BALA Lake Railway (BLR) picked up the 'Most Outstanding Visitor Attraction' prize at the Heritage Railways Association annual awards dinner.

The event, held in Birmingham on February 8, is regarded at 'The Oscars' for the heritage railway movement.

Out of the 160 heritage railways in the UK, the BLR won the award for the Most Outstanding Visitor Attraction in recognition of the opening of the new heritage centre at Llanuwchllyn.

The centre, made possible by a Heritage Lottery Grant, protects and displays artefacts relevant to the slate industry of north Wales.

This includes not only locomotives but less obvious items such as a variety of waggons, tools, signs and a demonstration of the different types of rail that have been used over the years.

This all goes towards telling the story of how important the slate industry was to the region. The centre is open every day that trains run on the railway and has proved very popular with visitors to the line.

A spokesperson for BLR said: "Up against stiff opposition such as The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden and the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, the team at Bala Lake Railway are ecstatic to have won this ward.

"This goes to further underpin the importance of extending the railway into the town itself."

Members of the Llangollen Railway Trust's Corwen station project team also attended the Heritage Railways Association awards ceremony.

Denbighshire Free Press:

PICTURE: left to right volunteers Peter Neve, Paul Reynolds, Richard Dixon-Gough and the Railway's Vice President Gordon Heddon pick up the certificate.

They came away with a Runners Up certificate in the Large Group category for the volunteer workforce's achievement in laying track and point work to complete the ten-mile railway from Llangollen station through to the buffer stop at Green Lane, Corwen, as well as the provision of a siding.

The completion of the track work to connect the Corwen station loop to the railway's railhead had been submitted for an award in which competition came from four other entries.

Project Leader Richard Dixon-Gough said, " We are delighted the challenge of laying new track last autumn has received some acknowledgement and we shall be back next year looking to receive the Award for completion of the new Corwen station."