Aberdare railway station
Aberdare railway station (Welsh: Aberdâr) is a railway station serving the town of Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. It is the terminus of the Aberdare branch of the Merthyr Line, 22½ miles (36 km) north of Cardiff Central. Passenger services are provided by Transport for Wales.
A Class 150 at Aberdare
|Local authority||Rhondda Cynon Taf|
|Managed by||Transport for Wales|
|Number of platforms||1|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|3 October 1988||Station opens|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Aberdare from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
The station at this location (the former Aberdare High Level) was opened in 1851 and was served by the trains of the Vale of Neath, later Great Western Railway on their route between Neath and Pontypool Road. The line from Abercynon and Cardiff had been built in 1846 by the Aberdare Railway Company (later absorbed by the Taff Vale Railway) - this ran to an adjacent but separate station at Aberdare Low Level, although the two routes were later connected to each other a short distance to the west of the town at Gadlys Junction.
Passenger rail services into the town on both lines fell victim to the Beeching Axe in 1964, with the last train running on the former VoN line on 13 June and over the ex-TVR line from Cardiff on 30 October However part of the VoN line west of the town remained open for coal trains serving Tower Colliery at Hirwaun, which was then accessed by the former Taff Vale line. This was also retained to serve various collieries and a coking plant further down the valley at Abercwmboi. From 1968 though, this route was reduced to single track to reduce maintenance costs.
Goods traffic through the ex-VoN High Level station ended in 1965 and the line fell into disuse, but in August 1973 it was reopened to release the former TVR line trackbed and station site for road improvements (including the removal of an inconveniently-located level crossing - the town bus station now occupies the site). All services were diverted onto the old VoN line via a new connection between the two lines near Cwmbach and then on through the old High Level station to regain their former route at Gadlys Junction. The new connection was carried over the River Cynon on a girder bridge that had been previously been used to carry the defunct Princes Risborough to Oxford branch line across the A40 road at Wheatley, Oxfordshire.
The fact that the line remained open made it possible to reinstate passenger services to the town, which started again under British Rail and Mid Glamorgan in October 1988 using a new platform close to the old disused one (the old High Level station building still survives and can be seen from the current station). Freight continued to run several times a day from the colliery over track owned by it, until Tower Colliery's final closure on 18 January 2008. EWS still ran trains to the Tower washery on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for some time afterwards to clear coal stocks from the site. These departed Aberdare at 7:00 pm on Wednesdays and 11:30 am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, these trains were hauled by occasional Class 60s but a high proportion of these services were Class 66 hauled. Freightliner also operate stone trains to Tower but this service varies, these trains are usually hauled by a Class 66 diesel locomotive.
Announced in November 2009 the Welsh Assembly Government has asked Network Rail to conduct a feasibility study on reopening the line to Hirwaun for passenger services. Network Rail is expected to clear the line of vegetation and assess the track bed before publishing its report in 2010, before any business cases to reopen the line is then developed.
It was announced in March 2011 that the Welsh Assembly Government's 2011-12 capital programme would include the re-opening of the line to Hirwaun as part of the Cynon Valley Scheme. However, there is currently no information on when the work will commence.
Along with other stations on the Merthyr Line, Aberdare has undergone construction work to lengthen the platform. This now allows four-car trains to stop at the station. The platform also has a ticket sales box and a telephone. A rail link bus is available at the station up to Rhigos. Car parking is provided at the station.
The high level station building is being restored to become a bistro cafe for students, staff and the public, as part of the new Coleg y Cymoedd campus.
On Mondays to Saturday daytimes, the service from Aberdare is a half-hourly service to Barry Island, via Cardiff Queen Street. In the evenings this drops to hourly and certain late night trains run to Penarth rather than Barry Island. Services are formed of Class 142 and Class 143 Pacer units and Class 150 Sprinter units.
On Sundays there is a general 2-hourly service to Barry Island with an hourly service in the morning and in the late afternoon. This is due to a campaign by the local Assembly Member and a successful trial in December 2017. The extra services began in April 2018.
There is a dedicated rail linc bus that links with the train. It is only available to rail passengers and operates to Penywaun, Hirwaun, Cefn Rhigos and Rhigos. The rail link bus no longer operates, but rail linc tickets are valid for use on Stagecoach buses that serve the aforementioned communities; planning is also in place to open a new railway station at Hirwaun.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Cwmbach||Transport for Wales
- Page, p.37
- Holland, p.122
- Body, p.94
- "Old tracks could see trains again"BBC News article 6 November 2009
- "Aberdare-to-Hirwaun rail line set to reopen"Wales Online news article 21 March 2011
- "Plans submitted to build new £20m college campus in heart of Aberdare"Wales Online news article 11 December 2013
- Body, G. (1983), PSL Field Guides - Railways of the Western Region, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Wellingborough, ISBN 0-85059-546-0
- Holland, Julian (2013) Dr Beeching's Axe: 50 Years on : Illustrated Memories of Britain's Lost Railways; David & Charles Publishers, Newton Abbott, ISBN 978-1446302675
- Page, J. (1988), Forgotten Railways: Volume 8 - South Wales (2nd Ed), David & Charles Publishers, Newton Abbott, ISBN 0-946537-44-5