John Speller's Web Pages Merthyr, Tredegar & Abergavenny Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - L&NWR
Merthyr, Tredegar & Abergavenny Railway LNWR Untitled
The Merthyr, Tredegar & Abergavenny Railway, popularly known as the Heads of the Valleys Line, was incorporated under an Act of 1 August 1859 and construction began in June 1860. The Engineer was John Gardner (1821-1894), who had been Assistant Engineer of the London & Greenwich Railway and Resident Engineer of the Reading & Reigate Railway. However the Merthyr, Tredegar & Abergavenny Railway soon became insolvent and was leased by the London & North Western Railway for a period of 999 years on 8 November 1861, an arrangement that was confirmed by an Act 7 August 1862. A few weeks later, on 29 September 1862, the line opened for traffic between Abergavenny and Brynmawr. A further Act of 1866 enabled the London & North Western Railway to buy out the lease and become the owners of the line in fee simple. The line was not finally opened to Merthyr Tydfil until 1869. So far as the rest of the London & North Western Railway was concerned the line was a bit out on a limb, since it could only be reached from Hereford, Bristol, Newport and Cardiff by means of running powers over the Great Western Railway. Running as it did, however, through major areas of the Welsh coalfields, it possessed a rich mineral traffic. This had died out by nationalization, and part of the line was closed to goods traffic on 22 November 1954, with closure to passengers following on 6 January 1958, and the remaining section closing to goods on 5 April 1971.
Map of the Merthyr, Tredegar & Abergavenny Railway and connections
Postcard view of Clydach station in around 1920
John Gardner's fine 9-arch viaduct over the River Dee at Cefn. Image copyright David Wild and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Allan 6 ft. 2-2-2, LNWR No. 135, "Bat," built at Crewe Works in 1852, as running as the Abergavenny District Engineer's inspection engine between 1911 and 1920. Image courtesy of Ronald Goldfeder
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