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Dyffryn Tanat and Region Development Trust
Chairman Ken Owen QGM
Consultant David Higman MBE

Potts Railway

The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway was created on part of the defunct Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway. This line was to have linked the places mentioned but never did so, merely carrying local passengers between Shrewsbury and Llanymynech, from 13th August 1866. There were also goods lines to Llanyblodwel and to Criggion, then known as Breidden. Freight services were extended to Nantmawr in about 1871 but a precise date is difficult to establish. Long known as "The Potts", the company struggled on until 3rd December 1866, when the bailiffs moved in, traffic ceasing on 21st December of that year.
The Shrewsbury - Llanymynech section reopened in December 1868, the Criggion service commencing in June 1871 and that to Llanyblodwel following in 1872. Recurring financial problems resulted in a receiver being appointed in 1877 and total closure taking place on 22nd June 1880. The decaying rolling stock was auctioned 8 years later. In 1881, the Cambrian Railway undertook to maintain and operate the line west of Llanymynech, this section of the route reopening in 1886 and eventually coming under the control of the Great Western Railway.
A new company, - Shropshire Railways, took control of the route east of Llanymynech in 1890 and relaid the track. Financial irregularities resulted in receivership once again and the buildings and other structures fell into ruin once more.
Following local pressure for the reopening of the line, The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway Company Ltd was formed in 1907, largely financed by local councils. The Light Railway Order was issued in February 1909 and work soon commenced on clearing the linear jungle and replacing all the sleepers. The engineer to the new company (and one of its directors) was H.F Stephens, then well known as promotor and builder of Light Railways. Gaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during World War 1, he subsequently was known as Colonel Stephens, as his empire of minor railways grew to seventeen in number. The formal reopening took place at Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate on 13th April 1911 but a derailment the following day closed the line again for 48 hours. The Criggion branch reopened for freight on 21st February 1912, and for passengers the following August.
The sparseness of habitation and competition from road transport resulted in the early reduction in passenger services. On the Criggion branch, these ran on Saturdays only from 1928 and regular services over the entire system were withdrawn on 6th November 1933. Only holiday excursions remained and even these were abolished in 1937, leaving only one freight service weekdays only. On 1st September 1939, the railway came under the control of the Railway Executive, due to the impending war. One consequence of this was that an annual profit of 1 was guaranteed. At this time there was a staff of about 40.
In May 1940, the directors proposed closure of the line between Kinnerley and Meole Brace but problems arose over the redirection of quarry traffic via Llanymynech. On 1st June 1941, the Shrewsbury - Llanymynech section was requesitioned by the War Department to serve the extensive munition depots being laid out in the area. The line was extensively relaid largely with concrete sleepers and operated by military personnel, up to 12 locomotives being in steam simultaneously. The regular civilian freight train continued to operate.
In 1947, the line was given W>D Civilian status and upon Nationalisation in 1948, only the Criggion branch became the responsibility of British Railways (Western Region). Public freight services were withdrawn from this branch on 2nd May 1949, but stone traffic continued. The WD relinquished control in 1960, the Criggion branch having closed in December 1959. The last regular train for civilian workers ran on 26th February 1960 and an enthusiasts special followed on 31st March of that year.
The line was transferred to BR who became responsible for its demolition. All track was lifted in 1962, apart from the oil depot sidings at Shrewsbury, which had been given a new connection to BR in 1960. These finally closed in July 1988 and were lifted early in 1990.

Click below to get more information about the Potts railway


Photo of the Potts Line terminus at Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.

Source The Railway Magazine (No 171 dated September 1911)

Plan showing the Potts Line from Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate station to Llanymynech station

Another photo of Abbey Foregate Station date unknown.

Photo of Abbey Foregate possibly 1950's.

Diagram of Abbey Foregate yard.

Mr H.F.Stephens Managing director of the Potts Line. Date not known.

Plan of the Potts line during the Second World War years. Note the shaded areas showing where the WD depots were located.

Diagram of Ford Marshalling yard.

Diagram of Hookagate yard

Photo of Edgebold station in 1947

Plan of Edgebold Station

Fine photo of the station at Shrawardine. Date not known but would probably be very early 1900 by the dress of the station master and lady in the background.

Source Ken Owen

Diagram of Pentre & Shrawardine Depot during WW2.

Plan of the WD sidings at Kinnerley during WW2.

Kinnerley station

Plan of the layout at Kinnerley station.

Fabulous photo of the old Kinnerley signal box dated November 1902 looking east towards the road bridge

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Kinnerley shed and water tower in 1955

Photo of Gazelle in the railway shed at Kinnerley.

Source The Railway Magazine, (No 171 dated September 1911).

Site of Kinnerley station today

Source Ken Owen.

Close up of the water tower

Source Ken Owen.

The water pipe and bag for filling the steam engines still in place..

Source KenOwen

Excellent photo of the wooden framed Crew Green platform with one passenger waiting for his train. This view is looking east towards Kinnerley

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

View of Crew Green platform looking west towards Criggion . Note the primitive waiting shelter and the cattle guards across the track and shown on the track plan below.

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Track plan of Crew Green showing the siding and camping field to the right. Unfortunately it does not show the boating huts.

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Track plan of Criggion station

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Photo of Criggion Station with the Breidden Hill behind.

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Nice photo of Criggion station looking towards Kinnerley dated 18th May 1929

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Criggion station dated 5th August 1935 showing a Ford Railcar set at the platform on a summer excursion from Kinnerley

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

Fine photo of one of the Camping huts near Criggion Station, even though the river and boats were half a mile away

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter.

Photo of Maesbrook station during WW2.

Maesbrook station looking from the opposite direction

Plan of the WD depot at Maesbrook Station during WW11.

Photo of the "Gazelle" at Llanymynech Station.

1928 photo at Llanymynech Station.

Interesting timetable from 1930's

Source David Higman

Early advert for the "Potts"line. This would have been in the booking offices and the local newspapers.

Source Handbook to the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway

Nice photo of the "Potts" station at Llanymynech. Date unknown.

Source Handbook to the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway

Diagram of Llanymynech station at the end of the Potts Line

1901 map showing the extent of the station at Llanymynech. Note the turntable.

Source Branch Lines Around Oswestry.

Chronology of the Potts Line

Source The Stephenson Locomotive Society

Interesting advertisment promoting holidays to camping huts along the Criggion branch at Crew Green in a field alongside the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy. Families could travel down the "Potts Line" from Shrewsbury and stay in the Ex-Army huts and use a number of boats on the river which could be hired out.

Source The Criggion Branch by Roger Carpenter

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