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MAJOR NEWS: Bala Lake Railway Wins Heritage Lottery Grant to Extend Carriage Shed

2nd April 2017

Following the exciting news about the purchase of the land for Bala Town station, there is further good news for the Red Dragon Project with the award of a Heritage Lottery grant, made to the Railway, of £38,500 to improve the carriage shed at Llanuwnchllyn. As well as larger and more secure accommodation for rolling stock, the extended building will provide a much improved visitor experience through disabled access and better interpretation of the heritage exhibits. A revised track layout that allows access from each end will also provide better operationally flexibility, particularly useful during the increasingly popular programme of galas events held each year.


Full details of the grant can be found on the Railway's website and Facebook page:

MAJOR NEWS: Trust Takes First Key Step Towards Securing Bala Town Station Site

18th February 2017

The Trust is thrilled to announce that yesterday (17th February 2017), the exchange of contracts took place for the first plot of land where the new Bala Town station is to be constructed. Commented the Trust's chairman, Julian Birley:


Securing the first piece of land for the new Bala Town station is a hugely significant step towards the construction of the extension of the Bala Lake Railway. The land has been paid for by the very generous donations of our supporters across the UK, showing how important the Red Dragon Project is and how it has captured people's imaginations. The Trust is indebted to the fantastic work of volunteer solicitor Lisa Williams who has been instrumental in the purchase.

The diagram below shows the land that has been purchased:

Diagram showing the plot of land
The purchased land is plot C, as highlighted on this diagram
It is the Trust's intention to purchase next the derelict warehouse (plot B on the diagram above), which, following site clearance, would allow a proper presence for the railway to be established in Bala with direct access from Hoel Aran and the adjacent car park. Further information will be published when it becomes available.

George B Photo Charter

11th February 2017

On Tuesday, 7th February, former Dinorwic Quarry Hunslet George B worked its first train in nearly 50 years during a David Williams photo charter. Thanks to the generousity of renowned railway photographer, we are delighted to present a selection of images from the event.

Economic Impact Assessment Report

7th January 2017

We are delighted to publish the findings of the Economic Impact Assessment Report that was conducted to determine the effect that the construction of the extension will have on the local economy. The report, conducted by JOP Consulting, is extremely positive and shows the significant additional benefit that the extension will bring to Bala and the surrounding area. A synopsis of the report can be found on here.

Article in Heritage Railway Magazine

23rd December 2016

The Trust's proposal to cross the River Dee on a tramway section using the existing B4403 road bridge featured in a prominent article in the main news section of issue 223 of Heritage Railway magazine, and we are delighted that the magazine has given us permission to make the full article available through our website. 

We are extremely grateful to the publishers of Heritage Railway magazine for allowing us to reproduce the article on this website.

Traffic Survey Report

17th December 2016
In June 2016,  a traffic survey was commissioned to determine the feasibility of installing traffic signals on to the B4403 that would control traffic flow across the proposed tramway section crossing the River Dee bridge. The Trust is delighted to publish the findings of this report, which show that installation of such signals would be entirely practical. Full details can be found here.

New Facebook Page

4th December 2016

The Trust is pleased to announce the launch of a brand-new Facebook page. We'll be posting regular updates as the Red Dragon project progresses, so we hope you'll follow the page to receive the latest news.

Refreshed Website

29th November 2016

The website has undergone a makeover that brings more animation and flow into the pages. There also some new content that regular visitors may like to browse, including drawings of the proposed station building at Bala Town on the route page and a new timeline on the construction page.

Article in Daily Post

21st November 2016

The Trust's plans for the Red Dragon project have been featured in an article in the North Wales Daily Post, which can be found on their website:


http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/bala-lake-railway-2m-plan-12187444


The full text of Julian Birley's quote to the paper reads as follows:


Crossing the river is the biggest hurdle we encounter in extending the railway into the town of Bala. We have commissioned a highways agency to look at the possibility of doing what we want to do in the plan and this has now been done. Paid for by one of our supporters at a cost of £6,500 this report demonstrates that the proposal is viable to run the railway down the road as a tramway and with this in mind the agency are now consulting with the county’s highways department. By adopting this plan a million pounds will be saved in engineering works. There will be no need to encroach on to the Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and it will add a novelty to the route that has been met with great support by the local residents. By having the railway cross the bridge as a tramway it will also serve to slow the traffic down approaching the town.

A meeting with Natural Resources Wales is planned for 21st November when it will be discussed how best to build the railway along the northern end of the lake. This is important so as to still provide walkers and cyclists with their own route but also to visitors to see and appreciate one of the finest views from a train anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Money has now been raised to purchase the first piece of land which will provide space for the new platforms. Fund raising now commences to raise the £85,000 for the site of the station building itself opposite the car park in Aran Street. Please support us by donating through our website www.balalakerailwaytrust.org.uk.


Online Donations

16th November 2016

We are pleased to announce that the Trust is now able to accept online donations through the MyDonate portal.

Revised Route Plans Published

28th October 2016

The Trust is pleased to publish revised plans for the route of the extension into Bala Town. Working in partnership with the Highways Agency, it is now planned that the railway will use a tramway section across the River Dee bridge (similar to that found on the Welsh Highland Railway across Britannia Bridge). The revised plans can be found on the route page.

In addition, the Trust has been engaging with the various stakeholders involved in the project. Commented Julian Birley, Chairman of the Trust:


One of the most important aspects of preparing for the extension of the railway into the town has been the Economic Impact Survey. During the season, our visitors have been surveyed and their responses are now being analysed. However, the views of local businesses are also of vital importance, and so invitations were sent out for a meeting with the Trust and market survey agency at Llanuwchllyn Station on 13th October.

We were delighted that nineteen businesses attended and a very useful meeting was conducted. Their response was extremely positive and it was very reassuring that the railway is regarded as the premier tourist attraction in the area. Once concluded I met with John Pritchard the surveyor who was very brief in his reaction saying: "It does not get any better than that." 

With the surveys and meeting concluded, we await the completed report. In the meantime, we continue the detailed and complex discussions with Natural Resources Wales and the Highways Department.