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Heart of Wales railway line named among ‘best in Europe’

29 Feb 2024 2 minute read
Heart of Wales Line by Flying Stag is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

World famous travel guide Lonely Planet has named the Heart of Wales railway line one of the best rail journeys in Europe.

Described as ‘a spectrum of scenery’ that alternates ‘from the sand-edged estuaries of south Wales’ to ‘one of England’s prettiest medieval cities’, the line has been ranked amongst the top ten train rides in Europe for 2024.

Esteemed company

Others on the prestigious list include the Le Petit Train Juane in the French Pyrenees, The Berina Express in Switzerland and The Brenner Railway passing through Germany, Austria and Italy.

Running between Swansea and Shrewsbury, a full trip on the line takes 4 hours and covers nearly 200km, passing through villages such as Llandeilo and Llandovery within the south and Craven Arms and Church Stretton further north.

A Heart of Wales Line train (pic by Stephen Miles)

Marie Daly, Chief Customer and Culture Officer at Transport for Wales said: “The Heart of Wales line is a beautiful rural railway that is popular with day trippers and walkers, it also provides vital links for the rural communities in mid Wales and the borders.

“It’s great to be recognised internationally by Lonely Planet and I’d encourage visitors to take a ride and enjoy the experience of dramatic mountains, forests, wild rivers and the quaint towns and villages of Shropshire, Powys, Carmarthenshire and Swansea.”

“At TfW we’re on a journey to improve public transport and also to encourage people to choose sustainable travel.  For those visiting and interested, please visit to see the many wonderful places and attractions within Wales and how they can be accessed using public transport.”

Global recognition

Owen Griffkin, Heart of Wales Community Rail Partnership Officer said: “It was wonderful to see the Heart of Wales Line included as one of the top ten rail journeys in Europe. We are very proud of the railway and to see it gaining global recognition as one of the most scenic routes in Europe is something we can celebrate.

“Articles like this will drive more tourism to the area and provide economic benefits to communities all along the line, and we will be looking to capitalise on this in our next Community Rail Partnership activity plan.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Pity the Welsh Government doesn’t care to make it a world class service…

Steve Jarvis
Steve Jarvis
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

As you should know, the rail service in Wales has suffered the disaster that was Arriva, then starved of cash as HS2 was claimed to be an England and Wales project. Clearly nonsense and if we get our fair share of this money it will make a huge difference

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jarvis

It’s nothing to do with what money we didn’t get, it’s about the ability of those running the rail system to spend what they have wisely. Since Arriva departed we’ve had (in no particular order): the purchase of Mark 4 coaches which needed extensive work doing on them before they could be used, as did the Class 67 locos to power them, and which are still breaking down virtually every day! The Class 231 (ex-TfL units) debacle on the Borders line; the Class 170 units bought for West Wales and the HoW line which couldn’t fit in tunnels… Class 197… Read more »

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
1 month ago

What a load of rubbish! Has anyone from Lonely Planet actually travelled on the Heart of Wales line in the last few years? Whilst the scenery may be wonderful, the rail service oscillates between abysmal and non existent. In the month of December service cancellations at Llandovery were 41% and of the remaining trains, 45% were late. Once again this week all trains are cancelled south of Llanwrtyd for “engineering works” (undefined) forcing passengers onto a bus for the whole journey from Swansea/Carmarthen to Llanwrtyd rather than simply shutting the line between stations on either side of the disruption and… Read more »

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