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...Welcome to the Cambrian Railway Museum - dedicated to charting the history of and displaying artefacts from the former Cambrian Railways Company area, the operating territory of which once stretched from Whitchurch in the east to Pwllheli in the west, and as far south as Brecon and Aberystwyth.
The whole of our Oswestry town centre site is registered as a museum with the MLA West Midlands (Museum, Libraries & Archives), including Oswestry South Signalbox.
However, the museum building itself is housed in the sole-surviving Oswestry & Newtown Railway [which later became the Cambrian Railways Company] goods shed, which dates from the 1860s. The museum car park originally contained coal staithes, whilst the two platform faces in our yard were used for unloading fish and & coal respectively. Nowadays, the aforementioned platforms are used to give rides along our 'Oswestry Light Railway' to Middleton Road Bridge from time to time, where the remains of the cattle dock can be found.
Above - An external view of the museum building on the evening of Tuesday 15th August 2006. The site is used for car parking during the day which helps to pay for the site rent, which the society has to pay each month. Photo - Copyright Gareth Evans 2006 -
>>>...Oswestry - A Railway Town...<<<
Oswestry prospered with the coming of the railways to the town, whilst still maintaining its role as an important Anglo-Welsh border agricultural trading post. The Cambrian Railways Company, despite nominally being a Welsh firm, sited its headquarters in England - here at Oswestry. Thus the town formed a hub for over 310 route miles of railway network, making it the largest Welsh independent pre-grouping railway in terms of mileage.
Displays inside the museum include lamps, headboards, signs, photographs, trolleys, memorobilia and model railways, both 'n' and '00' gauge. Artefacts include the original Prince of Wales headboard, which was lent to the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway in recent times when Prince Charles travelled on the line, confirming our status as a true living museum. Quirky artefacts include the tea trolley which used to be pushed onto the platforms at Gobowen to meet the main line trains, and which was re-filled at Oswestry. Some of our exhibits are also what might be termed 'interactive' - including a ground frame lever that can pull off a signal arm inside the museum.
However, our museum also contains exhibits which are not directly related to the 'main line' railways. These include a 2' (600 mm) gauge wagon, used to reprersent the numerous tramways that formerly linked quarries with the main line railheads across the Cambrian Railways Company system.
Being located in a rail-accessible former goods shed allows us to display a small number of full-size exhibits, which can be exchanged periodically to give variety. At the time of writing, these include Hudswell 0-4-0DM no. D843, an ex War Department, Southern Railway-designed four wheel box van and Parry People Mover tram 7, which represents the modernday evolution of 'light railway'.
>>>...Oswestry South Signalbox...<<<
Open to the public upon request, the Society's signalbox has been transformed from a vandalised eyesore to fully functioning Cambrian Railways Company 'box. Visitors can pull a lever and watch the movement of a dummy signal arm.
The building was restored in 2005/06 thanks to a £22,000 grant from partners which included the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, Shropshire County Council and the European Union. The project was undertaken primarily using volunteer labour, assisted by contractors. The finely detailed end wooden gables for example, were restored thanks to Bill Braddick, a one-time employee of Oswestry railway works.
The 'box features a fully-restored lever frame after the original was removed by British Railways upon closure. Restored entirely by volunteers, the frame was obtained thanks to the generosity of Railtrack [now known as Network Rail], following the closure of Wellington [Shropshire] signalbox and moved piece-by-piece to Oswestry. When trains return to the Gobowen - Oswestry - Blodwell branch line, it is hoped that the restored and operational box will play an integral part in the operation of the heritage railway.
Admission to our museum is free. ...However, we appreciate donations towards our ever increasing costs. Contrary to popular belief, we do not own our town centre site - we have to pay a considerable sum in rent each month.
The museum is normally open between 1300 - 1600hrs, seven days a week. However, we rely on a small band of dedicated volunteers, with the result that owing to work committments or ill health, the museum may be closed at short notice. If you are making a dedicated trip, please contact us beforehand on 01691 671749.
Unfortunately, the museum is not currently accessible to wheelchairs. A ramp is provided to the museum shop/ office, whilst two steps lead into the museum itself.
Media enquiries, including requests for full-res pictures on any of the above should be directed to Press & Publicity Officer and CRS Webmaster Gareth Evans via "gaz the jurno AT hot mail DOT com" [remove spaces etc].