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Valley Lines

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Valley Lines is based at Brunel House, Cardiff and operates five principal routes radiating from Cardiff; two suburban services serving the north and west of the city; and a short spur serving Cardiff Bay.
Since December 7 2003, like most rail services operating within Wales, Valley Lines is part of the Arriva group under the Arriva Trains Wales banner

The four valley routes are (select links to move directly to details of individual routes): Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil which share the Taff corridor between Cardiff and Pontypridd; and the Ebbw Vale and  Rhymney branches.
There are also the coastal routes to Penarth/Barry Island, while in Cardiff is the Coryton branch with stations in the northern suburbs, and City Line, which serves the western suburbs; while a short spur from Cardiff Queen Street station links with Cardiff Bay.

(Please note: Selecting the Rhymney or Penarth/Barry Island links, will switch to the Rhymney, Cardiff and Coast section of this site.)

Trevithick 1804-2004
February 21 2004 marked the 200th anniversary of the first steam train to run on rails. The historic journey began in Merthyr Tydfil, and throughout 2004, a series of commemorative events took place, which can be reviewed
here.

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Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Valleys
and Cardiff

(Select here for the
Rhymney Valley, Cardiff and the Coast section)

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

The Valley Lines services operated by Arriva Trains Wales run over about 68 miles of track and serves 67 stations, many of which have Park and Ride facilities to encourage drivers to park their cars and not to drive into already congested town centres.
Over the last ten years or so, Valley Lines has worked in partnership with local authorities to revamp and expand the once run-down local rail network to become an essential element of business and leisure transport for the communities on its routes. Bus feeder services are used to link outlying villages with the railway at selected stations.

Pacer No 142073 displays the new Valley Lines liveryunveil.jpg (6757 bytes)Before Arriva Trains Wales took over, trains operated by Valley Lines were refurbished in a distinctive red, white and green livery, and consisted of six Class 150 Sprinter units and thirty Class 142/3 Pacers (left). The Sprinters carry views of tourist attractions and places of interest along the Valley Routes, while many of the Pacers carry nameplates, including one to Tom Jones, the swivel-hipped singer who was born at Pontypridd, near the Valley Lines station of that name.

The last of the fleet was refurbished in March 2003 and was named Myfanwy in a ceremony on March 17 (right). The nameplate was unveiled by seven-year-old Myfanwy Lewis and Mrs Valerie Bird, the latter having chosen the name in a newspaper competition. Myfanwy is the subject of one of Wales' most famous songs, which was composed by 19th century hymn-writer Joseph Parry, whose cottage can be visited about a mile from the station at Merthyr Tydfil, and whose grave is in the churchyard of St Augustine's on Penarth Head at the mouths of the Rivers Taff and Ely.

More recently, the fleet now carries Arriva branding as seen in some of the photographs which follow. Class 158 and 153 units appear on some of the services.

At Cardiff Central, Valley Lines connects with the national rail network, and services operated by Wales and Borders and First Great Western Trains.

Fares
There is a simplified fare structure, with the routes divided into five zones (a sixth zone covers the route to Maesteg, west of the Valley Lines area). Single tickets are available before 9:00 on weekdays, while for same-day return travel Cheap Day tickets are available. Children under 5 travel free while those between 5 and 15 travel at a reduced rate.
In conjunction with local authorities and the Employment Agency, Valley Lines also offers reduced-rate travel on Valley Line services to unemployed jobseekers.
One of the best travel bargains available to all, however, is the Explorer ticket which allows unlimited travel on the Valley Lines network and feeder buses, as well as Stagecoach Rhondda and Stagecoach Red and White in the area. Ticket holders can also obtain discounts of up to 20% and free child places at many tourist attractions on the network. Explorer tickets cost 6 for adults, and 3 for children.

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Valley Lines Routes in detail

TREHERBERT

The Treherbert branch runs from Pontypridd along the Rhondda Fawr (Big Rhondda) valley, once synonymous throughout the world with coal mining.

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

From Treherbert, Monday to Saturday services to Cardiff operate half-hourly at 17 and 47 minutes past the hour between 05.47am and 8.17pm, then at 9.17pm.
On Sundays, trains run at 8.17am, 10.07am, 12.07pm, 2.17pm, 4.17pm, 6.17pm and 8.17pm.
From Cardiff Central, Monday to Saturday, there are half-hourly departures at 6 and 36 minutes past the hour between 6.36am and 7.06pm, and at 8.06pm, 9.06pm and 10.06pm and 10.46pm.
On Sundays, trains run at 9.00am, 11.00am, 1.06pm, 3.06pm, 5.06pm, 7.06pm, 9.06pm and 10.06pm.

Special fares and/or timetables apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Other stations to Pontypridd (with journey times in minutes) are: Ynyswen (2 mins); Treorchy (4); Ton Pentre (6); Ystrad Rhondda (9); Llwynypia (13); Tonypandy (15); Dinas (17); Porth (21); Trehafod (24); and Pontypridd (29). Select here for stations between Cardiff and Pontypridd.
At Treherbert there are bus links to Blaenrhondda and Blaencwm, while at Ystrad Rhondda there is a bus feeder which runs over Penrhys mountain to serve villages in the Rhondda Fach (Little Rhondda) valley.

Places of interest

Trehafod
The Rhondda Heritage Park as seen from a passing trainThe gateway to the Rhondda (despite the literal translation of Porth, the next station up the line), the community nestles in a hollow at the foot of the valley, the railway elevated above it. The Rhondda Heritage Park (pictured right, as seen from a passing train) has been developed around the pit head of Lewis Merthyr colliery, which closed in 1983. Former miners are the guides, giving personal as well as historical accounts of life underground. Exhibits and audio-visual presentations recreate the domestic and cultural life of the community in the heyday of coalmining. The 'Energy Zone' is a theme-based adventure playground for children, and there is also an art gallery and conference centre. Adjoining the site is the recently-built Heritage Park Hotel. Towards Pontypridd, Hetty Pit is also part of the complex, but plans to link the two sites by steam railway have been shelved.
Porth
A bustling town at the convergence of the two Rhondda valleys, its name translates as 'gateway'. The main centre is Hannah Street, a quiz-question favourite as the only shopping thoroughfare in the Rhondda without a public house! Once famed, not so much for taking the waters, as providing them, it was the home of Thomas and Evans provision merchants, who made the range of 'Corona' soft drinks. To the left of the train, at the outskirts of the town, Thomas and Evans's tower is still a landmark, and although the company ceased trading many years ago, the building, now known as the Pop Factory, is still in use as a media centre producing audio and visual presentations for broadcast and domestic release. An open-air market is held on the site of Cymmer Colliery. Cymmer - this name means convergence of two rivers - the hillside community above Porth was the site of one of the valley's earliest - and largest - congregational chapels, which is to be dismantled stone-by-stone and rebuilt at the Rhondda Heritage Park (see Trehafod above).
Dinas (Mid Glam)
Mainly residential, the station also serves Lower Trealaw and 'Y Pymer' district of Penygraig. It was here that the Rhondda's first deep mine was sunk by Walter Coffin in 1822. In the forecourt of the block of maisonettes across the river from the station, a concrete capstone marks the shaft of one of the later pits on the site, where a memorial to the men and boys who died there is due to be unveiled on March 2nd.. In Lower Trealaw, north of the station, Maes-yr-haf, a recreational centre founded by the Society of Friends - the Quakers - and once very important in the cultural life of the community, still exists, though now council-run and much contracted. Garth Park - built by local unemployed miners during the depression - once a pleasant retreat offering swimming, bowls, tennis and football - was allowed to become overgrown and derelict, but there is a clean-up underway. Without the swimming and football, Penygraig Park on the opposite side of the valley still hints at the formal type of municipal park, once common throughout the Rhondda, which has its bowling green intact. A steep climb from the station leads to Llethr Ddu (Black Slope) Cemetery, the largest in the Rhondda, which contains sad reminders of the mining tragedies which have taken place over the years.
Tonypandy
Once known as Tonypandy and Trealaw station, the station actually stands in Trealaw, the river forming the boundary between the two communities. Tonypandy, however, is undoubtedly the most important of the two, famous - or infamous, according to your point of view - for the 1910 riots, when troops were called to quell civil and industrial unrest in the coalfield. Though peaceful now, the action of the then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, still raises the hackles of some of its older citizens. The partially pedestrianised main shopping street begins almost outside the station, and extends for nearly a mile. Behind the pedestrianised section is an outdoor market, while the Theatre Royal (locally known as the Town Hall), one of Rhondda's earliest places of entertainment, has been converted into an indoor market.
The bus station is at the other end of town from the railway station, where a side valley leads to Clydach Vale, location of the Rhondda's last major mining disaster at the Cambrian Colliery where 31 men lost their lives in May 1965. A memorial marks the pit shaft, but the site has been landscaped with a modern housing complex.
To the south, is Penygraig. Here, the Naval Colliery once bordered the railway from Dinas to Tonypandy, but the site of the pithead buildings is today occupied by Penygraig Rugby Club's field, and a number of light industrial units. A new public house - called the Lord Tonypandy, after one of mid-Rhondda's famous sons - the late George Thomas, Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House of Commons - now stands on the site of the colliery screens where loaded wagons lined up to begin their journey to the docks at Cardiff. On the mountainside above Penygraig - which offers strenuous but pleasant walking - is Mid-Rhondda Comprehensive School, built on the site of yet another former colliery, Nantgwyn.
Trealaw retains little of its character of yester-year. Always predominantly a dormitory of Tonypandy, it nevertheless had an identity of its own. Now, with many of its chapels and cultural centres closed down, it is mainly residential save for Judge's Hall, a Bingo and Snooker community centre, adjoining the station.
Llwynypia
Glyncornel Lake and Sports Centre are a little distance from the station, with archery club and Youth Hostel. Spectacular forest walks can be found on the mountainside beyond. Towards Tonypandy, the Engine House of the Glamorgan Colliery - known to locals as Scotch Colliery - is preserved, though no-one seems to know what to do with it. Closer to Tonypandy, Llwynypia Library Club has been demolished, but in the grounds, is still the sadly neglected statue of Archibald Hood, imperiously pointing toward the Glamorgan Colliery complex which he founded. Through his connection with David Davies and the Ocean Colliery Company, he was influential in the development of Barry Docks and Railway. Unusually enlightened for a colliery owner, around him are the terraced houses he built for his workers, replete with gardens. East from the station are residential areas and light-industrial factories, while Llwynypia Hospital nestles on the mountainside, atop which is Penrhys housing estate (see Ystrad Rhondda), and Penrhys Golf Club. St. Mary's Well and the statue of Our Lady Of Penrhys, are Roman Catholic shrines of pilgrimage, once attended by thousands of worshippers every year. At Pontrhondda is a Technical College, while at the far end of Gelligaled Park is Ystrad Sports Centre (see Ystrad Rhondda below)
Ystrad Rhondda
A Treherbert-bound train (right) enters the passing where the Cardiff-bound train has been waitingThe newest (with Ynyswen) station on the branch, it was opened in 1988. This is the location of the only passing loop on the branch, and trains wait here for the service in the opposite direction before proceeding (pictured right). A short distance down-line is Ystrad Sports Centre, which offers swimming and a full range of indoor sports. Sports of the outdoor variety - football, rugby and cricket - is catered for in surrounding Gelligaled Park, which also has tree-lined walks and a children's paddling pool.
From the station forecourt, the Railink bus runs over the mountain to connect with Penrhys and communities in the Rhondda Fach Valley.
The footbridge over the river opens out in Nantgwyddion Road, from where there is access to extensive walks on the mountainside.
Ton Pentre
Until Ynyswen and Ystrad stations opened in 1988, this station was known as Ystrad Rhondda, but was renamed as more appropriate to the community it served. The Phoenix Cinema - run as a co-operative - was once the Ton Pentre Workmen's Hall.
The Park and Dare Theatre at TreorchyTreorchy
World-famed for choral singing and brass bands, Treorchy has developed on a broad flood plain - a rarity in the steeply contoured valleys terrain - and is the main shopping centre for the upper Rhondda Fawr. Immediately outside the station is the Parc and Dare Theatre (pictured left), a beautifully restored former Workmen's Hall, rapidly establishing itself as the cultural hub of valley communities. The Parc and Dare collieries were situated at Cwmparc, set in a side valley to the west of Treorchy. Running almost parallel to Cwmparc is the Bwlch (the Gap), a high mountain pass which links the Rhondda with the neighbouring Llynfi and Ogmore valleys, and offers splendid views for the agile summer visitor.
Ynyswen
Opened in 1988, the station serves a small industrial estate and nearby houses. A short distance away is a Taff Vale Railway lattice footbridge, one of the increasingly rare original artefacts which survive on the Branch.
Treherbert
Now the terminus of the branch, the line once continued to Blaenrhondda then tunnelled through the mountain and on to Port Talbot, Aberavon and Swansea. There is little evidence of the engine and carriage sheds that once stood here. Treherbert was part of the Bute estate, a fact reflected in the names of many places and institutions in the town - for example the Ninian Stuart Club is passed on the way to Bute Street. The Rhigos mountain pass links the Rhondda with Aberdare, and, like the Bwlch, offers splendid views. Though, with varying degrees of effort, there is access to the open mountain moorland from all of the stations along the route, Treherbert is the start of spectacular walks to waterfalls at the head of the valley.

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ABERDARE

The Aberdare branch runs through the Cynon Valley, by which name the route is also known.
A new station at Mountain Ash with two platforms linked by a ramped footbridge has been opened, while the site of the old single platform station is used to improve access to the main thoroughfare.

Other stations on the branch (with journey times from Aberdare in minutes) are: Cwmbach (3 minutes); Fernhill (6); Mountain Ash (9); Penrhiwceiber (12); Abercynon North (19); and Pontypridd (25). Select here for stations between Cardiff and Pontypridd.
At Aberdare there is a bus link to Trecynon and Hirwaun.

Places of interest...

A Class 150 Sprinter crosses the River Cynon at Tynte, near PenrhiwceiberPictured (left) is a Class 150 Sprinter train crossing the River Cynon at Tynte, near Penrhiwceiber

Stations along the route include the market towns of Aberdare and Mountain Ash.

Aberdare
The indoor market is at the far end of the covered footbridge outside the station, which also leads to the main shopping area. Close to the station are the swimming pool and Michael Sobell leisure centre.
St John's Church is of great antiquity, in the churchyard of which David Watkins, who died in 1789, is buried in a standing position so that come resurrection day, he will be able to get a head start on the rest of us!
A new retail and light-industrial complex has been built on the site of Gadlys iron works, the surviving buildings of which have been turned into a museum.
In Trecynon, the Coliseum Cinema has been restored to its former glory, mixing top-class live theatre with the latest cinema blockbusters. Nearby, Aberdare Park has wooded walks and, for one weekend every Summer, stages the spectacular Aberdare Park motorcycle Road Races.
The path behind Scwd-yr-eira crossing from one side of the valley to the otherBeyond the western edge of the town, the 500-acre Dare Valley Country Park has camping and caravanning sites, which can be used as a base from which to explore the region. There is a visitor and inheritance centre which allows hands-on investigation of Aberdare's natural history and industrial past, while the park itself has facilities for fishing and pony trekking. For ramblers and walkers there are several trails, including Coed Morgannwg Way, a 33 mile trail which runs to Margam in the County of Neath and Port Talbot.
From the village of Penderyn, three miles outside the town, it is possible to walk over mountain moorland to Ysgwyd-yr-eira (the Fall of Snow), a waterfall on the Hepste River (right), remarkable because it is possible to walk behind the torrent of water from one side of the valley to the other.
Hirwaun (linked by feeder bus from Aberdare station)
Hirwaun was the location of Tower Colliery, the last deep mine in the once-extensive South Wales coalfield. A visitor centre at the mine told the story of how a successful employee buy-out saved the pit from certain closure when it was put up for sale by British Coal. On January 25 2008, almost exactly thirteen years after the proud miners marched for the first time to their pit, a march in the opposite direction marked its closure after remaining coal stocks became uneconomic to recover.The winding gear at Tower Colliery
Now the focus of a possible revival for the coal industry shifts over the mountain into the Vale of Neath, where new drift mines are due to open or already have been opened, although there remains the possibility of Tower being the base for an opencast site in the area. Whatever, the pithead winding gear (right) will remain at the site as a permanent reminder of one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of South Wales coalmining.
Cwmbach
serves mainly residential areas, but there are also a number of small industrial units close by. In a side valley to the south-west is Cwmaman, birthplace of Welsh super-group the Stereophonics. At the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, close by is the scenery and costume store of the Royal Opera House in London.
Fernhill
serves mainly residential areas, and also Mountain Ash Comprehensive School at Dyffryn.
Mountain Ash
This is the second largest town in the Cynon Valley, though the cultural importance it enjoyed with the celebrated choral and music festivals staged in the first half of the twentieth century has long evaporated. There is an outdoor market every Friday, but the highlight in the town's calendar is the Nos Galan road races, run through the streets on December 31st every year. The races commemorate legendary 19th-century athlete Guto Nythbran whose claims to fame include running to Pontypridd and back - a distance of seven miles - before the kettle boiled. His statue stands in Oxford Street; he is buried, however, in the churchyard at Llanwonno, reached by the mountain road which leads westward from the town.
Penrhiwceiber
is another station which serves residential communities.
Abercynon
also serves residential communities, but there is also a sports and leisure centre.

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MERTHYR TYDFIL

The Merthyr Tydfil Branch runs through the upper Taff Valley, and is the oldest line in South Wales, opened by the Taff Vale Railway in 1841

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

From Merthyr Tydfil, Monday to Saturday services to Cardiff operate half-hourly at 08 and 38 minutes past the hour between 06.38am (except at 10.04am) and 7.38pm, then at 8.38pm, 9.38pm and 10.38pm.
On Sundays, trains run at two-hourly intervals from 9.38am to 9.38pm.

From Cardiff Central, Monday to Saturday, the trains are half-hourly at 26 and 56 minutes past the hour between 5.26am and 6.26pm, then 7.26pm, 8.26pm, 9.27pm and 10.26pm.
On Sundays, trains run at two-hourly intervals from 8.26am to 8.26pm.

Special fares and/or timetables will apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Other stations on the branch (with journey times from Merthyr) are: Pentrebach (3 minutes); Troedyrhiw (6); Merthyr Vale (9); Quakers Yard (14); Abercynon South (18) and Pontypridd (24). Select here for stations between Cardiff and Pontypridd.

Places of interest...

...on the route include the town of Merthyr Tydfil itself, which has many sites of historic significance such as Cyfarthfa Castle and the Ynysfach engine house. Cyfarthfa Castle houses an art gallery, and the lower forms of the local grammar school, but the latter will be relocated in the next year or so.
Iron working made it the largest town in South Wales, until the late-1840s when the growth of coal mining in the valleys areas led to the development of Cardiff as one of the world's major ports.
It was from the Penydarren ironworks that the world's first steam-hauled train ran in 1804 when ten tons of pig iron and some seventy passengers were hauled nine-and-a-half miles to join the Glamorgan Canal basin at Navigation House (present-day Abercynon). A number of commemorative events took place for the bicentenary in 2004.The tunnel on the Penydarren Tramroad through which Trevithick's locomotive passed in 1804
Near Pentrebach station is the world's first railway tunnel (Stone rail chairs dating from 1804 near Mount Pleasant, Merthyr Valepictured right) through which the Penydarren locomotive hauled its train on its pioneering run. At Tramroad in Merthyr Tydfil and alongside the fire station in Abercynon are monuments commemorating the event; while between Edwardsville (near Quakers Yard) and Mount Pleasant (near Merthyr Vale) it is possible to walk part of the original route which, in places, still has some of the stone rail chairs in situ (pictured left).
Rhydycar Sports Centre at Merthyr offers indoor leisure facilities, while all of the stations on the route give access to the Taff Trail which runs from Cardiff to Brecon. Designed specifically for cyclists and walkers, journeys of any length can be taken by getting off at one station and walking to another. There is a cycle hire facility at Radyr (see Cardiff and Pontypridd section below).
Across the valley from Merthyr Vale station is Aberfan cemetery, which has a memorial to the 144 people (all but 28, children) who lost their lives in October 1966 when the colliery waste tip slid down the mountainside and engulfed the village primary school.
Quakers Yard is a reminder of the Society Of Friends burial ground which was located nearby. The station uses the former Low Level Down platform and serves a mainly residential area. The High Level station was nearer the main road and closed in 1964, when the Pontypool Road to Neath route was axed.
Abercynon also serves residential communities, but there is a sports and leisure centre.

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Pontypridd to Cardiff

Known as the Taff corridor, the route remains close to the River Taff for most of its length. At Pontypridd - which has one of the longest platforms in the United Kingdom - the route diverges to serve the Treherbert and the Aberdare/ Merthyr Tydfil branches. One of the busiest junctions on the network in the heyday of coal traffic, trains funnelled through the station at three-minute intervals. Always a bottle-neck on the system, congestion has been eased by the provision of a new Up platform, and a resignalling scheme which was officially inaugurated on March 18th 1998.
1999 saw the completion of a complete upgrade of the station and infrastructure.

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

Mondays to Saturdays, there are five/six trains an hour at roughly 10-minute intervals, two of which travel to/from Treherbert, two to/from Aberdare and one to/from Merthyr Tydfil.
On Sundays, trains from Pontypridd run two-hourly to Cardiff at 48 minutes past the hour from Treherbert between 8.48am and 8.48pm; 24 minutes past the hour from Aberdare at 10.24 then two-hourly between 11.24am and 9.24pm; and 9 minutes past the hour from Merthyr Tydfil between 10.09pm and 10.09pm. During the validity of this timetable there will be slightly different timings and bus substitution at various times of day. Please check before travelling.
From Pontypridd, two-hourly Sunday trains to Treherbert leave at 36 minutes past the hour between 9.36am and 10.36pm; to Aberdare at 9.11am, then at 11 minutes past the hour  two-hourly between 10.11am and 8.11pm; and to Merthyr Tydfil at 57 minutes past the hour between 8.57am and 8.57pm. Please check before travelling.

Special fares and/or timetables will apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The other stations on the route (with journey times from Pontypridd in minutes are: Treforest (2 minutes); Treforest Estate (limited service Monday to Friday) (6); Taffs Well (9); Radyr (12); Llandaf (15); Cathays (19); Cardiff Queen Street (22); Cardiff Central (26).

Places of interest

Pontypridd (The photograph below shows the station at night with a Treherbert-bound train about to depart and head away from the camera from Platform Two)
(called Newbridge until the 1860s) has a unique place in the industrial, cultural and religious heritage of South Wales, all brought together in the Cultural and Historical Centre housed, fittingly perhaps, in a converted chapel. The centre stands at one end of the single-span bridge erected at the fourth attempt by William Edwards in 1746; the 'new bridge' which gave the town its old name. In present-day Pontypridd, markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Ynysangharad Park offers swimming and paddling pools, tennis cricket, bowls and a putting green.
The memorial to Evan and John James, composers of the Welsh National Anthem, in Ynysangharad Park, PontypriddNational pride, too, is exemplified here with a memorial (pictured right) to father and son Evan and John James, the composers of Yr Hen Wlad Fy Nhaddau (Land of my Fathers), the Welsh National Anthem.
Above the park, on the common, is the rocking stone and druidic circle, a reminder of the 1926 eisteddfod. There is another druidic connection in Glyntaff Road where the 'round houses' once guarded the home of nineteenth century mystic Dr William Price who scandalised the neighbourhood by holding satanic rituals on the common. Even these paled in comparison to the outcry when he burnt the remains of his son, named Iesu Grist (the Welsh form of Jesus Christ), who died in infancy. The Doctor's subsequent trial paved the way to the legalisation of cremation as a means of disposal of human remains. Behind the station in Laura Street is the birthplace of the swivel-hipped rock superstar Tom Jones, who gave a live open-air concert in Ynysangharad Park in May 2005, and whose career shows no sign of flagging.
It is only by coincidence that
Treforest
is the location of Glyntaff Crematorium, close to which is the Pontypridd College of Art and Design. Outside the station, the former school of mining has now evolved into the University of Glamorgan.
Treforest Estate
serves an industrial complex opened in 1936, the first such estate in Wales built to try to shake off the effects of the Great Depression.
As a train passes between Taffs Well and Radyr, Castle Coch can be seen through the mist on the hillside at upper rightTaffs Well
The name provides a clue to the town's almost-forgotten eminence as a mid-Victorian spa, though the well itself still exists in the park which is a little over half-a-mile north of the station. In the opposite direction, in the village of Tongwynlais, is Castell Coch (the Red Castle) built on the ruin of a thirteenth century castle and modelled on a Rhineland chateau as a summer retreat and hunting lodge for the Marquis of Bute, whose town 'house' was at Cardiff Castle. The architect was the eccentric William Burges, whose work includes Cardiff Castle itself, the library of Hartford University in Connecticut, and Cork Cathedral in Ireland.A large tree is caught on Radyr Weir as a Cardiff-bound train passes on the railway beyond (At left, through the mist, Castell Coch can be seen amongst the trees on the hillside at upper right.)
Radyr
was an important marshalling yard on the valleys network, in the heyday of the coal traffic era. Today, the yard is closed and the site has disappeared under a number of housing developments. Radyr now serves only as a connecting point for passenger trains on City Line. The station has been shortened, with a third platform face introduced as part of resignalling on the City Line and the route to Queen Street via Llandaff.
The village cricket pitch is just outside the station, and there are pleasant walks along the River Taff to Radyr Weir (pictured right) where salmon may be seen leaping in season. The path also gives access to the Forest Farm and Glamorganshire Canal nature reserves.
Llandaf
station is more conveniently located for the village of Whitchurch, rather than for Llandaf Cathedral as may be presumed. Nevertheless, the Cathedral can be reached, either by bus or on foot. Along the way, rowers from Llandaf Rowing Club often add a touch of colour when glimpsed from the bridge over the Taff, or from the riverside pathway.
Just before Cathays is reached, on the left-hand side of the train stood the Taff Vale Railway's Cathays Carriage and Wagon Works. Outside the station is University College, the Students' Union and the Sherman Theatre. The station is also convenient for the northern end of Cathays Park, which includes the Welsh Office, the Temple of Peace, and the College of Music and Drama, behind which is Coopers Fields and Bute Park.
Cardiff Queen Street
is the station which serves the eastern end of the city centre, giving access to the shopping thoroughfare of Queen Street, and the Capitol Shopping Mall. It is also the interchange for trains serving the Rhymney Valley and Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff Central
is Cardiff's main railway station, which links to the national network, with trains operated by Great Western Trains and the Arriva Trains Wales company.

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 The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff staged eleven Olympics 2012 football matches between July 25th and August 10th. Four of the opening matches involved teams in the Women's Tournament, and the last game was the play-off for the bronze medal in the Men's event won 2 - 0 by Japan.  

Cardiff...
...is the gateway to the coast and Valley areas of south east Wales.
A city since 1905, and the capital of Wales since 1955, Cardiff stands at the mouth of the River Taff (part of which was diverted in the mid-nineteenth century to clear a site for what is now Cardiff Central railway station). Noted for its Victorian arcades and pedestrianised shopping areas, it also offers top class facilities for sport, theatre and the cinema.
Cardiff Castle with the clock tower to the left, and the Norman Keep at upper centreCardiff Castle (left)  has Roman and Norman connections, but, apart from Roman remains at the base of the south east walls, the Norman Keep and the 15th century Western Apartments, what you see is mostly a Victorian reconstruction.
Nearby, the civic centre is considered among the finest in Europe, and incorporates the museum, law courts, the former Welsh Office (now the secretariat of the Welsh Assembly), university buildings and the City Hall. With a referendum in September 1997 narrowly voting for the establishment of a Welsh Assembly to govern Wales, the City Hall was one of the venues under consideration to house the body, but the Assembly - which first sat on June 1 1999 - was first housed in Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay but has moved into the adjacent Senedd (Welsh for Senate) Building (see below).
Behind City Hall is Alexandra Gardens with its imposing War Memorial commemorating two World Wars and more recent conflicts.
The floodlit Millennium Stadium on the banks of the River TaffIn the city centre, the other building of great antiquity is St John's Church, parts of which date from the thirteenth century.
There are several malls off the pedestrianised shopping area, which also has St David's Hall - renowned for concerts by top-class orchestras and entertainers - and the Motorpoint International Arena, the venue for conferences, pop concerts, ice shows, and the like.
St David's Phase Two, a new shopping mall on the southern side of the city centre, opened on October 22 2009.
The New Theatre celebrated its centenary in 2006, and stages plays and other productions, including those by the internationally-celebrated Welsh National Opera until the WNO moved into its new home: the Wales Millennium Centre for the Performing Arts (see below) which opened in November 2004 with a spectacular Gala concert attended by Her Majesty The Queen.
Close to the city centre, on the banks of the river, the Millennium Stadium (right) is the home of Welsh Rugby. Opened for a Wales v South Africa friendly in June 1999, it took on international importance when it staged early rounds of the Rugby World Cup that October, and the Final on 6 November of the same year. It is now used to stage Wales' home games in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament, international football matches, concerts and other high-profile events. While Wembley Stadium was being developed it was also the venue of prestigious football matches, including the Worthington and FA Cup Finals. A very versatile building, it also stages speedway, monster truck and religious conventions.
In 2012 Olympic Women's football, and men's finals were staged in the Stadium.
A mile to the south, the Cardiff Bay development has transformed the derelict docklands area into a leisure, residential and light-industrial complex, while the barrage which dams the mouths of the Taff and Ely rivers was brought into operation on November 4 1999 to create a 500-acre freshwater lake. It is now possible to walk over the barrage from Cardiff Bay to Penarth. In June 2012, the Dr Who Experience opened, dedicated, as the name suggests, to all things Dr Who, which is filmed in the Porth Teigr studios a short distance away, as well as locations around the city.
To the north of the city, is Llandaff Cathedral, which has been a place of worship for more than 1,400 years. Partly destroyed by bombs during World War II, the cathedral was rebuilt and rededicated in 1958, its nave overarched by the sculpture of Christ in Majesty by Jacob Epstein.
On the city's western boundary is the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan's, which recreates the Welsh way of life in authentic buildings from all over Wales. Dismantled brick-by-brick from their original locations and reassembled at St Fagan's - itself a manor house dating from the Civil War era - they provide a base for many practitioners of old crafts such as pottery and woodcarving, and also includes a blacksmith's forge.

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CARDIFF BAY

CARDIFF BAY

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

Cardiff Bay station is reached via a short spur from Cardiff Queen Street with a journey time of three minutes, and Monday to Saturday trains run every 12 minutes on the hour and 12, 24, 36 and 48 past the hour between 6.36am and 11.48pm .

From Cardiff Bay to Queen Street, Monday to Saturday, trains run at 6, 18, 30, 42 and 54 minutes past the hour between 6.42am and 11.54pm.

On Sundays trains run to Cardiff Bay on the hour and 12, 24, 36 and 48 past the hour between 9.00am and 6.48pm.
Return journeys from the Bay are at 6, 18, 30, 42 and 54 minutes past the hour between 9.06am and 6.54pm.

Bay attractions

The Cardiff Bay area has been developed as a waterfront park with leisure, residential and light-industrial complexes on reclaimed derelict dockland, and is the start of the Taff Trail which can be followed as far as Brecon, 57 miles away.
The major feature is the Barrage which can be reached by road train from its stop outside the car park in Stuart Street. You can also walk across the barrage as far as Penarth, passing en route the new Dr Who Experience which opened on July 20 2012, close to the new BBC studio complex at Roath Lock where Dr Who, Casualty, Sherlock and other prestigious productions are made.
The Pierhead Building with the Senedd debating chamber at rightThe Welsh assembly meets in the Senedd (Welsh for Senate), the  new debating chamber which has been built alongside the Pierhead Building (pictured left, a striking terracotta edifice that was once the headquarters of the Bute Dock and Railway Company, which opened the first of the docks in 1839, and was the prime influence behind the Taff Vale Railway. It is now used as the Visitor Centre for the National Assembly.
The Millennium Centre with (at right) water cascading down the steel column, supposedly the entrance to Torchwood in the TV seriesThe Wales Millennium Centre for the Performing Arts opened in November 2004 with a spectacular Gala Concert attended by Her Majesty the Queen. It is the home of Welsh National Opera and seven other performing arts groups including the Urdd, the Welsh organisation for the youth of Wales. Adjoining is Alun Hoddinot Hall, named after the late Welsh composer, which is a base for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Outside the Millennium Centre is Roald Dahl Place - named after the children's writer who was born in the Cardiff suburb of Llandaff - built on the site of the basin of the Bute West Dock, now used for street theatre and open-air concerts. The steel column with water cascading down it (at extreme right in the photograph alongside) will be recognised by fans of Torchwood - the spin-off from the successful BBC Wales television series Dr Who, filmed largely in Cardiff and the surrounding area - as supposedly the entrance to Torchwood. The latest series of Torchwood has emigrated to the United States, though.
A coffee bar and art gallery has been established in the Norwegian Seamen's Church where Roald Dahl was baptised as a child. A short distance away was 'The Tube' - a cigar-shaped structure which housed the Cardiff Bay visitors' centre. It was the base for the Spirit of Cardiff, a powerboat which attempted the fastest circumnavigation of the world in 2002. The target was almost 25,000 miles in 50 days, calling at 26 different countries, but a series of misadventures, culminating in a heart attack suffered by one of the crew, led to the attempt being abandoned, though not before a number of records were broken,
Tied up permanently at the quay alongside the site of The Tube is the Helwick Lightship, which was stationed off the Gower Peninsular guarding a treacherous sandbank 50 miles northwest of Cardiff, but is now used as a Christian Fellowship centre.
A short distance along the quay is a sculpture recognising the role of miners and the mining industry in creating the wealth which made Cardiff the foremost coal exporting port in Britain; the foundation of the capital city we see today.
A water taxi passes in front of the pier and TechniquestA little farther away, Techniquest is a unique hands-on science centre which demonstrates scientific principles and phenomena in colourful and surprising ways, while at Harry Ramsden's restaurant, it is claimed, are served the best fish and chip meals in the world.
The St David's Hotel was one of the first Five-Star rated establishments in the city. Mermaid Quay a is modern eating and shopping complex which also overlooks Plas Roald Dahl (Roald Dahl Place).
Boats and water taxis (pictured left) ply their trade around the bay and up-river as far as the Castle near the city centre. They will also land you on the Barrage itself - also reached on foot from near the Norwegian Church - where you can see the massive sluice gates in operation.

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CITY LINE and the CORYTON BRANCH

City Line

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

Between Radyr and Cardiff Central via Danescourt, trains run at 4 and 34 minutes past the hour between 7.04am and 7.04pm, then at 8.04pm, 9.04pm and 10.04pm.
From Cardiff Central, trains to Radyr run at 6 and 36 minutes past the hour between 7.06am and 6.36pm, then at 7.36pm, 8.36pm, 9.36pm and 10.55pm.

There is no service on Sundays.

Special fares and/or timetables will apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

 

City Line serves the western suburbs of Cardiff, linking with the Cardiff-Pontypridd Route at Radyr.
Although the line was opened in 1859 to provide a though route for Taff Vale Railway mineral trains bound for Penarth Docks, it was not until 1987 that the line saw its first regular passenger service. Previously it had been used as a diversionary route and for football specials to the Halt near Cardiff City's ground at Ninian Park, but the provision of passenger trains on the branch was an important plank in the joint rail strategy of Mid and South Glamorgan County Councils, and called for the building of four new stations and the refurbishing of disused Ninian Park halt. The branch opened to passengers on 'Funday' the 4th October 1987, but Waungron Park station did not open until 6th November.
At the northern end of the line, was Radyr marshalling yard which controlled the countless millions of coal wagons on their way to the ports of Cardiff Penarth and Barry.

Stations on the branch (with journey times from Cardiff Central) are:
Ninian Park (4 minutes); Waungron Park (7); Fairwater (9); Danescourt (11); and Radyr (15).

Places of interest

From Cardiff Central, the line heads west to skirt the southern boundary of the Rolling Stock maintenance depot where Valley Line trains are serviced.
Ninian Park, the first stop, is  near the former ground of Cardiff City football club. For the start of the 2009/10 season the club moved a short distance away to Cardiff City Stadium. This was built on the site of Cardiff Athletic stadium. Houses and maisonettes have been built on land once occupied by dozens of railway sidingsAcross the road from the new stadium site, replacement athletic facilities had already opened. To the east is the shopping centre of Canton, and St John's Church, easily found by aiming for its lofty spire which dominates the skyline.
Waungron Park - unusual for its staggered platforms, one of which straddles a bridge over the roadway - serves the eastern parts of Fairwater and Ely. There are a number of small factories close by.
Fairwater is within reach of Cantonian Upper High and the Bishop of Llandaff High Schools, while in nearby Fairwater Park there is a dry ski slope.
Danescourt is almost entirely residential, though here is a pleasant walk from the north of the housing estate to Radyr, which passes through a wooded area with picnic tables. In the heyday of coal traffic, there was an important marshalling yard at Radyr, where City Line trains link with those on the Pontypridd-Cardiff corridor, but all traces have disappeared under a web of residential estates (pictured left).
From Radyr station there are pleasant walks along the River Taff to Radyr Weir where salmon may be seen leaping in season. The path also gives access to Forest Farm and Glamorganshire Canal nature reserves.

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Coryton Branch

Please note. The period of validity of the National Network timetables has changed.
Any times and travel details given  apply only for the currency of the timetable valid from December 8 2013 to May 17 2014.

From Coryton into Cardiff Central, there is a half-hourly service at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour between 6.45am and  7.15pm, then at 8.15pm, 9.15pm and 10.45pm.
Trains from Cardiff Central to Coryton are half-hourly at 21 and 51 minutes past the hour between 6.21am and 6.51pm; then at 7.51pm, 8.51pm and 10.21pm.

There is no service on Sundays.

Special fares and/or timetables will apply to all Valley Line services on event days at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Stations on the branch (with journey times to Cardiff Queen Street Are: Coryton (14mins); Whitchurch (13mins); Rhiwbina (11mins); Birchgrove (9mins); Ty Glas (8mins) and Heath Low Level (5mins).

Places of interest

The Coryton branch is the only section of the valleys network which provides an historical link as the only surviving stretch of line built by the original Cardiff Railway Company.
Opened in 1909, the route extended from Heath Junction to Treforest, joining the Taff Vale Railway's line via a 450-ft skew bridge over the river Taff to a point just south of Treforest station. This immediately put the CR in legal dispute with the ever-litigatious TVR, so only one train ever ran over the northern section of the line. Today, a low embankment glimpsed among the trees near the children's playground south of Treforest station and a pair of bridge abutments are the only reminders of the CR's venture. Passenger services commenced in 1911 but only as far as Rhydfelin. The section between there and Coryton was closed twenty years later in July 1931, though development of Nantgarw Colliery in 1938 saw the reopening of part of the route for mineral traffic.
In 1952 a new link to the colliery was built from just north of Taffs Well station on the Pontypridd-Cardiff branch, and the Coryton-Nantgarw section was closed the following year.

The rural appearance of Ty Glas belies the fact that it is the middle of an industrial estateLeft: The rural appearance of Ty Glas belies the fact that it is the middle of an industrial estate
From Queen Street station, trains share the same track as those on the Rhymney branch. The track threads through the northern suburb of Roath until, just beyond Cathays Cemetery (once served by a halt with a specially sloped platform to facilitate the transfer of coffins from trains into the burial ground) the Coryton branch diverges left from the main line.
Heath Low Level
(to distinguish it from the High Level station a short distance away on the Rhymney branch) like most of the stations on the branch, serves residential areas mainly. However, the northern edge of Roath Park - the largest park in Cardiff - is not too far away.
Ty Glas (pictured left)
is the newest station on the branch and was opened in 1987 as part of the joint rail strategy. It serves a number of light-industrial units as well as offices and a bakery.

From Ty Glas, the track is unusual in that it runs in a straight line almost to Coryton, 2 kilometres away, and the remaining stations on the branch are within sight of each other.

Birchgrove
serves a mainly residential area, as well as Hill Snook Park.
Caedelyn Park is south of
Rhiwbina
station, while
Whitchurch
is convenient for the nearby golf club.
Coryton
serves Coryton and the north of Whitchurch, with Whitchurch and Velindre Hospitals, Whitchurch Cricket Club and the British Telecom training centre nearby. A little farther afield, there is access to the Glamorganshire Canal nature reserve.

For details of connecting bus and rail 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 /12/13/14 by Deryck Lewis. All rights reserved.
Page created July 15 1996; Redesigned March 29 1999; Last updated
December 11
2013
If you have any suggestions, comments, or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails