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The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (Hardback)

The Story of a Welsh Rural Byway

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trains and Railways Wales

By Peter Johnson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Narrow Gauge Railways
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white illustrations, maps and track diagrams
ISBN: 9781526744777
Published: 7th August 2020

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Unusually among Welsh narrow-gauge railways, the 2ft 6in gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway was built to benefit agriculture, not minerals. After several failed attempts to connect the market town at Welshpool with the rural community around Llanfair Caereinion, the 1896 Light Railways Act paved the way for the railway which opened in 1902.

Operated by the Cambrian Railways and then by the Great Western Railway it became the only narrow-gauge steam railway catering for goods traffic under the auspices of British Railways. Sadly, it was closed in 1956 but enthusiasts ensured its revival, which started in 1963.

Overcoming many obstacles, the railway is now run by a charitable trust and is a leading volunteer-operated tourist attraction in Montgomeryshire.

"In conclusion, another interesting and detailed account of one of the Welsh narrow gauge railways."

Paul Weedon, Welsh Railways Research Circle Newsletter

The author has gathered an impressive collection of photographs, newspaper cuttings, plans and maps from all eras, with the high standard of reproduction and graphic design which is now the norm with this publisher. Overall another excellent history of a Welsh narrow-gauge line from a commendably painstaking author. Thoroughly recommended.

Ffestiniog Railway Society Magazine - Winter 2020/21

A worthwhile addition to the published material on this delightful railway, and likely to prompt even more interest amongst modellers.

Railway Modeller, December 2020

This is a first class book about a delightful railway. It comes highly recommended.

BackTrack, May 2021

It is a good quality book with good photos and detailed but readable and enjoyable text. It tells a story of a rural railway with basic facilities that served its community for around 50 years, then after a difficult transition to preservation, has flourished as a characterful tourist railway. Whether it is a line you know well or not, if you like narrow gauge or minor railways then I am sure you will enjoy this book.



Read the full review here

Michael's Model Railways

This book follows the same format of the earlier works by this author, drawing extensively on press reports and company archives... Recommended.

Industrial Railway Society

A superb book which I'm sure will tell you all about the background to the railway, its development and closure and the relaunch into one of Wales' most pleasant preserved railways. The quality of the images, many very old, is good. Highly recommended.

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

This is another fine work from the author, and the publishers have done it justice with the quality art paper on which it is printed, and the pin sharp reproduction of the illustrations.

West Somerset Railway Association

Peter Johnson continues his interesting look at yet another narrow gauge railway in Wales, this time it's the lovely Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway and this fine book adds to his other interesting Pen & Sword books on the Ffestiniog Railway.

Branch Line and Light Railway Publication

... this is a pleasant book with much detail to satisfy any lover of the Welsh narrow gauge and at £30 good value for money.

The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers

Review by Gerald Leach

The book provides an informative narrative describing the full history of the railway... Over 200 good quality colour and monochrome photographs and maps are included. There is a bibliography and index, together with fourteen appendices supplying useful facts and statistics.

Railway & Canal Historical Society Journal

Review by Roger Backhouse

... a worthwhile book for any lover of the Welsh narrow gauge and at £30, good value for money.

Welsh Railways Research Circle newsletter, No 164 Autumn/Winter 2020

‘All aboard for some railway nostalgia’

South Wales Echo, 30th October 2020

'The easy reading text sets out the story and rebirth of this fascinating line located on the Shropshire Welsh border and is a must for GWR and narrow gauge enthusiasts alike.'

6024 Preservation Society

Peter Johnson, author of other books from Pen and Sword Books' "Narrow Gauge Railways" collection such as "The Vale of Rheidol Railway" or "The Corris Railway," has created another great book on Britain's narrow-gauge railways. As in the rest of his books he has extensive information and high quality photographs and drawings. Another great literary success of this publishing house that will delight fans of narrow-track or tourist railways.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unos Cuantos Trenes
 Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is a well known and respected author of narrow gauge and light railway books, he lives near Leicester and has been connected with the world of minor railways for many decades.


He has written many books on narrow gauge railways for Pen and Sword and other publishers over many years, this book on the Snowdon Mountain Railway is his latest.


Peter Johnson had a career in local government before retirement, which gave him time to pursue his main interest in railway research, that of the Welsh narrow gauge lines, in mid and North Wales.

Perfect Partner

Cambrian Railways Gallery A Pictorial Journey Through Time (Hardback)

This book in Pen & Sword’s ‘Gallery’ series starts with a brief history of the Cambrian Railways’ early years, followed by a magnificent comprehensive set of early photographs of Cambrian engines and Oswestry Works made available by the former Chairman of the Manchester Locomotive Society and the National Library of Wales. A tour of the sumptuous scenery of mid Wales follows – the trains in the landscape taken from Andrew Dyke’s collection and a few so expertly ‘colourised’ by him that most find it difficult to distinguish these from the many genuine colour photographs, the Welsh…

By Paul Carpenter, David Maidment

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