February Talk. Titley Railway Station by Mrs Lesley Hunt
Kington was once a RAILWAY town – four branch lines converged here, as successors to the horse drawn tramway of the early 1800s.
The first arrival was from Leominster in the 1850s – financed largely by local people, and all the stations were well outside any town or village limits.
Later extensions appeared from Presteigne, and Eardisley, converging towards Kington at Titley, which in the nature of all the best English Railway Junctions, was miles from anywhere, yet served over 30 trains a day, with a staff of at least a dozen. Titley was actually lucky to become a Junction, as the Kington and Eardisley Railway originally toyed with a separate route into Kington, and also in a moment of grandiosity considered becoming part of a scheme linking South Wales with the Midlands via a connection at Craven Arms. In spite of these splendid ideas, it was the first to suffer closure, becoming abandoned during the First War, and again during the Second, after a period of interwar respite.
The one branch that could actually have prospered and survived in more rational times, was the New Radnor extension from Kington, via the quarries at Dolyhir, which had been well served by the original tramway, and the idea was floated that the extension to New Radnor could be the start of something great – eventually fetching up in Aberystwyth (next stop New York?), but Radnor Forest got in the way, so New Radnor Station was a lot further than a bowshot from the little town.
So Titley Station became a busy junction, but the trade that was best served by all this activity was the cattle and sheep sales, which took place in the meadows near Kington Station, and for which the G.W.R. would provide great numbers of cattle and sheep wagons for maybe half a dozen trains per market.
However closure came in the 50s and 60s, and the station buildings were at least subject to re use for other purposes. Titley Station was being ‘restored’ for more than a dozen years before Lesley and her husband acquired it, and since then have re-laid more track towards Bullock’s Mill, with that rescued from Moreton on Lugg sidings, and replaced the signal box, (which had an unusual encounter during its arrival, as the Hunt was out that day, and there was a confrontation, as the horses wouldn’t go backwards, and the box couldn’t go back).
Mobility is provided by a Peckett steam tank loco, accommodation by a diesel Railcar trailer, all in use for Period Reenactments, or open days for Charity Events, and holiday lets in between. The icing on the cake for the owners of the Station, is that the Railway is insured as a ‘Garden Railway’ only – what more could any true enthusiast wish for? JR
Dates for your Diary
Friday 20th March 7.30pm at Kington Primary School
‘The Wye Trow Project’ presented by Commander A G Wynn LVC MA. This talk will describe the Wye Project and explain how Herefordshire was represented in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant by a replica of a Wye Trow carrying the Lord-Lieutenant. It will follow its story from then in 2012 to its present purpose and its future. Commander Wynn has a long Royal Naval record of 18yrs His last sea-going appointment was 1984 on HMS Ark Royal. In 1988 he returned to Eton college as Assistant Bursar till 2011. Upon retirement he became involved in the Wye Trow and has been fully involved in its development since. Hi is a trustee of the Manifold Trust, Secretary of the Little Marcle branch of the Royal British Legion, member of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust Board of Governors and subscriber to the Founders Fund of the New University of Herefordshire. I think we shall be in for a fascinating evening so hope you can make it along and share the evening with us.
Friday 24th April. Radnorshire’s Walton Basin by Nigel Jones BA MCIfA Senior Project Archaeologist, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. Since the mid 1990s the Trust has been conducting a programme of evacuation and survey which has gradually revealed one of the most significant complexes of prehistoric monuments anywhere in Britain. A series of large Neolithic enclosures include some which are amongst the largest of their type in the country. Although there is little visible trace of these sites above ground recent work has uncovered important new evidence demonstrating how and when these monuments were constructed. (The last talk before the Summer recess).
Sunday May 2015. Train Ride at Titley Junction. Date to be confirmed.
Sunday 21st June at 2 pm. Tour of Impton House, Presteigne Private Elizabethan Farmhouse. Date now confirmed so names please for the tour and afternoon tea. Cost will be approx £10 inc tea.
Hay On Wye Tours. Sunday 19th July 2015. We are booked to go on two tours of Hay, a Heritage Trail and the Herbert Rowse Armstrong tour. We will need to know numbers as if we are over subscribed we shall have to book another tour guide. A poster explaining the tours will be circulated at each meeting till April 24th. You are invited to put your names down and show your commitment by paying in advance.
Editor: V. Harrison