We had a wonderful day on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway as it steamed through the beautiful Mid Wales countryside. Wales had just opened its borders to visitors once more and it was a sheer delight.
The railway was originally built in 1903 to link the farming communities with the market town of Welshpool in order to provide them with an outlet for their produce. It closed in 1956, but was reopened by enthusiasts again in 1963. It was built with a narrow gauge to allow for the tight curves and steep gradients. Pulling our train was a shiny Zillertalbahn locomotive from Mayrhofen in Austria. It was built in 1900 and brought to Wales in 2019.
We were in the First Class carriage, which you can see in the picture was immaculate and so comfortable. There were perspex screens between bays and less than half the passenger capacity to allow for social distancing. We were obliged to wear masks except when eating or drinking. Part of our First Class ticket included a complimentary goody bag, which contained a guide book, packets of biscuits and bottles of Welsh elderflower or lemonade drink.
Through the windows we could see not only cows and sheep, but also a donkey, deer, pheasants, geese, hens, grouse, partridge and mallards. The train weaves its way through bluebell woods and flower filled meadows, travelling over the River Vyrnwy within the Powis estate.
The route took us from Llanfair Caereinion to Y Trallwng Sgwar Gigfran (Welshpool Raven Square) and back again at a lovely leisurely pace. At Llanfair there was takeaway refreshments (it’s usually inside a tearoom) There was a gift shop and I bought one or two items to bring home.
After months of shielding and lockdown it was an absolute pleasure to take this trip with our friends. It was such a welcome break for them, as they have worked tirelessly all year delivering food to needy families.
All in all, I thoroughly recommend this railway for a great day out.