Arriva Trains Wales
This is an extract from the page on Arriva Trains Wales. To
access the main site select either the North Wales, The Marches,
and Chepstow-Swansea section, the Heart of Wales, Swansea and
West Wales section, or the full version which combines the
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Figures after Station names show approximate journey times from Bridgend with approximate journey times from Swansea in brackets.
Bridgend (43 mins)
A market town, Bridgend gives access to the Vale of Glamorgan, and has a number of medieval castle ruins in the area. Among these are Coity and Ogmore, the latter close to stepping stones across the River Ogmore which also gives access to the Glamorgan Coastal Path. Two miles from Bridgend is the village of Ewenny, with its pottery and Norman Priory. North of the town are the formerly industrialised valleys of Llynfi, Garw and Ogmore, while to the west is the traditional seaside resort of Porthcawl. Arriva Trains Wales run services into the Llynfi Valley serving stations to Maesteg. There are also connection with the Vale of Glamorgan line to Barry and Cardiff.
Pyle 7 mins (36)
Pyle is one of the stations opened by local authorities, resulting from the National Union of Railmen-inspired Swanline initiative. Mainly residential with a light-industrial estate nearby, to the west of the town is Kenfig Burrows, an area of sand dunes part of which covers the buried city of Kenfig. Kenfig Pool lies at the heart of the nature reserve. The dunes run westward into the Bristol Channel. At the southern extremity of the bay is Sker House, made famous in the R. D. Blackmore novel: The Maid of Sker.
Port Talbot Parkway 13 mins (28)
Port Talbot is dominated by the steel works to the south and the oil refinery to the north, but beyond the industrialised areas there are many areas of beauty and interest. Aberavon, nearby, was once a seaside resort, but this function ceased soon after the closure of the railway from the Rhondda and Afan valleys, on the course of which, the Afan Country Park has been created. The revival of the town as a leisure-based resort relied on the Aquadome watersport centre, and the Apollo multiplex cinema close by. Controversy surrounds the redevelopment of the Afan Lido sports complex, destroyed in a fire in 2009.
Surfers are attracted to the beach area, where cross currents and straight-off-the-Atlantic breezes can whip up some pretty fair waves.
Three miles east of the town, is fifth-century Margam Abbey, around which has been created Margam Country Park, which includes a boating lake and a narrow-gauge railway. The abbey houses a remarkable collection of Celtic and medieval stone crosses.
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Baglan 19 mins (27)
Opened as recently as June 2nd 1996, this was the fifth and last of the Swanline stations. Mainly residential, the village is dominated by the oil refinery to the west. Close to the station, there is an interesting church, the Bagle Brook Hotel, and the newly-opened Neath and Port Talbot General Hospital.
Briton Ferry 22mins (21)
Site of a small wharf on the River Neath, the village is 'graced' by not one, but two motorway bridges soaring overhead. The station serves a mainly residential community.
Neath 26mins (17)
Standing on the River Neath, the town has its origins in the Roman fortress of Nidum. An attractive market town, here is the ruin of the castle and Neath Abbey which was founded in 1129. Before the coming of the railways, the port was served by two canals - the Tennant and the Vale of Neath - the latter having being restored in its upper reaches.
Outside the town are the Aberdulais Falls with its restored tin plate works, and, rather more distant, Cefn Coed Colliery Museum. Throughout the Vale of Neath, there are many waterfalls and cascades, principal among which are the Melincourt near Resolven (pictured), Ysgwyd Gwladys (the Lady Fall) and Ysgwyd Einon Gam near Pontneathvaughan. Also reached by an hour's strenuous walk from Pontneathvaughan is Ysgwyd-yr-eira (the Fall of Snow), remarkable because it is possible to walk behind the torrent of water from one side of the valley to the other.
Skewen 31 mins (12)
This Swanline station serves a mainly residential area.
Llansamlet 35 mins (8)
On the northern outskirts of Swansea, Llansamlet is another Swanline station which serves a largely residential area, though the Enterprise Zone is not too far away. Of interest as the train approaches the station are four 'flying buttresses' over the track, designed by the celebrated railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel to combat the effects of subsidence in the area. After more than 150 years, they still demonstrate their effectiveness. The Swansea Vale preserved railway is within walking distance of the station.
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Swansea is approached over the 389-yard steel viaduct at Landore, which
replaced an original Brunel structure. On the top of the hill to the right of
the train just before this crossing are the jagged stone ruins of Morris Castle.
Not really a castle at all, it is the remains of the first tenement building in
Britain - and possibly the world - built by John Morris to accommodate workers
at his Landore copper works. The town of Morriston is named after him.
Swansea 43 mins
Wales' second city, Swansea was extensively damaged during World War II. Over the years, the bomb damaged areas have been replaced with modern shops and houses, a process completed with redevelopment of defunct dockland to create the Maritime Quarter.
It has a modern shopping centre, with many attractive parks close by.
The Grand Theatre celebrated its centenary in 1997, and has been refurbished to a very high standard. It was opened by the celebrated Italian soprano Madame Adelina Patti, whose pavilion stands in Gors Lane.
A barrage across the mouth of the River Tawe, and the conversion of part of the former dockland area into a picturesque marina, has given Swansea an attractive waterfront quarter which harks back to its seagoing heritage. On the northern quay of the marina is the Swansea Industrial and Maritime Museum - which will soon become the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum - with extensive displays and artefacts which highlight that heritage. Close to the Dylan Thomas Theatre is a statue of one of Swansea's most famous sons: the writer, poet and playwright, most notoriously of 'Under Milk Wood' a wickedly whimsical day in the life of the fishing village of Llareggub (try reading the cod-Welsh name backwards!). 2014 marks the centenary of Dylan's birth, and a number of commemorative events are taking place.
The city's university is located at Singleton Park, a public area which has a boating lake amongst its many attractions.
Swansea is the gateway to west Wales, but closer at hand is the Mumbles, famed as the site of the world's first passenger railway, which used steam, diesel, electric - and even sail - power in its 153-year existence from 1807 until 1960. There were plans to resurrect the Railway using a revolutionary flywheel driven tram system, but this has been abandoned, one reason - ironically - being that the original route has been developed as a promenade and cycleway. Mumbles Pier houses the Swansea lifeboat station.
To the west is the Gower peninsular - the first region in Britain to be designated an area of outstanding natural beauty - with numerous bays and inlets, Oxwich and Pennard Castles, and a coastal cliff-top path. The northern coast is flatter with salt marshes forming the boundary with the sea. On the tidal foreshore are the metal lighthouse at Whiteford Sands and a World War One watchtower, while Weobley Castle and the villages of Llanrhidian, Landimore and Llanmadoc are on drier ground.
This is an extract from the page on Arriva Trains Wales.
To access the main site select either the North Wales, The Marches, and Chepstow-Swansea section, the Heart of Wales, Swansea and West Wales section, or the full version which combines the two.
Select this link to return to the Gazetteer of Stations or Route Sections page.
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Copyright © 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 /12/13/14 by Deryck Lewis.
All rights reserved.
Page created July 14 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Updated May 18 2014
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails