I’d been wanting to ride the Heart of Wales line for a number of years and visiting Knighton provided the ideal opportunity.  We had our South Wales Rover Tickets so planned to do a circular route, or should that be a triangular route, Cardiff to Llanelli, up to Knighton for some exploring, then onto Craven Arms and back down to Cardiff.

heart of wales

In winter months, over 60s living in Wales go on the Heart of Wales Line for free. As a result of this generous concession our single carriage from Llanelli to Knighton was rather full and noisy.  The driver luckily spotted the fallen tree on the line as we approached it and he and the conductor jumped out to move it away – all part of the service.  It was a bit like scenes from Casey Jones, the American railroad series I used to watch when I was a boy. If you did too then I bet the theme tune is playing in your head right now!

Casey Jones
Steamin’ and rollin’
Casey Jones
You never have to guess
When you hear the tootin’ of the whistle
It’s Casey at the throttle of the Cannonball Express

Knighton is right on the Wales-England border.  Knighton first prospered as a centre of the wool trade in the 15th century.   The town itself is in Wales but the train station is actually in England.  The station opened in 1861 and is an impressive station in comparison to some I’ve seen recently.    After a bit of exploring of Knighton we headed for a cafe lunch.

Knighton station
Knighton station

The town is dominated by the town clock, seemingly modelled on a space rocket. I wonder what it’s like inside?  Can you still get all the way to the top and look out of the small windows I wondered.

Knighton town
Knighton, Powys

I’ve been looking at the photos of our trip (a few years after we made it) and just got very confused.  There were pictures from the inside of a church and along a riverbank that I have no recollection of.  It’s taken a while for me to figure it out – I wasn’t there.  It was in fact the afternoon of the Wales versus Scotland rugby match, so whilst I retired to the Horse and Jockey to watch the game and Ian went off for an energetic walk. I should have remembered it as Wales beat Scotland in Edinburgh and went on to win the Grand Slam.

Sheep at Knighton station
The days when sheep were the main passengers using Knighton station.

By perfect timing the train for Craven Arms left shortly after the final whistle where we picked up a Cardiff train.  A long day on the rails and another great railway adventure that’s for sure.

Date of trip: 9 March 2019

See progress to date: A-Z of Railway Stations

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