Swansea Vale Railway
|Swansea Vale Railway|
The Swansea Vale Railway (SVR) was a railway line connecting the port of Swansea in South Wales to industries and coalfields in the Swansea Valley and the Brynamman district on the borders of Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire. Later additions to the route included a loop line through Morriston and a branch – the Swansea Vale and Neath and Brecon Joint Railway – which connected the SVR to the system of the Midland Railway Company by means of running powers over the Neath and Brecon Railway. The Midland and its successor company the London, Midland and Scottish Railway were the owners of the SVR from 1876 until 1947.
First opened in 1816 as a tramroad for conveying coal from Scott's Pit, near Birchgrove, to wharves on the River Tawe nearly four miles (6 km) to the south, the Swansea Vale route grew to become a feeder railway for several mines and metal-working industries in the valley, and by 1874 it was carrying passengers between Swansea St Thomas station, Llansamlet, Glais, Pontardawe, Ystradgynlais (on the Swansea Vale and Neath and Brecon Junction Railway), Ystalyfera, and Brynamman. The railway was leased in 1874 by the Midland Railway and purchased outright by that company two years later in order to give the Midland access to Swansea docks bypassing the routes of rival railway companies.
In 1923, most of Britain's railways were merged into the "Big Four" companies and many of the alternative routes which had arisen through competition were run down. Additionally, as the importance of Swansea port and Swansea Valley industries declined between the 1930s and 1960s, so too did traffic on the line. Direct passenger services to Brecon via the SVR ceased in 1931 and to Brynamman in 1950, with the last freight services over the southern part of the line from Swansea to Pontardawe finally being withdrawn in 1964 – so that by 1970 all that remained was rusting rails and earthworks.
With the assistance of Swansea city council, the Swansea Valley Railway Society, based in Pentrechwyth, leased the last remaining section of intact track between Upper Bank (close to Morfa industrial estate) and Six Pit (now renamed Nantyffin Road). But in 2007 the council took the decision to redevelop the area and declined to renew the lease, because the dilapidated state of the railway, and the value in what was now prime development land as the city expanded. In 2009 Swansea Valley Railway Society negotiated a merger with the Gwili Railway in Carmarthen, and moved most of their stock and rail there.
Rolling stock and tracks prior to restoration in 1989
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Swansea Vale Railway.
- The Swansea Vale Railway on the Railscot website
- The Morriston Loop on the Railscot website
- The Swansea Vale and Neath and Brecon Junction Railway on the Railscot website
- The Swansea Vale Railway Society
- Pictures by Ben Salter on Flickr