Swansea railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Welsh: Abertawe
National Rail
Swansea Railway Station - geograph.org.uk - 1150393.jpg
General information
LocationSwansea, City and County of Swansea
Coordinates51°37′31″N 3°56′27″W / 51.6253°N 3.9409°W / 51.6253; -3.9409Coordinates: 51°37′31″N 3°56′27″W / 51.6253°N 3.9409°W / 51.6253; -3.9409
Grid referenceSS657936
Managed byTransport for Wales
Other information
Station codeSWA
ClassificationDfT category C1
Opened19 June 1850; 172 years ago (1850-06-19)
as Swansea High Street
Original companySouth Wales Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
Key dates
6 May 1968Renamed Swansea
2017/18Increase 2.159 million
2018/19Decrease 2.156 million
 Interchange 95,592
2019/20Decrease 2.060 million
 Interchange Increase 98,806
2020/21Decrease 0.469 million
 Interchange Decrease 17,382
2021/22Increase 1.478 million
 Interchange Increase 66,720
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Swansea railway station serves the city of Swansea, Wales. It is 186 mileschains (299 km) measured from London Paddington (via Stroud)[1] on the National Rail network.

In 2021/22 it was the third-busiest station in Wales (after Cardiff Central and Newport).[2]


The station opened in 1850.[3] It was built by the South Wales Railway, which amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1863,[3] but it was not originally on the South Wales Railway main line, planned to connect London with the port of Fishguard, and Swansea passengers had to change at Landore, two miles to the north until at least 1879. The station has been renovated and extended several times in its lifetime - most notably in the 1880s, when the stone-built office block facing High Street, on the west side of the station, was added, and in 1925-7 when the platforms were lengthened.[4] The present-day frontage block, facing Ivey Place, was completed in 1934. Nothing now remains of the original wooden station with its two platforms and galvanised iron roof.

The majority of the rebuilt station remains intact, although the facilities have been reduced. The umbrella-type platform roofing which replaced the 1880s train-sheds in the 1920s is mostly intact although the canopy on platform 4 has been shortened. The number of platforms was reduced from five to four in 1973 under British Rail when the old Platform 1 was eliminated, along with the loading bays and fish dock that once stood beyond it. The remaining platforms were renumbered at the same time, so that what were platforms 2 to 5 are now platforms 1 to 4, respectively. On the east side of the station there was a connecting line which bypassed the platforms and ran at one time to coal tips on the North Dock (closed in 1929 and subsequently infilled) and on to a junction with the high-level line from Eastern Depot to Victoria station (closed in 1965). Part of the route of this line, alongside the station itself, is now a staff car park and the remainder, which was carried on viaducts alongside the Strand, has been obliterated by modern development. High Street goods station was on the west side of the line, just north of the passenger station. The site has been completely cleared and used for housing and also the dedicated bus road that runs from the Landore park-and-ride facility into the city centre. On the opposite side of the line were extensive carriage sidings (Maliphant sidings), large areas of which are, as of 2014, being redeveloped as the Hitachi IEP (Intercity Express Programme) rail service depot.

GW 0-6-0PT bringing in empty stock in 1962

There was great competition between the different railway companies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Swansea had seven stations in 1895, owned by five different railway companies: High Street (GWR), St Thomas (Midland Railway), East Dock (GWR), Riverside (Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway, by which it was called simply Swansea; renamed Swansea Docks by the GWR in 1924 and Riverside two years later[5]), Victoria and Swansea Bay (both London & North Western Railway), and Rutland Street (the town terminus of the Mumbles Railway). Only High Street now remains in the city centre.


To the east, trains operate along the South Wales Main Line. Swansea is a western terminus for Great Western Railway Class 800 services to London Paddington that do not terminate at Cardiff Central,[6] with the majority of local train services west of Swansea timed to connect with London services.[7] Transport for Wales provides the Swanline service to Cardiff Central (for connections to the South Wales Valleys, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Southampton Central, Portsmouth Harbour, Gloucester, Birmingham New Street and Nottingham), and services to Manchester Piccadilly.[8]

To the west, Transport for Wales trains run along the West Wales Line to Carmarthen and then to Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven or Fishguard Harbour. Certain services to Fishguard Harbour connect with the Stena Line ferry to Rosslare Europort in Ireland. Swansea is the eastern terminus for a few of the services from West Wales.[9] Services on the Heart of Wales line between Llanelli and Shrewsbury often start from Swansea.[10]

Rail and sea corridor to Ireland[edit]

Some of Transport for Wales' boat trains to and from Fishguard Harbour commence at Swansea. These connect with the Stena Line ferry to Rosslare Europort in Ireland with a daily morning and evening service in both directions. This route has been in existence since 1906.


The station is a terminus, at the end of a short branch off the South Wales Main Line and the West Wales Line, so that all through passenger trains must either reverse at Swansea or omit calling there. In practice, almost all passenger services do call there.[9]

The station has four platforms. Great Western Railway trains from London normally enter the station with the standard-class carriages leading, and usually use platform 3. The platforms are covered for part of their length.

Until January 2004, the mail train to London was a regular service from the station.[11]

In February 2013, Swansea station won the "Wales’ Best Staffed Train Station" award, supported by Keep Wales Tidy.[12]

In May 2013, Swansea station was named "International Station of the Year" and won the "Best Large Station" award at the International Station Awards.[13]

The ticket office is open here each day (Monday - Friday 05:15 - 20:00, Saturday 06:15 - 20:00, Sunday 08:00 - 20:00), with self-service ticket machines provided for use when the ticket office is closed and for collecting pre-paid tickets. A range of other amenities are available, including toilets, retail outlets, waiting rooms, ATM, payphone and the local Tourist Information Office. Bus stops and a taxi rank are located outside the entrance. Train running information is offered via timetable posters, digital CIS displays and automated announcements. Step-free access is available to all platforms.[14]


Swansea has four platforms, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Platforms are generally used for the same services, but can change if it is not available. Following the May 2021 timetable update the normal pattern is:

Name of the station[edit]

For most of its history the station was known as Swansea High Street to distinguish it from other stations in the area. Following the Beeching cuts in the 1960s and the closure of Swansea Victoria, the name was shortened to Swansea. Today the station is called Abertawe/Swansea on platform signs, the facade, public timetables, by the National Assembly of Wales and by Swansea County Council.[15][16] Before the station was re-vamped, a sign above the station entrance said High Street Station, as does Network Rail route documentation.[17]

Station redevelopment[edit]

Swansea station received an upgrade in the form of redevelopment work that was completed in 2012, with new facilities including new waiting rooms, bicycle racks and digital information boards. Work was completed in June 2012 and officially opened by the Welsh Government Minister with responsibility for Transport, Carl Sargeant, on Monday 11 June.[18]

Further redevelopment work was carried out in the form of a new Ticket Office, completed in September 2017. A new enclosure was constructed for the ticket office, separating it from the main station concourse.

In October 2020, Network Rail and Transport for Wales announced that work will start on rebuilding and lengthening Platform 4 to 260 metres (850 ft). This will allow longer trains to use the platform and provide extra flexibility. At the same time, Transport for Wales will undertake other improvement works at the station including re-branding, improved ticket buying facilities and refurbished spaces for use by local businesses and community groups. The work was completed in June 2021.[19]


Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Llansamlet   Transport for Wales
Neath   Transport for Wales
West Wales Line
Gowerton   Transport for Wales
Heart of Wales line
Neath   Great Western Railway
London Paddington-South Wales
  Great Western Railway
London Paddington-Carmarthen / Pembroke Dock


  1. ^ Yonge, John; Padgett, David (August 2010) [1989]. Bridge, Mike (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 3: Western (5th ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. map 24A. ISBN 978-0-9549866-6-7.
  2. ^ "London Waterloo is top of the stops again, but overall numbers are down on pre-pandemic levels". Office of Rail and Road. 24 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b History of the Great Western Railway, E.T. MacDermot (rev. C.R. Clinker, pub. Ian Allan, 1964)
  4. ^ Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR (Western Region), R.A. Cooke (self-published)
  5. ^ C.R. Clinker, Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Wales and Scotland, 1830-1977, AvonAnglia Publications, Bristol, 1978
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Route 14 South and Central Wales and Borders" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
  8. ^ South Wales to North Wales and Manchester, Train Times 17 May to 12 December 2009
  9. ^ a b Arriva Trains Wales: West Wales to Swansea timetable
  10. ^ Arriva Trains Wales: Heart of Wales Line: Shrewsbury - Llandrindod - Swansea timetable
  11. ^ End of line for mail trains BBC News
  12. ^ http://www.keepwalestidy.org/10408[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower".
  14. ^ Swansea station facilities National Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 5 April 2017
  15. ^ City and Council of Swansea: Passenger Transport Archived 5 August 2012 at archive.today
  16. ^ RES Annual Conference 2004 - Information Archived 24 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ National Rail Enquiries: Station Facilities: Swansea
  18. ^ "Welsh Government | Re-vamped Swansea Train Station gets official opening". wales.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  19. ^ Holden, Alan (22 June 2021). "£7.5m investment in Swansea railway station completed". RailAdvent. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  • R.V.J. Butt (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
  • A. Jowett (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas. Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-99-0.
  • Railways around Swansea factsheet from Swansea Museums Service
  • The South Wales Railway factsheet from Swansea Museums Service

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]