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.
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.
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.
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
Blocked culvert adjacent to the upper bridge on the Golfa Bank
A lovely looking stone and brick built under bridge on the Golfa Bank.
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.
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 ….
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.