Bringing town's forgotten railway line back to life

Reporter:

Ben Goddard

THE OLD railway line through Welshpool is set to be "brought back to life" by a walking tour through the town.
 
A local business has donated funds for 12 information boards which will run from Smithfield Road through to Raven Square Station and will show the old railway line at each location along the way.
 
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway dates back to 1896 when it used to wind its way through Welshpool Town Centre before closing to passengers in 1931 with the last freight service running through the town in 1956.
 
The history of the line is now set to be displayed at the 12 information points which will be positioned at: Smithfield Road, Tesco car park, by the old Spa, Boot Street, Bron Y Buckley, Woodside, the Quarry and by the Raven Inn.
 
Two murals have also been made which were funded through the Art Connection which paid all the costs and involved local schoolchildren and clients of the Ponthafren Association who worked alongside Shropshire artist Anna Roberts.
 
Both of these are already in place, one is positioned by the library and the other is on Church Street.
 
Local author Alan Crowe came up with the idea after taking walking tours through the town on the old railway route.
 
Mr Crowe is providing photographs and information for the boards to help to bring the old railway “back to life”.
 
He said: “It will show the route which the former train used to take through the town centre. There are not many residents who live here who are old enough to know the route of the old railway or remember it.
 
“The idea came to me as people kept asking where the old railway line went and so I started doing guided walking tours. These were very popular with train enthusiasts and I hope that by tourists doing their own walking tours it will attract tourists into the town.
 
“This project should help to bring the old railway to life once again.”
 
At last week’s Welshpool Town Council meeting councillors agreed to take responsibility for the 12 information boards once they had been put up as part of an agreement with Powys County Council.
 
Councillors also agreed to pay the planning application fee of £80.
 
Deputy Mayor Steve Kaye said: “We should go for it as it is part of the jig-saw to attract tourists to our town.
 
“The boards will be in good places where they can be seen in case of vandalism. 
 
“People will see them so hopefully they won’t attract too much trouble,” he added.

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