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The Branch Project ~ Illustrated route description

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Starting at Llynclys Junction, our line veers to the right and heads under the A483 road bridge, the main road between Oswestry and Welshpool.

webimg_0026ath.JPG - Photo - Llynclys Junction: with Oswestry behind the photographer, the track of our line curves round to the right before diving under the A483 road bridge at Llynclys cross roads. The empty trackbed to the left is the former Cambrian 'main line' to Welshpool. Note the tall trees, which are located alongside the B4396 Knockin road bridge, over the other side of which can be found the Cambrian Railway Trust's Llynclys South station. Photo - Copyright Alun Evans ~      webimg_0027th.JPG. Llynclys Junction: with Oswestry behind the photographer, the track of our line curves round to the right before diving under the A483 road bridge at Llynclys cross roads. Photo - Copyright Alun Evans.

While it was not a passenger interchange point, Llynclys Junction formerly marked the point where the old Tanat Valley branch joined with the Cambrian ‘main line’ from Oswestry to Welshpool. Once home to a signalbox, the site also included sidings, sorting the wagonloads of stone from Nantmawr, Blodwell and Porthywaen quarries.

webimg_4508dolgoch2wardsoswth.JPG. Dolgoch: Behind the Dolgoch housing estate, a footpath crosses the line into woodland. Taken on May 23, 2009 this photograph shows the densly overgrown nature of the railway at this point, looking towards Llynclys Junction and Oswestry. Copyright Gareth Evans.     webimg_4510dolgoch2wardsblodwellth.JPG. Dolgoch: Behind the Dolgoch housing estate, a footpath crosses the line into woodland. Taken on May 23, 2009 this photograph shows the densly overgrown nature of the railway at this point, looking towards Porthywaen and Blodwell. Copyright Gareth Evans.     webimg_0111th.JPG. Photo: Dolgoch: seen to the rear of Dolgoch housing estate, the line is heavily overgrown. This view is looking east towards Llynclys Junction and Oswestry. Copyright Alun Evans.

Continuing up the old Tanat Valley branch, the line passes behind the ‘Cross Keys’ pub at Llynclys, with only a field separating it from the A495 road. It crosses a farm occupation crossing before passing behind Dolgoch housing estate and over a footpath, which leads to woodland. The line then passes the site of Nuttree wharf, before going under the road bridge, which forms the access route to Porthywaen quarry and the public road to Sweeney Mountain. The road bridge is notable for it includes two spans, one of which retains standard gauge railway track, while the other forms a walkway for sheep grazing in two adjoining fields. The latter, which is of noticeably smaller size, represents the last complete surviving piece of infrastructure from the long-closed narrow gauge Crickheath Tramway, which once ran to the Montgomery canal at Crickheath, on the Knockin side of Llynclys.

webimg_4666porthywaenth.JPG. Photo: DNuttree Wharf: This road bridge forms the access route to Porthywaen quarry and the public road to Sweeney Mountain. The structure is notable for it includes two spans, one of which remains retains standard gauge railway track, while the other forms a walkway for sheep grazing in two adjoining fields. The latter, which is of noticeably smaller size, represents the last complete surviving piece of infrastructure from the long-closed narrow gauge Crickheath Tramway, which once ran to the Montgomery canal at Crickheath, on the Knockin side of Llynclys. This photograph, which was taken on May 23, 2009 shows the line looking ahead towards Porthywaen station and level crossing, while Oswestry and Llynclys Junction lie behind the photographer. Photo - copyright Gareth Evans.

Our line then enters the site of Porthywaen Junction, where railways once ran to the Steetly Quarry and the Whitehaven colliery, off to the right. An attractive signalbox was once located here, but merely served as a covered groundframe.

webimg_4656porthywaenfth.JPG. Photo - Porthywaen: The old platform can be seen here. The crossing sign in the distance reminds us that we are about the cross the A495 road via the level crossing. With Oswestry and Llynclys behind the photographer, Blodwell and Llangynog lie ahead. Taken on May 23, 2009, this photograph also shows the efforts of volunteers in clearing the line of vegetation and scrub. Copyright Gareth Evans.     webimg_4675porthywaenfth.JPG. Photo - Porthywaen: What is believed to be the remains of Porthywaen signal box can be seen here - note the moss-covered bricks in the foreground. The Oswestry end of the platform acts as a point of reference, as does the the A495 road, which is located over the hedge beyond the field. This photograph was taken on May 23, 2009 and is copyright Gareth Evans.     webimg_4652porthywaenth.JPG. Photo - Porthywaen: The old station platform can be seen here at close quarters. With Blodwell and Porthywaen level crossing behind the photographer, the line ahead continues towards Oswestry and Llynclys Junction. Taken on May 23, 2009, this photograph is copyright Gareth Evans.

The line then enters Porthywaen station, the platform of which still survives, before crossing the A495 road.

webimg_4639porthywaenth.JPG. Photo: Porthywaen: Viewed from the edge of the road on the Oswestry side of the level crossing looking towards the latter & Llynclys Junction, the old platform can be seen here in the distance on the right. Note the crossing sign on the right and the gate post on the left. This photograph was taken on May 23, 2009 and is copyright Gareth Evans.     webimg_4638porthywaenth.JPG. Porthywaen level crossing: Photographed on May 23, 2009, the rails on A495 crossing were covered in tarmac several years ago as a safety measure. However, the layer is not that thick, as evidenced by the faint lines in the roadway. The track in the shallow cutting behind the Porthywaen village hall has benefitted from further vegetation clearance since this photograph was taken. Copyright Gareth Evans.

Passing behind the village hall, home to the well-known silver band, the Lime Kilns pub can be seen opposite, before entering a shallow cutting on a slight curve.

webimg_0063th.JPG - Photo - School Lane level crossing, Porthywaen. Photo - Copyright Alun Evans ~     webimg_0220th.JPG - Photo - Clearance work underway on the line at School Lane level crossing, Porthywaen, seen looking towards Blodwell. Photo - Copyright Alun Evans ~      webimg_0227th.JPG - Photo - learance work underway on the line on the Blodwell side of School Lane level crossing, Porthywaen, seen looking towards Porthywaen station and Oswestry. Copyright Alun Evans ~

A minor road, better known locally as Porthywaen School Lane, is then crossed, marking the commencement of a straight section of line, occupying the middle of the valley. The A495 road can be seen to the right.

The long-distance Offa’s Dyke footpath is then crossed, before passing behind a fishery and attractive pools. Entering a further long straight section of track, the view to the right is dominated by the side valley, better known locally as Blodwel (sic) Bank, in the direction of the villages of Nantmawr and Trefonen.

Entering a cutting, the line dives under the Blodwell Quarry overbridge, before passing the site of the stone loading apparatus on the left, which had survived until as late as May 2008.

webimg_0246th.JPG - Photo - Llanddu Junction: looking down the line towards Oswestry. The bridge forms the access road into Blodwell quarry. The moss-covered track marks the location of the former stone loading apparatus, which remarkably survived until May 2008. Photo - Copyright Alun Evans ~      webimg_2837th.JPG - Photo - Blodwell Junction: with Oswestry behind the photographer, Llanrhaeadr YM & Llangynog lie ahead. The track on the left is the 'main line', whilst that on the right is the loop. The white object in the distance is a van and marks the location of the A495 Llansantffraid road bridge. Copyright Alun Evans ~      wwebimg_0004th.JPG . Photo: landdu Junction/Blodwell loop: with Oswestry behind the photographer, Llanrhaeadr YM & Llangynog lie ahead. The track on the left is the 'main line' and that on the right is the loop, whilst the point visible in the foreground marks the junction for the line up to Nantmawr. The white object in the distance is a van and marks the location of the A495 Llansantffraid road-over-rail bridge. Copyright Alun Evans.

Our line then enters the east end of Blodwell Junction loop, which was opened in 1985 to enable stone trains to run round. A short hop along the right-hand track brings us to what is known as Llanddu Junction, where the branch to Nantmawr commences. The latter is accessed via a reversing manoeuvre.

Continuing up the Tanat valley, the two sets of track form the loop at Blodwell. The track stops at the bridge, which carries the A495 road to Llansantffraid ym Mechain. Beyond the bridge lies the site of Blodwell Junction, marking the point where the former ‘Potts line’ round to Llanymynech diverged to the left (closed 1925, lifted 1938), while the old Tanat Valley railway continued west towards Llanyblodwell village and onwards to Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant and Llangynog. Closed on December 5, 1960, the track to Llanrhaeadr was lifted in 1964-5.

webimg_2811th.JPG. Photo: - Blodwell terminus: the loop at the end of the line from Oswestry & Llynclys Junction, seen looking east towards the aforementioned.  Copyright Alun Evans ~

However, the course of the railway is blocked at this point owing to the A495 road bridge being secured with brick strengthening pillars sited on the path of the old railway, as seen in the photograph below.

webimg_0061th.JPG. Photo - The end of the line: the buffer stop at Blodwel under the A495 Llansantffraid road bridge. Photo ~ copyright Alun Evans ~



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