50 years of the SRS

2019 is the 50th anniversary year of the Shropshire Railway Society, and to celebrate, we chartered a train on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway. A truly splendid train it was too – one of the two original locomotives, “Countess”, hauling the three replica coaches (the originals having been scrapped many years ago). Running from Llanfair to Welshpool and back, with ample time for a most enjoyable lunch, it was a great day out, an excellent way to mark our half-century.

Shropshire Railway Society

Steam in the evening

Saturday 4 May continued… Tricky! The sun was shining brightly, almost straight behind 7029 “Clun Castle” (returning from Llandudno), but there wasn’t really time to find a better spot. One of those occasions where some thin high cloud would have made things easier. Nearly an hour later, 34052 was homeward-bound near Battlefield. It was on time, so I can’t complain, but the sun was on the horizon. If it had been five minutes early…

Lord Dowding

34052 “Lord Dowding” (he’s really 34046 “Braunton”), in action this morning near All Stretton. He’s hauling the “Welsh Marches Express” from Crewe to Cardiff, and going well. The train left Shrewsbury 4 minutes late, but by Marshbrook, just a few miles to my south, it was on time. No diesel on the back either. Sunshine, steam on – great!

Disappointing Duchess

Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to see 6233 “Duchess of Sutherland” in action on the main line, on the “Great Britain XII”. But today she’s coasting, and the sun’s gone in. As the long train disappears under the bridge, we can hear the exhaust as the driver opens the regulator, and when a couple of service trains pass, not many minutes later, the sun is shining.

“While we’re out here, let’s go and look at the Central Wales – there’s a train due soon”. The former station building at Hopton Heath is no longer in railway use, but still looks good beside single-car 153 327 as it pauses briefly on its long journey to Swansea.

Clun Castle

Back on the main line, after many years out of action, 7029 Clun Castle would be due through Wellington at 5.23pm. We got there in plenty of time – just as well. Having passed through Shrewsbury on time, it came through 6 minutes early – coasting, blowing off, and looking good…

An hour at Summerlee

Friday 12 April: I think it may have been longer. We’ve time to kill, and we could do with a drink – and those pineapple tarts look good… The “Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life” is well worth a longer visit than ours – the indoor exhibits are fascinating, the cottages beside the mine provide evocative snapshots of ordinary industrial-era lives – and did I mention the trams and the railway locomotives? More than 40 years ago, I saw No.9 and “Robin” when they were working for a living. Long and inactively retired (the locos, not the author), it would be great to see them restored to steam.
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life