Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Wrexham & Shropshire

You find me in Shrewsbury Reference Library en route to Bridgnorth.

This morning I caught a bus to Banbury and then fulfilled a long-held ambition by catching a Wrexham & Shropshire train to Shrewsbury. (I will add a picture to this posting one day, but the machine here is not keen on my uploading photographs to my Photobucket account.)

The Wrexham & Shropshire is the Titfield Thunderbolt of the privatised railway system. Their trains are only four carriages long (though there is a locomotive at each end) and the refreshments have a home-made feel to them as though they were made the night before by the driver's mother.

Even the route the service takes is eccentric. It has to use a curve behind the Birmingham City ground to get off the former Great Western lines and into New Street, and then it travels to Wolverhampton via the outskirts of Walsall rather than the direct route.

It is English in a slightly mediocre way. Captain Mainwaring, county cricket, John Major... you know the sort of thing. I feel very at home with it.

But travelling this way involves a treat that every passenger should experience at least once in a lifetime: trundling through Birmingham New Street without stopping.

Later. Photograph duly added. Diamond Geezer also travelled this way recently, but I have to record that the Wrexham & Shropshire's managing director is issuing ominous "use it or lose it" warnings in the Shropshire Star.


trainspottergwyn said...

There is a locomtive at one end only - the pointy thing at the other end is a DVT (no, it's not life-threatening; it's a Driving Van Trailer)

Pendolino Warrior said...

You fail to share with your readers that not only does it go through New Street without stopping but that it is not allowed to pick up passengers at Wolverhampton going southbound. All of this is to protect Virgin's franchise income from people who would rather travel a little slower in a better train.

You can use Virgin season tickets on the train to Leamington and then switch to Cross Country for an onward journey to New Street. Cross Country are now owned by the same people as WSMR (Deutsche Bahn) but hey its a very British nonsense.

Jonathan Calder said...

Thank you, Gwyn. That makes far more sense.

Mind you, in my day there was nothing higher than a class 56.

Anonymous said...

Sad to read today that W&S has hit the financial buffers.