Retracing the Cardiff Railway, Part Six: Coryton

Aerial view of Coryton, 1937. The halt is just visible right the bridge in the centre of the picture.

After Tongwynlais, the Cardiff Railway ran onto Coryton, making it’s first inroads into Cardiff proper. First opened as “Coryton Halt” on 1st March 1911, the line ran close by to Whitchurch Hospital (labeled as ‘Lunatic Asylum’ on the older OS maps, in a somewhat surprising display of labeling for modern readers). The Cardiff Railway was absorbed into the Great Western Railway around 1921, and the halt itself was rechristened “Coryton Halt (Glam)” in 1926.

An aerial view from 1926 – the halt is just visible above Whitchurch Hospital at the top centre of the picture.

Passenger service from Cardiff had continued throughout this change, and ran up until 1931 – at this point passenger services terminated at Coryton, although freight trains past Coryton onto Nantgarw Colliery began using the track from 1938.

And so things continued until the early 1950’s. At this point a new track layout at the Nantgarw Colliery had rendered the Cardiff metals redundant by 1952, and the line past Coryton closed for good in 1953. The construction of the nearby A470 in the 1960’s neatly put paid to any thought of the line re-opening, rendering Coryton as one of the most unimpressive terminus points on the network.

Coryton Station, 1955

Coryton Halt, 1955

The trackbed between Coryton and Tongwynlais was abandoned for many years, and what remained of it after construction of the A470 and M4 was converted into walking paths. Many of the bridges over the line remain today, and are in a fairly decent state of repair. An excellent look at the remaining walkable trackbed between Tongwynlais and Coryton can be found here: http://www.urban75.org/railway/coryton-tongwynlais.html

National Library of Scotland OS comparison

National Library of Scotland OS comparison. The modern day curve of the trackbed can still be seen in the satellite view.

Another view of Coryton Station, 1955

Another view of Coryton Halt, 1955

The station was proposed for closure in the infamous Beeching Report in 1963, but the station was successful in avoiding closure.  The station was renamed simply “Coryton” on the 5th May, 1969. A small passing loop remained in place at the site to allow engines to switch ends on trains, but this too was eventually lifted as the multi-directional diesel trains became commonplace.

Over a century after it’s inception Coryton Station is still in operation, and as of 2017 marks the terminus of the Cardiff Coryton Line operated by Arriva Trains Wales. Services normally continue to Radyr via the City Line and then back towards Coryton.

By John Grayson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14432905

Coryton Station, as it looked in 2010, almost 100 years after it was originally put in place. Photo by John Grayson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14432905

It would be geographically possible to run a loop from Coryton to Radyr, (ironically enough, a station located on the former rival Taff Vale Railway lines, the very company that so successfully hindered the Cardiff Railway’s development initially). This could complete a loop around Cardiff, and several plans have been submitted over the years to put such an operation in place. Unfortunately, to date all of these plans have yet to come to fruition due to cost and other obstacles.

So we’ve finally arrived at the point in these little retrospectives where some actual proper infrastructure of the old Cardiff Railway still exists, in a fashion. Exciting, eh? In the future we’ll take a look at the other modern day stations that remain from the Cardiff Railways (Whitchurch, Rhiwbina, and Heath Low Level), and we’ll also look at the newer stations added to the line (Ty Glas and Birchgrove).

Photos in this post have been sourced from: http://www.urban75.org/ and http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk

An excellent old OS comparison site provided by the National Library of Scotland: http://maps.nls.uk/geo/find/#zoom=5&lat=56.0000&lon=-4.0000&layers=7&b=1&point=0,0

 

 

 

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