Here’s an old friend

In February 1970 I visited the Zillertalbahn in Austria (a school ski trip – I took a day off when I realised how close we were to the railway). On that snowy day, their steam locomotive no.2 Zillertal was in charge of the passenger service, and I enjoyed no.2’s company on a run up the valley.

Two years ago, newly-overhauled, Zillertal came to Wales, on hire to the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway. I would have visited sooner, but we all know what happened in early 2020. This afternoon, on our way back from the Rhiw Valley, we called in on the W&L – and there, at Raven Square station, was no.2 Zillertal! It’s a long time since we met!

Rhiw Valley farewell

Two visits today – the first to a little railway in a quiet Welsh valley whose waters feed the Severn mid-way between Newtown and Welshpool. The 15″ gauge line in fields beside the river Rhiw was the creation of the late Jack Woodroffe some 50 years ago. Jack died in 1990, but the line has remained in operation with the support of his widow and a group of enthusiasts. Sadly, it seems that all good things must end, and today, after the last open day of the 2022 season, the line was to close. We’d though we’d better pay a final visit.

More photos to follow in a day or two – in the meantime, here are a couple of views of the railway in operation, with the train hauled by 0-4-0 Jack and
0-6-2T Powys.

Rhiw Valley Railway: “The Line that Jack Built”

Enchmarsh and Chatwall

A walk from Cardington, along little-known lanes and byways, through unlikely-sounding places. Enchmarsh sounds Tolkienesque, Yell Bank noisy and Hoar Edge cold. Is Chatwall something to do with Facebook? We’re walking across and along watersheds: Yell Bank separates waters which flow northwards, to join the Severn near Cound, from those flowing south-east, via the Onny and the Teme, to enter the Severn near Worcester. We walk along the minor ridge which bridges the gap between Yell Bank and Hoar Edge: to our right, it forms Bullhill Brook, then Coundmoor Brook, joining Cound Brook just before it reaches the Severn. To our left, water flows by a more westerly route, but also enters the Severn via Cound Brook. Well I think it’s interesting…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map?X=350745&Y=296315&A=Y&Z=120

Teas and Toys

The visit to the toy shop in Ironbridge was planned in advance (a birthday is on the near horizon). We’ll make a walk of it – up the hill and past Woodside to pick up the path (a former plateway) beside the railway. Passing through the museum yard, the lights are on the tea shop – are we going to be tempted?

When we leave, the light has almost gone outside, and the Ironbridge shops have a welcoming appearance on this cold afternoon. A more successful outing than we’d anticipated!

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map?X=367350&Y=303965&A=Y&Z=120

The Cound Highlands

I exaggerate, of course – we start, from the car park at Cound Guildhall, at about 200 ft above sea level. The highest point on the route is about 360 ft – but that extra elevation provides some wonderful panoramic views. The forecast says ‘sunny intervals’ – which means we will have cloudy intervals too. That’s one fairly long one, with just a few spots of light rain, and bright sunshine before and after. The sky is deep blue; the clouds look as though you could slice them and spread them with marmalade – an appropriate shade for this autumnal afternoon.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=355585&Y=303886&A=Y&Z=120