Using the information supplied in this guide, you can spend days or weeks in peaceful pottering without the stress of sitting behind the wheel. He knows the way and the day has yet to dawn when a sheep on the track causes a tailback.The major part of the Heart of Wales Line is now single track, the exceptions being between Craven Arms and Shrewsbury and a few short sections in the south between Llanelli and Swansea.Llandrindod Wells is the largest and, with its grand red brick Victorian buildings, is set somewhat incongruously against the rolling hills and farmsteads which surround it.There are sheep almost everywhere, on and off the line and in the case of the former, if a few sharp blasts on the hooter don't do the trick, the guard and driver have to get down and persuade them to move. The wild border country around Knighton and Offa's Dyke, where Wales meets England, gives way to lush meadows and the Shropshire hills.It then climbs into the mountains to an altitude of 820 ft above sea level affording breathtaking views.Throughout its journey the train crosses viaducts and plunges into tunnels. The spa towns of Mid-Wales invite further contrast.There are plenty of places to explore along the line, as well as off it.Many places can be reached by service or post buses, of which some of the routes have been selected for mention.
Leaving Swansea, passing the Landore Locomotive Depot on the right, the train soon begins to climb and to enter the 789 yard Cockett tunnel.With the cut-backs in 1964, alas, all that changed.Most of the signal boxes were taken out of use, some sold, some demolished and one at Llandrindod retained as a museum.The following guide was written in 1996 for a tourist brochure and outlines both the history of the line and the major sights and scenery you can see just a window's thickness away from your seat.By Audrey Doughty For many people, a journey by train is simply a means of getting from A to B.Don't jump out as you leave Llanelli; you are still on the right train.It is simply reversing to get back to the junction and to leave the main line.Something to be endured rather than enjoyed, a chaotic commuter crush or elbowing one's way onto an Intercity. It is called the Heart of Wales Line which will get you from A to B, of course, as any sensible railway should, but it also offers you the chance to take a cruise by train with ports of call where a few hours or days can be spent. Above all it runs through some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery in Britain.As the name suggests, the railway cuts through the Heart of Wales, commencing in the south at Swansea, and covers some one hundred and twenty miles to the northern terminus of Shrewsbury.Trains can pass at Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llanwrtyd, Llandrindod and Knighton and when you see the driver get out at these points, he is not telephoning his wife, but the signal box at Pantyffynnon from where the supervising signalman authorises him to remove a token from the little hut on the platform, thus enabling the train to proceed safely through the next section.In times past, it was much more interesting, with signal boxes and 'proper' old fashioned semaphore signals all along the line and train crews collecting a wooden or metal staff or a ticket from the signalman (often while the train was in motion) before being allowed into the next section.