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National Railway Museum transfers ownership of GWR wagon to Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The National Railway Museum has announced today that the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is now the proud owner of a former Great Western Railway standard gauge five-plank open wagon. 

The National Railway Museum has announced today that the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is now the proud owner of a former Great Western Railway standard gauge five-plank open wagon.

The W&LLR intends to put the wagon on display at Welshpool Raven Square station to demonstrate the transhipment of goods that took place between the railway and the main line in pre-preservation days.

Standard gauge wagons were once common beside (although not on) the W&LLR, at the interchange with the main line at Welshpool Station, the light railway had exchange sidings over which goods were transhipped between the two railways. The former cattle docks still exist complete with a short section of mixed-gauge track, and Welshpool Town Council is planning to restore this area as a historical exhibit.

The original major reason for constructing the Welshpool & Llanfair line in 1902-03 was to connect the agricultural area surrounding Llanfair Caereinion with the important market town of Welshpool, carrying coal and other supplies up the valley and returning with livestock, timber and other agricultural products for Welshpool and other points on the main-line railway.

In a conversation with the National Railway Museum, mentioned his interest in recreating the transhipment scene at the railway’s current Welshpool terminus of Raven Square as part of the Llanfair Line’s mandate to educate the public about the railway’s history.

A transfer of ownership of former Great Western Railway wagon No. W108246, built in 1925, was arranged and the W&LLR organised transport from Shildon to Welshpool, where the wagon is to be placed on a standard gauge track panel next to a siding outside the shed in which narrow gauge heritage goods wagons are displayed.

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator at the National Railway Museum said: “The museum is very pleased to be working with the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and to have found such a suitable home for this wagon on a railway which was once operated by the GWR.

“The W&LLR has an outstanding record for preserving and displaying heritage goods wagons, something which is paramount to the museum, allowing the public to appreciate and understand fully. The W&LLR runs transhipment demonstrations which the museum knew would interest railway enthusiasts and helped us to make the decision to entrust the wagon to them.”

W&LLR General Manager, Charles Spencer, added: “We are delighted to be taking responsibility for this heritage vehicle and to have the opportunity of demonstrating how the narrow-gauge railway served the rural community with a connection to the big railway”,.  “Having the wagon helps us fulfil our mandate as an educational charity to preserve and display our part of Britain’s’ railway heritage.”


Notes to editors

National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum’s collection, the largest in the world, includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.

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About the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The W&LLR regularly runs Vintage Weekends featuring mixed trains, including the railway’s three replica Pickering carriages and heritage wagons, which once hauled by one of the original Beyer-Peacock tank engines built for the opening of the line in 1903. Vintage steam and petrol road and farm vehicles are often on display and on the move at the Llanfair end of the line, and trans-shipment activities with the new wagon will add to the shunting and other demonstrations featured on these weekends.

The W&LLR’s Raven Square station is located one mile up the line from the original Welshpool yard, which was reached by a section of line that ran through the town. Today’s passengers aboard the narrow gauge train at Raven Square for the eight-mile journey to the farming town of Llanfair Caereinion, where the railway tea room, shop and workshops are located. Trains run at weekends from Easter to October and during the week from May to September. The regular timetable and special events calendar are available at the W&LLR website.