We thank Andrew Tullo, for giving us this comprehensive assessment of where Oswestry railways are at and an insight into the where-to-from-here:
The distant past
Oswestry was a railway town from the 1860’s until all passenger services ended in 1966 (with quarry trains running until 1988). Oswestry Station was in those days the headquarters of the Cambrian Railways – a group that ran over 300 miles of track throughout Wales The town had two stations – the Cambrian Railways Station (still standing) and the GWR Station (now Morrison’s car park). Trains ran from Oswestry to many destinations, both large and small, including Brecon, Aberystwyth, Wrexham, Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Llanfyllin and Llangynog. The railway is the main reason for Oswestry’s size and its preponderance of Victorian architecture.
The recent past
From 2002 to 2005 a small section of the old railway was reinstated between Llynclys and Pant – a distance of ¾ mile. The land was cleared of undergrowth, ballast was laid and sleepers installed, the rails fitted and finally ballast put down. The former Llynclys Station was (and is) in private hands, so a new station was constructed at Llynclys South, built in a style to fit in with the 1950’s appearance of the railway. Some of this work was carried out by contractors, but much was done by an enthusiastic and skilful group of volunteers. Locomotives, Diesel Multiple Units, carriages and wagons were acquired and restored for a passenger service to starting in 2005.
In 2009 the only trains running are still from Llynclys South to Pen y Garreg Lane in Pant. Llynclys is also the location of a small buffet and shop in a restored carriage. Passenger services run on summer weekends and special events are organised – Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Santa Specials etc. There are steam and diesel driver experience days organised through much of the year. Routine maintenance of rolling stock is undertaken and work has begun to build a shed to allow restoration of carriages and wagons throughout the year.
Meanwhile, Oswestry Station platforms are being cleared of much of the vegetation that has grown up in the past 40 years, and plans are being made to restore the platforms. The line to the South including that between Llynclys and Blodwel is being cleared so that the state of the track can be assessed and repairs undertaken. Negotiations have started over the purchase of the garden of the former Llynclys Station.
An environmental policy is being developed to ensure that the reopening of the railway line will enhance the flora and fauna of the area, maintaining the line as a “green corridor”.
It is intended that a half mile stretch of running line from Oswestry Station will be used to run tourist trains from Easter 2010.
Plans are in hand to build a halt at the end of the lime in Pant so that passengers can walk 100m along the old Tramway to the Montgomery Canal towpath. Restoration of the canal is proceeding and that part of the canal will be in water soon after the link is established.
The line between Oswestry and Gobowen will also in time be restored – allowing access to the main railway network. A community rail service is planned offering rail transport to Park Hall(for the Orthopaedic) and a park and ride scheme for Oswestry
The Cambrian Railway Society and the Cambrian Railways Trust agreed in Nov. 2009 to take further steps to formally merge and grant applications are already being organised with the whole project now being co-ordinated by the Cross-Border Tourism Development Group – a partner in the Cambrian Heritage Railways project.
Why re-open the railway?
A viable Heritage Railway would be a significant destination tourist attraction i.e. one that people will travel a considerable distance to visit. Once tourists have been arrived in the area they are likely to spend money in the shops and cafés, visit other attractions around the town (e.g. the Hill Fort and the Castle Mound) and spend a few nights in hotels, guest houses and campsites. Through the restoration of the railway (and the canal) jobs will follow in Oswestry and even the villages served by stations
To see the potential of this, just visit other heritage railways such as the Llangollen Railway and the Severn Valley Railway to see how towns and villages have benefited.. After that, please come back to Oswestry and help us to achieve our aims!
How can you help?
We also need more volunteers to help clear the line, rebuild Oswestry Station platform, restore carriages, work on wagons and locomotives, help with fund raising (because little of all this will happen if we do not have the money), serve refreshments, help with publicity and a score of other jobs. You do not need any experience of railways.
If you are interested please look at the web pages –
or ring Rick Kirby on 01691 830409.
Member since: 10th July 2012
A quick introduction - I'm John Waine, Director of TheBestOfOswestry. Having lived in this beautiful area for around 20 years now, I have decided to stay. :)
With kind thanks