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Engine Shed to the Van Line

A Grade II Listed Building in Caersws, Powys

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Latitude: 52.5155 / 52°30'55"N

Longitude: -3.4333 / 3°25'59"W

OS Eastings: 302835

OS Northings: 291812

OS Grid: SO028918

Mapcode National: GBR 9M.GPC5

Mapcode Global: VH687.F1TF

Plus Code: 9C4RGH88+6M

Entry Name: Engine Shed to the Van Line

Listing Date: 5 November 1996

Last Amended: 5 November 1996

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 17549

Building Class: Transport

Location: The building, now used as a store, is located in the industrial yard, some 80m W of the present railway crossing, and in the angle of the main Cambrian line and the former Van branch line.

County: Powys

Community: Caersws (Caersŵs)

Community: Caersws

Built-Up Area: Caersws

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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The line was constructed by the Van Railway Co. in standard gauge in 1871 to service the Van lead and barytes mines at Van, near Llanidloes, providing an outlet for the ore to the main Newtown to Machynlleth Railway (1862). It was 6m 46p chains long, and took passengers from 1873. After some difficulties the line was reopened for freight by the Cambrian Railways in 1896, but was finally closed in 1940, the track removed in 1941, and the ballast, much valued for its toxic weed-killing properties, partially removed. The mines, the most productive leadworks in Britain, finally closed in October 1920. The general manager and superintendent of the Van line from 1872 - 1887 was John 'Ceriog' Hughes, the lyric poet, who wrote the 'Oriau' series of poems [Oriau'r Haf (1870); Oriau Olaf (1888) etc.] and various still well known songs, including 'Dafydd y Garreg Wên', and who contributed to 'Cymru fu', and who also wrote some satirical prose.


The engine shed, which housed the line's original Manning-Wardle 0-6-0 saddle tank locomotives Nos 374 and 668, and later the similar engine 'Alyn' Cambrian No. 824 of 1864, is of yellow brick, laid in English bond, and has a slate roof with a louvred smoke box. The original off-centre locomotive openings straddling the line have timber lintels, but have been largely blocked. Sixteen paned cast iron windows with moulded rose-pattern bosses at the intersections and stone sills, have two half-brick segmental heads. Pair of double side doors now replaced. One lateral brick stack. Immediately E, a small red brick station building, now much altered, stands on the original platform.

Reasons for Listing

Included as the only survival from the original structures of this once economically important line and a well-preserved example of an engine shed.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Signal Box at Caersws Railway Station
    Located on the W edge of Caersws village, beside the level crossing, and with attached railway station to the NW.
  • II Caersws Railway Station, with Stationmaster's House
    The railway passes to the W of the village. The station lies immediately N of the level crossing, and is attached to the signal box.
  • II Dol-aethnen
    Located at the end of Market Lane, beyond the cattle market, on the bank of the wider River Severn before its width was restricted by bunds.
  • II Caersws bridge
    The bridge carries the A.489 Newtown to Machynlleth Road over the River Severn immediately at the S end of the village.
  • II Pen-y-borfa fawr
    Located approximately 1Km N of Caersws village, with its gable end to the road.
  • II Llys Maldwyn Hospital
    The Hospital is located at the end of Main Street, approximately 1km NE of the centre of the village.
  • II* Maesmawr Hall Hotel
    The hotel is located in the Severn valley bottom, at the end of a formal axial drive off the main Newtown to Llanidloes Road, 700m E of the junction with the A.470 to Machynlleth and level crossing.
  • II Milestone S of Weig Lane
    Located in the road verge, approximately 30m S of the junction with Wig Lane at Weig Lane railway crossing.

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