The Graig Tunnel

Earlier this year, I began working for Glamorgan University in Treforrest, South Wales. While using the Stilts restaurant on campus, I saw what appeared to be a bricked up tunnel mouth in the car park, and my curiosity was piqued. Cue a camera click…

Bricked up tunnel-mouth, Treforrest Campus

Bricked up on campus, April 2011

Still bricked up, mid 1950’s

Tunnel mouth, Treforrest, 1922

OS map of Pontypridd. Conviently, the tunnel is marked as ‘disused tunnel’.

Inside the tunnel, June 2011

Hospital side platform remains.

1888. A mere 123 years ago, at time of writing.

No station here….

The view away from the tunnel.

You can see from the view looking away from the tunnel exactly where the station used to run, but it’s all bricked up and a telephone exchange building now sits on the site where the bottom end of the station would have run, and it’s trackbed along with it. The grating over the tunnel mouth is a very recent addition – for the last few decades it’s been totally bricked up. At least it now affords us a view into the tunnel’s murky depths.

August 2005

The view away, back in 1999.

The old platforms are more visible in 1973.

Another view of the crumbling platforms from 1973.

Dewi Sant hospital under construction… 1965

And prior to that, I could find very little else in terms of imagery of the old station… until I stumbled across this… This view of the station seems to be taken from the site of the telephone exchange, but it gives you an idea of the size of it, and of how sadly neglected it eventually became. Operating from 16/3/1896 until 7/7/1930, passenger traffic was finally re-routed through Pontypridd Central from 10/7/1930, and it runs as such to this day. The line here and toward Tonteg was briefly re-used just before D-Day in the Second World War to store railway engines bound for Europe, as the deep valleys that the line ran through provided good bomb cover, but following the end of the war the true decline of the Valley’s railway network began, leaving Pontypridd Graig station nothing but a footnote in Valley’s transport history, and a disused railway tunnel in a hospital and university car park.

Happier days for the station during its Barry Railways days, as ‘Pontypridd’. 1922

Photography credit to Ceri Jones, Nick Catford, Chris Howells, Courtney Haydon & Cyril Crawley and Rhondda Cynon Taff county council.
Further reading: www.trackbed.com, www.disused-stations.org.uk/p/pontypridd_graig/index.shtml, www.ratsandwich.co.uk, www.rcts.org.uk/features/mysteryphotos/show.htm?img=B-65-13, http://archive.rhondda-cynon-taf.gov.uk, www.flickr.com/photos/cerij4242/
 
Update – 12/4/2017 – I’m planning a local history book that features the nearby Treforest/Rhydyfelin area – details here: https://kriscarter.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/retracing-the-cardiff-railway-the-book/
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