Welcome to WalesRails

A survey of railways in Wales and the tourist attractions they serve

Map showing approximate location of the Cynon Valley branch

Valley Lines

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Arriva Trains Wales services on the
Aberdare Branch

This  is an extract from the page on Valley Lines services.
To access the main site select either the Taff Valleys and Cardiff section, the Rhymney Valley, Cardiff and coast section, or the full version which combines the two.
Select this link to return to the Gazetteer of Stations or Route Sections page.

Trevithick 1804-2004
February 21 2004 marked the 200th anniversary of the first steam train to run on rails. The historic journey began in Merthyr Tydfil, and throughout 2004, a series of commemorative
events took place, which can be reviewed
here.

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A Class 150 Sprinter crosses the River Cynon at Tynte, near PenrhiwceiberPictured (left) is a Class 150 Sprinter train crossing the River Cynon at Tynte, near Penrhiwceiber

Stations along the route include the market towns of Aberdare and Mountain Ash.

Aberdare
The indoor market is at the far end of the covered footbridge outside the station, which also leads to the main shopping area. Close to the station are the swimming pool and Michael Sobell leisure centre.
St John's Church is of great antiquity, in the churchyard of which David Watkins, who died in 1789, is buried in a standing position so that come resurrection day, he will be able to get a head start on the rest of us!
A new retail and light-industrial complex has been built on the site of Gadlys iron works, the surviving buildings of which have been turned into a museum.
In Trecynon, the Coliseum Cinema has been restored to its former glory, mixing top-class live theatre with the latest cinema blockbusters. Nearby, Aberdare Park has wooded walks and, for one weekend every Summer, stages the spectacular Aberdare Park motorcycle Road Races.
The path behind Scwd-yr-eira crossing from one side of the valley to the otherBeyond the western edge of the town, the 500-acre Dare Valley Country Park has camping and caravanning sites, which can be used as a base from which to explore the region. There is a visitor and inheritance centre which allows hands-on investigation of Aberdare's natural history and industrial past, while the park itself has facilities for fishing and pony trekking. For ramblers and walkers there are several trails, including Coed Morgannwg Way, a 33 mile trail which runs to Margam in the County of Neath and Port Talbot.
From the village of Penderyn, three miles outside the town, it is possible to walk over mountain moorland to Ysgwyd-yr-eira (the Fall of Snow), a waterfall on the Hepste River (right), remarkable because it is possible to walk behind the torrent of water from one side of the valley to the other.
Hirwaun (linked by feeder bus from Aberdare station)
Hirwaun was the location of Tower Colliery, the last deep mine in the once-extensive South Wales coalfield. A visitor centre at the mine told the story of how a successful employee buy-out saved the pit from certain closure when it was put up for sale by British Coal. On January 25 2008, almost exactly thirteen years after the proud miners marched for the first time to their pit, a march in the opposite direction marked its closure after remaining coal stocks became uneconomic to recover.The winding gear at Tower Colliery
Now the focus of a possible revival for the coal industry shifts over the mountain into the Vale of Neath, where new drift mines are due to open or already have been opened, although there remains the possibility of Tower being the base for an opencast site in the area. Whatever, the pithead winding gear (right) will remain at the site as a permanent reminder of one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of South Wales coalmining.
Cwmbach
serves mainly residential areas, but there are also a number of small industrial units close by. In a side valley to the south-west is Cwmaman, birthplace of Welsh super-group the Stereophonics. At the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, close by is the scenery and costume store of the Royal Opera House in London.
Fernhill
serves mainly residential areas, and also Mountain Ash Comprehensive School at Dyffryn.
Mountain Ash
This is the second largest town in the Cynon Valley, though the cultural importance it enjoyed with the celebrated choral and music festivals staged in the first half of the twentieth century has long evaporated. There is an outdoor market every Friday, but the highlight in the town's calendar is the Nos Galan road races, run through the streets on December 31st every year. The races commemorate legendary 19th-century athlete Guto Nythbran whose claims to fame include running to Pontypridd and back - a distance of seven miles - before the kettle boiled. His statue stands in Oxford Street; he is buried, however, in the churchyard at Llanwonno, reached by the mountain road which leads westward from the town.
Penrhiwceiber
is another station which serves residential communities.
Abercynon
also serves residential communities, but there is also a sports and leisure centre.

This page is an extract from the WalesRails pages. To access the main site select either the Taff Valleys and Cardiff section, the  Ebbw Vale (Western Valleys), Rhymney Valley, Cardiff and coast section, or the full version which combines the two.
Select this link to return to the Gazetteer of Stations or Route Sections page.

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Copyright 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 /12/13/14 by Deryck Lewis. All rights reserved.
Page created July 14 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Updated May 18 2014
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