List of tramroads in South Wales

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Grosmont Railway embankment at Werngifford, Monmouthshire (SO333212)

Numerous horse-drawn tramroads were constructed in South Wales during the Industrial Revolution, chiefly between the years 1790 and 1830 and connected with the iron and coal-mining industries.

The earliest tramroads were "edge-railways", where the wagons were guided by having flanged wheels running on plain rails, but from around 1800 most tramroads in the area were being made according to the principles of Benjamin Outram, with unflanged wheels running on L-section tracks fixed to stone-block sleepers; and many earlier lines were also rebuilt to these specifications.[1] Track gauges were not standardised, but most were between 3 ft. 4 in and 4 ft. 4 in.

Overall, the early railways in South Wales covered about 400 miles, but between the 1840s and the 1860s most of the main lines were replaced by standard-gauge steam railways.

The list of tramroads in South Wales can be split into a number of regions:

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal network[edit]

The canals converging on Newport Docks originally comprised two independent canals: the Monmouthshire Canal between Newport and Pontymoile Basin (as well as the Crumlin Arm, and the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal between Pontymoile and Brecon. Numerous tramroads, some built by the canal companies themselves, converged on these canals, as well as forming cross-country routes not directly linked to the canals:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Aberbeeg Tramroad 1828 Nantyglo and Coalbrookvale Ironworks to Aberbeeg (junction with Beaufort Tramroad) Rebuilt as a GWR standard-gauge line
Abersychan Limestone Railway 1827 Abersychan ironworks to the Blaenavon Railroad  
Bailey's Tramroad 1821 Nantyglo Ironworks to Govilon canal wharf; later extended to Beaufort Ironworks  
Beaufort Tramroad 1795 Beaufort Ironworks through Brynmawr to Gilwern canal basin, and through Ebbw Vale to Aberbeeg and Crumlin Became part of the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway and the Ebbw Valley Railway
Benjamin Hall's Tramroad 1814 Hafod Trislog, Waterloo and Cefn Coch collieries to Abercarn and North Risca (junction with Sirhowy Tramroad)  
Blaenavon Railroad 1796 Blaenavon Ironworks to Pontnewynydd canal terminus Converted to a railway by the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company
Brinore Tramroad 1815 Rhymney Ironworks, Bryn-oer colliery, Trefil quarries to Talybont-on-Usk canal wharf  
Caerleon Tramroad c.1794 Cwmbran forges to Ponthir tinplate works and Caerleon quay[2] Line reused by the GWR
Clydach Railroad 1794 Waun-dew colliery, Beaufort to Clydach Ironworks, Gilwern canal wharf and Glangrwney Forge  
Crumlin Tramroad 1826 Crumlin canal basin (connection with Beaufort Tramroad) to Risca (junction with Sirhowy Tramroad)  
Cwm Cuffin Tramroad c.1810 Blaencuffin Colliery to Crumlin (junction with Beaufort Tramroad)  
Cwm Ffrwd Rail Road c.1819 Varteg Hill collieries and furnaces to Blaenavon Tramroad at Abersychan  
Darren Disgwylfa tram road 1818 Darren Disgwylfa limestone quarries to Nantyglo Ironworks  
Grosmont Railway 1819 Llanvihangel Crucorney via Grosmont to Monmouth Cap (continued as Hereford Railway to Hereford) Became part of the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway
Harford's Tramroad 1835 Sirhowy Iron Works through tunnel to Ebbw Vale furnaces and rolling mills  
Hay Railway 1816 Watton wharf, Brecon to Hay-on-Wye & Eardisley (connection with Kington Tramway) Line later used by the Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway
Hill's Tramroad 1818 Blaenavon Ironworks to Garnddyrys forge and Llanfoist canal wharf; branch to Tyla Quarries  
Kington Tramway 1820 Burlingjobb limestone quarries to Kington and Eardisley (connection with Hay Railway) Line later used by the Kington and Eardisley Railway
Llam-march Tramroad 1795 Llam-march Coal & Mine Works to Clydach Ironworks and Gilwern canal wharf  
Llanarth Tramroad 1824 Rock Colliery, Blackwood to Ynysddu (connection with Penllwyn Tramroad)  
Llanfihangel Railway 1814 Govilon wharf through Abergavenny to Llanvihangel Crucorney (connection with Grosmont Railway) Became part of the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway
Llangattock Tramroad c.1816 Darren Quarries to Llangattock Wharf; later extension to Nantyglo  
Penllwyn Tramroad 1824 Ynysddu (connection with Llanarth Tramroad) to Nine Mile Point (junction with Sirhowy Tramroad)  
Pontypool Tramroad 1829 Pontnewynydd (connection with Blaenavon Railroad) to Pontypool (junction with Trosnant Tramroad)  
Porthmawr Tramroad by 1800 Porthmawr Colliery to the canal and connection with the Caerleon Tramroad at Cwmbran[3]  
Rassa Railroad 1794 Sirhowy Ironworks to Beaufort Ironworks  
Rumney Railway 1826 Rhymney Ironworks to Bassaleg (junction with Monmouthshire Canal Co. Tramroad) Conversion to railway completed by the Brecon and Merthyr Railway
Sirhowy Tramroad 1806 Sirhowy Ironworks and Tredegar Ironworks to Nine Mile Point (junction with Monmouthshire Canal Co. Tramroad) Became part of the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway
Trevil Rail Road 1797 Trefil limestone quarries to Ebbw Vale via junctions with Rassa Railroad  
Trosnant Tramroad 1796 Trosnant Furnace and Blaendare ironworks to Pontymoile canal wharf  
Watton Plateway 1816 Watton Wharf to Bold's Wharf, Brecon

Taff Vale[edit]

This area encompasses the tramroads associated with the Glamorganshire and Aberdare Canals, which ultimately led to Cardiff Docks:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Doctor's Tramroad 1809 Dinas colliery to Treforest and the head of the Doctor's Canal at Glyntaff  
Dowlais Railroad 1791 Dowlais Ironworks to Merthyr canal basin, plus several branches  
Gurnos Tramroad 1792 Gurnos Quarry to Cyfarthfa Ironworks and Merthyr canal wharf  
Hirwaun-Abernant Tramroad 1805 Hirwaun ponds (Cefn Rhigos tramroad connection) to Abernant Ironworks Closed in 1900
Llanfabon Tramroad 1810 Gelligaer & Llancaiach Collieries to Abercynon canal basin  
Llwydcoed Tramroad 1811 Aberdare Canal terminus to Llwydcoed (junction with Hirwaun-Abernant Tramoad) Closed in 1900
Maes-Mawr tramroad   Maes-Mawr collieries to Glamorganshire Canal wharf, Upper Boat  
Merthyr Tramroad (Penydarren Tramroad) 1802 Morlais quarries to Merthyr ironworks & Abercynon canal basin Superseded by the Taff Vale Railway
Penderyn Tramroad 1794 Penderyn limestone quarries to Hirwaun ironworks and Bryngwyn collieries  
Pentyrch tramroad 1815 Pentyrch Iron Works to Melingriffith Tin Plate Works Converted to a light steam railway in 1871
Sir William Smith's Tramroad (Llanfabon Tramroad) 1810 Nelson to Abercynon canal basin  

Vale of Neath[edit]

Served by the Neath and Tennant Canal, which led to Neath and Port Tennant for the Swansea docks:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Cefn Rhigos tramroad 1805 Hirwaun Ponds (connection with Hirwaun-Abernant Tramroad) to the Neath Canal, Glynneath  
Crown Copper Works tramway 1809 Dyffryn Clydach Colliery to Crown Copper Works, Skewen  
Dr Bevan's Railway (Dinas Tramroad) 1807 Dinas Limestone Quarry to Pont Walby (junction with Cefn Rhigos tramroad); branch to Glyn Neath Gunpowder Works  
Glyncorrwg Mineral Railway 1840 Blaen Cregan collieries to the Neath Canal basin at Aberdulais  
Melyn Works tramroad c.1698 Gnoll Colliery to Melyncrythan Pill and copper works  
Resolven tramroads 1837 Cwm-Clydach Colliery & Tyrau Colliery to canal at Resolven  

Swansea Canal tramroads[edit]

This canal led up the Tawe valley north-east from Swansea:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Alltwen tramroad   Alltwen collieries to Pontardawe canal arm  
Brecon Forest Tramroad c.1821 Sennybridge to Penwyllt quarries; extended to Onllwyn Ironworks and Ynysgedwyn Ironworks  
Clyne tramroads   Cwm Blaen Pelenna, Upper Twrch Brook & Lower Twrch Brook to Neath Canal near Clyne  
Cribarth Tramroad 1794 Cribarth quarries to Swansea Canal at Hen Neuadd  
Llansamlet Old Waggonway 1743 Along east bank of River Tawe, Llansamlet Superseded by Llansamlet Canal
Palleg Railway or Tramroad 1797 Cwm Twrch to Swansea Canal at Ynysgedwyn  
Scott's Railway 1819 Scott's Colliery, Llansamlet to Foxhole wharf on the River Tawe  

West of Swansea[edit]

A number of largely unconnected tramroads, some linked to the Kidwelly and Llanelly Canal:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Carmarthenshire Railway 1803 Gorslas to Llanelli basin Rebuilt as the Llanelly and Mynydd Mawr Railway
Carway tramroad c.1770 Carway coal pits to Kymer's Canal at Pwll y Llygod for connection to Kidwelly Quay[4]  
Llanelly Railway 1833 St David's Colliery and Gelli Gille Farm to Machynis Pool Converted to GWR Dafen Branch
Nant Mwrwg tramway 1833 St David's Colliery to Llangennech tin plate works  
New Lodge tramroad   New Lodge Colliery to Burry Port; branch to Cwm Capel  
Oystermouth Railway (Swansea and Mumbles Railway) 1806 Mumbles limestone quarries & Clyne Valley collieries to Swansea  
Penclawdd Canal tramroads c.1814 Waunarlwydd coal mines and Llewitha Bridge to Penclawdd Canal basin at Ystrad Isaf  
Pencoed tramway   Pencoed Colliery and Genwen Quarry to Machynis  
Pwll tramroad 1826 New Lodge Colliery (connection with New Lodge tramroad) to Pwll Colliery and Llanelly Dock  
Stanley Pit Tramway 1819 New Pit, Pembrey to Pembrey Harbour and Pembrey Canal  
Trimsaran tramroad c.1815 Trimsaran Colliery to Kidwelly and Llanelli Canal arm at Moat Farm  

Outlying areas[edit]

A number of unconnected tramroads in other parts of South Wales:

Name of Line Opened Route Notes
Blorenge Quarries Tramroad c.1795 Blorenge quarries to Blaenavon Ironworks Fell out of use in 1804 and plateway track removed by 1813.[5]
Bridgend Railway 1830 Bridgend to Aberkenfig (junction with Duffryn Llynvi and Porthcawl Railway) Taken over by Llynvi Valley Railway
Bryn Tramway c.1819 Morfa Newydd to Cwmavon Tinplate Works and Bryn-gyrnos Colliery  
Cwmavon Tramway c.1824 Pontrhydyfen blast furnace to Cwmavon Works and Aberavon docks[6] Line later used by the Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway
Duffryn Llynvi and Porthcawl Railway 1828 Dyffryn to Porthcawl[7] Converted to the Llynvi Valley Railway
Monmouth Railway 1812 May Hill, Monmouth to Coleford, Gloucestershire. Rebuilt as the Coleford Railway  
Saundersfoot Railway 1829 Thomas Chapel collieries & Stepaside Ironworks to Saundersfoot Harbour  
Taibach waggonway c.1758 Mynydd Bychan coal mines to Taibach ironworks[8]  
Tondu Brickworks tramroad   Llantwit Colliery to Tondu Brickworks  

References[edit]