[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 18.2.1907
Location: North of a bridge over nu-named road to Nant Cwm-du
Company on opening: GWR and Rhymney Joint Railway
Date closed to passengers: 12.2.1951
Date closed completely: 1.11.1954
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: Site lost under east carriageway of A470
County: Glamorganshire
OS Grid Ref: SO066020
Date of visit: Not visited

Notes: Troedyrhiw Halt opened on 18 February 1907 to coincide with a railmotor service operated by the Rhymney Railway. There was already a Troedyrhiw station on the Taff Valley Line running along the east side of the River Taff.

The halt had two facing platforms with waiting rooms at the rear of both platforms, that on the up platform being a little longer as it included a ticket office. Access was along a path from the road. On 4 November 1910 authorisation was given for an extension of both platforms by (or to?) 250 feet.

Although designated as a halt from its opening, it was staffed at least in its early days with tickets tickets being issued and collected and parcels being handled.

Although passenger services ceased with the closure of the line to passenger traffic on 12.2.1951, the halt remained open for unadvertised colliery trains until 1.11.1954. Castle Pit which was a short distance to the north of the halt had its own miners platform in use between 1897 and 1915. The colliery closed in 1935 and its site is now lost under the A470 road. The line was singled following the end of the regular passenger service.

According to Clinker the original name had no suffix but there is no other evidence to back this up. Bradshaw refers to Troedyrhiw Halt in 1910 and Troedyrhiw Platform in 1922. From 1924 the suffix halt appears to have been used.

The Rhymney Railway was founded to transport minerals and materials to and from collieries and ironworks in the Rhymney Valley of South Wales, and to docks in Cardiff. It opened a main line in 1858, and a limited passenger service was operated in addition.

The first line was dependent on the cooperation of the parallel Taff Vale Railway (TVR) for part of the transit, and this relationship was uneasy; the Rhymney Railway built an independent line to Cardiff in 1871. Better relations were created with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), and later the Great Western Railway (GWR), and two important joint lines with the GWR were built: the Taff Bargoed line (1876) and the Quakers Yard and Merthyr Joint line in 1882.

Quakers Yard was a very busy railway junction. It had three viaducts, the first was a six arch viaduct built by Brunel in 1840. It carried the Taff Valley Railway to Merthyr along the east bank of the River Taff. This viaduct is still in use today. Quakers Yard was also the junction between the Taff Valley Railway and the Taff Vale Extension (TWE) of the Newport, Abergavenny & Hereford Railway. This line passed over a second viaduct before entering a tunnel to reach the Cynon Valley below Aberdare from where it ran on to Neath and Swansea. With the arrival of the Rhymney Railway this diverged from the TWE at Quakers Yard along the west bank of the River Taff. This required the building of a third viaduct, parallel to the second but curving away northwards towards Merthyr from it. 

Quakers Yard viaducts No 2 (foreground) and No 3. From Quakers Yard station a line passed over the second viaduct before entering a tunnel to reach the Cynon Valley below Aberdare from where it ran on to Neath and Swansea. The Rhymney Railway later diverged from the Swansea line at Quakers Yard running along the west bank of the River Taff. This required the building of a third viaduct, parallel to the second but curving away northwards towards Merthyr from it. Both viaducts have now been demolished.
Photo from John Mann collection

Although the Rhymney Railway network was never large, it was remarkably profitable, and paid excellent dividends for most of its life. Dependent on mineral traffic for its own success, it declined in the 1970s, but the main line from Rhymney to Cardiff remains in heavy use as a local passenger line.

Although the GWR already had a presence at Merthyr through the Vale of Neath line, up to that point the Taff Vale Railway had a monopoly of the direct routes from Merthyr to the south and east.

The Quakers Yard and Merthyr line was opened on 1 April 1886 from the Taff Vale Extension line at Quakers Yard, running up the west side of the River Taff to Merthyr, ending at the GWR station there. Colliery and ironstone pit connections were made intermediately, and a branch line spur crossed the Taff to get access to the important Merthyr Vale colliery. The QY&MR Joint Line crossed the river Taff immediately after leaving Quakers Yard station.

There was already a railway running part of the way down the west bank: the private Gethin Railway belonging to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks. This could be latched onto in the vicinity of Abercanaid, and a simple spur provided where it crossed the GWR Hirwain line to bring the joint trains into Merthyr High Street station.
The line opened for passenger traffic on 1 April 1886, trains using the High Street station at Merthyr. The new line crossed over the Taff Vale line and the Glamorganshire Canal shortly after leaving Quakers Yard GWR (later High Level) station. At nearly 2 miles south there was a branch on the east side to the Merthyr Vale group of coal pits, crossing the river on a long steel viaduct. Initially there were only two intermediate stations at Aberfan and Abercanaid, with the service being worked by the Rhymney company. At Cyfarthfa Level Crossing Junction, where the spur to the former Vale of Neath line ran round Glyndyris Pond, the private Gethin Railway ran straight on to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, with a branch to the east running up to the Ynys Fach works, and. Rhymney goods trains and workmen's trains ran up to Cyfarthfa Furnace Tops.

The Taff Vale Railway introduced what it called "motor cars" (that is, rail motors) in 1905. These were single coaches incorporating a small steam engine integrated with the coach. The intention was to enable station calls at low-cost structures in rural areas. The Rhymney Railway observed the considerable success of the Taff Vale scheme, and in 1907 procured two such vehicles from Hudswell Clarke to its own design; the steam engine part was a small 0-4-0 tank engine with 3 ft 6 in wheels. The carriage part was supplied by Cravens. There were soon complaints of unsteady running, and a trailing axle was added to the locomotive unit, with 2 ft 9 in wheels.

One additional new station at Troedyrhiw was opened on the Quakers Yard to Merthyr line on 18 February 1907 to make use make use of these 'cars' (renamed Troedyrhiw Halt in 1924). The 'cars' were not a success; one was rebuilt in 1910, making a separate carriage and engine. The other was used until 1919 on the Penrhiwfelin workmen's train, and then modified in the same way as the other. Another new station, Pontygwaith Halt opened 11 September 1933. There were also a number of private and untimetabled stations for colliery workers. Gethin Pits Platform was in use between 1915 and 1928 and Castle Pit Platform was in use between 1897 and 1915. There was also a Merthyr Vale Miners Platform at the junction with the branch to the collieries.

Over the years, the second and third viaducts over the River Taff were affected by the underground movements of the coal workings of Deep Navigation Pit in Treharris, which travelled in a westerly direction. Even to this day there are still subsidence issues in Edwardsville. Both viaducts had timber reinforcements in their arches to make them safe, but by the early 1950s the third viaduct became unsafe and this brought a premature termination of the passenger operation on the QY&M line in February 1951 with the closure of four stations and halts. The line was singled in 1952 but remained in use operated as a long siding from Merthyr. Aberfan station remained open to goods traffic until 1 November 1954 and track lifting at the southern end of the line began a year later. Coal wagons were stored along the line near Castle Pit into the mid-1950s and Abercanaid remained open for goods traffic until 9 May 1960, although by this date it only handled coal. Although Troedyrhiw Halt closed to passengers in 1951 it was retained for use by mine workers until 1 November 1954. After the closure of Abercanaid to coal traffic the remaining track was quickly lifted. The third viaduct of the River Taff at Edwardsville was demolished in 1969.

Ticket from Michael Stewart, Route map drawn by Alan Young.


See also:Abercanaid, Aberfan Pontygwaith Halt & Quakers Yard High Level

Looking south west across the Taff Valley c1930s. Troedyrhiw station on the Taff Valley line is seen bottom left. Across the valley Troedyrhiw Halt is seen top right. The two typical GWR waiting sheleters are clearly visible. St Johns Church is seen centre left.
Photo from James Evans' collection

1919 1:2,500 OS map shows the layout of Troedyrhiw Halt. There are two facing platforms, one slightly longer than the other to accommodate a siding running into Castle Pit. Two waiting shelters are shown that on the left being a little loner to accommodate the ticket and parcels office. A path from the road gives access to the ticket office.

1951 1:10,560 OS map. This shows a passenger entrance to the down platform along the top of the cutting and down onto the platform.
The site of Troedyrhiw Halt looking north in January 1976. New housing in Nant Y Coed is seen on the right. This was built in 1962.
Photo by John Mann

In the early 1980s the new A470 was built, it utilised a stretch of the former Quakers Yard to Merthyr railway line between Troedyrhiw and Abercanaid. This summer 2022 view is looking north along the east carriageway of the road which runs through the site of Troedyrhiw, albeit on a higher level. It is taken from a similar viewpoint to the 1976 photo above and also shows the houses of the Nant Y Coed estate.
Photo by Celia Brent




[Source: Nick Catford]

Last updated: Wednesday, 15-Mar-2023 12:44:40 CET
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