Railways of Shropshire

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A DMU heads north towards Whitchurch and Cheshire on the Welsh Marches Line at Battlefield.

The English county of Shropshire has a fairly large railway network, with 19 National Rail stations on various national lines, as well as a small number of heritage and freight lines, including the famous heritage Severn Valley Railway running along its eastern border with Worcestershire.

The majority of the county's public rail services are run by Arriva Trains Wales, the remainder are run by London Midland.

National Rail services[edit]

Severn Bridge Junction, the busiest in the county, south of Shrewsbury railway station.

National Rail services in Shropshire are centred about Shrewsbury station (all other 'national rail' stations in Shropshire have a direct train service to Shrewsbury, which is the county town), which is managed by Arriva Trains Wales. The station is at the junction of the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line, Shrewsbury to Chester Line, the Welsh Marches Line (between Cardiff and Manchester) and the Cambrian Line (towards Welshpool). Craven Arms station is at the junction between the Welsh Marches Line and the Heart of Wales Line, although services on the Heart of Wales Line begin at Shrewsbury, rather than Craven Arms itself. There are direct train services from Shrewsbury (and elsewhere in the county) to the cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff, as well as the port at Holyhead where regular ferries to Dublin depart.

There are no electrified railways, as such, in the county despite the surrounding railway nodes of Crewe, Chester and Wolverhampton all being electrified. (The funicular Bridgnorth Cliff Railway although electrically powered is cable worked). This has meant that since the mid-1990s rail privatisation there has been a reluctance to establish a direct service to London by the cross-country railway companies (previously British Rail ran direct trains from Shrewsbury to London), notably Virgin Trains, who previously ran services to London from the county in 2000. There was a direct service to London Marylebone, provided by the open-access company Wrexham & Shropshire, which operated from 28 April 2008 to 28 January 2011 and used diesel locomotives.

Freight only lines[edit]

There are two freight only lines in operation in the Telford area. One is the line from Madeley Junction on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line to Ironbridge Power Station via the historic industrial area of Coalbrookdale. The other is the newly restored line from Wellington to the Telford International Railfreight Park in Donnington which links the Terminal at Donnington with the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line.

There is also the short Abbey Loop line in Shrewsbury which is generally only used by freight trains.

The Gobowen to Blodwell line, which runs through Oswestry, has been a mothballed line since the 1980s. It previously served a small number of stone quarries in the area. In 2008 the line was bought by the County Council and will likely be used in part by the Cambrian Heritage Railways being set up in the area (by the Cambrian Railways Trust and Society, see Heritage section below) and also as a cycle path from Oswestry to Gobowen.

Former railways[edit]

A steam charter train heads through Church Stretton on the Welsh Marches Line, passing a regular DMU service.

There are many closed lines in Shropshire, including

Many were closed in the 1960s, although the county did not fare too badly under Dr Beeching's massive nationwide railway cuts. The Heart of Wales Line was saved from closure. However, some previously major railway centres in the county, such as Oswestry, Newport and Market Drayton, now have no public railways.

Heritage railways[edit]

The Shropshire-Worcestershire Severn Valley Railway, at Bridgnorth.

There are three heritage railways in Shropshire: the Severn Valley Railway from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster (in Worcestershire), the Telford Steam Railway at Horsehay, and a restored section of the Cambrian Railways, as being run by Cambrian Heritage Railways between Llynclys and Pant.

Cambrian Heritage Railways have also taken on the former Cambrian Railway Society (CRS) plans to restore part of the Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway at Nantmawr for use as a heritage railway. The CHR have a second operating base at Oswestry railway station, with a small collection of locos and rolling stock.

As well as the heritage only lines, the national lines of Shropshire witness a regular number of special charter trains with heritage diesel and steam locomotives and historic carriage stock in operation.

Stations[edit]

Here are listed the 19 National Rail stations in current use in the county.

Station Place 2009/10 usage[1] 2010/11 usage[1] 2011/12 usage[1] Managed by Co-ordinates Line Distance from Shrewsbury Platforms Request stop? DFT station category
Albrighton railway station Albrighton 77240 79232 104,806 London Midland 52°38′16″N 2°16′06″W / 52.63778°N 2.2683°W / 52.63778; -2.2683 (Albrighton) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 35 km (21¾ miles) 2 No F2
Broome railway station Broome / Aston on Clun 1622 1642 1,472 Arriva Trains Wales 52°25′23″N 2°53′06″W / 52.423°N 2.885°W / 52.423; -2.885 (Broome) Heart of Wales 36.5 km (22¾ miles) 1 Yes F2
Bucknell railway station Bucknell 3798 4288 4,486 Arriva Trains Wales 52°21′26″N 2°56′53″W / 52.3573°N 2.948°W / 52.3573; -2.948 (Bucknell) Heart of Wales 45.5 km (28¼ miles) 1 Yes F2
Church Stretton railway station Church Stretton 117812 118990 119,274 Arriva Trains Wales 52°32′13″N 2°48′11″W / 52.537°N 2.803°W / 52.537; -2.803 (Church Stretton) Welsh Marches 20.5 km (12¾ miles) 2 No F1
Cosford railway station Cosford (alight for DCAE Cosford & Air Museum) 84988 85072 61,378 London Midland 52°38′41″N 2°18′00″W / 52.6448°N 2.3°W / 52.6448; -2.3 (Cosford) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 32.5 km (20¼ miles) 2 No F2
Craven Arms railway station Craven Arms 95908 98512 100,364 Arriva Trains Wales 52°26′31″N 2°50′13″W / 52.442°N 2.837°W / 52.442; -2.837 (Craven Arms) Welsh Marches (junction with Heart of Wales) 32 km (20 mi) 2 No F1
Gobowen railway station Gobowen (bus service to Oswestry) 193032 205442 204,768 Arriva Trains Wales 52°53′37″N 3°02′14″W / 52.8935°N 3.0371°W / 52.8935; -3.0371 (Gobowen) Shrewsbury-Chester 28.5 km (17¾ miles) 2 No E
Hopton Heath railway station1 Hopton Heath 680 1074 1,554 Arriva Trains Wales 52°23′29″N 2°54′43″W / 52.3915°N 2.912°W / 52.3915; -2.912 (Hopton Heath) Heart of Wales 41 km (25½ miles) 1 Yes F2
Knighton railway station Knighton2 23338 25076 25,094 Arriva Trains Wales 52°20′42″N 3°02′31″W / 52.345°N 3.042°W / 52.345; -3.042 (Knighton) Heart of Wales 52.5 km (32½ miles) 2 No F1
Ludlow railway station Ludlow 270682 288058 292,860 Arriva Trains Wales 52°22′16″N 2°42′58″W / 52.371°N 2.716°W / 52.371; -2.716 (Ludlow) Welsh Marches 44 km (27½ miles) 2 No E
Oakengates railway station Oakengates 37682 41152 52,214 London Midland 52°41′35″N 2°27′00″W / 52.693°N 2.450°W / 52.693; -2.450 (Oakengates) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 21.5 km (13½ miles) 2 No F2
Prees railway station near Prees 8362 8614 8,670 Arriva Trains Wales 52°53′57″N 2°41′22″W / 52.8992°N 2.6895°W / 52.8992; -2.6895 (Prees) Welsh Marches 22.5 km (14.0 mi) 2 Yes F2
Shifnal railway station Shifnal 100716 104222 121,998 London Midland 52°39′58″N 2°22′19″W / 52.666°N 2.372°W / 52.666; -2.372 (Shifnal) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 28 km (17¼ miles) 2 No F2
Shrewsbury railway station Shrewsbury 1630474 1676850 1,730,390 Arriva Trains Wales 52°42′43″N 2°45′00″W / 52.712°N 2.75°W / 52.712; -2.75 (Shrewsbury) Junction of several lines n/a 5 No C1
Telford Central railway station Telford Town Centre 972162 991916 1,032,584 London Midland 52°40′52″N 2°26′28″W / 52.681°N 2.441°W / 52.681; -2.441 (Telford Central) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 23 km (14¼ miles) 2 No C2
Wellington (Shropshire) railway station Wellington 533368 543040 559,684 London Midland 52°42′05″N 2°31′01″W / 52.7015°N 2.517°W / 52.7015; -2.517 (Wellington) Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton 16 km (9.9 mi) 3 No E
Wem railway station Wem 103370 105010 100,324 Arriva Trains Wales 52°51′22″N 2°43′08″W / 52.856°N 2.719°W / 52.856; -2.719 (Wem) Welsh Marches 17 km (10¾ miles) 2 No F1
Whitchurch (Shropshire) railway station Whitchurch 97122 103946 108,120 Arriva Trains Wales 52°58′05″N 2°40′18″W / 52.968°N 2.6716°W / 52.968; -2.6716 (Whitchurch) Welsh Marches 30 km (18¾ miles) 2 No F1
Yorton railway station Yorton / Clive 8166 8636 9,560 Arriva Trains Wales 52°48′32″N 2°44′10″W / 52.809°N 2.736°W / 52.809; -2.736 (Yorton) Welsh Marches 11.5 km (7¼ miles) 2 Yes F2

1 Sometimes written as "Hoptonheath".
2 Although the town of Knighton is in Powys, Wales, the railway station is in Shropshire, England.

Tunnels[edit]

Wellington's railway station, with its 3 remaining platforms.
The small rural station at Bucknell, which has a level crossing at one end.

There are four railway tunnels in use at present in Shropshire:

  • Oakengates Tunnel - the longest tunnel in the county, located between Oakengates and Telford Central stations, on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line
  • Ludlow Tunnel - a short tunnel just to the south of Ludlow station, on the Welsh Marches Line
  • Heath Hill Tunnel - located between Lawley Common and Horsehay on the Telford Steam Railway, this tunnel was reopened to trains with track relayed through it in early 2009, as part of the heritage railway's northward extension to Lawley
  • Knowlesands Tunnel - a very short tunnel on the Severn Valley Railway, located between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade

A notable disused tunnel exists running beneath High Town of Bridgnorth, which once carried the railway from Bridgnorth station northwards towards the Ironbridge Gorge. The tunnel continues to be maintained and is in good condition. There is the possibility of the Severn Valley Railway extending northwards through the tunnel, with the tunnel's owner BRB (Residuary) Ltd offering the heritage railway first refusal, however there would be substantial difficulties in reinstating the railway beyond the tunnel to the north of Bridgnorth.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Office for Rail Regulation Station usage figures