Newtown railway station

Newtown railway station

This station and its goods sidings heavily influenced Newtown’s development, which included the founding of the world’s first mail-order shopping service.

Newtown’s first trains began in 1859 on a track, to Llanidloes, which was isolated from the rail network. Locomotives arrived by road, smaller supplies by canal. In 1861 the Llanidloes & Newtown Railway was connected to the network by the new Oswestry & Newtown Railway. The Newtown & Machynlleth Railway added a route from Caersws to Aberystwyth.

In 1863 these small companies, and others, formed the Cambrian Railways Company, which built the present station building in 1868 after complaints about the facilities. The Great Western Railway subsumed the Cambrian in 1923.

North of the station you can see the four-storey Royal Welsh Warehouse, with “Pryce Jones” inscribed above the title. Pryce Jones was a flannel maker, and the railway’s arrival enabled him to dispatch his products by train for rapid delivery. By inviting customers to order direct from the manufacturer – to save money – he became the first mail-order retailer in the world.

In 1866 he received an “extensive order” for immediate dispatch to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. She must have been satisfied, as she ordered more in December 1875 for delivery to Osborne House, Isle of Wight.

In 1896 the Prince of Wales wrote to Major Pryce Jones to apologise to the townspeople after a special train passed through Newtown station without stopping or slowing. The platforms, decorated for the occasion, were packed with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the Prince and Princess of Wales but the train, running slightly late, hurried through.

Many Welsh railways were closed in the 1960s, leaving Newtown with only the tracks to Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth. The goods yard west of the station was removed.

Today Newtown is served by Arriva Trains Wales services between Birmingham and Aberystwyth. Since 1995 the station has been home to independent ticket agency Newtown Station Travel, which can book train travel anywhere in Great Britain.

Postcode: SY16 1BP     View Location Map

Website of Newtown Station Travel – including more of the station’s history