The Cambrian line, which runs from Shrewsbury in England to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli on the west coast of Wales, has been selected as one of the world’s most scenic railways by two major television series.
Channel 5 will feature the Cambrian line in an hour-long episode of the railway for its series on the world’s most scenic railways, while German broadcaster SWS has filmed a special episode for the long-running series ‘Eisenbahn-Romantik’ (Romantic Railway) along the Cambrian line, celebrating both the vibrant communities along the route and the beauty of its natural surroundings.
The 120-mile route runs westward from Shrewsbury, through the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales, to Dovey Junction station, which is on the border of the counties of Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd (formerly Cardiganshire, Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire). The station itself lies in the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, near the coast of Cardigan Bay.
The Cambrian line then splits at Dovey Junction, which opened in 1863 and was originally named Glandovey Junction – it was renamed Dovey Junction in 1904. One line goes south to Aberystwyth, the other runs north, along the coast (this section is also called the Cambrian Coast line) to Pwllheli.
The Cambrian Line plays a pivotal role in Mid Wales’ local economy, helping to attract thousands of additional visitors a year to the region (206,000 in 2005 compared with 462,000 in 2019). Transport for Wales is hoped that both documentaries will expose the railway line to new audiences from the UK and Europe, encouraging further tourism to Mid-Wales and beyond.
Claire Williams, partnership development officer for the Cambrian Railway Partnership, said: “It’s wonderful, though not that surprising that these two documentaries have chosen to feature the Cambrian Line.
“It truly is one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world and getting that exposure to millions of people, not just in Britain but in Germany too, will hopefully prove a massive boost to our local economy.
“We know how important the line is to all our communities, providing access to employment, education and bringing in tourism.
“As a Community Rail Partnership, we will continue to strive to make the Line even better as we move forward.”
Colin Lea, customer experience director for Transport for Wales, added: “The Cambrian Line is a unique and spectacular railway experience and we are delighted to see that these documentaries have chosen to feature it as one of the world’s most scenic journeys. This exposure will showcase the Cambrian Line to wider audiences, not just in Britain, but in Germany, too.
“Tourism contributes significantly to communities along the Cambrian Line and the railway plays a crucial role in the overall visitor experience. Not only will these documentaries give the Cambrian Line the recognition it deserves, they will hopefully demonstrate its importance to local communities and encourage people to visit the stunning areas along the route.”