The Railway that (almost) never was
In the nineteenth century the Milford and Manchester Railway Company (M&M) and Mid Wales Railway Company (MWR) agreed to co-operate in building a line to connect Llanidloes with Aberystwyth on the coast.
In accordance with the agreement the M&M completed the 5km line from Llanidloes to Llangurig. However at next section from Llangurig to Strata Florida – to be built by the MWR was a rather greater engineering challenge: it required 2km of tunnels and a large viaduct or order to get past the Plynlimon Hills. The M&M would then complete the line to Aberystwyth.
However because of the magnitude of the engineering challenge faced by the MRW, and the fact that 1866 was a difficult year financially (in particular the bank Overend, Gurney & Company collapsed owing about 11 million pounds – a massive amount then) the route west of Llangurig was abandoned after minimal work.
However the station at Llanidloes had been extended in anticipation of the new line, this work being done by the Llanidloes and Newtown Railway Company (L&N). When the project collapsed the L&N ran a single goods train to Llangurig. This enabled them to legally invoice the M&M for its share of the cost of extending Llanidloes.
This was how Llangurig came to have the shortest lived railway service in the UK – with just one train visiting before cancellation.