Aberystwyth railway station

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Aberystwyth National Rail
Aberystwyth
Vale of Rheidol Railway's Aberystwyth station is accommodated within the former Carmarthen bay.
Location
Place Aberystwyth
Local authority Ceredigion
Coordinates 52°24′50″N 4°04′54″W / 52.4139°N 4.08157°W / 52.4139; -4.08157Coordinates: 52°24′50″N 4°04′54″W / 52.4139°N 4.08157°W / 52.4139; -4.08157
Grid reference SN585815
Operations
Station code AYW
Managed by Arriva Trains Wales
Number of platforms 1 (standard gauge)
1 (narrow gauge)
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05 0.241 million
2005/06 Increase 0.254 million
2006/07 Increase 0.257 million
2007/08 Increase 0.269 million
2008/09 Increase 0.273 million
2009/10 Increase 0.300 million
2010/11 Increase 0.311 million
2011/12 Increase 0.326 million
2012/13 Decrease 0.323 million
History
Original company Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway
Pre-grouping Cambrian Railways / Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
23 June 1864 Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway station opens[1]
19 July 1867 Manchester and Milford Railway station opens; later amalgamates with A&WC station[1]
22 December 1902 Vale of Rheidol Aberystwyth Smithfield station opens[2]
31 July 1925 Great Western Railway station opens replacing Aberystwyth Smithfield[1][2]
31 August 1939 Great Western station closes (World War 2)
23 July 1945 Great Western station reopens
1964 Carmarthen Line services cease
17 April 1968 Vale of Rheidol Railway services start from combined station
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Aberystwyth from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Aberystwyth railway station is a railway station serving the seaside and university town of Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. It is served by passenger trains operated by Arriva Trains Wales, being situated at the terminus of the Cambrian Line and also by the narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway.

History[edit]

The original station was built in the 1860s by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway to serve trains arriving on the now-closed route from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth via Lampeter and the route to Machynlleth which remains today. The original railway station was greatly extended in 1925 by the Great Western Railway, with the original station building on one side of the platforms being replaced by a grand terminus building.

The imposing GWR exterior seen in 1992

The station at this time had five platforms: Platform 1 at the south end of the station and two island platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 were essentially bay platforms, with the same amount of indent. They were used for the Carmarthen services (though Platform 2 would occasionally be used for main-line purposes). Following the closure of the line to Carmarthen in 1965, the narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway was rerouted in 1968 into the former standard gauge bay Platforms 1 and 2. As their trains unload at ground level, a new ramp and island platform has been constructed in the space between the two original platforms. The former Platform 3 is on the other side of Platform 2; it is the only platform still in use for mainline rail and has been redesignated as Platform 1 in recent years. The former Platform 4 (closed in 1982) is now taken up by the "Craft" freecycling shop. The running-around line between these two, for locomotive-hauled trains, still exists. Platform 5 (closed in the 1960s) was an emergency platform on the other side of Platform 4, but little trace remains. This area is now an oil storage area and the marshalling yard is the Rheidol Retail Park.

Platform view in 1992

With the decline of railway usage and of tourism within the United Kingdom, the facilities were far too large for its purpose. The railway yard was lifted in the 1980s and the row of shops in front, known as Western Parade, was demolished in the 1990s to allow construction of a new retail park and bus station. The 1925 station building has seen several uses, including as a local museum but was eventually sold off and converted into a Wetherspoons pub. This conversion maintained the architecture and won awards. Other parts of the building have become an Indian restaurant, office space and accommodation for a local furniture-recycling scheme.

Today[edit]

The station itself, as of 2006, has a single mainline platform used by trains to Machynlleth with a loop that is used to reverse locomotive-hauled specials, including steam services and maintenance trains. The second mainline platform had the track removed in 1982 and the signal box was also closed. Access to the station and the station facilities are now primarily via the original 1864 building.

The platform that was originally used by trains via Lampeter to Carmarthen is now used by the narrow gauge steam-operated Vale of Rheidol Railway. Opened in 1902, this railway originally had its own terminus at Aberystwyth Smithfield (named after Smithfield Road, now Park Avenue). This closed in 1925 and was replaced by a station a short distance from the main railway station; the station site is now a supermarket car park. In 1968 it moved again, this time to use the now-free platform at the main Aberystwyth station where there is a runaround loop and access to the former mainline railway shed. Nowadays, this is used as the storage and works area by the Vale of Rheidol Railway.

There are proposals to establish a railway museum at the station, using structures removed from London Bridge station during modernisation.[3]

Services[edit]

Arriva Trains Wales services operate to Shrewsbury and Birmingham International approximately every two hours[4] although there are proposals, funded by the Welsh Assembly, to increase the frequency of this service to hourly during 2011.[5] As of February 2012 these plans have not come to fruition.

The current service pattern (Mondays to Saturdays) is

The current services pattern (Sundays) is

Trains currently call at Borth, Dovey Junction, Machynlleth, Caersws, Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Wolverhampton, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International.[6]

There were proposals for reinstating a direct train to London which stopped running in 1991. The journey would have taken four hours,[7] but the plan was rejected in 2010.[8]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Arriva Trains Wales
Birmingham International-Aberystwyth
Terminus
Historical railways
Bow Street   Cambrian Railways (GWR)
Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway
  Terminus
Llanrhystyd Road   Great Western Railway
Manchester and Milford Railway
  Terminus
Heritage Railways  Heritage railways
Terminus   Vale of Rheidol Railway   Llanbadarn

Motive power depot[edit]

The former GWR locomotive depot

A small engine shed was opened close to the station in 1864, and extended in 1867.[9] This was demolished by the Great Western Railway in 1938 to make way for a larger brick built structure, which is still standing.

Following withdrawal of all steam worked standard gauge services in 1968 Aberystwyth Motive Power Depot was notable as being the last steam locomotive depot on the British Rail network when it remained to operate the Vale of Rheidol line, which was steam operated until privatisation in 1989. Accordingly, it was an often requested posting for staff.

Construction work started on a new steel framed locomotive depot in June 2010, due for completion in late 2011. The building will include a machine shop, restoration workshop and locomotive running shed. The existing former Great Western Railway shed will then be used to house the carriage fleet.[10]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Butt 1995, p. 12
  2. ^ a b Butt 1995, p. 13
  3. ^ "London Bridge station roof set for Aberystwyth museum". BBC. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.aberystwyth.org.uk/transport/railway.shtml
  5. ^ http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=15282[dead link]
  6. ^ "Arriva Trains Wales' new timetable responds to passenger demand". Arriva Trains. 6 October 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  7. ^ "ATW announces plans for direct Aberystwyth - London Marylebone". 
  8. ^ "Aberystwyth-London route rejected". BBC News. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Roger Griffiths and Paul Smith, Directory of British Engine Sheds, I., Oxford Publishing (1999), p.187.
  10. ^ Vale of Rheidol Railway - New http://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk/news.htm

Sources[edit]