A ‘Cambrian Weekend’ to celebrate summer seaside days in Wales

Alex Farran
March 22, 2023

• A recreation of the ‘Cambrian Coast Express’ to delight visitors. • 75014 & 7820 both worked from Shrewsbury shed between 1963 & 1966.

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) is to celebrate summer seaside days in Wales when passengers travelled over the challenging Cambrian lines to the Welsh coast. The ‘Cambrian Weekend’, which takes place on the 22nd &23rd April 2023, offers visitors the opportunity to ride behind resident Manor class No. 7820 ‘Dinmore Manor’ and visiting BR Standard class 4 No. 75014 ‘Braveheart’ – courtesy of the Dartmouth Steam Railway. A weekend to relive moments from history as both locomotives operated over the line during the1960s.

A little of the history - Both engines at the end of steam days were allocated to Shrewsbury shed and worked over the former Cambrian lines to the Welsh coast. This was a challenging line.  Braveheart 75014 was at Shrewsbury from the end of 1964 until its withdrawal in December 1966. Dinmore Manor was at Shrewsbury from 1963 until withdrawn in November 1965, but remained at the shed until May 1966.  Shrewsbury shed was variously 84G and 89A, becoming 6D in March 1964 with transfer of the Cambrian lines from Western Region to Midland Region control.  The shed closed to steam in 1967.  There were at one time, over 100 engines allocated here.

Both locomotives worked both goods and passenger services over this tortuous line which, because of axle weight and loading gauge limits, locomotives larger than a Manor or Standard class 4 were prohibited.  The steeply graded line pushed these engines to their limits particularly on the fearsome 1 in 52 to Talerddig summit. The best-known service on the line was the Cambrian Coast Express (Paddington-Aberystwyth and Pwllheli). This service was normally handled by a ‘Castle’ class 4-6-0 from Shrewsbury. From there the train was double-headed by two Duke class 4-4-0s or latterly a Manor class or a Standard 4 4-6-0 for the non-stop run to Welshpool. Heavily loaded trains were still sometimes double-headed.

Steam haulage of the Cambrian Coast Express ended in 1965, Dinmore Manor having the honour of hauling the last regular steam hauled service. The last timetabled standard-gauge steam-hauled passenger service from Aberystwyth was on 4th March 1967 in the charge of sister engine to 75014, no.75033 which was specially cleaned for the occasion and proudly carried the‘Cambrian Coast Express’ headboard.

 Tickets for the event are availableonline at https://www.gwsr.com/events/cambrian-weekend- There is a 5% discount for all tickets bought online.

Photo Credit: A Barmouth toBirmingham service in the charge of Standard class 4 4-6-0 no. 75014, tacklesthe 1-52 Talerddig bank, 22 August 1964. (Picture by T B Owen, copyrightColour-Rail).