John Speller's Web Pages Wellington Craven Arms Line

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Wellington Craven Arms Line
The Wellington Craven Arms Line was built in three main sections.

The Wellington and Severn Junction Railway was incorporated by Act of 28 August 1853 to build a line from a junction with the Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railway at Wellington to Coalbrookdale. Length, 5 miles. Capital, 6,000 shares of 10; loans, 10,000. The line was locally promoted with Henry Dickinson (1812-1886), ironmaster of Coalbrookdale as Chairman. The Secretary was Robert Daniel Newill, a Wellington solicitor, and the Engineer was Henry Robertson (1816-1888), who had been an assistant of Robert Stephenson and was also the Engineer of the Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway. By Act of 1 August 1861 the line was leased to the Great Western for a term of 999 years.

The Much Wenlock & Severn Junction Railway was incorporated by an Act of 21 July 1859, to construct a line from Much Wenlock in Shropshire to the Severn Valley and the River Severn. The Directors were all local. The Chairman was Andrew Good Brookes, M.R.C.S. (1814-1894), a Shrewsbury Surgeon. Another Director was Ralph Augustus Benson (1828-1886) of Much Wenlock, barrister-at-law and Recorder of Shrewsbury. Another was William Penny Brookes, M.R.C.S. (1809-1895) of Much Wenlock, elder brother of the Chairman and another surgeon who was among the founders of the Olympic Games, first held the year after his death. The Secretary was R. C. Blakeway, who was also the Town Clerk of Shrewsbury. The company had an authorized capital of 24,000 in 10 shares with powers to borrow and additional 8,090 in loans. Length, 4 miles including communication with the river Severn. Running powers were exercised over part of the Severn Valley Railway. The line opened on 22 October 1861. It was absorbed by the GWR in 1896.

The Wenlock, Craven Arms and Lightmoor Extension Railway obtained its Act on 22 July 1861 to extend its line to Coalbrookdale in the north and to Marsh Farm Junction, just north of Craven Arms on the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway in the south. Length, 19 miles. Capital, 150,000 in 10 shares and 53,000 on loan. To this extension the Much Wenlock & Severn Junction, Great Western, West Midland, and Shrewsbury & Hereford Railways agreed to subscribe 10,000 each.

The intermediate stations between Wellington and Craven Arms were originally Ketley Junction, Horsehay & Dawley, Coalbrookdale, Buildwas Junction, Much Wenlock, Presthope, Longville, and Harton Road. Halts were added at Farley in 1934 and Westwood in 1935.

Although the line formed an important link on the Great Western Railway's route from Manchester to South Wales and the West of England the line was never doubled and remained single track throughout. Passenger service was cut back from Craven Arms to Much Wenlock in 1951, and to Buildwas in 1962, followed by complete closure of the branch in 1963. art of the line has been reopened as a Heritage Railway by the Telford Steam Railway.
Map of the Wellington Craven Arms Line
Not the first iron bridge in Coalbrookdale! Bridge No. 53, the Albert Edward Bridge, was designed by Sir John Fowler in 1864 to carry the railway over the River Severn
Halcyon days. The creeper clad neo-Tudor station at Much Wenlock in a postcard view of around 1905
An early view of a branch train of four wheelers behind an Armstrong saddle tank near Horsehay
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