John Speller's Web Pages Taff Vale Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Narrow Gauge
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Among the most profitable of the Welsh coal railways, the Taff Vale Railway was incorporated by an Act of 21 June 1836, making it the first Welsh railway of any importance. It employed Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) as its engineer, but Brunel unaccountably chose to build it to the 4 ft. 8 in. gauge rather than the Great Western 7 ft. 0 in. broad gauge, something that was to cause him considerable embarrassment during the Parliamentary hearing leading to the Gauge Act of 1846. The first 16-mile section of the line, from Cardiff to Abercynon was opened on 9 October 1840, and the main line was opened throughout to Merthyr Tydfil on 12 April 1841. Various branches were added and by the time it became part of the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922 it comprised a total of 124 miles. It was an extremely prosperous little railway, transporting enormous amounts of anthracite and bituminous coal on its lines, and exporting them through Cardiff and Penarth, The locomotives were painted in an attractive livery of black lined out in red, white and straw, and not unlike the livery of the London & North Western Railway or that later adopted by British Railways for mixed traffic locomotives. Although it grew piecemeal from the original main line the Taff Vale system was so well thought out that much of it still remains open in the twenty-first century. For videos of preserved TVR 0-6-2T No. 85, built by Neilson & Co. in 1899, see here and here , and again here.
System Map of the Taff Vale Railway in 1908
Hurry Riches 4-4-2 No. 170 was built for the Taff Vale Railway by the Vulcan Foundry in 1904
Thomas Hurry Riches (1846-1911), Locomotive Superintendent of the Taff Vale Railway from 1873 until his death in 1911
The archetypal locomotive of the South Wales coal railways was the 0-6-2T. When they came due for renewal, the Great Western Railway built its own design of 0-6-2T -- the "56XX" Class -- keeping up the tradition. Hurry Riches 0-6-0T No. 161 was built for the Taff Vale Railway by the Vulcan Foundry in 1908.
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