Retracing The Cardiff Railway: The Book

As regular readers of this little blog will know, I’ve enjoyed writing some small blogs about the former Cardiff Railway. When I moved to Rhydyfelin, just outside the South Wales Valleys, I had little idea that it was once the terminus for a former railway, before it was buried under the A470 road and other bits of the modern landscape. This of course was the Cardiff Railway, a failed competitor to the Taff Vale Railway and Barry Railway in the same area.

The blogs proved to be fairly popular with a broad range of people. With that in mind, I’ve been spurred on to do a thorough update and expansion of all of those blogs into a more substantial, high quality coffee-table book. The history and minutiae of the Cardiff Railway has been more than adequately covered in some excellent books over the years, but I wanted instead to craft a book that showed each stop along the line as it was when it was first opened, as it was after the line closed, right through to the sites as they are in the present day.

The Rhydyfelin Halt Terminus, seen in 1922 and 2015.

I’ve decided the best way to finance the book would be via a Kickstarter campaign. This would allow me to fund the printing of the book, with the following features.

  • Newly written material and historical context for the imagery (including Heath Low Level, a stop I’d not yet covered in the original blogs).
  • Large print, high-resolution pictures sourced from the original archives and photographers where possible, in black and white, and full colour where possible.
  • Updated modern day photography and comparison photographs.
  • Large scale maps (historical and modern-day).
  • Glossy, high quality, A4 Landscape Hardcover book.

With my previous experience working in newspaper, book and comic-book publishing, I am confident that I am well placed to deliver an interesting, informative, high-quality book.

Here are some mock-ups of the book.

Each station along the line would get between 4 to 10 pages dedicated to it, tracing the history of each stop, from inception, to abandonment, to the present day location. These pages would be illustrated with as much high quality imagery as I can afford to secure.

In addition to the book itself, I’m hoping to offer additional rewards  in the form of art prints (drawn by myself, based off old photographs of the line), mugs, bookmarks, etc.

Art print, by me – “Testing Rhydyfelin Viaduct in 1909”

Mock up of mug (The actual mug will be better!).

I’ve already been in touch with some Facebook railway group members about using various photography, and I’m also in the process of contacting various other photographers, archivists and other copyright holders to sort out pricing for commercial use, and to obtain the best quality images possible for the book. I already have permission from Rhondda Cynon Taff council, ‘Britain From Above’, National Library of Scotlands (maps) and I’ve already been in touch with my printer to get printing quotes. Once I’ve got a more definitive idea of the pricing, I’ll put the Kickstarter page up.

So, the Kickstarter funds will be used to

  • Pay for reproduction rights for the best quality historical photographs possible, from a variety of copyright holders.
  • Pay for any reproduction rights for maps, Ordnance Surveys, and aerial photography.
  • Pay for the high quality printing.
  • Pay for postage, additional perks and Kickstarter rewards for backers.

So I guess consider this a head-up! The Kickstarter page itself will go live at either the end of May or June, and run for a month. If successful, I hope to get the book produced and printed before the end of the year (ideally, for the start of December). I will be heavily publicising it here and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts once it goes live.

In the meantime, if you think anyone you know may be interested in the project, please spread the word. Also, if anyone has any photographs of the route (that they own the copyright of), please get in touch with me via the comments to discuss inclusion in the book.

(images on this page courtesy of RCT Digital Archive, Google Maps, NLS,  Geoff Atkins, Ceri Jones & Ben Brooksbank)

Update – 23/6/2017 – The campaign is now live,  please back it on Kickstarter!
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4 thoughts on “Retracing The Cardiff Railway: The Book

  1. I’ve got my won photos and records of a 2013 Inquiry about The Bute in Trefforest, the arguments over a possible village green status hinging on the land over which the Cardiff Railway ran.

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