The system was an amalgamation of a number of railways that were incorporated in 1864, 1865 and 1904. The Cambrian connected with two of the larger railways to give connections to the North West of England, via the London and North Western Railway; and with the Great Western Railway for connections between London and North Wales. The Cambrian Railways were absorbed by the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922 as a result of the Railways Act 1921.
The Cambrian also had business relationships with many smaller lines. For example, from Abegynolwyn (base for the fbb's holiday last week) the privately owned narrow gauge Talyllyn line carried slate to Towyn where it was transhipped onto the "main line".
Its headquarters and loco works were at Oswestry where the splendid station served as the head office.
For those for whom nothing is right with today's railways, it is pertinent to point out that the 2013 equivalent of the Cambrian Coast Express requires a change of train at Birmingham International. But departure from London Euston is 1043 and arrival at Pwlleli is 1717. 6 and a half hours; or two hours faster. This is, indeed, the age of the train!
What is perhaps more significant is that there are five departures from Euston on weekdays offering similar journey times.
1859 Llanidloes and Newtown Railway 12.25 miles
1863 Newtown and Machynlleth Railway 23 miles
1863 Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway 18 miles
1863 Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway 86 miles
1865 Mawddwy Light Railway 6.75 miles
John Ceiriog Hughes (25 September 1832 to 23 April 1887), was a Welsh poet and well-known collector of Welsh folk tunes. Sometimes referred to as the "Robert Burns of Wales". He was employed as a station master and Manager of the Van Railway at Caersws railway station from 1868 until his death in 1887.
1895 Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway 12.75 miles
1902 Vale of Rheidol Railway 11.75 miles
1903 Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway 9 miles
1904 Tanat Valley (Llynclys - Llangynog) 15 miles
Tomorrow and Wednesday, fbb achieves a lifetime's ambition!