LLANGOLLEN Railroad volunteers celebrated the arrival of the first steam train of the 2021 season in Carrog.
Great Western Railway Heavy Freight Locomotive 3802 departed at 10:30 am from Llangollen and was the first such steam train since October on the Dee Valley Line.
Despite the wet weather, good numbers boarded the train to run behind the 3802. There was an air of enthusiasm from the volunteers gathered as the steam returned to the tracks, and members of the public were excited to join the extended drive to Carrog.
The heritage Wickham railcar completed the steam train offering 75-minute weekend service.
The certification of the locomotive was completed to the satisfaction of the ORR (Office des Chemins de Fer et des Routes) thanks to the hard work of Service Motive members who had prepared No.3802 for its return to steam.
For the crews on the platform, it was a day of reassessing their skills to drive and fire the engine after a ten-month hiatus in operations.
For the first trip, Martin Fuller was the driver accompanied by firefighter Steph Ellwood.
LRT Chairman Peter Edwards said: “The resumption of a steam transport service in Llangollen this weekend is the culmination of a huge effort on the part of our volunteers and our small staff. . This is an important step in our return to full operation.
“We cannot afford to be complacent, however, we depend on the continued support of the Welsh government and we still have challenges to overcome if we are to bring the railway back to stability and profitability.”
Rail services have been gradually reintroduced to the railroad since July, when an interim service with the heritage diesel wagon initially operated to Berwyn.
These were then extended to Glyndyfrdwy when the engineering work was completed.
The heritage diesel service proved popular with visitors wishing to access walking areas in the Dee Valley and the revenue generated from the tickets usefully contributed to the overhead costs of the railway, pending the return of the train to steam.
Steam trains will run on weekends and holidays, with diesel railcars running Tuesday through Friday in August.