OSWESTRY CAMBRIAN WORKS

[Source: Les Fifoot]


Inside the Cambrian works in the early 1900s.

In July 1865 the Cambrian Railway company extended an Amalgamation Act to include the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway. The company had already located its headquarters to Oswestry railway station, and now saw the need to build a locomotive works as well. This was constructed on a site to the north of the station, and hastened Oswestry’s boom as a railway town. Built of local red brick and costing £28,000, the locomotive, carriage and wagon works was housed in a single building measuring 812ft. by 210ft. (247.5 x 64 metres), and covered an area of 170,520 sq.ft. The locomotive erecting shop had a hand operated central traverser which served 12 roads on each side. Apart from the entrance and exit roads, each of the 22 other roads could accommodate a single locomotive or other piece of rolling stock. At the north end of the works, 11 sidings accessed the carriage and wagon works. The machines were operated from a system of line shafts, and belts, which were powered by steam. The 150 feet (46 m) chimney for the steam engine boiler house has survived, and is still a local landmark.

The works undertook most of the casting, fabrication, assembly and repairs for the Cambrian Railways. Although many carriages and wagons were built in the workshops, only two locomotives were actually constructed at Oswestry, but many were extensively rebuilt.


The Cambrian works at Oswestry shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from 1875.

After the Cambrian Railway Company was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1923, the GWR kept the works open as a regional carriage and wagon works, and locomotive repair shop for the associated locomotive shed. It also serviced locos from the Vale of Rheidol and the Welshpool and Llanfair railways, both of which were owned by the Cambrian. After closure of the latter in 1956, two of their two foot six gauge locos were stored at the works until the1960s.

The works saw a full century of service before finally being closed by British Railways on 31 December 1966, being the last former GWR works to overhaul steam locomotives. Fortunately, it has survived as a Grade II listed building, and an antiques centre, small business hub and document storage centre have since been located at the premises.

In July 2011, after extensive renovation to the southern section of the buildings, Oswestry Health Centre opened on the works site as a multi-purpose outpatient healthcare centre. A Minor Injury Unit (MIU) is also housed there.

See Also: Oswestry (Cambrian) station, Oswestry North Junction
and Oswestry Locomotive Shed


The traversor at the Cambrian works seen in the 1950s.
P
hoto by R W Storer


The Oswestry works shown on a 1:2,500 scale map from 1925 during the GWR era.


A plan of the Oswestry works. Click here to see a larger version.


The Oswestry works looking south-west in 1948.
Photo from the John Mann collection

The Oswestry Cambrian Locomotive and Wagon Works seen on 28 April 2016.
Photo by Les Fifoot

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[Source: Les Fifoot]




Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 16:22:21 BST
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