Trains Drains and Bridges

I don’t think I am going to quickly forget the day of the general election. After voting moments after the polling station doors opened I was off on my way to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. The weather forecast for the next few days was not encouraging and this was to be day one of a two day survey of the drains, culverts and bridges along the railway.

With the team of Ryk (civil engineer), Bill (regular trackworker) and myself (general dogsbody) assembled, briefed and armed with a copy of the last survey, we set off by road to Castle Caereinion Station. When we arrived it was raining with a bit of hail added in for good measure; so not unreasonably we sat in the car for while until it eased off. The objective for that day was to walk back to Llanfair Caereinion a mere four and quarter miles. So if we put our minds to it we could probably get there in about ninety minutes.


We began at milepost 4 3/4 and in the first few yards we had logged a ditch parallel to the railway, a culvert under the line and a rainwater drain from the signal box. By the time we reached the level crossing we had already been working for twenty minutes.

As we made our way down Dolarddyn Bank we came to White Bridge a substantial structure that is far to big to lose. The line passes through hilly country and further down finding the culverts that carry water running  from the fields on at the side of the line out of harm’s way was a different matter.

Culvert head endHere Bill has found the entrance to a culvert.

Gushing culvertA gushing culvert

IMG_0202_croppedBy the time we had completed our first mile we had been at work for well over two hours. The pace didn’t speed up either. If anything we got more pedantic in our searching and checking.

The magnificent stone viaduct at Brynelin gave us a change of task. There it was quite obvious where the water came from, how it passed beneath the railway and where it passed off our land. Instead there were trees growing close to the structure to look at and ivy growing on the stone work to note down for removal.

IMG_0291IMG_5667The outfall must be somewhere over there

By the time we reached the Banwy Bridge it was already getting late. It was decided that the survey of that required a significant amount of time and would be done as a standalone task on Saturday.

IMG_5761_croppedA weary trio ticked off the last culvert of the day at Llanfair Caereinion at seven thirty.

Friday morning arrived with a less than positive weather forecast.

Once more our journey along the line commenced at Castle Caereinion and this time our destination was Welshpool (Raven Square). Progress was at much the same pace as before and by mid day we had reached Sylfaen. Unfortunately so had the weather and the thin drizzle we had begun with steadily changed into persistent rain.


Bill clears debris from the mouth of the twin bore culvert at Four Mile Oak



The outfall from the culvert by Hanged Man’s Tree on the Golfa Bank


Blocked culvert adjacent to the upper bridge on the Golfa Bank


A lovely looking stone and brick built under bridge on the Golfa Bank.

WP_20150508_004_lightenedAn ad-hoc drain repair

By now we were all feeling soggy. My camera decided that enough water had penetrated its inner workings and stopped working. So for the rest of the afternoon my phone camera was pressed into service.

WP_20150508_037The last one of the day – drainage chamber adjacent to Raven Square Signal Box

We got back to Llanfair at about half past four and relaxed with mugs of hot sweet tea and chocolate chip cookies.

And so to the final day; the inspection of the three span girder bridge across the River Banwy. The rainfall from the previous day was still making its way along the Banwy to the River Severn so any inspection of the piers would have to wait until another, drier, time. So we had to content ourselves with the upper works ….

 IMG_0507The W&LLR General Manager, Charles Spencer,
observes the inspection of the Banwy Bridge.

Last but by no means least in a little pool a couple of hundred yards to the Cyfronydd side of Colonel Robertson’s Bridge there were some tadpoles.



This entry was posted in Castle Caereinion, Cyfronydd, Heniarth, Heritage, Lineside maintenance, Llanfair Caereinion, railroad, railway, Sylfaen, Welshpool, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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