The Elan Valley Trail, a foot and cycle path which is part of National Cycle Network route 81, uses the “main line” trackbed of this former standard gauge reservoir construction railway from Craig Goch reservoir dam to Elan Valley Jn. It then parallels the Mid Wales Railway route to Rhayader station, climbing above the nature reserve which occupies the 270 yd tunnel and its approach cuttings. Four rare bat species hibernate in the tunnel. The station is a highways depot.
The principal EVR civil engineering feature is Devil’s Gulch, a deep rock cutting about a mile south of Craig Goch. On 4 November 2018 this was been blocked by a rock fall. Further falls have occurred since, the entire cutting is deemed unstable and remains closed indefinitely. Powys County Council renews the closure order every 6 months. Welsh Water Authority is the owner but lacks funds to carry out repairs. In February 2021 it held online consultation sessions as to possible remedies/alternatives but any outcomes have not been publicised. This is hardly satisfactory as existing official and unofficial diversionary routes are hazardous and dangerous in differing ways. https://bit.ly/3volaLl is an excellent local press report of 4 February 2021 with further details.
One EVR artefact which, surprisingly, survives in a better state is the former Cambrian Railways Elan Valley Jn signal box. Always greatly oversized for that location, it was replaced by a ground frame in 1908 and moved to Pwllheli West in connection with the extension of the Cambrian Coast line in 1909. Ironically itself downgraded to a ground frame in the 1970s, when seen in October 2020 it appeared well cared for.
(Report and Pictures from Chris Parker)
▲ Devil’s Gulch looking S with path closed since 4-11-18 because of rock falls
▲S portal of Rhayader Tunnel 2
▲ Rock fall in Devil’s Gulch looking N
▲N portal of Rhayader Tunnel where 4 bat species now hibernate