Community group wants to turn former Anglesey railway line into 18 …
A community group is continuing its campaign to transform a former railway line on Anglesey into a pathway. Community group The Friends of Lôn Las Môn have been campaigning on the subject for many years - but have recently carried out new demonstrations for the cause.
The Anglesey Central Railway once connected Amlwch on the north east coast of the island to Gaerwen at the centre of the island. Service trains once regularly rolled along the track across the island until the last freight services wrapped up in 1993.
The track then remained unused for nearly 20 years, before in 2012 a grant was given by Network Rail to a local group to clear the track. But other groups have differing ideas about what to do with the track.
Over the last decade Lein Amlwch (Anglesey Central Railway), who were given the task, have slowly been uncovering the track bit by bit, though progress is slow going. The group hopes to eventually re-open the line to passengers, which hasn't happened since 1964.
The Friends of Lôn Las Môn have a different goal in mind for the old railway track. Their plan would see an 18-mile, traffic-free route between Amlwch and Gaerwen, which would connect up with Lôn Las Cefni, for travel on to Malltraeth.(Image: Daily Post Wales)
The group recently held an event over the weekend, calling on people to support the project. Videos were also released on their Facebook page from the group's chairman Gethyn Hughes, breaking down what the group's goals were.
He said the former line would allow walkers, cyclists or any other pedestrians to be safe from roads and traffic as they travelled across the island. Over the weekend the group brought at least 300 people to Llangefni in support of the proposal.
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The actual possibility of the route becoming a path could be tricky. Legally speaking the line is a railway, as agreed in 2012 between Network Rail and Lein Amlwch, but Lôn Las Môn claims there are 'break' clauses in the 99-year agreement, but these would be at the discretion of Network Rail.
Previously a report in 2009 by sustainable transport charity, Sustrans Cymru, concluded that it could be possible for the railway to be used for a dual purpose, hosting both the railway and a greenway. For the moment though the track is still firmly in the hands of Anglesey Central Railway, whose chairman Walter Glyn Davies started the campaign to revive the railway.(Image: Anglesey Central Railway)
He said: "The team we have working on the line have been putting in superb work over these last few years. We are currently focusing on a 7-mile stretch between Llangefni and Llannerch-y-medd, thanks to having the advantage of a station on each end.
"Closing the line now would mean a major upheaval." Lôn Las Môn don't want to forget about the line by any means though, as was stressed by Adrian Williamson, another key supporter of the group.
He said: "We want to celebrate the heritage of the railway, we understand the importance of its history in the area. We'd love to see a museum or spots where the track could still be visible and preserved for people to see to go along with the multi-purpose path."
The group are concerned about the potential cost of repairing the railway, after a recent Restore your Railway report estimated the cost of returning heavy rail being £144 million. It compares to the estimated £10 million to transform it into a footpath.
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