Vale of Neath Railway


This line is mostly open except for its mid section between Resolven and Tower Colliery, near Aberdare and a connection to Merthyr Tydfil. Despite this latter closure, the line's terminus, albeit in re-built much reduced form, still exists in Merthyr Tydfil.


  /  /    Powell Duffryn Private Railway
Line ran from Middle Duffryn Colliery on the Vale of Neath Railway over the Taff Vale Railway to join a line from Aberaman and on up the Aman Valley.
03/08/1846Vale of Neath Railway
Act passed for broad gauge line from Neath to Aberdare and a branch to Merthyr.
01/01/1847Aberdare Railway
Line leased by the Taff Vale Railway to halt the expansion eastwards of the Vale of Neath Railway.
  /05/1847Vale of Neath Railway
Construction of Merthyr Branch and tunnel begins.
24/09/1851Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare opened.
24/09/1851Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdylais opened.
24/09/1851Vale of Neath Railway
Opened from Neath to Aberdare for passengers.
  /12/1851Vale of Neath Railway
Opened to goods.
  /06/1853Vale of Neath Railway
Extended from Aberdare to the Aberdare Canal basin. Pig Iron from Hirwaun could be loaded onto canal barges and coal from Middle Duffryn Colliery taken to Hirwaun.
02/11/1853Vale of Neath Railway
Broad gauge line from Gelli Tarw Junction, through tunnel to Merthyr High Street opened.
  /11/1854Vale of Neath Railway
Abernant opened.
07/11/1854Vale of Neath Railway
Dare Branch opened. The line originally ran from Gelli Tarw to Dare Junction where trains reversed to run to Nantmelyn Colliery in the Dare Valley.
02/07/1855Aberdare Valley Railway
Act for the Vale of Neath Railway to connect from Aberdare to Middle Duffryn Colliery. Chairman: Henry Austin Bruce.
  /  /1856Vale of Neath Railway
Dare Branch extended from Dare Junction to Cwmaman Colliery in the Aman Valley.
  /11/1856Aberdare Valley Railway
Opened, worked by the Vale of Neath Railway.
  /06/1857Vale of Neath Railway
Dare Branch extended from Nantmelyn Colliery to Bwlffa Dare Colliery.
  /  /1858Vale of Neath Railway
Isambard Kingdom Brunel ceases to be engineer and is replaced by Joshua Williams.
  /  /1858Dowlais Railway, Vale of Neath Railway
Connection opened.
  /  /1861Vale of Neath Railway
Leases the Swansea Harbour Trustees Railway.
  /  /1862Vale of Neath Railway
Plan to lay third rail to allow standard gauge trains to run from Pontypool, via the Taff Vale Extension, to Neath.
  /  /1863Vale of Neath Railway
Third rail laid.
  /  /1863Swansea and Neath RailwayVale of Neath Railway
Swansea and Neath Railway acquired by the Vale of Neath Railway.
21/07/1863Dare Valley Railway
Act for line promoted by the Taff Vale Railway to run from Dare Valley Junction, by Aberdare station, to pass under the Vale of Neath Railway Dare Branch and on to Nantmelyn Colliery and Bwlffa Dare Colliery. A branch to Hirwaun was also planned, but not built. Contractor: George Fisher of the Taff Vale Railway.
  /  /1864Vale of Neath Railway
Connection to the Aberdare Railway opened at Aberdare Gadlys Junction.
01/01/1864Aberdare Valley Railway
Absorbed by the Vale of Neath Railway.
18/04/1864Taff Vale Extension
Line extended from Quaker's Yard (Low Level) to meet the Vale of Neath Railway at Middle Duffryn Junction. Opened for goods.
18/04/1864Taff Vale Extension
Opened from Quakers Yard to Middle Duffryn Junction to meet the Vale of Neath Railway.
01/02/1865Vale of Neath Railway
Great Western Railway works the line as part of its network.
30/07/1865London and North Western Railway
Makes traffic agreement with the Vale of Neath Railway.
05/10/1865London and North Western Railway
Uses running powers over the Taff Vale Extension Railway and an agreement with the Vale of Neath Railway to serve Swansea.
  /11/1873London and North Western Railway South Wales
Bill for line to Merthyr and the Brecon and Merthyr Railway, Vale of Neath Railway and Geothin Railway.
16/05/1874Vale of Neath Railway
Train heading towards Neath breaks loose and runs into Merthyr station. It collides with a Brecon and Merthyr Railway train. One killed and fifty injured.
01/08/1877Taff Vale Railway
Passenger trains transferred from Merthyr Plymouth Street to Merthyr High Street. Connection from Brandy Bridge Junction to Mardy Junction (Vale of Neath Railway) opened. The connection was joint Great Western Railway and Taff Vale Railway.
01/04/1886Quakers Yard and Merthyr Joint Railway (Great Western Railway and Rhymney Railway)
Opened. The line connected to the Crawshays Private Railway and the Vale of Neath Railway at Merthyr. Joint Great Western Railway and Rhymney Railway.
  /05/1903Vale of Neath Railway
Aberffrwd opened.
  /  /1924Vale of Neath Railway
Six halts between Dare Junction and Cwmaman used for works trains are closed.
01/07/1924Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare renamed Aberdare High Level.
31/08/1939Vale of Neath Railway
Aberffrwd closed.
23/07/1945Vale of Neath Railway
Aberffrwd re-opened.
  /  /1947Vale of Neath Railway
Two of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's timber viaducts, the 600ft Gamlyn Viaduct and 450ft Dare Viaduct, are demolished on the closure of lines.
  /  /1953Vale of Neath Railway
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Timber roof removed from Merthyr station which had five platforms.
07/06/1954Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdylais renamed Aberdylais Halt.
  /  /1955Vale of Neath Railway
Dare Branch completely closed.
31/12/1962Vale of Neath Railway
Abernant closed
31/12/1962Vale of Neath Railway
Merthyr Branch closed to passengers.
15/06/1964Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare High Level closed
15/06/1964Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdylais Halt closed
15/06/1964Taff Vale Extension, Vale of Neath Railway
Closed to passengers.
02/10/1967Vale of Neath Railway
Glyn Neath to Hirwaun Pond closed.
  /  /1971Vale of Neath Railway
Merthyr High Street replaced by single platforms station and car park.
29/11/1971Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare High Level to Middle Duffryn Junction closed.
29/07/1973Aberdare Railway Vale of Neath Railway
Connection made from Cwmbach Junction to the former route of the Vale of Neath Railway. A crossing of the River Cynon required a bridge and a bridge from the Oxford and Princes Risborough line was used. Vale of Neath Railway reopened from there to Aberdare to provide access to Tower Colliery.
29/07/1973Aberdare Railway
Closed between Cwmbach Junction and Aberdare on re-opening of Vale of Neath Railway route. This allowed road improvements, elimination of a level crossing, and property development and was financed by the council.
  /10/1980Vale of Neath Railway
Aberdare High Level closed

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Neath to Merthyr

37796 and 37802 head empty mgr wagons through Resolven, en route from Aberthaw to Cwmgwrach, on 16 May 1996. The line is now out of use, the last ...
Roger Geach 16/05/1996
1 of 1 images.

This is a single platform station. ...

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Pacer 142080 awaits departure at Merthyr Tydfil with the 18.08 to Cardiff Central and Barry Island on 20 October 2015. The eight mile branch from ...
Bill Roberton 20/10/2015
I believe this was the tunnel heading into the grounds of Cyfartha Castle on the Pen-y-Darren Tramway. Unfortunately the two gents in the picture ...
Ken Strachan 30/06/2018
143623 waits to leave Merthyr Tydfil on the 08.38 twin unit service to Bridgend via Barry on 10 December 2010. Standing room only by Llandaff. ...
David Pesterfield 10/12/2010
150260 rests at Merthyr Tydfil on 7 August before forming the 09.38 service to Bridgend via Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan line. ...
David Pesterfield 07/08/2012
4 of 5 images. more

The Vale of Neath Railway station in Merthyr Tydfil opened in 1853. It was a terminus, approached from the south.

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This station has lain derelict and boarded up for many years See image 31525 since the restoration of passenger services to the new station, which ...
Ken Strachan 19/08/2017
Ground frame at Aberdare High Level for the catch points (and loop?) by the closed station. ...
Ewan Crawford 06/07/2006
I visited Aberdare to photograph the curious layout in the old High Level goods yard, where tarmac had been laid up to rail level, and industrial ...
Ken Strachan 19/08/2017
A class 37 being sanded at Aberdare in 1982 in preparation for the climb up to Tower Colliery. ...
Ian Dinmore //1982
4 of 7 images. more

Arriva Trains Wales unit 150237 waits at Aberdare to return to Cardiff, and then on to Barry Island, with the 08.21 departure on 9 November 2010. ...
David Pesterfield 09/11/2010
DMU at Aberdare in 1982 preparing for the journey back down the valley to Cardiff. ...
Ian Dinmore //1982
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 no 2863 stands in the sidings alongside Aberdare shed in June 1959, a few days after withdrawal. ...
Robin Barbour Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) 28/06/1959
3 of 3 images.