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Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire
Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway
across the Heads of the Valleys
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Heads of the Valleys Railways and Tramroads

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The Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway

Quick links to :-     The History and Route     Abergavenny to Govilon
Govilon to Clydach     Clydach to Brynmawr     Brynmawr to Merthyr

The Background and the Route

The MTAR was originally an independent compay, backed by Crawshay Bailey but almost at once being leased to the LNWR. It was opened in 1862 following the courses of Baileys Govilon Tramroad and the Llanvihangel Tramroad from Brynmawr to Abergavenny. By 1864 the line was extended to Nantybwch and reached Dowlais by 1873. A joint agreement with the Brecon and Merthyr Railway in 1879 finally gave it access to Merthyr Tydvil. It was a steep and exposed line and difficult to work at the best of times. It closed in 1957, the last train being a 'Special' in 1958 but Abergavenny goods yard lingered on to 1971. The Dowlais to Beaufort section was virtually destroyed by the building of the A465 Heads of the Valley road but the route from there to Abergavenny is now a footpath for most of its route.


From Abergavenny to Govilon

Quick links to :-     The History and Route     Abergavenny to Govilon
Govilon to Clydach     Clydach to Brynmawr     Brynmawr to Merthyr

Abergavenny

Llanfoist

Govilon


From Govilon to Clydach

Quick links to :-     The History and Route     Abergavenny to Govilon
Govilon to Clydach     Clydach to Brynmawr     Brynmawr to Merthyr

Govilon to Gilwern

Gilwern

From Gilwern to Clydach - the 'missing' stretch

The 'missing' stretch of the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway is accessable from a footpath that crosses it about halfway along, not that there's much to see, the quarry and station are much more interesting. The railway has been built on top of Baileys Tramroad for this section.


Through the Clydach Gorge to Brynmawr

Quick links to :-     The History and Route     Abergavenny to Govilon
Govilon to Clydach     Clydach to Brynmawr     Brynmawr to Merthyr

Clydach Station - SO 2320 1270

Clydach viaduct, Station and tunnel

Llanelly Quarry - SO 22230 1247

Llanelly Quarry supplied the limestone to Clydach Ironworks originally using the Llammarch Tramroad of 1795. The 1811 incline actually ended in the quarry area so the MTAR had to build two arches, one for the incline and the other for the tramroad on up to Waunllapria. The MTAR put in sidings from the Eastern end and two sets of limekilns were built at either end, the eastern set have a headstone iscribed 'GP 1892'. The quarry and sidings closed in the 1930s and reopened for roadstone from 1951 to 1963 using road transport.

Darenfelen - SO 2180 1230

The culverts under the embankment at Darenfelen - SO 2181 1214

Gellifelen Tunnel - SO 2150 1209 to SO 2178 1213

Gellifelen Halt - SO 2140 1225

Looks like its still waiting for a train to come along!

On to Brynmawr


Across the Heads of the Valleys

From Brynmawr to Merthyr Tydvil

Quick links to :-     The History and Route     Abergavenny to Govilon
Govilon to Clydach     Clydach to Brynmawr     Brynmawr to Merthyr

Brynmawr - SO 1873 1150

Brynmawr West Junction was where the GWR branch to Nantyglo, Abertillery and Aberbeeg curved off from the MTAR. Underneath both lines ran the Disgwylfa Tramroad, which linked the limestone quarries at Disgwylfa with Nantyglo Ironworks.

Beaufort Station - SO 1687 1171

Beaufort Station, goods yard and tunnel

Blaen-y-Cwm Viaduct, Sirhowy - SO 1325 1090

The 'Nine Arches' viaduct across the Sirhowy River near Nant-y-Bwch Station

Dowlais

From Dowlais Top through the Morlais Tunnel to the Brecon & Merthyr Railway junction


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