25 October 2023 The Welshpool & LLanfair Light Railway

Presenter: Simon Bowden

Our speaker joined the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway as a volunteer as a teenager in 1966. He later completed 50 years as a driver and for around 20 years was Loco Superintendent at Llanfair.

The line opened in 1903 linking the local farming communities with the market town of Welshpool, an outlet for their produce. Only freight was carried after 1931, the line closing completely in 1956. However, from 1963, thanks to a group of enthusiasts the line was gradually reopened.

A 2’6” gauge railway to enable tight curves and steep gradients of up to 1/24 to be built through the rolling landscape. The allure of steam has been there throughout. Undoubtedly in preservation the return of original locomotive No 1 The Earl was a major milestone in the lines restoration followed by No 2 The Countess. March 1974 will live in the memory when the line was bought outright from British Railways for £8,000.

A life-time of enjoyment and satisfaction shone through a presentation of warmth and encyclopaedic knowledge of the railway. Well Simon has seen it all, just 55 images required in the two hour presentation, but the detail of events throughout the history of the line were beautifully portrayed. It would do an injustice to Simon to litter this review with technical detail, as blended with personal stories and anecdotes the audience was enthralled.

For Visitor information  go to:  https://wllr.org.uk/