Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

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823 The Countess and 822 The Earl - the two original W&LLR engines.

The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) is a narrow gauge heritage railway in Wales.

The line is around 8.5 miles (14 km) long and travels between the towns of Welshpool and Llanfair Caereinion. The track gauge is 2 ft 6 in (762 mm).

The W&LLR was one of the few narrow gauge branch lines to be built under the provisions of the 1896 Light Railways Act. It was opened on 4 April 1903 to aid economic development in a remote area. It never made a profit. It was originally operated by the Cambrian Railways. The line is built through difficult country, having a great number of curves in order to reach the summit of 600ft. The original terminus at Welshpool was located alongside the main line station and trains wound their way through the town, using the locomotive bell as a warning.

In the 1923 Grouping of railway companies the line was taken over by the Great Western Railway. On 9 February 1931 the line lost its passenger service, which was replaced by a bus service, and it became a freight-only line. It was temporarily re-opened to passengers between 6 and 11 August 1945 for the Eisteddfod. The W&LLR was nationalised in 1948.

Freight traffic lingered on until 1956, by which time British Railways decided to close the line.

A group of volunteers and enthusiasts took the line over and started raising money to restore it. On 6 April 1963 the first section of the line was re-opened as a tourist railway. The line through Welshpool however could not be reopened, so the line has a new terminus at Raven Square on the outskirts of the town, originally opened on 18 July 1981. Because of the gauge, unusual for the British Isles, locomotives and rolling stock to supplement the originals have had to be obtained from a cosmopolitan variety of sources. A major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund permitted restoration of both original locomotives together with several coaches and original wagons, and provision of new workshop facilities, ready for the line's centenary.


Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Preserved Locomotives
WLLR No. Name Builder Year Wheels Type Notes
1 The Earl Beyer Peacock 1903 0-6-0T Steam Original W&LLR locomotive
2 The Countess Beyer Peacock 1903 0-6-0T Steam Original W&LLR locomotive
3 Raven * Ruston & Hornsby 1934 4wDM Diesel Sold
4 Upnor Castle * F. C. Hibberd 1954 4wDM Diesel Sold to Ffestiniog Railway
5 Nutty Sentinel 1929 4wVBT Steam Owned by & returned to care of Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
6 Monarch W. G. Bagnall 1953 0-4-4-0T Steam Sold to Ffestiniog Railway but recently re-purchased by W&LLR
7 Chattenden * Drewry Car Co. 1947 0-6-0DM Diesel
8 Dougal * Andrew Barclay 1946 0-4-0T Steam Originally operated at Provan Gasworks, Glasgow
9 Wynnstay * J. Fowler 1951 0-6-0DM Diesel Sold
10 Sir Drefaldwyn * Franco-Belge 1944 0-8-0T Steam Originally operated by German Army & in Austria
11 Ferret * Hunslet Engine Company 1940 0-4-0DM Diesel
12 Joan Kerr Stuart 1929 0-6-2T Steam Originally operated in Antigua
14 - Hunslet Engine Company 1954 2-6-2T Steam Originally operated by Sierra Leone Government Railway
(15) Orion * Tubize 1948 2-6-2T Steam Returned to Jokioisten Museum Railway in Finland
16 Scooby * Hunslet Engine Company 1941 0-4-0DM Diesel Rebuilt by W&LLR
17 Diema * Diema 1979 6wDH Diesel Originally operated in Taiwan
* = Name added by WLLR
Orion is now back in Finland where it originally ran.
0-8-0T No. 10 Sir Drefaldwyn was imported from Austria.
1954 Hunslet No. 85 was repatriated from the Sierra Leone Government Railway.

See also


  • Cartwright, Ralph I. (2002). The Welshpool and Llanfair. RailRomances.  ISBN 1-900622-06-8

External links

Flag of Wales 2.svg Heritage railways in Wales

Amman Valley Railway - Bala Lake Railway - Brecon Mountain Railway - Bridgend Valleys Railway - Corris Railway Society
Fairbourne Railway - Ffestiniog Railway - Gwili Railway - Llanberis Lake Railway - Llangollen Railway - Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway - Rhyl Miniature Railway - Snowdon Mountain Railway - Swansea Vale Railway - Talyllyn Railway
Vale of Glamorgan Railway - Vale of Rheidol Railway - Welsh Highland Railway - Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
Heritage Railways: England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland - Isle of Man - Channel Islands