Some Early Lines – LNWR in South Wales

Some Early Lines

 LNWR in South Wales

Nantybwch on the Abergavenny to Merthyr ‘Heads of the Valleys’ line on 19th August 1950 showing (left) a train arriving from Newport and Tredegar and (right) a train for Abergavenny, both behind the then standard motive power: LNWR 0-6-2 cola tanks.  Trains from Newport terminated here and the locomotives for the branch were shedded at Tredegar. – P.B.Whitehouse

 South Wales plus its coal were magnets which attracted the LNWR very strongly but the problem (with the GWR and the South Wales independents already ensconced) was how to get there.  The company had two main aims, the first to get into Newport and Swansea, the other, black gold.  In the event this was achieved by the construction of the long Central Wales line from Craven Arms on the Shrewsbury to Hereford route, under the Sugar Loaf to Swansea and, by the Heads of the Valleys route from Abergavenny through Brynmawr to Merthyr.  There was a change for Newport at the isolated Nantybwch Junction, trains ran down via Tredegar.  Today it is virtually all gone, with only the Central Wales line open with a desultory passenger service.  It was LNW and GWR joint from Llandovery to Llandilo.

A shot from the footplate of a Fowler 2-6-4 tank on the evening train to Craven Arms approaching Sugar Loaf from Llandovery. – P.B.Whitehouse

A train from Newport and Tredegar about to enter Nantybwch on 19th August 1950 behind LNWR Webb 0-6-2 coal tank No.58933.  This is a Saturday afternoon strengthened set of four coaches making a heavy load for this small engine up the gradients to the valley head.  The leading vehicle is an old LNWR eliptical roofed non-corridor dating back to the 1890s.  By the look of the peeling paint it had been used on miners’ trains, which did not provide the acme of comfort.

A Bescot (3A) shedded LNWR Super d 0-8-0 No.49064 a long way from home in Nantybwch on 19th August 1950.  Note the tender cab for adverse weather conditions.  The train is an afternoon working from Merthyr to Abergavenny Junction whilst in the branch platform to the left is the connection from Newport behind Webb 0-6-2 coal tank No.58933.  The first coach is an ex-Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway vehicle.  – P.B.Whitehouse

Abergavenny Junction on 8th September 1952.  Webb 0-6-2 coal tank No.58888, one of the last two to be steamed, shunts prior to moving up the line to Nantybwch and Brynmawr.  At that date a further eight other coal tanks were ‘stored’ awaiting despatch to Crewe for scrapping. – P.M.Alexander

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