Retracing The Cardiff Railway, Part Four: Glan Y Llyn

As the old Cardiff Railway snaked through Nantgarw (and later experienced somewhat of an industrial renaissance thanks to Nantgarw Colliery), it headed toward Taffs Well, a natural bottleneck in the Valleys. The old Cardiff Railway Glan Y Llyn station lay on this stretch, and unusually for the Cardiff Railway, a good amount of this station actually still exists today.

Before we get to the station itself, there’s some railway infrastructure ahead of the station that’s worth looking back at. Once trains left Nantgarw halt, the line ran on a raised embankment (that still exists today, and is now a walking path).  This embankment runs alongside what is today the A4054 (Cardiff Road). One big feature of this particular stretch of track was a large skew bridge that crossed the road and lead the approach into Glan-Y-Lyn station. I remember driving under this bridge several times between 2004 and 2010, and was disappointed to see it disappear…

Nantgarw_Skew_Bridge_Geoff_Atkins_July_89_2

The skew bridge that carried Cardiff Railway over Cardiff Road (A4054). View looks back toward Nantgarw. Picture by Geoff Atkins, 1989.

Nantgarw_Skew_Bridge_Geoff_Atkins_July_89

The view across the skew bridge itself. At this point only one set of tracks are in situ, that were used until the mid 1980’s for freight from Nantgarw Colliery. At this point in 1989, nature is well on it’s way to claiming them for itself. Photograph by Geoff Atkins, 1989.

 

Nantgarw_Skew_Bridge_Adrian_Flood_2015

The skew bridge has since been replaced in the 21st century with a simpler footbridge-style affair. Photograph by Adrian Flood, 2015.

The little footbridge just isn’t the same.

Glan-Y-Llyn-OS1915-page-001

1915 OS map showing Glan Y Llyn station in the centre.

Once over the skew, the track headed into Glan Y Llyn station itself. As with the other Cardiff Railway stops, it was part of a limited passenger service from 1911 until 1931, when passenger runs then terminated at Coryton, two stops further down the line. The station originally had a footbridge, visible in OS maps from 1914, but gone by the 1940’s.

Restricted useage

I was unable to find any photographs of the station as it looked when operational, but there are some pictures from the 1950’s (one of which I had erroneously included as a picture of Upper Boat station previously – but a look at the track layout proves I was wrong!). This shows traffic from the colliery passing through.

Upper_boat03

However, even the reprieve from the Nantgarw Colliery would be shortlived, and in the early 1950’s, a connection was made from the colliery to just north of Taffs Well station, on the old TVR line. With that in place, the section of line running to Coryton ceased operation in 1953, and the line and trackbed fell back into disuse and decay.

Remarkably for a Cardiff Railway building , the station house is still in existence as of 2015, over a century after it’s construction. It is now a private residence, with an extension built under the existing canopy. The local landscape has changed massively around the station house, but elements of the platform remain to this day. It’s interesting to note how the road by the platform has slowly raised toward platform level, due to rebuilding and layering over the years.

GlanYLyn_remaining_platform_May 2014 Aron Stenning

The clearly-visible remains of the platform and it’s slope at Glan Y Llyn, buried under newer buildings , walss and fencing. Photograph by Aron Stenning, 2014

GlanYLyn_remaining_station_May 2014 Aron Stenning

A view of the Glan y Llyn station house, now a private residence. The canopy is still present but with an extension underneath it, and it now has solar panels on the replaced roof. Photograph by Aron Stenning, 2014

Nantgarw_Skew_Jan_1952_Rhymney0-6-2no41_IL_Wright

A Nantgarw bound train crosses the Glamorgan Canal just south of Glan Y Llyn station, 1952. Photograph by I L Wright

 

And with Glan Y Llyn covered, the old Cardiff Railway winds it way toward the next stop on this vanished old railway – Tongwynlais. After Tongwynlais, the Cardiff Railway gets brought up to date as we hit present day active tracks and stations… but that’s still to come…

Many thanks to Adrian Flood, Geoff Atkins, Aron Stenning and I L Wright for their photography. Some other resources used for this blog:

http://www.urban75.org/railway/cardiff-railway.html

 http://www.oldmapsonline.org/

http://maps.nls.uk/

 

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