth and perhaps the most innovative was the ‘export’ of live trout from the valley’s trout fishery.

With the arrival of steam the whole process accelerated and mixed trains of slate and other mineral products together with passenger coaches became the norm. On the journey passengers would catch glimpses of the River Ceiriog running alongside the track. When the train reached Pontfadog many passengers would take the liberty of expecting the train to wait for them while they enjoyed a drink at the Swan Inn. Often the last customers emerging from the inn would have to dash across the road and would only just manage to clamber aboard in time before the train continued along it’s way to Dolywern and then onto Glyn Ceiriog. A humorous postcard from this time claimed the tramways motto was ‘No hurry, no worry’ and that ‘ten minute stops were made to pick flowers!’

The last train ran through the valley in 1935. The news had gone round, and scores of locals turned out at Glyn to see the “tram” go by, never to return.

Now the Glyn Valley Tramway Trust have been awarded a £38,500 grant to engage external consultants to undertake preliminary work to enable the line to be reconstructed. £30,000 is being provided from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) via the Welsh Assembly Government, and an additional £8,500 is being orovided by Wrexham County Borough Council.

The Grant will be administered through Northern Marches Cymru and . The Grant will pay for the engagement of external Consultants to undertake all the detailed work required before re-construction of the Glyn Valley Tramway can begin at Chirk.

The First Part will be a High Level Study to look in detail at the overall future of the original route of the Glyn Valley tramway and how it might be re-instated in part or in total, either directly through the Trust or other interested bodies. The Second Part will cover all the detailed work required for a First Phase re-instatement at Chirk. This will include all the technical design work including Railway and Buildings, Environmental and other specialist reports. The Final Part will be a Public Exhibition / Event to present the results of the High Level Study and design of Phase 1.

More information:

  • Glyn Valley Tramway Trust website
  • Glyn Valley Tramway blog