Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway

Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway
Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway
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Shrewsbury Abbey
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Hanwood Road
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Nesscliffe and Pentre
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Criggion branch, joining at Kinnerley
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Chapel Lane
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Crew Green
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Llandrinio road
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Llanyblodwel branch, joining at Llanymynech
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Nantmawr (quarry)

The Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway, (locally known known as the 'Potts'), was a project to build a line from the PotteriesMarket Drayton, Shropshire, to quarries at Nantmawr and Criggion, Wales. It was initially opened in 1866, obtaining notoriety as the most expensive non-metropolitan railway then built, but was never constructed between Shrewsbury and the Potteries.The line rapidly became very run down as a result of low revenues and poor maintainace and was closed for safety reasons in June 1880, becoming one of the few railways to close in Victorian times. Attempts to re-open the line were made in the late 1880s and the 1890s by the Shropshire Railways who took over the property but these failed. After years of lying derelict, it re-opened as the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway in 1911.

The branch from Llanymynech and Blodwel Junction to Nantmawrwhich was laesed to the Cambrian Railways at closure of the Potts survived for many years as something of a forgotten part of the national network, finally accessed from Oswestry via the Cambrian Railways' Porthywaen branch. Having been acquired by the Tanat Valley Light Railway Company during 2004, efforts are now under way to re-open the line as a heritage railway.



Construction of the Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway followed a flurry of parliamentary activity, with nine acts of parliament obtained between 1862 and 1866. The West Shropshire Mineral Railway obtained three acts relating to a main line between Yockleton, on the Shrewsbury & Welshpool Railway, and Llanymynech, on the Oswestry & Newtown Railway, in 1962-4. This was subsumed into the Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway in 1864, the SNWR obtaining three acts by 1866 and being realigned to connect with the Shrewsbury & Welshpool Railway at Hookagate in the process. In 1865 the Shrewsbury & Potteries Junction Railway after several attempts to penetrate the Potteries towns obtained an act to connect the Shrewsbury with Market Drayton, linking the SNWR with the North Staffordshire Railway. The SNWR obtained another act in 1866 before amalgamating with the SPJR to become the Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway on the same day.

The main line was originally double track and was opened between Llanymynech and Potteries Junction, Shrewsbury, on 13 August 1866. The passenger station at Shrewsbury, intended to be a temporary measure, was located near the Abbey and was accessed by a short and steep branch from neear Coleham Junction. There were an extension beyond Llanymynech to Nantmawr and a branch from Kinnerley to Criggion to serve stone quarries.

The railway company was always short of money ,a receiver was appointed and the line was closed on for the first time 21 December 1866 re-opening in December 1868 . The main line was probably singled between Ford and Llanymynech in 1868/9 and between Shrewsbury and Ford in 1875. The branches to Criggion and Llanyblodwel, on the Nantmawr branch, were formally opened for passengers in 1871 and 1872.

Following a complaint to the Board of Trade concerning the condition of the Melverley river bridge, on the Criggion branch, the BoT inspected the railway finding numerous track defects. The company had neither money nor will to carry out repairs and it was abandoned in June 1880. Mostof the stone traffic was continued after the Nantmawr branch was leased to the Cambrian Railways, the lease being made durin June 1880. The Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway (winding-up) Act was obtained in 1881.

In 1888 an act of Parliament authorised the railway to be transferred to the Shropshire Railways Company and reconstruction was started. The company, however, was very litigious and fell out several times with its potential contractors and its financiers.Reconstruction work ceased in 1891and in 1895 the scheme finally collapsed when a fund-raising prospectus failed to mention that the company was in receivership.

Starting in 1906 Colonel Holman Fred Stephens led a consortium that applied for a Light Railway Order, wishing to take over the railway, reconstruct it and to operate it as a light railway. legal and financial difficulties slowed progress but an order was made in 1910 and the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway was opened at Easter 1911.


Little is known about the locomotives. According to Woodcock[1] one of them, named Black Tom, was a 0-4-2 tender locomotive built by Bury, Curtis, and Kennedy in 1848 and acquired from the London and North Western Railway in 1866.


  1. ^ Woodcock, George, Minor Railways of England and their Locomotives, Goose & Son, Norwich, 1970, page 151


  • Turner, Keith & Susan (1982). The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0 7153 8233 0. 
  • Johnson, Peter (2008). The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 978 0 86093 619 0. 

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