Minister backs reopening Shropshire to Mid Wales rail route
A rail line between Shropshire and Mid Wales could be reopened under plans to grow business and ease pressure on a major road.
The Gobowen to Welshpool rail route was shut in the 1960s, however an idea was mooted by a Powys councillor about reopening the route back in June.
Now the proposal has been put to transport secretary for Wales Ken Skates, who was asked this week by Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones whether a study will be commissioned as part of the Mid Wales Growth Deal.
Mr Skates said the line would be looked at as part of a strategy to reopen lines across the country.
He added: "The development of the new Wales Transport Strategy, now under way, will look at the potential to reopen railway lines across Wales."
The idea was first put forward by Powys Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, who believes it would ease pressure on the road system in Oswestry, and would aid education and health facilities for those living in Powys.
He said: "I naturally welcome the commitment from Ken Skates.
"We will now be working with Helen Mary Jones AM to pressure and ensure that further consideration is given to the reopening of the Gobowen to Welshpool line as part of this all Wales strategy and ensuring it is considered as part of the Mid Wales Growth deal."
The line ran from Gobowen to Newtown for many years as part of the Cambrian Railways mainline, and 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In 1965, passenger services between Whitchurch, Oswestry and Welshpool and also the Llanfyllin branch, were withdrawn.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.
The proposal has been welcomed by Welshpool mayor Steve Kaye, who said: “It would bring big benefits to the area and would mean a bigger station at Welshpool. It would be a big project."