Welcome To the Trevithick Trail

Skip to main content

Tramroadside South Continued

Tramroadside SouthThe original Taff Vale terminus was located not on the site of the present station, but nearer the River Taff where the Castle Bingo and Aldi supermarket now stand. This railway, originally single tracked, was soon to become one of the busiest and most profitable lines in the whole of Britain carrying not only coal and iron from Merthyr but later coal from the collieries of the Cynon and Taff Valleys.

For just over ten years the Taff Vale Railway was to remain the only railway into our town. However, after the completion of their tunnel through the Aberdare Mountain in 1853, the Vale of Neath Railway built a new station nearer to the High Street (site of the Tesco Store). This railway had been built under the supervision of the famous Victorian engineer I. K. Brunel and eventually it was the station designed and described by him as “comprehensive and substantial”, that was to be used by all the companies that built their railways into Merthyr Tydfil.

Tramroadside SouthIn 1868 the Brecon and Merthyr Railway completed their line over the Beacons and into Merthyr station; in June 1879 the London and North-Western Railway opened their line to Abergavenny and in 1881 the Rhymney and Great Western Railway Joint line was opened into Merthyr High Street Station. As the number of railways increased the town continued to grow and prosper.

From the rapidly growing area of the town the tramroad continued south, crossing land of the Maerdy Estate, passing the Plymouth gate on the turnpike road to Cardiff and Plymouth House, the home of the Hill family.  A little before that point at the southern end of Ann’s Close, the walker will find some of the remains of the great incline, built to link the Dowlais Ironworks with the Taff Vale Railway.

Tramroadside SouthThe Dowlais Railway, which was opened on the 21st. August 1851 sealed the fate of the Penydarren Tramroad as it gave the works a direct link with the quicker and more efficient Taff Vale Railway. Dowlais locomotives worked the iron-laden wagons to the stationary engine on the incline, which were then lowered to the Maerdy Junction with Taff Vale. Only between 1851-54 were passengers were carried, but freight traffic continued to use the incline until the 1930’s.

<< Previous