Rhymney Railway (and related lines)

Rhymney logo

Introduction

Promoted by the Trustees of the Bute Estates who had acquired valuable mineral rights in the Rhymney Valley, the Rhymney Railway Company was incorporated by an Act of Parliament dated 14 July 1854 to construct a railway between Rhymney Iron Works and Hengoed where a junction was to be made with the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway. The early years were difficult; traffic was slow to develop and disputes arose with the Taff Vale Railway over transhipment costs at Cardiff East Dock, but by 1861 traffic was rising and agreement was reached with the Bute Estates to capitalise the arrears of rent and dock dues.

Rhymney LocoFor many years, the Rhymney Railway was dominated by its charismatic General Manager, Cornelius Lundie, who also had overall responsibility for all Departments on the railway. Lundie designed the outside-frames saddle tanks which became synonomous with the early railway, the first batch of which were supplied by Sharp Stewart in 1872. further batches followed, and these locomotives  ably coped with the expanding heavy coal and mineral traffic until the First World War. C.T. Hurry Riches became Locomotive Superintendent in 1907 and there followed the rapid development of modern 0-6-2 side tank locomotives for both mineral and freight traffic; two railmotors built by Hudswell Clarke also entered traffic.

The Rhymney Railway became a constituent company of the GWR group on 25 March 1922, having passed from a penniless concern to a prosperous railway and become one of the best investments of its day - its lucky shareholders regularly received dividends of 9% on its ordinary shares in its later years. Nor was the railway neglected by the Grouping, the wartime arrears of maintenance had been caught up with, the rolling stock was modern and in first class order, of sound design and built with a view to further expansion.

Rhmney Map

Important Dates




25 February 1858
  Opened to freight
31 March 1858
  Opened to passengers
25 July 1864

Obtained Act to construct new line between Caerphilly and Cardiff
1867

Promotion of RR-GWR Joint Line up the Taff Bargoed to Dowlais
1 April 1871

Caerphilly - Cardiff line via Caerphilly Tunnel opened to traffic
1 April 1886

RR-GWR Quakers Yard & Merthyr Joint Line opened to traffic
1 February 1894
  Senghenydd Branch Opened
1906 - 1909

Cylla Branch opened and extended
1909- 1910

Proposed merger of Rhymney, Taff Vale and Cardiff Railways
15 April 1928
  Cardiff Parade station closed. The station had two platforms and a bay. Trains were diverted to Queen Street
12 February 1951
  Quakers Yard and Merthyr Joint Railway (Great Western Railway and Rhymney Railway) closed to passengers
23 September 1953
  Rhymney to Rhymney Bridge Joint Railway (London and North Western and Rhymney Railway) closed
1957

Last ex-RR locomotive withdrawn
15 June 1964
  Senghenydd Branch closed to passengers
15 June 1964
  Taff Bargoed Joint Line (Great Western Railway and Rhymney Railway) closed to passengers 


Selected Reading