Sunday 21 March 2021

Bid to Save Llangollen Railway as Assets Put up For Sale

Following the announcement earlier this year that the Llangollen Railway PLC is not legally able to continue to trade after becoming insolvent, the railway will see its assets go up for sale. Now the railway is appealing for help to secure the line's future.

 Llangollen Railway PLC has said that it is not legally able to continue to trade with the company insolvent to the extent of £350,000 - with £250,000 relating to engineering contract disputes.

Photo: John Berresford

Alan Coleman and Jason Mark Elliott of Cowgill Holloway Business Recovery LLP have been formally engaged to assist the Directors with placing Llangollen Railway Plc into Administration.

The operating and engineering assets, together with the business potential, are currently being marketed for sale and the administrators have been instructed by the board to try and find a buyer and save up to 15 jobs.

Final and/or indicative offers will be required by 5.00pm on Mon 22nd Mar 2021.
See here for details of the sale.

The line is estimated to be worth around £8-10m a year to the local economy in north-east Wales.

2,580hp Brush Type 4 D1566 (Class 47/4 47449), built in 1964 at Crewe Locomotive Works.
Owned by Llangollen Diesel Group.

The Trust has released the following press release.

The directors of Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd have greatly appreciated the extensive and sensitive support of the media when the impending demise of the PLC was announced. The coverage engendered much support from the general public for which the directors would like to express their gratitude.

We have also received much support from local MP, Simon Baynes and AM, Mark Isherwood, Denbighshire County Council and Llangollen Town Council, all of which is much appreciated too.

Whilst the PLC will go into administration or liquidation shortly, the Trust remains fully solvent and debt-free, and the directors will be considering the options over the next few days and weeks. The first task is to preserve the line and then to bid for such assets of the PLC as limited resources will permit. Directors and key volunteers are compiling a list of assets they consider essential for the continued running of the railway.

The Trust does own 3 locomotives as well as passenger rolling stock which, together with the Railcar and Diesel Groups, will be able to operate after regulatory, legal and licensing matters have been resolved.

The assets of the PLC are now effectively available for sale to the highest bidder. Consequently the Trust needs to raise as much money as possible for this purpose in 3 ways:
Donations – the easiest way to donate is perhaps online at and click the Donate button, or via our Facebook page.

For taxpayers, the Railway can apply for 25% Gift Aid. Alternatively, supporters are invited to send cheques payable to Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd to The Station, Abbey Road, Llangollen LL20 8SN.

Contrary to some comments in social media, every donation will be for the benefit of the

Opportunity to acquire heritage assets – by bidding for the assets, such as rolling stock, individuals or groups have a unique opportunity to acquire heritage coaches and other items. It is hoped that, following sale, the items would remain on the Railway.

Thirdly, the opportunity to purchase one or more of the Trust’s steam locomotives – the Trust does not have the income or resources to own and maintain them. Sale of one or more, if completed quickly, would enable the Trust to be a more competitive bidder for the assets of the PLC. Again, it is hoped that the locomotives would remain on the Railway.

We hope to be able to run trains again later this year but placing a timescale on that would be purely speculative at the moment.

The volunteers building Corwen station have made excellent progress, albeit necessarily slowed by lockdown, and we do anticipate being able to run to Corwen when the Railway reopens.

Shareholders of the PLC are reminded that any annual ticket allocation entitlements and lifetime passes will continue to be honoured. 
Shareholders would need to join the Trust if they are not members already.

The directors would like to take this opportunity to appeal for members and volunteers to join what is one of the most scenic lines in the heritage movement.

“It is the aim of the directors to refocus the Trust as an outward looking organisation centred on delivery of a high quality visitor experience, and strengthen partnerships with external agencies to help develop our business plan and articulate what is unique about our railway, its situation and how it complements Llangollen, Corwen and the Dee Valley,” commented chairman, Pete Edwards. “This will require a significant culture change at board level as well as elsewhere, as we look at how we tie in with the cultural life of of the Dee Valley and how we can enhance the events and locations for which Llangollen and the surrounding area are already well known.”

Anyone wishing to contact the Railway, please do so by e-mail at and details will be passed on as appropriate.

See our Focus posting from 2020 here from when the line to Corwen was connected