Shropshire Railways History Past and present

                       Lines through Blodwell Junction

The complex of lines expanding west into Wales off the Oswestry to Llanymynech line were a result of the need for transport to carry ores from Welsh mines to smelting works on the English side of the border. Several proposals were put forward, including the possibility of a narrow gauge light railway from Llanfyllin eastwards. The initial stretch saw a standard gauge mineral branch open in 1861, serving the limestone quarries through Porth-y-waen from the main line just to the north of Llynclys. In 1899 work started on the Tanat Valley Railway, a a five year project full of difficulties and problems, including a time when the contractors made a visit to find all the navies had been sacked. Despite all the setbacks, the line finally opened on 5th January 1904. The line had ten intermediate stations and revenue was expected to build up with a regular passenger service. Unfortunately, as with many other lines at this time, it quickly ran into financial difficulties as the expected number of passengers didn’t come to fruition. After just three months a receiver was appointed, a situation which remained until 1921 when it was taken over by the Cambrian Railways (and the GWR a year later)Pasenger trains continued in a reduced form, but the line was poorly maintained and de-railments were common place. Carrying a crowbar was required by drivers at this time in order to force wheels back on the track when needed. The lines post World War Two history is simular to many others. Passenger services, which had been suspended by the war, never returned and the temporary withdrawal of services due to the national coal shortage became permanent. Passenger services officially came to an end on 5th February 1951. Freight services continued with a gradual decline over the next nine years, all services ceasing by December 1960 (following serious flood damage to a bridge) Various sections of the line are still in place, but sadly the stations have almost completely disappeared for ever.
The track approaches Pontesbury from the East