The Shropshire Star
Friday, 5th August 2016
Seize the moment on railway
Deborah Hardiman of the Shropshire Star wrote a story regarding recent visitors coming to the railway to catch the latest smartphone craze “Pokemon”.
Photo / Video:
At the head of the Ironbridge Gorge looms a huge question mark on the landscape. It is in the shape of a power station – a recently closed power station.
The Gorge still awaits to see what the future will hold for the site, but in the meantime some bright ideas are being batted around which see the closure of the power station an opportunity, rather than a vexed problem.
While many small railway lines across Shropshire have been lost, the power station had to have coal deliveries (or biomass as the fuel was ultimately), and the upshot of that was that it stayed connected to the rail network.
One of Telford’s, attractions is the Telford Steam Railway run by a group of volunteers who, like most such bodies, have a dream. Currently, the length of the track the TSR can operate its heritage steam locos is somewhat short. How great it would be if it could get plugged into the Ironbridge Gorge. It would transform the TSR into a major attraction of national standing with the offer of the the glorious experience the passengers taking them into the heart of the world Heritage site. Not even Bridgnorth’s magnificent Seven Valley Railway can boast that.
The vision would see steam trains run from Lawley, through Coalbrookdale, and on to Buildwas. Imagine how this would complements the world Heritage site, which already attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors.
You could say the idea is in its early days, which would not strictly be true, as the TSR has been thinking along the lines for at least 14 years.
Extending the TSR line south of Doseley and linking it up with the existing line would bring formidable technical problems. The Ironbridge bypass would have to be bridged, for one thing, and building bridges does not come cheap.
Telford Steam Railway has grown and developed over the years but the limited length of track available has kept a lid on it realising its full potential. A whole New World could open up which would boost the tourism economy and, the for those worried about how Ironbridge Gorge would cope, could answer some of the traffic and parking issues.
With the closure of the power station and railway infrastructure still in place, there is now a moment to be seized. It may prove out of reach, but it would be craven not to try. (2016. The Shropshire Star)
PLEASE NOTE: Transcripts are provided by using OCR technology and may not always be 100% accurate in it’s transcription.