The 'North & West Route', which, in recent years, has become known as the 'Welsh Marches Line', extends from Newport to Chester. Historically, this 137-mile route is an amalgam of three distinct railways: the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway, the Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway and the Newport, Abergavenny & Hereford Railway. All three lines came under Great Western control at a relatively early date, although the Shrewsbury & Hereford section became a joint undertaking, which was owned by the GWR and the London & North Western Railway companies. The line runs through attractive and sometimes spectacular scenery via Abergavenny, Pontrilas, Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Shrewsbury and Ruabon, thereby providing a useful transport link between North and South Wales, while some services run north-eastwards from Shrewsbury to Crewe over a former London & North Western line that forms part of a direct link between South Wales and the Manchester conurbation.
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