Garw Valley Railway Company
Location (Tondu): 51 32N 3 35W;
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Valley Railway was formed as the Bridgend Valleys
Railway Society (BVRS) in 1988 with the aim of preserving the line which runs through
the Garw Valley in the county of Bridgend. The line is one of three which radiated from
the junction at Tondu: The Ogmore Vale is closed and lifted; the Llynfi Valley branch to
Maesteg was reopened to passengers in 1992; while the Garw was reopened for freight to
carry screened coal from tips in the valley as part of a land reclamation scheme.
It was this branch on which the BVRS set its sights. The last train ran on March 6 1997 and is pictured alongside near Pontrhyl, in a setting which is typical of the topography of the valley.
Groundwork Bridgend (responsible to Bridgend County Council for the regeneration of the
Garw valley) had negotiated the acquisition of the track bed for use as a Community Route
with cycleway and other leisure activities.
The steam railway is part of this project, and will
parallel the cycleway for most of the route.
On March 23 2001, the Welsh Assembly made its first Transport Works Act order in favour of the BVRS, and six days later Railtrack (the company which formerly had charge of the infrastructure of the national railway network) signed over the route to the company, clearing the way for steady progress to opening the line between Pontycymmer and Bryngarw Country Park, a distance of about 4 miles. Bryngarw Country Park, which will be the southernmost limit of operations in the medium term, but later it is hoped to extend as far south as Tondu, close to the Arriva Trains Wales station on the route between Bridgend and Maesteg - or even onto ‘The Bedford Line’ towards Margam should an opportunity arise.
At Pontycymmer, the BVRS erected an engine shed and workshop, and will build a platform with ticket office and waiting room on the opposite side of the tracks.
Bryngarw Country Park will take the form of a small halt, with waiting shelter, but the site is difficult of access and visitors will be required to walk or cycle from the Country Park car park area. The company's immediate target, therefore, will be to establish a similar facility near the level crossing at Llangeinor, at roughly the half-way mark between Pontycymmer and Tondu.
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Class 108 DMBS 51919 + DMC 52048
Other rolling stock
BR Mk1 BSO 9010
DB993721 Brake Van fitted with snow ploughs
BR Standard Brake Van
3890 was acquired from Hanson Aggregates
at Machen Quarry, and replaced 3832, a diesel mechanical version which has now been sold
to the Torridge Diesel group in Devon.
A Polish-built Tkh Ferrum locomotive No 2871, moved to Pontycymmer in August 2001, but has since been sold to the Spa Valley Railway at Tunbridge Wells.
Membership of the Garw Valley Railway is open to everyone. Membership runs from April to March each year, and current fees are: Adult £10.00; Unwaged and Over 60s £7.50; Children under 16 years of age £2.00.
Members receive a newsletter ‘On Track’ three times a year and can join in social evenings or volunteering on the railway. To become a member a cheque made payable to Garw Valley Railway Company should be sent to:
In December 2008 the Vale of
Glamorgan County Council served notice on the Barry Island Railway to quit its
site at Barry, and remove its locos, rolling stock and other artefacts. Many of
the BIR's locos have been dispersed throughout Great Britain, but some were
retained by the preservation group, and will form the basis of establishing a
presence at Pontycymmer, from where it will work jointly with the GVRC at
bringing to fruition the plans for a five-mile preserved railway in the valley.
More details are available on the WalesRails page on the BIR.
How to get there
Pontycymmer is served by buses from Bridgend. For details of connecting services, including travel planner and timetables, visit the Traveline Cymru website.
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Copyright © 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13 by Deryck Lewis.
All rights reserved.
Page created July 14 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Updated January 24 2012
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails