Press Release: Double recognition for Bala Lake Railway at industry awards
The Bala Lake Railway received two industry accolades at the annual Heritage Railway Association Awards held at Grand Station, Wolverhampton on Saturday February 6th 2016.
The Steam Railway award, presented by one of the country’s leading railway magazines, was awarded to the Bala Lake Railway, along with selected members of the Great Little Trains of Wales - the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland, Talyllyn, Corris, Welshpool & Llanfair and Vale of Rheidol railways in recognition of the spirit of partnership and close cooperation between them.
Additionally, the Bala Lake Railway was runner-up in the HRA Special Award for a Meritorious Project for the repatriation of ‘Winifred’ from the USA and her restoration to working order in original quarry condition. The railway’s young Chief Engineer, Rob Houghton, was specially mentioned for leading the sympathetic overhaul of the engine, and was presented with a framed certificate.
'Winifred' was sold from the Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda in 1965 and shipped over to the USA where she spent nearly five decades in Indianapolis before Bala Lake Railway Director Julian Birley succeeded in negotiating her purchase and returning her home to Wales in 2012. Over the next three years she was systematically stripped down, overhauled and re-assembled in the railway’s workshops, before her triumphant return to service on her 130th birthday in April 2015.
The Bala Lake Railway has announced exciting plans to extend the railway into the centre of Bala from the present terminus on the outskirts, and has just launched an urgent appeal to raise £10,000 to purchase enough rail for the extension which has suddenly become available with the closure of a MOD depot near Gretna Green. Details of the appeal, and how to make a donation can be found at: www.balalakerailwaytrust.org.uk