Heritage railway extension work on track
Oswestry's heritage railway is well on the way to extending its track to offer a new experience for visitors and help the town's economy.
Cambrian Heritage Railways has made further progress on extending its operational stretch of railway.
The development comes after it opened a 295 yards extension under Gasworks Bridge, removing the last major obstacle to running trains to Weston Wharf.
Once regarded as an impediment to the reopening of the line south from Oswestry towards Llynclys, Gasworks Bridge, which takes the railway under the B4579 road, has been the subject of a major civil engineering project to enable trains to pass under the steel girders which help support it.
Rob Williams, CHR general manager said: “Although not a significant distance, work to achieve this latest phase of the extension was sizeable. It means the last major infrastructure obstacle to reach Weston Wharf from Oswestry has been removed.
“Work at Gasworks Bridge involved the line of railway being moved to the centre of the track bed and the lowering of the formation. The task was made more complex by the presence of a sewer and a gas main crossing the line at this point.
“A further constraint was the need to retain the supporting steel girder structure, which has been in place since the bridge was permitted to carry 44 tonne trucks on the road above. This element of the project was delivered thanks to support from Shropshire Council, which owns the line.”
Volunteers are currently working on a further stretch of track pushing it through the one-mile barrier from its headquarters at Oswestry Station.
Rob explained: “An accommodation crossing is being finished off with signage, fencing, crossing surface and so on. We have no confirmed date for opening to passengers of the next section.
“This then leave roughly three-quarters of a mile of track work to Weston Wharf. Sleepers are at hand for part of this. Work will focus on this section over the winter period.
As for the future, he said: “The aim is to deliver a railway of one and three quarter miles between Oswestry station and the Stonehouse Brewery Visitor Centre at Weston Wharf, providing a significant economic boost to the area. Our team of volunteers are continuing their good work both at weekends and during the week on the extension.
“While there remains work ahead, such as relaying track and building a platform at Weston Wharf, they are all tasks CHR has experience of. The project is being delivered by CHR with support from Oswestry Town Council and the European Development Fund.”