SHREWSBURY Like many stations, Shrewsbury has seen grander days, but most of its
grandeur is still intact. Built as a combined station and hotel, it is a big, imposing building, with crenellations in
mimicry of its close neighbour, Shrewsbury Castle. It is located at the edge of the main shopping area, though you have
to trek uphill to the shops (this is standard for Shrewsbury as the town centre sits on top of a hill and everything is
down or up). Its forecourt allows limited parking only, with a set-down area. The entrance is canopied in front of a
ticket office and separate information area on opposite sides of a short, level subway. This leads to steps and a lift
up to the main platform, which has four numbers: 4 and 7 are the main faces, while 5 and 6 lie in a bay at the southern end. (Platforms 1 and 2 have
disappeared, and platform 3, just above the station entrance is now only used in special circumstances.) The main
platform offers toilets (by the bay) and refreshments.|
Behind the station is a pay-and-display parking area, though you have to drive round and under the station, then up Howard Street to reach it. Once on foot, there is a level, roofed overbridge (by a sign that says The Dana) that will take you directly to the station building - the quick way down involves 35 steps, but staying on the sloping path gives wheelchairs (etc.) a longer-winded but easier route. Wheels: SSw.
Shrewsbury also serves the Walsall-Shrewsbury line.
Shrewsbury also serves the Chester-Hereford line.
CHURCH STRETTON station is at the bottom of the central shopping street, down to the right side of the overbridge (the old station was to the left but is now private property). This is the Shrewsbury platform; the Hereford platform is reached either by a modern steel overbridge, or by road from the A49 Church Stretton by-pass along Crossways. Entrances to both platforms are close to the overbridge, bench seats are at the foot of the bridge, and there is a modern stone open-fronted shelter on each platform, but no ticket office. There is parking for about a dozen cars. Wheels: SSw.
CRAVEN ARMS station lies north of the centre of Craven Arms, just off the A49 Shrewsbury Road, on the west side. Facilities are basic: two shelters and an overbridge with no apparent alternative for the wheel-borne. There is no ticket office, but parking is provided for about 30 cars. Wheels: SSw.
Craven Arms is the junction point for this line and the Chester-Hereford line.
BROOME station lies just a short distance west of the B4367 Craven Arms road. It is not well signed, but the village's main road takes you straight past it, and the overbridge is a clear marker. There is no formal car park, just an area used for casual parking. Access is an upward slope, and whilst there is a strong handrail to assist wheelchair users, it struck us as being a little high for comfort. The top of the slope has a steel gate with a sprung-bar closer. The platform itself serves trains in both directions. It has a handful of lights and a wooden shelter. This is fairly typical for the line, and is surprisingly good of its kind, with seats, train information, phone and lighting, all in decent condition. A little more frontal protection would make it nigh perfect. Wheels: SSw.
HEATH station is under an overbridge just where the roads
from Clun and Hopton Castle meet the B4367 Clungunford-Bucknell road
in a rather strange junction. What may be the former station building is now a
private residence and the only access to the station is down 28 or so
wooden steps which look a little precipitous, though they do at least
have lights. The platform has only a wooden shelter similar to that
at Broome – but this time facing the weather, and you have to
hope that the overbridge adds some protection (you'd get rain shelter
under the bridge anyway). We did notice a grass path from the far end
of the platform, and it's possible that this would allow wheelchair
access, but it was quite lengthy and we didn't have time to
investigate, so we assume no wheeled access unless someone can
correct us on this. No obvious parking, though you might find a safe
point on a verge. Wheels: SSw.
BUCKNELL station building still looks much the way it must have done in its heyday, but once again is in private hands now. Instead, travellers have a neat brick shelter, open-fronted but with a small canopy for additional protection. In addition to seating for a small handful, it offers train information, a phone and a light. The second track has gone, but its platform remains and sports an attractive line of flower tubs.
KNIGHTON was originally the southern end of the Knighton Railway from Craven Arms, opened in 1861 (extended later to Llandrindod Wells), which explains the dramatic gabled station architecture and distinctive goods depots used for just a handful of stations and nowhere else. Use of the line declined from the 1960s onwards, but grants from Shropshire and Powys County Councils in 2003 upgraded Knighton to its present condition. As Knighton's station building had been sold off, the Swansea platform now has a standard brick shelter and the Shrewsbury platform has a wooden one. Also on the Shrewsbury platform is a new lengthy but gently-sloped ramp for wheelchair users up to the road. This same road crosses the line and a smooth tarmac pavement drops down to the Swansea side and to a gate straight on to the platform. More agile passengers can use the overbridge which butts right up to the road bridge, but doesn't actually link to it.
Note that there is no traveller parking at this station – the original broad forecourt still exists, but has been sold for commercial use. Wheels: SSw.
A local “Friends” group is encouraging Arriva, the railway operator, to maintain their interest in the station and in the line's history, following the investment. For those with their own interest, the locomotive shed has long gone, but the distinctive goods shed still survives and can be distantly seen from the east end of the station. Its smaller brother lives on at Bucknell but is starting to deteriorate.
KNUCKLAS station goes unadvertised from the B4355 or even the local road until you get a distant sighting of its double-arrow totem pole. So follow signs for the Community Centre instead, and that should get you close. The local road ascends a slope, then swings right, and it's at this bend that the station is clearly visible, somewhat higher still. The next thought to cross your mind is “Yes – but how do I get there?” Fortunately, some kind soul with a bit of spare board and an unlikely shade of pale green paint has propped a sign up on the grass verge – probably because they got fed up with people knocking on their door in puzzlement. In fact, the approach is a narrow and slightly rough path close by, but my sympathy is with the locals on this, because you wouldn't spot it if a car happened to be parked there. The path looks passable by prams and wheelchairs. There is a gate to the platform which allows a smooth approach up to one of the standard platform shelters used along this line; alternatively there are long steps that will probably give better grip in slippery conditions. The second track has gone, so the platform serves trains in both directions. No official parking, though you might find room in the street. Wheels: SSw.
LLANGYNLLO station – especially if you approach from the north-east – is in the back of beyond with lovely scenery but not many people. So you either live close, are touring with a good OS map, or you're hopelessly lost. You get a finger sign to it at about 30 yards distance from the platform. Even then, it points to an occupation crossing, and it's only when you walk a short distance along the track to the platform that you find that there is another route between two private buildings where an original station building may have been. One of the tracks has gone, though the former platform is still quietly crumbling. The remaining platform is fine, serves both directions and features one of the standard shelters in case the need arises. If you use the route between the private buildings (opening the side gate to get past the sheep/cattle grid), the platform is easy access. No official parking and hardly any casual. Wheels: SSw.
gets its name
because it's arguably the nearest station to Llanbister, though that
actually lies about 2 miles away. As Llanbister Road (the road
itself) is signed, it's not hard to find, and the station is clearly
visible from the road (which then crosses an overbridge above it).
The station building is a private dwelling and now effectively
detached since its related platform has been demolished. One track
has gone, so the remaining north side platform now receives trains
from both directions and has a standard shelter for protection. Our
one concern about this station is the passenger access: the only way
down to the platform is a series of long steps with a strong handrail
alongside: feasible for prams, but no fun at all for wheelchairs,
hence our grading. It did not appear to have any parking spaces.
DOLAU Suddenly a gem! In many ways Dolau is no different from its sisters along the line: one track gone, no significant buildings – just one standard shelter (timber variant). So what's special? Well, we have to say it's the first such shelter we ever found that had a visitors book. It also had a door fitted to one of the two openings to reduce the draught. Both platforms remain and are filled with flowers, there are extra benches and bits of railway memorabilia from the days when the station was somewhat busier, and inside the shelter are the rewards for all this care and attention. There are best-kept station awards by the bundle – they barely need to paint the walls. Just don't get run over at the gateless level crossing in your haste to see all this. Nice one, Dolau! Wheels: SSw.
PEN-Y-BONT station is actually closer to Crossways than the village it is named for, and is clearly signed off the north side of the A44. One platform and whatever was there before has now been taken over for commercial use. There is, however, a reasonable parking area (dependent upon how much is shared with the occupier), with one space dimly marked out for disabled users. The stub end of the commercial platform has been retained as a station gateway, and you go down the end slope to track level, and use the boarded crossing (using proper caution for any trains that might be coming) to get to the remaining platform, which serves both directions and has one of the standard wooden shelters. Wheels: SSw.
Copyright © 2008 Dudley Mall.