© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Between Llanfair Caereinion and Talerddig lies
some lonely hill country. A river - the Rhiw -
rises and flows eastwards to join the Severn
near Berriew (Aberriw in Welsh). The Lion
Hotel in Berriew is well worth a visit - the
excellent Sunday lunch left us with just
sufficient energy to drive the three miles up
the valley to the Rhiw Valley Light Railway...
The 15" gauge line was constructed a good few years ago - I'd
been aware of it getting on for 30 years, and had driven past
once or twice - but until today, had never paid a visit. It's a
private setup, only open to the public once or twice a year, and
it was more-or-less by accident that I found the date of this
event, while Googling something else.
The weather was not our friend today - it was dull and
intermittently rainy, but at least that meant we would see the
steam. Sure enough, as we pulled into the car park, two columns
of smoky steam rose into the grey sky. The source of the steam -
0-6-2T "Powys", built by Severn Lamb in 1973, and "Jack", a fine
little 0-4-0 tender locomotive reminiscent of the modern Exmoor
locomotives, completed just five years ago (a
diesel, "Monty", lurked in the loco shed).
Coaching stock consists of four home-built (I'm
guessing now) vehicles - two bogie coaches plus a
couple of tiny four-wheelers, one of which serves
as the brake van, all finished in a clear varnish to
reveal the woodwork.
The two locos took it in turns to haul trains
around the line - a 1¼ mile sausage-shaped
circuit in the fields beside the river, with a triangular junction
near the eastern end leading into the terminus station.
Sometimes they went clockwise, other times anticlockwise.
While the train was out on the line, the remaining loco would
venture out onto the through line of the triangle, to back on to
the train when it returned from the rain-sodden fields...
...yes, it was rather wet. Should have taken wellies, I think - the
rain was becoming more persistent, and our feet and trouser
bottoms were quite soggy by the time we left. Nevertheless,
we'd had a very pleasant visit to the Rhiw Valley - must go again!
Link: Rhiw Valley Railway