© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 I'd read of stirrings on the former Cambrian main line at Llynclys, south of Oswestry, and then I saw an item on the Cambrian Railways Society's website indicating that a group of its members had bought the former Nantmawr branch. I decided it was time to go and see what was going on... The railways in the area presented a confused picture in the past - and the present is not entirely clear. The final freight services in the area ran from Gobowen, down the Great Western branch which became Oswestry's only link with the rest of the network when the Cambrian main line between Buttington and Whitchurch closed in the mid-60s. Cambrian metals are then followed via Llynclys Junction to Porthywaen. A quarry siding left the main line here, and the Tanat Valley Light Railway began. However, long before the Tanat Valley was constructed, the Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway had opened, running from Shrewsbury to Llanymynech, then looping around the western side of Llanymynech Hill to Llanyblodwell and on to Nantmawr, tapping into valuable quarry traffic there. The Tanat Valley crossed the "Potts" at Llanyblodwell. To arrive at their ultimate destination, empties for the Nantmawr quarries reversed at Blodwell junction and headed up perhaps one of the most obscure stretches of railway line anywhere in the country. Preservationists are trying to reopen the route throughout - but progress has been slow until recently. We started our exploration just south of Llynclys station. Here the Cambrian Railways Trust has laid sidings for rolling stock, and a new main line is under construction on around a mile of trackbed to Pant, where a filled-in overbridge will present an obstacle to further development. After a quick look at Pant, we then headed for Blodwell Junction, following only approximately the former Potts route, and pausing along the way at the attractive Carreghofa locks on the Montgomery Canal. Track is still in place at Blodwell Junction, though somewhat overgrown. However, it is many years since a train ran up the Nantmawr branch, although the route can at first be clearly seen -  as a linear wood! However, local legend was that the track was still there - so we ventured a little closer - and sure enough, although the trees between the metals are now reasonably mature specimens, there appears to be a continuous line of railway up the valley. The Potts line between Shrewsbury and Llanymynech closed completely in 1880, and was reopened as the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire in 1907. Taken over by War Department, it survived until 1960. In the meantime, the Nantmawr branch was acquired by the Cambrian, and thus remained in use until relatively recently. We followed the track back to Oswestry, where the Cambrian Railways Society has the use of a siding to the south of the station. Services ("trips" is perhaps more appropriate) were being operated by no less than a Parry People Mover, car no. 11. Naturally, we had to have a ride! This innovative vehicle is powered by a small lpg-fuelled engine (from a Ford Focus, I'm led to believe) which in turn powers a large flywheel, and it is the latter from which power is taken to accelerate the vehicle - and into which energy is returned on braking. Lastly, beyond the remains of Oswestry Cambrian station are the remnants of the works - now an antiques centre and restaurant ("Loco"). Outside stand no less than 6 locomotives - five diesels, ranging from a huge Bo-Bo, built in 1950, which once operated at Port Talbot steelworks, to a tiny 4w diesel built in 1936 - and steam loco "Glenfield", a crane tank built by Andrew Barclay a little over 100 years ago. A different sort of day out - very little action (sorry, Parry People Mover...) but lots of interest - and a hope for further developments which potentially could result in a very fine - and different - preserved railway. Links: Cambrian Railways Society Cambrian Railways Trust Tanat Valley Light Railway Stirrings at Llynclys Llynclys station The other end of the Llynclys scheme, at Pant Carreghofa locks The end of the track at Blodwell Nantmawr - can't see the branch for the trees... Nantmawr branch - a very short stretch which is not overgrown Ex-Cambrian metals near Portywaen On the Cambrian main line near Oswestry Approaching Oswestry - in the Parry People Mover Parry People Mover No 11 The former Cambrian station at Oswestry Locos outside "Loco" Glenfield - AB 880 of 1902 **Update** how it looked less than a year later!