Whitland and Cardigan Railway
|Whitland and Cardigan Railway|
The Whitland & Cardigan Railway was a 27.5 miles (44.3 km) long Great Western Railway built branch railway line in West Wales, between Whitland railway station on the West Wales Line and Cardigan railway station, via nine intermediate stations. From Cardigan, it served settlements at Cilgerran, Boncath, Crymych, Glogue, Llanfyrnach, Rhydowen, Llanglydwen, Login, Llanfalteg, and Whitland.
John Owen was the owner of the slate quarry in Glogue, who wanted to make higher profits by improving distribution. Owen sponsored the surveying of the line, which was approved by Parliament and developed under the title Whitland & Taf Vale Railway. The line was opened in two stages from Cardigan Junction, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Whitland to Llanfyrnach on 24 March 1873, connecting with the quarry. This allowed Owen to expand his workforce to over 80 men. After selling it to a local consortium, the quarry was worked until 1926.
The line was further extended to Crymmych Arms in October 1874. In 1877 the name was changed to the Whitland & Cardigan Railway and the extension to Cardigan opened on 1 September 1886, to a site on the south of the River Teifi. The Great Western Railway took over the working as of that date and three locomotives were added to stock although the complete undertaking was not purchased until 1890.
The line was noted for its rural nature, with the railway passing through small centres of population, with attractive scenery and over severe gradients. All trains going north stopped at Glogue to take on water before attempting the climb to Crymych and beyond to the summit towards Boncath. For many in the area, the line was the focus of the local community, gaining the nickname the Cardi Bach.
The proposal to close the line actually came the year before the notorious Beeching Axe, marking a change in a whole way of life and the end of an era. The line was closed to passenger traffic on 8 September 1962, the last train being the 5.45pm Cardigan Mail. For a while the line remained open to freight traffic, but final closure took place on 27 May 1963. The track was lifted completely by the end of 1964. The stations at Crymmych and Cardigan initially remained open as non-rail connected freight terminals, but this was also short lived.
The trackbed is mainly intact, most having been sold off. Small scale development has taken place at some locations, such as at Llanfallteg and Cardigan station sites. The trackbed between Cilgerran and Cardigan is a footway and cycle path through Teifi Marshes and Wildlife Park, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
In September 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the line's closure, an exhibition was held by the local historical society at the site of the former Llanfallteg station, where a remembrance plaque, illustrated by local artist Peter Icke, was later placed by Llanfallteg History Society.
- The Whitland and Cardigan Railway - MRC Price - pages 126/7 Bradshaws tables
- Disused stations - Cardigan, and the Whitland & Cardigan Railway
- "Cardi Bach: 50 years since train line closed". BBC Wales. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Richards, Alun John (1995). Slate Quarrying in Wales. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0863813194.
- S4C website Retrieved 23 June 2014
- Ceredigion website Retrieved 23 June 2014
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