History of Erwood Station
Erwood Station Gallery is now Wales’ largest, privately run, contemporary applied arts gallery, exhibiting work from just over 100 makers in a whole array of materials.
Erwood Station opened in 1864 with the opening of the Mid Wales Railway, operating independently before being amalgamated with the Cambrian Railway in 1901 running between Brecon and Builth Wells. The line finally reached Moat Lane junction on the Shrewsbury Machynlleth branch. The locos that were commonly seen on the line were Ivatt class 2MT 2-6-0s, a light but powerful engine. This was due to there being a weight restriction south Llanidloes, only engines 14 Tons or under could traverse the line.
On the 30th of December 1962 the Stevenson Locomotive Society ran the last train on the line. The run was made in heavy snow in one of Wales’ worst winters on record. The next day the line closed for good, a whole 1 year before the Beeching report that between 1963-1966 closed so many other branch lines across the country.
The track bed of the line is now a B road and the stations nearby of Llanfaredd, Llansteffan and Aberedw have been demolished. Nothing remains of them or of their sites. There was a goods yard at Erwood and the old weigh station still survives and is in situ. A raised cattle dock can still be seen. The GWR crane from the shed lies on the platform.
In 1984 the Station was purchased by Alan and Erika Cunningham. The restoration process then started. In 1988 a Fowler 0-4-0 Diesel Shunter arrived in need of restoration soon followed by three old clerestory Great Western coaches at Erwood on the platform edge. To showcase Alan’s wood-turning skills, a craft centre was opened in the station and two of the carriages. Alan sadly passed away in 2008.His son Michael carried on until he closed the craft centre in December 2014. Christina and Brent Blair took over the premises in March 2015 and have changed the direction by establishing a contemporary craft gallery that also shows paintings and sculpture.
The Newbridge on Wye Station signal box was found on a farm being used as a chicken shed by John Wake, was restored on 2004 and has been reconstructed and sits on the exact site, and size, of the Erwood box. It is owned by John Wake but on permanent loan. It was rebuilt with help from the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust as a bat and bird observatory. The Fowler 0-6-0 industrial diesel locomotive was cosmetically restored, funded by The Friends of Erwood Station (who wanted to restore the exterior of a Mechanical Locomotive) and the Powys Regeneration Partnership. This was a community project and volunteers worked really hard on cleaning and painting the engine, which was a prototype and will be of interest to those who specialise in railway history.