Telford Steam Railway
|Locale||Horsehay, Shropshire, England|
|Terminus||Spring Village, Horsehay & Dawley|
|Name||Wellington & Severn Junction Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Operated by||Telford Horsehay Steam Trust|
|Length||1.0 mile (1.6 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
1964 (Ketley to Horsehay Summit)1983 (Lightmoor to Horsehay)
|1976||Telford Horsehay Steam Trust formed|
|1981||5619 steams for the 1st time in preservation|
|1983||Lightmoor to Horsehay leased to THST|
|1984||Opens to the public|
|2008||Work begins on Lawley Extension|
|2009||150th anniversary of opening of W&SJR|
|2015||Lawley Village opens|
|Telford Steam Railway|
The railway is operated by volunteers on Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September, and at Christmas. Its official business name is the Telford Horsehay Steam Trust (THST), and it is a registered charity.
Telford Steam Railway operates over a portion of the Wellington and Severn Junction railway (W&SJR). The line to Lightmoor and beyond to Buildwas was constructed by the Wenlock, Craven Arms and Lightmoor Extension railway. Both of these became a part of the Wellington to Craven Arms Railway.
The line directions between Buildwas and Lightmoor were counter-intuitive for a period when the line going down the hill was the Up Line (towards London), and the line going up the hill was the Down Line (away from London), as the direction towards London from Lightmoor Junction was then considered to be routed via the former Severn Valley line. Since the last change the up direction is now completely intuitive.
- Spring Village station platform
- Horsehay & Dawley station platform
- Heath Hill tunnel southern entrance
- Lawley Village station platform
Current passenger operation
The preserved railway operates between three stations of the former W&SJR.
Horsehay & Dawley platform sits on a north-south through line, beneath Bridge Road. 150 yards to the west, Spring Village platform is at the end of a short spur off the running line. In between the two station platforms are the sidings and yard used for storing the railway's stock. Beyond Spring Village platform is the former goods transhipment shed, built in 1860, which had originally permitted the transfer of goods from the W&SJR to the Coalbrookdale Company's narrow gauge plateway system. The building now serves as the railway's engine shed. At the north end of the line Lawley Village station sits south of the site of the original Lawley station, now occupied by a commercial development.
TSR's regular passenger timetable consists of a departure from Spring Village north to Lawley Village and then back along the line to stop at Horsehay & Dawley. The train then repeats this journey in reverse, for a round trip taking 50 minutes.
In addition to the standard gauge running line, the railway also operates a short 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line adjacent to Horsehay Pool. The Phoenix Model Engineering Society operates a 5" model railway on the Spring Village site.
A large model railway and a cafe are situated at Horsehay & Dawley Station.
TSR intends to extend south beyond Horsehay & Dawley station to Doseley Halt, build a new bridge over the A4169 and continue to the Ironbridge Gorge passing through Coalbrookdale and eventually onto the power station site at Buildwas. South of Doseley half a mile of trackbed and two missing level crossings separate TSR's current railhead from the A4169 and Lightmoor Junction. Permission was given in June 2014 by Telford & Wrekin Council for trains to operate south to Doseley once all trackworks and building works have been completed. It is expected for work to commence south from Horsehay & Dawley station to Doseley Halt in the summer of 2015.
Although from the road it appears the formation would have to be raised by a prohibitive amount to achieve the statutory headroom below the bridge over the A4169, surveying by THST confirmed that a modest increase in height will provide the necessary clearance without increasing the already steep gradient between Doseley station and Lightmoor Junction. Network Rail have donated a fabricated steel bridge that will be suitable to span the road which arrived at Spring Village on 15 October 2010.
The extension south of Lightmoor is dependent upon TSR securing the redundant half of the former double track from Lightmoor to Buildwas and reinstating the missing portion of the bridge over Brick Kiln Bank. This bridge was previously reduced to a single track width when Network Rail replaced the original double track width brick arch with single track width concrete section.
In October 2006, with the abolition of Lightmoor Junction, Network Rail took the uphill line out of use; the former downhill line becoming a bi-directional extension of the existing single line from Madeley Junction. TSR plans to use the uphill line as its route into the Ironbridge Gorge including extension over Coalbrookdale Viaduct and across the Albert Edward Bridge onto the power station site, at Buildwas, when it closes. TSR intends to reinstate Coalbrookdale station to serve the Ironbridge Gorge Trust's Museum of Iron, Coalbrookdale's original station buildings survive as part of the Green Wood Centre's Woodland Experience site.
In August 2008 Telford Steam Railway concluded negotiations with Network Rail for the lease and occupation of Lightmoor Junction Signal Box. Substantially intact, TSR has begun work to replace components removed by NR and plans to return the box to 1950s conditions. Until it comes into operational use TSR will make it available for group visits and a limited number of open days during the year.
On 16 July 2010 the Shropshire Star published a video interview with Regeneration chief Councillor Eric Carter of Telford and Wrekin Council, in which he discussed proposals by Telford Steam Railway to operate to the site of Ironbridge Power Station after its scheduled closure in 2015.
Operational steam locomotives
- 0-4-0ST "Rocket", mainstay of TSR's passenger operations. Built by Peckett and Sons Ltd of Bristol in 1926 to works order no. 1722, Rocket was employed by the Courtaulds Company at Coventry. It remained there throughout its working life and eventually found itself as part of the private "Shropshire Collection", near Shrewsbury. This collection was sold "en masse" to the S & D Co. Ltd, who had Rocket restored to its current status by 2003. Rocket left Horsehay for overhaul at Tyseley Locomotive Works in March 2012, returning to public service in April 2014.
- GWR 5600 Class 0-6-2T No 5619 built in 1925. The largest and only ex-main line steam locomotive on the line, 5619 was originally purchased by the Telford Development Corporation from Barry scrapyard for static display at Horsehay goods shed. THST restored the loco to operational condition and it ran at Horsehay and many other preserved lines until its boiler certificate expired in 1991. In 1998 lottery funding was obtained to allow a full overhaul to begin; refurbishment of the frames and fitting of the wheels, cylinders, side tanks and bunker were completed at Horsehay. Boilerwork and final reassembly of the locomotive took place at the Flour Mill workshop, Lydney after further funding was provided by Alan Moore CBE. Returning to traffic after passing its final steam tests , it moved to the Avon Valley Railway for two weeks' running-in in February 2008. After attending TSR's Steam Gala in May 2008, it spent 2 years on hire at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, moving to the North Norfolk Railway in March 2010.
Stored steam locomotives
- Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No 1990, "Ironbridge No3", built in 1940. Employed by the West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority's power station at Ironbridge, it remained there throughout its working life until retired in 1980, when it was sold to the Steamport Museum at Southport. Purchased by TSR in 1984 and restored to working order at Horsehay, it now requires a new firebox and boiler overhaul.
- Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST No 3240 "Beatty" built in 1917. Partially dismantled for restoration.
Operational diesel multiple units
- British Rail Class 108 No 51950 DMBS and No 52062 DMCL, both in chocolate and cream with yellow ends. Formerly stored at the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway, the pair moved to Horsehay in July 2012.
- British Rail Class 104 No 50479 DMBS and No 50531 DMCL, both in BR green livery.
Notable rolling stock
- 1961 BR Mk 1 coach No. SC 14901. Originally built at Swindon as a standard compartment first, it was converted by BR into a prototype 1st Class Lounge Car as part of a project to produce stock to specifications formerly associated with Pullman services. Four of the conventional compartments were removed and replaced by two comfortable lounges, each seating ten passengers. As of April 2014 the coach is undergoing refurbishment for further passenger use.
- The Wenlock Branch – Wellington to Craven Arms, Ken Jones, Oakwood Press 1998, ISBN 978-0-85361-500-2
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