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Welshpool and Llanfair Light

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Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

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The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) is a narrow gauge heritage railway in Powys, Wales. The line is around 8.5 miles (14 km) long and runs between the towns of Welshpool and Llanfair Caereinion. The track gauge is 2 ft 6 in (762 mm).

History
The W&LLR was one of the few narrow gauge branch lines to be built under the provisions of the 1896 Light Railways Act. It was opened on 4 April 1903 to aid economic development in a remote area. It never made a profit. It was originally operated by the Cambrian Railways. The line is built through difficult country, having a great number of curves in order to reach the summit of 600ft. The original terminus at Welshpool was located alongside the main line station and trains wound their way through the town, using the locomotive bell as a warning.

In the 1923 Grouping of railway companies the line was taken over by the Great Western Railway. On 9 February 1931 the line lost its passenger service, which was replaced by a bus service, and it became a freight-only line. It was temporarily re-opened to passengers between 6 and 11 August 1945 for the Eisteddfod. The W&LLR was nationalised in 1948.

Freight traffic lingered on until 1956, by which time British Railways decided to close the line.

A group of volunteers and enthusiasts took the line over and started raising money to restore it. On 6 April 1963 the first section of the line was re-opened as a tourist railway. The line through Welshpool however could not be reopened, so the line has a new terminus at Raven Square on the outskirts of the town, originally opened on 18 July 1981. Because of the gauge, unusual for the British Isles, locomotives and rolling stock to supplement the originals have had to be obtained from a cosmopolitan variety of sources. A major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund permitted restoration of both original locomotives together with several coaches and original wagons, and provision of new workshop facilities, ready for the line's centenary.

Locomotives

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Preserved Locomotives

WLLR No.

Name

Builder

Year

Wheels

Type

Notes

1

The Earl

Beyer Peacock

190 3

0-6-0T

Steam

Original W&LLR locomotive

2

The Countess

Beyer Peacock

190 3

0-6-0T

Steam

Original W&LLR locomotive

3

Raven *

Ruston & Hornsby

193 4

4wDM

Diesel

Sold

4

Upnor Castle *

F. C. Hibberd

195 4

4wDM

Diesel

Sold to Ffestiniog Railway

5

Nutty

Sentinel

192 9

4wVBT

Steam

Owned by & returned to care of Narrow Gauge Railway Museum

6

Monarch

W. G. Bagnall

195 3

0-4-4-0T

Steam

Sold to Ffestiniog Railway but recently re-purchased by W&LLR

7

Chattend en *

Drewry Car Co.

194 7

0-6-0DM

Diesel

 

8

Dougal *

Andrew Barclay

194 6

0-4-0T

Steam

Originally operated at Provan Gasworks, Glasgow

9

Wynnstay *

J. Fowler

195 1

0-6-0DM

Diesel

Sold

10

Sir Drefaldwy n *

Franco-Belge

194 4

0-8-0T

Steam

Originally operated by German Army & in Austria

11

Ferret *

Hunslet Engine Company

194 0

0-4-0DM

Diesel

 

12

Joan

Kerr Stuart

192 9

0-6-2T

Steam

Originally operated in Antigua

14

-

Hunslet Engine Company

195 4

2-6-2T

Steam

Originally operated by Sierra Leone Government Railway

(15)

Orion *

Tubize

194 8

2-6-2T

Steam

Returned to Jokioisten Museum Railway in Finland

16

Scooby *

Hunslet Engine Company

194 1

0-4-0DM

Diesel

Rebuilt by W&LLR

17

Diema *

Diema

197 9

6wDH

Diesel

Originally operated in Taiwan

* = Name added by WLLR


 

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