BLODWELL JUNCTION

THE 1985 RUN-AROUND LOOP

[Source: Paul Wright]

In 1964 the line at Blodwell Junction was cut back from the point at which the Nantmawr branch to Lllanymynech diverged from the Tanat Valley Light Railway line to Llangynog to the east side of the A495 road bridge. The buffer stops were located at the point where the Blodwell Junction station goods facilities had been.

This meant that the original line from Nantmawr and the 1904 Tanat Valley line from Porthywaen joined each other as single track railways with no run around facilities as there had been on the west side of the A495 road bridge. Mineral trains coming from the quarries on the Nantmawr line therefore had to stop short of the junction with the Porthywaen line. The engine was then uncoupled and it ran through the junction where it reversed onto the Porthywaen line. With the aid of a brake van the wagons were then gravity worked through the junction. The locomotive was then able to back onto the wagons and it was facing the right way to continue its journey northwards through Oswestry and on to Gobowen. In the reverse direction empty wagons had to be propelled for a short distance onto the Nantmawr branch where there were sidings that allowed a run around move to be made.

On 21 October 1971 stone traffic ceased to run from Nantmawr Quarry but it continued to operate from Llanddu Quarry which was served by sidings on the Nantmawr branch close to its junction with the Porthywaen line. Therefore the same method of gravity working had to continue.

To eradicate the gravity working British Rail installed a run around loop at Blodwell in 1985. The western end of the loop was close to the site of the Blodwell junction station goods facilities. The eastern end was on the Porthywaen line just to the east of the junction. The line was extended at its western end right up to the A495 road bridge.

The run around loop had a relatively short life as rail traffic ceased to run from Llanddu Quarry in 1989.

Blodwell Junction run around loop seen in 1985.
Photo by PGH

The western end of the run around loop at Blodwell looking towards the north-east from the A495 road bridge on 28 June 2013. In 1964 the end of the line had been where the brake van can be seen. In 1985 it was extended towards the bridge as part of the works associated with the loop.
Photo by Les Fifoot

The western end of the run around loop at Blodwell Junction looking south-west on 28 June 2013.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Looking north-east at the run around facilities at Blodwell Junction on 25 June 2016. The line had been purchased by Shropshire County Council who leased it to Cambrian Heritage Railways.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

The Blodwell Junction run around loop looking south-west on 25 June 2016.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

A view looking south-west towards the site of Blodwell Junction station on 25 June 2016 from the point at which the Nantmawr branch from Nantmawr Quarry (line to the right) joins the the former Tanat Valley Light Railway from Porthywaen (line to far left). Originally both lines had been single track at this point but that had altered when the loop was installed in 1985.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Looking north-east along the Nantmawr branch. The Llanddu sidings are to the right beyond the large tree in the distance.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

The lever frame that had controlled the junction between the Porthwaen and Nantmawr branches at Blodwell prior to 1985.
P
hoto by Paul Wright


Looking west towards the junction between the Porthwaen and Nantmawr branches on 25 June 2016.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

The eastern end of the run around loop at Blodwell seen on 25 June 2016.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

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[Source: Paul Wright]




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