In January 2023, work began to erect the brand-new station’s 26 1-ton canopy roof frames.
Malpas-based contractors Plant & Robinson Construction Limited undertook this major exercise, supported by the dedicated Corwen volunteer team, along with other Llangollen Railway (LR) staff and volunteers. Before being lifted into position each of the frames were assembled from 11 sub-components by the contractors’ team. 6 frames were successfully assembled, lifted and welded into place by the end of the day 1 and the rest took a few days to complete. The next phase of the work was to fit the roof cladding.
The canopy has been funded by a £191,000 UK Government Levelling Up Grant, arranged through Denbighshire County Council.
Tom Taylor, LR Trust Manager said: "As a Charitable Trust, the Llangollen Railway is looking to build upon our successes in 2022 and grow our public offering. Being able to return trains to Corwen is pivotal to our plans and to do that we need to complete our superb new station. We are extremely grateful to DCC in facilitating the distribution of this UK Government funded programme, which has enabled the canopy to be designed, built and now installed. It's very pleasing to have been able to support local businesses too, with a company based just outside Wrexham supplying the steelwork."
The station is on an embankment, commanding stunning views across both the town and into the surrounding mountains, underlining Corwen as the gateway to Eryri/Snowdonia. The canopy covers a significant proportion of the station platform and acts as a roof for the station building. The location can see high winds and the Corwen project team have worked very closely with suppliers to develop a rigorous and strong engineering solution that will ensure our canopy stands safely over the station for many years, whilst also retaining the character and atmosphere of the LR’s proud railway history.
In the work they’ve been able to recycle some historic railway artefacts alongside the new steelwork. The ornate columns that support the canopy are from Blackfriars station in London and were donated to us by Network Rail. This theme of recycling and restoration continues across other parts of the station, with platform edging stones from Liverpool Lime Street and Bala Junction and the signalbox from Weston Rhyn.
Railway Trust Chairman Phil Coles said "This is another important step in the extension of the line to Corwen. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve faced many challenge but we are determined to realise the original vision of our founding members in getting the railway permanently back to Corwen. The total cost of extending the line from our original temporary station at Corwen East is expected to be £1.25m. What has been done so far is a marvellous achievement, especially when you consider that most of the station has been built by our small but dedicated team of Corwen Project volunteers. They have an average age of 67, with some of them in their late seventies, but show no signs of running out of steam!"