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Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by tony51, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Goldie

    Goldie New Member

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    Here are some pictures from a visit to the W&L this weekend. Unique, lovely railway, and lovely weather. We also walked the route of the town section from Raven Square through to the mainline station at Welshpool, which is well worth doing if you're visiting the railway. There are some excellent information boards along the route showing the route that the W&L took through allotments, beneath washing lines, down alleyways and along the line of a stream.

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  2. Goldie

    Goldie New Member

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    And a few more:

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  3. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Great photos.
    What a marvellous railway it is.
    Llanfair station must be one of the nicest spots on earth.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
     
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  4. 45669

    45669 Member

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    I also took a few pictures showing the old route through the town when I was last there; you'll find them in this album if you'd like to have a look:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/train-pix/albums/72157627005379551
     
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  5. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    Lovely pictures. Very atmospheric. A real pity the town route didn’t survive but let’s be thankful the majority of the line did!
     
  6. 45669

    45669 Member

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    Quite so. We've got a lot to be grateful for. Glad you liked the piccies though.
     
  7. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    So, inspired by you and Goldie, I went today to see what all the fuss was about. Though we'd best go sooner, as there may be more travel restrictions imposed soon.
    Now I'd heard good things about the WLLR, and its Beyer Peacocks, but....
    The line is lovely, set in beautiful rolling agricultural land. Maybe not so stunning as some of the more mountainous bits of Wales-words like 'bucolic' and 'idyllic' get used to describe the WLLR, and I reckon they are spot on. The railway has a completeness to it. There's some bits that need a coat of paint, or a bit of tidying, but not much.
    Our train, Llanfair to Welshpool and ret, was hauled by 823 The Countess. I'd have liked to see the Pickering coaches, but I guess they just aren't corona compliant, and we had a Hungarian/Ziller mix of stock. We were fortunate enough to get the last compartment heading out, and one can still ride the verandah, which of course we did . This meant we were right behind the loco on the return, up Golfa etc. Being pelted by acorns blasted off the trees by the exhaust was a first! This locomotive is an absolute rocket, so much power in such a small package. Definitely the most interesting, enjoyable, even exciting steam ride I have had in a long time.
    One wonders how the route was planned and surveyed. It is so totally unlike the 'narrow gauge on a disused standard gauge line', there's so much curvature, and the gradients so visibly steep, my theory is they blindfolded a pony and set it loose, but the p-way seemed A1, and the whole line really is a testament to the volunteers dedication and professionalism.
    Very glad we were able to make the trip this weekend- we were told, just before departing Raven Square, that ours was the last train of the season. I hope that proves wrong, but it sort of added a poignant note to our trip. I urge any steam enthusiast to make the WLLR top of their list for 2021
     
  8. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    On my last trip to the line we startled a small group of deer, who ran alongside the train before finding a spot to dash into the undergrowth. I was riding on the front verandah; the fireman turned to me in excitement to point them out. You don't get experiences like that on many lines.

    The history of the line by Russell & Cartwright published in the 1970s has a fair amount of info on the various options for possible routes that were available - including the very unfeasible plan by Brunel to put the London-Dublin main line across the top of Llanfair on a viaduct! The line had a relatively unusual history in that although there was interest in building a feeder branch to the Cambrian somewhere in the area, there were a number of other possibilities as to where it might have started and finished
     
  9. Goldie

    Goldie New Member

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    The section where it diverts around the watermill just outside Llanfair Caereinion on a skinny little embankment sticking out into the river made me think of the toy train / penguin chase scene in Wallace and Gromit where Gromit throws in a few last minute curves to avoid chair legs. It's in a beautiful bit of the world, and I can't wait to go back.
     
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I always think the WLLR is as close in vibe to how the narrow gauge lines were in the past as you are going to get. Sitting at Llanfair waiting for the first train is always fascinating to do. It always feels like a 'slower pace' line, much as I love the SVR etc, sometimes, somewhere a bit more low key makes for a good change. Like others I love standing on the Vernadah, and watching the gradient changes.

    I do think that it must be one of the most challenging lines to fire.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  11. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean because the cab is about as large as a phone box?
    Or the bit where it as half filled with someone driving the engine?
    Or the reverser being on the fireman's side?
    Or the bit where the fireman's backside gets char-grilled as he bends to pick up a scoop of coal if the fire door is open
    Or the bit where he is trying to open the firedoor with his foot, whilst holding a shovel of coal, on a boxing, weaving, turning, climbing, twenty-ton iron pony.
    Mind you, the guy firing yesterday wasn't grumbling
     
  12. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member

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    As you say, one of the good things about the line is the chance to stand on the verandah and watch the footplate crew at work. On the first occasion I did so it was behind Countess. As we set off up Golfa bank, I was expecting to see lots of action with the shovel - not a bit of it. No blowing off before starting, and we cruised up to the top of the bank with not a single bit of coal being added at any point. Which I guess goes to show that a good locomotive and a good crew can make the difficult look very easy.
     
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  13. Nigel Day

    Nigel Day Member

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    The steaming qualities of the locomotive are partly due to its lempor now proven over decades of use.
     
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  14. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    Or the extra distraction created by my younger son who happily chatted to the fireman through the cab window as we climbed Golfa. We had to stop for a blow up

    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk
     
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  15. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    Did it for the first time a few years ago (on our way back from the Tallylyn). It's a lovely part of the world. The real problem for us is that it's not really near where we are going. (Although it's on the way). What we did to visit it was drop self + small person off at Llanfair and then the wife drove to Welshpool and waited for us. I think we'll try the other way next time, but is there much to do in Llanfair?
     
  16. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    That feels like an incredibly inefficient approach to signage… even if there are lots of Allans in Wales.

    ;)

    Simon
     
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  17. tony51

    tony51 New Member

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    Message below copied from Facebook today, sad but inevitable:

    No more trains on the Llanfair Line in October or November.

    In light of the increased coronavirus problem in Wales and to conform with the Welsh Government's announcement of a "firebreak" lockdown, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway will be closed to visitors from October 23rd to November 9th. Trains planned for the 24th / 25th / 27th / 28th / 29th and 31st of October, and the 1st of November, have been cancelled.

    The railway invites visitors with existing bookings to contact the railway starting Tuesday 20 October so that we can offer full refunds or conversion of fares to donations as visitors prefer.

    We, as a small organisation manned by a group of dedicated volunteers and paid staff, have been very proud to be able to open with a range of precautions in place and to welcome many visitors since August 1st, fulfilling our role as an educational and conservation charity.

    Please keep in touch with us by following our posts in the coming weeks on Facebook, our website and through other forums. No decision has yet been taken on our popular Santa trains, but this will be posted here as soon as one is made.

    You can also support us through this extremely difficult period by becoming a member at https://www.wllr.org.uk/join-us-volunteer

    Thank you for all your support!
     
  18. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Finally got round to joining in order to support the railway.
    Best if luck for the winter.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
     
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  19. tony51

    tony51 New Member

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    Looks like The Earl is having a change of image, coming back in GW green (unlined) next year, as Countess has been. Let the great livery debate begin!
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Why? It'd certainly sit well with the W&L's Blodge wrought triptych of stunningly beautiful Pickering recreations and that wonderfully evocative original freight stock. Imagine an Earl/Countess double header pounding up Golfa with that lot. Mouthwatering, or what?

    Sorry if that's not the sort of belligerent froth you had in mind, Tony! :D
     
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