The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway was built in 1903 to link farming communities with the market town of Welshpool and provide them with an outlet for their produce. Operated at first by the Cambrian Railways, the line was taken over by the Great Western and then British Railways.
After 1931 the railway only carried freight traffic and was finally closed in 1956; but that was not the end. In 1963 a group of enthusiasts rallied round and began to progressively re-open the line until it became the railway you see today.
The original builders of the W&L chose a gauge of 2ft 6ins to allow for tight curves and steep gradients so that the railway could traverse the rolling landscape of this attractive part of Mid Wales.
Today the ‘Llanfair Train’ sits in the platform at Welshpool Raven Square with the resplendent engine steaming gently at the head of charming balconied carriages which promise the traveller a wonderful ride along a country by-way. The train negotiates a viaduct and river bridge, climbs the notoriously steep Golfa Bank and steams serenely through beautiful countryside.
From the window the observant passenger may spot the occasional heron, goosander, woodpecker or buzzard. As the train runs through the Powis Estate, pheasant and deer can be seen and everywhere a wide variety of wild flowers. The line follows a river valley, twists round a mill and runs through the middle of farms. The train takes 45 minutes to cover the 8-mile journey to Llanfair Caereinion – we’re not in a hurry! This was how our great grandparents travelled and it is a real pleasure to be able to recreate it all for you today.