Llangollen Station, I recall, sits beside the River Dee, which runs through an area of outstanding natural beauty; an area of natural beauty I’ve been meaning to go back to. On only my second holiday in North Wales I was accompanied by a friend of mine, who drove me to Llangollen especially to meet another friend I hadn’t seen in over a year. The plan was to walk through the town, have an ice cream, have a trip down the canal on a horse drawn barge (the horse’s name was Stan), visit a local ruined abbey and stand next to a famous landmark; all of which we did! Somehow, in amongst all that, I managed to get a cup of tea at the station buffet, which gave me time to write a couple of postcards and get a good look at the train preparing to leave.
Whilst I’d been drinking my tea the trains crew had somehow managed to turn the engine around and place it at the other end of the impressive row of carriages, at the opposite end of the platform from the buffet and my tea things. I must have used this as an excuse to walk along the platform a bit to take one last look at the beautiful locomotive before we continued our tour. Who suggested we go further, onto the bridge over the railway line I do not know, but we did and now it strikes me as something “The Railway Children” or naughty school boys in a Reverend Awdry “Thomas The Tank Engine” story would do. Lost in pre-Beeching Report, 1950’s, rose tinted, nostalgia, I waited for the train – completely forgetting about the smoke bellowing from the engines funnel!!! *cough, cough, splutter, splutter, cough, cough*.
The experience obviously did not put me off steam trains for life or phase two of my plan; running to the other side of the bridge to photograph the train heading away from. A classic example of being in the right place at the right time, but next time I’ll stand either a little to the left or a little to the right of the funnel!
If you’d like more information on the Llangollen Railway, here is the website: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/page.php?id=2