Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Welshpool and district
The railways
  You wait for ages, then they all come along...  

The first railway in Montgomeryshire was approved by Parliament in 1853. This was for a 21km (13 mile) line connecting Llanidloes and Newtown, which opened in 1859.
The next few years saw a rapid growth in the number of working railway services in the county. The line from Oswestry in Shropshire to Welshpool opened in 1860, and a rail link from Welshpool to Shrewsbury came shortly after.
In 1862 the line from Welshpool to Newtown opened, followed by connections to Machynlleth in 1863. The route was extended to reach Aberystwyth by 1864.

The railway
opening at
in 1863
Engraving of railway opening
The Newtown to Machynlleth line went through what was at the time the deepest rock cutting in the world. This was at Talerddig, seen in the photograph above. Small amounts of gold were found there during the operation !
Part of
a railway map
from 1903
Local railway map,1903
The railway line from Llanymynech to Llanfyllin, seen near the top of this map, opened in 1863.
This line was important during the building of the Vyrnwy Dam, when it delivered building materials between 1881 and 1888.

The opening of these early railways were very big occasions for the towns concerned, and great celebrations were held with banquets, bell-ringing and brass bands. It was seen as a huge boost to the future prosperity of the community, which it almost always was for some time at least.
Though railways made it easier to send goods out, they also brought goods in from the large manufacturing centres. Local tradespeople like shoemakers slowly lost business as cheaper mass-produced goods were more easily obtained.
There is more about the local railway on the next page...

The stationmaster and his staff...


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