Daily Archives: April 1, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

May I wish everyone who reads this blog a very happy Easter.  The weather forecast is a bit ‘iffy’ to say the least, but we hope to get our season off to a belated start with a good weekend of steam train activity!  We shall be using the full length of the line, trackwork, although not yet finished after the very bad winter, will not interfere with the weekend’s running.

There have been a number of changes over the past few weeks, painting and decorating and changes and general tidying up in the Heritage Centre – we now have clear access through the Heritage Centre to the Museum.We know that work has to be done on the rolling stock, but surely not blocking visitors’ access.

Last Sunday was only the third time this year that we have had this and it does make such a difference – the number of visitors to the Museum went from maybe a couple of dozen to over two hundred!

Our fares have again been held at 2008 prices:

Adults £3.45

Children (under 16) £2.45

Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) £8.45

All tickets offer unlimited travel on the day of issue!

The timetable can be found on the website – www.chaserail.com

Phone – 01543 452623

It’s worth a trip to see the reservoir at its lowest level for years – it may never be this low again!

You get a great view from the train!

Chasewater Railway Museum June 1965 Bits & Pieces 29

More taken from the Mercian June 1965, Vol.4 No.3

Renowned Branch Lines

By Trer Pol & Pen

The Much Wenlock Branch

On Saturday, 21st July 1962, there closed to passengers yet another of GWR’s once numerous branch lines, that from Wellington to Much Wenlock.  Just over a year alter it was closed to all traffic and is now practically all lifted.Wellington Station – Roger Shenton

The line originally ran through to Craven Arms and was opened in five sections. 

Leaving Craven Arms station

Steam train tour leaves station on sharp North to East curve at Craven Arms

© Copyright Raymond Knapman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The section from Wellington to Coalbrookdale was opened on 1st July 1857, and was worked fro just four years by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company

Coalbrookdale Station

This is where the platform would have been. The line now carries only coal for the Ironbridge Gorge Power Station

© Copyright Mike White and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

which was absorbed by the GWR in 1892.  There had been a line to Coalbrookdale since 1st July 1854 running from the Shrewsbury and Birmingham main line west of Shifnal. 

Buildwas Junction

The next section, from Buildwas to Much Wenlock was opened on 1st February 1862, the same day as the Severn Valley line from Shrewsbury to Hartlebury, and worked by the Much Wenlock and Severn Junction Railway Company which was taken over by the GWR in 1896.  The Wenlock line continued to run as a branch of the Severn valley line until1st November 1864 when the Coalbrookdale to Buildwas section was opened, making through running between Wellington and Much Wenlock possible.

The next part to open was from Wenlock to Presthope on 5th December 1864 along the picturesque Wenlock Edge, to join the Shrewsbury and Hereford line at Marsh Farm Junction just north of Craven Arms.  Much Wenlock was provided with a tiny engine shed which housed a steam railcar for some years.  Other forms of motive power that have worked over the line include various types of GWR 2-6-2 tanks, 57xx and 64xx pannier tanks, Ivatt and Standard2-6-2 tanks and until closure of the line, single unit railcars.  An auto train with engine number 6421 ran for some months in 1961-62 but was soon withdrawn.

Longville Station

This former station on the line from Craven Arms to Buildwas via Much Wenlock has been tastefully converted into a private residence while keeping a railway theme.

© Copyright David Stowell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The first closure came on 31st December 1951, when the section south of Much Wenlock lost its passenger services and was closed completely south of Longville.  The line from Much Wenlock to Longville continued to carry a daily goods train until about 1960 when it was running ’as required’.  The beginning of the end came on 21st July 1962 when the last passenger train ran from Wellington to Much Wenlock, this town having reached its centenary by just over five months.  Shortly afterwards, the points were removed at the junction with the main line at Ketley Bank, and the line down to Lightmoor junction was worked as required via Madeley. 

Lightmoor Junction

The left fork here has been taken up. Further north, along its line, is the Horsehay Steam Trust. The right fork leads to Madeley Junction, a real junction this time, on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line. Only goods trains, long lines of coal trucks heading to & from the Ironbridge Gorge Power Station pass along this line now.

© Copyright Mike White and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

On 30th November 1963, the section from Buildwas Junction to Longville was shut for all traffic in conjunction with the Severn Valley line.  This was to enable the entire lay-out and station at Buildwas to be completely demolished to make way for the CEGBs new power station to occupy the site. 

Buildwas coal-fired power station and River Severn

Originally based on local coal and the River Severn for cooling – coal now imported. An eyesore at the mouth of the Ironbridge Gorge.

© Copyright Bob Bowyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

This will give a new lease of life to the line between Madeley Junction and Buildwas as all the coal for this power station will come in over this route on the ‘merry-go-round’ principle.

All the stations and halts on the line are still standing (June 1965) in some form.  At Much Wenlock, the station house is still inhabited and the engine shed complete with a short length of track.  The entire track between Buildwas and Marsh Farm Junction is now lifted.Former Station from the Much Wenlock Information & Visitor Guide