The Llancaiach Branch was a railway branch line in South Wales. Financed and operated by the Taff Vale Railway, on amalgamation became part of the Great Western Railway in 1923. Designed and mainly operated as a coal mining freight railway, its creation and demise was wholly defined by the South Wales Coalfield.
Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as an extension to the main Taff Vale Railway, it ran from Stormstown Junction, just north of Pontypridd on the line to Merthyr Tydfil, for 3 miles 29 chains (5.4 km) to the Llancaiach Colliery.
The line opened for freight only on 25 November 1841, due to its 1:11 incline and the resultant need to operate as a cable-assisted railway. The railway called its northern terminus at the Llancaiach Colliery "Nelson," after a local public house.
In 1858 the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway completed its Taff Vale Extension railway from Pontypool to Quakers Yard, building its station on the level with the Llancaiach Branch and also calling it Nelson. Two years later, an agreement was reached and the TVR Llancaiach Branch extended to access the NA&HR station. In 1873 a deviation avoided the incline from Stormstown Junction, although it remained steep by railway standards at 1:40.
The 1887 closure of the Llancaiach Colliery caused the line to become placed into "care and maintenance" for six months, until the opening of the Albion Colliery.
As the various collieries declined, so did the Llancaiach Branch. It closed to through traffic in 1970.
- "Taff Vale Railway". My Brunnel. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- ""The Nelson branch" by Edward A. Evans. Pages 12-17". Backtrack 1996 Volume 10. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "The Taff Vale Railway by D.S.M.Barrie". trackbed.com. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
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