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Treherbert 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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TREHERBERT BRANCH

The Treherbert branch runs from Pontypridd along the Rhondda Fawr (Big Rhondda) valley, once synonymous throughout the world with coal mining.

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.

From Treherbert, Monday to Saturday services to Cardiff operate half-hourly at 17 and 47 minutes past the hour between 05.47am and 8.17pm, then at 9.17pm.
On Sundays, trains run at 8.17am, 10.07am, 12.07pm, 2.17pm, 4.17pm 6.17pm and 8.17pm.
From Cardiff Central, Monday to Saturday, there are half-hourly departures at 6 and 36 minutes past the hour between 6.36am and 7.06pm, and at 8.06pm, 9.06pm and 10.06pm and 10.46pm.
On Sundays, trains run at 9.00am, 11.00am, 1.06pm, 3.06pm, 5.06pm 7.06pm, 9.06pm and 10.06pm.

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

Other stations to Pontypridd (with journey times from Treherbert in minutes) are: Ynyswen (2 mins); Treorchy (4); Ton Pentre (6); Ystrad Rhondda (9); Llwynypia (13); Tonypandy (15); Dinas (17); Porth (21); Trehafod (24); and Pontypridd (29). Select here for stations between Cardiff and Pontypridd.
At Treherbert there are bus links to Blaenrhondda and Blaencwm, while at Ystrad Rhondda there is a bus feeder which runs over Penrhys mountain to serve villages in the Rhondda Fach (Little Rhondda) valley.

Trehafod
The Rhondda Heritage Park as seen from a passing trainThe gateway to the Rhondda (despite the literal translation of Porth, the next station up the line), the community nestles in a hollow at the foot of the valley, the railway elevated above it. The Rhondda Heritage Park (pictured right, as seen from a passing train) has been developed around the pit head of Lewis Merthyr colliery, which closed in 1983. Former miners are the guides, giving personal as well as historical accounts of life underground. Exhibits and audio-visual presentations recreate the domestic and cultural life of the community in the heyday of coalmining. The 'Energy Zone' is a theme-based adventure playground for children, and there is also an art gallery and conference centre. Adjoining the site is the recently-built Heritage Park Hotel. Towards Pontypridd, Hetty Pit is also part of the complex, but plans to link the two sites by steam railway have been shelved.
Porth
A bustling town at the convergence of the two Rhondda valleys, its name translates as 'gateway'. The main centre is Hannah Street, a quiz-question favourite as the only shopping thoroughfare in the Rhondda without a public house! Once famed, not so much for taking the waters, as providing them, it was the home of Thomas and Evans provision merchants, who made the range of 'Corona' soft drinks. To the left of the train, at the outskirts of the town, Thomas and Evans's tower is still a landmark, and although the company ceased trading many years ago, the building, now known as the Pop Factory,   is still in use as media centre, producing audio and visual presentations for broadcast and domestic release. An open-air market is held on the site of Cymmer Colliery. Cymmer - this name means convergence of two rivers - the hillside community above Porth was the site of one of the valley's earliest - and largest - congregational chapels, which was dismantled stone-by-stone and is to be rebuilt at the Rhondda Heritage Park (see Trehafod above).
Dinas (Mid Glam)
Mainly residential, the station also serves Lower Trealaw and 'Y Pymer' district of Penygraig. It was here that the Rhondda first deep mine was sunk by Walter Coffin in 1822. In the forecourt of the block of maisonettes across the river from the station, a concrete capstone marks the shaft of one of the later pits on the site. In Lower Trealaw, Maes-yr-haf, a recreational centre founded by the Quakers and once very important in the cultural life of the community, still exists, though now council-run and much contracted. Garth Park - built by local unemployed miners during the depression - once a pleasant retreat offering swimming, bowls, tennis and football - was allowed to become overgrown and derelict, but there is a clean-up underway. Without the swimming and football, Penygraig Park on the opposite side of the valley still hints at the formal type of municipal park, once prevalent throughout the Rhondda, which has its bowling green intact.
Tonypandy
Once known as Tonypandy and Trealaw station, the station actually stands in Trealaw, the river forming the boundary between the two communities. Tonypandy, however, is undoubtedly the most important of the two, famous - or infamous, according to your point of view - for the 1910 riots, when troops were called to quell civil and industrial unrest in the coalfield. Though peaceful now, the action of the then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, still raises the hackles of some of its older citizens. The partially pedestrianised main shopping street begins almost outside the station, and extends for nearly a mile. Behind the pedestrianised section is an outdoor market, while the Theatre Royal (locally known as the Town Hall), one of Rhondda's earliest places of entertainment, has been converted into an indoor market.
The bus station is at the other end of town from the railway station, where a side valley leads to Clydach Vale, location of the Rhondda's last major mining disaster at the Cambrian Colliery where 31 men lost their lives in 1965. A memorial marks the pit shaft, but the site has been landscaped with a modern housing complex.
To the south, is Penygraig. Here, the Naval Colliery once bordered the railway from Dinas to Tonypandy, but the site of the pithead buildings is today occupied by Penygraig Rugby Club's field, and a number of light industrial units. A new public house - called the Lord Tonypandy, after one of mid-Rhondda's famous sons: George Thomas, Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House of Commons - now stands on the site of the colliery screens where loaded wagons lined up to begin their journey to the docks at Cardiff. On the mountainside above Penygraig - which offers strenuous but pleasant walking - is Mid-Rhondda Comprehensive School, built on the site of yet another former colliery, Nantgwyn.
Trealaw retains little of its character of yester-year. Always predominantly a dormitory of Tonypandy, it nevertheless had an identity of its own. Now, with many of its chapels and cultural centres closed down, it is mainly residential save for Judge's Hall, a Bingo and Snooker community centre, adjoining the station.
Llwynypia
Glyncornel Lake and Sports Centre are a little distance from the station, with archery club and Youth Hostel. Spectacular forest walks can be found on the mountainside beyond. Towards Tonypandy, the Engine House of the Glamorgan Colliery - known to locals as Scotch Colliery - is preserved, though no-one seems to know what to do with it. Closer to Tonypandy, Llwynypia Library Club has been demolished, but in the grounds, is still the sadly neglected statue of Archibald Hood, imperiously pointing toward the Glamorgan Colliery complex which he founded. Unusually enlightened for a colliery owner, around him are the terraces he built for his workers, replete with gardens. East from the station are residential areas and light-industrial factories, while Llwynypia Hospital nestles on the mountainside, atop which is Penrhys housing estate (see Ystrad Rhondda), and Penrhys Golf Club. St. Mary's Well and the statue of Our Lady Of Penrhys, are Roman Catholic shrines of pilgrimage, once attended by thousands of worshippers every year. At Pontrhondda is a Technical College, while at the far end of Gelligaled Park is Ystrad Sports Centre (see Ystrad Rhondda below)
Ystrad Rhondda
A Treherbert-bound train (right) enters the passing where the Cardiff-bound train has been waitingThe newest (with Ynyswen) station on the branch, it was opened in 1988. This is the location of the only passing loop on the branch, and trains wait here for the service in the opposite direction before proceeding (pictured right). A short distance down-line is Ystrad Sports Centre, which offers swimming and a full range of indoor sports. Sports of the outdoor variety - football, rugby and cricket - is catered for in surrounding Gelligaled Park, which also has tree-lined walks and a children's paddling pool.
From the station forecourt, the Railink bus runs over the mountain to connect with communities in the Rhondda Fach Valley.
The footbridge over the river opens out in Nantgwyddion Road, from where there is access to extensive walks on the mountainside.
Ton Pentre
Until Ynyswen and Ystrad stations opened in 1988, this station was known as Ystrad Rhondda, but was renamed as more appropriate to the community it served. The Phoenix Cinema - run as a co-operative - was once the Ton Pentre Workmens' Hall.
The Park and Dare Theatre at TreorchyTreorchy
World-famed for choral singing and brass bands, Treorchy has developed on a broad floodplain - a rarity in the steeply contoured valley terrain - and is the main shopping centre for the upper Rhondda Fawr. Immediately outside the station is the Parc and Dare Theatre (pictured left), a beautifully restored former Workmen's Hall, rapidly establishing itself as the cultural hub of valley communities. The Parc and Dare collieries were situated at Cwmparc, set in a side valley to the west of Treorchy. Running almost parallel to Cwmparc is the Bwlch (the Gap), a high mountain pass which links the Rhondda with the neighbouring Llynfi and Ogmore valleys, and offers splendid views for the agile summer visitor.
Ynyswen
Opened in 1988, the station serves a small industrial estate and nearby houses. A short distance away is a Taff Vale Railway lattice footbridge, one of the increasingly rare original artefacts which survive on the Branch.
Treherbert
Now the terminus of the branch, the line once continued to Blaenrhondda then tunnelled through the mountain and on to Port Talbot, Aberavon and Swansea. There is little evidence of the engine and carriage sheds that once stood here.  Treherbert was part of the Bute estate, a fact reflected in the names of many places and institutions in the town - for example the Ninian Stuart Club is passed on the way to Bute Street. The Rhigos mountain pass links the Rhondda with Aberdare, and like the Bwlch, offers splendid views. Though, with varying degrees of ease, there is access to the open mountain moorland from all of the stations along the route, Treherbert is the start of spectacular walks to waterfalls at the head of the valley.

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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