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Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway

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Location: 51 46N 3 06W; UK National Grid Ref: SO 237 092

Council Offices, 101 High Street, BLAENAVON,
Torfaen, United Kingdom. NP4 9PT
Telephone +44 01495 792263

Email: info@pbrly.co.uk

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History.......The railway today............... Locos and Stock
Days, times and Fares .....Getting there.....Nearby attractions

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 Please note! Days and Special Events shown are for 2013, but Times shown are for 2012. The page will be updated as soon as possible.

The Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway Company (PBRC) is located high on bleak mountain moorland in the county of Torfaen, but despite its remote location, it is well worth a visit not only for its setting - and the steepest gradients on a preserved railway in Great Britain -  but also for the wide variety of stock located there. Last year, the two-mile extension to Blaenavon High Level opened, and the branch to Big Pit is in operation this season.

On November 30 2000, Blaenavon was declared a World Heritage site, thanks to its history which placed the town at the forefront of the industrial revolution.

History

The Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway operates over a section of line opened in 1869 by the Brynmawr and Blaenavon Railway Company, supported by the London and North Western Railway.
Over the next few years the line was extended down the valley to join the Great Western Railway at Abersychan and Talywain, passing over the impressive Garndiffaith viaduct which still stands in noble isolation near Talywain.
Meanwhile, the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company was developing a railway between Newport and Pontypool, eventually linked to the LNWR line from Talywain, and it is part of this route which the PBRC is developing as a preserved railway.

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The line today

At present, the P&BR operates from Blaenavon (High Level), via Furnace Sidings, to Garn-yr-Erw, adjacent to the Whistle Inn - celebrated in Alexander Cordell's novel Rape of the Fair Country - and home to an extensive collection of miners' lamps.
The PBRC is pressing ahead with an extension south, initially to construct a halt to serve
Big Pit mining museum, then onward to Blaenavon South and Varteg.
When the extension northward to Waunavon goes ahead, it will give the P&BR the distinction of operating to the one-time highest station in England and Wales - 1,401 feet above sea level.
The picture shows an English Electric Shunting loco and wagons on the link to the workshops.
On trains and in the platform shop, gifts, models and souvenirs can be purchased, or, in Blaenavon itself, a wider range of goods are available from the railway shop at No 13 Broad Street.

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Locos and rolling stock

The P&BR is home to over 80 locos and pieces of rolling stock, so the complete list is far to big to enumerate here (though perhaps at a later date).
Also at Blaenavon is rolling stock stored for other preserved railway societies, not fortunate enough to have the necessary space to accommodate their acquisitions.

Days and times 2013

March/April

March 29 to April 1st; 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th

May

4th, 5th 6th, 11th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th and 27th

June

1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th

July

6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th and 31st

August

1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 21st,

September

14th and 15th

October

30th and 31st

November

 

December

1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd

 (The timetable for 2013 is available but the WalesRails page has not been updated yet. 2012 times are shown as a guide)

Match the colours of the dates above with the timetables below.

    Steam Off-Peak     Steam Super Off-Peak    Steam Events
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb  Diesel Off-Peak     Diesel Super Off-Peak     Diesel Events
Whistle Inn dep   11:55 13:10 14:25 15:40 16:55     11:30 12:15 13:00 13:45 14:30 15:15 16:00     11:40 12:40 13:40 14:40 15:40 16:40
Furnace Sidings arr 10:45 11:59 13:14 14:29 15:44 16:59   10:45 11:35 12:20 13:05 13:50 14:35 15:20 16:05   10:45 11:45 12:45 13:45 14:45 15:45 16:45
Furnace Sidings dep 11:00 12:15 13:30 14:45 16:00 17:05   11:00 11:45 12:30 13:15 14:00 14:45 15:30 16:15   11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:55
Big Pit Halt arr 11:03 12:18 13:33 14:48 16:03 17:08   11:05 11:50 12:35 13:20 14:05 14:50 15:35 16:20   11:10 12:10 13:10 14:10 15:10 16:10  
Big Pit Halt dep 11:08 12:23 13:38 14:53 16:08 17:10   11:10 11:55 12:40 13:25 14:10 14:55 15:40 16:25   11:15 12:15 13:15 14:15 15:15 16:16  
Furnace Sidings arr 11:12 12:27 13:42 14:57 16:12 17:14                                  
Furnace Sidings dep 11:15 12:30 13:45 15:00 16:15 17:20                                  
Blaenavon (HL) arr 11:25 12:40 13:55 15:10 16:25                                    
Blaenavon (HL) dep 11:30 12:45 14:00 15:15 16:30                                    
Furnace Sidings arr 11:40 12:55 14:10 15:25 16:40     11:15 12:00 12:45 13:30 14:15 15:00 15:45 16:30   11:25 12:25 13:25 14:25 15:25 16:25  
Furnace Sdngs dep 11:45 13:00 14:15 15:30 16:45     11:20 12:05 12:50 13:35 14:20 15:05 15:50 16:40   11:30 12:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30  
Whistle Inn arr 11:49 13:04 14:19 15:34 16:49     11:25 12:10 12:55 13:40 14:25 15:10 15:55     11:35 12:35 13:35 14:35 15:35 16:35  
 

  Steam Events dates

Furnace Sidings d 10:40 11:10 11:40 12:10 12:40 13:10 13:40 14:10 14:40 15:10 15:40 16:10 16:40
Big pit Halt a 10:45 11:15 11:45 12:15 12:45 13:15 13:45 14:15 14:45 15:15 15:45 16:15 16:45
Big Pit Halt d 10:50 11:20 11:50 12:20 12:50 13:20 13:50 14:20 14:50 15:20 15:50 16:20 17:00
Furnace Sidings a 10:55 11:25 11:55 12:25 12:55 13:25 13:55 14:25 14:55 15:25 15:55 16:25 17:05

A Special timetable applies for the Ghost Trains on October 27th, 28th and 31st
Santa Specials run between Furnace Sidings and Whistle Inn only
Your return ticket is valid all day for as many trips as you wish, except on Special Event days
 

Special Events 2013*

March 29th to April 1st Easter Bunnies
May 25th - 27th
Teddy Bears' Picnic

July 6th and 7th Wartime Weekend

July  20th and21st Model Railway Show

August 10th and 11th  Family Fun Weekend

August 25th and 26th Eleventh Grand Transport Rally

September 14th and 15th  Steam Gala

October 30th and 31st Ghost Train

Santa Specials

Saturdays and Sundays December 7th and 8th December 14th and 15th December 21st and 22nd
 
* Special Fares and Timetable apply on Event Days

Fares

Adult Return 6.50
Child Return 4.00
Family Return 17.00
Family tickets are for two adults and up to three children
Return tickets are Pay Once, Ride all day.

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Nearby attractions

Big Pit is a major tourist attraction based on the former Big Pit colliery which closed in 1980 after 100 years of operation. Coal from the mine was brought to the Washery at Furnace Sidings, a few hundred yards away.
A visit to Big Pit begins with a ride in the pit cage to a coal face 300ft below the surface, where former miners help recreate the atmosphere of a working pit in the heyday of coalmining.
Across the Valley is the site of the former Blaenavon Iron Works, also a museum to past 'glories'.

In 2007, Blaenavon featured in the BBC Wales television series Coal House, which placed three families back in 1927, where they had to cope with the hardship and deprivation faced by families at that time. In 2008 the experiment was repeated, but this time the families experienced living through World War II restrictions.

In Blaenavon itself, the Workmen's Hall - paid for by miners through weekly deductions from their pay - has been refurbished to become one of the major cultural and arts venues in the Gwent valleys.

Garn Lakes result from a land reclamation scheme, and are ideal for walking or a picnic after a ride on the railway.

At Clydach, three miles away, another ironworks has been restored, and is another example of the area's pre-eminence in the industrial revolution.

The Heritage Centre at Pontypool details the history of the area, and includes a photographic display showing some aspects of the former railway network around Blaenavon.

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How to get there

The P&BR can be accessed by road from the A465 Heads of the Valleys trunk road, by joining the A4063 road at Brynmawr. The A4063 also links the railway with Pontypool.
Blaenavon is served by buses from Abergavenny, Pontypool, Cwmbran and Newport, all of which are on the national railway network.

For details of connecting services, including travel planner and timetables, visit the Traveline Cymru website.

Select link to go to Pontypool and Blaenavon's official Website

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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 22 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Updated May 27 2013
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails