and hello again to an old friend
Farewell Rhiw Valley
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2022
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
2 October 2022
- and of course partook of the tea and cakes. We decided to give the very last train a miss - it was getting busy. Instead, we’d drive over the hills to Llanfair Caereinion and see what was going on. We arrived to find a train had gone down to Welshpool some time earlier, so we drove on - to find a most welcome sight! In February 1970 I’d gone to Austria (school ski trip!) and finding that we were staying no great distance from Jenbach, I caught a local train along the Inn Valley and enjoyed a steam-hauled (I wasn’t expecting steam!) ride up the Zillertalbahn. The locomotive which hauled my train was their no.2 Zillertal - and there, at the eastern end of the W&L at Welshpool Raven Square, was the self-same locomotive. It arrived at the W&L, on hire, three years ago. I’d been meaning to come and see it, but the world went wrong in 2020. It’s been a long time since we last met! Links: Rhiw Valley Light Railway Rail Diaries, Feb 1970 - Zillertalbahn Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
We’ve enjoyed a number of visits to this little line over the years (the cakes are pretty good too…). Sadly, this would be our last - today’s last train would be the Rhiw Valley Railway’s last train ever. This 15” gauge railway operated in quiet sheep pastures beside the river Rhiw, a feeder of the Severn between Newtown and Welshpool. It was created by the late Jack Woodroffe in 1970. Jack died in 1990, but the line has remained in operation with the support of his widow and a group of enthusiasts. Sadly, it seems that all good things must end, and today, after the last open day of the 2022 season, the line was to close. The railway’s two steam locomotives took turns in hauling the four-coach passenger train around the circuit, sometimes clockwise and sometimes anti- clockwise (to keep photographers on their toes, I think). Powys, an 0-6-2T was built by Severn Lamb in 1973; Jack, an 0-4-0 tender locomotive was completed in 2003. We wandered around the fields, took photos and enjoyed the day in this very pleasant part of the country
Jack departs Beside the river Rhiw Steam aplenty The guard watches over Powys Tracks through the grassland Steam beside the Rhiw This is the life! 'Quiet sheep pastures' A little further round Jack arrives while Powys waits Powys backs on Powys at the terminus Powys departs Powys rounds the curve Last look at Powys and the Rhiw Valley Railway Powys arrives Austria in Wales Zillertal at Raven Square Zillertalbahn Raven Square International An assisted departure