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.
03/08/1846[Vale of Neath Railway]
Act passed for broad gauge line from Neath to Aberdare and a branch to Merthyr.
01/01/1847[Aberdare Railway]
Line leased by the [Taff Vale Railway] to halt expansion eastwards of the [Vale of Neath Railway].
  /05/1847[Vale of Neath Railway]
Construction of Merthyr Branch and tunnel begins.
24/09/1851[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdare opened
24/09/1851[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdylais opened
24/09/1851[Vale of Neath Railway]
Opened from Neath to Aberdare for passengers.
  /12/1851[Vale of Neath Railway]
Opened to goods.
  /06/1853[Vale 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.
02/11/1853[Vale of Neath Railway]
Broad gauge line from Gelli Tarw Junction, through tunnel to Merthyr High Street opened.
  /11/1854[Vale of Neath Railway]
Abernant opened
07/11/1854[Vale 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.
02/07/1855[Aberdare Valley Railway]
Act for the [Vale of Neath Railway] to connect from Aberdare to Middle Duffryn Colliery. Chairman: Henry Austin Bruce.
  /  /1856[Vale of Neath Railway]
Dare Branch extended from Dare Junction to Cwmaman Colliery in the Aman Valley.
  /11/1856[Aberdare Valley Railway]
Opened, worked by the [Vale of Neath Railway].
  /06/1857[Vale of Neath Railway]
Dare Branch extended from Nantmelyn Colliery to Bwlffa Dare Colliery.
  /  /1858[Vale of Neath Railway]
Brunel ceases to be engineer and is replaced by Joshua Williams.
  /  /1858[Dowlais Railway], [Vale of Neath Railway]
Connection opened.
  /  /1861[Vale of Neath Railway]
Leases the [Swansea Harbour Trustees Railway].
  /  /1862[Vale of Neath Railway]
Plan to lay third rail to allow standard gauge trains to run from Pontypool, via the [Taff Vale Extension], to Neath.
  /  /1863[Vale of Neath Railway]
Third rail laid.
  /  /1863[Swansea and Neath Railway]
[Vale 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.
01/01/1864[Aberdare Valley Railway]
Absorbed by the [Vale of Neath Railway].
18/04/1864[Taff Vale Extension]
Line extended from Quaker's Yard (Low Level) to meet the [Vale of Neath Railway] at Middle Duffryn Junction. Opened for goods.
18/04/1864[Taff Vale Extension]
Opened from Quakers Yard to Middle Duffryn Junction to meet the [Vale of Neath Railway].
01/02/1865[Vale of Neath Railway]
[Great Western Railway] works the line as part of its network.
30/07/1865[London and North Western Railway]
Makes traffic agreement with the [Vale of Neath Railway].
05/10/1865[London 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.
  /11/1873[London and North Western Railway South Wales]
Bill for line to Merthyr and the [Brecon and Merthyr Railway], [Vale of Neath Railway] and Geothin Railway.
16/05/1874[Vale 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.
01/08/1877[Taff 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.
01/04/1886[Quakers 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.
  /05/1903[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberffrwd opened
  /  /1924[Vale of Neath Railway]
Six halts between Dare Junction and Cwmaman for works trains closed.
01/07/1924[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdare renamed Aberdare High Level
31/08/1939[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberffrwd closed
23/07/1945[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberffrwd re-opened
  /  /1947[Vale of Neath Railway]
Two of Brunels timber viaducts, the 600ft Gamlyn Viaduct and 450ft Dare Viaduct, are demolished on the closure of lines.
  /  /1953[Vale of Neath Railway]
Brunels Timber roof removed from Merthyr station which had five platforms.
07/06/1954[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdylais renamed Aberdylais Halt
  /  /1955[Vale of Neath Railway]
Dare Branch completely closed.
31/12/1962[Vale of Neath Railway]
Abernant closed
31/12/1962[Vale of Neath Railway]
Merthyr Branch closed to passengers.
15/06/1964[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdare High Level closed
15/06/1964[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdylais Halt closed
15/06/1964[Taff Vale Extension], [Vale of Neath Railway]
Closed to passengers.
02/10/1967[Vale of Neath Railway]
Glyn Neath to Hirwaun Pond closed.
  /  /1971[Vale of Neath Railway]
Merthyr High Street replaced by single platforms station and car park.
29/11/1971[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdare High Level to Middle Duffryn Junction closed.
29/07/1973[Aberdare 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.
29/07/1973[Aberdare 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.
  /10/1980[Vale of Neath Railway]
Aberdare High Level closed

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Neath to Merthyr

This is a single platform station. ...

More details
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

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

More details


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

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