Cowgills instructed to help rescue historic Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Railway

North West business advisor Cowgills has been tasked with trying to help save historic North Wales train line Llangollen Railway.

A notice of intention to appoint Alan Coleman and Jason Elliott of Cowgills as administrators has been filed, the Bolton-based firm confirmed.

Llangollen Railway PLC, which operates the historic railway, has said that it is not legally able to continue to trade, with the company insolvent to the extent of £350,000, with £250,000 relating to engineering contract disputes.

Coleman and Elliott have been instructed by the board to try and find a buyer and save up to 15 jobs.

The line is estimated to be worth around £8-10m a year to the local economy in North East Wales.

Alan Coleman said: “This historic railway business, like so many other leisure businesses, has been hard hit by the COVID pandemic.

“Over the years the Llangollen Railway has brought enormous joy to visitors and families and we hope to be able to secure a new buyer to ensure it remains one of North Wales’ best loved visitor attractions and to protect the existing jobs.”

Work to restore the 10 mile line between Llangollen and Corwen was completed in 2019 after starting in 1975.

In a statement released last week, Llangollen Railway PLC, said: “The directors would like to acknowledge the considerable support of the Welsh Government through two significant grants, and NatWest Bank which, together with furlough payments, have enabled the company to continue to meet its commitments over recent months until now.”

It added the engineering contract disputes arose before the current board took over in October 2020 and there was “no prospect” of meeting the liabilities.

The company said it intended to re-start operations in due course, depending on legal and regulatory approvals, but warned this would “take time”.

Michael Booth, at LSH, has been appointed to market the railway and its assets and all bids must be in by close of business next Monday, March 22, 2021.