Pontypool and New Inn railway station
|Pontypool and New Inn|
|Welsh: Pont-y-pŵl a New Inn|
|Managed by||Arriva Trains Wales|
|Number of platforms||2|
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Key dates||Opened 1852|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Pontypool and New Inn from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool Railway
Pontypool and New Inn railway station (Welsh: Pont-y-pŵl a New Inn) is situated to the south east of Pontypool town centre between the town and the suburb of New Inn, Wales. The station was formerly called Pontypool Road until renamed just Pontypool in 1972 and then to the present name in 1994.
For almost 100 years from the mid 19th century to the early 1960s, Pontypool Road was an important station and key railway junction connecting to the main line from Newport to the Midlands and north of England (via Hereford) and branch lines to Neath and Merthyr. At its height, Pontypool Road featured a 50-line marshalling yard, engine sheds, goods sheds and refuelling facilities.
The growth of industry
The burgeoning 18th-century iron industry in South Wales followed by the growth of coal mining industry in the 19th century required an extensive transport network. Initially canals were constructed such as the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal (opened 1812) which ran close to the southern part of Pontypool at Pontymoile. The rapid expansion of steam locomotion in the 1840s quickly saw the demise of the canals as the railways offered a faster and more economical transport system.
The coming of the railways
With industry in the South Wales coalfield needing improved transport links the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company (MR&CC) opened the first line between Newport to Pontypool in 1852. The line initially terminated at Crane Street Station in Pontypool and was extended to Blaenavon in 1854.
The Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway (NA&HR) opened a new station in January 1854 just south of the current station. The stationmaster's house and part of a platform are now a private residence. This line now allowed traffic from Hereford to join the MR&CC line at Panteg & Coed-y-Gric Junction and head south towards Newport and its docks. Sponsored by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), it opened on 6 December 1853. But in 1860 it merged with other railways to form the West Midland Railway which was in turn taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1863.
Although initially named 'Newport Road', the station was by the end of 1854 called 'Pontypool Road' (the addition of Road within the station name is common in railway parlance when the station is situated away from the centre of the town served). The first stationmaster was Henry Griffiths after whom the nearby community of Griffithstown is named. The growth of the railways in the area saw the development of Sebastopol and Griffithstown to house workers. Pontypool Road was also the birthplace of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) in 1880. Further railways openings linked Pontypool Road to the Midlands and north of England.
Taff Vale Extension Railway (TVE)
The Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway (NAHR) also opened the Taff Vale Extension Railway (TVE) in 1857 to link up with the Taff Vale Railway (TVR) at Quakers Yard which connected onto Merthyr Tydfil. A major achievement of this railway was the building of the Crumlin Viaduct over the Ebbw River. The TVE linked directly with the Vale of Neath Railway at Merthyr and further linked Pontypool to Swansea and Neath. The main purpose of this line was the transport of coal across the country.
In September 1874 the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport Railway (PC&NR) opened to goods traffic from Pontypool South Junction to Maindee Junction in Newport. By December 1874 the line was opened from Pontypool North Junction to Panteg Junction. Passenger trains also used the line and run to Newport High Street on the South Wales Railway over the St. Julian's railway bridge.
The peak of Pontypool Road
By the late 19th century Pontypool Road contained a large rail network of junctions, sidings and sheds forming a large inverted triangle of tracks. Coed-y-Gric Junction of the Hereford line formed the southernmost point. Lines now split to go through Pontypool to the west and to the north via Hereford. Larger engine sheds and buildings were added. Additional sidings were added to cope with the increasing traffic and the marshalling of freight at Pontypool Road.
By the early 20th century the original station at Pontypool was congested, and on 1 March 1909 a larger station was opened just north of it. It comprised a large island platform with two inset bays (one north to Monmouth, one south to join the TVE). A large station building was built with booking office and an underpass to reach the island platform. The new station now catered for the growing passenger numbers.
First and Second World Wars
Pontypool Road saw an increased activity during both wars. During the First World War, the Grand Fleet (based at Scapa Flow) had to be supplied with, on average, 100,000 tons of coal each week. The coal trains that maintained the supply were called Jellicoe Specials (named after Admiral Jellicoe) and most were marshalled at Pontypool Road before travelling to Grangemouth docks. The Second World War saw again a growth in trains but less coal as the Royal Navy was now generally oil powered. ROF Glascoed munitions and armaments factory was served by the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk and Pontypool Railway which branched from the mainline at Little Mill. Although a major junction, Pontypool was not the target of any German raids during the war.
Pontypool had more centrally-located stations on branch lines, including Pontypool Blaendare Road, Pontypool Clarence Street and Pontypool Crane Street, but Pontypool Road was by far the biggest. Indeed, at its peak it was one of the busiest junctions in the country.
As the railways went into decline in the 1950s the area was particularly badly hit by closures. The passenger service to Usk and Monmouth was withdrawn in 1955 and the local branch line from Newport to Blaenavon was closed in April 1962. The Beeching Axe put paid to the service to Neath in June 1964 leaving Pontypool Road, as a main-line station, the only one remaining in the area. By the late 1970s the station was down to just 14 passenger trains a day on weekdays. Over the years the situation improved and by 2010 the station saw almost twice that number, but more than half of the passenger trains on the line go through without stopping.
In 1972 it was renamed to simply Pontypool. The station underwent significant refurbishment in 1994. This involved the demolition of the last surviving major building (that housed the ticket office, offices for railway maintenance personnel and space for a local scout group). The station name was once again changed to the current geographically descriptive name at this time.
The station has limited facilities due to its small size today and lack of great commuter use. There is a shelter that serves both sides of the island platform, digital CIS displays, a payphone and a customer help point. Tickets must be bought prior to travel or on board the train, as the station is unmanned and has no ticket machine. There is no level access, as the only means of reaching the platform is via a staircase from the subway passing beneath the tracks en route to/from the main entrance and car park on Station Road.
Mondays to Saturdays
Generally, there is a two hourly service between Holyhead and Cardiff in the middle of the day, with additional peak time services southbound in the mornings and northbound in the evenings for commuters to Newport and Cardiff. These include services between Manchester Piccadilly and West Wales via Crewe & Swansea.
From December 2013 the evening northbound Arriva "Premier" service train began to call at Pontypool for the first time. The southbound service in the morning does not call here.
An irregular service operates, with 8 trains calling southbound and 10 northbound. These mainly run between Manchester and Cardiff.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Cwmbran||Arriva Trains Wales
Welsh Marches Line
- "The Railways of Newport". newportpast.com. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "NEWRAILWAYSTATIONATPONTYPOOL - Weekly Mail". Henry Mackenzie Thomas. 1909-03-06. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
- Stewart-David 2014, p. 20.
- "Pontypool and New Inn station facilities" National Rail Enquiries
- GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 131
- Stewart-David, David (2 July 2014). "The role of railways in the First World War". The Railway Magazine. Horncastle, Lincs, UK: Mortons Media. 160 (1,360). ISSN 0033-8923.