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Return to Titley Junction. Titley Junction was a Great Western outpost in rural Herefordshire with lines radiating out to all four points of the compass – Presteigne to the north, Leominster to the east, Eardisley to the south, and New Radnor to the west. In its heyday, Titley saw about 30 trains a day, but its lines were early victims of rationalisation, as can be seen from the passenger closure dates below:

  • Titley-Presteigne: 4th June 1951
  • Titley-Leominster: 7th February 1955
  • Titley-Eardisley: 1st July 1940
  • Titley-New Radnor: truncated to Kington on 5th February 1951, with Titley-Kington closing on 7th February 1955

The loss of the link to Eardisley was particularly unusual, since World War 2 generally caused rural lines to enjoy a stay of execution until the harsh economics of the post war years led to closures in the 1950s, particularly during the middle years of that decade when BR introduced its Modernisation Plan to help stem its losses. However, even when the passenger trains had gone, freight trains continued to run from Leominster, with Presteigne enjoying a goods service on alternate days until 1961, and Kington hanging on until 1964.

Nowadays, Titley Junction station has been lovingly restored, and its owners have relaid one mile of the branch to Kington, making this the longest privately owned railway in Herefordshire. Group visits can be organised by prior arrangement, but casual visitors cannot always be accommodated. On Saturday 23 February 2008, local resident Richard Barton led a walk along the old branch from Presteigne to Titley and beyond, having secured agreement with all the landowners, or arranging detours where necessary. These photographs are a record of that day. However, it must be emphasised that all of this line is now privately owned and there is no public right of way along the trackbed.

Above: The earth bank on the left of the trackbed is all that remains of The Forge Halt on the Presteigne-Titley line. The Forge is a small community about one mile east-north-east of Titley Junction station; no doubt it received its halt in the 1920s in response to competition from local buses. Nothing remains of the terminus at Presteigne, but Jon Price from nearby Knighton has made a fine model of the station which can be viewed by clicking the link here. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)

 
Above: Just north of The Forge, the Presteigne branch crosses the River Arrow on a substantial embankment with this stout viaduct beneath. Elsewhere, the principal remains of the railway are cuttings, embankments and the occasional bridge, although parts of the trackbed have been absorbed back into local fields. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: The station approach road at Titley Junction, where railway artefacts are much in evidence thanks to the efforts of the Harrison and Hunt families, and their dedicated volunteers, who have been working to bring the station back to life since 1980. The culmination of these efforts came on 27 August 2005, when a steam engine pulled out of the station for the first time since the local network was closed down by British Railways. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: The station still boasts a fine GWR nameboard. Note the spelling of Presteign, i.e. without the final 'e', which is considered a more Welsh rendering of the name. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: Travel over the relaid line is normally provided by this two-car diesel multiple unit. However, due to the early closure of the lines from Titley, it is unlikely that many DMUs travelled this way, except perhaps on excursions during the freight-only years. Elsewhere on the platform, red fire buckets, milk churns, period signs and light fittings recall the era of steam rather than diesel motive power. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: The bay platform at Titley accommodates this finely restored 1930s LMS observation coach, which has been converted into a luxurious camping coach that can accommodate up to four adults. The vehicle once formed part of the Coronation Scot express service, which travelled non-stop between London and Glasgow. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: Titley once again has a signal box, the building having been rescued from Cilyrychan Crossing on the still operational Heart of Wales Line. Future plans include constructing a new station at the end of the relaid branch. This will be called Arrowside, after the local river, and will re-use the old GWR buildings from Burlish Halt on the Severn Valley line. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)
 
Above: A view of the extensive trackwork at the west end of Titley Junction. The crane on the right was rescued from Kington, the first station on the branch to New Radnor, while the boiler of a steam locomotive awaits attention on the left of the picture. 23 February 2008. (Bob Prigg)