Barry Tourist Railway

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Barry Tourist Railway (formerly Barry Island Railway)
DMU Lab 19 Iris II, Barry Tourist Railway 3.6.2012 009 (10196706745).jpg
Barry Tourist Railway
Locale South-Wales
Terminus Barry Island Railway Station
Commercial operations
Name Barry Island Branch
Built by Barry Railway Company
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Standard gauge
Preserved operations
Operated by 1997-2008 - Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company
2009-present - Cambrian Transport
Stations 4
Length 2 kilometres (1.2 mi)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened 1885
Closed Pier 5.7.1976
Preservation history
1994 Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company (VGR) formed
1996 Butetown Historic Railway Society officially becomes the VGR
June 1997 New base opened at Plymouth Road
April 1998 First operations commenced
2002 First operations across the causeway
2005 New high level line to Woodham Halt opened
Sep 2005 Marketing name changed to Barry Island Railway
Aug 2007 Extension to Gladstone Bridge complete
Mar 2008 First passenger train to Gladstone Bridge
Nov 2008 VoGC ceases VoGRC lease, chooses new operator (Cambrian Transport) by sealed bid process
Jan 2009 December 2009 Cambrian Transport lease starts
Barry Island Railway
Barry Pier
74 yards
Plymouth Road
Barry Island National Rail
Docks Branch
Vale of Glamorgan Line
Barry National RailShed
main line connection
Woodham Halt
Gladstone Bridge
Barry Docks National Rail
to Cardiff

The Barry Tourist Railway (formerly the Barry Island Railway) is a railway developed to attract visitors to Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. It is a key element of the Barry Rail Centre which also includes engineering and training facilities.

An unusual aspect of the railway is that for several hundred yards across from Barry to Barry Island the trackbed used is directly alongside the Network Rail track which uses the original up line, with the Barry Tourist Railway using the down line. This continues across the Causeway bridge where the lines diverge into separate platforms at Barry Island. The Railway does not consider itself a line but more of a network as it has two different routes. This is reflected in the map below, with Network Rail shown in red.

In November 2008, the land owner the Vale of Glamorgan Council, undertook a commercial tender exercise, which terminated the lease of previous operator the Vale of Glamorgan Railway in favour of a private operator, Cambrian Transport under a 20-year-long lease.[1] Operations commenced in December 2009 and a full years programme of services operated during 2010. Details are shown on the council website.[2] Services have been operated by IRIS II DMU (twin-set), Class 26 No. 26038, Class 73's 73118 & 73133 with GATEX set in push-pull mode, Class 20 20228, Class 08 08503, 0-6-0 Pannier Tank locomotive No. 9466, Great Western Steam Rail Motor No.93, Metropolitan Tank No. 1, Hunslet 0-6-0T Jessie and even an 8F tender loco.


In 1979, the Butetown Historic Railway Society was formed in Cardiff, running a service along a short piece of line from Butetown. Evicted by the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, the company was offered a lease by the Vale of Glamorgan Council on Barry Island railway station, with financial aid from the Welsh Development Agency.

Following the December 2007 decision by landlords, the Vale of Glamorgan Council not to renew the £65,000p.a. funding of the Barry Island Railway, the society maintained its services. Subsequently the council decided to put the railway site out to tender under a long term lease. There were three sealed bids submitted[3] with the successful bidder being the commercial company Cambrian Transport who have been the council's railway adviser and contractor[4] since the Barry Railway Project started.

The other bidder NEWCO was submitted by Graham Lee – owner of the LH Plant, Hunslet Engine Company, Statfold Barn Railway – and Mike Thomson – owner of Arrowvale who make "black boxes" for the rail industry. NEWCO had spoken to the VGR in advance and agreed a method of working together.

Cambrian Transport have operated the railway at Barry since December 2009. It currently operated the line over 30 days per annum and runs many special events. The biggest annual event for the last 3 years has been the Barry at War Weekend, which attracts many thousands of visitors to the town. In August 2014, Cambrian Transport sponsored a display by the Red Arrows and a fly-past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Fight during this event, bringing more people to Barry Island than for many years.

Santa Special trains are also popular during the Christmas period.


The Barry Tourist Railway is centred at Barry Island railway station and platforms, which is shared with Arriva Trains Wales services. Coordinates: 51°23′31″N 3°16′31″W / 51.392°N 3.2753°W / 51.392; -3.2753 (Barry Island Railway) The station is maintained by Cambrian Transport and there is a shop, cafe and military museum as well as space for event displays and activities. At the 'Cardiff' end of the building is the end of the Network Rail platform area. Access to the Barry Tourist Railway platform and two at-present unused bay platforms is at the pier (east) end of the station. The Barry Island Railway line exits the east end of the station to Plymouth Road where a museum is to be developed. A small platform allows visitors to alight and see the historic artefacts and exhibits while a DMU driver changes ends or steam-hauled trains have to run-around. In the past, certain trains ran through Barry Island station and a tunnel to Barry Pier to connect with P&A Campbell's paddle steamer sailings in the Bristol Channel. At the moment the tunnel is blocked off and used as a shooting range. The railway has long-term ambitions to reopen the tunnel and route to Barry Pier.

Heading west, the line crosses the causeway bridge parallel to Network Rail before taking a sharp right-hand turn and splitting into two branches, one leading down to Hood Road (the Waterfront), the other heading past a locoshed and on to Woodhams halt to the new terminus at Gladstone Bridge next to the supermarkets. It is intended to extend the line a further half mile to a site adjacent to Arriva Trains Wales Barry Docks Station, where an interchange will be provided.

The running line runs near to the site of the former Woodham Brothers scrapyard. The former EWS loco depot at Barry (which was once the Barry Railway Steam Loco Depot) is now the main running shed and is also used to store and repair rolling stock. This has recently been renamed by the railway as the Barry Main Depot.

Some parts of the line, particularly around the Plymouth Road/Barry Island and BarryTown area, were used for several scenes in the Doctor Who episodes "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" in January 2005 and more recently for the episode "Flatline" screened in October 2014. Other recent filming includes Being Human, Ar-y-Tracs and "Stella (UK TV series)" - the last two featuring Ruth Jones.

Rolling stock[edit]

Stock marked with an asterisk (*) is located at the Barry Main Depot. On most running days, guided shed tours are offered by the railway.

Main-line steam locomotives

The last remaining locomotives from Dai Woodham's scrapyard, were the remains of the last locomotives left when the yard closed - and were a group often called the Barry Ten, as there were ten of them. Most of them have been removed for use in heritage railway projects and for restoration. Two former scrapyard steam locomotives remain on the railway and are publicly viewable on most operating days. These have been rejoined by small prairie tank loco which is being restored at the Barry Rail Centre by its staff under contract.

  • BR 2-10-0 Class 9F no. 92245* built in 1959. – (Stored and located by the main depot. Due to be displayed as an example of an unrestored ex Barry scrapyard engine).

At the New Barry Works Building located adjacent to Woodham Halt are two loco undergoing restoration: -

  • GWR 2-6-2T 4575 Class no. 5539 built in 1928. – (owned by Hugh Shipton)
  • GWR 0-6-2T 5600 Class no. 6686 built in 1928. – (owned by Barry Tourist Railway Director, John Buxton).

Also on site are: -

Diesel locomotives
  • BR 0-6-0 Class 08 no. 08503* – Operational.
  • BR Class 20 Class 20 no. 20228* (CFD no. 2004) – Non-operational, under overhaul. - Owned by Steve Madge).
Diesel Multiple Units
  • BR Class 101 unit (Iris II)* – Operational. Owned by Cambrian Transport. Formed RDS 977963+RDB 977964.
  • BR Class 101 DTCL 6300* - stored, owned by Cambrian Transport - some work carried out to restore this coach as an observation vehicle.
Electro-Diesel locomotives
  • BR Class 73 Class 73 no. 73118* – Operational. Operated by Transmart Trains [5]
Electric Multiple Unit trailers

Other rolling stock includes:-

  • DW139 Great Western Toplight Coach 2360 of 1911
  • HAA Hopper wagon
  • Bogie Bolster wagon
  • 2 Grampus Wagons
  • Covered air-braked wagon (Cov AB)
  • Ex LNER Permanent Way Brake Van (Privately owned, under restoration by private owners)

The plan is to acquire further warns to make up two rakes of wagons - one vacuum set and one air-braked set.

The railway recently announced that it had procured a Sentinel Steam loco named "Susan" which should be available to work for the 2015 season from June onwards.


External links[edit]

Official website