Ely Valley Railway - Llantrisant-Penygraig
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Until the end of 1951 Llantrisant, midway between Cardiff and Bridgend on the South Wales main line, acted as a junction station for three branch line passenger services. To the casual observer each of these appeared to be typically ex-Great Western Railway with that company’s characteristic auto-trains or, in the case of the Cowbridge line, one of its distinctive diesel railcars, connecting with the main line stopping trains. However, beneath this superficial gloss each branch had its own distinctive character and background. Two had been part of the Taff Vale Railway until 1922: that to the south of the station had been built by the Cowbridge Railway, an impecunious rural concern promoted by local interests, initially with TVR support; meanwhile, trains from Llantrisant ran to Pontypridd over the metals of the Llantrisant and Taff Vale Junction Railway, a nominally independent offshoot of the TVR intended to tap the iron ore and coal produce of the area.
The third branch � the Ely Valley line � appeared to be the most modern, with double track and stations dating from around the turn of the century. Appearances were deceptive, however, as this was, in fact, the oldest of the three branches, having been opened in 1860 as a single rack, broad gauge mineral line by the Ely Valley Railway Co. Extensively modernised in connection with the doubling of the line and the subsequent introduction of passenger trains, it remained an independent concern (although leased by the GWR) until amalgamation with the larger company in 1902.
The Ealy Valley line passenger trains clung on until 1958, their departure leaving Llantrisant with only the main line stopping service. Closed in 964, the station was reborn in 1992 with the geographically more correct, but to the railway historian rather prosaic, title of ‘Pontyclun’.
A5 format, 144 pages, more than 130 illustrations.
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