Great Western Railway's line from Ruabon on the Shrewsbury & Chester line to Barmouth Junction on the former Cardiff Railways system, was in fact composed of
several lines built by disparate railways over a number of years.
Vale of Llangollen Railway – Ruabon to Llangollen
The 5¼-mile line was authorized by an Act 1 August 1859 and was engineered by Henry Robertson (1816-1888), who had been engineer of the Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway. It was opened to goods on 1 December 1861 and to passengers on 2 June 1862. The line was worked by GWR, which absorbed it in 1896. A portion of the line survives as the heritage Llangollen Railway
Llangollen & Corwen Railway -- Llangollen to Ruaban
The Act for the 10 mile 6 chain Llangollen & Corwen Railway received the Royal Assent on 6 August 1860. The line included three major engineering works --
Berwyn Tunnel (689 yards), the River Dee bridge of three wrought-iron girder spans, and a stone-and-brick 6-arch viaduct at Berwyn. The line opened 1 May 1865 and was worked by GWR, which absorbed it in 1896.
Corwen and Bala Railway -- Corwen to Bala Junction
This 12½-mile was authorized by an Act 30 June 1862. It opened 16 July 1866 (Corwen to Llandrillo)and 1 April 1868 (Llandrillo to Bala). It was worked by the GWR, which absorbed it in 1896.
Bala & Dolgelley Railway -- Bala to Dolgellau
The Bala & Dolgelley Railway was authorized by an of Act 30 June 1862. The 17¼- mile line opened 4 August 1868. It was worked by the GWR and became part of the GWR in 1877.
Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway (Cambrian Railways) – Dolgelley to Barmouth Junction
The final link between Dolgellou and Barmouth Junction (renamed Morfa Mawddach in 1960) opened 10 October 1867. As part of Cambrian Railways it was absorbed into the Great Western Railway in 1922.
The entire system closed to traffic under the Beeching Axe. Goods traffic between Morfa Mawddach (formerly Barmouth Junction), was withdrawn on 31 December 1964. Passenger traffic between Morfa Mawddach and Ruabon was withdrawn on 18 January 1965, and goods traffic between Ruabon and Llangollen was withdrawn on 1 April 1968.
|The western end of the Barmouth Junction to Ruabon line excerpted from the Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram. To enlarge click here ||
|Queen Victoria at Llandderfel station during a visit to North Wales. Illustration from the Illustrated London News, August 1889||