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European Railroad Discussion > Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys


Date: 09/24/19 11:48
Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

The Valley Lines radiating from Cardiff, the former Barry, Taff Vale and Rhymney Railways are home to some of the oldest rolling stock on the National Network on the British mainland; a mixture of 142 & 143 railbuses (introduced in 1985 / 86), class 150 twin car DMUs (1987) and class 153 single unit DMUs (1987). Add to that the recent introduction on the Rhymney Line of a pair of loco hauled peak hour commuter trains to provide additional capacity; late 1960s / early 1970s Mk 2e / 2f stock hauled by English Electric class 37s (1963). All of this 'heritage' equipment is due to be swept away in the next three years under the auspices of Transport for Wales, the new franchise which took over from Arriva Trains Wales last October. Electrification, tram-trains, new eco-DMUs as well as cascaded rolling stock from elsewhere will transform the scene so now is the time to photograph the old equipment before its too late. First to go will be the Pacer railbuses, in theory by 31st December 2019 but in reality probably early 2020, as their replacement is dependent on cascading Bombardier class 170s from the Anglia franchise, which itself is dependent on delivery of new trains which is running behind schedule. The 170s, already about 20 years old, are a stop gap before new CAF and Stadler equipment comes on line in 2021 / 2022, the former being built at a new factory in Wales. So here's what you can see on the valley lines today, but not for much longer

1: September 4th at Trehafod in the Rhondda Valley, a pair of Pacer railbuses (a 142 and a 143) on the 10:47 Treherbert to Cardiff
2: A class 150 arriving in Pontypridd the junction between the line to Treherbert and that to Merthyr and Aberdare.
3: The Edwardian splendour of the Taff Vale Railway's Pontypridd station, a testament to the profitability of these short but exceedingly busy railways. Coal of course was their lifeblood at a time when Cardiff and neighbouring Barry were the worlds busiest coal exporting ports. The 150 is bound for Merthyr



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/19 11:49 by 86235.








Date: 09/24/19 11:59
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

4: Another pair of railbuses approaching Pontypridd off the Treherbert line, a 143 leading a 142. Of the two classes of railbus TfW employ the 143 is marginally superior to the 142, which is more obviously bus based.
5: This is the interior of a 143 on a Rhymney Line train at Caerphilly. the 2+2 seating was installed in a mid life refurbishment by Arriva Trains Wales, they were originally equipped with 2+3 low back bus type seating. Whenever I travel on either a 143 or a 142 I notice that almost all fellow passengers wear headphones, presumably to cut out the din from the running gear as there's very little sound insulation.
6: Once these lines were teeming with coal trains from mines dotted along every valley. Today there's just one left, the open cast mine at Ffos y fran at the head of the Taff Bargoed valley and usually just one train a day. Here it is, passing Caerphilly station








Date: 09/24/19 12:03
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: ShortlinesUSA

Really nice photos!  Thanks for posting these.  Loving that coal train!  That just popped in as I was replying.  Great scene for this freight fan.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/19 12:04 by ShortlinesUSA.



Date: 09/24/19 12:09
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

7: On September 10th a 143 leaves Pontlottyn, the first station from the Rhymney terminus on the 10:27 Rhymney to Penarth. Rhymney is served by a train every hour, a passing loop has been reinstated at Tir-phil (the second station from Rhymney) to support half hourly service but until new (or cascaded) stock becomes available TfW don't have anything spare. Typical miner's terraces, to the left is the site of the Rhymney-Merthyr colliery, which closed in 1967.
8: I'm in Porth in the Rhondda Valley, the 150 is passing the Lewis Merthyr colliery, now the Rhondda Heritage Centre, a museum well worth exploring, telling the story of mining in the valley with an underground tour
https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Tourism/RhonddaHeritagePark/BlackGoldExperience/BlackGoldExperience.aspx
9: At the head of the Taff Bargoed valley the daily train from Ffos y fran to the steelworks at Port Talbot gets underway.








Date: 09/24/19 12:22
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

10: Now for the even older trains, as well as the inbound morning and outbound evening commuter runs with the loco hauled set TfW have two weekday mid-morning and mid-afternoon training schedules. It's a bit hit and miss whether they actually run but here's the afternoon Rhymney to Cardiff 3Z14 on September 11th behind 37025 with 37421 tailing.
11: One advantage of the older stock is that the 142 / 143 / 150 / 153 are all compatible with one another, this 143 / 150 combo on a Rhymney Line service to Cardiff is leaving Bargoed. Most Rhymney Line trains terminate here, there's a large bus / rail interchange.
12: On September 13th a 142 heading south from Pontlottyn on the 12:27 ex-Rhymney passing the site of the Rhymney Merthyr colliery with the village of Abertysswg on the opposite side of the Rhymney Valley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/19 12:40 by 86235.








Date: 09/24/19 12:30
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

13: Taken from the slopes of Y Darren the 12:27 Rhymney to Penarth leaving Pontlottyn on September 18th. You can easily make out the site of the Rhymney Merthyr colliery which the class 150 is passing. Beyond it is the Rhymney River, marked by the trees and beyond that is the former Brecon and Merthyr Railway which shadowed the Rhymney Railway on the Monmouthshire side of the valley to Caerphilly
14: 37421 approaching Bargoed on the afternoon training run from Cardiff (3Z13). Beyond it in what is now a forested park was the Powell-Duffryn Steam Coal Company's Bargoed Colliery (1897 to 1977) which was served by both the Rhymney Railway and the Brecon and Merthyr (on the other side of the Rhymney Valley)
15: On Friday 20th 37025 on the training set on 3Z12 climbing towards Caerphilly tunnel.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/19 12:34 by 86235.








Date: 09/24/19 13:36
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: dwatry

Like #8!



Date: 09/24/19 13:42
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

Thanks Duncan, I think it'll be a better shot once the leaves are off the trees. I shall try again later in the year.



Date: 09/24/19 15:50
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: eminence_grise

Nice to see images of the Taff Vale.

A decision made in the British Law Courts regarding a strike by the railway employees of the Taff Vale Railway had a huge impact on organized labour.

I'm not sure how the decision played out in the UK, but the Canadian Government adapted the UK Railway Disputes Act of 1904 and then the Industrial Disputes Act of 1907.
This was done to resolve a strike by the shopcraft workers on the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada in Montreal and Stratford ON. The GTR was owned and operated from the UK at that time. What these Acts did to Canada was to establish the pattern of labour legislation for all Canadian industry.

All this from a dispute on a small railway in Wales.



Date: 09/24/19 22:58
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not sure how the decision played out in the UK

It led to the formation of the Labour Party and the 1906 Trade Disputes Act.



Date: 09/25/19 07:15
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: King_Coal

Number 8 with the colliery is a nice photo. I suppose there are no coal trains on that line from your information. Any general freight or larger passenger trains there? Thanks for your posting. Looks like a great place to visit.



Date: 09/25/19 14:14
Re: Old and even older trains in the Welsh Valleys
Author: 86235

King_Coal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Number 8 with the colliery is a nice photo. I
> suppose there are no coal trains on that line from
> your information. Any general freight or larger
> passenger trains there? Thanks for your posting.
> Looks like a great place to visit.

No and no is the answer I'm afraid, just railbuses and DMUs. Tram-trains by 2022. The only freight train on any of the valley lines is the daily (or twice daily) coal from Cwmbargoed, which joins the Rhymney Line at Ystrad Mynach.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/19 14:48 by 86235.



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