© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Returning home after an overnight stay in
South Wales, I consulted the map carefully.
(Self, whilst passing the environs of Merthyr
Tydfil) "There's an interesting-looking narrow
gauge railway not far from here"
(Wife) "What a surprise. Will we be able to
get lunch there?"
Study the old maps to see what a railway maze the Merthyr and
Dowlais area was. An early base of the iron industry, a number of
railway companies tried to tap into the valuable traffic
generated there. Sadly all are now gone, with the exception of
the single track passenger line to Cardiff. The Brecon Mountain
Railway is a relatively new 2ft gauge line built on part of the
trackbed of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway's through route to
Starting at the line's headquarters at Pant, the line heads due
north to Pontsticill, formerly junction for the line via Morlais
Junction to Merthyr High Street. It then climbs steadily to its
highest point at Torpantau. Although track has now been laid as
far as the latter, trains currently run round at Dolygaer and, as
there is no platform there, they then return to Pontsticill.
Passengers then have 20 minutes to take in the scenery from this
elevated position above the reservoirs of the Taf Fechan, before
returning to Pant. The trip takes about 65 minutes in total.posite
side of the valley to the town of the same name.
Our train was hauled by a pacific, no less - a Baldwin, no. 61269
of 1930, whose transatlantic origins are only too obvious. In
keeping with its style, the coaching stock includes a caboose
with a "birdcage" type lookout for the guard, and the station at
Pontsticill (a few yards to the north of the original B&M station)
is reminiscent of places much further west!
We enjoyed the trip greatly, and I will certainly be looking in
again, perhaps when the extension is opened. And to answer the
question, yes, the lunch was most sustaining...
Brecon Mountain Railway