How green was my valley

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Investment in upgrading the important Valleys Line services radiating north from Cardiff has been on the political agenda for some considerable time, with ambitious plans announced for partial electrification and/or conversion to light rail.

Yet while all the bold talk continues, the saga of delayed electrification to Cardiff and cancellation onwards to Swansea is a warning not to take anything for granted, and a mainstay of Valleys Line operations today remains the reviled Pacer (Class 142/3) units. Continue reading “How green was my valley”

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A trip to Tondu

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Along with those at Pembrey and Ferryside, featured in my previous post, another South Wales signal box potentially being replaced during Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (2019-24) is Tondu, sole passing place on the eight-mile branch from Bridgend to Maesteg.

The former Tondu Middle box is another Great Western Railway Type 3 design and dates from 1884 although, unlike Ferryside, has been subject to some subsequent alterations.

It stands immediately north of the station and controls a passing loop (currently out of use), as well as access to a seldom-used diversionary route to Margam and a remaining stub of the closed Blaengarw branch. Continue reading “A trip to Tondu”

South Wales’ last main line semaphores

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Travel down Brunel’s Great Western Main Line towards Bristol, pass through the Severn Tunnel into Wales and, after a change of train at Swansea, it will be exactly 208 miles from London Paddington before you reach the first of two semaphore signalling outposts on the South Wales Main Line.

Pembrey & Burry Port marks the start of old technology in signalling terms, and is the first of six surviving boxes between here and Clarbeston Road (junction of the Fishguard and Milford Haven routes) that are due to be closed during Network Rail’s forthcoming Control Period 6 (April 2019-March 2024). Continue reading “South Wales’ last main line semaphores”