Welcome to WalesRails

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

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Valley Lines

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Mid Wales
South Wales

National Network

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Gazetteer of Stations

About Wales

Arriva Trains Wales services on the
Taff Corridor Branch

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, Ebbw Vale, Cardiff and coast section, or the full version which combines the two.
Select one of these links 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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Known as the Taff corridor, the route remains close to the River Taff for most of its length. At Pontypridd - which has one of the longest platforms in the United Kingdom - the route diverges to serve the Treherbert and the Aberdare/ Merthyr Tydfil branches. In the heyday of coal traffic, this was one of the busiest junctions on the network where trains funnelled through the station at three-minute intervals. Always a bottle-neck on the system, congestion has been eased by the provision of a new Up platform, and a resignalling scheme which was officially inaugurated on March 18th 1998.
1999 saw the completion of a complete upgrade of the station and infrastructure.

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 to September 7 2014.

Mondays to Saturdays, there are five/six trains an hour at roughly 10-minute intervals, two of which travel to/from Treherbert, two to/from Aberdare and one to/from Merthyr Tydfil.
On Sundays, trains from Pontypridd run two-hourly to Cardiff at 48 minutes past the hour from Treherbert between 8.48am and 8.48pm; 24 minutes past the hour from Aberdare at 10.24 then two-hourly between 11.24am and 9.24pm; and 9 minutes past the hour from Merthyr Tydfil between 10.09pm and 10.09pm. During the validity of this timetable there will be slightly different timings and bus substitution at various times of day. Please check before travelling.
From Pontypridd, two-hourly Sunday trains to Treherbert leave at 36 minutes past the hour between 9.36am and 10.36pm; to Aberdare at 9.11am, then at 11 minutes past the hour  two-hourly between 10.11am and 8.11pm; and to Merthyr Tydfil at 57 minutes past the hour between 8.57am and 8.57pm. During the validity of this timetable there will be slightly different timings and bus substitution at various times of day. Please check before travelling.

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

Places of interest

Pontypridd
(called Newbridge until the 1860s) has a unique place in the industrial, cultural and religious heritage of South Wales, all brought together in the Cultural and Historical Centre housed, fittingly perhaps, in a converted chapel. The centre stands at one end of the single-span bridge erected at the fourth attempt by William Edwards in 1746; the 'new bridge' which gave the town its old name. In present-day Pontypridd, markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Ynysangharad Park offers swimming and paddling pools, tennis cricket, bowls and a putting green.
The memorial to Evan and John James, composers of the Welsh National Anthem, in Ynysangharad Park, PontypriddNational pride, too, is exemplified here with a memorial (pictured right) to father and son Evan and John James, the composers of Yr Hen Wlad Fy Nhaddau (Land of my Fathers), the Welsh National Anthem.
Above the park, on the common, is the rocking stone and druidic circle, a reminder of the 1926 eisteddfod. There is another druidic connection in Glyntaff Road where the 'round houses' once guarded the home of nineteenth century mystic Dr William Price who scandalised the neighbourhood by holding satanic rituals on the common. Even these paled in comparison to the outcry when he burnt the remains of his son, named Iesu Grist (the Welsh form of Jesus Christ), who died in infancy. The Doctor's subsequent trial paved the way to the legalisation of cremation as a means of disposal of human remains. Behind the station in Laura Street is the birthplace of the swivel-hipped rock superstar Tom Jones, who gave a live open-air concert in Ynysangharad Park in May 2005, and whose career shows no sign of flagging.
It is only by coincidence that
Treforest
is the location of Glyntaff Crematorium, close to which is the Pontypridd College of Art and Design. Outside the station, the former school of mining has now evolved into the University of Glamorgan.
Treforest Estate
serves an industrial complex opened in 1936, the first such estate in Wales built to try to shake off the effects of the Great Depression.
As a train passes between Taffs Well and Radyr, Castle Coch can be seen through the mist on the hillside at upper rightTaffs Well
The name provides a clue to the town's almost-forgotten eminence as a mid-Victorian spa, though the well itself still exists in the park which is a little over half-a-mile north of the station. In the opposite direction, in the village of Tongwynlais, is Castell Coch (the Red Castle) built on the ruin of a thirteenth century castle and modelled on a Rhineland chateau as a summer retreat and hunting lodge for the Marquis of Bute, whose town 'house' was at Cardiff Castle. The architect was the eccentric William Burges, whose work includes Cardiff Castle itself, the library of Hartford University in Connecticut, and Cork Cathedral in Ireland.A large tree is caught on Radyr Weir as a Cardiff-bound train passes on the railway beyond (At left, through the mist, Castell Coch can be seen amongst the trees on the hillside at upper right.)
Radyr
was an important marshalling yard on the valleys network, in the heyday of the coal traffic era. Today, the yard is closed and the site has disappeared under a number of housing developments. Radyr now serves only as a connecting point for passenger trains on City Line. The station has been shortened, with a third platform face introduced as part of resignalling on the City Line and the route to Queen Street via Llandaff.
The village cricket pitch is just outside the station, and there are pleasant walks along the River Taff to Radyr Weir (pictured right) where salmon may be seen leaping in season. The path also gives access to the Forest Farm and Glamorganshire Canal nature reserves.
Llandaf
station is more conveniently located for the village of Whitchurch, rather than for Llandaf Cathedral as may be presumed. Nevertheless, the Cathedral can be reached, either by bus or on foot. Along the way, rowers from Llandaf Rowing Club often add a touch of colour when glimpsed from the bridge over the Taff, or from the riverside pathway.
Just before Cathays is reached, on the left-hand side of the train stood the Taff Vale Railway's Cathays Carriage and Wagon Works. Outside the station is University College, the Students' Union and the Sherman Theatre. The station is also convenient for the northern end of Cathays Park, which includes the Welsh Office, the Temple of Peace, and the College of Music and Drama, behind which is Coopers Fields and Bute Park.
Cardiff Queen Street
is the station which serves the eastern end of the city centre, giving access to the shopping thoroughfare of Queen Street, and the Capitol Shopping Mall. It is also the interchange for trains serving the Rhymney Valley and Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff Central
is Cardiff's main railway station, which links to the national network, with trains operated by Great Western Trains and the Arriva Trains Wales company.

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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