Brecon Mountain Railway
|Brecon Mountain Railway|
Rheilffordd Mynydd Brycheiniog
1908-built German 0-6-2WTT Graf Schwerin-Löwitz and American-style carriages.
|Locale||Merthyr Tydfil, Wales|
|Name||Brecon Mountain Railway|
|Built by||Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Owned by||Brecon Mountain Railway Ltd|
|Operated by||Brecon Mountain Railway Ltd|
|Length||5 miles (8.0 km) |
|Preserved gauge||1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm)|
Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway
The Brecon Mountain Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Mynydd Brycheiniog) is a 1 ft 11 3⁄4 in (603 mm) narrow gauge tourist railway on the south side of the Brecon Beacons. It climbs northwards from Pant along the full length of the Pontsticill Reservoir (also called 'Taf Fechan' reservoir by Welsh Water) and continues past the adjoining Pentwyn reservoir to Torpantau. The railway's starting point at Pant is located two miles (3 km) north of the town centre of Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough, South-East Wales.
Route of the BMR
The line runs along part of the trackbed of the northern section of the former 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge Brecon and Merthyr Railway from Pant to a new station at Torpantau, via Pontsticill and Dolygaer, a total of about 4.5 miles (7 km).
This takes the BMR just short of the southern entrance to the 667 yd (610 m) long Torpantau tunnel, the highest railway tunnel in Great Britain, which carried the original line through the hills along the side of Glyn Collwn to Brecon or to Moat Lane or Hereford via junctions at Talyllyn and Three Cocks.
One of the benefits of the line, and a condition of the planning permission, is that tourists can access and experience part of the Brecon Beacons National Park without driving their cars through it. Car parking for railway passengers is only available at Pant Station, outside the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The Brecon Mountain Railway is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales.
The Brecon Mountain Railway was founded in the mid-1970s, by Tony Hills. Hills was a long time railway enthusiast who by 1970, had established a base at Gilfach Ddu on the Llanberis Lake Railway where he stored the locomotives he purchased. In 1977, he purchased five miles of trackbed of the abandoned Brecon & Merthyr Railway at Pant and moved his collection there. Construction of the BMR started in 1978, with the grant of a Light Railway Order in 1980. Track was laid between Pant and Pontsticill in 1979-80. At Pontsticill the station house was renovated, the old waiting room was converted into a small workshop and a storage shed was built. Seven bridges were repaired or replaced. The railway opened to passengers in June 1980 using the engine Sybil and one carriage.
Between 1982 and 1996 a large station and workshop were built at Pant. These provide passenger facilities including toilets, cafe, shop and booking office as well as the extensive workshop used to build and maintain the railway locomotives, carriages and wagons.
A 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) extension from Pontsticill to Dol-y-Gaer opened in 1995. The railway was further extended to Torpantau, just short of the southern entrance of the Torpantau Tunnel, with passenger services commencing 1 April 2014.
By 2016, the original waiting room building at Pontsticill, which had served as a workshop for a period, was converted to a steam museum housing various stationary steam engines and three of the smaller locomotives. All of the stationary units were connected up to a steam distribution header and boiler which in 2017 was still awaiting commissioning.
Stations of the BMR
- Pant - southern terminus of the BMR.
- Pontsticill - at the southern end of the Pontsticill reservoir.
- Dolygaer - station closed, but passing loop in use.
- Torpantau - current northern terminus of the BMR.
Full list of locomotives at the site:
|Builder||Works No.||Date||Type||Name or Number||Status|
|Baldwin||15511||1897||2-6-2||1||Undergoing restoration in the workshops.|
|Baldwin||61269||1930||4-6-2||2||Operational. Originally built for the Eastern Province Cement Company in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Acquired by the Brecon Mountain Railway around 1990, and restored to full working order in 1997.|
|Baldwin||Original was No. 23||2-6-2||3||Original locomotives scrapped in 1936. Replicas are being constructed[when?] in the workshops from the original drawings.|
|Baldwin||Original was No. 10.||2-4-4T||4|
|Brecon Mountain Railway||001||1987||0-6-0DH||Operational.|
|De Winton||1894||0-4-0VBT||Pendyffryn||On display but is in working order.|
|Hunslet Engine Co.||827||1903||0-4-0ST||Sybil||On display but is in working order.|
|Jung||1261||1908||0-6-2WT+T||Graf Schwerin-Löwitz 99-3553||Operational.|
|Redstone||1905||0-4-0VBTT||On display but is in working order.|
|Kambarka||TU7-1698||1981||4w-4wDH||The loco came from a Peat Railway at Seda, in Latvia.|
|Kambarka||706.951||1985||4w-4wDH||The loco came from the Tatra Electric Railway, in Slovakia.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brecon Mountain Railway.|
- British narrow gauge railways
- List of British heritage and private railways
- List of closed railway lines in Great Britain
- Jacobs (Ed.), Gerald (2005). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3: Western. Trackmaps, Bradford upon Avon. ISBN 0-9549866-1-X.
- www.british-heritage-railways.co.uk Accessed 18 December 2012
- www.narrow-gauge-pleasure.co.uk accessed 18 December 2012.
- Johnson, Peter (9 November 2015). "Tony Hills obituary". The Guardian.
- https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/47821/page/5222/data.pdf Notice of Light Railway Order application, 1979
- UK Locos - Preserved, Private, Hired & Industrial Locos
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016.