A disused and derelict North Shropshire railway line abandoned for over 50 years has officially reopened after being restored by enthusiasts.
Cambrian Heritage Railways yesterday welcomed local dignitaries, invited guests, members and volunteers to enjoy a nostalgic steam train journey from Oswestry to Weston Wharf.
Helen Morgan, Member of Parliament for North Shropshire, together with Shropshire Council Chairman Vince Hunt, opened the railway and unveiled the new platform at Weston Wharf.
Volunteers have worked tirelessly since 2016 to extend the heritage railway from Oswestry. Reinstating two miles of new track and a station platform at Weston Wharf has enabled Cambrian Heritage Railways to become the latest tourist attraction in the county.
The original line fell victim to the ‘Beeching cuts in the 1960s while other parts of the line remained freight-only until the 1980s. Local heritage enthusiasts joined together in 1972 to keep alive memories of Oswestry as a major railway hub.
Having successfully obtained European grants and financial backing from local authorities to restore the railway, the ambitious plan for the future is to extend the line in both directions towards Gobowen and Llynclys.
Speaking about the reopening, Cambrian Heritage Railways Chairman Rob Williams said: “It’s a fantastic achievement by all concerned to reopen a passenger railway that hasn’t existed for over 50 years.
“We are grateful to Helen Morgan and Vince Hunt for officially opening the railway and I would like to pay tribute to all those individuals and organisations who have been instrumental in making this project possible. Our ambition going forward is to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy a special day out on our heritage railway.”
Cambrian Heritage Railways has announced trains will run every weekend, specific mid-week days and evenings, as well as Bank Holidays from the Easter weekend until September.
It is also planned that ‘special excursion’ trains will operate throughout the year linking the railway with local attractions at Weston, including the Stonehouse Brewery and Weston Pools Village.