Some Early Lines – Old Railway Companies – Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway

An Act of 1 August 1959 authorised the Talybont-Brecon section only, but the rest was sanctioned on 15 May 1860 and 28 July 1862. The line opened from Brecon to Talybont on 23 April 1863, to Merthyr on 1 August 1868 and to Dowlais on 23 June 1869 – the Merthyr-Dowlais section was authorised jointly with the LNWR. Amalgamation with the Hereford Hay & Brecon Railway under an Act dated 5 July 1865 was ruled illegal as improperly processed, and was never re-made. On 28 July 1863 the Company acquired the Rumney Railway in an effort to reach Newport, a link being finally made on 1 September 1868. The Company became a GWR subsidiary in 1922. Beacon, or Summit, tunnel was once the highest in the UK at 1312 ft, with a 7 mile climb at 1 in 38 to the northern portal.

EPSON scanner imageBrecon Free Street station. View westward, towards Neath in 1962
Brecon Station. View westward, towards Neath; ex-GWR Neath & Brecon section. A scene just six months before the whole station and all lines were closed on 31/12/62. For more details, see SO0428 : Brecon Station: activity at the east end.
Ben Brooksbank – From geograph.org.uk  License details
Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

The line closed to passengers on 31 December 1962 and to goods on 4 May 1964, but it is not dead, for the Pant-Torpantau section now carries the Brecon Mountain Railway – the Pant-Pontsticill section opened 8 June 1980.

EPSON scanner imageEast end of Brecon Free Street in 1949
Brecon Station: activity at the east end. Viewed from the east end of Brecon station, an ex-L&Y 0-6-0, far from its origins ‘Up North’ but now employed on the ex-Midland trains from Hereford, is prominent, while on the left a stopping train leaves for Hereford (hauled by an ex-Midland 0-6-0). However, Brecon station was in the ex-GWR ambit, being the terminus from this (eastward) direction of the ex-Brecon & Merthyr trains from Newport via Torpantau Summit and of the ex-Cambrian Rly Mid-Wales Line trains from Moat Lane Junction, as well as the Hereford trains. Westwards from Brecon ran the ex-Neath & Brecon trains down to Neath. All these lines were closed in 1962 and on 31/12/62 this local metropolis had lost all railway facilities. See SO0428 : Brecon Station for primary picture of Brecon Station, taken on 15/6/62.
Ben Brooksbank – From geograph.org.uk License details
Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

The end of the Brecon and Merthyr

The line was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway following the Grouping. The ex-B&M system survived nationalisation into British Railways, but most were eventually closed during the 1960s, with all passenger services ending in December 1962. By 1980 only one short section of 10.5 miles (16.9 km) survived, serving coal traffic to Bedwas Navigation Colliery. With the demise of the coal industry in Britain the section between Bedwas and Machen was closed in 1985. The section between Machen and Bassaleg Junction (with the GWR Ebbw Valley line) remains to serve Hanson’s limestone quarry.

The line today

Partial resurrection of the Brecon and Merthyr
In 1980 a private company, the Brecon Mountain Railway, began to build a narrow-gauge steam-hauled tourist line on the existing 5.5-mile (8.9 km) trackbed from Pant through Pontsticill to Dol-y-gaer. The initial section of 1.75 miles (2.82 km) from Pant to Pontsticill opened in June 1980. Passenger services extended to Torpantau in 2014.

Only one B&MR coach has survived into the present day; coach No.111 stands in a private residence.  Only one goods wagon is known to still exist today; privately owned No.197 is currently at the Severn Valley Railway.

No locomotives are known to be preserved to the present day.

National Cycle Network

Some sections of the route have become part of the National Cycle Network. These routes are NCN 4 (Celtic Trail) between Machen and Trethomas, NCN 469 between Bargoed and Fochriw and NCN 8 (Taff Trail) between Torpantau and Talybont Reservoir. The section between Bedwas and Maesycwmmer is being considered to become part of NCN 468.

Brecon-mountain-railway

Welcome to The Brecon Mountain Railway.

The line runs from Pant, near Merthyr Tydfil. Travel in one of our all-weather Observation Carriages, behind a vintage steam locomotive, into the Brecon Beacons National Park to see stunning views of the peaks of the Beacons across the Taf Fechan reservoir.
At Pontsticill you can alight from the train and visit our lakeside cafe, see our new steam museum, admire the view or go for a ramble alongside the reservoir. There is also a children’s play area here. On your return to Pant you can visit the workshop where our steam locomotives are repaired and new ones are built. Our licensed restaurant is open for refreshment, gifts and souvenirs are available from our shop or you may wish to visit our new Traditional sweet shop.

Brecon

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