After weeks of work, volunteers have completed works to replace a stretch of a railway line in Llanfair Caereinion using a brand-new material.

As part of their annual inspection and maintenance of the track, volunteers along the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway have replaced a section of track, using a new sustainable material that should last for decades.

The track was located at Cyfronydd Railway Station, an intermediate stop along the line, which has now been reconnected to the rest of the line following weeks of work to replace the old timber with new sleepers.

The sleepers are made from a material comprised of recycled plastics, specifically designed to cope with the weight and motion of trains moving across them. The new material is not only designed to be stronger than timber, but also more environmentally friendly and will reportedly last for as long as 20 or 30 years.

Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway Manager James Brett said: “This kind of track maintenance is an essential part of running this railway. We carry it out every year during our off season, checking, servicing or replacing any area in need of attention. It’s an aspect that is hardly noticed by passengers, but without it we simply would not be able to run trains along the line in the spring.”


The railway described the past week of work as being the “most intense”, as fishplates were connected along the line, joining the loop to the mainline with a fresh layer of ballast tucking the new sleepers in ahead of another season on the railway.

While one paid member of staff was on site for every day of the work, most of the maintenance was carried out by the track’s team of volunteers.

Mr Brett added: “It’s our first time working with this new material so it has been a slight learning curve as it behaves slightly differently to the timber previously used on the line. But not only is it more environmentally friendly, it is also far less degradable. While the timber sleepers eventually rot and need replacing, these should last for at least 20 or 30 years.

“We are looking to standardise the use of this materials across the entire line as different stretches need replacing over the next few years.”

Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway is scheduled to resume train services on March 23.