Tonteg Junction, South Wales
Tonteg Junction was for some time subject to a huge amount of traffic mainly due to it being the main passing point for the coal from the Rhondda Valleys to Barry Dock via the Barry Railway. The other branches connected here were the Llantrisant branch leading to the South Wales main line, the Cadoxton & Trehafod line leading to Barry Dock, Treforest Branch leading to the Cardiff & Merthyr line. Further down the page are thumbnails of a very small selection of many thousands of "time lapse" photographs taken by the amazing Brian Mills that will give you an idea of the terrible destruction meted out by what many people will describe as the most reviled man in the history of railways namely Dr. Beeching.
I cannot comment on what happened before I was born but I anyone can see how withdrawal of services from almost every valley in South Wales has what I believe been one of the causes of such unemployment there. Many years ago there was a branchline with a station at the bottom of my hill that would have enabled me to catch a train virtually to the front gates of my place of work via this junction but it is now so long winded that it would take many times longer to get there than by car.
Before viewing any of the larger images behind the following thumbnail images I must warn you that they are all around 130Kb so will take a while to download on a standard modem.
Multimap location, Google Earth
|This image is one the first taken by Brian and as along with the following three photographs depict the view looking South from the road overbridge towards Tonteg Halt. The single track to the left is the Llantrisant branch which bore sharp right after the trees and crossed over Tonteg viaduct therefore carrying it over the two right hand lines of the Cadoxton & Trehafod line. All routes were still in use when this picture was taken as can be seen by the polished rails.|
|The junction consisted of one platform on the Llantrisant line and another two either side of the Cadoxton to Trehafod Line. By the date of this photo the Cadoxton & Trehafod Line has already fallen out of use with weeds growing between the tracks and only the Llantrisant branch open for freight only.|
|At this time, all the tracks had been lifted and the junction was wiped from the railway map. The only reference in the British Rail records were the details of the bridge that still carries the road over.|
|This photo was taken in the mid 1980's and as you can see nature has taken its toll with barely the Llantrisant platform still in sight. I recently visited this site and was appalled at the sadly neglected state where the trees now obscure this view and the only thing on the trackbed is piles of illegally dumped rubbish.|
|This is the view north towards Pontypridd where the Cadoxton & Trehafod lines carried along the hillside through the 1323 yard Pontypridd tunnel and on to Trehafod, home of the best Welsh coal. The Llantrisant branch then carried on down the hill as the Treforest branch and connected up with the Cardiff & Merthyr line just south of Treforest Station.|
|The typical McKenzie & Holland signalbox can be seen from this later view which miraculously still stands only a few yards from this location further up to the left of this view and is now used as a shed. The vents can be seen from the road when driving down "Power station hill" towards the A470.|
|The area still looks like a railway at this point but it isn't long before nature reclaims its own after hundreds of hard working labourers toiled for years to forge the line from the newly built Barry Dock to the lucrative steam coal deposits in the Rhondda.|
|Again this view is totally obscured at present with the trees coming up higher than the bridge making it almost impossible to believe there was ever a railway let alone the busiest coal exporting junction in the World at one time.|
|Tonteg junction after complete removal of all permanent way and signalling equipment. Tonteg signal box structure has been lifted from its site at the near right side of the scene and is sitting in the distance on the old trackbed of the original Barry line to Trehafod, beyond Tonteg junction location|
Factual details on the above junction are shown below.
|Name||Miles & Chains|
|Tonteg Junction Signalbox||12.24|
|Tonteg Halt (Cadoxton & Trehafod Line)||12.25|
|Tonteg Halt (Llantrisant Branch)||5.20|
|Treforest Branch Junction||12.32=5.28|