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Encyclopedia > Brecon and Merthyr Railway

BRECON and MERTHYR RAILWAY

Contents


The Routes

The Brecon and Merthyr Junction Railway was one of several railways that served the industrial areas of South Wales and Monmouthshire. It ranked fifth amongst them in size, although hemmed in by the Taff Vale Railway and Great Western Railway National motto: Cymru am byth (Welsh: Wales for ever) Waless location within the UK Official languages English(100%), Welsh(20. ... Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is a traditional county and principal area in south-east Wales. ... The Taff Vale Railway (TVR) is a railway in Glamorgan, South Wales, and is one of the oldest in Wales. ... The original Bristol Temple Meads station, first terminus of the GWR, is the building to the left of this picture The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company, linking South West England, the West Country and South Wales with London. ...


It was once described as a "lively octopus in a tank of sharks", but despite the aggresive activities of the "sharks", it survived until the railway grouping.


In the process, it absorbed several smaller companies, including the Hay Railway, and by negotiating running powers over the lines of other companies, it established links between Newport docks and Brecon, and hence into Mid-Wales.


To develop routes into and through the rugged South Wales landscape, it was forced to construct two tunnels. One of these tunnels survived to become the oldest in regular use, and the other was the highest above sea level anywhere in Britain.


The system eventually came to comprise two sections of lines. The Southern section linked Bassaleg and the iron works town of Rhymney, near the head of the Rhymney valley. The Northern section linked Deri junction in the Bargoed Rhymney valley to Pant, Pontsticill and Brecon via a tunnel through the Brecon Beacons. These sections were connected by means of running powers over the lines of the Great Western Railway. General Name, Symbol, Number iron, Fe, 26 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 8, 4, d Appearance lustrous metallic with a grayish tinge Atomic mass 55. ... Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, looking from the highest point Pen y Fan, 886 m (2907 feet), to Corn Du, 873 m (2864 feet) The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of three national parks in Wales. ... The original Bristol Temple Meads station, first terminus of the GWR, is the building to the left of this picture The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company, linking South West England, the West Country and South Wales with London. ...


The section to the north of Pant was primarily a passanger service, serving isolated farms and villages. South of Pant, it was mainly a mineral line and carried coal from the mines down to the Newport docks. Newport (Welsh: Casnewydd) is the third largest city in Wales (after Cardiff and Swansea). ...


The tunnel through the Beacons was 666 yards long, and reached by a three mile ascent. Exiting from the tunnel, the line descended along the side of Glyn Collwyn (now flooded to form a reservoir) to the River Usk at Talybont, and thence to Brecon. A second tunnel was situated at Tal-y-llyn, located about 5 miles to the east of Brecon, just after Tal-y-llyn junction (with the Cambrian railway). This tunnel is 674 yards long. Usk (Welsh: Brynbuga) is a picturesque small town in Monmouthshire, situated 10 miles northeast of Newport. ...


How the company began

The company was established by an Bill of 1858, with the directors including several prominent Brecon citizens. The Beacons tunnel (also known as Torpantau)was completd by 1862, and runs between Brecon and Pant commenced in 1863. 1858 is a common year starting on Friday. ...


The connection to Merthyr

Initially, the only connection to Merthyr Tydfil was by means of a horse-drawn bus from Pant, but by 1868, a connection with Merthyr had been established by sharing lines with Vale of Neath, London and North Western and Taff Vale railways. This involved the building of nearly seven miles of line from Pontsticill to Merthyr, with an almost continuous descent of 1 in 45-50, two complete reversals of direction and the construction of two viaducts to carry the line over the Taf Fechan at Pontsarn, and the Taf Fawr at Cefn Coed. The Pontsarn viaduct is 455 feet long and 92 feet hight, whilst the Cefn Coed (or Pontycapel) viaduct is 770 feet long with a height of 115 feet. // Introduction Merthyr Tydfil (Welsh: Merthyr Tudful) is a town and county borough in the traditional county of Glamorgan, south Wales, with a population of about 55,000. ... This article is about the edifice. ...


The company also operated special colliers trains, with rolling stock provided by the coal companies, including Powell Dyffryn.


By 1913, the line carried nearly 3.5 million tons a year of coal and 227,000 tons of other minerals.


The slow train

Prior to the two sections of line being linked, the train services had been somewhat unpunctual, with unconnected timetables, and the company acquired the unenviable reputation of operating "slow trains". They became the butt of music-hall jokes.


The end of the Brecon and Merthyr

The line was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway following the grouping. Most of the lines survived nationalisation into British Railways, but during and after the Beeching Axe, most were eventually closed. By 1980, only one short section of 10.5 miles survived, serving coal traffic to Bedwas colliery. With the demise of the coal industry in South Wales, the section between Bedwas and Machen was closed in the 1980's. The section between Machen and Bassaleg Junction (with the GWR Ebbw Vallley line) remains to serve Hanson's limestone quarry. The original Bristol Temple Meads station, first terminus of the GWR, is the building to the left of this picture The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company, linking South West England, the West Country and South Wales with London. ... The Railways Act of 1921, also known as the Grouping forcibly merged British railway companies into The Big Four, as of 1st January 1923. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ... Many railway lines were closed as a result of the Beeching Axe The Beeching Axe was an informal name for the British governments attempt in the 1960s to control the spiralling cost of running the British railway system by closing what it considered to be little-used and unprofitable...


Partial resurrection of the Brecon and Merthyr

In 1980, a private company, the Brecon Mountain Railway began to build a narrow-gauge steam-hauled tourist line on the existing 5.5 mile roadbed from Pant through Pontsticill to Dol-y-gaer. The initial section of 1.75 miles from Pant to Pontsticill opened in June 1980. One of the locomotives on the Brecon Mountain Railway Brecon Mountain Railway is a rail line that runs through the Brecon Beacons along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir. ...


The future?

Plans exist to extend the line as far as Torpantau, at the southern entrance to the tunnel. Large portions of the roadbed, including the bank from the northern end of the Beacons tunnel along the side of Glyn Collwyn, can still be followed and walked upon. They form part of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the views of the countryside are much enjoyed by walkers. Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, looking from the highest point Pen Y Fan, 886 m (2907 feet), to Corn Du, 873 m (2864 feet) The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of three national parks in Wales. ...


References

The Brecon and Merthyr Railway, by D S Barrie. Oakwood Press 1957-1980


A Brief History of Merthyr Tydil, by Joseph Gross. Starling Press, 1980


External Links

The Brecon Beacons Mountain Railway


  Results from FactBites:
 
Brecon - LoveToKnow 1911 (1339 words)
The ecclesiastical parish of Brecon consists of the two civil parishes of St John the Evangelist and St Mary, both on the left bank of the Usk, while St David's ih Llanfaes is on the other side of the river, and was wholly outside the town walls.
There is only one line of railway, over which several companies, however, have running powers, so that the town may be reached by the Brecon and Merthyr railway from Merthyr, Cardiff and Newport, by the Cambrian from Builth Wells, or by the Midland from Hereford and Swansea respectively.
By a statute of 1535 Brecon was made the county town of the new shire of Brecknock, and was granted the right of electing one burgess to represent it in parliament, a right which it retained till it was merged in the county representation in 1885.
Brecon and Merthyr Railway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (811 words)
The Brecon and Merthyr Junction Railway (BandMJR) was one of several railways that served the industrial areas of South Wales and Monmouthshire.
Initially, the only connection to Merthyr Tydfil was by means of a horse-drawn bus from Pant, but by 1868, a connection with Merthyr had been established by sharing lines with Vale of Neath, London and North Western and Taff Vale railways.
This involved the building of nearly seven miles of line from Pontsticill to Merthyr, with an almost continuous descent of 1 in 45-50, two complete reversals of direction and the construction of two viaducts to carry the line over the Taf Fechan at Pontsarn, and the Taf Fawr at Cefn Coed.
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