Shropshire’s Railways


Time-line of the Early Railways in and around Shropshire

( With thanks to Shrewsbury Art Gallery and Museum)

The early promotion of railways in Shropshire was undertaken by three companies. The Shrewsbury and Chester, The Shrewsbury and Birmingham, and The Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company who were the owners of the Ellesmere Canal. This company was absorbed into the London and North Western system at an early date.

1845 Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Chester Junction Bill.

1848 In the October the railway opened to Shrewsbury but Oswestry               left isolated, because of dispute with landowners.

1846 Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railway Act of that year.

Line to Wellington to be joint between Shrewsbury and Birmingham                     Company and the Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company.

1849 Joint line to Wellington opened.

Shropshire Union line to Stafford opened with connection to  Euston.

Shrewsbury and Birmingham  line  reaches  Wolverhampton  the November.

Battle commences between the two small companies (Shrewsbury                         and Chester and Shrewsbury and Birmingham) and the L.N.W.R. The                     larger railway trying to squeeze them out and force amalgamation.

Chester Company’s servants thrown out of Chester station and the                       station barricaded against them.

Fare cutting war between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury L.N.W.R. and the Shrewsbury and Birmingham.

L.N.W.R. begins packing the shareholders meetings to bring about                       amalgamation.

1851 Shrewsbury and Birmingham apply for permission to run over the           Stour Valley route to Birmingham. Agreement with G.W.R. and the companies as to transit of goods. L.N.W.R. delays the opening of the Stour Valley line.

Battle of Wolverhampton Station (High Level) when the Shrewsbury and Birmingham attempt to run over the Stour Valley Line. L.N.W.R. blocks line with a heavy engine. Both sides have their men armed with pick handles. Police and military stand by in case of trouble.

1852 Stour Line opened to Birmingham, friction and delaying tactics by
L.N.W.R. to prevent the Shrewsbury and Birmingham from exercising
their rights.

1854 The Shrewsbury and Birmingham finally run into Birmingham.

The Shrewsbury and Chester and Shrewsbury and Birmingham become  part of the G.W.R. system. Wolverhampton station opened after delay  in November and Shrewsbury’s link with Paddington established.

1858 L.N.W.R. run their own line from Crewe to Shrewsbury.

The Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway

1846 Parliamentary sanction for the line.   Company and directors much the same as the Shrewsbury and Chester line.

1850 Brassey the Railway Contractor builds and runs the line. Single line to Ludlow 1852 and on to Hereford in 1853.

1862 Line comes under joint L.N.W.R. and G.W.R. control and is later double tracked.

Simple representation of railways serving Shrewsbury in its heyday ( John Denton )

The Severn Valley line

(From Shrewsbury to Hartlebury)

1862 Built by Brassey. Company chairman Colonel Forester, first train from Worcester Friday, 31st January. The line was handed over to the West Midland Company and opened for traffic on the 1st February. On the  same day was opened The Much Wenlock and Severn Junction Railway from Buildwas to Much Wenlock, also West Midland operated.

1863 From being competitors with the G.W.R. the West Midland Railway merged with the G.W.R.

1963 Line closed from Shrewsbury to Highley Colliery. Still open for goods   Highley Colliery to Hartlebury, and for passenger traffic Bewdley to Hartlebury.

1965 Severn Valley Railway Society Formed

1970 Withdrawal of passenger services between Bewdley and Hartlebury

1970 SVRS re-opens line between Hampton Loade and Bridgnorth

1981 Section form Hartlebury to Stourport taken out of use

For additional information click on the link below:

Severn Valley  Railway

The Shrewsbury and Welshpool

(with the Minsterly Branch)

1862 Line inspected and opened. The branch to Minsterley was opened earlier  in 1861.  Construction of the line was held up by abortive tunnelling operations at the Breidden Hills.

1865 Line becomes joint L.N.W.R. and G.W.R.

West Midland, Shrewsbury and Coast of Wales Railway

(later Shropshire and Montgomeryshire)

Prospectus of 1860. Shrewsbury to Kinnerley to Porthwaen, Tanat Valley, Llanynog, Llandrillo via a tunnel to Bala and Portmadoc and on to Porth Dinlleyn. Here there were to be cross channel services to Ireland. The Bill was rejected by Parliament in 1861.

1862 Shropshire Mineral Railway,chief promotor Mr. R,S. Francr-various bills in parliament 1863-64. Becoming Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway with branches to Llanyblodwel and Criggion, with running powers on the Welshpool line to Westbury. this was later altered to Red Hill.

Parliamentary consent given except for running powers. The line therefore was built to Abbey Foregate at Shrewsbury, with a loop line running to the Shrewsbury and Wellington line near Belvidre, Shrewsbury.

1866 Amalgamation with the Shrewsbury and Potteries Junction Railway, which sought powers to link the Potteries, via Market Drayton. Plans switched from Shrewsbury Station to Abbey Foregate Station and revived the original route into North Wales.

1866 Line opened for passenger traffic to Criggion and Llanymynech.

1880 General decay and the  line  stops operating.

1888 Shropshire Railways Bill again with the object of making a junction at Hodnet to the North Staffordshire system.

1890 Take-over of the remains of the P.S. and N.W.R., and reconstruction of
the track.

1891 Financial troubles and line once more becomes derelict.

1907 Shropshire Light Railway Bill promoted under Colonel Stephens. The   Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Light Railway

1910 Reconstruction and repair.

1911 Formal opening.

1933 Passenger services withdrawn.

1941 Requisition by the War Office until 1959.

I960 Civilian traffic facilities cease and last train organised by the Stephenson Society runs 20th March, 1960. Line demolished.

For Additional information, click on the titles below:

A History of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway
A Walk along the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway Today

Branch Lines (Under G.W.R.)

1857 Wellington and Severn Junction. Ketley to Lightmoor. Goods in 1857 to Horsehay.

1858 To    Lightmoor,  then  1859 passenger traffic starts.

1854 Madeley Junction to Lightmoor (Shrewsbury and Birmingham).

1861 The Tenbury Railway.   Woofferton to Tenbury.

1863 Nantwich and Market Drayton Railway.

1863 Lightmoor to Coalbrookdale.

Much Wenlock Railway, Buildwas Junction to Coalbrookdale.

1867 Wellington and Market Drayton Railway. Wenlock Railway—Presthope to Marsh Farm Junction.

1863 Ludlow and Clee Hill (joint with L.N.W.R.).

1908 Stirchley Branch (previously a mineral railway).

Branch Lines (L.N.W.R.)

1861 Hadley Coalport Line.

1865 Craven Arms to Central Wales line from Shrewsbury and Hereford   line.

For information about the line click on link below:

Heart of Wales  Line Traveller’s Association

The Cambrian Railways

(A group of small railways which later became the Cambrian Railways)

1859 Llanidloes and Newtown.

1863 Oswestry and Newtown.

1863 Newtown and Machynlleth.

1863 Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch.

1864 Amalgamation into the Cambrian Railways.

1922 G.W.R. takes over.

For additional information click on the link below:

Cambrian Heritage Railways

Tanat Valley Light Railway

1899  Construction begins

1903  First Goods traffic moves along line

1904  Line officially opens, some passenger traffic, but mainly mineral trains.

1920  Company in financial difficulties.

1921  Line taken over by Cambrian Railways

1922  GWR takes control of line.

1951  Most of line closed, small section remains open for mineral traffic.

1964  Last train runs over remaining section and line closes completely, although track remains in place in some sections.

1998  Group of enthusiasts consider reopening a section of line

2004 The new ‘ ‘Tanat Valley  Light Railway Company Ltd’  acquires a section of track and begins restoration.


For further information click on link below:

Tanat Valley Light Railway Company

The Bishop’s Castle Railway

(Bishop’s Castle to a junction with the Hereford line near Craven Arms)

1860 Plans deposited at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury.

1861 Bill receives assent.

1862 Final surveys.

1863 Railway in financial trouble.

1865 Opening postponed and act obtained for a branch from Chirbury to         Minsterley to join  with the Welshpool line. Not constructed.

1866 Line opened.     Bailiffs move in and stock sold at the George Hotel,           Shrewsbury.

1877 Further financial troubles.

1935 Line closed.

The original scheme was to link the Oswestry and Newtown Railway with a junction at Montgomery and to join the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway at Wistanstow. Of this only the line between Craven Arms, Lydbury and Bishop’s Castle was completed. Other schemes involved a link with the Minsterley Branch of the Shrewsbury and Welshpool and also lines to Clun and Presteign.

For further information click on the link below:

Bishop’s Castle Railway Society

Snailbeach Light Railway

1872 Snailbeach plans deposited.

1873 Act of Parliament.

1877 Railway opened Pontesbury Station to Crows Nest.

1890 Shropshire Minerals Light Railway proposed to extend further into the Mining area—but no progress was made owing to decline of the Lead Mining Industry.

For further information click on the link below:

Snailbeach District Railways Company

Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway

1901 Order for construction granted 23rd March.

1908 Line under construction and opened for traffic 20th November.

1921 Absorbed into the G.W.R.

1938 Last passenger train

1939 Admiralty take over.

1965 Closure of Ditton Priors R.N.A.D. and the line




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: