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

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Valley Lines

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North Wales
Mid Wales
South Wales

National Network

Route Sections

Gazetteer of Stations

About Wales

Arriva Trains Wales services on the
Penarth and Barry Island Branches

This  is an extract from the page on Valley Lines. 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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Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from May 18 2014 to September 7 2014.

To/from Barry Island
From Barry Island
, Monday to Saturday services to Cardiff operate at 5.15am, 5.50am, 6.25am and 6.55am, then at 25, 40 and 55 minutes past the hour between 7.25 am and 7.25pm then at 7.55pm, 8.55pm, 9.55pm and 10.44pm.
On Sundays, there are departures at 8.55am and 9.55am, then at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour between 10.25am and 9.55pm, and at 10.55pm.
From Cardiff Central, Monday to Saturday, there are departures  for Barry Island at 5.20am, 5.55am, 6.25am and 6.55am, then at 10, 25 and 55 minutes past the hour between 7.10am and 6.25pm, then at 6.55pm, 7.25pm, 8.10pm, 9.10pm, 10.10pm and 11.30pm.

On Sundays, trains from Cardiff Central to Barry Island leave at 8.25am, then at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour between 9.25am and 9.25pm, and at 10.25pm. On the Vale of Glamorgan Line, services are two-hourly.

Departures from Cardiff Central at 41 minutes past the hour between 5.48am and 10.41pm serve stations on the Vale of Glamorgan Line with an hourly service to/from Bridgend, calling at Llantwit Major and Rhoose Cardiff International Airport.
 

To/from Penarth
On weekdays, services to Penarth are three/four per hour between 5.46am and 9.01pm, then at 9.31pm , 10.01pm, 1031pm and 11.12pm. Services from Penarth leave fifteen to twenty minutes later than their departure times from Cardiff Central.
Sunday services to Penarth leave Cardiff Central two-hourly between 11.55am and 7.55pm. Trains return from Penarth two-hourly between 10.47am  and 8.47pm.

Special fares and/or timetables will apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Earlier last century, both Penarth and Barry Island were noted holiday resorts, but their individual character couldn't be more different. While Penarth maintained an air of gentility, Barry Island offered a lively anything-goes atmosphere of comic postcards, candy floss, and kiss-me-quick hats.
Today, both resorts are pale shadows of their former selves. Penarth still goes primly about its business, enlivened only by the occasional visit of the cross channel steamers, while Barry Island is striving to lose its run-down image, with the development of a vibrant Waterfront development around the former No 1 Dock.

Places of Interest

Soon after leaving Cardiff Central the train passes Canton locomotive and rolling stock depot (right) where Valley lines trains are serviced and maintained.
Grangetown is the first stop on the route, which serves a mainly residential area, though turn left outside the station, and Penarth Road bristles with second-hand car dealers and do-it-yourself superstores.
From Grangetown station the view is rather uninspiring until the train passes over the River Ely, which allows a brief glimpse (left) of the marina and Cardiff Bay Barrage down river.
Soon the route divides, trains for Penarth taking the left-hand fork, and travelling in a cutting until
Dingle Road Halt
is reached. Dingle Road serves the eastern fringe of Penarth.
Penarth
is a short distance further along the line. The promenade and pier are reached via the Dingle, a flight of tree-lined steps at the top of which is Turner House, a satellite of the Museum of Wales famed for its watercolour displays. Halfway down the Dingle is one of the entrances to Alexandra Park. The pier is frequently visit by steam boats and paddle steamers offering trips to various resorts along the Bristol Channel, while the Yacht Club is at the other end of the promenade, which also gives access to a cliff-top walk which gives excellent views across the Bristol Channel to the islands of Flat Holm, Steep Holm, and the coast of Somerset and North Devon. Flat Holm is administered by Cardiff City and County Council and is thus the most southerly point of Wales (see also Rhoose, below).

Taking the line to Barry Island, soon after the divergence of the Penarth branch
Cogan
station is reached. Close at hand is Penarth Leisure Centre, which offers swimming and a wide selection of indoor sports. At the top of the hill overlooking the village is Llandough Hospital.
From Cogan station the line travels atop an embankment until it enters a short tunnel.
Eastbrook
station is soon reached after the train emerges from the tunnel. The newest station on the branch, it opened in 1987 as part of the Mid and South Glamorgan joint rail development strategy, to serve the eastern part of
Dinas Powys
which is the next station along. Dinas Powys is a semi-rural village with the common located behind the houses on the right-hand side of the railway. The remains of Dinas Powys Castle overlook the golf clubhouse, northeast of the station.
Cadoxton
is a suburb of Barry surrounded by steep hills, but dominated on the seaward side by a refinery and other industrial works. It was once an important rail junction with the Barry Railway's line carrying coal to Barry docks from mines in the Rhondda.
Soon after leaving Cadoxton, on the left of the train can be seen the start of the former Barry docks complex.
Barry Dock
station consists of a long curved island platform reached via a subway which once was thronged with workers going on and off shift. From the train, the view left is dominated by the Docks Office Building, the headquarters of the Barry Railway Company. Outside the building is the statue of David Davies, a typical Victorian businessman who started his railway career in Mid Wales, founded the Ocean Colliery complex in the Upper Rhondda, and went on to co-found the Barry Railway and docks.
The locomotive Davies the Ocean was named in his honour, but, while his entrepreneurial spirit cannot be denied, it can be argued that had he persisted with his initial reluctance to get involved with the venture, the new docks at Barry may not have materialised. Perhaps more credit should go to his fellow coal owners such as Archibald Hood, who urged the Barry cause. Hood's role has been overshadowed and he becomes just a sad footnote in the South Wales coalfields history. Though even sadder is the neglect of his statue - imperiously pointing to the site of his Glamorgan 'Scotch' colliery - in the grounds of the demolished library he built for the education of his workers not far from Llwynypia station on the Treherbert branch.
On route to Barry station, a bridge over the tracks marks the site of a possible new station to be called Barry Central, which would also have been the eventual terminus of the Barry Island Railway (BIR). Unfortunately, the BIR has been forced to leave Barry and Barry Island. A change of heart by the Vale of Glamorgan County Council led to the withdrawal of the Council's financial backing for the venture. The BIR has now re-established itself with the Garw Valley Railway Company at Pontycymmer in the Bridgend valleys. Soon after passing Morrison's supermarket on the left of the train can be seen the Skills Centre, a workshop where engineering trainees would have carried out restoration of the BIR's wagons and locos. The former BIR facilities have been taken over by Cambrian Trains.
Prestigious housing estates are going up on the  development springing up around the old No 1 Dock, now renamed The Waterfront.
Barry
A Barry Railway signal box stands at the end of the Down platform at Barry station, while behind the station is the Barry Railway loco shed, now used for storage of the remaining examples from the Barry Ten Collection of the types of locomotives which operated in Wales during the steam era. These were intended to form the nucleus of a railway heritage centre, but with the demise of the BIR, plans have been drastically curtailed, though Cambrian Trains announced a restoration programme in May 2010.
Outside the station is Broad Street, behind which is the High Street shopping area.
To the west is Romilly Park, and Cold Knapp lake and pebble beach. Further along the coast is Porthkerry Park (see below) and the viaduct which carries the Vale of Glamorgan passenger branch services to Bridgend and freight trains carrying coal to Aberthaw Power Station.
From Barry station, the route straight ahead leads to Bridgend, but our journey follows the line that curves sharply left before heading out along the causeway, flanked by the filled-in docks on the left and the Old Harbour on the right. Before the causeway was constructed in 1889, Barry Island was truly an island, separated from the main land by the estuary of the Cadoxton River, developed as a resort with the coming of the railway on August 3 1896.
Barry Island
The station building which had been completely refurbished to become part of the Barry Island Railway's heritage centre dates back to 1896, but is now disused.
Not far from the station building entrance is Fun Harbour, a three-storey family amusement centre, while directly opposite the entrance to Barry Island station is Barry Island pleasure park which is in a state of flux at the moment while the owner considers various options to revamp the site..
Beyond the pleasure park is the promenade, with amusement arcades and the Barry Rollerdrome, South Wales' premier rollerblading centre, and the futuristic laser combat game Quasar.
Below the promenade - made famous, like other parts of Barry, by the television series Gavin and Stacey and latterly Being Human - is the broad sweep of Whitmore Bay, one of two bathing beaches in the resort. The other is Jackson's Bay, reached by the footpath which skirts the eastern headland or via the road passing the site of the Majestic Holiday Camp which closed after the 1996 season, but which has been developed by the Vale of Glamorgan County Council to be used for residential and leisure redevelopment.

Since June 12 2005, some trains from Cardiff Central use the reopened Vale of Glamorgan branch to Bridgend. Continuing from Barry station:

People play and stroll in Porthkerry Park as a four-car train passes over the viaductThe route passes through the scenic Vale of Glamorgan, though unfortunately much of this aspect is lost as many stretches of the track are located in cuttings. However, soon after leaving Barry and passing through Porthkerry Tunnel, the line passes over Porthkerry Viaduct , with a pleasing view to the left of the train over Porthkerry Park (from which a train on the viaduct is pictured, left) and the Bristol Channel. To the right, the view looks up a small valley with Cardiff International Airport on the skyline at the top.

The following stations on the Vale of Glamorgan branch are served: (Figures after the stations show the journey times from Barry, with the times from Bridgend in brackets)

Rhoose Cardiff International Airport 6 mins (23)
Rhoose is linked with a bus shuttle service to the airport which by road is about a mile away.
The village of Rhoose itself is about 400 metres north of the station. There are a number of caravan parks in the area.
South of the station there is a pebble beach, to the east of which is Rhoose Point, the most southerly point of mainland Wales. (Out in the Bristol Channel is the island of Flat Holm, administered by Cardiff County Council, and thus the most southerly point of the principality).
Situated on the Glamorgan Coastal path, the coastline consists of rocky headlands breached only where rivers flow into the Bristol Channel, except  where Aberthaw Power Station is located, a couple of miles to the west.
Llantwit Major 17 mins (12)
Llantwit Major is one of the principal towns in the Vale of Glamorgan, and has a great significance in the county's religious history.
St Illtyd's Church is the largest in Glamorgan, parts of which date from the 12th century, but it was founded around 500AD and contains Celtic crosses of the 9th century.
The ruined Grange with its intact dovecote dates from the 13th century while streets and houses can be traced back to the 16th century - some of the latter are now the town's public houses. Castle Street contains, not a castle, but the Old Place, a 16th century manor house.
The sand and pebble beach is two kilometres to the southwest, from where there is a coastal walk. St Donat's Castle, once owned by William Randolph Hearst and now an Arts and Outward Bound centre, is about 2 kilometres along the cliff-top path to the west.
Bridgend 30 mins
A market town, Bridgend gives access to the Vale of Glamorgan, and has a number of medieval castle ruins in the area. Among these are Coity and Ogmore, the latter close to stepping stones across the River Ogmore which also gives access to the Glamorgan Coastal Path. Two miles from Bridgend is the village of Ewenny, with its pottery and Norman Priory. North of the town are the formerly industrialised valleys of Llynfi, Garw and Ogmore, while to the west is the traditional seaside resort of Porthcawl. Arriva Trains Wales run services into the Llynfi Valley serving stations to Maesteg.

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This page is an extract from the Valley Lines 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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