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Cambrian Line

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Cambrian Line

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The Cambrian Line is a railway from Shrewsbury (in Shropshire, England) to Welshpool, Aberystwyth and Pwllheli. The railway runs first through the central part of Wales and then along the coast of Cardigan Bay.

The railway is very scenic, with parts travelling through the Cambrian Mountains or along the Cambrian Coast. This latter section travels over the spectacular Barmouth Bridge, which crosses the River Mawddach.

Route
The line diverges at Dyfi Junction, just after Machynlleth, to serve either Aberystwyth, or Pwllheli via the Cambrian Coast Line. The stations on these routes are listed below.

Cambrian Line

Cambrian Coast Line

History
The lines from Welshpool to Aberystwyth and from Dyfi Junction to Pwllheli make up the surviving sections of the Cambrian Railways main line (constructed between 1855 and 1869).

The Cambrian Railways became part of the Great Western Railway and on nationalisation these lines were operated first by the Western Region of British Railways and later by the London Midland Region. In a later reorganisation, passenger services were operated by the Regional Railways Central sector. Following privatisation in the mid 1990s, passenger services were first operated by Central Trains, then by Wales & Borders Trains from 2001 and, since late 2003, by Arriva Trains Wales.

Closed Stations
Although the line survived the Beeching Axe, the number of stations on the lines was heavily rationalised in the 1960s onwards. The stations closed include the following:

  • Shrewsbury to Dovey Junction:
  • Buttington Junction (connection with the Cambrian Railways line to Oswestry)
  • Montgomery
  • Abermule
  • Moat Lane Junction (connection with Mid Wales Railway to Cardiff)
  • Pontdolgoch
  • Carno
  • Talerddig
  • Llanbrynmair
  • Commins Coch Halt
  • Cemmaes Road (connection with the branch line to Dinas Mawddwy)

Dovey Junction to Aberystwyth:

  • Glandyfi
  • Ynyslas
  • Llandre
  • Bow Street

Dovey Junction to Pwllheli:

  • Gogarth
  • Abertafol
  • Llangelynin
  • Black Rock Halt
  • Afon Wen (connection with the Afon Wen - Caernarfon line)
  • The Ruabon bound platforms at Barmouth Junction were also closed in 1965 and the station renamed Morfa Mawddach.

Performance
With long sections of single line, limited passing points and tightly-diagrammed rolling stock, minor disruptions on the Cambrian Line quickly lead to compound delays and partial cancellations. While the coast line is generally a good performer, services between Aberystwyth and Birmingham New Street have deteriorated hugely since the early 2000s and are now the least punctual in Britain [2].

In Arriva Trains Wales' monthly performance statistics, the Cambrian Line is routinely the worst-performing service group.

Line upgrade
In October 2006, it was announced that Network Rail would pilot the European Rail Traffic Management System on the Cambrian Line. The ERTMS will allow the "safety gap" between trains using the same track to be reduced, meaning services will be more frequent. Should the pilot scheme be successful, the system is expected to be rolled out across Britain's busiest routes (notably the East Coast Main Line).

The upgrade is expected to cost £59 million and be completed by December 2008.


 

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