A Tribute to the Western Diesel Hydraulics by Bernard Mills
5Q46 07.16 Laira T & RSMD to Ely Papworth Sidings
- PART 46
Michael L Roach
There were once four rail routes radiating from the small garrison town of Brecon in Mid Wales all passing through thinly populated countryside. Starting from due north clockwise the routes went to Moat Lane Junction; to Hereford; to Newport; and to Neath. A planned route to Abergavenny did not materialise. There was a sparse train service on all four routes – a good average was three passenger trains and one freight train Monday to Saturday; plus a couple of Saturday Only passenger trains. With certain conditions the TUCC approved (in August 1962) the closure of all four routes and by the end of that year all four had lost their passenger service. In September 1962 I travelled to Wales by car for a week of travelling on the lines and photographing the trains and the stations. I was already acquainted with three of the four routes and knew that they passed through wonderful countryside and had a lot of character. Apart from riding on each line at least once the principal objective was to travel from Newport to Moat Lane photographing every station en route – there were 45 in the 99 miles – with or without a train in the photograph. I only missed a couple of mostly minor halts where it was necessary to move on to photograph a train at a more important station, but I also managed to cover some of the stations on the line to Neath.
Of all the stations photographed the only one in the territory of this website is Newport, formerly Newport High Street. The line and the station were opened by the South Wales Railway on 18 June 1850 as a broad gauge line engineered by Brunel. The Severn Rail Tunnel did not open until 1886 so for the first 36 years the route from Paddington was via Stroud and Gloucester. Newport Station was enlarged and improved in 1880, 1929 and 2010. On 6 September 1962 I arrived at Newport at 4.26pm on the 2.05pm from Brecon, which was the third and last passenger train of the day in that direction. I made a side trip to Cardiff General along the South Wales Main Line which had been dieselised that summer using Hymeks initially. I left Newport again on the 7.07pm to Brecon the last train in that direction. Both the 2.05pm and the 7.07pm consisted of two corridor coaches hauled by Collet goods 0-6-0 number 3201 of Ebbw Junction Shed, Newport.
MLR / 29 September 2023