Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company

Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company

PTR&D logo

The Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company (PTR&D) was one of the few to be conceived as an integrated undertaking from the outset, and was one of the last standard gauge, mainline railway companies to be incorporated. Its origins go back to 1834 when local industrialists obtained an Act of Parliament to form the Aberavon Harbour Company. This Act was soon realised to be inadequate and in 1836 a further Act was obtained authorising the formation of the Port Talbot Company, named after the local landowner, CRM Talbot, with powers to build an enclosed dock, the first in South Wales. This company evolved in 1894 into the PTR&D, which threw out railways into the Avon, Duffryn, Llynvi and Garw valleys and further developed the dock into a significant coal exporting port, the total route mileage being about 33.5 miles. Part of the company's Ogmore Valleys Extension line still sees occasional use.

Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company Map

Time line

  Formation of the Aberavon Harbour Company with powers to improve the existing harbour.
  Formation of the Port Talbot Company with powers to divert the River Avon and build a floating dock, accessed from the sea via a channel and lock

Powers to extend the lock and improve the dock, not completed until 1876.
The English Copper Company, which was the major shareholder of the Port Talbot Company, owner of the Cwmavon Works and operator of the dock, failed. All shares passed to CRM Talbot.

The death of CRM Talbot. The Port Talbot Company and the Margam and Penrice estates were inherited by his daughter, Miss EC Talbot. Mr JA McConnochie appointed her Consulting Engineer and Mr E Knox her principal Agent, with instructions to determine what could be done with the dock.

Port Talbot Railway & Docks Act, "to dissolve and reincorporate and confer further powers upon the Port Talbot Company and to authorise it to construct an additional dock and railways and for other purposes." Running powers over the GWR from Pontyrhyll to Blaengarw were granted.

Port Talbot Railways & Docks (Ogmore Valleys Extension) Act, "to enable the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company to construct new railways and works in the Ogmore Valleys in the County of Glamorgan, to acquire the Morfa Railway and the Cefn & Pyle Railway, and for other proposes." An agreement with the GWR restricted the new railways to a line from Copper Works Junction to Cefn Junction on the Tondu to Pyle branch. The Morfa Railway was not purchased. Port Talbot Railway & Docks (South Wales Mineral Railway Junction) Act, "to enable the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company to construct new railways in the County of Glamorgan to join the South Wales Mineral Railway and a Railway known as the Whitworth Railway and to acquire the last mentioned Railway and for other purposes"
Nov 1896

Whitworth Railway purchased for £9000, becoming the Whitworth branch of the PTR.
Jan 1897

Cefn & Pyle Railway purchased from Miss Talbot for £14000, becoming the Pyle branch of the PTR.
April 1897

Blaenavon Railway purchased for £7300, becoming the Blaenavon branch of the PTR.
Jan 1898

Aberavon to Tonygroes opened.
Feb 1898

Passenger service Port Talbot Central to Pontyrhyll commenced.
Aug 1898

New lock first used, dock not completed until 1901.
Nov 1898

Tonygroes Junction to Tonmawr opened.
Dec 1898

Copper Works Junction to Cefn Junction opened. And Duffryn Junction to docks opened.

Passenger service extended to Blaengarw.

Running powers between Pontyrhyll and Blaengarw for mineral traffic given up. Such traffic for Port Talbot in future to be conveyed by the GWR via Tondu and thence over the PTR's line from Cefn Junction to Margam.
Dec 1907

Agreement to work the South Wales Mineral Railway as from 1 January 1908.
Jan 1908

Three agreements with the GWR: (1) the GWR to work, run over, and use the main lines of the PTR&D, (2) the GWR to hire and maintain the PTR's rolling stock, (3) the GWR to maintain and repair the PTR's railways, stations, etc. The first of these was deemed to have come into effect on 1 January 1907. The PTR&D retained control of the docks and all the dock railways.
Aug 1911

The GWR acquired running powers over the docks lines, the PTR&D retaining control of the actual docks and related facilities.

Port Talbot Railway & Docks Act, "to authorise the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company to extend the piers at Port Talbot to construct a new entrance lock and for other purposes." Never put into effect, although the GWR did consider reviving the Act in 1930.
Feb 1921
  Saturdays only passenger train service to Tonmawr commenced. Terminated in September 1930.
Jan 1922

PTR&D absorbed into the GWR.
Sept 1932

Passenger service on main line cut back to Maesteg.
Sept 1933

Passenger service completely withdrawn.
May 1954

Oakwood to Margam Forge section (SWMJnR) closed.
Dec 1958

Blaenavon branch closed.
June 1959

Section of main line from Cwmdu to Pontyrhyll removed.
Feb 1960

Aberavon to Tonygroes closed.
March 1963

Duffryn Junction to Margam Forge (SWMJnR) closed.
March 1964

Duffryn Yard engine shed closed.
Aug 1964

Duffryn Junction to Maesteg closed.
Nov 1964

Line to Tonmawr closed.
Feb 1967

Duffryn Junction to Copper Works Junction closed.

Port Talbot dock closed.
  Dock reopened.

WRRC Line Superintendent

WRRC Information Resource files

Locomotive And Rolling Stock totals for selected dates between 1904 and 1921.

Selected Reading