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Steam rises again on old Telford railway line

By Rob Golledge | Ironbridge | Transport | Published:

A vintage steam train rolled back the years on packed cruise tours through Shropshire.

Heritage engine Clun Castle travelled down the old disused Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale branch line in sell-out journeys, and hundreds of spectators turned out along the route to watch the train puff across the county.

These photos were taken by Martin James at the Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge Community Centre car park.

The line closed to passenger services in 1963, but served the power station in Ironbridge until its closure in November 2015. The site of the power station was bought by development company Harworth, which is seeking permission to transform the site in a project which will see the famous pink cooling towers demolished.

The Clun Castle's shuttle services ran from Wellington and Telford through to Cosford, and among the passengers were notable figures in the world of steam trains.

Steam train Clun Castle makes its way through Coalbrookdale. Photo: Martin James.

Denis Chick of Vintage Trains, the organisers of the trips, said: "It was a massive success. Both trips were full, people love having them because that line has been closed so long.

"Paul Hughes of the Telford Steam Railway was there, we had the editors of all the railway magazines too.

"There were people from Harworth too, they are interested in keeping the line open.

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"We were altogether on the same train, it was good to share the trip."

Steam train Clun Castle makes its way through Coalbrookdale. Photo: Martin James.

Mr Chick said that Harworth are keen to include the historic line in its plans which include 1,000 homes, business facilities and a school.

He said that bringing the historic line back into use could also be a boon to the area's tourism: "Millions of people come to visit Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge, and most of them come by car. it would be great to bring them in by rail and save all those car problems."

Rob Golledge

By Rob Golledge
@golledge_star

Part of the Express & Star special projects team responsible for investigations and major stories from politics to counter terrorism

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