John Speller's Web Pages Bishops Castle Railway

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The Bishops of Hereford formerly maintained a castle in Shropshire and the town that grew up in its shadow came to be known as Bishops Castle, a name that sadly has nothing to do with chess. The town was a rotten borough and though its population was a mere 2,000 souls it returned two Members to Parliament before the Great Reform Act of 1832. An Act of 1861 authorized the Bishops Castle Railway to construct a line from Craven Arms & Stokesay on the Great Western and London & North Western Railways Joint line from Shrewsbury to Hereford, to Montgomery on the Cambrian Railways (later GWR) line from Shrewsbury to Pwllheli, together with a branch line from Lydham Heath, halfway along the line, to Bishops Castle. This would have been a very useful cross-country route from Cardiff via Newport and Hereford to northwest Wales, but unfortunately shortly after the 8 mile Stokesay to Lydham Heath section and the 2 mile Bishops Castle branch opened on 1 February 1866 the line ran out of money and went into receivership. The receiver was successful in reopening it in 1867. It briefly shut down again during a somewhat hilarious legal dispute (which is, alas, far too complicated to go into here) in 1877 but then limped on, still under receivership, until final closure on 20 April 1935. As late as 1923 the Great Western Railway was considering completing the line to Montgomery, but this, alas, never came about.
The Bishops Castle Railway's celebrated Kitson 0-6-0 "Carlisle," built in 1868
Map of the Bishops Castle Railway as originally planned; it was only built as far as Lydham Heath. Trains ran to Lydham Heath and then reversed to Eaton before proceeding to Bishops Castle
Bishops Castle station 1905
A rare view of BCR Armstrong 0-4-2T No. 1 (ex-GWR No. 567), built in 1869 and shown here at Bishops Castle in 1910
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