John Speller's Web Pages Barry Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Narrow Gauge

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By an Act of 5 July 1865, the Barry Railway was incorporated to build a 7-mile mixed gauge line from Peterston on the South Wales Railway to Barry in Glamorganshire, with a branch to Sully, to be worked by the Great Western Railway. The Chairman was Robert Francis Lascelles Jenner, DL, JP (1826-1883) of Wenvoe Castle, the Secretary was Edward Reddish, and the Engineer was Henry Bolden, CE (1837-1891), a pupil of Locke, and whose older brother was one of the Directors. There was an authorized capital of 70,000 with powers to borrow an additional 23,000 (Bradshaw's Railway Manual, 1866, p. 12). The company unfortunately failed to raise sufficient funds and the project lapsed. It was another 18 years before anything further was done.

A group of South Wales coalmine owners banded together in 1883 under the leadership of David Davies to build a dock and railway to handle the burgeoning Welsh steam coal traffic. The Barry Docks and Railway Act received the Royal Assent in 1884, and included a 19-mile line from Barry to Trehafod (north of Pontypridd), where it would ran over the Taff Vale Railway to Cardiff, together with three small branches connecting with other lines. This was about 7 miles west of the original proposal, as well as a longer route, and in some ways the original 1865 proposal had been better. The first train ran between Barry Dock and Cogan on 20 December 1888 and the line was extended from Barry Dock to Barry on 8 February 1889. Even before the Grouping the Great Central and Great Western Railways were running the Ports-to-Ports Express through from Cardiff to Barry. The line remains an important part of the passenger rail system in South Wales and is scheduled for electrification by 2018 under the South Wales Electrification Plan.

An additional 20-mile line, the Vale of Glamorgan Railway, was authorized by an Act of 26 August 1889. This was controlled by the Barry Railway under an Act of 1893, although it remained nominally independent until both lines passed to the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922. Passenger services were withdrawn from the Vale of Glamorgan section under the Beeching Axe on 15 June 1964, but the line remains open to goods traffic, and is also used as a double-line diversionary route for the South Wales Main Line.
Map of the Barry Dock & Railway excerpted from the GWR System Map
As with many other South Wales railways, 0-6-2 tank locomotives were the mainstay of the Barry Railway until John Auld introduced some 0-6-4 tanks. Here we see Barry class B1 0-6-2T No. 265, built in June 1900, in use as a works shunter at Swindon on 11 June 1950. Originally it would have been painted in the splendid Barry Railway livery of claret lined out in yellow and black. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Corporate headquarters of the Barry Dock & Railway Company at Barry Dock. The building was designed by the company's chief promoter, David Davies. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Barry station, looking toward Penarth and Cardiff, on 14 April 1962. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
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