The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – Part 1 – The Abandoned Town Section

The featured image above is of a painting by Eric Bottomley. The artist comments: “Nearing the end of BR operations in 1956, Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T No. 823 (The Countess) crosses Church Street, Welshpool with a cattle train.” A print can be purchased here. [7]

This satellite Image shows the W&LLR as it exists in the 21st century and the BR mainline. [Google Earth]

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) [1] is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway in Powys, Wales. The line is about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long and runs eastwards from the village of Llanfair Caereinion via Castle Caereinion to the town of Welshpool. The headquarters of the line are at Llanfair Caereinion. [2]

The heritage line is a very significant part of the former/original light railway. The original line entered the town of Welshpool running through the streets of the town to meet the Cambrian Railway mainline linking Whitchurch to Aberystwyth at the old Welshpool Railway Station. [4] This post focusses on that abandoned length of railway.

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Crossing Church St in Welshpool
Church Street, Welshpool as it appeared on an old monochrome postcard. This image is embedded from flickr where it features on the feed of Glen F. [8]

The W&LLR opened in 1903 (4th April 1903) it was worked by the Cambrian. A platform was provided to the north of the original station on the west side of the line at the south-east end of the goods yard. Transhipment facilities were also built in the goods yard so that goods could be exchanged between standard and narrow gauge trains. [4]

Interestingly, that station was originally built by the Oswestry & Newtown Railway, its original station opened on 14th August 1860. [3] The line was initially operated by the London & North Western Railway before being absorbed by the Cambrian Railways, which became part of the Great Western Railway at the grouping on 1st January 1923. [4]

The 1949 revision of the 6″ Ordnance Survey which was published in 1953 shows the site of the Welshpool Railway Station. The W&LLR enters the map extract at the top-left and is shown curving southwards and crossing Smithfield Road to enter the station site. [5]
This ESRI Image from the National Library of Scotland shows that the old mainline is now closely followed by a major road (A483). The old station building still exists but is in use as a shopping venue. A replacement station can be seen on the East side of the A483. A short length of Smithfield Road (B4381) runs to the Northwest of the old Station building and now links in with the modern roundabout. As in the past it curves round to cross the railway, only now being carried over the A483 as well. Severn Road still leads from the town-centre to the old railway station. The old cattle market is now the site of a Tesco Superstore. [23]
Welshpool Railway Station in the 21st century, on its site to the East of the A483 and the old railway station. [24]
Welshpool mainline railway station in the 1920s. The photograph is taken from the road bridge which carried the B4381 9modern numbering system0 over the railway to the South of the station. The W&LLR facilities were to the left on the other side of the station building and separated from it by Smithfield Road, (c) John Alsop. [25]
The front face of the mainline station at Welshpool. This image was shared on the Facebook Page of the W&LLR [34] as a comment on another shared image. [40]
This photograph was taken from the North of the station site in 2011. The station building was still is use but the railway had been realigned to accommodate the new route of the A483. The new station platforms were separated from the station building by the A483 in the early 1990s. the photographer is standing on what were once the W&LLR facilities. (c) M.J. Richardson, 4th March 2011, it is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence. [26]
The old railway station buildings at Welshpool, viewed from the North. The footbridge provides pedestrian access to the replacement station on the East side of the A483. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This view is from the South and shows the old railway station and the A483 the standard gauge line runs to the right of the fenceline at the right side of the image. The modern station is just beyond the footbridge, also on the right of the image. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This view is what can be seen from the road-overbridge to the South of the old station in the 21st century. As above, the old station building is on the left of the image, the A483 dominates the centre of the photo and the railway is on the right with the station just beyond the footbridge. [Google Streetview, September 2018]
The curved facilities of the W&LLR can be seen on this extract from an aerial image held by Historic England and made available on the Britain from Above website (WPW061717). The W&LLR is shown separated from Smithfield Road and the standard-gauge by hedging and a white 5-bar gate. Perhaps it is worth noting the large number of horse-boxes on the standard-gauge siding which runs perpendicular to the standard-gauge mainline. It provided access to the town’s cattle market and was known as Smithfield Siding. [6]
This image was taken from a point close to the bottom left of the image immediately above. The road sign somewhat obscures the view of a grassed area which once was the site of the W&LLR yard. [Google Streetview, September 2021]

The next three images are embedded from the Science Museum Picture Library, they all focus on the W&LLR facilities adjacent to the mainline railway station in Welshpool.

Looking across the W&LLR sidings at Welshpool from the West. The cattle market and its siding are at the top-left of the image. The tracks in the foreground curve round to the right. A splendid variety of wagons can bee seen on the nearest track. This image is also embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [12]

This photograph appears to have been taken from Smithfield Road looking Northeast along the W&LLR sidings at Welshpool. The cattle market is in the background. This image is also embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [13]

This image shows a brake van and coal wagons at the transshipment shed in Welshpool. This image is again embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [14]

This photograph shows The Earl in charge of a short train which is probably sitting in the line to the East of Smithfield Road which served the transshipment shed. This picture was taken in 1956 and was shared on the W&LLR Facebook Page on 5th May 2020. [39]
In this view from the Southwest, two sheep wagons sit in the W&LLR yard. Beyond them is the Welshpool cattle market. (Photo by Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images). [22]
Right at the end of steam on the mainline an opportunity was taken to set up this photo which comes from the W&LLR Archive. The Earl was posed with a small former Great Western tank engine. This image appeared on the Feacebook Page of the W&LLR [34] on 7th April 2020. It was entitled ‘Dignity and Impudence’. [36]
An enthusiasts’ special train awaits departure for Llanfair Caereinion shortly before total closure of the line. The old main line station can be seen in the background, so the photograph is taken from Smithfield Road, which can be seen on the right side of the photograph curving to the left and starting to rise to cross the standard gauge lines which ran beyond the station building. Regular passenger trains ceased in the 1930s. © Copyright Flying Stag and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [21]
In exactly the same location, a Stephenson Locomotive Society trip on the W&LLR is ready to set off from the Welshpool Station in June1954. This image was shared on the W&LLR’s Facebook page [34] on 18th October 2018, (c) Godfey Yeomans. [38]

When the train shown in the image above set off for Llanfair Caereinion it crossed Smithfield Road in the foreground and traversed the W&LLR goods yard before heading just North of West towards the town centre. It ran jut to the North of the Lledan Brook which threaded its way through the town. On its journey the train would have crossed the Shropshire Union Canal on a girder bridge which is still in existence in the 21st century. The location is shown centre-left of the map extract immediately below.

The W&LLR left the goods yard immediately alongside the old cattle market and headed West-northwest parallel to Severn Road. Its route was immediately on the North side of the Lledan Brook. It crossed the Shropshire Union Canal on the bridge illustrated in modern images below [5]
Former railway bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal
The bridge originally carried the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, © Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0). [20]
The bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal which at one time carried the W&LLR. The picture is taken from the West side of the canal at the South end of the canal wharf. [Google Streetview, June 2018]
The same bridge, this time viewed from Mill Lane Bridge some distance North along the Shropshire Union Canal. [Google Streetview, September 2021]
This picture was taken from immediately alongside the Canal Wharf to the South of Mill Lane Bridge, (c) Julien Mason, January 2016. [Google Streetview]
The W&LLR ran from the canal bridge just off this image to the left, along what is now a footpath beside a large car park. The route is marked by the red line and passes behind the hedge which dominates the right side of this picture. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The line ran along behind the modern hedge towards the town centre. {Google Streetview, June 2021]
The route continues behind the hedge and along the footpath between the brick wall and the wooden two bar fence. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Much of Welshpool town centre has been redeveloped and roads have been significantly realigned and a gyratory added for traffic on the A458, Salop Road. The bottom arm of the gyratory can be seen entering the image above from the right and heading away from the camera at the centre of the image. This location appears on the next 6″ OS Map extract below.

The route of the W&LLR crossing Church Street as drawn on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. [5]
The gyratory on the A458 as it appears in the 21st century on Google Earth satellite imagery. The red line shows the route of the old railway as drawn on the 6″ OS Map of 1949 (published 1953). [Google Earth, March 2022]
This view shows the modern gyratory. The blue line shows the route of the W&LLR as shown on the 1949 map extract. But this does not appear to be correct. The route as shown in pictures while it was still active, shows the line running to the right side of the white fronted block near the centre of the image. Which means that the red line is the more likely route of the railway! [Google Streetview, June 2021]

It is worth pausing for a moment. I am not usually one for calling to question OS Mapping, but it appears that in this case the cartographers have followed the route of the brook, rather than the route of the railway when they drew the railway onto the 6″ OS Maps of 1949. Interestingly the line does not appear on earlier versions of the 6″ OS Maps. I have reproduced the 1938 revision below. It seems as though the brook was culverted from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ as marked on the plan.

The railway followed a slightly more northerly line than the brook reaching Church Street halfway between the old alignment of Union Street and the brook.

Lledan Brook can be seen culverted between points ‘A’ and ‘B’ on this 1938 6″ OS Map extract. It is easy to understand why the cartographers may have made a mistake. The actual route of the line was along the ‘path’ through the Vicarage garden which is shown dotted as a track and then as a footpath reaching Church Street between the ‘H’ at the end of ‘Church’ and the ‘S’ of ‘St’. [5]

The red line drawn on the Google Streetview image above is supported by a number of things. The first being the building to the left of the line in the monochrome image immediately below.

RD9336a (1963/07 - 8).  Church Street Level Crossing, Welshpool.
Embedded from flickr, this image shows the route of the railway where it crossed Church Street. Compare this with the modern Google Streetview image below, (c) Ron Fisher. [9]
Looking West across the line of Church Street. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

It seems reasonable to assert that the building shown is the same one in each image. This is further supported by the W&LLR Town Trail which has a display board and mural on the end wall of this building. This is shown below.

A mural and Town Trail Board at the location mentioned above. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Further support for this can be seen in the next two images. The first of which is taken from a locomotive travelling along the line towards the railway station in Welshpool in the mid-20th century. The second is a Google Streetview image which includes both the mural and in the background the Queens Hotel.

An enthusiasts’ train pauses as it passes through the back streets of Welshpool. The photograph is taken from the cab window of the locomotive on the final approach to the terminus alongside the main line station. This length of track was abandoned when the line was later reinstated as a heritage railway. The building dominating the distant centre area of the picture is the Queens Hotel. © Copyright Flying Stag and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [19]
The Town Trail mural and the Queen’s Hotel. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

Since the gyratory has been built the immediate area has changed considerably. At this location trains crossed Church Street and disappeared into a narrow ginnel.

One of the line’s two steam loco’s awaits clearance to cross Church Street on its way to the transshipment sidings at Welshpool Station. This picture was shared on the W&LLR’s Facebook Page [34] on 14th December 2021. [35]

One of the W&LLR’s two steam locomotives brings a train through the narrow ginnel onto Church Street on its way down to Welshpool Station. The shop front that we noticed above appears again on this photograph from the mid-20th century. [15]

No. 822, The Earl brings its train across Church Street on its way to Welshpool railway station. [43]
This video shows a W&LLR train leaving the ginnel and crossing Church Street. It picks up the various features of the line and its surroundings that we have already mentioned. [27]
The last three or four seconds of this video see an enthusiasts’ train running up towards Church Street through a grassed area. [28]

A counter-argument about the alignment is recorded in Peter Johnson’s book about the W&LLR. He says that the application to the Light Railway Commissioners on 17th April 1897 described the route as follows, the route would “commence near the Welshpool railway station, at the junction of Smithfield and Severn Roads. … It would run along the easterly side of Smithfield Road for 200ft and the proceed in a Westerly direction, crossing the Shropshire Union Canal at the northern end if the aqueduct before following the course of the Lledan brook at the side of the vicarage grounds to Church Street, which it would cross, continuing to follow the brook before crossing Union Street and the Back Road near their junctions with Hall Street, taking in the property known as the ‘Seven Stars’. It would then run at the back of the houses on Back Road and behind the Armoury to Raven Square.” [30, p51]

The passage in bold italics suggests that the proposed railway would follow the edge of the vicarage garden and remain close to the Lledan Brook. This was the route chosen for the much earlier tramroad which connected Standard Quarry with the Shropshire Union Canal to the East of the town centre. The red route shown above runs through what was the vicarage garden and does not remain close to the brook.

The old tramroad route is illustrated by Cartwright & Russell on a plan of routes through the town centre which is shown immediately below. [41: p21]

Of incidental interest is Cartwright & Russell’s assertion that the tramway through the centre of Welshpool was the first railway anywhere to use chaired track. [41: p16] It was one of a series of tramroads owned by the Earl of Powys. There were five such tramroads which were built under the provisions of the Ellesmere and Montgomeryshire Canal Acts of 1793/94. Those Acts granted the building of rail feeders up to three miles in length to connect with the new waterway. Cartwright & Russell tell us that five such lines were laid in the area between Welshpool and Llynclys (south of Oswestry). [41: p14] The shirt tramroad through the centre of Welshpool was constructed in 1817 to carry granite quarried from the Standard Quarry and survived for just over thirty years. [41: p16]

Plan entitled ‘Routes through Welshpool’ as included in Cartwright & Russell’s book. Immediately to the right of ‘ST’ in UNION ST’ the tramroad can be seen to dogleg away from the future tramroad route. That deviation approximates to the line of the Lledan Brook. [41: p21]

The route finally chosen for the railway was varied to run through the vicarage garden but remained within the Limit of Deviation allowed for in the Order for the scheme. The extremely tight turns shown on the 1949 survey and suggested on Cartwright & Russel’s plan of the tramroad route seem impractical for steam-powered transport and photo evidence suggests the line ran closer to Union Street.

Johnson includes a plan drafted by A.J. Collin in 1901 showing the route of the line from Church Street through buildings and along the line of the brook but which shows it avoiding the sharp s-bend in the brook by cutting through existing properties on Church Street to the North of the brook and seemingly necessitating the demolition of frontages on Church Street and some ancillary buildings behind them. [30: p84]

It appears from the photographic evidence that demolition of only one frontage to Church Street was ultimately required, although Cartwright & Russell show three being demolished and a single property being built to fill the void left by the demolition. [41: p33]

Johnson notes [30: p88] that the vicarage boundary wall was realigned to accommodate the railway which suggests that the actual route was not as shown on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey.

Johnson also comments that there were “three viaducts over the Lledon brook, the line being carried directly along the course of the brook for some little distance by means of longitudinal rail beams supported by cross girders (rolled joists) which in turn rested on the masonry sides of the stream. There were about forty-five of these joists of varying span, the longest being 17ft 3in. There were two culverts, of 3ft and 4ft diameter.” [30: p99]

To bring this discussion to a conclusion, the line shown in red on the plan below is most probably the line taken by the W&LLR. The block of properties to the West of Church Street clearly should have been shown as two separate blocks with an alley (or ginnel) between.

A repeat of an earlier image this map extract shows the probable line of the old railway in red. [5]
The NLS (National Library of Scotland has 1:500 plans of Welshpool on record and available on line. This extract comes from those plans and was surveyed in 1884, published in 1885. This was sometime before the construction of the W&LLR. It shows the path of the brook through the centre of Welshpool. By this date the Lledan Brook had been culverted either side of Bull Bridge (on Church Street on the right of the extract) to Hopkins Passage/Puzzle Square. It then curved tightly in an s-bend before passing under Bebb’s Passage. When the W&LLR was built, crossed church Street to the North of the brook and then ran along the line of the brook from the back wall of properties on Church Street to Union Bridge which appears in the top left of this extract. This length of the railway is shown on the next but one image below. [29]
A matching extract from the ESRI satellite imaging provided by the NLS. The road realignment (Union Street) brings Westbound traffic very close to the building on Church Street which was immediately on the South side of the line. The last building before the gyratory when travelling North on Church Street is the one on which the mural has been painted. The redline shows the approximate route of the railway and as a result also shows, on the left half of the image, the approximate alignment of the culverted brook (see above). [29]
This plan is included in Cartwright & Russell’s book about the W&LLR. It confirms the alignment to the North of Bull Bridge. The evidence is overwhelming: the line drawn on the 1949 Ordnance Survey is incorrect. [41: p33]
This image carried by the Montgomeryshire Express was included on a Chasewaterstuff wordpress site. [49]
A colourised version of the same image discovered on ‘pinterest’. [50]
Welshpool and Llanfair railway running through Town Centre in August 1964. The photographer comments: “A … view of the then disused section of the line before it was lifted through the town. Note how close the railway came to the adjacent buildings. The track here was laid on longitudinal beams with inside protective steel plates across the stream between Church Street and Brook Street.” © Copyright Richard Bird and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [18]
The Narrows in Welshpool. The length of track visible in the colour image above is being traversed by the inaugural train in the preservation era. The line was very little used as planning approval for the preservation railway to operate on the town-section of the line was not forthcoming. This image is embedded from the PressReader Website. [45]
Just a little further West, the train sits at the same point as the man is standing in the colour image above from 1964 (c0 David Dilnot. [47]
The approximate line of the W&LLR is shown by the red line on this image which looks West along the new length of Union Street/Brook Street. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
In the far top-right of this photograph, a W&LLR train can be seen on the length of the railway to the East of Union Street in front of the black & white timbered properties. The locomotive is off the picture to the right. An extract from this image appears below. [42]
A Good brake and loaded open wagons head towards Church Street in the charge of one of the W&LLR’s locos which is sadly of scene to the right. [42]
In preservation one of a number of very occasional trips along the line through the town in 1963 was captured in colour cine-film. This is a still from that film which should the train leaving ‘The Narrows’ heading for Raven Square. The film is made available for free by the British Film Institute, © 2022 British Film Institute [51]
A little further onto Union Street close to H. Ballard & Sons, Motor Engineers premises, © 2022 British Film Institute. [51]
This image shows a stamp from 2014. The image which was used to create the stamp was taken in 1953 and shows No. 822 ‘The Earl’ simmering as it waits for a car to be moved off the tracks through the town. The ‘Narrows’ is just ahead of the loco. [16]

‘The Earl’ on the First Day Cover for stamps produced in 2014.

The first day cover for the series of stamps to which the stamp shown above belongs. The stamps were listed as ‘Classic Locos of Wales’. [31]

This modern image is taken from approximately the same location as the older image above. The red line is the approximate route of the W&LLR. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Looking North along the line of the Lledan Brook from Union Street. The route continues to be culverted. The photograph is taken from Union Bridge which was crossed by the light railway. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Turning around, this is the scene that confronts the photographer. The route of the old line is again shown by the redline. Back before the construction of the line the Seven Stars Public House would have stood over the line ahead beyond the buildings fronting the road to the right. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Locomotive No822, The Earl again, immediately in front of H. Ballard & Son’s premises at almost exactly the same location at the white van on the Google Streetview image above. This image appeared as part of the discussion on the Facebook Page of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. It was posted by Anthony Turton on 22nd March 2020. [33].
The 1949 survey again. [5] The Seven Stars Pub. is the building at the top end of Hall Street and it is not accurately drawn as by 1880 the corner had been removed to give a reasonable road alignment on Brook Street as shown on the 1:500 plan below. However, the building was demolished to make was for the railway and should not appear on this 1949 6″ Map. The plan taken from the book by Cartwright & Russell [41: p33] confirms the demolition of the pub and the alignment of the railway.
The Seven Stars Pub was demolished to make was for the W&LLR. The line of the railway is again marked approximately by the red line superimposed on the OS Map. The photograph below was taken from further West along Brook Street and shows the line running through what would have been the Seven Stars Pub. [29]
The view along Brook Street through the site of the Seven Stars Pub towards Union Bridge(c) Geoff Charles, 21st April 1950. The image is included here under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication by the National Library of Wales. [10]

At the same location as in the above image, Locomotive No. 822, ‘The Earl’. is in charge of a cattle train on its way West out of Welshpool. This image is embedded from the Science Museum’s Picture Library, © National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library. [11]

A 1960s colour photograph of The Earl and Countess at the above location. This was shared on The W&LLR Facebook Page on 5th April 2020. [46]
A modern photograph of the location of the three pictures above. The building in the centre of this photograph can be seen easily on the upper of the two images above. The buildings to the right of this picture can be seen on both the monochrome pictures above. As usual the approximate line of the W&LLR is shown in red. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The Earl brings its train down towards the centre of Welshpool. It hs just passed along the backs of the properties on the North side of Brook Street and is heading down towards Seven Stars and Union Bridge. This image appeared on the W&LLR’s Facebook Page [34] on 22nd March 2020. [37]
The same location in the 21st century, as it appears on Google Streetview [June 2021]. The cottage on the right remains, as does the sloping shed roof which on the monochrome image is just above the brake van.
Turning to the left, the photographer picks up the line of the old railway as it leaves Brook Street to run behind the properties which can be seen to the left of this image. [Google Streetview, June 2021]

The line curved northwards away from Brook Street and then turned back westwards to run along the backs of houses fronting onto the North side of Brook Street. The 1949 6″ OS Map has the alignment correct along this length. The photograph below looks back East along the old railway.

Taken in 1964, this picture shows the length of the railway running along the back of houses fronting Brook Street which is off to the right of the picture. The photographer comments: “The track of the narrow gauge railway followed the course of a horse tramway through the town, the latter once serving the Stondart Quarry. When the later steam railway was constructed it attained the lower terminus by the same sinuous route, eventually reaching a wharf on the Shropshire Union canal. Its course included a traverse of public roadways, at which point trains were escorted across the highway by an official with warning flags. The situation was akin to a similar course, taken by the long lost Weston, Clevedon and Portishead line which once ran through Somerset, and which also crossed a busy town square. By 1964, the Welshpool and Llanfair’s line was disused in the town section, with an eventual terminus at Raven Square (where it still terminates today). The image shows the line before it was lifted, running between housing and which course is now a public roadway. My late father provides the scale.” © Copyright Richard Bird and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence, (CC BY-SA 2.0). [17]
Looking from Bronybuckley along the old railway East towards Welshpool Railway Station (c) David Dilnot. [46]
Looking back from Bronybuckley, at almost the same location as in the monochrome image next above, along the route of the old line in the 21st century. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The route of the railway on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. The road to the North of ‘Brook Street’ is Bronybuckley. [5]
The view West-northwest from Bronybuckley along the line of the old railway. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Looking back East along the line of the old railway from Woodside, the road which runs North-South on the West side of the Armory. The building to the right of this image is the rea of the Armory. It has been extended across the line of the W&LLR. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
The line of the WLLR ran behind the Armory and on towards Raven Square. [5]
The route of the W&LLR looking West from Woodside as it appears in the 21st century. Google Streetview]
Brook Street in the 21st century, looking East, with the line of the W&LLR shown. From Woodside the railway followed an almost straight route diagonally back towards Brook Street and from this point ran along the Northside verge of the road to Raven Square which is shown at the centre of the next map extract. [Google Streetview, June 2021]
Raven Square and the line of the W&LLR as shown on the 1949 6″ Ordnance Survey. [5]
The remaining length of the W7LLR through the town of Welshpool is shown on this ESRI Satellite image as provided by the NLS. [32]
Another still from towards the end of the BFI film of 1963 showing the location of the halt at Raven Square. The shot is taken looking Northeast from the centre of the roundabout which had by this time been provided to allow better traffic flow to the West of Welshpool Town Centre. Since this photograph was taken, Brook Street (B4381) on the right of the image has been widened across the route of the old railway. © 2022 British Film Institute. [51]

Cartwright & Russell describe the route that we have followed like this: “There now existed a 2ft 6in gauge railway starting from a point in Welshpool’s Road and close to the Cambrian Railways’ goods and passenger station (240ft above sea level). It was 9 miles 5 chains long, station to station; later spurs at Welshpool added another 7 chains of track. At this terminus, there was a gravel ‘platform’ and a waiting room with a booking office complete with awning. A short siding swung away into the Cambrian Railways’ yard to the tranship shed, while the main line of the new narrow gauge construction curved off from Smithfield Road. Entering enclosed property, it passed the run round loop on the left and the three sidings on the right which formed single roads into the goods shed, the engine shed and the longer carriage shed adjoining. The Shropshire Union canal was crossed by a steel plate girder bridge with a single span of 33ft 4in. A siding to the canal suggested earlier but rejected in 1899 had eventually been agreed in July 1902, but was never constructed.” [41: p51]

They continue: “Crossing Church Street (later A483) on the level, the track dived through the newly opened gap between the buildings to reach the Lledan Brook. Above the watercourse, the rails were borne on longitudinal bearers supported by steel cross girders to enable the railway to reach and cross Union Street, where the Seven Stars Public House and adjoining Malthouse had had to be demolished and where trains would make a stop for passengers. Disappearing behind the cottages with two more stretches of viaduct, the route lay behind the Armoury to pass by the Standard granite quarry, where a siding was soon to be connected, and so to Raven Square. On the town side of the intersection, a line-side gravelled area marked the third station.” [41: p52]

The intention behind this article was to follow the route of the now closed town-section of the W&LLR. The remainder of the line is preserved can be followed on modern maps and can be travelled behind one of the original locomotives bought to serve the line.

To finish this article, here is a modern aerial view of Welshpool looking Southeast along the line of Broad Street/Severn Road. The old station buildings are at the top-right of the image. The approximate line of the W&LLR through the town is shown by the thin black line which has been imposed on the image. When seen in this light the line seems to take a relatively straightforward route through the town! [44]

References

  1. The Welsh name is: Rheilffordd y Trallwng a Llanfair Caereinion.
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welshpool_and_Llanfair_Light_Railway, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  3. http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/welshpool_1st/index.shtml, accessed on 22st July 2022.
  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welshpool_railway_station, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/view/102187064, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  6. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/WPW061717, accessed on 21st July 2022.
  7. https://www.picturethisgallery.co.uk/prints/llanfair-train-welshpool, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  8. https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainsandstuff/16658979348, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
  9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/train-pix/21568402576, accessed on 22nd July 2022.
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3 thoughts on “The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway – Part 1 – The Abandoned Town Section

  1. Tanllan

    Roger,
    An interesting and comprehensive article. I am one of the editors of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway members & supporters Facebook page and I linked you blog post to the page this morning. I am please to let you know it was favourably received.
    Feedback from our readers:
    John – Wonderful – complete with a Standard 8. Mine was that colour as well.
    Roger – Fascinating – thank you.
    Kuba – Good
    Lewis – Loved reading this. Fascinating and comprehensive.
    Margaret – I have a copy of this print

    Regards, Geoff

    Reply

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