Steam on the last remnant of the “Potts”
15 November 2009
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Five years ago, I had explored some of the railway remains south and west of Oswestry - including that former extremity of the "Potts", the Nantmawr branch (see "Cambrian Ramblings"). Yes, the rails were still in place - and within a year, they had been cleared of the 30-odd years- worth of undergrowth by an offshoot group of the Cambrian Railways Society. Their efforts would bear fruit in November 2009, when the top end of the line, north of the "white gates" that I had visited, would see steam - and, for the first time
ever, a passenger service. Weather and other activities meant we weren't there for the official re-opening, but the sun was shining today - how about a visit? "Passenger service" is perhaps a misleading description - but a ride in an ex-GWR "Toad" brake van, in the company of an ancient Beyer Peacock (1827 of 1879) seemed just about right for this wonderfully rural little line. There's only half-a-mile of track in use at present (some legal work is required before trains can operate back to Blodwell Junction), so for the £5 fare we got two trips down the line. Great fun, and very atmospheric on this mild, still and sunny afternoon. As well as plans to get back to Blodwell, there is work going on north of today's operating limit, where track is still being cleared for perhaps a further ¼m of operation, and a platform is planned. To the east of the site, nature trails and picnic sites are being created in the old quarry workings - perhaps before long the Nantmawr branch will be a popular summer venue for families. Well worth keeping an eye on... (The branch has a most intriguing history - it was originally constructed by the Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway. That ill-fated undertaking's line from Shrewsbury closed in 1880, to be revived some 27 years later by Colonel Stephens as the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway - but operation of the Nantmawr branch had by then passed to the Cambrian. Thus it eventually became part of the national network - and the last remnant of the Potts, an unlikely survivor)
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
Link: Osrail
Taking water Driver's eye view Down the line - interesting bridge over the stream Downhill run Steaming back up the line Planet "CYRIL", FH 3541 of 1952 Wickham PWM 3764 (6643 of 1953) Last trip of the day Day's work done