Llangollen Railway is to stop buying Russian coal to power its steam engines as a result of the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The heritage attraction has also revealed the "challenging" situation it is facing as a result of soaring diesel prices.

Issues around supplies of coal for hertiage railways have also been raised with first minister Mark Drakeford.

Simon Baynes, Conservative MP for Clwyd South, raised the issue when the Welsh Labour leader appeared before Parliament's Welsh Affairs committee.

Drakeford said he was "absolutely aware" of issues around coal supplies and though the Welsh Government has a policy presumption agains further coal extraction in Wales he said it wants to "find a solution" that doesn't "undermine" that policy.

Problems surrounding coal and diesel has forced the railway to revise its service timetable.

In a statement, it says: "We currently holds good reserves of coal which were delivered before the hostilities began in Ukraine. 

"Our stocks are sufficient for around 30 days of steam operation. Further stocks of Russian steam coal are still available in the UK, however we do not feel it would be ethical to purchase any more given the horrific situation unfolding in Ukraine.


"The situation is very challenging. As well as coal supply, diesel prices are also vastly inflated, making operation of our diesel railcars and diesel locomotives more expensive too. 

"As a result, the current plan is to revise our timetable for at least the spring months, reducing both the number of trains we operate and how frequently we use steam locomotives. 

"We will be sure to publicise these changes well in advance so that customers hoping for a steam-hauled train can still travel on one."

The railway adds: "Alongside carefully managing our coal stocks, we are looking at alternative fuel sources, including a British-made processed coal known as "ovoids", which may offer us a viable alternative. 

"We are also looking into the very limited remaining coal supplies from South Wales and whether these may be able to offer us a supply. 

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"Clearly Welsh coal used to fire steam locomotives in Wales would be a great way of sourcing fuel from a more ethical supplier as well as having reduced transport miles which lowers the overall carbon impact.

"In a time where the use of fossil fuels is quite rightly being challenged, the Llangollen Railway is carefully considering the environmental impact alongside our objective of telling the very important story of our industrial and transport heritage, in which coal played such a huge part. 

"The 150 or so UK heritage railways would welcome the support of both the UK and Welsh Governments in being able to source a limited but sustainable supply of British coal. 

"Our industry support body, the Heritage Railway Association, is actively involved in discussions as to how this may be facilitated."

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