Synopses & Reviews
The 'North & West Route', which, in recent years, has become known as the 'Welsh Marches Line', extends from Newport to Chester. Historically, this 137-mile route is an amalgam of three distinct railways: the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway, the Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway and the Newport, Abergavenny & Hereford Railway. All three lines came under Great Western control at a relatively early date, although the Shrewsbury & Hereford section became a joint undertaking, which was owned by the GWR and the London & North Western Railway companies. The line runs through attractive and sometimes spectacular scenery via Abergavenny, Pontrilas, Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Shrewsbury and Ruabon, thereby providing a useful transport link between North and South Wales, while some services run north-eastwards from Shrewsbury to Crewe over a former London & North Western line that forms part of a direct link between South Wales and the Manchester conurbation.
The extensive rail system throughout Wales was developed predominantly during the nineteenth century. The West Wales Line, originally called the South Wales Railway, was in theory independent of the Great Western Railway (GWR), but was closely linked to it. This was highlighted by the fact that Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the engineer of the line.
In a series of titles covering the GWR, Stanley C. Jenkins and Martin Loader look at the railways of North and West Wales in this pictorial history of old and new photographs, drawings and ephemera.