CARNARVON TOWN LINE

[Source: Les Fifoot & Paul Wright]


The 'Carnarvon Town Line' seen looking north-west at the harbour end of the line in the early years of the twentieth century. The train seen in the view was en route to Llanberis. The line to its left was used by Afon Wen line trains.
Copyright photo from the Dave Southern collection

By 1869 the town of Caernarfon had three termini, all of which had train services operated by the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). The stations were Carnarvon, which opened in 1852 and served the Menai Bridge line; Carnarvon Pant, opened in 1867 to serve the Afon Wen line; and Carnarvon Morfa which served the Llanberis line. Only Carnarvon was convenient for the town centre.

On the 5 July 1865 Act for the construction of the ‘Carnarvon Town Line’ was granted. The line was just over a mile in length and included a tunnel of 163yd under the historic centre of Caernarfon. The line connected all three of the separate railways allowing passenger trains to run into Carnarvon station and creating a through route between Menai Bridge and Afon Wen. It also included connections to the Caernarfon Quayside, located beneath the historic castle. The new line opened to goods services on 5 August 1870 and to passenger on 3 January 1871.

The line appeared to be double-track for most of its length, but it was in fact two parallel single-track railways between Carnarvon station to a point just north of the River Seiont. At that point the lines separated: one continued south, crossing the river on a stone viaduct to link to the Afon Wen line, and the other turned east to connect to the Llanberis branch.

In December 1964 the line between Caernarfon and Afon Wen closed to all traffic. On 7 September 1964 the Llanberis branch had seen its last goods train. After this date there was no traffic scheduled over the Carnarvon Town Railway. The Llanberis line was lifted from February 1965 leaving only the single track of the former Afon Wen line in situ. It was used in July 1969 for the storage of excursion trains that visited Caernarfon for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales. Shortly afterwards the line was lifted.

The course of the line remained derelict until 1999 when the tunnel was reopened as a one-way road underpass. In 1997 rails were laid once again on a section of the Carnarvon Town Railway when the Welsh Highland Railway built its line from Dinas to Caernarfon. A location for the terminus of the line was chosen just south of the tunnel entrance.

In September 2012 the course of the Carnarvon Town Railway could easily be followed by rail or by car

See also: Caernarvon, Carnarvon Pant, Carnarvon Morfa


Looking south from an Afon Wen train on 5 May 1957 at the point on the 'Carnarvon Town Line' where the Llanberis and the Afon Wen lines diverged. In the distance to the right can be seen the bridge that carried the Afon Wen line over the River Seiont.
Copyright photo from the Dave Southern collection

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A view looking north towards Caernarfon from a DMU travelling along the 'Carnarvon Town Line' on 29 April 1964. Caernarfon castle can be seen in the distance.
Copyright photo from the Dave Southern collection

The north portal of the 163yd Caernarvon Tunnel looking south in May 1979. The tunnel took the line under the centre of Caernarfon.
Photo by Nick Catford.

Looking north along the trackbed of the 'Carnarvon Town Line' towards Caernarvon station in May 1979. At this point the line passed through the centre of the town.
Photo by Nick Catford


Looking south along the 'Carnarvon Town Line' towards the tunnel in the 1990s.
Photo by Dave Southern


Looking towards Caernarfon along the 'Carnarvon Town Line' on 28 September 2012 from a point just to the north of where the Afon Wen and the Llanberis lines diverged. Since 1997 this section of the line has been brought back into use as part of the 'new' Welsh Highland Railway.
Photo by Paul Wright


Looking north along the 'Carnarvon Town Line' from a point just to the north of the tunnel on 28 September 2012. In 1999 a road had opened through the tunnel.
Photo by Les Fifoot

To see a selection of pictures of the Carnarvon Town Line click here.


 

 

 

[Source: Les Fifoot & Paul Wright]




Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 16:17:46 BST
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