Shropshire Star

Railway building in Bishop's Castle to get £100k revamp

A £100,000 scheme is set to give a neglected old railway building a new lease of life.

A neglected old railway building is due to be revamped by Bishop's Castle Railway Society

The Bishop's Castle Railway Society has started work on the weighbridge building with plans to turn it into a community hub for public use.

Originally built in 1865, the building is situated in the yard of Charles Ransford & Sons timber, and was home to railway offices and a weighbridge facility.

Plans have been drawn up to preserve the weighbridge mechanism and restore the building as near to its original state as possible.

A new roof, windows and doors will all be included in the renovation, along with repairing the brickwork and fencing around the site.

As well as this, the group plans to have mains water, electricity and a toilet facility installed for public use.

The building

The total cost of the renovation is estimated to be £100,000.

Negotiations for a lease have already been agreed for the Railway Society to rent the property.

It is now waiting on an application for funding.

The group has applied for an £80,000 grant from the heritage lottery fund, and hopes to raise the further £20,000 from smaller charitable grants and fundraising.

The railway service opened in 1865 and linked Bishop's Castle to Craven Arms through a private railway network.

It was put into administration and remained there until it was closed in 1935, although much of its infrastructure still remains.

The station houses at Plowden, Eaton and Hordeley are still occupied, the weighbridge office in Bishop's Castle still exists and parts of the original route can still be seen from the A489 between Bishop's Castle and Craven Arms.

John Rimmer, chairman of Bishop's Castle Railway Society, said: "The building is in very bad condition as it has been left to rot for about 50 years.

"It's a serious bit of work that needs doing but we're ambitious, we can get it done and create a new building for the people of Bishop's Castle and tourists to come and use.

"If we develop it in this way, it could be opened at a number of times during the year coinciding with events in the town such as the beer festival and Michaelmas Fair, in addition to any private hires or meetings that might occur.

"If we can preserve it and make it last another 100 years that would be ideal."

The weighbridge and building is the last link in the town that relates to the original railway.

"If we didn't step in and do something now, the building would be irretrievably lost within the next couple of years which would be such a shame for the town," Mr Rimmer added.

"The roof is full of holes and the timber is rotting away so it's only a matter of time before it collapses.

"The timber yard it's located on are the biggest employees in the town and they've been incredibly supportive. Their business spreads over what would have been the original station area."

The Railway Society will know whether its grant application has been successful later on this year.

The group aims to complete the renovations by autumn 2019.