Railways of Shropshire


Railways of Shropshire

The English county of Shropshire has a fairly large railway network, with 19 National Rail stations on various national lines, as well as a small number of heritage and freight lines, including the famous heritage Severn Valley Railway running along its eastern border with Worcestershire.

The majority of the county's public rail services are run by Arriva Trains Wales, the remainder are run by London Midland. There is also a direct service to London Marylebone, provided by new company Wrexham & Shropshire, which commenced on April 28, 2008.

National Rail services

National Rail services in Shropshire are centred about Shrewsbury station (all other stations in Shropshire have a direct train service to Shrewsbury, which is the county town), which is managed by Arriva Trains Wales. The station is at the junction of the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line, Shrewsbury to Chester Line, the Welsh Marches Line (between Cardiff and Manchester) and the Cambrian Line (towards Welshpool). Craven Arms station is at the junction between the Welsh Marches Line and the Heart of Wales Line, although services on the Heart of Wales Line begin at Shrewsbury, rather than Craven Arms itself. There are direct train services from Shrewsbury (and elsewhere in the county) to the cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff, as well as the port at Holyhead.

There are no electrified railways in the county (unless you count the funicular Bridgnorth Cliff Railway), despite the surrounding railway nodes of Crewe, Chester and Wolverhampton all being electrified. This has meant that since the mid-1990s rail privatisation there has been a reluctance to establish a direct service to London by the cross-country railway companies (previously British Rail ran direct trains from Shrewsbury to London), notably Virgin Trains, who previously ran services to London from the county in 2000. Direct rail services to the capital are now being operated by Wrexham and Shropshire, an open-access operator.

Freight only lines

There are two freight only lines in operation in the Telford area. One is the line from Madeley Junction on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line to Ironbridge Power Station via the historic industrial area of Coalbrookdale. The other is the newly restored line from Wellington to Donnington which links the Telford Railfreight Terminal at Donnington with the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line.

The Gobowen to Blodwell line, which runs through Oswestry, has been a mothballed line since the 1980s. It previously served a small number of stone quarries in the area. In 2008 the line was bought by the County Council and will likely be used in part by the Cambrian Heritage Railways being set up in the area (by the Cambrian Railways Trust and Society, see Heritage section below) and also as a cycle path from Oswestry to Gobowen.

Former railways

There are many closed lines in Shropshire, including the Minsterley branch line, the Bishop's Castle Railway, the Stafford to Newport line and the Snailbeach light railway. Many were closed in the 1960s, although the county did not fare too badly under Dr Beeching's massive nationwide railway cuts. However, some previously major railway centres, such as Oswestry and Market Drayton, now have no public railways.

Heritage railways

There are three heritage railways in Shropshire: the Severn Valley Railway from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster (in Worcestershire), the Telford Steam Railway at Horsehay, and a restored section of the Cambrian Railways, as being run by the Cambrian Railways Trust between Llynclys and Pant. The Telford Steam Railway and the Cambrian Railways Trust's line are both expanding at the present.

The Cambrian Railway Society, based in Oswestry, plans to restore part of the Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway at Nantmawr for use as a heritage railway. The Society currently have an operating base in Oswestry, by the side of the Gobowen to Blodwell line, with a small collection of locos and rolling stock. There are also some moves underway to recreate a narrow gauge tourist line on part of the former Snailbeach District Railways.

As well as the heritage only lines, the national lines of Shropshire witness a regular number of special charter trains with heritage diesel and steam locomotives and historic carriage stock in operation.

Tunnels

Shropshire's current railway network has three tunnels in use - Oakengates Tunnel and the short Ludlow Tunnel on the national network along with the very short Knowlesands Tunnel on the Severn Valley Railway. There is also a further tunnel on the Telford Steam Railway which will bring the total in use to four when they complete their northern extension to Lawley.

tations

Here are listed in alphabetical order the 19 'national rail' stations in the county.

*Albrighton railway station - Bridgnorth
*Broome railway station - Broome
*Bucknell railway station - Bucknell
*Church Stretton railway station - Church Stretton
*Cosford railway station - Cosford (alight here for RAF Cosford)
*Craven Arms railway station - Craven Arms (change here for the Heart of Wales Line)
*Gobowen railway station - Gobowen (for Oswestry - bus service to Oswestry)
*Hopton Heath railway station - Hopton Heath1
*Knighton railway station - Knighton2
*Ludlow railway station - Ludlow
*Oakengates railway station - Oakengates
*Prees railway station - Prees
*Shifnal railway station - Shifnal
*Shrewsbury railway station - Shrewsbury
*Telford Central railway station - Telford Central
*Wellington (Shropshire) railway station - Wellington
*Wem railway station - Wem
*Whitchurch (Shropshire) railway station - Whitchurch
*Yorton railway station - Yorton ‡

1 Sometimes written as "Hoptonheath".
2 Although the town of Knighton is in Powys, Wales, the railway station is in Shropshire, England.
‡ Request stop

ee also

*Rail transport in Great Britain
*History of rail transport in Great Britain


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