Two Rural Welsh Railways

Here are a few rural Welsh railways with websites devoted to their promotion. The information has been moved from elsewhere on the web during a spring clean so that it lives on. Hopefully, some can make use of this posting.

Conwy Valley Railway

It’s nearly ten years since I first travelled along this stretch of the National Rail network and guidebooks were issuing warnings about the future of the line. Then, an elderly diesel multiple unit was what plied the scenic route but more modern 150’s carry on the service these days. The operator has changed too with Arriva Trains Wales having taken over from a now defunct First North Western in the intervening years. The website is a Conwy Borough Council microsite and very useful it appears too. So far, all those fears from a decade ago have proved unfounded though trains are replaced by buses in the winter months and there is the hourly X1 Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog service operated by Express Motors on other days of the week too. With its passage through pretty alluring countryside and its connections to the Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway, let’s hope that its future isn’t imperilled by an inclement economic climate or public spending cuts.

Heart of Wales Line

This website comes from the Heart of Wales Line Forum, one of a number of community rail partnerships in Britain, and it does look as if they promote a railway that needs it. Despite  their best efforts, the service level comes to four trains each way from Monday to Saturday and two each way on Sundays. It’s a long rural line too as it winds its way from Craven arms in Shropshire to its eventual destination of Swansea. Trains don’t start from or terminate at Craven Arms though because Shrewsbury is the actual northern terminus though I have seen the single carriage train that plies the line attached to a two car set at Crewe on Sunday mornings. Now that I think of that, I wonder if it still is the arrangement though a vague memory leaves me with the impression that it has changed. On the Welsh side of the border, the route does wind through at least one narrow valley before round the Brecon Beacons National Park, first to its north but then to its west. The latter has been planting ideas of exploring the park’s western reaches from this line though that has yet to come to pass. Well, it’s never any harm to have ideas in mind…

2 thoughts on “Two Rural Welsh Railways

  1. This is very informative as both railways offer tourist potential of different types. The Conway Valley line has Betws-y-Coed with its small narrow-gauge railway and rail museam next to the heavy rail single line and commercialised tourist shops at the station area and an excellant information centre nearby. The line terminus at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the dramatic slate waste “mountains” connects with the famous Ffestiniog narrow-gauge railway which takes you to Porthmadog. This journey is highly recommended by all tourist organizations for the scenic route it takes.

    The Heart of Wales line is one for the rail enthusiast and connections to Shrewsbury from Stockport, Wilmslow and Crewe are regular. On the Heart of Wales line are 28 small stations (10 of which start with LL….many are request stops) before the Swansea terminus is reached. Craven Arms and Church Stretton both had more rail connections from the North-West on the Manchester to South Wales route before the new summer 2011 timetable was introduced, but these reductions were caused by stops on that route being introduced this Summer at both Nantwich and Whitchurch as a result of public demand. However, compensatory stops on the Holyhead to Cardiff train at both Craven Arms and Church Stretton have been added this Summer. Only a brave hearted traveller will attempt a day return trip!

    • Glad to hear that this has been of some interest. I agree with your comments on both railways; maybe an overnight stay somewhere in Wales is in order for savouring the delights of the heart of Wales line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *