© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 The Telford Horsehay Steam Trust has been around for nearly 30 years, based at the old Horsehay Company's loco shed, on the route of the Wellington (Ketley) - Buildwas line, formerly a through route to Craven Arms. The line south of Much Wenlock closed to passengers at the end of 1951, although freight lingered on until 1964 between Ketley and Longville. In the meantime, the passenger service to Wenlock finished on 21st July 1962. The only remaining use for the line was then occasional traffic for the works at Horsehay - Adamson Alliance, later part of the Butterley Company, would send out fabricated steel bridges and other structures from time to time. This traffic would be worked down the remaining metals via Doseley to Lightmoor Junction, where it would then join the Madeley Junction to Ironbridge power station line (the line from Madeley Junction to Lightmoor Junction was originally a branch off the main route).  I can recall seeing these workings on the branch in the mid-70s - even having to wait at Doseley level crossing one morning for such a train. Sadly, I never had a camera with me. The route from Lightmoor Junction to the power station still sees traffic to this day. By the time the traffic to Horsehay finally ended, in 1979, THST had been in existence for 3 years. Unfortunately they were unable to prevent the lifting of most of the track down to Lightmoor Junction, and the trackbed was later severed by the construction of the Ironbridge by-pass And so we come to the 21st anniversary. By 1984, ex-GWR 0-6-2T no. 5619 was in full working order, and the railway began to run passenger trips from a platform in the works sidings, just outside the loco shed, up to Heath Hill tunnel, then back down to Horsehay and Dawley station on the "main line". The spring bank holiday weekend would see celebrations to mark 21 years of such a service, and the hiring in of much-travelled pannier tank no. 6430 from Llangollen (5619 is currently at the reconstruction phase of extensive restoration work - frames and bunker being on display outside the shed). Also in action would be resident Peckett 1722 of 1926 "Rocket", a class 104 DMU, and the unique 1984 Leyland Railbus RB004. This latter vehicle would not be carrying any passengers - my first impression was that it no longer had any seats. I'm assured it has the normal complement - but at present, it can only be driven from one end, the real reason for its empty journeys. The railway has ambitious plans for the future. For the short term, clearance of land to the north of Heath Hill tunnel is progressing, with the aim of constructing a small station and run-round loop. To the south, track has been re-laid towards Doseley level crossing, but the major obstacle of the Ironbridge by-pass remains. The tunnel marked the summit of the line from Wellington, and the gradient down to the station is a challenging 1 in 40. The by-pass cuts through an embankment which will have to be raised at both sides to give sufficient clearance for road traffic, although I was assured by a member of the railway that the maximum gradient from Lightmoor to a new bridge would not exceed the 1 in 40 in place further north. Further plans (I think we're getting into the significantly longer-term now) involve getting down to the power station, then reversing along the scenic riverside stretch to Ironbridge. Some of the ingredients for this plan are falling into place - the power station has a limited life now, probably no more than 10 years. Between Lightmoor junction and the power station, the line down through historic Coalbrookdale is double track, but the box at Lightmoor is due to close shortly - and one line of metals down the dale will become redundant. Perhaps, with appropriate motive power and coaching stock, a passenger service on this stretch is not too far away. Clearly this is one to watch! Link: Telford Steam Railway Horsehay 21 Pannier 6430 in action, accompanied by Rocket and the railbus
Rocket at Horsehay and Dawley station Rocket propelled! Heading up the bank from Horsehay station Pannier and Peckett Railcars ancient and (relatively) modern Ironbridge No.3 - Peckett 1990 of 1940 Heading for the Cheshire Cheese! (It's a pub...) Recreating the past - pannier arrives at Horsehay and Dawley 6430 stands at Horsehay and Dawley 6430 tackles the 1 in 40 Leyland Railbus RB004 6430 backs out of the yard, Horsehay 6430 drifts down the bank 6430 enters Horsehay yard More clag than the steamers! 104 unit exits the sidings Pannier and Peckett - 6430 and Rocket Returning from the Cheshire Cheese Smoking well on the 1 in 40