LLANGOLLEN SANTA SPECIAL HITS HUNTING DOG
The Llangollen Railway is seeking to bring legal action against a hunt whose hounds swarmed onto the track during the operation of Santa trains on December 9, with at least one dog being killed when the pack ran into the path of a train.
The incident occurred on the single-line section between Glyndyfrdwy and Deeside Loop, as the 1.35pm Santa train from Llangollen, packed with families, was returning from Carrog behind GWR ‘2884’ 2-8-0 No. 3802.
Members of the hunt, which was still apparently ‘unidentified’ more than a week after the incident, arrived on the scene to take away the body of the dog, giving rise to internet reports that children on the train were “traumatised and crying” at what they had witnessed.
Making it clear that no hunt had permission to be on the track, LR Business Manager Liz McGuinness described the incident as “highly regrettable.” The locomotive crew, she said, were badly shaken, and while suggesting that reports of children on the train crying and suffering from trauma were exaggerated, she admitted that “an air of quiet” descended upon the train immediately after the incident. The train arrived back at Llangollen some 25 minutes late.
The LR announced afterwards that the railway’s management would conduct “a full investigation”, though this now appears to have been taken over by North Wales Police Rural Crimes Unit, through investigating officer PC David Allen.
The railway is, however, determined to make an example of the hunt by bringing a prosecution to highlight its behaviour.
Said Liz McGuinness: “There were a lot of dogs, but they were not under control. The outcome could have been so much worse. We are live rail, and no different to Network Rail in that when animals and people stray onto the track, it becomes very dangerous. There could have been fatalities. We have to be seen to be doing something other than just hoping it doesn’t happen again. People should wake up to the fact that they have to take greater responsibility.”