Bishop's Castle: Portrait of a Country Railway (IR236)
Product No.: IR236
Title: Bishop's Castle: Portrait of a Country Railway
Author(s): Morgan, John Scott
Publisher: Irwell Press
Dust Jacket: None
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Year: 1991
Features: 48 Pages with Black/White Photos.
The Bishop's Castle railway was never a financial success. It was not unusual for little railways to be built speculatively and many went bust all over the country. This particular line, however, was remarkable for its tenacity in the face of impossible economic odds. It ran for seventy years, of which it spent sixty nine in the hands of the receivers The original plan was to build a line from Craven Arms to Montgomery, eventually linking to mid-Wales and Shrewsbury, with a branch line from Lydham to Bishop's Castle.
The money ran out half way, so the scheme only ever reached Lydham with engines reversing direction to complete the journey to Bishop's Castle. The route joined the main Shrewsbury to Hereford line at Craven Arms and wound for ten and a half miles along the beautiful Onny valley through Stretford, Horderley, Plowden and Eaton. It played a vital role in the lives of the cattle market, the gas works, traders and townsfolk alike, yet never made any money. Even in those pre-nostalgic days, visitors enthused over the line, and staff willingly worked for less than the union rates to keep it running. Such was the affection the railway generated.
It struggled on defiantly until finally closing in 1935. Enthusiasm for the line persists to this day and sections of the old embankments, bridges and station buildings can still be seen along the A489 road between Craven Arms and Lydham. The memory of the line is kept very much alive by the Bishop's Castle Railway Society who have preserved many artefacts and photographs which are on permanent display at the Bishop's Castle Railway and Transport Museum in High Street