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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: 30th July 2020

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RRP £30.00

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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.

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 Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is an historian specialising in North Wales’s railways, particularly its many narrow gauge lines. Writing nearly 40 books since 1984, he brings together threads from many original sources to produce informed and readable accounts of their histories and development.


A retired local government officer, he was editor of the Ffestiniog Railway Society’s quarterly magazine from 1974 until 2003 and a director of the society for 11 years. In 2003 he was appointed the Festiniog Railway Company’s official photographer. From 1991-2019 he contributed a narrow-gauge railway news column to one of the national railway magazines. This is his sixth title for Pen & Sword Transport, following books on the Festiniog (two), Welsh Highland, Corris Railway and Vale of Rheidol Railways.

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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…

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