A list of questions
which we receive from time to time about the Wye Valley Railway
1) When are
you planning to re-open the railway? Where can I send donations?
such details as when to re-open the railway have not been worked
out and so an opening date cannot be projected. As at the moment
we are not in a position to re-open the line we are not after
money. (Unless you have lots and lots of money to give us - several
million pounds or above - whereupon we will revise this statement.)
2) Why is this
website here then?
To gauge interest
mostly - and if anybody else wishes to carry out this re-opening
themselves we'd be happy to get involved and provide input.
3) Who currently
owns the railway?
Sustrans owns the railway and trackbed from Chepstow to Tintern.
Beyond there it is principally farmers as far as Whitebrook,
after which ownership isn't clear (apart from Redbrook station
and the approach to Wyesham, which are privately owned by the
4) Can I walk
along the railway?
to Tintern is a public footpath. The railway around Tintern station
has a footpath along it. Llandogo to Whitebrook mostly runs across
fields but it is possible to walk on, adjacent to or within a
stone's throw of the trackbed. Whitebrook to Penallt is a forestry
track, while Redbrook to Wyesham is a footpath - albeit one without
public footpath status.
5) Are there
any sections which I cannot walk then?
Junction to Tintern Quarry is still a railway, albeit overgrown.
Tintern Tunnel is closed off. Brockweir to Llandogo runs across
farmland with no adjacent public footpath (although there is
always the road and there is a footpath on the opposite bank
of the river). Monmouth viaduct is also fenced off.
6) Are there
any plans to change this?
to turn the Tidenham to Tintern station section into a cycleway.
However, their plans are currently in a similar state to ours,
and it would involve rebuilding a bridge and opening up two tunnels.
7) How will
the Tintern branch fit into your long-term plans following re-opening
how things work out. The bridge would need substantial re-building
for a narrow-gauge link. Then there would have to be a level
crossing in Tintern. The trackbed would need a lot of re-conditioning
and widening work. Through trains from South Wales are a possibility
but a tight curve on the east side of the bridge precludes accessing
Tintern with one.
8) Why no mention
of steam traction? That's what most preserved railways use.
This is a re-opened
railway - a new brancline on the old trackbed - rather than a
preserved line aiming to recreate the old route with a 25mph
speed restriction and seasonal operation only. Steam traction
is a bit noisy and dirty for a re-opened line. With diesels or
electrics, people overlooking the railway in Wyesham will be
able to hang their washing out without it being filled with smoke
and smuts. Running costs are lower and preparation time is shorter.
Getting paths for a modern train on the mainline to Cardiff and
Newport will also be much easier. Buying new steam locos would
be expensive and thrashing 70-year-old ones on an intensive stopping
service would be cruel.
may, however, put in an appearance on the re-opening special
and peak season additional services.
9) Why not
make Tidenham the southern terminus?
to running to Cardiff, that wouldn't be nearly as good at getting
people out of their cars - which is the main aim.
10) Would Sustrans
have a role to play in this?
have a very large role, including providing paths between stations
(allowing for round walks) and from villages to stations. This
combination of rail and bicycle will help boost sustainable transport
more than a cycleway, particularly on wet days, very hot days,
in the winter, or if likely users are not keen, for whatever
reason, on heavy exercise.
11) What about
Bats - which
may live in the tunnels - will be served with a compulsory purchase
order and alternative accommodation sourced.
12) What are
the views of the locals?
None have got
in touch (please do).
13) Have you
sourced any potential stock?
No. We keep
an eye on the stock situation for ideas but it's all rather fluid;
trains come in and out of store and occasionally, like the West
Coast electrics which keep appearing in the mock-ups, they get
exported or scrapped. Trains would not be confirmed until construction
work started, although a general outline of what would run would
be included in any final plans.
14) Why no
the above, do you have any ideas for what we might be able to
put in it?
15) Who would
pay for it?
The local authorities
are broke (both Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire are large counties
with a higher number of roads than average but a smaller number
of inhabitants than average). So we'd be looking at private individuals,
Lottery funding, Europe, the WAG and Central Government.
16) Would it
The WVR itself
would almost certainly have to be run as a public service, particularly
in the winter, but a service between Newport and Cardiff may
be persuaded to run at a profit, especially if it undercut the
local bus companies and offered a few extra intermediate stops.
sources put visitor numbers to the area at 2,000,000 per year.
The rail share of national traffic is 6%. This gives us loadings
of around 120,000 passengers per annum before local traffic is
counted. This figure is likely to rise as the economy sags and
UK-based holidays become more attractive, leading to more people
wishing to stay in an area where the car is unsuitable for daily
17) Can you
provide extra details about the history of the railway?
every detail we know about the history is here and our bibliography
is listed on the main WVR page. However, if you're not satisfied,
do get in touch and we'll see what we can do. At the worst, you'll
get a polite list of places to go for further research.
18) Can you
help me with my own project on the WVR?
If you want
us for your TV programme, magazine article or book then we will
aim to be co-operative. If you are doing a school project or
informal research then feel free to get in touch. Our reasonable
knowledge of railway technical phrases means that there may occasionally
be a language barrier between normal English and railway English.
19) I know
something about the railway which you haven't got here/ have
my own pictures. Are you interested?
We may want to use your stuff somewhere and you will be asked
beforehand if you didn't explicitly mention this in your original
email. If it turns out you didn't have copyright we'll blame
you whatever the legal basis for such blame is.
20) Will you
keep my details?
and email address will be retained for future reference, unless
you request otherwise. You may be subsequently contacted about
exciting (and not-so-exciting) developments, unless you request
otherwise. If you give us other details these will be treated
in the same way, although we do business by email. Your information
will never be willingly passed to another organisation; if you
are emailing us in the hope that we will sell your details and
you will receive loads of offers for drugs and sex then go and
find a different website.
21) Can I have
your phone number/ real address?
22) Can I meet
you up to discuss the railway?
please bear in mind that the boss has become manically paranoid
(without any use of drugs) and so may insist on bringing company
to a meeting place of his choice if such an agreement was made.