On Trains & Buses

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Two Rural Welsh Railways

Posted on April 18, 2011

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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 the 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 several 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 and 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 even if 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…