Hirwaun railway station

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Hirwaun
Location
Place Hirwaun
Area Rhondda Cynon Taf
Coordinates 51°44′34″N 3°30′26″W / 51.7429°N 3.5071°W / 51.7429; -3.5071Coordinates: 51°44′34″N 3°30′26″W / 51.7429°N 3.5071°W / 51.7429; -3.5071
Grid reference SN960059
Operations
Original company Vale of Neath Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
Platforms 3
History
24 September 1851 (1851-09-24) Station opened as Hirwain
September 1928 Renamed Hirwaun
15 June 1964 (1964-06-15) Station closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
A B C D–F G H–J K–L M–O P–R S T–V W–Z
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
Railways in the Hirwaun area
TVR Merthyr Line to Cardiff Central
Aberdare
Trecynon
VoNR to Merthyr Tydfil
Aberdare Railway
Llwydcoed
Gelli Tarw Junction
Hirwaun brickworks
Hirwaun
Tramways
Barry Railway Company to Barry Docks
Penderyn quarry
Tower Colliery
Hirwaun goods yard
Hirwaun Common goodsyard
Hirwaun Ironworks
Hirwaun Common railway
Hirwaun Ponds goods yard
Tir Herbert brickworks
Rhigos Halt
Brown sidings
Rhigos sidings
End of Glynneath bank
Pencaedrain Tunnel 520 yards (480 m)
Dinas sidings
For Pont Neath Vaughan works
Penrhiw sidings
For Penrhiw drift mine
Pontwalby Halt
Pontwalby viaduct
British Rhondda Colliery
British Rhondda Halt
Cwmrhyd-y-Gau Halt
For Abernant brickworks
Aberpergwm Colliery
Rock Colliery
Start of Glynneath bank
Glynneath
Now site of Cwmgwrach coal washery
VoNR to Neath

Hirwaun railway station was a railway station serving the town of Hirwaun in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales.

History[edit]

The station was opened by the Vale of Neath Railway in 1851, although tramways and railways had existed in the area for at least 60+ years due to the Hirwaun Ironworks and other industries. It existed on the VoR 7 ft (2,134 mm) route between Neath and Merthyr Tydfil (1853), although the branch to Aberdare opened first in 1851.

Operations[edit]

Although only a relatively small station serving an industrial community, Hirwaun was an important junction station for the VoNR. At Gelli Tarw Junction just north of the station, it merged three lines:

  • Mainline from Neath to Merthyr
  • Branch to Aberdare, later junctioning with the Aberdare Railway
  • Dare Valley branch, initially to Bwllfa Colliery and then extended

The three platforms of the station were also supplemented by a brickworks just north of the station site. South of the station, there existed the goods yard and associated sidings, plus junctions for:[1]

Between Glynneath and Hirwaun, a distance of only 6 miles (9.7 km), there were: five collieries; two quarries; and one gunpowder/silica factory. Each had their own private sidings, all to be tackled over the steep Glynneath embankment, which required a banking locomotive for northbound trains to be attached at Glynneath. During World War II, the Royal Ordnance Factory ROF Hirwaun added to both the goods and passenger traffic load.

In 1956, the station was used by HM Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the village.[2]

Closure[edit]

Taken over by the Great Western Railway on grouping in 1921, it fell victim to the Beeching Axe in 1964, with the last train running on 13 June.[3] However, the line itself stayed in place to Aberdare on the renamed Merthyr Line, for coal trains serving Tower Colliery and a coking plant further down the valley towards Abercynon.

Current[edit]

DB Schenker Rail (UK) Class 66 loads coal at the Tower Colliery coal washing plant, located on the former Hirwaun railway station goods yard

There was a dedicated rail link bus that linked Aberdare with the community. It was only available to rail passengers, and operated to Penywaun, Hirwaun, Cefn Rhigos and Rhigos.

Freight continues to run several times a day from Tower colliery, over track it owned north of the former station site. Although Tower's underground workings final ceased on 18 January 2008, DB Schenker Rail (UK) still run trains to the Tower washery, which depart Aberdare at 7 pm on Wednesdays, and 1130 on the Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, most often hauled by a Class 66. Freightliner also operate stone trains to Tower, but this service varies in schedule, again hauled by a Class 66.

Reopening[edit]

Hirwaun station on the Vale of Neath Railway.

In November 2009 the Welsh Government asked Network Rail to conduct a feasibility study on reopening the line to Hirwaun for passenger services.[4]

It was announced in March 2011 that the Welsh Government’s 2011-12 capital programme would include the re-opening of the line to Hirwaun as part of the Cynon Valley Scheme.[5] However, there is currently no information on when the work will commence.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Body, G. (1983), PSL Field Guides - Railways of the Western Region, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Wellingborough, ISBN 0-85059-546-0
  • Page, J. (1988), Forgotten Railways: Volume 8 - South Wales (2nd Ed), David & Charles Publishers, Newton Abbott, ISBN 0-946537-44-5
Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Llwydcoed   Vale of Neath Railway
Mainline to Merthyr High Street, 1853
  Rhigos
Trecynon   Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare branch to Aberdare, 1851
  Terminus
Black Lion Crossing   Aberdare Railway
(Taff Vale Railway)
  Terminus