passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newport

Timetables, traffic, industries served, operational issues

passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newport

Postby andrewnummelin » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:21 am

Rod’s question (http://wrrc.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1022&start=10#p3900) about what would have been used between Caerphilly and Machen when the RR steam railmotor was not available made me re-read much on the services over the Pontypridd, Caephilly and Newport line as I was unclear about many aspects. I therefore went through all the books and other information I have and came to a few not unsurprising conclusions.
• Writers often seem to copy what has been published elsewhere rather than go back to original sources. Few publications give references to sources.
• Writers sometimes seem to have been careless when rephrasing work published elsewhere leading to confusion.
• Published accounts give conflicting information.
• Every question answered seems to throw up new queries, so I need to do some more reading. (But this takes up time that could be spent modelling.)
At the moment I think the following is the best story I can put together, and I invite members of the Forum to go through it to see if I’ve made any mistakes of my own, and perhaps to add new information. My intention is then to update this piece for publication in the Newsletter to reach a wider audience. I’ve put all of my notes, and 110 references, in a separate file
pcn passenger trains references.pdf
(58.91 KiB) Downloaded 14 times
as the table is not really suitable for a simple Forum post.

My next task is to get and go through Colin Chapman’s files on the RR & B&MR. Probably the following job will be going through all the relevant timetables I can find.

My answer to Rod’s question would have to be: “It’s anyone’s guess!”.


1887
On 28 December the PC&N started a service between Pontypridd (TVR), Caerphilly and Newport running three return trips per day starting and finishing at Pontypridd. Four 4 wheel coaches were obtained that were fitted with Fay & Newall brakes. The normal loco was ADR number 10: spare locos were numbers 9 & 14 (all ex LB&SCR and not originally fitted with vacuum brakes).
It has been suggested that the trains originally did not stop between Newport and Machen but this seems unlikely. (More public timetables need to be consulted.)
Probably the stock was held at Glyntaff and if the coaching stock was unavailable vehicles would be hired from the B&MR.
1891
A 4th train per day was started with the service now starting and ending in Newport so the service was essentially the original 3 trains per day plus an early Newport to Pontypridd run and a late return.
Resignalling at Machen with the opening of the loop meant that trains from Caerphilly could no longer terminate in the bay, but they could return from it. (Was this arrangement maintained till withdrawal of the service? I wonder if the train was stabled overnight at Newport or in the docks.)

1895
The PC&N coaches were refurbished and photos show vacuum brakes.
(What vacuum fitted locos did the ADR have at this time? I guess that 9, 10 & 14 may have been fitted – at the same time or earlier?)

1896
Decision taken to stop the passenger service – TVR, B&MR and GWR informed. (Why not the RR?)
(Surprising this was so soon after refurbishing the train. The reason was later said to be that the service was uneconomic but was it more related to the taking over of the PC&N by the ADR in 1897, and the latter thinking the service was an inconvenience, as their real interest was docks and freight?)

1899
GWR takes over the service with first runs on 2nd January. Improved coaches and services expected: no information on the former but no change to the latter.
The ADR decides the PC&N coaches are to be kept for the company’s purposes and not sold. (What could these purposes have been? Services in the docks? Excursions? Back-up for the future? Why would the GWR take over an uneconomic service? Was their cost model different from that of the ADR? With their greater rolling stock assets they could certainly be more flexible in operation.)

ca. 1900
Separate ADR platform at Caerphilly reported. (Does anyone have any details of this?)

1902
Glyntaff station opened (for “goods and other traffic”).
(This was a real puzzle location. I’ve seen no evidence that passenger trains used it before the start of the railmotor service but there was considerable public pressure about it and early Ordnance Survey maps show platforms and buildings on both up and down lines. The signal box on the up platform can be seen in an old photo so there’s no reason to doubt the accuracy of the map. Why would a passenger station be built but not opened? There are other questions about this location but they are not related to the passenger service.)

1904
Now starts the really fascinating 15 year period – potential for lots of modelling fun!
Steam railmotor bought and services started between Tram Road and Caerphilly with ground level halts. There was wrong road working between Tram Road for about ¼ mile to the middle of interchange sidings.
Timetable shows typical turnaround time at Caerphilly of 3 minutes. (A challenge if the SRM had to be replaced by a conventional train!)
Three Mersey Railway coaches bought. One identified as brake third, no information on the others yet found. Reported that these were for substituting/supplementing the SRM or for workmen’s services. (I’d suggest the former at least originally. Did the ADR have a vacuum fitted loco to work with these coaches? 9 & 10 were withdrawn in 1904 but no 14 lasted till 1906 after the arrival of the second SRM. How were rail level halt served? Did the guard carry portable steps?)
(Were the old PC&N coaches still around?)

1905
ADR gets a second steam rail motor.
Decision to build new shed for SRM – compensation sought from Cardiff Railway for loss of old one. (Plans of Cardiff to extend in this direction would be interesting to study – more scope for “what if” modelling projects.)

1906
Platform built at Tram Road and wrong line working stopped. More frequent service started.
(With the typical availability of steam locos, would 2 have been enough to maintain the service? Would the B&MR be approached for help? Again the problem of serving ground level halts. Could the TVR or GWR have loaned an SRM?)

1906/7
ADR buys a coach from Glyncorrwg Colliery Co. (For strengthening the Mersey set or for internal docks use? Are any details of the coach known?)

1906
ADR buys 2 GWR 1661 class, large wheel vacuum fitted, locos that had been on hire.
(Were these primarily for passenger train back-ups for the SRMs?)

1907
RR buys two SRMs with moveable steps (for Senghenydd branch and Rhymney to Merthyr).
(Did the RR have any ground level halts at this time?)

1908
From 1st April RR started Caephilly-Machen service with Senghenydd SRM but ground level halts not opened till October. Reports of service frequency differ.
So between Pontypridd and Newport there were services provided by the GWR, ADR, RR and B&MR!
(If the Senghenydd SRM were out of service would the RR have used the other one, and an ordinary train elsewhere, or used an ordinary train between Caerphilly and Machen with the problem of serving ground level halts? After 1909 could the RR have hired an ADR coach, or GWR auto coach, and used it with one of their few vacuum fitted locos?)

1909
RR withdraws SRM 2.
ADR converts, for passenger use, two Barnum & Bailey coaches, of the 3 bought the previous year. These have low level steps to serve ground level halts and form a train, with one of the locos bought in1906, as a back-up for the SRMs.
Later in the year the ADR buys 3 more B&B coaches. (For what were these intended?)
Collision damage to ADR SRM 1 and a new trailer. A month later the third B&B coach approved for conversion for use on Pontypridd – Caerphilly service. (Presumably this was because of damage to the earlier conversion.)

1910
A fourth B&B approved for conversion for passenger use. (If the damaged one was also repaired this would have given the ADR two complete trains of 2 coaches and loco to substitute for the two SRMs.)
ADR SRM withdrawn.
RR SRM converted to loco and ordinary coach and may have been used from Senghenydd for about a year. Reports differ as to whether the remaining SRM subsequently worked the Senghenydd service or the northern section. (I think the former is more likely so as to cover the rail level halts towards Machen. Did the coach retain low level steps so still being suitable to serve ground level halts if the surviving SRM was not available?)

1911
ADR SRM rebuilt to ordinary coach. Sources differ as to which one, the most authoritative says number 2. (As number 1 had been damaged in 1909 is it more likely that this one was converted? Or had number 1 been repaired and improved making it better than number 2?)
ADR bought GWR 0-4-2T 1426 (became ADR 14) vacuum fitted but not believed to have been auto fitted.
Train formed of converted SRM plus ex B&B coach: suitable for ground level halts. At this stage the ADR had 3 vacuum fitted locos, at least 4 bogie coaches and an SRM which should have been enough to maintain its services. (Was much use made of the SRM after this? I should check whether the timetables were adjusted to allow time for locos to run round their trains.)

1912
ADR bought GWR 1356 – vacuum fitted but small wheeled.

1913
ADR bought GWR 993 – vacuum fitted but small wheeled. (Like 1356 not obviously suited to normal passenger trains, but would the small wheels have given good acceleration suited to the short distances between the halts?)

1915
RR auto fitted 2-4-2T and 2 coach set. (Would this have been suitable for Caerphilly-Machen apart from the lack of low level steps?) No evidence that the RR had any other auto fitted locos at this time.

1917
ADR approved fitting of electric lights to passenger coaches.
GWR Newport-Pontypridd service withdrawn as war economy measure.
ADR Tram Road-Caerphilly service extended to Machen.
ADR withdrew SRM and converted it to ordinary coach but with low level steps.
Reports seen that seem to be not quite right include:
• Caerphilly-Machen service extended using RR SRM. (highly unlikely but could be checked)
• ADR bought its 0-4-2T number 14 (date wrong)
• ADR converted SRM to auto trailer and worked push pull with 14. (No evidence that the loco was ever auto fitted and evidence that the SRM conversions were ordinary coaches not auto trailers)
(Timetables should be checked to see if after this date the RR service was maintained or not.)


1919
Somtime before July (possibly even 1918) train made up of number 14 with ex B&B coach plus GWR 4 wheeler. (Shows stock hired in from neighbours at times.)
RR SRM converted to loco and ordinary coach.
A report that the ADR took over the Machen-Caerphilly service this year seems incorrect.
ADR proposal for internal passenger train for dock workers. (Was this implemented and if so, what was used to run it?)
GWR restarts Newport – Pontypridd service according to one report. (Correct?)

1920
Report that ADR was working Machen service exclusively.

ca. 1920
ADR withdraws 1 B&B coach (leaving them with 2, 3 or 5 depending on what happened to the others) and ex Mersey coaches.

1921
Photo of Rhyd-y-Felin with 0-4-2T and ex B&B coach and ex SRM. Variously stated to show ADR 14 or a GWR loco: the former is incorrect as the loco bunker does not correspond to that of 14.
Photos of Machen with ex ADR SRM 2 standing on line to Caerphilly. Has also been attributed to ca. 1910 but this is incorrect (somersault signals shown, previously there were ordinary ones.)

1922
Tram Road closed and services extended to Pontypridd (ex TVR).

1923
GWR starts Newport-Caerphilly-Pontypridd-Merthyr service not stopping at halts between Machen and Pontypridd.

1926
Ex RR SRM coach appears not to have low level steps.

1930
Glyntaff closed to passengers.

1950s
Internal proposal to stop passenger services, decision taken 1955 (less than 2 passengers per train during week, 3 on Saturdays). Passenger services withdrawn 17 Sep 1956.
Regards,

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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby Noel » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:19 am

andrewnummelin wrote:1887....Four 4 wheel coaches were obtained that were fitted with Fay & Newall brakes. The normal loco was ADR number 10: spare locos were numbers 9 & 14 (all ex LB&SCR and not originally fitted with vacuum brakes)…..1895 The PC&N coaches were refurbished and photos show vacuum brakes.(What vacuum fitted locos did the ADR have at this time? I guess that 9, 10 & 14 may have been fitted – at the same time or earlier?)


Fay and Newell brakes, being non-automatic, would have been banned by the 1889 Regulation of Railways Act. It took time for most non- or partially-compliant railways to fully convert to automatic vacuum or Westinghouse, which the BoT understood and accepted, but presumably with so little stock to convert, the ADR should have been able to do it fairly quickly? Leaving it to 1895 would presumably not have been impossible, but would have made the ADR one of the last to comply, I would have thought, and must have got the BoT's attention when the required annual returns came in...

andrewnummelin wrote:1902 Glyntaff station opened (for “goods and other traffic”).(This was a real puzzle location. I’ve seen no evidence that passenger trains used it before the start of the railmotor service but there was considerable public pressure about it and early Ordnance Survey maps show platforms and buildings on both up and down lines. The signal box on the up platform can be seen in an old photo so there’s no reason to doubt the accuracy of the map. Why would a passenger station be built but not opened? There are other questions about this location but they are not related to the passenger service.)


I have come across a possible answer in a different context, where a locally promoted branch was operated by the main line company. In response to public pressure the local company built a new station, but did not consult the operating company, who refused to stop trains there for some time. As the ADR apparently did not operate a passenger service from 1899 to 1904, could something similar have happened here?
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby andrewnummelin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:46 am

Noel wrote:Fay and Newell brakes, being non-automatic, would have been banned by the 1889 Regulation of Railways Act. It took time for most non- or partially-compliant railways to fully convert to automatic vacuum or Westinghouse, which the BoT understood and accepted, but presumably with so little stock to convert, the ADR should have been able to do it fairly quickly? Leaving it to 1895 would presumably not have been impossible, but would have made the ADR one of the last to comply, I would have thought, and must have got the BoT's attention when the required annual returns came in...

I failed to find out what the deadline was for compliance - I'm sure one of our members knows.
I'd already put two items (continuous brakes returns) on my reading list for when I'm next in Kew:
RAIL 1053/197 1887-1891
RAIL 1053/198 1892-1896
Does anyone have any suggestion for other relevant documents?


Noel wrote:I have come across a possible answer in a different context, where a locally promoted branch was operated by the main line company. In response to public pressure the local company built a new station, but did not consult the operating company, who refused to stop trains there for some time. As the ADR apparently did not operate a passenger service from 1899 to 1904, could something similar have happened here?

A very interesting suggestion, but I suspect one that might take a lot of time to research now. As the PC&N/ADR had spent capital on building the station I would have expected something in the ADR Director's minutes if the GWR had refused to stop trains at the station or if the Llanover estate had caused access problems (payment was agreed for the access road). The only thought that comes to mind now is that there may have been something technically wrong with the station that would have caused the BOT to object to its opening, and the PC&N/ADR estimated that the costs (financial or hassle) were not worth it.
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby Noel » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:48 am

andrewnummelin wrote: The only thought that comes to mind now is that there may have been something technically wrong with the station that would have caused the BOT to object to its opening, and the PC&N/ADR estimated that the costs (financial or hassle) were not worth it.


If this was the case, then whatever it was must, presumably, have been dealt with before the station opened in 1904?
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm

Noel wrote:
andrewnummelin wrote: The only thought that comes to mind now is that there may have been something technically wrong with the station that would have caused the BOT to object to its opening, and the PC&N/ADR estimated that the costs (financial or hassle) were not worth it.


If this was the case, then whatever it was must, presumably, have been dealt with before the station opened in 1904?


I don't know the date when it actually happened, but the down platform was removed and the line to the goods shed (former loco shed?) appears to have been slewed towards the running lines. The up side platform was shortened to make room for the railmotor shed.
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby Penrhos1920 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:13 pm

Wow Andrew, that’s a good and thorough job. I’ve got a few comments and here are the first ones.

andrewnummelin wrote:1908
From 1st April RR started Caephilly-Machen service with Senghenydd SRM but ground level halts not opened till October. Reports of service frequency differ.
So between Pontypridd and Newport there were services provided by the GWR, ADR, RR and B&MR!
(If the Senghenydd SRM were out of service would the RR have used the other one, and an ordinary train elsewhere, or used an ordinary train between Caerphilly and Machen with the problem of serving ground level halts? After 1909 could the RR have hired an ADR coach, or GWR auto coach, and used it with one of their few vacuum fitted locos?)


I think you mean Caerphilly and Machen, not Pontypridd & Newport?

Have you considered the GWR Newport/Cardiff to Aberystwyth summer trains?

andrewnummelin wrote:1921
Photo of Rhyd-y-Felin with 0-4-2T and ex B&B coach and ex SRM. Variously stated to show ADR 14 or a GWR loco: the former is incorrect as the loco bunker does not correspond to that of 14.[/color]


RCTS pt.6 wrote:No.1426 which had been sold to the AN&SWDR in 1911, returned in 1922, the bunker backplate having been raised to cab roof level and fitted with spectacles.
- it is not described as having a backplate of GWR style which were lower. Here is a blowup of my copy of this photo which I think clearly shows the ANDR backplate:
ADR14 at Rhyd-y-Felin.jpg
ADR14 at Rhyd-y-Felin.jpg (42.71 KiB) Viewed 228 times
Modelling the Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway, Barry Railway and Rhymney Railway at Penrhos Junctions in SF4.
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:44 pm

Penrhos1920 wrote:Wow Andrew, that’s a good and thorough job. I’ve got a few comments and here are the first ones.

andrewnummelin wrote:1908
From 1st April RR started Caephilly-Machen service with Senghenydd SRM but ground level halts not opened till October. Reports of service frequency differ.
So between Pontypridd and Newport there were services provided by the GWR, ADR, RR and B&MR!



I think you mean Caerphilly and Machen, not Pontypridd & Newport?

I meant the following:
Pontypridd (TVR) & Newport: GWR
Pontypridd (Tram Road) & Caerphilly: ADR
Caerphilly & Machen: RR (and GWR)
Machen & Newport: B&MR (and GWR)

So could the unfortunate traveller who had just missed the through GWR service buy a single ticket from Newport to Pontypridd and use B&MR to Machen, RR on to Caerphilly, ADR to Tram Road and stroll along to the town centre? Or would 3 tickets have been needed? (I haven't a clue whether this would be quicker than waiting for the next through service - I still need to study the relevant timetables.)


Penrhos1920 wrote:Have you considered the GWR Newport/Cardiff to Aberystwyth summer trains?

I thought this was a post-grouping service so hadn't looked for details. In pre-grouping days I believe the Newport-Aberystwyth through Cambrian coaches only ran between Newport and Machen as far as the Newport-Pontypridd line was concerned. The GWR would presumably have advised one to go via Carmarthen.
Come July 1922 the through coach left Newport at 9:45 and arrived at 17:00 but one could have left Newport at 11:23 and gone via Carmarthen to arrive in Aberystwyth at 16:50.
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:52 pm

Penrhos1920 wrote:
andrewnummelin wrote:1921
Photo of Rhyd-y-Felin with 0-4-2T and ex B&B coach and ex SRM. Variously stated to show ADR 14 or a GWR loco: the former is incorrect as the loco bunker does not correspond to that of 14.


RCTS pt.6 wrote:No.1426 which had been sold to the AN&SWDR in 1911, returned in 1922, the bunker backplate having been raised to cab roof level and fitted with spectacles.
- it is not described as having a backplate of GWR style which were lower. Here is a blowup of my copy of this photo which I think clearly shows the ANDR backplate:
ADR14 at Rhyd-y-Felin.jpg


Compare your image with http://www.penrhos.me.uk/Photos/adr14new1.jpg and you should see the different bunker shape (below the backplate).
I think the 517 class were deliberately designed to frustrate future model makers...
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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby Penrhos1920 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 pm

andrewnummelin wrote:
Penrhos1920 wrote:
andrewnummelin wrote:1921
Photo of Rhyd-y-Felin with 0-4-2T and ex B&B coach and ex SRM. Variously stated to show ADR 14 or a GWR loco: the former is incorrect as the loco bunker does not correspond to that of 14.


RCTS pt.6 wrote:No.1426 which had been sold to the AN&SWDR in 1911, returned in 1922, the bunker backplate having been raised to cab roof level and fitted with spectacles.
- it is not described as having a backplate of GWR style which were lower. Here is a blowup of my copy of this photo which I think clearly shows the ANDR backplate:
ADR14 at Rhyd-y-Felin.jpg


Compare your image with http://www.penrhos.me.uk/Photos/adr14new1.jpg and you should see the different bunker shape (below the backplate).
I think the 517 class were deliberately designed to frustrate future model makers...


Ok I agree with you. That loco has a flair around the top of the bunker which 14 didn’t have.
Modelling the Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway, Barry Railway and Rhymney Railway at Penrhos Junctions in SF4.
GWR short (4 & 6) coaches.
http://www.penrhos.me.uk

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Re: passenger services between Pontypridd, Machen and Newpor

Postby Penrhos1920 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:18 pm

andrewnummelin wrote:
Penrhos1920 wrote:Have you considered the GWR Newport/Cardiff to Aberystwyth summer trains?

I thought this was a post-grouping service so hadn't looked for details. In pre-grouping days I believe the Newport-Aberystwyth through Cambrian coaches only ran between Newport and Machen as far as the Newport-Pontypridd line was concerned. The GWR would presumably have advised one to go via Carmarthen.
Come July 1922 the through coach left Newport at 9:45 and arrived at 17:00 but one could have left Newport at 11:23 and gone via Carmarthen to arrive in Aberystwyth at 16:50.


According to Kidner The Rhymney Rly, p.40 there was a GWR service from 21st August 1920 Newport, Penrhos, Pontypridd, Carmarthen, etc. running over 6 railway companies lines in addition to their own.

In WRA vol.III,p.38 also mentions this train. P.72 discusses what happened in 1920. It also has ‘Through tourist service ‘ via the same route the following year July 22nd to September 26th.
Last edited by Penrhos1920 on Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling the Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway, Barry Railway and Rhymney Railway at Penrhos Junctions in SF4.
GWR short (4 & 6) coaches.
http://www.penrhos.me.uk

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