Mid-Wales Railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Mid Wales Line)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mid-Wales Railway
Oswestry and Newtown Railway
to Welshpool and Oswestry
Newtown (Powys)
O&N Rwy
L&N Rwy
River Severn
Scafell Halt
Moat Lane Junction
Newtown and Machynlleth Railway
to Machynlleth
River Severn
Moat Lane(original location)
Llanidloes and Newtown Railway
River Severn
Penpontbren Junction
L&N Rwy
Llangurig branch
(Failed M&MR extension)
Glan-yr-Afon Halt
St Harmons
Marteg Halt
Elan Valley Railway
Newbridge on Wye
Central Wales Extension Railway
to Llandrindod
Builth RoadLow Level
Central Wales Extension Railway
to Llandovery and Llanelli
Builth Wells
Llanfaredd Halt
Llanstephan Halt
Boughrood & Llyswen
Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway
to Hereford
Three Cocks Junction
Llangorse Lake Halt
Talyllyn Junction
MWR platform
B&MR platform
closed 1878
Brecon and Merthyr Railway
to Merthyr
Talyllyn Tunnel
Groesffordd Halt
Brecon Mount Street(MWR)
Brecon Free Street
(joint station)
Neath and Brecon Railway
to Neath

The Mid-Wales Railway (MWR) was an early railway company operating in Mid-Wales. It was a constituent part of the Cambrian Railways.

Company Formation and Parliamentary authorisation[edit]

The company was formed in 1859 and parliamentary approval was received on 1 August for the northern section of the line from Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire to Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. Approval for the southern section from Newbridge-on-Wye to Three Cocks Junction in northern Brecknockshire was received on 3 July 1860.

Construction and opening of the railway[edit]

The first sod was ceremonially cut on 2 September 1859, but further work on the 46.7 mile line was delayed until 1862. A formal opening ceremony was held on 23 August 1864, and the line to Three Cocks Junction was opened goods traffic on 1 September.[1]

Parliament had authorised both the MWR and the Manchester and Milford Railway to connect Llanidloes to Aberystwyth, and so the M&MR had prioritised construction in the Llanidloes area. Eventually an agreement was reached to form the joint Llanidloes and Newtown Railway, which extended 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south to Pentpontbren Junction, where the MWR and M&MR's short-lived Llangurig branch diverged. The L&NR opened its line in 1859, enabling through working to and from the MWR line.

The MWR worked the line of the Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway from 1 October 1868 until that company was taken over by the Midland Railway on 1 October 1869. The line from Builth Road to Llandovery was not built, but a connection to the Central Wales Extension Railway was completed on 1 November 1866,[2] enabling goods trains to run to and through that station.


At Brecon, following the initial opening of three separate stations, a joint station was created at Free Street.

At Llanidloes railway station, the grand junction building that was created in anticipation of M&MR traffic which never materialised, since the Mid Wales Railway never completed their section of the Llangurig - Strata Florida - Aberystwyth line.

Mid Wales Line[edit]

The Welsh Railways Through Traffic Act of 1889 went some way to formalising an arrangement to create the Mid Wales Line, to form part of a through route from South Wales to Cheshire, as an alternative to the main line route via Hereford and Shrewsbury (i.e. Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway plus Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway) . The main route was made up of (North to South):

Northern feeder[edit]

Central mainline[edit]

Southern feeder[edit]

The links necessary to complete the route included the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway to connect to the LNWR at Crewe, and the Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway to connect to the Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay Railway and hence onwards to Liverpool. These links were not complete until 1896.

Amalgamation with Cambrian Railways[edit]

In practice the Mid Wales Line never received substantial use, and that almost entirely for goods traffic. As a result, the Mid-Wales Railway encountered financial problems, and the company's locomotives and rolling stock were sold. A working arrangement was signed with the Cambrian Railways (CamR) which took effect on 2 April 1888. Formal vesting of the line in the CamR followed on 24 June 1904.[3]

Operations on the line[edit]

Normal goods and passenger trains along the CR/MWRs route were stopped in World War I by intensive coal trains, dubbed Jellicoe Specials after the Admiral of the Fleet John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, from the South Wales Coalfield travelling north towards Scapa Flow for use by warships of the Royal Navy.[3][4]


The whole of the CR/MWR route, and its stations, from Moat Lane Junction to Talyllyn Junction,[5] were closed for passengers throughout by British Railways on 31 December 1962. The section between Moat Lane Junction and Llanidloes remained open for freight traffic until 1967.


Mid-Wales Railway
Rhayader railway station in 1962 
The low-level railway station at Builth Road in 1962 
A train at Llanidloes railway station in 1949 
A goods train near Doldowlod in 1949 
A train at Three Cocks Junction railway station in 1949 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kidner 1954, p. 9
  2. ^ Kidner 1954, p. 12
  3. ^ a b Awdry 1990, p. 34
  4. ^ R W Kidner (2003). The Mid-Wales Railway. The Oakwood Press. 
  5. ^ Butt 1995, p. 226
  • Awdry, Christopher (1990), Encyclopedia of British Railway Companies, Patrick Stephens Ltd, ISBN 1-85260-049-7 
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995), The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, ISBN 1-85260-508-1 
  • Kidner, R.W. (1954), The Cambrian Railways, The Oakwood Press