Call for return of Welshpool to Gobowen rail route
An ambitious plan to bring a direct passenger rail route from north Shropshire to Mid Wales back into service has won support.
The route from Gobowen station to Welshpool and onto the rest of Mid Wales has been out of service for many years, with commuters forced to go via Shrewsbury to get across the border.
The route was shut in the 60s, and there has been some development on the line but most of it remains clear.
Now a Powys councillor, Elwyn Vaughan, has called for a study to be commissioned looking at the possibility of bringing the line back into service.
He believes it could be part of the Mid Wales growth deal, and it would bring benefits to the economy, education and health services.
He said: “My colleague Bryn Davies from Llansilin highlighted the idea, and there are a number of reasons why it would work.
“It would ease the pressure on the roads towards Oswestry and on to Wrexham.
“It would enable easy access for students to access the education facilities and university at Wrexham, and it would assist those that travel regularly to Gobowen hospital from Powys and provide easy access to the Wrexham Maelor hospital.”
The line ran from Gobowen to Newtown for many years as part of the Cambrian Railways mainline.
It took in stations such as Llanymynech and Four Crosses, and at one point had a route to Llanfyllin.
However in 1963, the line was re-allocated to become part of the London Midland Region. In the Beeching review the Cambrian Railway mainline was decreed surplus to demands and scheduled for closure.
In 1965, passenger services between Whitchurch, Oswestry and Welshpool and also the Llanfyllin branch, were withdrawn. Passenger services between Oswestry and Gobowen continued until 1966, with freight services continuing to run from Gobowen to Oswestry section until 1971.
Councillor Vaughan is calling on the government to look into the idea, similar to a study recently conducted on a line between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.
He added: “The study should be done either by Welsh Government or as part of the mid Wales growth deal.
“Welsh Government are already funding a similar study for the line between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen and we have seen other lines reopened recently in Scotland.”