Raven Square station, Welshpool

PWMP logoRaven Square station, Welshpool

This has been the terminus of the narrow-gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (WLLR) since 1981. The railway is largely run by volunteers and provides steam-hauled passenger rides along the Banwy Valley to Llanfair Caereinion terminus.

The railway opened in March 1903 to serve agricultural communities, particularly with bulk transport of livestock. Trains from Llanfair Caereinion continued past Raven Square Halt to a station and goods sidings near the Cambrian Railways’ Welshpool station. To thread through the town’s backstreets, the railway re-used the route of a horse-worked tramroad which from c.1818 to the 1850s had carried stone from a quarry near Brook Street to the Montgomeryshire Canal.

The WLLR was built and operated by the Cambrian Railways but remained an independent company until it and the CR were absorbed into the Great Western Railway in 1923, as part of the consolidation of Britain’s railways for modernisation after the heavy demands wartime.

The First World War took its toll on the WLLR, which received more than £2,650 in compensation in 1922 for losses sustained while the railway was under government control in wartime. The railway had become profitable in 1912, partly because operating costs had reduced. Wages increased during the war and the evening passenger trains were axed.

William Pritchard, whose father was one of the WLLR’s first train guards, was killed in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916, aged 24.

The GWR withdrew the remaining passenger trains in 1931, partly because it was running a parallel bus service. The goods service continued and was boosted in the Second World War by Britain’s greater dependence on home-grown food and a shortage of petrol for lorries. The railway became part of British Railways after the war and closed in 1956.

Enthusiasts reopened the line in 1963, shortly before the track through the town was removed for road improvements. Steam trains operated from Llanfair Caereinion to Castle Caereinion and later Sylfaen, while the track and new station at Raven Square were in preparation.

Sources include: 'The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway', by R Cartwright and RT Russell, published by David & Charles, 1972.

Postcode: SY21 7LT    View Location Map

Website of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

 

To continue the Welshpool (Powys) in WW1 tour, leave the railway station and walk across the car park to the Raven Inn
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