A Westminster parliamentary group paid a visit to a popular mid-Wales tourist railway line ahead of the publication of a national report on heritage railways.

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway welcomed members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail (APPGHR), who were joined by local MP Craig Williams and the leader of Powys County Council Rosemarie Harris at the event, which also saw several volunteers honoured for their contributions.

The Group were given a tour of stations and workshops before meeting staff and volunteers of the railway, which attracts many visitors to Wales and has links with other railways around the world.

Visiting guests also included former Education Secretary Baroness Nicky Morgan, who set up the APPGHR in 2011 and who is a director of the Great Central Railway and Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who is also President of the Heritage Railway Association.

The APPGHR is a focus for discussion by parliamentarians about heritage railways, the contribution they make to their local and regional economies and the skills training opportunities involved.

The Group reported on the economic value of heritage railways in 2013, on young people working on heritage railways in 2018, and on future supplies of coal in 2019.

Their current enquiry, on public transport and heritage railways will be published this week.

W&LLR chairman Steve Clews said he was "delighted" and "proud" to welcome the APPGHR to the line.

"We are proud that for what was effectively its first visit post Covid, the Group came to us, as we are not one of the larger lines in the UK heritage railway movement," he said.

"We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing railway preservation in today’s environment, but mainly to celebrate the many achievements of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway both locally and on the wider stage."

Craig Williams MP, a Llanfair Caereinion resident, added that the railway was a "much loved" part of the local community.

"The Railway is much loved by the local community and is great for local tourism to this wonderful part of Wales. Many thanks to the fantastic volunteers and everyone involved with the railway," he said.

"During the visit co-chairman of the APPG Lord Faulkner, presented the Young Volunteer of the Year to Oliver Edwards, Trustee, while Andrew Charman was able to accept a high commendation for internal communications from the Heritage Railway Association.

"Thank you to the APPG for visiting, Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP , Baroness Nicky Morgan and many others for coming to Montgomeryshire today. If you have a chance over the summer, a trip on the Welshpool-Llanfair Light Railway is a wonderful day out!"

The W&LLR also received a highly commended certificate in the internal communications category of the HRA Awards, for its digital members’ newsletter ‘The Earl’ – this newsletter proved vital during the Covid pandemic, keeping members in touch with the line while they were unable to visit.