Welsh Marches Line

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Welsh Marches Line
Overview
Type Heavy Rail
System National Rail
Locale

West Midlands (region)
Wales
Herefordshire
Shropshire
Cheshire

Newport
Torfaen
Monmouthshire
North West England
Termini Newport
Crewe/Chester
Stations 17 (Newport to Crewe) 15 (Newport to Chester)
Operation
Owner Network Rail
Technical
Line length 84.38 miles (135.80 km)
No. of tracks Double track throughout
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed 60-90mph


Welsh Marches Line
West Coast Main Line
Crewe to Manchester Line
North Wales Coast Line
Crewe
Crewe to Derby Line
West Coast Main Line
Gresty
Willaston
Newcastle Crossing
Nantwich
Nantwich and
Market Drayton Railway
Wrenbury
Whitchurch and
Tattenhall Railway
Whitchurch
Oswestry, Ellesmere
and Whitchurch Railway
Prees
Wem
Yorton
Hadnall
Shrewsbury to Chester Line
Shrewsbury
Wolverhampton to
Shrewsbury Line
Shrewsbury Abbey
Coleham
Severn Valley Railway
Cambrian Line
Shropshire and
Montgomeryshire Railway
Condover
Cound Brook
Dorrington
Leebotwood
All Stretton Halt
Church Stretton
Little Stretton Halt
Marsh Brook
Wenlock Edge Railway
Wistanstow Halt
River Onny
Bishops Castle Railway
Craven Arms
Heart of Wales Line
River Onny
Onibury
Bromfield
River Corve
Clee Hill Junction
Ludlow
Ludlow Tunnel
River Teme
Ashford Bowdler
Tenbury and
Bewdley Railway
Woofferton
Berrington and Eye
Leominster and
Kington Railway
Leominster
River Arrow
Worcester, Bromyard
and Leominster Railway
Ford Bridge
Dinmore Tunnel
Dinmore
Moreton-on-Lugg
Cotswold Line
Hereford, Hay and
Brecon Railway
Hereford Barrs Court
Hereford Barton
River Wye
ROF Rotherwas
Hereford, Ross and
Gloucester Railway
Tram Inn
St Devereux
Golden Valley Railway
Pontrilas
England
Wales
Pandy
Llanvihangel(Mon)
Abergavenny Junction
Merthyr, Tredegar and
Abergavenny Railway
Abergavenny
Penpergwm
Nantyderry
Coleford, Monmouth, Usk
and Pontypool Railway
Little Mill Junction
Pontypool and New Inn
line to Crumlin
Panteg
Lower Pontnewydd
Cwmbran
Eastern Valley Branch
Llantarnam
Ponthir
Caerleon
River Usk
South Wales Main Line
Gloucester to Newport Line
River Usk
Newport
South Wales Main Line

The Welsh Marches Line (in Welsh: Llinell y Mers), known historically as the North and West Route, is the railway line running from Newport in south-east Wales to Shrewsbury in the West Midlands region of England by way of Abergavenny, Hereford and Craven Arms and thence (by some definitions) to Crewe via Whitchurch. The line thus links South Wales to north-west England via the Welsh Marches region, bypassing Birmingham. Through services from South West Wales, Swansea and Cardiff to Manchester (hourly in each direction) and from Cardiff to Wrexham, Chester, the North Wales Coast and Anglesey (every two hours in each direction) constitute the bulk of passenger operations on the route.

History[edit]

The line that exists today is the amalgamation of two lines, both with influence from the LNWR. The southern section from Newport to Hereford is formed from the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway, while the northern section from Hereford to Shrewsbury is formed from the joint GWR/LNWR Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway. From Shrewsbury north to Crewe, the line runs over the LNWR-owned Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway.

When the two railways arrived in the important market town of Hereford, the LNWR had already built Hereford Barton. The S&HR and the GWR agreed to build the Hereford Barr Court, which was then also used by the Midland Railway's Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway. After Hereford Council put pressure on the LNWR, they closed Hereford Barton to passengers, using it as a joint goods depot.

Under the 1960s Beeching Axe, many of the supporting branch lines were closed and the Hereford Barton loop closed. The remaining Hereford station was renamed Hereford Station and, to this day, retains its Victorian Gothic architecture.

Route[edit]

The cities, towns and villages served by the routes are listed below from south to north:

Services[edit]

Arriva Trains Wales operate all passenger services on the line. Typically, there is an hourly service from Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff Central, Carmarthen, Milford Haven, calling at principal stations. A service every two hours from Holyhead to Cardiff also uses the Marches line from Shrewsbury southwards. Additionally, local stopping services operate between Crewe and Shrewsbury and services via the Heart of Wales Line use the Marches line between Shrewsbury and Craven Arms.

The line is very popular for railtours, both steam and diesel. During Autumn 2007, 6201 'Princess Elizabeth' visited the route on two returns and one single run from Bristol to Shrewsbury and Crewe. Also, a few railtours hauled by Class 37s and Class 47s travelled along the line during the same time of year.

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Coordinates: 52°5′14″N 2°41′23″W / 52.08722°N 2.68972°W / 52.08722; -2.68972