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Llancaiach Branch

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Llancaiach Branch

Llancaiach Branch

The Llancaiach Branch was a railway branch line in South Wales. Financed and operated by the Taff Vale Railway, on amalgamation became part of the Great Western Railway in 1923. Designed and mainly operated as a coal mining freight railway, its creation and demise was wholly defined by the South Wales Coalfield.

Design

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as an extension to the main Taff Vale Railway, it ran from Stormstown Junction, just north of Pontypridd on the line to Merthyr Tydfil,[1] for 3 miles 29 chains (5.4 km) to the Llancaiach Colliery.[2]

Operations

The line opened for freight only on 25 November 1841,[3] due to its 1:11 incline and the resultant need to operate as a cable-assisted railway.[4] The railway called its northern terminus at the Llancaiach Colliery "Nelson," after a local public house.[3]

In 1858 the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway completed its Taff Vale Extension railway from Pontypool to Quakers Yard, building its station on the level with the Llancaiach Branch and also calling it Nelson. Two years later, an agreement was reached and the TVR Llancaiach Branch extended to access the NA&HR station.[3] In 1873 a deviation avoided the incline from Stormstown Junction, although it remained steep by railway standards at 1:40.[3]

The 1887 closure of the Llancaiach Colliery caused the line to become placed into "care and maintenance" for 6months, until the opening of the Albion Colliery, and the later 1888 extension to Ynysybwl for servicing of the Lady Windsor Colliery.[3]

Passenger services

Passenger services started on 1 June 1900, with TVR steam railmotors running from Pontypridd to the joint NA&HR station at Nelson. The Royal Train visited the branch on 27 June 1912.

Bus competition eroded passenger traffic, with services to Nelson ceasing on 12 September, 1932.[3] Services remained open to Ynysybwl until 1953.[5]

Closure

As the various collieries declined, so did the Llancaiach Branch. It closed to through traffic in 1970, and remained open to service the Lady Windsor Colliery, until it also closed in 1988.

Much of the track bed of the branch was consumed or destroyed when the A470 dual carriageway was constructed from the late 1960s.[3]

References

External links

  • RailBrit page on the Llancaiach Branch
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