Station Name: LLANGLYDWEN
[Source: Nick Catford]
One of three photographs taken by David Samuel Rees (1884 - 1976), a keen local amateur photographer and grandfather of the contributor. The vantage point is the grounds of Abertaf, a cottage then owned by the contributor's great aunt and located across the Afon Taf valley from Llanglydwen station. This particular view was reproduced as a postcard, this survivor being postmarked 26 July 1926. The presence of the LMS van and LNER wagon tells us the photograph was taken after The Grouping, therefore we can date the photograph to no earlier than January 1923 and no later than the postmark date. A group of people stand on the platform, of which at least two are staff, obviously posing in awareness of the photograph being taken. Behind the station is Pretoria Stores, a general store and to its right a building displaying a Thorley's Cake sign. It is probably an agent's office. As tempting as the name sounds, Thorley's were in fact suppliers of animal foodstuffs and had a factory at King's Cross. Thorley's enamel advertisements could bear the name 'Thorley Cake' or, as here, 'Thorley's Cake' and quite a few survive today in either form. To the left of Pretoria Stores is Pretoria Mill which, although unconfirmed, may have been connected with Thorley's. Of the goods vans, the squat van coupled to the LMS van is an 'Iron Mink'; a once prolific and highly successful type copied by several other railway companies. 'Mink' was one of numerous telegraphic code names given to railway wagons, particularly by the GWR, and often borrowed from some form of animal life of which perhaps the best known is the 'Toad' brake van. The practice is still in use today to a limited degree and now almost exclusively on engineering vehicles Click here for a larger version.
Photo by David Samuel Rees
1907 1 :2500 OS map shows the layout of the station after rebuilding in 1887. There are two facing plaforms with the main station building and the stationmaster's house on the up platform adjacent to the level crossing. There is a waiting shelter in the middle of the down platform. The signal box at the south end of the uyp platform cantrols access to the goods yard behind the down platform; this comprises a single siding. Road access to the yard is from the west side of the crossing. A wighbridge (WM) is shown at the entrance to the yard.
Another photograph by the late David Samuel Rees, this time from a different angle and affording a clearer view of the station buildings as well as including the level crossing. Again taken in the early post-Grouping period, this time the station appears eerily deserted but the photographer has company in the form of the group of people on the bridge. The LMS open wagon, right of centre, appears to be loaded with newly felled timber. The pitched roof building behind the Down platform is stilted off the ground to protect its contents from rodents. It was probably a store for animal foodstuffs. Adjacent to the level crossing is what looks like a railway goods van with steeply pitched roof. It is in fact a road vehicle and similar to the vehicles once seen towed by steam rollers and used as accommodation for the driver/operator as he moved around from job to job. This example, however, lacks windows and has a sliding door in its bodyside so it was possibly used for local collections and deliveries to and from the railway station - most likely to and from outlying farms. It would have been owned and operated by a local cartage agent rather than by the Great Western Railway. The small building at extreme left and beyond the level crossing was of corrugated iron construction; it no longer exists and a brick structure now stands in its place. Just beyond it, but hidden from view by the trees, was and still is the Penybont Inn, or Pen-y-bont Inn, better known today as 'The Bont'. Its link with train crews is mentioned in another caption and also in the history text. In the foreground runs the Afon Taf and a short distance to the left is its confluence with the Afon Tigen. The bridge, carrying the road towards Pant-y-caws, dates from the 1820s and is of brick and slate construction. The cylindrical 'tunnels', one large and one small either side, are for the purpose of weight reduction. The bridge is today a listed structure.
Click here for a larger version.
Photo by David Samuel Rees
Another photograph by the late David Samuel Rees taken from the grounds of Abertaf. Again we are looking at the period soon after The Grouping but, subtle background differences suggest, at a slightly different time to the 1926-postmarked postcard view. If only we could see this view in colour for, to modern eyes, it would be one of sheer delight; the ex-Cardigan train with its green locomotive and brown and cream carriages, the private owner wagons, the station livery, the river and the general greenery of the Welsh countryside. The locomotive is a halfcab 0-6-0 PT of the 1016 class. It has 'Great Western' in full on its tanks but appears to be in slightly scruffy condition. The numberplate is visible but due to the fencing only the first two digits, '10', can be discerned with any certainty while the fourth digit is either 8 or 9. The 1016 class appeared in various forms over the years, beginning life as saddle tanks, then going through a fad for side tanks before ending up as pannier tanks. Built at Wolverhampton from 1867 to an Armstrong design, the sixty-strong class became extinct by the late 1930s. Sharp-eyed observers will note there is no sign of the locomotive crew and it is not unreasonable to suspect they were in the local public house, out of view to the left. Llanglydwen was a passing place, meaning that at certain times of the day trains would need to await a train travelling in the opposite direction to clear the single track. Local anecdote handed down the generations informs us that when trains needed to wait at Llanglydwen it was not uncommon for the crew to take advantage and swiftly vanish to the nearby public house 'The Bont' (in full, 'Peny Bont Inn'). The Bont, at one time run by publican Dai Bont, was still there and trading at the time of writing. This practice of 'nipping for a swift half' was at one time not uncommon on rural railways well away from the 'powers that be' when the timetable allowed. Also not visible in this view are the station buildings but as if to compensate we are afforded a view of the signal box. The train appears to be wearing a variant of the GWR's brown and cream livery introduced in 1924. Behind the locomotive is a 6-wheel Brake Third followed by a four-compartment Composite. The third vehicle is probably a five-compartment Third; this and the second vehicle could have been either 4 or 6-wheeled. The fourth vehicle is a 6-wheel Full Brake or Luggage Brake. The sixth vehicle in an all-over livery, probably brown, is a 6-wheel 'Siphon'. Intended as milk vans, the milk being conveyed in churns, they were in practice used for anything which required good ventilation. The generous provision of non passenger accommodation on this train might suggest the photograph was taken on a market day. Keeping company with the GW and LMS open wagons, the two private owner wagons are typical of thousands once a common site across the country. Often colourful and always making sure the owners names were prominent, such wagons became, by the time of Nationalisation, very decrepit and in many instances unfit to run. With the arguable exception of a few of what we now call 'Block' trains, private owner wagons were swept away by the politics of Nationalisation and can now only be seen, splendidly restored, in museums and on heritage railways, Click here for a larger version.
Photo by David Samuel Rees
Llanglydwen station looking north in July 1958. The building on the right is a goods lockup.
Copyright photo by R M Casserley
A Cardigan train waits in the down platform at Llanglydwen station in 1961; this platform was noticably shorter than the up platform.
Photo from Steven Buckley collection
Llanglydwen station looking north c.1960s
Photo from John Mann collection
The evening Cardigan to Whitland service hauled by Churchward small prarie 4500 class 2-6-2T 4557 passes 1600 class pannier tank 1648 at Llanglydwen station in August 1962. 4557 only had a few months of life left being withdrawn at the end of September that year to be cut up at R.S. Hayes/Birds, Tremains Yard, Bridgend in August 1963. 1648 didn't last much longer being witdrawn at the end of May 1963 and cut up at Cashmores, Newport in September 1963.
Photo by David Maidment
Llanglydwen station looking north in August 1967. The station coal merchant continued trading after the station closed to all traffic.
Photo by Nick Catford
Llanglydwen station looking south in August October 1974.
Photo by Peter Howie
Llanglydwen station in January 1975.
Photo by Alan Young
Llanglydwen station in January 1975 and looking towards the level crossing, gates still present, and Cardigan. Referring to the photographs of the late David Samuel Rees and contributed by his Grandson, we are informed that Abertaf, the cottage owned by our contributor's Great Aunt, had a lodger known as 'Tommy the Railway' who started a coal merchant's business at the station around the time the line closed. Tommy produced brickettes from coal dust ('Culm') and sold these alongside ordinary coal. At the time of writing, March 2018, a coal merchant, T.J.D. Williams & Son (actually owned by Coal Products Ltd.) was still in business but whether this has any direct connection with the business started by 'Tommy the Railway' over half a century ago is not known.
Photo by Alan Young
Llanglydwen station looking south in September 2010.
Photo by Steve Chadney