Sunday, 24 March 2013

Introducing Llangunllo

       
 The GWR never did reach Llangunllo but had railway history taken a different course then this fictional account of a remote railway line in Mid Wales might have had an element of truth to it.                              




Llangunllo ( Llan-gynllo ) is situated in the old county of Radnorshire, now known as Powys and stands high up the valley of the River Lugg about 5 1/2 miles (W.) of Knighton.  Pronounced in Borders fashion ‘Langunthlow’ by its residents, this small remote village takes its name from the ‘Llan’ or church of St.Cynllo.  It is surrounded by large tracts of elevated mountain and stands on the edge of the Radnor Forest in one of the biggest areas in Wales.  The parish of Llangunllo includes Beacon Hill, the source of the River Lugg which flows through the village before continuing to eventually join the Wye at Lugwardine near Hereford.  Glyndwr’s Way long-distance footpath also passes through the parish.

Llangunllo comprises of rich arable and pasture land, the soil in the lower grounds being especially fertile.  Therefore farming is the lifeblood of the area though there were some quarries offering other means of enterprise and employment. The village is clustered around the church and the historic Greyhound Inn, there is a railway station on the Central Wales Line, though it is over a mile from the village centre. The railway is literally a life-line in hard winters, when the road to the village can sometimes be blocked by snow.


Llangunllo station on the Central Wales Line looking towards Llanbister Road and the occupation crossing.
The photo is by the kind permission of Roger Thomas, http://rogerthomas.org.uk/heart%20of%20wales.htm

Those of you who enjoy maps and want to learn more about the area can find the villages location by clicking the link below which will take you to an interactive map allowing you to view the area yourself.

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Llangunllo&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x48701fbe0eed664b:0x595316c71d0c9613,Llangunllo,+Powys&gl=uk&ei=8fpJUfH5BaS

If you follow the B4356 downwards you will pass through Whitton the fictional location of my old layout Penhydd and then enter Presteign.  Should you follow the road in the other direction you will eventually reach The Central Wales Line between Knighton and Llanbister Road.

The Radnorshire Railway Bill of 1865 proposed a line from Presteign to Llangunllo, where it would join the Central Wales Line and then onwards to Llandinam where it would join the Cambrian.  However the Bill was withdrawn, but the Lugg Valley Railway Bill linking Presteign to Llangunllo did get Royal Assent, though it was never implemented.  In 1923 the whole idea was raised again but this time a connection with the Central Wales Line would have been made here at Llanbister Road.


Another photo by Roger Thomas showing Llanbister Road station.
The whole idea of proposing such a railway was to provide an alternative link from the Midlands to Aberystwyth and South Wales rather than via New Radnor.  In the end neither line was ever built and the whole established network of railway lines fell into decay.


Llangunllo is a request stop, the single Railcar has just left the station and is about to cross the occupation crossing.
This is another of Rogers photos.

Having given you a brief history and geography lesson it's now time to explain how my new layout fits into the overall picture, which is based once again in this delightful area of Mid Wales and on the branch line which threaded it's way up the Lugg Valley from Titley Junction to Presteign.  So lets imagine that the proposed extension of the line to Llanbister Road had indeed been built and Llangunllo had gained another station. Where would it have been located and what would it have looked like in the mid fifties.......?




The above map is pure speculation on my part, it obviously makes sense for the line to have followed the River Lugg and B4356 road up the valley.  It is also possible that a creamery could have been built and perhaps a private siding laid to one of the quarries.  Making good use of 'Modellers Licence' I have included both but as off stage industries.
So having set the scene the next update will cover the actual layout plan and it's features.

22 comments:

  1. Great to see your new blog up and running. I'm really looking forward to the next instalment(s) and seeing the development of the successor to the wonderful and now much missed Penhydd.

    Regards

    Richard

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  2. I echo the above comment. I'm looking forward to seeing this - what a great little part of the world!

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  3. Thank you chaps,

    At the moment progress is being held up by the weather, it's much too cold to venture out into the garage to modify the old baseboard frames.

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  4. I fully agree with the comments so far, and am looking forward to the next stage of your blog.

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    1. Thank You, I hope you aren't disappointed

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  5. Hi Geoff, what an exciting development. Your interest in creating a believable environment through which a railway happens to run is something I can sympathize with.

    I am looking forward to following this. Will you be using the new signal box on this layout? I hope so, it was delightful and a very good model.

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    1. I'm glad you find the new idea exciting, I have always felt that there is much more to a model railway than just track, locos and rolling stock. However I did wonder if people might find it too simple and miss the point of what I was trying to do.

      The signal box scene with crossing and cottages will indeed be used on the layout. Ever since I came across the prototype I have been looking for an excuse to model it and it might be correct to say that the layout has been planned around it. The location of the scene is shown on the track plan just before the points.

      Cheers,
      Geof

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  6. I was rather pleased to see that you had chosen this location as the inspiration for your new model. I think it is one of those places that is pretty near to heaven in my book, I love the valley. I am furiously looking through my BRIll's at the moment for a wonderful photo of the valley and a GWR mixed train....let you know when I find it!

    Oh, and very good to see you off on a great track again...

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    1. Having spent the last few years exploring the Borders or should I say Welsh Marches I fully agree with you Iain.
      It's like stepping back in time and you never know what you will find around the next corner or over the next hill. We should keep quiet about it though :)

      I look forward to seeing the photo that you are searching for, thank you for your interest and support in the project.

      Geoff

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  7. Looking forward to reading more
    brgds
    Paul

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  8. There is plenty of reading to come Paul but little to show.
    Like everyone else I am awaiting some warm weather so I can get the baseboard and sector plates sorted.

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  9. A truly lovely location and after the fascinating scene setting I'm looking forward to following progress.

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  10. Are you going to run an EM gauge 153?

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    1. In your dreams my friend, hell will freeze over first. :-)

      But a first generation or should I say heritage set might appear from time to time complete with speed whiskers.

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  11. Geoff,

    Your decision to begin afresh was the spur that I needed - thank you.

    Tim

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  12. You are welcome Tim :-)

    Good luck with your new project

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  13. Geoff, I have only recently viewed your blog after being captured by your wonderful Penhydd layout. I do hope you keep your old blog as the layout and the detailed explanations you offered are an inspiration to me when trying to develop a layout of my own. You are a perfectionist, and I admire the realism you managed to create with the landscape, buildings, locos and stock. Keep up the good work and I will keep an eye on developments from the antipodes. Best wishes, Adrian

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  14. Thank you for your kind words Adrian, it's nice to know that you found Penhydd inspiring. The old blog will indeed be left in place as a permanent record of the old layout and as a source of reference.

    Good luck in developing your own layout.

    Best Wishes,
    Geoff

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  15. Good to see you up and running again. To echo what has already been said, Penhydd was truly inspirational and set the mark. Will continue to view this latest enterprise.
    Can't wait.

    Regards,
    Rob

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  16. Glad you found the new site Rob, I only hope it lives up to your expectations.

    Cheers,
    Geoff

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  17. Hello Geoff,

    thought I'd drop you a line to say I've enjoyed looking at both your layouts. The landscape, buildings,colouring and detail is very good indeed. It captures the essence of the places your imaginary lines were supposed to run to very well indeed. Some of the rolling stock and locos also place the location and period. Very pleased also to see you have used the information in my late father's books and film to good effect. I think he would have approved of what you have achieved.

    Best wishes, Andrew Bannister.

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    1. Hi Andrew,

      Nice to hear from you again, it's been a long time,

      Your late father's work has had a huge influence on my modelling, providing all the information and inspiration that I could possibly need. There is usually one of his books close to hand for reference whilst I model or to simply enjoy at leisure.

      I have a keen interest in geography and envy those boys who your father taught.

      Thank You and Best Wishes,

      Geoff

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